Mystique #21

Issue Date: 
January 2005
Story Title: 
Quiet - part 2

Sean McKeever (writer), Manuel Garcia (penciler), Raul Fernandez (inker), Virtual Calligraphy’s Rus Wooton (lettering), Digital Rainbow (colors), Mike Mayhew (cover artist), Stephanie Moore & Sean Ryan (assistant editors), Mike Marts (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Aware of the fact that Forge is likely to have turned off the device that keeps the US government from finding her, Mystique contacts Shepard and demands they start up their scrambler. Surprisingly, she also asks him not to kill Shortpack, should the young mutant actually choose to attack him and the Quiet Man. Shepard promises to comply, although actually he and the Quiet Man are keeping Shortpack prisoner, are torturing him psychologically and have every intention of killing him. Mystique’s conversation with Shepard is witnessed by Fantomex, who blackmails her into stealing a certain object for him in return for his silence. Mystique is sent to the Virgin Islands with E.V.A. and steals one of Spider-Man’s original costumes by pretending to be a jealous husband who catches the unfaithful wife and her lover in the act. Returned to Fantomex, Mystique viciously stabs him and reveals that she ahs both sprinkled the Spidey suit and E.V.A with a techno-organic virus meant to kill Fantomex. She has barely kicked him into the ocean when Homeland Security catches up with her… In the meantime, Forge searches the mansion where Shortpack believed Steinbeck to reside. However, the building has been clearly abandoned for years. Also, Shortpack’s footsteps suddenly, impossibly stop.

Full Summary: 

Washington DC, Department of Homeland Security, monitoring station. ‘No way!’ a man exclaims as he looks at his monitor. The next moment he alerts his superior, Magistrate Kitano, who is just in a meeting with the president. He informs him that Darkholme has resurfaced, somewhere along the coast of France. Kitano tells him this has just now become their top priority.

(Outside Cannes, France)

You rang? Shephard asks lazily, as he strolls towards Mystique. In response, she jumps at him, her knife drawn, and informs him it is not polite to keep a girl waiting. She had to ditch Forge so she could talk to him, meaning he’s most likely shut down the gadget that kept a dozen governments from executing her, so Shepard will have to power up his scrambler as soon as they are done here. Otherwise, she’ll be too busy running to get around to killing Xavier.

Is that why he’s here? Shepard asks, annoyed. Mystique explains that her old fieldhandler, Shortpack, is looking for Steinbeck to murder him. Shepard replies that the warning is appreciated but unnecessary. They are watching her. They know everything Fantomex said. Mystique hesitates then explains that Shortpack is no killer. He’s probably trying to gather his courage to go through with this. If he does, they should try not to kill him. Just catch and release, ok? Shepard is surprised at her soft side. Mystique demands he give his word and he replies he’ll try not to kill him. If he sees him. He steps back through his teleportation portal, leaving Mystique alone. Well, now, that was an enlightening conversation, Fantomex suddenly announces.

In Monte Carlo, Forge examines an abandoned derelict mansion, finding Shortpack’s tiny footprints. However, he informs Xavier telepathically, he doesn’t think anybody else has been there in years. Shortpack was led to believe Steinbeck would reside there. Surprised, he finds that Shortpack’s footprints suddenly stop, as though he simply vanished. Unsure, Forge looks around.

At an unknown location, the Quiet Man sits on his throne, seemingly unaware of his surroundings, until the imprisoned Shortpack breaks his reverie asking why they haven’t killed him yet. Turning towards the prisoner in the small box, Steinbeck whispers that Shortpack is so very cute when he’s clueless. He hasn’t killed him yet because he isn’t done with him. There are things Shortpack needs to see and know before he dies. And he will die painfully, another voice adds as Shepard returns. What did he do to them, Shortpack demands angrily. Shepard was his friend. Shepard shushes him and with a dramatic gesture points to the viewing globe.

Within it, the scene where Mystique informs Shepard about Shortpack hunting for Steinbeck is replayed – without Mystique asking Shepard to spare Shorty. The scene shifts to Genosha showing Xavier with Forge. Shepard gleefully informs Shorty that Mystique sold him out and Xavier replaced him with Forge. He doesn’t even care he is gone. Shortpack stammers a denial and Steinbeck asks with a wicked grin how it feels to be betrayed by the people he trusted most?

Meanwhile at Cannes, hopping across the roofs, Fantomex seeks to ascertain what he has learned: Mystique intends to kill the world’s most powerful telepath and mutant-activist? No particularly clever, plus he happens to like Charles Xavier. How did he find her anyway, Mystique asks. He knows her body language intimately, he replies. Repulsed, Mystique announces she’ll pretend he didn’t say that. So is he going to tell on her? Well, he could, Fantomex muses, or he could keep his “Eurotrash trap” shut. Or she could kill him right now and be done with it, Mystique adds. That would be an impressive trick, he laughs.

He offers to keep mum if she does something for him in returns. There is something he was going to steal, but now she will do the job for him. What is it? she asks. A surprise, he replies. It is also utterly meaningless, which makes this all the sweeter. She gets to be errand girl for the man whose every word she finds like steel scraping on concrete. She scoffs that Fantomex shouldn’t flatter himself. She loathes him, but he isn’t even in the top 20. Fantomex tells her she will leave for Saint John tomorrow as they reach the pier. Couldn’t he have picked something closer than the Virgin Islands, she complains. E.V.A. will get her there, he replies. So she gets the pleasure of flying in his flying-saucer-girlfriend too, Mystique complains. Fantomex tells her not to be grotesque as they reach his yacht. E.V.A. is his mutation, not his girlfriend. She will pick Mystique up at 11 sharp, but first,… Dom Perignon?

Saint John, Virgin Islands, a luxurious compound. The owner, Mr. Wicks, is leaving and, as he does so, he notices that the gardener, Denny, has come early today. He orders the young man to start wearing a shirt and to stay out of his den.

The young man enters the bedroom, when a hand grabs his shoulder. Mrs. Wicks! He shouts. The blonde, dressed in a skimpy bikini, reminds him that she told him to call her Shelley. They kiss. Shelley remarks that Ted wasn’t supposed to be gone for another hour. Why did he come early? The young man replies he couldn’t wait.

Skank, E.V.A. bitches.

A while later, they have rejoined Fantomex, who asks how it went. Tossing the artifact at him, Mystique informs him that he is completely pathetic. Fantomex opens the box to reveal a Spider-Man costume. Very cool, he exclaims and explains that this is an authentic outfit. He tells her that their business is at an end and he will keep his word. Nobody will learn about her assassination plot. Would she like to celebrate with a drink?

She has a better idea, she replies as she moves closer to him. Basically, this is way too important to take him at his word. She stabs him in the gut with her knife. Fantomex moans that, while this hurts, it will not kill him. No, but the techno-organic virus she sprayed on Spidey there will. The same virus that is causing saucer brain – she points at E.VA – to sputter out. He’s probably feeling weak now… and in case this doesn’t do the trick… she kicks him over the cliff and into the ocean.

Heh, she laughs briefly. Moments later, a voice welcomes her to United States soil. She may now resist arrest. Several helicopters are above her. The government has caught up with her.

Characters Involved: 


Professor Xavier




Steinbeck / The Quiet Man

Chief Magistrate Kitano

Employees of Homeland Security

Story Notes: 

Despite Fantomex’ claims, E.V.A. is not his mutation, as he isn’t truly a mutant. Then again, his true backstory from the Weapon Plus program [as seen in New X-Men #143-145] isn’t widely known.

Homeland Security has been after Mystique since issue #1 and she only escaped from Kitano when Xavier and Forge rescued her (in issue #2).

Issue Information: 
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