Mystique #22

Issue Date: 
February 2005
Story Title: 
Quiet - part 3

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: 

While a deteriorating Quiet Man is playing mindgames with the imprisoned Shortpack and finally shows him his secret, Mystique is fighting for her life against several Homeland Security helicopters. She is finally rescued by Shepard, who blackmails her into killing Xavier this night – or they will kill Shortpack. Later that night, Mystique appears in Xavier’s bedroom, disguised as Prudence and holding a knife.

Full Summary: 

The Quiet Man’s hideout. The Quiet Man and Shepard watch their viewing globe to see Mystique apparently killing off Fantomex.

Does Shortpack see, Steinbeck asks in his eerie, quiet voice. Mystique is a cold-blooded, remorseless killer and yet the great Charles Xavier saddled Shortpack with her. What does that say about how Xavier sees him? Answering his own question, he continues that it means Shortpack is expendable to Xavier.

What was that, Shortpack demands from his cage. He can’t hear his ridiculous “quiet” voice from there. Agitated, Steinbeck asks if he would like him to come a little closer. He grabs the cage and snarls how dare Shortpack take such attitude with him? This isyourfault, not mine, he continues cryptically. Steinbeck seems to intend to smash the cage with Shortpack in it, as he continues ranting that Mystique will come to kill Shortpack as well once she is finished with Xavier. Shortpack is…

He is what? Shortpack asks. Shepard calmly intervenes and takes the cage.
Steinbeck dons his hood, walks off and states that he needs a moment.

In a shoddy bathroom, so shoddy in fact that there is garbage and rats on the ground, Steinbeck stands in front of a mirror, repeatedly whispering quiet to himself. Shepard joins him, putting a hand on his shoulder, calling him beloved. Holding on to Shepard for strength, the Quiet Man confides: I’m… falling apart, Shepard.

While the two are gone Shortpack tries in vain to break his cage. He stops as he witnesses in the globe that Homeland Security has come for Mystique.

Saint John, US, Virgin Islands:

Mystique starts running as the Homeland Security choppers follow her and begin shooting. Magistrate Johnny Kitano announces that she will die humanely if she surrenders. ‘Riiiigght’ Mystique mutters as she barely evades a rocket that explodes the next moment.

Five miles above, in the Department of Homeland Security’s mobile justice unit Johnny Kitano asks one of his men if they got her. Where did she go? He can’t see her. The man offers that she may have taken cover behind those trees. Kitano caustically suggests one of them swing around and nail her. The choppers do so, but don’t find their target.

She’s gone chameleon, Kitano tells them impatiently and orders them to switch to infrared. The men first don’t see anything, until Mystique appears at the top of one of the palms and jumps onto the nearby helicopter, Eagle two. She proceeds to tear the wires out of the chopper until it is forced to land.

Once they are down, Mystique breaks in and beats up the two men. The men in the other two choppers decides to hit anything that comes out of the fallen helicopter but to keep the blows non-lethal. A man staggers out of the crashed chopper and they deploy a net to capture him. As they triumph, however, they find out that it was only a decoy. Mystique has armed herself with a rocket launcher and starts shooting and hitting one of the two airborne choppers.

Kitano impatiently shouts what they are doing down there. She is only one woman. Just kill her and be done with it. The choppers begin strafing the area. Mystique dives into the water and they deploy electric charges at the water. Before they hit the water though, Mystique, having transformed her lower body into a fish tail, manages to jump up high. The soldiers hesitate, but finally intend to shoot her, until the helicopter is suddenly shot down by a smaller vessel.

Mystique falls into the water and swims towards the vessel. She begins to commend Shepard for the rescue, but he just curtly tells her to shut up and get in.

Elsewhere, the Quiet Man watches the scene in his globe, muttering that it won’t be long now. “A fate worse than death,” he muses. He used to think that was such a silly phrase. After all what could be worse than ceasing to exist? But in truth, there are so many fates worse than death. He realizes that now. How about he let him out of the cage so he can put Steinbeck out of his misery, Shortpack suggests. He is no killer, Steinbeck replies.

Looking him straight in the eye, the Quiet Man continues that Shortpack is going to suffer a fate worse than death. He’ll be forced to watch his mentor - the greatest defender of mutant rights the world has ever known - being brutally murdered by one of his own agents.

Mystique will never get close to him, Shortpack announces. She’ll do better, the Quiet Man promises, as Shortpack watches helplessly. Xavier will spend his last breath believing he was betrayed by one of his agents. And when she is finished, Mystique will come here to kill Shortpack as well. And she will do all of this simply because the Quiet Man asked her.

Why is he doing this, Shortpack demands. Their mission failed. Xavier and he never really did anything to him. Ah, but he is not in possession of all the facts, the Quiet Man replies, proceeding to show him, as he unbuttons his robe. Okay… that’s messed up, Shortpack admits.

Shepard and Mystique have landed somewhere outside Madgascar and Mystique demands to know why Shepard and the Quiet Man didn’t turn on that bio-scrambler as he said they would. Or does she have to beat it out of him? She walks towards him, asking whether he isn’t listening. Shepard turns around and points a gun at her. Hello? she asks pissed and reminds him that she just killed Fantomex to keep him from tipping of Xavier or wasn’t he paying attention? She walks closer, trying seduction.

Shepard pistol-whips her across the face. Pointing the gun at her again, he tells her she shouldn’t think for one moment that he has a soft spot for her. He never did. She disgusts him and he will kill her.

She reminds him that he still needs her to kill Xavier and she won’t do that until he turns the scrambler on. Or she could consider the following, he replies. If she doesn’t go to Genosha and kills Xavier tonight, they will feed Shortpack to a pack of dogs, just hungry enough to snack on him over the course of an evening. She believes they don’t even have Shortpack, until he shows her a transmission of Shortpack in a cage.

Later the same night, Mystique wades through the ruins of Genosha, while Shepard and Steinbeck watch in the globe.

Charles Xavier’s room. A woman with long blonde hair, dressed in an evening gown stands besides Xavier’s bed. Professor? Professor, wake up. It’s me… it’s Prudence, she says, holding a knife hidden behind her back.

Characters Involved: 


Professor Xavier


Steinbeck / The Quiet Man


Chief Magistrate Johnny Kitano
Employees of Homeland Security

Story Notes: 

The mission against Steinbeck Shortpack refers to took place in issue #1, when Steinbeck killed Xavier’s agent Prudence.

Issue Information: 
Written By: