New Warriors (2nd series) #2

Issue Date: 
November 1999
Story Title: 
Artificial Lives

Jay Faerber (writer), Steve Scott (penciler), Walden Wong (inker), Comicraft (letterer), Kevin Somers (colorist), Brian Smith (assistant editor), Bobbie Chase (editor), Bob Harras (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

Settling back into the Crashpad, the New Warriors discuss their financial problems. They toss some ideas around, eventually settling on having Namorita ask Namor for some funds. When Namorita leaves for a mysterious appointment, Turbo confronts Bolt about the duffel bag he is always carrying around, but he fobs her off. Namorita is unaware that she is being tracked by Eugenix as she makes her way to a laboratory, whose expertise is in cloning. She meets with Dr Lowell, who has agreed to help her discover why she has been mutating again. Namorita is strapped into a machine, only to discover that Dr Lowell is in fact Genecide, of Eugenix, who plans to kill Namorita as part of her cleansing of the world’s impurities. Namorita manages to break free of the restraints, and engage the Eugenix operatives on combat, while sending a distress signal to her teammates. Speedball is visiting his mother, actress Madelyne Naylor, on set, where he has got a job as an intern - but he doesn’t last long, as he gets the distress call and has to make an excuse to leave. At the Crashpad, Nova and Turbo are sunbathing and discussing the state of their lives and their suspicions about new member of the team Aegis, when they also receive the distress call. Bolt is out with his girlfriend, Donna Funaro, who wants to visit his new apartment - unaware that of course he is homeless. Bolt gets the New Warriors’ signal, and takes off, leaving a jealous Donna behind. The New Warriors arrive at the laboratory in time to help Namorita, but they are a little out of practice, and aren’t working so well as a team. Genecide offers to answer all of Namorita’s questions, but Namorita knows Genecide is a murderer and refuses her offer. The laboratory is set on fire, and the lives of several clones in stasis are put in danger. Arguments are held as to why they should save clones, or let Genecide escape. The New Warriors assist in putting the fire out, although Genecide does indeed escape. The real Dr Lowell is found alive and well. Meanwhile, Silvermane gives an operative called Fire strike a file on Turbo, as he was impressed with what her armor did during the recent warehouse fire, and he wants to possess it. Firestrike asks whether Turbo should be alive or dead. Later, Bolt arrives at Donna’s house in the pouring rain, and reveals to her that he is homeless, while Aegis tries to apologize to Namorita about his clone comments. Namorita realizes that she has to return to Atlantis.

Full Summary: 

The New Warriors’ Crashpad Headquarters, located beneath the Brooklyn Bridge in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. ‘Show me the money!’ Robbie “Speedball” Baldwin exclaims as he plays a game of basketball against new teammate Chris Bradley a.k.a. Bolt. ‘Very funny, Speedball. This is serious’ Mickey “Turbo” Musashi remarks, sitting on a windowsill in the living area. Mickey points out that they need cash, and although Night Thrasher was nice enough to turn their utilities back on for another month, they cannot mooch off him forever, especially as he is not even on the team anymore. ‘Worried about how you’re gonna afford to have your Turbo armor polished, Mickey?’ Rich Rider a.k..a Nova jokes, before remarking that Mickey is right, they have to get financially independent. ‘Maybe we ought to hire ourselves out’ Rich suggests.

Watching television as he listens to his new teammates, Aegis suggests to Namorita that they hold some sort of fundraiser. ‘Oh, that would help our public image, Aegis. “The New Warriors: Donations Accepted”. I don’t think so’ Namorita replies, adding that she knows Aegis is new to the super hero stuff, but that it is bad to beg for cash. ‘Hah! Too slow, Robbie!’ Chris exclaims as he grabs the basketball, and asks who money is such a large part of this anyway. ‘We’re super heroes. Shouldn’t we just worry about how to help people?’ he inquires. ‘Ah, Bolt…so naïve…so young. I’ll remind you of that next time you need laundry money’ Robbie tells him. Namorita suggests that since Justice and Firestar are Avengers now, the Avengers might be willing to set up some kind of “scholarship fund” or something.

But Rich doesn’t like this idea:’ No way! I don’t wanna go crawling to the Avengers for cash. How humiliating!’ he declares. ‘Swish!’ Speedball declares as he dunks the basketball, adding that he can only think of one Warrior who has got a rich, Atlantean uncle. ‘You mean go to my uncle Namor for cash? Ooh, no. Bad idea’ Namorita replies. Turbo smiles and asks Namorita if that is really a bad idea. ‘So you have to swallow a little pride’ she tells her. Rich smiles and tells Namorita to take one for the team, pointing out that Namor is loaded. Namorita gets to her feet and tells her friends she will think about it, but that right now she has an appointment to get to.

Before Namorita leaves, Speedball tells her to slow down, and hands them their old comm-badges that he dug out of storage. Speedball declares that they are great for communication. ‘This way, if one of you goes into labour, I can meet you at the hospital’ he points out. ‘What are you talking about, Robbie?’ Rich asks. ‘Er, dumb joke. Never mind’ Speedball mutters, while Turbo goes over to Bolt and asks him what is with the duffel bag he is always lugging around. ‘Oh, um…it’s just some of my…stuff. It’s nothing, really’ Chris replies, nervously.

Shortly, flying across the Brooklyn Bridge, Namorita is unaware that she is being spied upon. ‘Gotcha!’ Three men wearing purple and white costumes and carrying large weapons stand on a rooftop nearby. They each have large Roman numerals printed on their costumes - VII, IX and XII. ‘Number Nine of Eugenix, reporting in. Target is in sight. Awaiting further instructions’ Nine reports via communicator. A reply from the woman calls Genecide tells him to hold fire and stick to the plan. ‘Namorita will be ours soon enough’ she declares.

Namorita drops down to a building with a large sign, Hermiston Research, on the front of it, on a busy street. A little boy points up to her, while Namorita thinks to herself that it feels weird going to a new place for this sort of “help”, as the Warriors always went to Genetech, but after Blastaar trashed their complex, she doesn’t think they are up to the task anymore. Entering the laboratory, Namorita introduces herself and announces that she has an appointment. A scientist smiles at her and tells Namorita that she is right on time, too. ‘Miss Prentis, how very nice to finally meet you’ the scientist remarks, shaking Namorita’s hand. Namorita addresses him as Dr Lowell and assures him the pleasure is all hers. ‘I cannot thank you enough for agreeing to see me’ she tells him.

As Namorita lies down on an examination table, Dr Lowell tells her that it is he should be thanking her, as they have never had the opportunity to study a clone before, much less and Atlantean clone. ‘My staff and I are anxious to see if the cloning techniques employed by your people are similar to our methods’ he tells her. Namorita replies that hopefully this little venture will enlighten both of them, as her body has been changing lately, in ways she cannot explain. ‘That’s where you come in’ she adds. The doctor straps Namorita to the table, locking her in with clamps over her wrists, explaining that he is securing her in case there are spasms during the procedure, but that it is nothing to worry about.

Dr Lowell adds that he is quite confident they will be able to shed some light on Namorita’s recent mutation. ‘Evolution can be so fascinating, wouldn’t you agree?’ he asks, smiling oddly. Suddenly, the doctor vanishes, replaced by a certain someone who exclaims ‘After all, look what it’s done…to me!’, causing Namorita to gasp, as a woman in purple and silver armor appears before her, and introduces herself as Genecide. The woman smiles as she tells Namorita that they have never met, but that she has had the pleasure of meeting her teammates. ‘did they happen to mention me?’ Genecide asks. ‘Perhaps they told you how I can manipulate my own genetic structure…which allowed me to pose as the good doctor!’

Namorita looks less than impressed as she replies ‘Yeah, they told me all about you. Some self-righteous zealot on a crusade to restart human evolution - without all the “unworthy” people that modern medicine has saved. That about right?’ Namorita asks. ‘It’ll do’ Genecide replies, before announcing that Namorita has the distinction of being one of the most heinous offenders against the law of evolution. ‘You’re a clone. And your very existence is a n affront to the natural selection process’ Genecide declares. Fist clenched beneath the shackles, Namorita thinks to herself ‘Keep talking, crackpot. Once I snap these shackles, we’ll - no! They’re too strong!’ Namorita realizes, while Genecide declares that Namorita’s death will be the first salvo in her war against mankind’s venture into cloning.

Meanwhile, at a bar, the television shows a news report about Turbo intervening in a fire at a warehouse. ‘How was I supposed to know a super hero would show up, Mr Silvermane?’ a man in black and yellow armor remarks, while Silvermane is busy leaning over the pool table, playing a game. Silvermane addresses his companion as Firestrike, and points out that this is New York, so that he must always keep an eye out for super heroes. ‘You wanna have a successful career as an arsonist…you’d do well to remember that’ he adds. Firestrike tells Silvermane that if it is any consolation, Turbo’s cyclone wrecked the place, and all of Pat the Cat’s merchandise was trashed.

‘Not good enough. I wanted Pat the Cat out of business. Not just suffering a small setback. I didn’t get into this racket to have it go sour on me. I’m done doing the costumed thing. Last time I put on my Blackwing suit…I got my butt tossed in jail by the Thunderbolts!’ Silvermane exclaims. The report about the fire at the warehouse continues, with the news reader explaining that the warehouse fire was in such close proximity to the Fantastic Four’s pier headquarters, that some local residents fear the Human Torch could have caused the blaze, however a spokesperson for the Fantastic Four had no comment.

Firestrike asks Silvermane how he got out of jail, to which Silvermane exclaims ‘You are new at this, aren’t you, kid?’ and reveals that when he was working for his old man, one of the first things he taught him was that costumed heroes aren’t cops, that they have no real authority, so when they toss someone in jail, there is always legal loopholes. ‘How else you think Doctor Octopus gets back on the street so easy?’ Silvermane remarks, before telling Firestrike that he didn’t call him here to give him legal advice, announcing that he has another job for him. Silvernmane’s large associate tosses Firestrike a file labeled “Turbo”, and Silvermane reveals that their intel reveals Turbo’s suit is the source of her power, just like Firestrike’s and the rest of Silvermane’s heavy mettle.

Firestrike holds up the file and replies ‘Let me guess - you want the suit, right?’ to which Silvermane tells Firestrike ‘You’re a quick study, kid. Bring me that suit and I just might forget how you botched the warehouse job’. Firestrike asks Silvermane if he cares whether Turbo is alive when he takes the suit off her. Sinking the “eight ball” in his game of pool, Silvermane replies that their intel says Turbo’s suit can absorb a lot of energy, so he may not be able to kill her. ‘Try getting close to her, rather than just attacking her. But once you get me that suit, you can do whatever you want to her’ Silvermane declares as the “eight ball” drops into one of the corner pockets on the pool table.

Back at Hermiston Research, Namorita finally breaks free from one of the clamps holding her down to the table. Recalling the New Warriors’ file on Genecide, Namorita remembers that she has some helpers called Eugenix, and thinks they have powers, too. ‘You ain’t outta the woods, yet, freak!’ the Eugenix operative with IV on her costume exclaims as she punches Namorita hard in the face. ‘Yep. Definitely got powers’ Namorita tells herself as she falls backwards. XII releases energy from his eyes, which strikes Namorita. ‘That’s it! Keep her off balance until we can pin her down!’ XII exclaims. Realizing the beams are heat beams, Namorita knows that she has to get away from him, for she gets her strength from water, and this guy could dehydrate her.

‘Nuh-uh - not this time, speedy’ Namorita exclaims as she grabs Four, who tries to rush her once more. ‘AAH! You’re burning me!’ Four shouts. Genecide frowns, thinking that they had cataloged all of Namorita’s abilities, so this warrants taking a closer look. Her eyes flare up, she essential sees Namorita’s genetic code. ‘I’ve used my powers to look at a lot of genetic codes before, but I’ve never seen anything like this’ Genecide thinks to herself, smiling, ‘Fascinating. I bet even she doesn’t realizes what’s going on inside her body’. Namorita suddenly grabs her New Warriors communication pin on her belt, hoping it works, she presses it, knowing that she cannot hold Eugenix off forever, she needs some help.

Meantime, at a television studio in Manhattan, ‘Robbie!’ a voice calls out. Speedball turns to see his mother, actress Madelyne Naylor, approaching him, arms outstretched. ‘Hey, Mom. Man, I didn’t realizes how much I was missing out by not visiting you at the set before. This place is great!’ Speedball exclaims. Robbie and his mother hug, while Robbie quietly says to his mother ‘Mom, there’s chicks around’. They part, and Madelyne introduces her son to the director, John Sutton. John greets Robbie and remarks that his mother never stops talking about him. John tells Robbie that this internship is going to be a lot of hard work, and hopes that he is up for it. ‘Yeah…yeah I think I can handle working here’ Robbie replies as he watches two young women walk past.

Various cast and crew go about their business, while Madelyne tells Sutton that Robbie wants to be a filmmaker, so she explained that doing an internship here might help send him on his way. ‘I’d like to think so! We’ve had a number of talented staffers go on to -’ Sutton begins, when suddenly a noise begins emanating from Robbie. ‘What’s that?’ Sutton asks. ‘D’oh! My comm-badge!’ Robbie thinks to himself, pulling it from his pocket. He explains that it is his pat he has to go. Robbie then rushes from the set, while the director asks ‘Is he serious? He just got here? The is a joke, right?’, to which Madelyne explains that his girlfriend has been ill, and that the pager must mean she needs something. She smiles and assures Sutton that this won’t happen again. ‘Well…okay’ Sutton replies. Bursting through one of the doors, Robbie calls himself an idiot, and realizes that there is no way he can keep this job if he is going to get interrupted by Warriors business. ‘And my poor performance could hurt Mom’s career’ he decides.

At the Crashpad, Mickey is dressed in a very scant bathing suit, while Rich is wearing a pair of shorts. They both recline on sun-chairs on the rooftop of the Crashpad. Rich tells Mickey that this is cool, that he is glad his afternoon class at ESU was canceled, or he wouldn’t be able to hang. ‘Afternoon classes? Yuck. I have all my classes in the morning, I like to get them out of the way as early as possibly’ Mickey replies. Rich explains that between his Nova stuff and his job at Marvel Burger, he keeps late nights, and needs his beauty rest. Mickey tells Rich that is rough, and explains that her parents are big on education, so are paying her way through school. Mickey adds that her stop on the school newspaper keeps her pretty busy, and then there is the time she spends as Turbo.

Rich tells Mickey that it must be nice to know exactly what you want to do. He points out that Justice is living his dream as an Avenger, and now Mickey is on the way to becoming the next Ben Urich, while Speedball wants to do the Hollywood thing. ‘I’m a film major, but that’s only because I couldn’t think of what I really wanna do. So I’m left flipping burgers while I try and make up my mind’ Rich explains. Suddenly, Mickey notices something down below, and points through the rooftop windows, which let light down into the Crashpad below. ‘Check this out’ she tells Rich, apologizing for cutting him off. ‘It’s Aegis. What’s he doing in full costume?’ Mickey wonders. Rich replies that he doesn’t know, and remarks that there is something weird about Aegis. Turbo adds that she can’t figure out why he won’t tell them his secret ID. ‘No one else here has secrets’ she declares, when suddenly, their communication pins go off. ‘Aw, nuts’ Rich mutters.

Midtown Manhattan, where Chris has met up with his girlfriend, Donna Funaro. ‘Do we have to go through this again?’ Chris asks. ‘No, I mean it. You’ve been in the city a month now, and if I didn’t know better - I’d think you were consciously not showing me where you live!’ Donna exclaims. ‘What are you, sleeping on the streets?’ she asks Chris, who quickly replies ‘Heh - don’t be ridiculous’, while thinking to himself ‘That’s exactly what I’m doing’. Suddenly, his comm-badge goes off inside his duffel bag. ‘Oh! My comm-badge. And I was really enjoying this conversation, too’ Chris exclaims. ‘You’re a lousy liar, Chris’ Donna replies, before they kiss. Chris then runs off, telling Donna that he will call her tonight - unless he gets killed in battle. ‘Ha ha. Very funny’ Donna replies, while frowning, she bets that Chris invites the Warriors over to his apartment all the time.

Hermiston Research, ‘You’re a fighter. Gotta admire that. But you realize that I’m going to burn the life out of you now’ Twelve tells Namorita, while Seven holds her down. There is suddenly a loud explosion, as Nova, Speedball, Turbo, Bolt and Aegis burst into the laboratory. ‘Put her down. NOW!’ Nova orders. ‘Do you really think I didn’t plan for this contingency?’ Genecide asks, before ordering Eugenix to engage the Warriors. Seven throws Namorita into the air, but Nova is able to catch her. ‘Thanks’ Namorita replies. ‘What, no attitude?’ Nova asks her. ‘No “I could’ve handled this myself, Bucket-Head”?’ Nova asks. Namorita tells her ex boyfriend to shut up and fight, but to leave Genecide to her. Four rushes past Aegis and punches in the face. He falls back, but Bolt is able to catch him. ‘Um, I thought that force field of yours protected you from that sorta thing’ Chris tells him. ‘Only if I see it coming’ Aegis explains.

Nova enters the fray, blasting forward, he tackles Seven. ‘Come on, little buddy. Let’s take this fight outside!’ he tells the brawny agent of Eugenix as he bursts through another wall. Speedball bounds over the energy that another of Eugenix releases. ‘A little higher, number…Nine, is it? Just think, if you manage to wack me, maybe you’ll get promoted to Nine-and-a-Half!’ Speedball jokes. Turbo is not having as much luck against her opponent, however, as her wind gusts just scatter the ice that her foe creates. Speedball lands beside Turbo and asks her if she needs any help, but he slips on the ice, and knocks into Turbo, causing them both to fall down. ‘Heh. My bad’ Speedball smiles on top of Turbo, who looks less than impressed.

Genecide fires a blast of energy at Namoita, who dodges her attack/ ‘Think about it, Namorita. I can see your body’s genetic code. I know why you’ve changed…why your powers are evolving. I can answer all your questions’ she tells Namorita. The young heroine is worried, realizing that Genecide is right. ‘She could tell me everything’ Namorita thinks to herself, before shouting ‘NO!’, she picks Genecide up by her throat, ‘Consider this a rejection of your offer, murderer!’ Namorita declares. Genecide orders Eugenix to implement contingency plan B. ‘On it, Genecide!’ Twelve replies as he fires a blast of heat at some equipment. ‘NO!’ Namorita exclaims.

‘Hey! This guy’s not even fighting me anymore! What gives?’ Chris calls out as his opponent begins firing at equipment as well. Genecide tells Namorita that she may have noticed that this facility is cultivating clones. ‘I suspect that’s why you sought out Dr Lowell’ she adds. Genecide tells Namorita that she won’t be able to capture them and save her precious clones. ‘Looks like you’re faced with a decision. And I assure you, if we go free, we will most certainly continue our crusade’ she exclaims, grinning. Namorita hesitates for a moment, before telling the Warriors to forget about Eugenix and save the clones. ‘What? Those clones aren’t people’ Aegis points out. ‘If we let Genecide get away, she could hurt someone that really matters’ he exclaims.

‘I’M A CLONE!’ Namorita retorts. ‘And I matter! We’re in this to protect people - all people!’ Namorita declares angrily. Her teammates all turn to her, while Genecide grins wickedly and calls them fools. ‘Being honorable can lead to such predictability!’ she declares. Turbo uses her power to get the fire started by Twelve under control, while Aegis uses his force field to keep the clones from inhaling any smoke. Nova tells Namorita that she made the right call, but Namorita tells him that it doesn’t feel that way. With Genecide and Eugenix gone, Speedball brings the real Dr Lowell to Namorita, explaining that he found him locked up in another room. ‘They’re okay except for the morning breath’ Speedball jokes. Dr Lowell tells Namorita that he is sorry about this, and assures her that he never meant for his offer to be used a trap. Namorita tells Dr Lowell that she knows it isn’t his fault, and hopes that the clones he has been developing survived.

Long Island, later that night. The rain pours down over the Funaro residence, and Donna wakes in the middle of the night to a tapping noise on her window. ‘Oh!’ Donna gaps when she sees Chris standing at her window, sopping wet. Donna opens the window and asks Chris what he is doing here. Standing in the rain, Chris reveals that he has been lying, that he doesn’t have an apartment in Manhattan, that he has been living on the street. ‘But I cannot take it anymore, and…and…and I had nowhere else to go’ he utters.

Back at the Crashpad, Namorita stares out the window as the rain beats down. Aegis and Speedball approach her, and Aegis apologizes about what he said during the fight. ‘I didn’t know you were, um…’ he remarks. ‘A clone. You can say it’ Namorita frowns. ‘Yeah, a clone. I didn’t mean to hurt you. Guess I’m just not used to all this stuff. Never met a clone before’ he declares. Namorita tells him that it is okay, that she understands. ‘Heck, I never met a super-hero who wore knee-pads before’ she tells him, commenting on his costume.

Speedball tells Namorita that he heard her and Genecide talking during the battle and asks what is up with that. Namorita explains that Genecide offered to answer some questions she has been having lately about herself, and about her body. ‘I -’ Speedball begins, but Namorita tells him not to say it. ‘Anyway, I almost took her up on her offer. I hate myself for even considering it’ she admits, before announcing that she has been doing a lot of thinking, and knows now that there is only one place she can go to get all the answers about her body’s mutations!

Characters Involved: 

Aegis, Bolt, Namorita, Nova, Speedball, Turbo (all New Warriors)

Madelyne Naylor
Donna Funaro

Four, Nine, Seven, Twelve (all Eugenix)


Joe Manfred / Silvermane II / Blackwing I
Silverman’s associate

Dr Lowell
News reader
John Sutton
Crew and cast at studio

Story Notes: 

Genetech was trashed by Blastaar in New Warriors (2nd series) #1.

Namorita was mutating in Nova (3rd series) #1.

Genecide and Eugenix previously appeared in New Warriors (1st series) #63-64.

Turbo stopped the fire in the warehouse in New Warriors (2nd series) #1.

Silvermane / Blackwing was captured by the Thunderbolts in Thunderbolts #25.

First appearance of Firestrike.

Nova’s hair is miscolored blond in several panels this issue.

Genecide and Eugenix have not appeared since this issue.

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