Pryde and Wisdom #2

Issue Date: 
October 1996
Story Title: 
Mystery Walk

Warren Ellis (writer), Terry Dodson & Aaron Lopresti (pencilers), Simmons, Pinnock, Lopresti & Martin (inkers), Ariane Lenshoek (colorist), Malibu (enhancement), RS & Comicraft (letters), Matt Idelson (editor), Bob Harras (editor-in-chief)

Special thanks to Suzanne Gaffney

Brief Description: 

Pete and Kitty pay a visit to Pete’s father Harold, a rather eccentric old man who also happens to be an expert profiler. Despite his odd demeanour, Harold gives them some clues and promises to inform Pete’s sister to help with the symbols. At their hotel room, Kitty and Pete are attacked by men in black, who turn their weapons on themselves rather than give up after losing. Later, Pete’s sister Romany joins them. She deciphers the symbols on the skeleton, explaining that it is an alchemical man stone used to search for things. She also explains that the symbols on the killer’s victims are written in Enochian. He believes he is Cain, the first murderer and is writing a letter of apology to God. When Pete mentions heading for a drink with F.66’s absent member, Gideon, the other members run to the pub with a clueless Kitty and Pete following. Before there can be any explanations, they are threatened by a mysterious woman. Earlier, the killer met Amanda Jardine at a pub and invited her for a drink due to her religious book.

Full Summary: 

An old man with wild hair, dressed only in a short striped nightshirt steps outside the house. What do you want? Are you the bath woman? he demands. You’re late! I’ve been waiting since 1968! Do you fancy me?

Kitty Pryde, having accompanied her lover, Pete Wisdom, there, looks very confused. Pete addresses the old man as Dad and asks him if he remembers. Me, Pete Wisdom, you Harold Wisdom. Is it coming back to you, you evil, senile, old--

Oh, she’s with him, his father realizes. Calling his son a useless toerag, he asks what he wants before asking Kitty her name. Kitty introduces herself and politely trying to make conversation, she remarks how nice the house is. She’s a little nervous.

Said house is in a state of disrepair, and displays various spray messages like Trust no one, JFK died for you and Stay Away --Die.

Harold leads them inside the dank dark house, telling his son to bring the corrupt Amerikan freemason pagan witch girlfriend with him. American pagan what? Kitty asks slightly disturbed. Harold lectures her that America is run by Freemasons who worship the A-bomb and killed JFK according to ancient pagan ritual. Riiiight, Kitty mutters.

Pete remarks that they could use his help. London’s got a serial killer again and his friend’s daughter has gone to ground somewhere in London to find the killer and get a story on him. They have to get an idea of the killer’s M.O. in order to work out where she is.

Harold lectures Kitty that he was a police specialist in serial killing from when before they had the phrase “serial killer.” Did Pete tell her that? No, Kitty trails off. It’s ok, Pete remarks sourly. He knew he would. Which is a little ironic, Harold continues, as his ex-wife, Pete’s mother, was murdered by a “spree” killer who walked through their town one day, shooting everything he could see. Everything…

Pulling himself together, he asks what they’ve got to show him. Pete hands over the case reports from the metropolitan police’s F.66 Harold recognizes them as the old department of unusual death. This must be a juicy one. Skimming over the material, he already realizes it must be a religious killer. He’s only knocking off priests and theologians…. No fury in the killings, despite him using some mutant power to fossilize the victims. It’s a calm… punishment. It’s because they’re saying something wrong, maybe, or saying a truth that he doesn’t like. There’s a message there. Not a complete looney, which makes him worse. As for the symbols, though, he’d have to call Pete’s sister. That’s her line of evil.

Oh God, Pete moans. He gives his father their hotel address and room number and suggests he doesn’t come visit. Outside, Kitty is grateful to breathe fresh air again. She thought the stench of antique pizza and prehistoric underwear was going to kill her. She notices her lover’s dejected behavior.

A tear in his eye, he admits that he never told this to anybody. The reason his mum was waiting by the front window of her little house that day was that she was waiting for him to visit. But they’d argued on the phone earlier in the week and he had no intention of going. Couldn’t be bothered to call and tell her. She was right by the window, looking out. Waiting for him and… Kitty hugs him and asks him to tell her about his mum.

Elsewhere, the killer fancies a drink and enters the Drones Club. His heart jumps when he sees a young woman. He doesn’t like her or anything like that. He’s not allowed to enjoy himself like that. But he sees what she’s reading reflected in the wall mirror. A book called “Angels.”

He chats her up, telling her that’s a good book. Can he buy her a drink? He hasn’t done this often, has he? she asks amused. When he reacts confused she tells him it doesn’t matter. She’ll have a drink with him.

Back at the hotel, outside their room, Kitty informs Pete she wants room service to bring a bucket of Scotch and an entire cow while he fumbles with the door. Suddenly, she orders him not to move. The keyslot clicked three times. It only clicked once last. She phases through the door and sees a bomb attached to the doorknob on the other side. If he’d pulled the key out of the slot, they’d be strawberry jelly. Jam, Strawberry jam Pete corrects her. Whatever, Kitty replies annoyed. But it’s an electrical device, so by phasing through it she can kill it.

Suddenly, men in dark suits and sunglasses come out of the other room. Plan B. What? Kitty asks incredulously, “If the bomb doesn’t go off, jump out of hiding and shoot them?” Did they think that up on their own? The men fire and Kitty warns Pete those are inhibitor guns. If they hit you, they temporarily shut off you mutant talent. This really isn’t her day. She’s in a bad mood. Pete suggests she take it out on them for God’s sake…

Kitty disarms one of the attackers with a well-placed kick and another by breaking his arm. Amazing, Pete sighs in admiration, then knocks another man out.

Kitty kicks another guy in the stomach and tells him to get off her foot. Pete takes his guy’s gun. Dear–oh–dear, a real-life raygun he remarks derisively. You people are very sad. Kitty agrees as she elbows yet another guy. She’s seen better reflexes on turtles. What is he doing with that gun? Hitting people with it, Pete replies and proceeds to do so. He never claimed to be role model, right?

Another one makes a run for it. Would she please stop mucking about and catch him? Pete asks. Still fighting, Kitty retorts that she is busy. Did his legs drop off or something? Gordon Bennet, he has to do everything, he moans. Ruddy household drudge he is.

The runner has reached the elevator, but a barrage of hotknives cuts off that escape route. Talk to me, Pete orders, with a maniacal grin. “Or I will do terrible things to you. On purpose.” The man holds his gun to his head, as does Kitty’s and they shoot themselves. With guns that were only intended to hurt mutants? Pete wonders. This is too weird, Kitty sighs.

Once the police have been and gone, the two are on the couch in the hotel room. Kitty’s confused as hell. Pete thinks they are being led up the garden path. Not even Black Air attacked mutants, except near the end. This “Men in Black” thing is a blind. How is she feeling now anyway? Much better, she replies and they begin to kiss.

Their embrace becomes so passionate. They manage to throw down the couch, not that either is bothered by this, at least not until there is a polite faux cough. Kitty looks surprised at the newcomer, a woman with long black hair and glasses, whereas Pete asks annoyed if she didn’t ever learn to ruddy well knock. And is she still breaking and entering? She told him she was giving up burglary.

The woman whom he called Romany replies that the reception gave their room number and she wanted to surprise him. Critically, she adds that she doesn’t like the room. Feng Shui’s a mess. Just like her little brother. Pete tells her to shut it. This, Kitty? she asks. Yes, this Kitty, Kitty replies. Is she Pete’s sister? She’s not what she expected. Helping Kitty up, Romany replies that she’s taking that as a compliment. And Kitty seems much too nice to be hanging around with her evil brother. She is far too nice, Kitty agrees. She hasn’t been well lately. Romany decides that she likes Kitty much better than that contract killer woman from Peckham. Where are those symbols Pete wanted her to go over then?

Kitty shows her the sketches she made. Pete warns Romany that if she tries channelling that bloody Atlantean priest and do her spinning and vomiting thing, he’s going to have her legs off. She gave him up, Romany replies. People stopped inviting her out. She muses that she doesn’t like these symbols. At all. Could she see the things those markings were on?

A little later at the Mystery School, Romany has examined the skeleton and explains that the symbols on it are alchemical. Alchemy means both “evolution” and “transmutation.” It is the transformation of an article into a higher, purer form. Lead into gold is the famous one. It can be done with anything. And that transformed substance will have paranormal properties. What they have here is an alchemical man stone. To make an alchemical stone you separate its three basic elements – soul, body and spirit – and recombine them. The electricity extracted, the soul, drain off the blood, the spirit, burn what’s left, leaving you with a warped skeleton, the body. And then combine it all back together with a little magic and a lot of insanity…
And you’ve got a “man stone” Kitty completes her sentence. But what does it do?

Romany points out this is supposedly the highest form of man attainable. She’s guessing the alchemist wanted to access the mind’s higher functions. Psychic stuff. As she takes out a knife she remarks to the police that doing this to a human is close enough to murder for their purposes.

As to what it does, one of the symbols is partially scrubbed out. She re-cuts the symbols, which acts like switching the man stone on. The heart of the skeleton begins to glow as it moves, saying it feels so good. What do they wish to find? Divination, Romany explains. The alchemist made this stone as a tool to locate something. Ask it something, Bob, Dr Strangefoot suggests. Why can’t he get a girlfriend? Bob asks.

Examining the symbols, Romany remarks that they are in Enochian. The language of Heaven, they say. Interesting. Suddenly, she adds that they have a problem. She’s just put all the Enochian phrases written on the victims together. Apart they are phrases, fragments. Together, their killer is writing a letter to God. He’s writing a letter in Enochian, to his father’ father. The killer believes his father to be Adam, the first and – and his father’s father to be God. He’s asking forgiveness, asking to be allowed back into his family. Apologizing for killing his brother because the killer honestly believes himself to be Cain, son of Adam, killer of Abel and therefore the first murderer.

Exasperated, Pete states that he needs a drink. Where’s that Gideon bloke? He said he’d have a drink with them sometime. The other members of F.66 silently look at each other, then one of them orders they run to the pub and they do. Kitty and Pete look at each other, then follow. Do they get an explanation, Pete asks, when they reach the pub? Eccles orders them to fan out. Bob suggests Constance put away the gun. She refuses. Bob knows what he’s like. He’s not there, Bob replies, the toerag is gone.

Kitty and Pete demand an explanation. Suddenly a newcomer announces she will give them an explanation. A reason why they must not catch the killer. She points a gun at them and warns them that if they disobey, she will have no choice other than to kill their friends, destroy their powers and have them beaten to death.

Characters Involved: 

Shadowcat, Pete Wisdom (both members of Excalibur)

Harold Wisdom (Pete’s father)

Romany Wisdom (Pete’s sister)

Amanda Jardine

Inspector Eccles, Bob, Johanne Constanssen, Dr. Strangefoot (members of the Mystery School)

Mystery woman

Men in black

Story Notes: 

Regarding the bucket of Scotch comment, it seems that Kitty and Pete exchanged speech bubbles.
First appearance of Harold Wisdom and Romany, who was strangely different when she appeared again in X-Force.

Wisdom's use of the name Gordon Bennett as an expletive is not unheard of. In the mid-1800s, James Gordon Bennet Jr. was the son of a newspaper tychoon who founded the New York Herald. Born in oppulance, Bennett gained notoriety in high society through his wild lifestyle and extravagant behavior before settling down as manager of the Herald in 1867. As manager, he funded several newsworthy ventures including the search for Dr. Livingstone in Africa. While he became much more reputable in his older age, Gordon Bennett always will be remembered for his outrageous behavior of his youth.

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