Weapon X (2nd series) #11

Issue Date: 
September 2003
Story Title: 
The Underground - part 5

Frank Tieri (writer), Georges Jeanty (penciler), Dexter Vines and Scott Elmer (inkers), Tom Chu's Color Dojo (colors), Dave Sharpe (letters), Sumerak, Schmidt and Simons (assistant editors), Mike Raicht (associate editor), Tom Breevort and Mike Marts (editors), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Bill Jemas (president)

Brief Description: 

Malcolm Colcord, Director of the Weapon X program, is a troubled man. The paradox of wanting to eliminate all mutants but being in love with Aurora has caused him to loose his temper and beat her up. Despite of her fear of him, the couple kind of make up, though he wonders what the future has in store for them. Later, he is informed by Brent Jackson that he, Wild Child and Sauron, have found their missing operatives, Reaper and Wildside, who have been brought to the lab. There, the Director meets with Dr. Windsor, head scientist of Weapon X, who informs him that both their minds have been fried by a telepath. Colcord also asks about Windsor's increased activities in their mutant concentration camp, Neverland, and demands a full report. Next, he is approached by Agent Zero, who returns from another successful mission. After checking in on the brainwashed Madison Jeffries, assuring him that his technological supplies are used for the benefit of humanity, the Director proceeds to Mesmero’s quarters, letting him know that the loss of his powers is apparent or else Sabretooth wouldn’t have escaped. Mesmero is led by Garrison Kane away to a helicopter that will transport him to Neverland. Along the way, Mesmero reminds Kane that one day he might share his fate. Meanwhile, Washout tries to get revenge on the Director for giving him a power upgrade that slowly kills him. After using his powers to short-circuit all systems in the compound, Washout tries to kill the Director by controlling the water molecules in his body, but the strain is too much and he dies with the job unfinished. Still, the power blackout allows Cable and the Underground to get into the base without any alarms going off. Their arrival is not entirely unnoticed, though, as hiding in a pipe several feet under the complex, Sabretooth smells the intruders.

Full Summary: 

Sitting in his office within the Weapon X compound, the building located somewhere at a mountainside, the project’s Director, Malcolm Colcord, is trying to fill out a status report but something else is on his mind. The paperweight lying on the carpet, amidst some stained blood, reminds him of the bad thing he did. The Director closes his laptop and walks through the building, recalling what led to it – confusion, anger and embarrassment. He reaches the room of his victim/lover, Jeanne-Marie Beaubier, enters and finds her sitting alone in the darkness, her face hidden between her knees. He says her name and offers to help her up, but Aurora holds up her hands in a defiant position, the expression on her face being that of extreme panic and fear. She has several bruises, a black eye and has been bleeding from her forehead.

The Director keeps his hand outstretched and Jeanne-Marie eyes him suspiciously, finally finding it within herself to trust him and take the hand offered to her. As she is about to get up from the floor, her lover apologizes and kneels down to her, the two lovers embracing each other. The Director is concerned, though. His dilemma is that Aurora is a mutant, an offshoot of humanity that he thinks need to be eliminated if baseline humanity is to have any hope at survival. However, he is in love with this woman and, what she did for him, thanks to her his face was reconstructed, which he repaid by beating her to within an inch of her life. Malcolm is unsure if the damage done to their relationship can be repaired or if he should hope, for both their sakes, that it can’t.

A little bit later, he leaves her room but stands in the door for several minutes, hiding his face, ashamed and distraught about his guilt. He fails to notice that he is not alone, as Brent Jackson, Wild Child and Sauron are standing in the hallway. It takes Jackson to call out to the Director for two minutes until he notices him, prompting Jackson to comment on his boss’ state of mind. He wonders if it is because of his “mutie lover” crack and says that he was just kidding; anyone would date a babe like Aurora. Still, if it offended him he apologizes and offers the Director his hand, who takes it and makes up with his second-in-command, sick and tired of all the infighting.

While walking outside the building to enter another of the huge complex, the Director is filled in that they have recaptured the program’s missing operatives, but that they are in bad shape and have been taken into the labs of Dr. Windsor. The Director doesn’t care, as long as their true mission was unexposed. He congratulates Brent on the job well done and thanks him for their little heart to heart. While the man proceeds into the labs, Wild Child and Sauron snicker, but Brent Jackson gestures them to be quiet. He smirks; everything is going according to his plans.

The Director reaches the lab, where a group of scientists are examining the forms of Wildside and Reaper. Just as he comes in, Dr Windsor is filling out a report, saying that both have suffered extensive damage to the cerebral cortex. He continues to explain to the Director that neither of the pair of mutants will be capable of doing much talking or anything else anytime soon. Pointing to the a monitor showing their flatlined EEG readings, he theorizes that the two mutants’ minds have been fried by a fairly powerful telepath, though it appears the mental blocks they installed did their job and the secret of Neverland remains safe.

The Director calls that good news, though as Windsor already brought up the subject of Neverland, he is reminded of something else he wanted to talk about. What exactly is it that Windsor is doing there, he asks. He has received reports that the scientist has been pulling out quite a few mutants for experimentation. Dr. Windsor claims that he has been examining the mutant genome and asks if there is any problem with that. Not at all, the Director answers, though he would like to see his work. Dr. Windsor excuses himself, but says he thinks the Director wouldn’t understand any of it. Nonsense, the man in charge replies. After all, he might surprise him; and that wasn’t a request but an order. Leaving the lab, the Director demands a report on Windsor’s findings by next week.

Walking thorough the complex, the Director is suddenly startled by a hand grabbing him by the shoulder. It belongs to Agent Zero, one of Weapon X’s most effective agents. Zero holds the Director a bag, saying that he asked of the head “you know who.” He unzips the bag and the sight of what is inside makes the Director feel sick. He takes the bag from the agent, saying that this indeed was his order, though he didn’t mean it quite so literally. CNN will have a field day with that. Changing the subject, the Director says that recently he has been trying to make up with several people and he thinks it’s time... Agent Zero interrupts him. Not pleased by the Director’s hand placed on his shoulder in a friendly manner, he just stares at his superior and says, “You are touching me.” The Director removes his hand and Zero proceeds into the complex. Watching him leave, the Director shakes his head and thinks that he’d like nothing more to have that man killed, if only he wasn’t so dammed good at his job. And, actually, he has tried before but failed.

The Director continues his daily tour and walks to an area of the compound that serve as living quarters and lab for Madison Jeffries, without whom none of the project’s hidden agenda would be possible. Surrounded by a vast number of differently styled Boxbots, Madison apologies, but he didn’t expect him that early and hasn’t set the board yet, referring to the game of chess on the table before him. The Director answers that he is anxious to get even after losing against Madison yesterday and asks where their series is. Jeffries is not sure and asks one of his creations, a robot resembling his former teammate, Puck, about it. The Puckbot answers that the series is tied.

Madison wants to start the game then, however the Director excuses himself, saying that today he doesn’t have the time, as he has something he needs taken care of elsewhere. Jeffries understands, though before the Director leaves, he wants to know one more thing – has his work helped the situation at all? The Director assures him that mutant control is slipping; the killings of mutants in the streets have stopped and the mutant’s despot leader has been deposed. He tells him that he can be proud of himself, calling Madison a hero. As he leaves the lab, the Director thinks that to himself that Madison’s blind loyalty is due to the combination of both his brainwashing and him being told some false truths he is only too eager to believe.

The Director’s next appointment is an unpleasant one. Entering the quarters of Mesmero, the Director says, “The jig is up.” Looking up from the Juggs Magazine he was enjoying looking at, Mesmero is a little bit surprised and asks what he is talking about. The director dryly answers that he knows what the problem is – his powers. They are gone or else Sabretooth couldn’t have broken free and escaped once more. Mesmero begins to panic and stutters that he hasn’t lost his abilities, or he would not be able to do this. “You will exit my quarters and forget this ever happened.” At first, the Director repeats the green-skinned mutant’s order, but suddenly he stops, asking Mesmero if he really thought this would work. As Garrison Kane and two Boxbots enter the room, the Director tells Mesmero not to make it any more difficult than it has to be. As the former master-hypnotist is led away, the Director thinks that, cold as it may be, the Weapon X program is not home for depowered mutants. Either one earns their keep or they are gone.

In the grasp of the robots’ metallic hands, Mesmero asks Kane if he is being taken to Neverland, but the other agent responds he can’t say. Mesmero says that this probably means he will be the first of the Weapon X agents to find out what really goes on in the camp. Getting a little bit angry, Mesmero asks Garrison if he couldn’t do the “look the other way” for old times sake, but the cyborg answers that he knows that he can’t. Mesmero isn’t satisfied with the answer and asks if he can’t or won’t. Kane looks at his colleague, showing some affection for the first time, and says that he knows that what’s happening to Mesmero sucks, but he is just doing his job. By now, the group has reached the compound’s hangar, where some other Boxbots are leading a group of people into a helicopter. Mesmero tells Garrison to keep in mind that today it’s he and his job that the program has found replaceable, but tomorrow it might very well be Kane. With that, he is taken into the helicopter too. Kane looks after him, not knowing what to say.

Lost in his thoughts, the Director is once more walking through the complex, when he suddenly gets aware of some water spots on the wall. Before he has any time to react, he finds himself hit by a large body of water. Soaking wet, he gets up from the floor again, facing his attacker: John Lopez, aka Washout. The agent claims that the Director has killed him, with good right, as indeed the Director knew that the power upgrade giving to him would slowly kill him. Still, Colcord proclaims innocent, but Washout doesn’t buy his act and once more engulfs him in water. He angrily yells at his employer that he exploited him, but he won’t fade away quietly like he would like him to. Before he goes, he will destroy the two things most important to him, Washout says, referring to the Director’s precious Weapon X program and his very own life. For the first part, John turns his arm to water and flushes it into the complex’ power system, short-circuiting every technological equipment. Then, remembering a trick the Director himself taught him, he starts to control the water with in Colcord’s body, making it boil, his skin pulsating and shifting, forming bubbles all over. It’s very straining for Washout and the Director is in unspeakable pain, until it’s over.

The Director gets up from the floor, his skin back to normal. Next to him lies John Lopez – dead. The strain was too much for him. The Director thinks that he died as he lived his life... a loser. Garrison Kane comes running in, asking Colcord if he is okay and informing him that the power is back up. Of course it is, the Director says, they have backups for everything. The power was off only a few minutes, he says, wondering what Washout had hoped he would accomplish by his act.

Little does he know that he is watched from the nearby shadows. During the blackout, the Underground managed to sneak into the base, undetected. Cable thinks that Washout died a hero, while he and his colleagues are reading their weapons.

Meanwhile, in an abandoned pipe in the mountainside, several feet beneath the Weapon X base, Sabretooth sniffs the intruders. With an evil grin he says to himself, “What do you know? Looks like the gang’s all here.”

Characters Involved: 

The Director

Brent Jackson

Agent Zero, Aurora, Madison Jeffries, Kane, Mesmero, Sauron, Washout, Wild Child (all Weapon X)

Sabretooth, former Weapon X agent

Dr. Windsor (aka Mr. Sinister)

medical staff and scientists of Weapon X Project

several Boxbots

Cable, Domino, Maverick II, Meltdown (all The Underground)

Story Notes: 

Though Cable appears only on the last page, most of the issue’s narration boxes form up one of his log entries.

In one panel, Dr. Windsor’s eyes seem to glow in the dark. Another hint for his true identity being that of Mr. Sinister. The revelation was made in #13.

The first time Washout used his power on someone to make the water in his body boil was in Weapon X Wizard Special #1/2.

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