Weapon X (2nd series) #7

Issue Date: 
May 2003
Story Title: 
The Underground - part 1

Frank Tieri (writer), Georges Jeanty (penciler), Norm Rapmund (inker), Tom Chu's Color Dojo (colors), Paul Tutrone (letters), Nova Ren Suma (assistant editor), Mike Raicht (associate editor), Mike Marts (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Bill Jemas (president)

Brief Description: 

Claiming to be the government liaison to an undisclosed military base holding mutant terrorists, Mr. Thorton holds a press conference during which he denounces everything they have heard about “Neverland” and civil rights being violated as mere rumors. Actually though, Mr. Thorton is Weapon X operative Mesmero, and he uses the press conference transmit to boost society’s fear of mutants. However, the Underground is already on Weapon X’s trail. By analyzing the video image, they discover his true identity, but don’t expose it, as surely Weapon X would claim this as yet another mutant terrorist attack. Instead, they decide to track Mesmero and, while Domino, disguised as a mime, distracts him, Meltdown manages to slip him a micro camera. Through this, Weapon X learns that “Thorton’s” two bodyguards are Weapon X operatives Kane and Washout, and that Mesmero’s mother is gravely ill. Meanwhile at the Weapon X compound, Aurora, almost fully recovered, suggests that the Director too undergoes facial surgery. Wildchild spies on them, rather jealously, and is easily goaded by Brent Jackson to join his little sub-group when promised that they’ll get rid of the Director. In Denver, Colorado, two mutants slaughter the customers of a fast food restaurant and leave a message scrawled in blood “Free Neverland.” When the incident makes it to the news, Cable fears that this will cause another anti-mutant hysteria, so he sends Maverick to investigate and deal with the people responsible.

Full Summary: 

In Washington, D.C., a press conference is taking place. About a dozen reporters are asking question, which are all answered by a Mr. Thorton, who is accompanied by two bodyguards. Asked about people being abducted in the middle of the night, Thorton answers that they are talking about dangerous individuals involved in acts of terrorism, who have been apprehended and taken into custody. Nothing clandestine is going on, he ensures. Why then are more and more Americans taken to this so-called “Neverland,” another reporter enquires. Thorton claims that Neverland is a myth, a fabrication of the media. Actually, the arrested mutants are taken to an undisclosed military base of which he is the official government liaison. The politician continues, reminding the reporters that while these are Americans, they are mutant Americans. In the past, it was already difficult enough to deal with mutant terrorists, but if they had to constantly deal with outside prison breaks from other mutants, they’d have more problems, which is why the location of the base is secret.

Standing in a darker area of the TV studio, a safe distance behind the reporters and the cameramen, Meltdown and Domino observe the conference. They think it’s him, but they want to make sure. Domino speaks into the microphone hidden in the red ribbon she is wearing on her jacket, asking Nathan and Blaquesmith for confirmation. While Thorton continues the interview, stating that no one’s civil rights are being violated and that they are only protecting America’s interest, the Underground’s computer system analyze the visual data of his image and come up with a match. Thorton is none other than Mesmero in disguise.

In his secret base, Nathan Summers looks onto the computer screen, revealing the image of the green skinned mutant. Several other monitors show other operatives of the Weapon X project, Wolverine and Meltdown and Domino. While Blaquesmith is operating the consoles, Domino suggests that they make their move against Weapon X, and Blaquesmith offers to interrupt their feed and transmit Mesmero’s true image in its place, thus revealing him on national TV. However, Nathan is against it.

Meltdown is startled by his decision and wonders why, but the Underground’s leader does not answer her. Tabby gets impatient and once more states that she sides with Domino and, referring to Blaquesmith, “the son of Yoda,” she wants to start fighting Weapon X now. Mildly annoyed by her remark, Blaquesmith calls her an impudent brat. Tabby’s reply is a grimace towards him, as she knows he can see her on one of his screens. Getting back to the subject, Blaquesmith informs Nathan that his computer has detecting certain technology that is amplifying Mesmero’s power to an enormous degree. Domino understands that apparently Weapon X transmits subliminal messages through television airwaves, influencing unsuspecting people in their own homes.

Cable is still against attacking Weapon X now. The way Weapon X underwent such a big risk by rolling out Mesmero like this, they sure must be hiding something big. If one uses the terms “mutant” and “terrorist” in the same sentence often enough, people soon won’t care anymore if innocent people are taken away. Nathan reasons that were they to act now, they might expose Mesmero, but Weapon X would sell it as just another mutant trick and surely the public would believe them. Approaching another video panel filling up an entire wall, Cable looks at the images of the people affiliated with Weapon X, some of their identities still unconfirmed, and tells his colleagues that they need to be smarter than that. Weapon X is bigger and has better resources, but the Underground has the element of surprise. When they finally do make their move, they need to make sure that it counts. As he says that, Nathan presses a button to delete the Director’s image from the screen in front of him.

Through her comm-link, Meltdown says that she understands his logic, though at the same time complains about Cable’s long-windedness, as she doesn’t remember him that way. Blaquesmith wonders what they are going to do about Mesmero then, which is when the enigmatic Maverick speaks up for the first time, suggesting they track him. Blaquesmith thinks this a good idea, with the illusionist being Weapon X’s big gun, the more they can learn about him now, the easier it will be to bring down later on. Domino agrees as well, after all it worked with the Director too, as they learned what makes him tick when they sent him the letter about his wife getting re-married. Cable is convinced and asks Domino and Meltdown if they are up to the job. The two ladies confirm.

At the Weapon X base, the Director observes Aurora’s rehab training as he encourages her while undergoing some physical therapy. Despite her legs still being bandaged, she manages to walk another lane of the exercise course and is rewarded by the Director giving her a hug. She proudly exclaims that she did it in half the time as yesterday and kisses him. Now holding hands, the Director comments on her astounding progress and says that, if she keeps this rate, soon her injuries will be nothing more but a bad memory. Jeanne-Marie answers that she could not have done it without his help. Looking into a mirror, she admits that she feared she would never be beautiful again.

Turning away from her reflection, facing her lover, she says she wants to ask him something. Touching his cheek gently, Aurora wonders if he has ever considered ... The Director stops her in mid-sentence and pushes her hand away. The answer is No. But why, Aurora asks; the doctors who helped her with facial surgery surely could restore his looks as well. Perhaps, the Director answers. Now in a very serious mode, Jeanne-Marie tells him she knows that he suffered both physical and mental damage at Wolverine’s hand, but keeping the scarred face… what does he gain from it? The Director explains that when his wife abandoned him and when he endured all those month in the hospital, his hideous appearance was the only thing that left him motivated to move forward. It constantly reminded him of how he was brutalized by a monster and what needed to be done as a result. Aurora tries to make him see that this is the past, but now they have a future together. Smiling at him wide-eyed, she asks if he will not even consider surgery, which he agrees to do.

Outside the room, Wildchild is watching the couple embracing each other through a window. Brent Jackson and Sauron come up behind him, Jackson comparing the scene to another episode of “the Deformed and the Restless.” He goes on that he finds it nauseating and that he’d puke himself if he wasn’t wearing new shoes. Wildchild tries to walk off, but Jackson asks him to wait. There is no need to make it seem as if he wasn’t bothered by seeing the Director and Aurora like that. Anyone can tell by the way Kyle looks at her. However, there is one problem. Surely he will never get Aurora as long as the Director is there. Jackson places his arm around Kyle’s shoulder in a friendly manner and suggests to him that he take some steps so that he is not there anymore. Wouldn’t he like to finally be together with Aurora? Kyle keeps staring at the happy couple, who by now are waltzing in the other room.

In Washington, D.C., Thorton leaves the studio accompanied by his two bodyguards, who are actually Kane and Washout, wearing shades and suits. Kane congratulates Mesmero that it went rather smoothly but, being his arrogant self, Mesmero answers that there never was any doubt. After all, it was he who came up with the master plan. They enter a park, not noticing a small crowd looking at a juggling mime. The mime is none other than a disguised Domino, wearing a clown’s costume and her second eye is also covered with a black circle. Through her comm-link, she asks Meltdown, wearing casual clothes, standing a few feet away, if she is ready. Rather annoyed, Tabitha answers that she is, just like she was the several times Domino asked before, and that, for a mime, she got pretty much to say.

As the three Weapon X members pass them by, Domino lets one of her juggling balls slip and it hits “Thorton” in the head. Tabitha quickly rushes to him, asking if he is okay and helps him back up on his feet, secretly attaching a mini-camera to his jacket. The ”mime” apologizes that she slipped, but Kane grabs her by the collar and raises his fist in a threat. Thorton steps in between and reminds Garrison to relax. There is no need to draw any unwanted attention. He apologizes to the mime on behalf of his bodyguard and they leave.

In the base of the Underground, Blaquesmith reports that the micro camera is in place and working as it’s already displaying pictures on his screens. Apparently, Meltdown did something right for a change. Cable is more concerned about something else. Having followed the entire exchange though the comm-links, he just heard Mesmero call his bodyguard “Garrison.” He asks Blaquesmith to analyze the big guy’s image and indeed the computer finds him to be a match with the cyborg, Garrison Kane. Nathan curses at this, though Blaquesmith wonders why he is so surprised about it; the intelligence reports they read already mentioned Kane having gone over to the other side. Still, Nathan had hoped that the reports were false in this case. Though aware of Kane once having been Nathan’s best friend, he tries to remind him of their mission, but he doesn’t need to. Cable interrupts him and says that they proceed as planned, and if Kane was foolish enough to get in the way of them, he’ll rip out his cybernetic heart if he has to.

In Denver, Colorado, two figures enter a fast food restaurant. Inside are several people eating burgers and a few staff members cleaning the kitchen. As the two figures, one of them white-skinned, approach the counter, they are told that the restaurant is closing soon. With an evil grin, the two reply that they know. What follows is a series of load screams...

(several hours later)

Cable joins Blaquesmith in front of the monitors and asks what he missed. Blaquesmith gives him an update of Mesmero’s activities. After dropping off Kane and Washout, he proceeded to pick up three women, hypnotized them, brought them to his limo and ... well, Cable gets the idea. Mesmero is joyriding. “Three girls,” Cable asks almost in disbelief, though this must also be the reason why Blaquesmith was glued to this screen for the past hours.

Maverick interrupts the chat, pointing towards another screen, saying that he thinks they’d want to see that. It’s a news broadcast about a series of massacres, this one being the third on the same day. The reporter says that in all his career, he has never seen anything like this, people being chopped to bits, beyond recognition, many of them missing body parts. Though nobody has claimed to be behind the slaughterings yet, surely mutants seem to be the ones responsible, he says. The camera shows the fast food restaurant in Denver. Scrawled on the building’s roof, in blood, are the words “Free Neverland.” The reporter explains to those who don’t know that “Neverland” is the name given by the media to an undisclosed government locale where suspected mutant terrorists are currently being held.

Cable and Blaquesmith know that this is nothing good. Chances are that this killing spree will send anti-mutant sentiment into a frenzy. Nathan asks Maverick to look into it. He tells him to investigate whether or not mutants are really behind this attack and, if they are, he shall do what he does best. Maverick answers that he understands and that he will leave immediately.

On the video wall, Mesmero’s micro camera is still transmitting. By now he has arrived at a new location, someone’s private residence. He enters a hallway with several framed photos hanging on the wall, walks up the stairs and approaches a bedroom. Mesmero apologizes. He wanted to be there hours ago and hopes she is not mad at him. Inside the bed lies a middle-aged woman, apparently ill, as she is attached to a monitor and lots of medicine is standing on a desk. Mesmero enters, calling her “mom”.

Characters Involved: 

The Director

Brent Jackson

Aurora, Kane, Mesmero, Reaper, Sauron, Washout, Wild Child, Wildside (all Weapon X)

Mesmero’s mother

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


camera men

people in the park

staff and customers of a fast food restaurant

On video screens:

The Director

Agent Zero, Aurora, Kane, Marrow, Mesmero, Sabretooth, Sauron, Washout, Wild Child (all Weapon X)


Story Notes: 

Yoda is a prominent figure from the Star Wars series.

Washout’s characterization of the Director and Aurora’s relationship as “the Deformed and the Restless” is an obvious comparison to the television soap opera “the Young and the Restless.”

It is unknown who is behind the Maverick mask. Of course it could be Maverick himself, though he had his chest ripped open by Sabretooth in Wolverine (2nd series) #165, and he is the most likely suspect to be Agent Zero. Little is known at this point and speculation includes that former X-Force member Shatterstar is posing as a new Maverick, or that Agent Zero and Maverick are one and the same person.

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