Weapon X (2nd series) #8

Issue Date: 
June 2003
Story Title: 
The Underground - part 2

Frank Tieri (writer), Georges Jeanty (penciler), Dexter Vines (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: 

For Mesmero, the day begins like any other. He walks into town and, with his hypnotic powers, he can make people give him everything he wants – a newspaper, a car, sex, he just has to name it. Later, he returns home to his gravely ill mother, who tells him that today is the day she dies. Mesmero doesn’t want that to happen and uses his power on her, making her believe she is healthy and young, though it won’t work. Too often has she been on the receiving end of his gift and, telling her son that he isn’t God, she gives him a final goodbye before passing away. For several minutes, Mesmero tries her to wake up with his power until he realizes that she is gone. Thanks to the micro-camera attached to his jacket, the Underground followed through the ordeal and Cable hopes that his failure will affect his confidence-based mutant ability. Meanwhile, Maverick and Domino track the two serial killers, who have been slaughtering humans in the name of Freedom for Neverland. It turns out they are Reaper and Wildside, believed prisoners in Neverland, but before they can be interrogated, the two terrorists get away. At the Weapon X compound, Washout discovers that his power upgrade is slowly killing him, drying out his body. Brent Jackson offers him to get revenge on the Director and asks him to join his little group within the project. Meanwhile, the Director returns from a short leave of absence with a surprise for his lover, Aurora. He too has undergone facial surgery, now looking rather handsome.

Full Summary: 

Mesmero steps out of one of many houses in Westchester, New York, his shirt and suit looking as if he slept in them, not even bothering to hide his green hair and skin with his hypnosis power. He thinks what a glorious day this is, but then reminds himself that, being himself the mutant master of the mind, every day is glorious. Spotting one of the neighbors, Mesmero uses his hypnotic glare and orders the man to hand him over his newspaper. While walking into town, Mesmero flips through the paper and finds an article about himself, or actually his made-up identity William H. Thorton. It seems the media is believing Thorton and his press conference has managed to calm some of the controversy surrounding Weapon X’s mutant prison camp Neverland.

When a red sports car passes him by, one eye contact is enough for Mesmero to make his powers work and command the driver to stop and leave his car. He looks dazed and confused while the mutant speeds away with the car. Stopping at a traffic light, Mesmero looks at his own reflection in the mirror, and thinks that indeed this will be a glorious day. His thoughts are interrupted though by a punch to his face. A strong-built man landed the blow and yells that no way he is going to let a “mutie freak” drive around acting like normal people. Calling him Greg, the man’s girlfriend urges him to stop, which only adds to his anger. He reminds Jen that this could be one of the mutants that are slaughtering innocent people, like they heard on the news.

More talking to himself, Mesmero says that the man has an irrational fear of mutants, but he’ll see to it that his fear becomes a bit more rational. One look into his eyes is enough and both Greg and Jen are in his thrall. His hypnotic powers work perfectly and the two locals repeat the orders given to them. While Greg is told to do something rather inappropriate, “... go to Harry’s House of Pets and...”, his girlfriend obeys to wait for Mesmero in suite 613, wearing a garter belt. Feeling like God, Mesmero drives away. Nothing is beyond his reach.

At Neverland, Dr. Windsor leads four of the mutant inmates to a helicopter that will carry them away to freedom. He reminds them not to run, but to walk nice and slow, so that it doesn’t look... “Suspicious?” says Sabretooth, finishing his sentence and grabbing the scientist from behind. Creed asks him what he is doing there, letting out some of the prisoners a bit early? Dr. Windsor denies it. Sabretooth sniffs the scared man and, with a broad grin, says that he knows about him. Still, Dr. Windsor pretends to not know what Sabretooth is talking about. Creed tells him that it’s fine with him if Windsor continues to play stupid, but how would the Director take it after he told him what he has seen? The scientist gives in and admits what he has been doing. Now that Sabretooth has him, he asks what Creed demands. “Aw, come on, Doc... I think we both know the answer t’ that,” replies Creed, while the helicopter takes off behind them, carrying its passengers to safety.

In Westchester, Mesmero has returned home and saying “Rise and shine, beautiful!” he kisses his sleeping mother on the forehead. She slowly wakes up, several doctors and nurses standing around her, and greets her son, Vincent, who is holding up a bag containing a croissant-wich and a French Vanilla extra sweet for her. While he places the food on a tray, his mother suspects him of not only having taken the food, but also of having helped himself to the shop’s cash register. Mesmero denies it, though indeed his pockets are full of cash.

His mother asks him to stop lying, after all she was the one who had to deal with all those parents of kids who he had doing his homework for, of school bullies who suddenly felt the urge to join the Marines and of the girls he had his way with. Mesmero admits that he wasn’t the perfect child but, still, he always comes running whenever she asks to see him, doesn’t he? Getting to the point, he wants to know why she called for him today. “Nothing much,” the elderly woman says, “just that today is the day I die.”

Meanwhile, in Utah, two figures enter a baseball stadium. They agree that there can’t be a better scenario than this, live television coverage and thousands of humans to slaughter. Pulling of their gloves, revealing techno-organic claws and a scythe, the two mutants get to work. While one leaps into the crowd, the other makes his way to the field and cuts his way through the baseball players. He comments how he loves his job and temporarily interrupts the slaughtering to carve a message into the ground “Free Neverland or ...”.

Out of the blue, he is hit by a forceblast in the back. Maverick finishes his sentence for him, saying that the word he was looking for must be “die.” Domino agrees with her comrade, holding a pistol in each hand. They approach the mutant they just struck down and Maverick is eager to take him out for good. In the last instant, though, Domino pushes away his gun, thus diverting the shot. She explains that they need him alive for questioning. She turns around the unconscious mutant and is startled when she realizes that it’s someone she knows – Wildside, from the Mutant Liberation Front. Momentarily distracted, both Domino and Maverick leave themselves wide open for a scythe cut across their backs, courtesy of Wildside’s friend Reaper. He helps his friend up and they quickly leave, since getting caught “is a big no-no.” Coming around, Domino wonders what’s going on. Intelligence reports mentioned both of them to have been taken to Neverland – how can they have gotten out so soon?

At the same time, at the Weapon X compound, Washout makes a strange discovery about himself. Flocks of hair are lying on his bed and lots of shredded skin can be seen on the floor, while Washout is shocked by his reflection in the bathroom mirror. His face is wrinkled and torn, several bits and pieces crumbling away, just as he looks on. He asks out loud what is happening and, surprisingly, he receives an answer. He is dying, Brent Jackson says, having let himself into Washout’s private quarters. The mutant asks him to repeat it and Brent Jackson further explains that the power boosts the program has given him has some interesting side effects. In Washout’s case, it’s dehydration. Within a week, there’ll be nothing left of him but one big, flaky scab. Angrily, Washout declares that he isn’t going allow to let that happen and, if the Director really is responsible, he’ll go down with him. However, just as he points at Jackson, his finger breaks off. Now in shock again, he only listens as Brent Jackson offers to help him dealing with the Director.

In Westchester, Mesmero asks his mother what he is talking about. How could this be the day she dies? While she is coughing, he grabs a hand mirror from a desk and holds it up her face. Trying to cheer her up, he wants to know if this is the face of a woman who is going to die. The reflection in the mirror doesn’t show her many wrinkles and dry skin, but his mother in a much healthier state. She pushes the mirror away, telling her son that it’s enough. Angrily, she asks if he really thinks she has no idea what happening to her. She knows of her son’s amazing gift and this is not the first time she was on the receiving end of his hypnotism power.

She also knows the realreason why his father suddenly picked up and left the way he did. Looking at a photo of her husband and Vincent when he was just a little boy, she says that he doesn’t mind it though – nobody should have suffered the abuse the boy did. She asks her son to listen; she is well aware that he is trying to do a good thing here, maybe for the first time in his life, but he shouldn’t pretend that hypnotizing away her pain, having mesmerized doctors and nurses treat and making her think she looks healthy is the answer. She holds up the mirror again, it now showing her true reflection.

Taking off his jacket and hanging it over a chair, Mesmero asks why not. “Who’s to say I can’t keep you going this way? Who’s to say I can’t control –“ “Death?” his mother says, finishing his question and explaining that simply he can’t. He is not God. Mesmero gets quite angry and yells at her, asking who says that. The elderly woman is shocked placing her hand on her mouth. She wonders how she could have gone so wrong with her son. She gently touches his hand, kisses him on the forehead and tells him she is letting go. She says a final, “I love you, son. Goodbye” and passes away.

Mesmero exclaims that she won’t leave him, not until he says it’s time for goodbye. He shouts at his mother to wakeup, but she is beyond following his hypnotic commands. Finally, the truth settles in with him and Mesmero falls quiet. He sits on the bed next to his mother’s body and hugs her. Unbeknownst to him, the micro-camera hidden in his jacket has been recording the entire scene and transmitted it to the Underground’s secret headquarters.

Cable, Blaquesmith and Meltdown have been observing the events in Mesmero’s house on a screen. With tears in her eyes, Tabitha comments on the emotional deepness, while Nathan just calls it a point for their side. When she says that she finds him rather insensitive, he further explains, saying that they have no way to know how Mesmero will respond to this, but his powers are based on his confidence. This “failure” might affect Mesmero’s confidence and more importantly his powers as well. Tabitha still thinks it’s kind of cold, an old lady just died, though Cable takes none of it. They didn’t kill the woman and with Mesmero being Weapon X’s most powerful operative, her passing is a benefit for the Underground movement. According to Cable, that might be cold, but it’s also the truth. After all, they are at war and war is never pretty. After he leaves the room, Meltdown and Blaquesmith, usually at odds with each other, agree on one thing – Nathan has changed.

At the Weapon X compound, Aurora is in bed, a picture of her and her twin brother next to it, when someone knocks on the door and asks her to open. She recognizes the voice of that of Malcolm Concord, the project’s Director and also her lover, and rushes to the door. Putting on a gown, she asks where he has been, as she has not seen him for days. Through the door, Malcolm reminds her that they had been talking about his face before he left. Aurora opens and is speechless. The Director stands before her, evidently having underwent facial surgery. Despite a few minor scars, he is a rather handsome man. He holds up a rose for her.

Characters Involved: 

The Director

Brent Jackson

Aurora, Mesmero / Vincent, Reaper, Sabretooth, Washout, Wildside (all Weapon X)

Dr. Windsor (aka Mr. Sinister)

Mesmero’s mother

Several inmates of Neverland

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



basketball players

crowd at the stadium

Greg, Jen and several other citizens of Westchester, New York

In photographs:


Vincent’s father

Aurora, Northstar (both Alpha Flight)

Story Notes: 

Westchester, New York is also the location of Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. It’s unknown if Mesmero and his mother have been living under the X-Men’s eyes all these years, or if they only recently moved there.

Sabretooth's sniffing Dr. Windsor and stating "I know about you" is an early hint of Dr. Windsor being none other than Mr. Sinister, as revealed in #13.

Wildside and Reaper were released from Neverland in exchange for them offering their services to the Weapon X program. [Weapon X #5]

Aurora’s twin brother Northstar is currently a member of the X-Men. It seems that he has no idea of her being part of Weapon X.

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