X-Men 2099 #18

Issue Date: 
March 1995
Story Title: 
Free Radical Chic

John Moore (writer), Ron Lim (pencils), Harry Candelario (inks), Ken Lopez (letters), Tom Smith (colors), Joey Cavalieri (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

Krystalin and Nurf locate the headquarters of the Free Radicals. They are quickly overpowered by them and brought to their leader, Trance. Trance has put Zak under a spell, and says that he will remain that way unless the Panthers release the Radical’s imprisoned partner, Billy the Kid. The Panthers contact the Radicals, but refuse to negotiate with them. Trance puts Zak under another spell, and has found another way to get what she wants. Trance threatens Krystalin that she will free Billy the Kid herself and, if she refuses or fails, Zak will kill himself. Meanwhile, Xi’an and two other servants of the Theatre of Pain teleport Zhao and his X-Men to the Theatre’s base. They have to fight Shakti during the job, but defeat her and leave a time bomb in the base. In Las Vegas, Halloween Jack gets another step closer in taking over the entire city. He makes sure that nobody stands in his way and decides to let Desdemona Synge leave. Meanstreak tries to tell Jack that isn’t a wise thing to do, but Jack isn’t interested and says that he loves a challenge. Meanstreak wants to leave too, but Jack holds him back and reveals his plan to Henri: virtual unreality. Jack plans to bring another reality to Vegas! Six hours later, Desdemona goes back to her drugged brother Lytton and injects him with a new serum her doctor has made. Lytton screams out from the pain, believing that Desdemona poisoned him. Smiling, Desdemona says that she hasn’t, and reveals that she now has a way to turn Halloween Jack into dust.

Full Summary: 

Krystalin and Nurf locate the headquarters of the Free Radicals, wearing special Niteviz sunglasses to see in the dark. Nurf isn’t happy about being here, especially not since he knows that, after the Negative Zone meltdown at the university lab in 2051, there are supposed to be ghosts around there. Krys isn’t impressed and doesn’t let this stop her from rescuing her brother, the only family she has now left.

Nurf tries to warn her from the powers and danger the Radical form, but Krys still doesn’t listen to him. She pushes him forward. They fall through a trap and find themselves trapped in a wind tunnel. Once landed, Krys and Nurf find themselves imprisoned in a dark room. Krys tries to find a way out, but there is none. Suddenly, colorful gas appears out of the floor and the two begin to faint.

Nurf suddenly sees Krystalin in a true crystal form and calls her truly beautiful. Everything is beautiful to Nurf now. Suddenly, two of the Free Radicals appear and take Nurf and Krystalin away. Rainmaker tries to take Krys’ sunglasses away and calls her “honey.” Krys gets upset by that name and fights Rainmaker. Rainmaker gets up and witnesses how Krystalin creates a crystal bo-staff. Krystalin holds the staff against Rainmaker’s throat and demands to know where they keep her brother. Rainmaker refuses to answers. Krystalin instead points her attention to the other Free Radical, the woman called Instant Karma. They fight, and Karma creates a bo-staff of her own. Instant Karma reveals that she can analyze and create any weapon that is pointed against her, and use it for herself. Instant Karma is stronger and defeats Krystalin and says that she will bring him to their leader now.

Meanwhile at Zhao’s base, the three Theatre of Pain servants teleport Zhao’s three suspended X-Men away, to the Theatre. They continue the search for the comatose Zhao himself and locate him in the lab. Meanwhile, Shakti wakes up and finds out that she isn’t alone. The servants find Zhao, and know that he once tried to kill the X-Men. But they know that the Theatre of Pain wants him, so they prepare to teleport him away. Shakti enters the lab, and can’t believe her eyes, but she knows that she was right: it is him! The leader of the three servants attacks Shakti and easily knocks her out. He removes his mask, and reveals himself to be Xi’an!

Xi’an wished that Shakti wouldn’t have gotten involved. The servants make Xi’an aware to not let his feelings get in the way, as they will render him useless. The servants take Zhao’s body and teleport away, leaving a time bomb behind near the unconscious Shakti.

At the same time, outside of Kingman, Arizona, two workers repair a satellite dish. Suddenly, there’s an earthquake and a giant robotic arm merges from the ground! Krystalin and Nurf have been brought to the leader of the Radicals. The leader introduces himself as Trance, and the remaining member as Daze. Trance introduces themselves as a gathered group of scientists who wage guerrilla war against governmental and corporate oppression. Shakti doesn’t care and just wants to know where her brother is. Nurf calms her down, telling her not to provoke them, because Trance can kill someone just by looking at the person.

The Radicals explain to Krystalin that her brother has unjustly imprisoned the Kid. Krys doesn’t know what they are talking about. The Radicals explain. Billy Zed, aka Billy the Kid, is the Free Radical’s anarchic visionary; the master of machine and prankster supreme. Nurf is impressed that the Panthers were able to apprehend Billy. Trance claims that it was by luck only that the Panthers caught Billy in a raid on an Emeryville tech-forge. Krystalin angrily says that they shouldn’t be surprised that the Kid was caught, after the Radicals released the toxic rain. Trance says that they stand in opposition to the police state the Panthers have created in Oakland. Trance calls Zak forward, and tells Krys to look at him. Trance claims that, by embracing Panther doctrine, he has lost his soul.

Krys hugs her brother, but Zak looks more like a zombie and doesn’t respond back at all. Krys asks the Radicals what they did to him. Trance reveals that Zak is under her spell, mesmerized by the searing intensity of her gaze. Trance says that Zak will remain that way until the Panthers have released the Kid. Daze warns that there’s an incoming message. An astral projection of Miko, Zak’s lieutenant, is shown. She’s got no visual, but tells the Radicals that they won’t negotiate with criminals.

They threaten that if the Radicals don’t release Zak within the day, the Radicals will feel the Panther’s rage. The Radicals aren’t impressed and tells Krystalin that her group has condemned her brother to death. Krys asks the Radicals what they will gain from this, because if Zak dies, another Panther will simply take his place. Trance doesn’t believe so and says that, without the son of a Panther founder, the council will fall apart.

Rainmaker doesn’t feel happy about killing a man, and says that they will be just as guilty as the systems they oppose. Krystalin says that he’s right, and tells the Radicals to find another way to get what they want. Trance agrees, and finds a solution: he tells Krys that she shall free Billy the Kid herself! When Krys says she doesn’t want to, Trance puts another spell on Zak, and tells her that, if she refuses or fails to free Billy, Trance will make Zak kill himself.

Meanwhile, army helicopters arrive in Las Vegas and try to stop Halloween Jack’s take-over. Jack finds out about the army’s presence and shuts down their systems, making the helicopters crash. The soldiers can just in time jump out of the plane into safety.

Desdemona Synge isn’t impressed by all this and asks Jack what he plans to do. Jack doesn’t want to tell yet. He asks his partner, Meanstreak, if everything is online. Meanstreak confirms that he is knee deep in the monetary reserves of their less than hospitable syndicate brethren. Meanstreak suggests calling a board meeting. Meanwhile, the casino owners have all gathered and desperately try to find a way to bring Halloween Jack down. Jack appears in the meeting and tells them that he’s got access to all of their bank accounts. He threatens them that if they don’t want him to take all their money away, they’ll stay out of his way.

Desdemona calls Jack a fool if he thinks he can threaten the Nevada Syndicate. Jack laughs about it. Desdemona tells Jack that the Syndicate will kill him. She explains to him that the Syndicate has standing accounts with the Assassins Guild. Desdemona doesn’t like it and wants to leave. Jack tells her that she can and lets her walk out of the door, but tells her that he will never take her back once he has succeeded. Meanstreak tries to stop Jack and tries to explain to him that he just let a woman who wants him dead just walk away. Jack says that he loves a challenge. Meanstreak wants to leave to. Jack holds him and explains his plan to him: virtual unreality! Jack plans to bring another reality to Las Vegas!

Six hours later, Desdemona goes back to her drugged brother, Lytton. Desdemona tells him that she made Doctor Nixx make a special drug for him. Desdemona injects Lytton with it, and he screams out from the pain, believing that Desdemona poisoned him. Desdemona says that she didn’t, that she merely made Lytton useful for once. Now, Desdemona smiles, she has got something to turn Halloween Jack into dust.

Characters Involved: 

Cerebra, Meanstreak, Krystalin (X-Men 2099)

Halloween Jack


Desdemona Synge

Lytton Synge

Daze, Instant Karma, Rainmaker, Trance (the Free Radicals)

Desert Ghost, Charon, Felicity (Theatre of Pain Inner Circle)

One-Eyed Jack, Psycho K, Wingspan, Zhao (Zhao’s X-Men/the Chosen)

Zakarii Ogada (Krystalin’s brother)

Miko Ishihara (Zakarii’s lieutenant)

Mortimer Fisk and other casino owners of the Nevada Syndicate

Yuri and another worker

“Monstrobot” (the attacking robot)

various U.S. soldiers (unnamed)

Story Notes: 

The virtual unreality could first be seen in the pages of Spider-Man 2099 #11-13.

Charon and Felicity are masked and unnamed in this issue when they enter Zhao’s base. Their identity doesn’t get revealed until X-Men 2099 #22.

Issue Information: 
Written By: