X-Men 2099 #26

Issue Date: 
November 1995
Story Title: 
City of the Dead: Part One: Broken Halo

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

Brief Description: 

Morphine Somers wakes up after a heavy night, only to find out that Doom’s former Black Cabinet members are being hunted down and killed by a guy named Herod. Morphine decides to focus his attention on X-Nation and the X-Men. Meanwhile, an Infonet reporter named Tristan Gunnar infiltrates into X-Nation to see how it works. Tristan also gets to see the X-Men in action when a riot breaks out. The X-Men, who now act as X-Nation’s protectorate, try to figure out how to run the not yet fully build city now that Doom is no longer president. Tristan makes his way to the office of Morphine Somers, where he reveals his true name: Gunnar Heywood, and he and Morphine catch up with things. Morphine also introduces Gunnar to the full X-Men team. They now have Sham and La Lunática as new members, but Xi’an refuses to be an active X-Man because of the terrible things he did when he was in the Theatre of Pain. He rather heals people with his powers. The X-Men later wander around in X-Nation and are attacked by the Undead! The X-Men try to limit the battle damages, but that is easier said than done. The Undead are heavy enemies and take on the X-Men one by one. They lure Tim away from the group. He follows Catscratch into a dark alley, where he gets shot by… no… that can’t be! Not her?!

Full Summary: 

Morphine Somers wakes up after a Latverian vodka drinking night and gets an emergency call from Sharp Blue. She informs Morphine that the White House is in flames and that she, Morphine and Nkrumah are the only ones still alive and that Doom is missing in action. Morphine says that he already knows that. Sharp Blue can’t understand why Morphine is still in the U.S.A then and asks him why. Morphine says that he has invested in some desert property…

Meanwhile, a man named Tristan Gunnar steps out of a car and arrives in X-Nation. The cab driver warns Tristan to be careful around here, because they let anyone in. “Even me,” Tristan says. As Tristan enters the gate, he congratulates Doom in founding this city and finds it too bad that Doom was attacked before he was able to finish it. Tristan enters the reception, where X-Nation employees, Alison and Billy, check his file, despite the fact that they don’t know why they keep doing there jobs now that Washington is off-line. Billy asks Tristan if he wishes to sign for residence right away.

Tristan denies, explaining that he is just here covering the city for the Astronet. Billy takes Tristan’s bag and can’t believe his eyes when he opens it: the bag is filled with guns! Billy explains that guns are not permitted in Halo City and says that he will have to confiscate them, but promises Tristan that he can get them back when he leaves.

Suddenly, Billy gets shot! Everyone in X-Nation begins to panic and to scream and try to get into safety. An armed man wants to clear the city from the “genetic trash” and has a thermonuclear bomb on himself that will kill all the foreigners and freaks that hide in X-Nation. Tristan jumps behind the desk of the reception and takes a gun out of his bag, ready to shoot the enemy. But Tristan holds himself back when he notices a strong wind besides him.

Tristan is amazed as how fast the madman is defeated and his bomb stripped away from himself. Tristan is even more amazed when he gets to take a look on two of the famous X-Men: Krystalin and Meanstreak! Meanstreak laughs at the fact at how they turned from outlaws into authority figures. Krystalin remembers how nobody wanted a commercial security force, but everyone knew that the city couldn’t work without one, so they had to do it. Krystalin tells Meanstreak that he should have stayed in Las Vegas, with Halloween Jack. Meanstreak says that he isn’t that crazy.

Tristan continues his walk and notices a lot of people walking to the same point. Tristan recalls how most X-Nation’s habitants have spent their lives without proper medical care and wants to talk to the “doctor” who does the healing. Tristan sees a man driving a girl in a wheelchair around, and the girl just had a congenital heart defect. The man taking care of her explains that, if the girl had been born in a corporate crèche, her heart would have been corrected with surgery, but now her heart is growing weaker and weaker every day.

Tristan asks if the man expects X-Nation to perform a transplant. The man proudly says that the girl won’t need a transplant after they have seen the man. The man explains that his left arm had been paralyzed since the Pollution Wars. The doctors told him there was no hope for him, but the guy working here healed it completely. Tristan asks who this miracle worker is. It’s Xi’an Chi Xan!

Inside his workplace, Xi’an has worked non-stop and hasn’t slept for four days. Shakti tries to convince Xi’an that he needs some rest, but Xi’an refuses to do that while so many depend on him. Xi’an informs Shakti that he is now trying to heal a child that suffers burns when a fire broke out in the Floodgate holding pens. Xi’an places his hand on the girl and, when he uses his powers, he succeeds in easing her pain. But as Xi’an tries to get up, he crumbles from pain! Xi’an claims that he is going to be just fine in a moment…

Outside the room, Tristan tries to enter it but finds resistance. Sister Margaret refuses to let him in. Tristan shows his pass and tries to convince Margaret to let him in because he is with Astronet. Margaret tells Tristan that Xi’an won’t see anyone unless they are ill. Tristan tries to fake his illness, but Margaret of course sees through it and pushes him away.

Shakti desperately tries to convince Xi’an to give his body some time to recuperate after healing so many people. Xi’an tells Shakti that he doesn’t have a choice. He says that, after the trouble he caused as a member of the Theatre of Pain, he feels that he must atone for those sins. Xi’an also realizes that, if La Lunática’s psychic intrusion didn’t shock him back to his senses, Xi’an would have continued his destructive rampage.

Shakti gets angry hearing that and tells Xi’an not to fool her. She grabs Xi’an’s arms and tells him that Doom is out of the picture and they are going to need Xi’an to keep this city together and Xi’an will be of no use to them when he burns up. Xi’an sadly tells Shakti that he can no longer be a part of the X-Men: he simply doesn’t deserve it.

Southern Nevada…

A store named “Mom” burns up. Five evil looking characters overlook their work. One of them asks his teammates if they found the girl they were looking for. Another one, smoking a cigarette, confirms this, remembering that she was buried not so far away from this place. He adds that the Russian had to break her out of her crystal coffin and promises that the girl is in good shape. The team leader commands his troops to bring the girl to him, as he has work to do before they reach Halo City.

Halo City, Dead Center, the Tower…

Tristan enters the high skyscraper and security guards try to stop him. Morphine Somers tells his men to stand down, as Gunnar Heywood (Tristan’s real name) is an old friend of his and is allowed to go through. Gunnar and Morphine catch up and Morphine asks Gunnar to come with him, as he has some people he wants to introduce to Gunnar. They enter the room, where Gunnar meets Morphine’s X-Men!

Tim gets upset when Morphine calls the team to be his X-Men. Morphine tells Tim to calm down, as he meant it with affection. Tim doesn’t believe that. Morphine comforts Tim that nobody is challenging his leadership over the X-Men. And certainly not Xi’an, who refuses to do anything but heal people. Morphine is impressed that the X-Men are trying to get civilized after being outlaws for so long.

Morphine demonstrates his powers, explaining that his touch can age anything in thousand of years within mere seconds, and he is sure that none of the X-Men would want him to use his powers upon them. New member to the X-Men, Sham, is bored and wants to leave. Shakti separates Tim and Morphine from each other, saying that they’ve got enough problems already without them fighting amongst themselves. Shakti believes that Halo City may be the last chance humans and mutants have to coexist in this country. Shakti honestly knows that they can make this city work.

Morphine congratulates Shakti to be able to always be the voice of reason. Shakti thanks him, but finds it to be about time for Morphine to tell them what’s really going on in Washington. Krystalin agrees, because all they have heard for the past week were nothing but rumors.

Meanstreak asks Gunnar if he knows if they have found Doom’s body. Gunnar denies that, because he hasn’t heard any confirmation yet from his sources in S.H.I.E.L.D. Morphine claims that it no longer matters whether Doom is alive or not. He adds that their benefactor is out of the picture now. Morphine shows the X-Men a holographic image of Doom and explains that the MegaCorps’ have re-emerged and reasserted control. Morphine says that their newly appointed president is someone who claims to be the original Captain America.

Morphine concludes that all this is what’s left of Doom’s tenure as president of Halo City. Tim finds that they are doomed then, because half of the city hasn’t even finished yet. They wouldn’t be able to withstand an outside attack would that ever happen. Morphine agrees, but says that the new government doesn’t seem that concerned about them – yet. But there is at least one thing the X-Men go out from for sure: Halo City is on their own.

Xi’an fears that nothing has changed there. This would also mean that Doom’s presidency didn’t mean anything to the world. The status quo has returned. Shakti knows that it could be worse. She says that she has been unable to verify reports that mutants are being hunted down on the East Coast. Sham tells her new teammates to stop worrying, because at least they are safe.

Suddenly, there’s a huge explosion! Once the smoke has cleared, the X-Men all see that the clinic has been blown up with all the patients still inside it. The X-Men want to know who’s behind the attack, and find it out sooner than expected: their villains introduces themselves as… the Undead! With greets from their master.

Tim asks the Undead who their master is and what he wants, but one member of the Undead uses his claws on Tim, shredding his clothes, and tells Tim that he is the marked one. La Lunática fights against another Undead member with an organic steel skin. Luna punches her foe, but he doesn’t even feel it.

Tim punches his foe away and wants to know what he’s marked for. Sham creates an optic illusion of an attacking robot, but her Undead adversary easily sees through it. Meanwhile, Xi’an withdraws from the battlefield, because he is more worried about his patients and wants to look for survivors.

Shakti tries to use her telepathic powers on her foe, but he can resist it and throws a kinetically charged-up card towards her. Shakti falls back against a wall and asks her foe who he is. Shakti’s enemy tells her that this was all just a “friendly-saying-hello” and wants her to inform her father about this attack. Shakti asks what her father has to do with all this, but her adversary simply says “everything.”

Meanwhile, Tim chases his enemy, Catscratch, throughout a dark ally. She stops and Tim powers up, ready to strike her down. But his new foe says that she isn’t Catscratch. Tim can’t believe his eyes, its… But before Tim can say the name, the woman strikes him down using a Venomstinger blaster. The female villain stands victorious over the now unconscious Tim, and sadistically asks him if he has missed her…

Characters Involved: 

Cerebra, Krystalin, La Lunática, Meanstreak, Sham, Skullfire (all X-Men 2099)

Xi’an Chi Xan (former X-Man 2099 refusing to be active)

Morphine Somers, Sharp Blue (all Doom’s Black Cabinet)

Arcadian, Catscratch, Ember, Graverobber, Nicolai, Serpentina (the Undead)

Alison & Billy (two X-Nation employees)

Gunnar Heywood/Tristan Gunnar

Sister Margaret (of the Sisters of the Howling Commandments)

various other X-Nation citizens (all unnamed)

As images on hologram:

Doom 2009

Captain America 2099

Story Notes: 

The entire story is told from Gunnar’s point of view and he seems to know a lot about the X-Men’s pasts.

The attack on Doom and the White House can be found in Doom 2099 #33.

The members of the Undead (except for Catscratch) do not get named until next issue.

Xi’an was indeed a member of the Theatre of Pain under the name of Controller X for quite some time, but La Lunática back to normal last issue.

Issue Information: 
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