Being a mutant in the Marvel Universe generally means having fantastic and sometimes frightening super powers. It also means you usually face a grim and uncertain future because of the hate and prejudice directed at you by humanity. The present day conditions mutants face can vary, though, depending on the reality you’re currently in.
In Marvel Comics’ main reality, dubbed Earth 616, there are only a couple of hundred mutants left. They are huddled together on the manmade island of Utopia and serve as members of the X-Men, a super hero group that protects and defends both mutants and humans. In the “House of M” reality, however, created when the mutant Scarlet Witch used her reality altering powers, a booming mutant population ruled the world. This week, writer Mike Carey and bevy of talented artists introduce readers to a new, mysterious reality for Marvel’s mutants when they begin the seven part “Age of X,” a crossover storyline launching with a special “Alpha” issue before running through “X-Men: Legacy” and “New Mutants.”
In this new reality, a coalition of anti-mutant forces seized power years ago. They used their positions to prevent the X-Men from forming and launched a crusade to exterminate the world’s remaining mutants. Now, only a handful are left and they’ve banded together for one last shot at survival. Because of this violence and persecution, the mutants of “Age of X” are somewhat different from their Earth 616 counterparts. To help readers get to know the major mutant players of the storyline, CBR has been running the AGE OF X COMMUNIQUÃ‰S a multi-part feature where writer Mike Carey shares anti-mutant government operative Henry Peter Gyrich’s classified reports on some of his world’s more “problematic” mutants. In part one, Magneto, Basilisk, and Legacy were profiled. In part two, the featured mutants were Cannonball, Gambit and Revenant. Part three profiled Berserker, Hellion and Nightmare. Today, Carey joins us one last time for a final installment, leaking Gyrich’s files on Frenzy, Magma and Cypher.
From: Henry Peter Gyrich, Anti-Mutant Task Force
To: Simon Trask, Director Ops
Stephen Lang, Deputy Ops
As requested, summary information on mutants known to be behind the “Fortress X” barricade. Full files and supporting documentation available on request.
Gareth Cargill (brother). Whereabouts unknown.
The thing I can’t decide about Cargill is whether or not she’s a functional psychopath. You know some of the atrocities that have been attributed to her – inventive, sadistic, completely unrestrained by anything you could call conscience.
I had the opportunity to interrogate her myself when she was at Ryker’s, the first time she was caught, and I actually asked her that question. “Do you think you’re crazy, Jo? Do you think you need help?” She laughed. A lot. She said in her opinion what messes you up is feeling something and holding back on it. She said she’s got the healthiest mind out of anyone – no repression, no problem.
Three days later she derailed the train that was carrying her to Alcatraz, killing nineteen people (most of whom were civilian passengers in other coaches, not law enforcement officers) and affecting her escape from custody.
I don’t know what it would take to blunt her edge. She’s completely invulnerable, to the point where nothing will even scratch her skin. You could put a diamond drill to her forehead, turn it up to full, and she wouldn’t feel it.
I speculate that means she can’t feel anything else, either. That emotionally as well as physically, nothing can get through to her.
I’d love to be proved wrong. Be nice if she had an Achilles heel.
Amara [surname unknown]
Another import we could well have done without – and almost as big of a question mark as Revenant. We know she came up through Mexico, and we backtracked her from there to Brazil, but despite intensive efforts, that was as far as we got. It was as though she walked into the world fully formed. She doesn’t exactly look like she lived in that part of the world for any length of time, does she?
Magma came to the party late, so to speak. Alpha and beta Exonims were already deployed, and they zeroed in on her in the desert West of Tucson. There’s an intriguing piece of camera footage from one of the Exonim suits that survived partially intact. It shows unit B-1073 ordering Magma to stop and surrender, and then – when she ignores the command – cutting loose on her with a flamethrower. She turns around in the spray of ignited napalm, lifting her arms, bowing her head, getting every part of her body saturated like someone in the shower. Then she walks across to B-1073 and she melts him; which given the heat tolerances of the beta unit, means she’s generating a temperature of around 5000 degrees Fahrenheit.
We know she was looking for Magneto, and she hooked up with him around the time of the ambush in Nevada (see: Operation Pig Iron) which almost killed him. It’s theorized that her arrival knocked out or distracted several squads of the non-ferrous Exonims, enabling Magneto to survive what we all thought was a completely inescapable trap.
There’s a whole lot of officers in the field who want to deliver a little payback to this kid. Third battalion took the unusual step of putting a bounty on her – all unofficial, and all in good fun. The guy who gets a confirmed kill gets a month’s furlough. Colonel Risman told me it’s against regs but good for morale, so he turns a blind eye.
Philip and Sheila Ramsey. Parents. Father turned the son in on the amnesty program (second offer), and underwent voluntary sterilization as an X-gene carrier. Mother committed suicide a year later.
We were holding Ramsey at one of the LS (limited security) units on the Pacific Coast. We had him pegged as a low risk, and I still hold to that initial evaluation. His powers appeared to relate to the acquisition of languages, and therefore to be more or less irrelevant in a combat situation.
He still managed to escape, though, by subverting one of the guards (Eileen Haloke). She was part-Navajo, and Ramsey forged some sort of emotional bond with her by speaking to her in the Navajo tongue. She freed him from his cell and then accompanied him when he escaped from the compound. She was sighted with him on numerous occasions thereafter.
But she wasn’t with him on August 5 of the following year, when – traveling on foot through the Finger Lakes area of New York State – he was at ground zero for a meteor strike which had been tracked by NORAD as coming in from the direction of the Perseid cluster. First forces arriving on the scene found Ramsey apparently infected by some sort of alien matter whose make-up – judging from inert samples obtained afterwards – included hitherto unknown compounds of both carbon and silicon. This alien matter was able to replicate in a quasi-viral manner, and it spread through Ramsey’s whole system in the space of minutes.
Accurate intel as to what happens next is hard to obtain. The units on site, who were waiting for the arrival of Hazmat teams so that they could apprehend Ramsey without risk of infection, suffered simultaneous failure of all electronic systems. Survivors reported seeing Ramsey “speaking in tongues” – screaming out disconnected words and phases in a variety of languages, some of which weren’t languages of all but high-pitched squeals like the data squawks of a modem. Some observers thought that he was shouting “help me”, identifying that common phrase in five different language clusters.
Perhaps our people dropped their guard because Ramsey seemed so helpless – because he was clearly in agony and more or less incapacitated. If they’d moved quickly enough, they might have killed him at that point with a single well-placed shot. A moment later, the Exonim units turned on each other, discharging all their weapons in a three-second exchange of fire which caused a forty-meter wide crater. As we now know, Ramsey himself was not harmed in that conflagration.
Or, to look at it another way, he died. The thing that uses Douglas Ramsey’s shape now is arguably the thing that came down in that meteor.
It’s just a crying shame that it still thinks of itself as a mutie.
CBR News would like to extend a special thanks to Mike Carey for all his help with this feature. And if you enjoyed THE AGE OF X COMMUNIQUÃ‰S, check back with CBR in just a couple of days when Carey rejoins us for our new X-COMMUNICATED feature, a special director’s commentary style look at each of the issues of “Age of X.”
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