|Weapon X (2nd series) #15|| || |
Issue Date: December 2003
Story Title: Defection - prologue
Staff: Frank Tieri (writer), Georges Jeanty (penciler), Norm Rapmund and Don Hillsman (inkers), Tom Chu’s Color Dojo (colors), Dave Sharpe (letterer), Annie Thornton and Stephanie Moore (assistant editors), Mike Marts (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Bill Jemas (president)
Fed up with constantly having to watch his ex-lover, Husk, and her new boyfriend, Archangel, happily together, Chamber leaves Xavier’s mansion and ventures into a bar. He sits there for hours, annoying the barkeeper, as he has ordered only one beer and isn’t drinking it, for he no longer has a mouth. Eventually, the Barkeeper gets loud and the entire room of customers stares at Jono. One woman takes pity and offers him another drink and a shoulder to cry on, but Jono isn’t interested and, instead, scares her with his mutant powers. Another customer tries to calm down the situation, but Jono freaks out and destroys much of the bar with his energy blast. The X-Men arrive and try to talk some sense into Chamber but, seeing Husk in Archangel’s arms once more, he doesn’t listen to reason and attacks his rival. Wolverine knocks Chamber out and places him with the local authorities to await his punishment. In prison, Chamber is visited by Brent Jackson, who offers him to join Weapon X.
At the Xavier Institute, the home of the X-Men, Jonothon Starsmore, also known as Chamber, stands at the window of his room and looks outside. Leaves are falling, but the two figures sitting in the grass and having a picnic are not disturbed by it – they are Paige Guthrie and Warren Worthington III. As Husk and Archangel, they are both among the current roster of the X-Men, and they are in love. Chamber observes Paige feeding Warren with a grape and broadly smiling. He turns away from the window and picks up a framed picture from his drawer. The photo shows he and Paige, wearing that same broad smile. It was taken at a happier time, when the two of them were an item. Chamber’s bio-kinetic energy flares up and the picture is no more.
Jono is sitting in a bar, staring at the reflection of himself and the lit candle in front of him in the mirror behind the bar. The bartender asks him what he is doing, as he has been sitting there for hours and not drinking the one beer he had ordered. Jono answers that he is remembering, and the bartender is curious what he is remembering. “What it was like to actually drink one of these”, Jono’s replies. The bartender, though, would prefer he’d remember what it’s like to pay for another beer instead and angrily tells him that seats are for paying customers. The other people in the bar all stop talking and turn towards Jono. After a few silent second, he turns around and, rather annoyed, asks what they are looking at, and if they never have seen a “bloke” have a drink before.
A beautiful young lady comes to the bar right next to Jono, and orders a Cosmo and the same drink he was having. The bartender says that it will be wasted, as he won’t probably drink that one either, but the woman doesn’t stop her effort. She tells Jono that she was one of the people looking at him and that he was right, they shouldn’t have done that. As an apology, she offers him the beer. Jono asks her for her name, which is Becky, and then tells her that he isn’t good company tonight. Becky doesn’t get the hint and keeps talking, stating that he looks like he needs someone to talk to. Jono, however, says he doesn’t and angrily tells her that now that she has bought him a beer and made herself feel better, she could go back to her friends and continue gawking at the burn victim. Becky smiles and says that she probably deserved this. While still quite many people are looking at them, she asks how it happened. Jono tells her that he would prefer not to talk about it, but Becky pushes him, saying that it probably is not as a big a deal as he thinks.
Jono grabs Becky’s hand and makes her pull down the turtleneck that covers his non-existing mouth. As his bio-kinetic energy leaks out and the woman stares at him her eyes wide in shock, he asks if it is as big a deal as he thinks. The bartender intervenes, pulling back Becky’s hand and yelling at Jono that he has had enough of him and his scaring the customers with stupid parlor tricks. One of Becky’s friends runs over and tells Mike, the bartender, to be careful. He points at the X on Jono’s jacket, which means that the energy effect they just saw, Jono having covered his face again, might not be a trick but a mutant power – there’s no telling what he could do to them. The man places a hand on Jono’s shoulder in a friendly manner and asks if it wouldn’t be better to do everyone a favor and just leave, as they don’t want any trouble.
Hearing this, Jono finally freaks up. He lashes out with his energy blasts, knocking the man over, destroying bottles and glasses, lots of furniture and the windows of the bar. The customers are scared and back away from the mutant, who stares at the crows and announces that this is what this freak can do. Someone seems not to be afraid though, answering Jono’s challenge with “Is that right, pal?” Just as ice begins to cover his right arm, Jono turns and curses at the people who just arrived – the X-Men. Iceman finishes his sentence, stating that this is what this freak can do, while Cyclops orders Chamber to stand down, backed up by Wolverine. The scared customers look up from their hiding places between the damaged furniture, which is still burning from Jono’s attack. Taking charge of the situation, Cyclops orders Iceman to get the fires under control and for Archangel to check on any wounded.
Cyclops walks over to the renegade X-Man, asking him what exactly he thinks he is doing. Jono covers up his face again and answers that he was having a drink, and wether that was against the rules. Wolverine gets mad, but Cyclops tells him to calm down. Right then, Husk pushes herself between her two colleagues and, suddenly, Jono only has eyes for her. He gets closer to her and says her name. She softly touches his face, while she pleads with him to stop this. Archangel joins them and tells Chamber that he can imagine that the whole thing between him and Paige must have been tough on Jono, but that doesn’t justify his actions now. Nothing good can come out of this, says Archangel, and he urges Chamber to come back to the mansion with them. They are there for him. After all, X-Men stick together. As he says this, Archangel places his arm around Husk and the other one on Chamber’s shoulder.
Chamber looks at the hand on his shoulder; it’s the same gesture from before. Jono didn’t like it then, and he doesn’t like it now. He smashes his fist into the handsome face of his supposed teammate, much to the shock of Husk, and, as Archangel gets up from the floor, Jono taunts him with the words, “I’m sorry, were you saying something?” Logan has finally had enough and slams Chamber onto the bar, and holds his fist close to his face. Chamber, however, is not afraid. He even encourages Wolverine to not just make empty threads but to finally put him out of his bleeding misery. Logan bites his lip as he hesitates.
Outside the building, the local authorities have arrived and erected a barrier to keep the many bystanders at a safe distance. Once the police captain is filled in on the situation, a dangerous mutant tearing up the place, he complains about more and more mutants arising each day, making his job all the harder. Whatever he knows, the crisis must be handled some way, so he tells his officers that they need to find out who this mutant is, what his powers are, etc. so that they have a better chance of dealing with him when they go in.
Right then, the entrance door to the bar blows up, courtesy to Cyclops’ optic beam, and the X-Men step up, Wolverine carrying the unconscious Chamber on his shoulder. As he drops Jono in front of the police officers, Logan says that X-Men police their own. Then, he and his teammates turn and leave.
In his cell in prison, his head covered by a power-negating helmet, Chamber is visited by Brent Jackson, the current Director of the Weapon X program. Jackson reads Jono his file: reckless endangerment, assault, vandalism, disorderly conduct, menacing, kidnapping and arson – quite a lot of trouble he is now in. Chamber asks who he is and, after introducing himself, Jackson says that he is probably the only friend he got right now. Jono tells him that he has no need for any stupid games, but Jackson assures him that it is no game, but an offer from Weapon X. To prove his words, Jackson pulls out a key and unlocks Chamber’s helmet and shackles.
Brent Jackson, the Director of Weapon X
Archangel, Chamber, Cyclops, Husk, Iceman, Wolverine (all X-Men)
The superiors of the Weapon X program
Mike, a bartender
Becky and numerous other customers at the bar
As revealed in the following issues, Chamber just acted up to join Weapon X under cover.
Issue Summary written by: Peter Luzifer