Issue Date: February 1995
Story Title: Strange Daze
Staff: John Moore (writer), Ron Lim (pencils), Harry Candelario (inks), Ken Lopez (letters), Tom Smith (colors), Joey Cavalieri (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief)
Meanstreak and Halloween Jack travel to Las Vegas and take over Desdemona Synge’s casino. Meanwhile, Krystalin is still with her brother, Zak, and discusses matters about their family. Zak tries to convince Krys to join the Panthers, but she isn’t ready to leave her friends. They end up arguing and get attacked by the Free Radicals, who kidnap Zak. They leave a message, which says that, if the Panthers want Zak back, they’ll have to release a political prisoner called Billy the Kid. The Panthers want to free Zak on their own and order Krys not to get involved. Krys does as told and leaves, but decides to use her sources to find Zak on her own. She meets up with her old friend Havana, who takes her to Nurf and convinces him to tell her where the headquarters of the Radicals is. Meanwhile, Shakti gets closer to safe the lives of the still suspended chosen X-Men from Zhao. But she falls asleep and Tim convinces her to go the bed and continue to work tomorrow. As they leave, three mysterious persons enter the lab and teleport both Zhao and his X-Men away. They mention that their Director plans to thaw them out.
Meanstreak and Halloween Jack arrive in Las Vegas. Meanstreak isn’t too happy to be back in the town he hates, but Jack tries to convince him that soon, he’ll see it differently, once they have taken over the entire city! They’ll have everything their hearts desire. Meanstreak tells Jack that he doesn’t want the same things he wants, but Jack doesn’t listen. Meanstreak fears that his old friend Jordan Boone, whom he has known since his Alchemax days, is now completely gone. Meanstreak follows Jack and asks him what he hopes to gain from all of this. “Revenge,” a sadistic Jack replies. “Revenge on the people who turned me into a monster.”
Meanwhile, in her casino, Desdemona creates a holographic image from herself and visits her drugged brother, Lytton, whom she has locked up in a dark room. Lytton tells her not to mock him and just go away. Desdemona explains to her brother that she is just returning her brother the miserable life now he gave her when they were kids. Lytton commands her to go away. Desdemona, while vanishing, tells Lytton not to be so brutal, or else she’ll have to take away his “pharmaceutical allowance too.”
Desdemona returns in her body and enjoys a private swim. To herself, Desdemona hopes that her brother will overdose himself and die, so that she can completely run the casino herself. She is at least glad that the Shriek drug made her brother kill their father. Suddenly, the air in the room turns from hot to cold. Desdemona notices but, before she can do anything, she is attacked by Halloween Jack and Meanstreak!
Desdemona tries to call the security, but Jack has dismantled the room’s voicecom. Desdemona recognizes Meanstreak, but asks Jack who he is. Jack shows Desdemona the face he had as Loki and she realizes. Desdemona asks what he wants and tries carefully to activate her bracelet’s security alarm. Meanstreak notices it and takes it quickly away from her. Jack brutally grabs Desdemona and tells her that he isn’t fooling around.
Meanwhile, Zak brings his sister Krystalin, to his private room that has been prepared by his servant Mr. Chakri. Charki offers his condolences for the death of their father. Zak thanks Chakri for his sympathy and for his support in this time of transition. Krystalin notices how political Zak is talking, and tells him to be careful with that, especially so soon after the funeral. People will talk.
Zak explains that their city, Oakland, has now lost one of its foundations, now that their father has died. Zak believes that unity is now the most important thing for them. Zak doesn’t want to see the house their father built get destroyed by outsiders. Krys asks if Zak means the ones who are responsible for the acid rain from before. Zak confirms, and promises that it won’t be long until they have defeated them all. Zak notices that Krys wears their mother’s Mjolnir around her neck, and asks why. Krys says it’s because it reminds her of her mom. Zak, seemingly getting a little upset, says that he never understood their mother’s infatuation with that “stupid” religion. He doesn’t see the use of a sister of the Panthers believing in European Gods. Krys reveals to her brother that their mom never considered herself a Panther.
Zak doesn’t want to believe that, and finds that their mom should have been at their father’s side when he died. He asks Krys if she remembers how they used to be happy when they were little. Zak believes that it’s all those Thorite lies that drove their mom away from their dad. Krys doesn’t believe that Thor has anything to do with their parents break-up. She doesn’t remember any happiness; just the constant fights. She remembers how their father never understood their mother’s spiritual searching’s, and their mom never understood how their father could appropriate the Wakandan tradition for his street soldiers.
Zak angrily defends that those first soldiers of the Panthers looked to Wakandan history for guidance. He says that, by adopting the Wakandan totem, those soldiers found the strength to liberate Oakland from decades of corruption. Zak says that their father’s first obligation was to the Panthers, and believes that their mom’s should have been the same. Krys disagrees, and says that’s the reason their mom left. But she doesn’t want to talk about this now over dinner. Zak agrees, and tells Krys that her return is a good omen.
He tells Krys that there is so much she can do as one of the Panthers. Krys tells her brother that she isn’t ready to leave her friends yet. Zak can’t understand why Krys believes that she has any obligations to the mutant outlaws, the X-Men. He finds her place to be here, with him in the Panthers.
Suddenly, the conversation gets cut short by an attacking Techno-Anarchist! The Anarchist says that he and the others prefer the term Free Radical. Zak and Krys don’t care and try to defend themselves.
The Radical is stronger and knocks both Krys and Zak out by releasing powerful gas that makes both of them lose consciousness. At the same time in the Casino, the Rat Pack arrives to help their boss. They are surprised when it seems that Desdemona has things already under control, and points a gun against Meanstreak’s head. The Chairman doesn’t understand why Meanstreak doesn’t just run away. Desdemona takes her gun away from Meanstreak and shoots the Chairman! Desdemona releases Meanstreak, who takes the King’s gun away from him and uses it to knock down the Dealer. “Desdemona” transforms into Halloween Jack, who was just impersonating her to fool the Rat Pack. Together, they defeat the rest of the Rat Pack. Desdemona, bound, falls out of a closet and tries to warn her team but is already too late.
Jack tells Desdemona that he doesn’t want to kill her. He grabs her hand, and shifts his own into hers and activates a computer and gains access to all Desdemona’s resources. Jack says that he’ll transfer all the money to his accounts, and then will make Las Vegas fun again!
Meanwhile, Chalda and Liebowitz are arguing about having left Bloodhawk alone in the Savage Land. Just as they want to leave in their helicopter, Bloodhawk makes it to them. Bloodhawk and Liebowitz shake hands and take goodbye. Bloodhawk wants to stay here, but his heart and true home lie in the desert. Liebowitz promises that he’ll never allow the Savage Land to be taken over by the MegaCorps and wishes Bloodhawk good luck.
Krystalin wakes up from the gas. Miko, Zak’s lieutenant, is with her and asks what happened. Zak is gone. The Free Radicals have left a “note” and threaten to kill Zak if Krys doesn’t free Billy the Kid, a political prisoner. Krys wants to help her brother, but Miko tells her not to. Miko tells Krys that she would only be in the way of the true Panthers. Krys doesn’t care and walks out. Since she grew up in East Bay, Krys has got some sources here of her own. She remembers how the Bay Bridge was blown up during the air strike that ended the Neo-Mansonists takeover of Treasure Island. Now, the bottom-feeders, the scavengers who troll the bay for junk, use it to dock their skinners and minisubs.
Krys goes to a boat, and sees someone she knows. She greets Havana, who answers back rather brutally. Krys tells Havana that he used to be a lot friendlier when he was madly in love with her mom. Havana turns around and immediately recognizes Krys and hugs her dearly. He asks Krys what she’s doing here. Krys explains that she needs help. Havana takes her to Telegraph Avenue, which is even worse than Krys remembered.
As they walk over the street, a Thor-fanatic approaches them, telling them some biblical verses. Havana pushes the faker away, angrily, and is certain that Thor will never come back to a “bunch of low-lives” like them. Krys asks Havana where he is taking her. Havana tells Krys that if she wants to know about the Free Radicals, there is only one place she can go to. She has got to talk to the Jerries.
Krys asks what they are. Havana shows her, and explains that the Jerries are a group of virtual casualties who worship a pop band called the Disinterred. Havana says that the band went down in a plane crash in 2035, but one of their fans stole their remains and reanimated them. Now, Havana continues, the band’s fifth generation fans worship the work of the deathloked singer Brendan Jerrie. Krys isn’t convinced that they are going to be able to help her, but Havana tries anyway.
He talks to a girl named Luxuria and asks her where Nurf is. Luxuria says that Nurf is in the library, doing Motor City Five. Nurf himself pretends to be in a rock band, using a computer simulation to make his fantasy come true. The simulation suddenly ends. Nurf angrily asks who did it, but when he sees Havana, he stops yelling and greets him. Havana tells Nurf that his good friend, Krystalin, needs to find the Free Radicals. Nurf panics and doesn’t want to. Krystalin uses her powers and makes a crystal statue of Nurf, as an angel. A now convinced Nurf goes for it, but warns Krys that the Free Radicals are always bad news.
Meanwhile in Zhao’s base, Shakti has fallen asleep in the computer room. Tim wakes her up and tells Shakti to call it a night. Shakti doesn’t want to because she has finally reversed the cellular deterioration killing the three chosen mutants. Shakti is certain that if she can accelerate the regeneration, she can bring Zhao’s X-Men out of suspended animation. Tim tells Shakti to do it tomorrow and go to bed: it’s three in the morning. Shakti knows that Tim’s right and leaves with him and activates the security systems on their way out.
As soon as they are gone, three persons teleport inside the room. They take a good look at the suspended bodies of One-Eyed Jack, Psycho K and Wingspan. The leader of the three says better not to startle and just take them. He tells his friends that the Director plans to thaw them out.
Cerebra, Krystalin, Meanstreak, Skullfire (X-Men 2099)
Chairman, Dealer, Mr. Entertainment, Suicide King (the Rat Pack)
One-Eyed Jack, Psycho K, Wingspan (Zhao’s X-Men 2099/The Chosen)
Zakarii Ogada (Krystalin’s brother)
Miko Ishihara (Zakarii’s lieutenant)
Chakri (servant of Zakarii)
Havana, Luxuria, Nurf and various other less-fortunate people
Techno-Anarchist/Free Radical (unnamed)
Three mysterious villains
In Krystalin’s flash-back:
Krystalin (as a baby)
Zakarii Ogada (as a baby)
Krystalin and Zak’s mother (unnamed)
Krystalin wears a Mjolnir jewel which reminds her of her mother. Mjolnir itself is, or in this dimension was, the hammer Thor used as a weapon.
Bloodhawk spend some time in the Savage Land, trying to help it get rid of the MegaCorps who wanted to take the land for their own advantage, as could be seen in the pages of Doom 2099 #19-21. He next appears in the 2099 A.D. Special, and fully returns in the pages of X-Men 2099 #20.
Havana calls Krystalin “Krys Porter,” after her codename of Krystalin, most likely. Though her true name is Christine Porter, that name has only been used on trading cards.
The identity of one of the shadowy figures is revealed the next issue.
Issue Summary written by: Homer Jay