Issue Date: January 1996
Story Title: City of the Dead: part three: Funeral Party
Staff: 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)
After killing the Disinterred, a music band, the Undead promise the habitants of X-Nation and the X-Men that they will kill them all, unless they hand over Shaktiís father to them. Meanwhile, La LunŠtica desperately tries to find Tim. She runs into Gunnar Heywood, who isnít dead, but his body is now in the form of a synthzoid instead. Luna and Gunnar check around in the Undeadís base, where they find a blueprint of the Spark, the power plant which supplies all of Halo City of its energy. Luna realizes that the Undead must plan to destroy the power plant. They rush to it, where they find the Undead. Luna tries to fight the Undead, but Tim is more loyal to the Graverobber and Luna is defeated. The Graverobber convinces Tim to use his powers to deactivate the Spark. With that done, all of Halo City turns black. Morphine Somers has had enough of it, and wants to bring Zail to the Graverobber, despite Shaktiís wishes not to.
Sham takes Quiver to a music festival. The group performing is ďthe Disinterred.Ē Quiver doesnít like being out of the Archive because they are dealing with heavy problems there. Quiver isnít happy to be in such a large crowd, but Sham calms him down, because they are surrounded by nothing but jerries.
Quiver asks what the history behind these ďjerriesĒ are. Sham knows that they have been following the Desinterred for several decades now throughout the sand. Sham also mentions that, after their plane went down in the Rockies in the thirties, it was one of the first generation of jerries who salvaged what remained of their bodies, and gave the band the Deathlok treatment so that they could continue their tour.
The entire public puts on headgears, so that they can experience the concert to their own preferences. The Disinterred make their impressive entrance and begin to sing their songs. Suddenly, one of the singers is attacked from behind and falls on the ground. Quiver first believes that itís part of the show, but soon finds out otherwise becauseÖ the Undead strike again!
Sham recognizes the villains from their earlier encounter, but canít believe when she sees that Tim is with them! Security drones warn the Undead to leave immediately or they will get arrested. Tim isnít impressed by it and destroys the drones using his powers.
Quiver uses his powers to clear a path through the crowd so that Sham can get to Tim. The plan works and Sham asks Tim what he thinks he is doing. Tim hesitates and seems to recognize Sham, but is confused. Tim slaps Sham in the face, warning her that he isnít responsible for his actions.
The Graverobber enters, and offers the entire crowd to join him and his cause, or else they will die. The Graverobber explains to the panicking crowd that before they can join him they will have to go through some tests first. The first test is to bring the butcher Zail Haddad to him, whom the Graverobber knows is hiding in Halo City. The Graverobber wants Zail within the day, or else heíll kill everyone in Halo City! The Graverobber and the Undead teleport away, leaving a startled crowd behind, but not before killing the entire Disinterred band. Some of the crowd thinks that the entire thing was part of the show, but Sham and Quiver know better and go to warn the other X-Men about this.
They go to Morphineís tower, where they tell the entire story. Krystalin and Meanstreak try to trace the Undead, but fail. The X-Men canít believe that Tim is still alive. Sham isnít sure if ďaliveĒ is the correct word to describe Timís current condition. Morphine refuses to let his city be destroyed, and now the X-Men also know why Shaktiís father was hiding in the city: he was running away from the Graverobber.
Shakti and her father enter the room. Zail sarcastically congratulates Morphine on putting him out of business. Zail knows it will take him years to re-start his genetic marketplace. Shakti tells her dad that, if he wants to go through with those plans, he will have to do it without her, because she refuses to be a part of exploiting on humans. Thatís why she left home ten years ago.
Zail finds his daughter to be a disappointment. He knows that Shakti had the potential to be one of the greatest bioengineers to ever life on the planet. He hates to see Shakti wasting her talents like this. Meanstreak tells Zail to stop talking about Shakti like that, or else heíll make him pay for it.
Meanstreak hasnít forgotten how Zailís men raided poor neighborhoods to collect organs and tissue donors to supply the rich chain. Zail only knows that he gave the poor people he used a purpose in life, which in his eyes they didnít have before he took them off the streets. Shakti doesnít want to discuss that now and instead is more interested in finding out why the Graverobber is after her father.
Zail begins to explain. He claims that his business didnít involve preying on human frailty. He says that his company, the Golden Harvest Corporation profited by maximizing the human potential. Zail commanded his employees to take the terminally ill people away from the streets.
Later on, he augmented them in cybernetically, in order to perform toxic clean-up operations where robots were technically or financially too expensive to use. Zail remembers how during one unfortunate mishap in a Sanjuan Biowaste transment plant, he lost a crew of almost two dozen cyborgs. The lone survivor, Garth Simenon, blaimed Zail for the disaster and the loss of his friends.
When Garth crawled out of the plane wreck, it turned out that he was a mutant, whose latent powers had surfaced as a result of the accident, and he had the ability to reanimate dead tissue. He became the Graverobber, and resurrected a handful of his now dead companions and formed an army with them. Together, they sought out and destroyed Zailís company, and most of New Jerseyís bioprocessing factories as well. It was at that time that the graverobber found a quartet of some long dead mutant corpses in Zailís factory, and decided to form the Undead.
Meanstreak wants to know if some of them are truly X-Men of the 20th century. Zail denies that, because none of the bodies he uses date prior 2040. But the Undead truly are all alpha-classed mutants, and utterly dangerous, like the X-Men found out first-handed. And ever since Doom shut Zailís company down, the Graverobber followed Zail up until there.
Morphine wants to know what Zail wants from them. Sympathy? Zail says that, when he learned that his daughter had such a high position in Halo City, considering the security, he had hoped that she would be able to put the past behind them and grand him asylum. After all, Zail says, they are family. Shakti doesnít know what to say.
Meanwhile in the Chicago Reserve, Murdock warns his boss, Herod, that he has a call on the omega line. Herod hopes that itís important, or else Murdock will pay for it. A holographic image of Morphine materializes. Morphine laughs with Herodís base, who isnít impressed by the man.
Herod wants to know why he shouldnít kill Morphine, like he did to Indigo Eshun recently, and all the other members of Doomís former Black Cabinet as well. Morphine promises Herod that the line they are using is secure. Morphine also informs Herod that his Brain plan failed, and was destroyed. Though it didnít leave Morphine without a little headache. Herod claims that Morphine only survived the attack because Herodís attention was required elsewhere, but next time Morphine wonít be so lucky.
Morphine offers Herod to make a deal. He wants to give Herod the Graverobber, in exchange for his life. Morphine explains to Herod what the Graverobberís powers are, and Herod is interested.
Later, Morphine goes to talk to Shakti. He tells her that the X-Men are wasting their time trying to track the Undead in Halo City. Shakti asks Morphine to stop bothering her. Morphine says that the Graverobber is a smart man, and probably is in Halo City, but hiding. They need to draw him into the open. Shakti wonít endanger her father, no matter how many people suffered in his bioshops.
Shakti doesnít want to put any life in danger just so that they can defeat an enemy. Itís not the way the X-Men work. Morphine calls her foolish and walks out of the computer room.
Meanwhile, somewhere else, a gigantic body stands up from its former ashes. Itís confused, but tries to maintain its balance. Suddenly, itís grabbed from behind by La LunŠtica! Luna isnít in a good mood and asks who her adversary is. The creature turns around, and explains to Luna that he isÖ Gunnar Heywood! Luna releases him, and Gunnar shows her his now synthezoid body.
Gunnar knows that he has looked better, but explains that after forty years of recreational chemical indulgence, his doctor handed him a terminal notice, so Gunnar traded the original model for a techno-synthetic update on an alien robot, which was called the Recorder. Now, Gunnar is a walking field recorder linked around the clock to an Infonet satellite. Luna catches Timís scent and asks Gunnar if he has seen him here alive. Gunnar didnít, but remembers the Graverobber performing some tricks on Tim to revive him.
Luna hates the fact that someone took the one man who actually means something to her, and even more hates to see that his abductors desecrated his body as well. She walks over to the table where Tim layed on and finds a blueprint of a building. Gunnar asks Luna if she knows what building it is. Luna takes a closer look and she recognizes the place as the Spark. She explains to Gunnar that the Spark is the power plant that supplies energy to all of Halo City. She wonders what the Undead are interested in that.
Gunnar asks Luna to hold on, as he is downloading some late information from the Third Eye. Once that is completed, Gunnar reads the file and found out how the Undead made their public debut and killed the Disinterred, and how they made their treat towards Shaktiís father. He also finds out that if the Halo City people refuse to go into his demands, that the Graverobber will drain every ounce of life of the entire city.
Luna and Gunnar rush to the Spark and hope that they will make it in time. As the two go, they donít notice that two mysterious, evil looking red eyes were watching them the whole timeÖ
Meanwhile, the Undead have already made it to the Spark and the Graverobber, wishing that he can build his army of undead people. Tim believes that is wrong. The Graverobber grabs Tim by his throat, yelling at him that Tim has to obey him because he owns his life to him. Serpentina tries to stop the Graverobber, but the rest of the Undead hold her back. Luna and Gunnar arrive too, and Luna tells Gunnar to stay out of her way while she fights.
Tim agrees to work for the Graverobber, who releases Tim from his holding grip. Luna attacks the Graverobber at full rage, also surprising Tim with her presence. The Undead gather around their master, telling Luna that she has made a mistake coming here alone. Luna tells Tim to stay behind here and promises that she will get them out of here. Nicolai makes short work of the fight and knocks Luna out with one single punch. Arcadian asks the Graverobber if he wants Lunaís body undamaged for later resurrection. He confirms.
The Graverobber commands Tim to do his part of the plan, and put Halo City into darkness. Tim goes to stand into the middle of the Spark machine and powers up. While he does that, the Graverobber explains that Tim was of no use to him alive. His body simply would never be able to withstand the hundreds of thousands of volts, which are now flowing through his body. Pain and fear would have definitely killed him. Thatís why the Graverobber had Serpentina bring Tim to him: the dead have no limits. Now, Tim has become a human transformer, and holds the light and warmth of the city hostage. Without power, Halo Cityís dream of harmony will evaporate into anarchy and destruction, and then the city will be for the Graverobberís taking!
The entire city fades black. Morphine Somers enters Zail Haddadís room. Morphine wants to hand Shaktiís father over to the Graverobber, like the villain wanted. Zail tries to defend himself, telling that his daughter would never approve it. Morphine tells Zail that Shakti doesnít run this city, but he does. Morphine powers up, and tells Zail to come with himÖ
Cerebra, Krystalin, La LunŠtica, Meanstreak, Sham, Skullfire (all X-Men 2099)
Arcadian, Catscratch, Ember, Graverobber, Nicolai, Serpentina (the Undead)
Zail Haddad (Cerebraís father)
Nurf and various other X-Nation citizens (all unnamed)
Murdock (Herodís servant)
The Disinterred (music band, members unnamed)
Herod killed Indigo Eshun in Doom 2099 #34.
Morphine was earlier attacked by Herod, as could be seen last issue.
Issue Summary written by: Homer Jay