Issue Date: November 2002
Story Title: Dead Man's Switch - part 3: Quiet Desperation
Staff: Gail Simone (writer), Udon – Erik Ko, Dave Ahn, Rob Ross, Omar Dogan, Calvin Lo, Arnold Tsang and Andrew Hou (art team), Cory petit (letters), Lynne Yoshii (assistant editor), Andrew Lis (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Bill Jemas (president)
Agent X takes revenge on Taskmaster, who set him up to get killed by the Punisher. Sandi and Outlaw watch in awe, as somehow Agent X easily defeats Taskmaster in hand-to-hand combat, something he could not do during their many training session. Even Alex doesn’t know how he does it. Taskmaster tries a final time to explain his behavior to Sandi, but then breaks up her, thinking that she wants to have an affair with Agent X. Alex takes Sandi and Outlaw to his Theme park to feed the animals, where they are approached by Higashi who offers him to buy the park. Alex refuses and he and Outlaw are attacked by Higashi’s men, but Sandi comes to the rescue with the park’s elephant. Later Alex and Outlaw take on a new job, which is to protect a jeweller from a gang that has robbed the store already three times before. Outlaw dresses as a regular customer, while Alex watches from the observation room, but he falls asleep after several hours. When the robbers finally hit the store, they shoot at Outlaw, who falls through the window. Alex wakes up from the noise. Unbeknownst to all, another person is in the store, Mary Zero, a girl that is effectively invisible. Next to nobody sees or hears her, and those who do, immediately forget. Mary walked into the jeweller to get herself a birthday present, and she enters the robber’s getaway car to get back the piece of jewelry she wanted. Alex follows rising a hotdog chart and captures the criminals by making their car crash. The robbers are knocked out, and Alex asks Mary if she is OK. Mary immediately falls in love with him since he is the first person to have ever noticed her and care about her.
Alex attacks Taskmaster, while thinking about how he was a complete fool to let Taskmaster toy with him like he did, as he set him up against the Punisher. Sandi tells Outlaw that she hates how Alex kicked in her door, as she was already getting the key. Outlaw thanks Sandi for coming to get them and lending her clothes and she wonders how Alex can be beating up Taskmaster, since during the training sessions he never even got close. Sandi thinks that they just should kiss and make up, but Outlaw remarks that Alex isn’t ‘that way’. Sandi gets the meaning and asks Outlaw if she really did do it with Alex.
Taskmaster tries both Captain America’s and Spider-Man’s fighting styles but Alex easily dodges him. Outlaw notices that Alex is improving every second. Taskmaster uses his solid sound device to imitate Spider-Man’s webbing but misses Alex and webs up Sandi’s cat instead. Alex tells Taskmaster how he got all the moves of those heroes and the toys, but that’s it. He isn’t the heroes. He kicks Taskmaster, who hits the floor. Sandi stops Alex and asks Tony if he really did send Alex out to be killed. Tony replies that he was just trying to protect her. Sandi tells him that he still blames himself for getting her hurt last time, but that he doesn’t need to protect her anymore. Taskmaster gets up and accuses Sandi of being in love with Alex and that she simply wants him out of the way. Angrily Sandi slaps him in the face and Taskmaster leaves. Before he goes out of the door though, he tells Alex that he will kill him on sight whenever he sees him again. Alex shoots his jock strap at Taskmaster and makes a remark how they come in more sizes than extra teensy. Taskmaster threatens Alex once more and finally leaves. Surprised Sandi asks Alex how he was capable of beating Taskmaster. Alex replies that he has no idea, but it was refreshing. Behind them Sandi’s poor cat is still webbed up against the wall.
Elsewhere Mary Zero thinks to herself how she is basically homeless. She is alive and visible, but nobody besides herself knows she exists and is aware of her presence. She is actually undetectable. Mary enters the home of a young couple and takes food of the table, while the couple doesn’t even notice her. She leaves after taking some bacon from the plate and feeding some to the dog. The wife asks her husband if he wants more bacon and he replies that he didn’t even have any. Mary has been sleeping in their guest room for some time, unbeknownst to the couple.
Mary leaves the house, again thinking about how her powers work : usually people don’t even notice her, sometimes they do, but they forget her within a very short time. She just fades from their memory. She goes out to steal a birthday gift for herself and on the way, she takes the gun from a police officer. Mary enters a lunchroom and threatens the girl behind the counter with the gun, but she doesn’t even see Mary and asks her boss if she can go home. Her boss agrees and Mary leaves, disappointed that nobody saw her at all.
Alex, Sandi and Outlaw visit Alex’s new Alpine Fun Park once more. Sandi thanks Inez for coming along, as the place is really a mess and they might need her help. She then informs that she arranged an appointment with a Mr. Arcade, a thrill ride specialist, and that she got him a new job. Sandi asks Outlaw if she wants in on the job and she agrees. Alex is gloating again at his park, but Sandi and Outlaw are speechless with how dirty and run down it is. Alex starts to eat the cotton candy and Sandi warns him not to eat it: the park has been closed for weeks. Alex asks Outlaw if she wants to ride the horses on the carousel, as she is from Texas. Then he has a better idea, they could to ride the coaster to check if the brakes are still working. Sandi sighs, do guys ever grow up ?
Sandi notices that a limousine pulls up in front of the park. Alex goes out and sees Higashi, who invites him inside so he can make him an offer. He enters the car and offers Higashi a corndog. Higashi accepts and takes a bite, just when Alex remarks that how some people like to thaw them out first and deep-fry them, while he likes them fine just deep-frozen. Higashi is disgusted, while Alex simply eats the frozen corndog he has. Higashi gets down to business: both are new at their jobs and both have to prove themselves. Higashi explains that his firm needs the land Alex now owns, and he offers to buy the park - it could be advantageous to both. Alex refuses and when he steps out, he tells Inez that he just turned down a very generous offer. However she asks him if he has brought his guns with him. Alex denies it, and neither has Outlaw, which means they are in trouble as they are threatened by Saguri and several of Higashi’s men, all pointing their weapons on them. Sandi comes to the rescue, riding the park’s elephant and tells them to leave their property while they still have the chance.
Half an hour later, Alex and Inez (dressed in normal clothes) arrive in front of a jeweller store for their new job. Alex buys a hot dog even though Inez says that she heard they had weasels in them. The owner of the store, Francis Wahlfert asks Alex if he’s Deadpool. Alex replies that he is his older brother, Fredpool and then introduces him to Outlaw, who is going to be their mole. Francis explains how his store got robbed three times in a row by the same people and the police haven’t been able to really help him. If he gets robbed again, he will lose his insurance. Alex replies that he understands and that Francis not only wants the robbers caught, but a little vengeance too. Francis admits this with careful wording, but Alex tells him not to worry; Francis hand’s will stay clean. He goes to the observation room and asks Inez if she is going to be OK wandering around the store all day. Inez watches the jewelry and tells him that it won’t be a problem.
Alex tells Francis that sending the regular security team home was a good idea in case they had somebody on the inside. He then watches the security cameras for about seven hours and falls asleep, before an elderly man and his much younger wife enter. Outlaw leaves the story to buy some hotdogs, telling the Hot Dog Man that should Alex ask, he has never seen her. At this time both Mary Zero and the robbers arrive in front of the store at the same time. One of the robbers is not at ease, robbing the same store four times seems like pushing their luck. Mary Zero looks at Outlaw and hopes that all those hot dogs go straight to her thighs. The robbers then enter the store and tell Francis that they should get a discount for being there so often. Francis tells them that he pushes the alarm, but the robbers reply that they have paid some men to set off the alarms in twelve other stores, so they will have time enough. Mary doesn’t bother, she just wants to pick up a birthday present for herself and the others don’t know that she is there anyway.
Outlaw notices that the store gets robbed and pulls out her gun. She storms inside, but the robbers fire at her and she falls backwards through the window. Agent X wakes up from the noise and immediately realizes what is happening. On their way out, the robbers grab the jewelry that Mary Zero was holding and she runs after them and enters the getaway car to get it back. Agent X checks on Outlaw and asks her how hard she can push. She tells that even with multiple bullet holes she can push pretty damn hard.
In the getaway car, Mary Zero tries to tell the robbers that she wants her necklace back, but they don’t even notice her or the gun that she’s holding. One of the robbers suddenly gets hit in the shoulder, but when one of his partners goes to check, he notices that it isn’t blood, but ketchup. Next to them, Alex is riding the hot dog cart, given enough speed by Outlaw’s push to catch up to the car. The driver rams the cart and Alex loses his balance and his guns. Riding the cart like a skateboard, Agent X rams the getaway car from the side and rams the cart’s umbrella through the front window, causing the car to crash over to the side. Alex threatens the robbers inside, who are all too messed up to notice that he’s holding a wiener instead of a gun. He then frees Mary Zero and asks her if she’s okay. Mary replies that she’s okay and when Alex tells her that he was worried about her, Mary is so surprised that somebody is aware of her existence, that she immediately falls in love with him and kisses him. Alex is surprised and tells her that she’s giving the cops another reason to arrest him, while Mary notices to herself that this is the man she’s going to marry.
Francis Wahlfert, a jeweller
Brian, Keith and Don, robbers
customers of the jeweller
Higashi, new Eastern Wind
Saguri, Higashi’s right hand woman
The first page gives a short synopsis of what happened in the last issue in the form of Alex Hayden’s journal.
Taskmaster got Sandi nearly killed in Taskmaster #3 when the Triads attacked Taskmaster at home while he got Sandi over for diner.
The Arcade who is mentioned as a thrill ride specialist is actually the assassin who has fought Spiderman and the X-Men several times. His “Murderworld“ is hidden beneath a carnival / theme park.
The customers of the jeweller look like “Boopsie“ and “Poopsie“ Whittaker, who appeared in Deadpool (3rd series) #66. The eyepatch could be the result of the gunshot that was heard at the issue’s end.
The speech Alex delivers to the robbers after having hit their car with his cart is a parody on Clint Eastwood’s speech in the movie Dirty Harry.
Issue Summary written by: David Duijsings