Mechanisms of Revenge
|Mechanisms of Revenge|
|Dates run:||Nov 20, 2008 - Jan 8, 2009|
|Read the logs:||Mechanisms of Revenge|
"Pete fought," she said with a thin veil of what she hoped sounded like comfort. "He hit Sabretooth with something that looked like knives. Creed got Dani too. Slit... slit her throat. She... she hit her head when he threw her away. And Jay... Jay got thrown from the car by Creed. He tried to fight. But he was held down by a foot and they ripped off his wings like he was some sort of insect. Pete kept fighting, but there were more gunshots, and he didn't get up. I-I don't know what else to tell you."
A brutal ambush leaves four people believed dead, only to discover it is the start of something more dangerous and twisted than they could have thought. Revenge begins to compromise every principle as Apocalypse returns to threaten the world.
They say you can't keep a good man down. The same applies to horrifically bad ones as well. Apocalypse may have been captured by SHIELD, but his organization is certainly not entirely defeated. Part of it, the Dark Riders, are still under contract to that captured man, and not ready to allow their employer to rot for very long.
After escaping his SHIELD confinement, Sabretooth found himself with no idea where Magneto was, or even knowing if Magneto would take him back, considering what he might have revealed in prison, or his having been psionically conditioned as a spy. Instead, Sabretooth tortured the first lackey he could find on his way out of the city, getting the briefest of hints about how to contact Apocalypse's organization. The Dark Riders were happy to offer him some work in order to locate and free Apocalypse.
During his captivity with SHIELD, Sabretooth had picked up enough hints about their facilities to allow the Dark Riders to pinpoint Apocalypse's location. In order to keep the X-Men occupied and out of their way, they devised a trap in order to turn their resources back towards the Brotherhood, and hopefully away from Apocalypse until he could recover his strength.
Their target was part of the regular commute. While the bus run is watched closely, the individual X-Men moving about are not as closely checked, and Garrison Kane's off-white Crown Victoria was distinctive enough to draw attention. Kane, along with Pete Wisdom, Danielle Moonstar and Jay Guthrie catching rides into the city, was ambushed. With Sabretooth leading the attack, all four occupants were fatally injured, and left to die on the roadside, knowing that enhanced sense or any other manner of reading the scene would mark Sabretooth as the source of the attack.
However, before any of them can die, a mysterious stasis field froze the situation, and all four mutants were teleported to an unknown location. By the time the X-Men arrived, only blood, limbs, and a shattered car remain at the scene. Adrienne Frost touch confirmed the fatal wounds suffered by the team, and as further insult, the next day, a package arrived with the mansion phones from the three believed dead, crushed by Sabretooth, and also confirmed by Adrienne's touch. Between that and the only smell that Kyle Gibney could recognize at the scene as being Sabretooth's, the conclusion is drawn that this is an attack by Magneto and the Brotherhood have their people or their corpses somewhere.
Pete awoke to a nightmarishly wizened face, one he had seen only a week earlier. The man had arranged a private meeting with Wisdom a week prior, and introduced himself as Blaquesmith, telling an odd tale. He had been in Africa during numerous civil wars, his mutant power disguised as simply mechanical genius. Blaquesmith had built himself a comfortable fortune as an auteur watch designer in Cairo, and lived a comfortable life. That was until a young man approached him one day to explain that they were both mutants. The charismatic man spouted all manner of mutant philosophy until Blaquesmith agreed to help him with his powers and his money.
Apocalypse convinced Blaquesmith to allow him to increase the man's powers, in order to help the cause more. Blaquesmith agreed, but the process went in a fashion he did not expect. Blaquesmith now possessed a limited healing factor, and his powers made a massive jump forward. However, it badly twisted his body and face, leaving him a gnomish looking almost alien figure, cut off from the rest of the world. Blaquesmith secretly swore revenge on Apocalypse, working with him long enough to craft his escape and disappear.
He followed Apocalypse for a while, hoping to find an answer for his revenge against him, but never saw an opportunity. When he was defeated in New York, he hoped that the X-Men would kill the man, but they didn't. However, he identified Wisdom as being one who would have no issues planning Apocalypse's death, and his floating cameras followed him back to the mansion and on his missions. At their meeting, he explained what he wanted, and what he could offer in return for Apocalypse's life. Wisdom agreed to consider the deal, and it was Blaquesmith's cameras that he visited the mansion to show Forge what to look for to neutralize them on the grounds.
Blaquesmith watched the attack on the car. Realizing that gave him the option he needed, he got to the site ahead of the X-Men, and used a stasis field to arrest the dying forms before teleporting them to his lab. There, all of them but Pete were weaponized, to adapt their individual powers to handle Apocalypse in specific. Pete's back injury was mostly repaired, leaving him in a wheelchair, and his powers are shut off through a inhibitor like device. Each of the mutants were controlled by a telepathic overlay that would only dissipate once Apocalypse is dead.
In the weeks that followed, Wisdom arranged a trap, using Blaquesmith's knowledge of Apocalypse to bait it properly. Apocalypse had been badly weakened by the loss of most of his empire, and needed to replenish his forces to augment his own power. Through one of his sources compromised by Blaquesmith, Wisdom leaks the name of a small mutant commune of mostly harmless mutants in the Midwest called 'Blue Area Mesa'. There were forty or so mutants living a pacifist communal lifestyle in a decommissioned and refurbished nuclear missile silo. They were unprepared for Apocalypse and the Dark Riders, who attacked and begin to indoctrinate and up the powers of the inhabitants.
Apocalypse's location was leaked to X-Force contacts, who contacted the X-Men to plan a joint assault on the facility. With all eyes on Apocalypse, Wisdom unleashed his secretly hidden trio, who used surprise to take Apocalypse and his men from behind, cutting a line to the man himself. His powers are a fraction of what they were in New York, and as Garrison and Dani engaged his full attention, Jay's attack from above severed the man's head from his shoulders. With Apocalypse's death, Sabretooth and the Dark Riders bug out, using the indoctrinated commune residents to cover their escape. The X-Men/X-Force are forced to call off their attack in order to subdue the last of the mutants. Meanwhile, the telepathic hold dissipated, and all four were released from Blaquesmith's control.
In order to weaponize the mutants, Blaquesmith contacted Nathaniel Essex secretly to arrange for genetic manipulation of the mutants in exchange some special technology. Essex doublecrossed Blaquesmith by contacting Apocalypse, and in return for DNA samples of him and the Dark Riders had him replaced with a perfect clone, who was 'killed' by Jay. Apocalypse left to rebuild his shattered empire secretly, now believed dead by the world.
Trivia and Meta
While Jean-Paul was not an official part of the X-Men, his skills were considered vital to the mission.
Following the attack on their home, the surviving residents of the Blue Area Mesa commune have shut down as much contact with the regular world as possible, and have dubbed themselves 'The Inhumans' for their now ruined features.
The original draft of 'Mechanisms of Revenge' involved Magneto being the mastermind behind the attacks, in order to force the X-Men to adopt tactics similar to his Brotherhood, and then fakes his own death with his clone 'Joseph', who he names so after Josef Mengele in an insult to Essex.
The death of Apocalypse, the Dark Riders and the Blue Area Mesa all draw very heavily on the 'Endgame' series from X-Factor #65-68.