Appearing in "Mesmerized (Part 1)"
- Alpha Flight
- Ghost Girl (Lilli) - (First appearance as Ghost Girl)
- Department H
- Beatrice de la Salle
- Epsilon Flight
- Claire. Lilli's close friend at Hull House.
- Mr. Smith. Lilli's supposed adoptive father. Actually working for Department H.
- Larry. Man of the Prometheus Division, subordinate to Myra Haddock.
- Aurora (Jeanne-Marie) - (Only in flashback)
- Northstar (Jean-Paul) - (Only in flashback)
- Purple Girl (Kara Killgrave) - (Only in flashback)
- Sentinels Mk VI (Only in flashback)
- Dark Riders - (Only in flashback)
- Beta Flight (Mentioned)
- Doctor Ko Bin Su (Mentioned)
- Klaw (Mentioned)
- Nick Fury (Mentioned)
- Life-Model Decoy (Mentioned)
- S.H.I.E.L.D. (Mentioned)
- Spider-Man (Mentioned)
- British Columbia
- Vancouver - (Only in flashback)
- Japan (Mentioned)
- United States of America
Synopsis for "Mesmerized (Part 1)"
The story opens at a small restaurant, just outside Montreal. Flex, Murmur, Radius, and Sunfire are sitting at a table, eating and conversing while a waitress brings them water to drink. They are all in uniform. Nearby sits Mesmero, also in uniform, who seems to be reading a newspaper. The narrator reveals that Mesmero is actually listening to their conversation and trying to form a plan of what to do.
Radius asks "Shiro" (Sunfire) whether he is actually from Japan, which Shiro confirms. Jared then asks why did Shiro leave Japan to come to Department H. He figures that Shiro may have had trouble with the law, or that he was running away from an angry "geisha girl". Adrian protests that Jared does not know Shiro well enough to ask him personal questions. Jared defends himself by pointing that asking questions is how you get to know somebody.
Arlette takes the opportunity to ask Jared a personal question, using his logic that it is a way to get to know him. She has noticed that Jared keeps calling Adrian by his codename even when they are not in a combat situation, she wants to know why. Jared explain that the codename "Flex" derives from a childhood nickname for Adrian, used by everyone even before he received his powers. Adrian was the scrawniest kid at the orphanage. One day, during their physical training, Jared decided to tease his brother about it. He asked Adrian to "flex" his muscles and show them off to their class. That night, during dinner, another boy called Adrian "Flex" and the nickname stuck. When the "Frankenstein doctors" of Hull House eventually found out that Adrian's power actually was flexing, they turned the nickname into a codename.
Jared is somewhat puzzled at her ignorance of the tale, since she used to live at Hull House with them. Arlette points that when they were younger, they were not on speaking terms. She then notes that Jared keeps holding on to his burger but is not actually eating. He explains that he can not eat without the help of an eating filter which passes the food through his force field. Otherwise he can not shove the food through. Adrian mocks him and asks him to try eating anyway. Shiro observes that blood relations are the only true bond between people, yet the Corbo brothers defy their bond. He warns them that they may eventually regret their harsh words to each other.
Adrian turns the conversation to the "weird guy" (Mesmero) who is staring at them again. Indeed, Mermero is looking at them and showing the restaurant staff a picture of Alpha Flight published in the newspaper he is holding. Arlette confirms that Mesmero is staring and mumbling something. She figures they should not have worn their costumes in public and call attention to themselves. Jared dismisses her worries, but Shiro finds there is something dangerous about Mesmero. Adrian suggests that they should leave the restaurant before they get into further trouble. He observes that they already are in trouble because of stealing a car from Department H.
Jared scoffs at their panic attack and thinks Mesmero is simply "a total freak". He theorizes that Mesmero is one of these lame club kids who dress up like idiots in hopes that people will notice them at the discothèques. Though he admits that Mesmero is probably the oldest club kid on the planet. Jared reminds his companions that they are Alpha Flight members and government operatives. He suggests they exercise their authority and simply ask the guy what his problem is.
Arlette takes the hint and asks Mesmero if there is a reason he is looking them. He answers that there is no reason, but takes the opportunity to speak to them. He welcomes them again to "his" restaurant and claims it is an honor to be noticed by the children of Alpha Flight. Murmur asks how he recognized them. Mesmero points that their costumes were a little clue, but there is also the fact that their photos were published in every newspaper. Jared points that the man knows them, but that they still do not know who he is. He asks whether it is true he owns the restaurant. Mesmero replies that he does if he says he does. He then introduces himself as "Mesmero", reaches across the table, grabs Jared by the collar of his uniform, and pulls him towards himself. Jared head-butts him immediately and verbally insults him.
Mesmero falls to the ground and Radius threateningly stands over him. He asks Mermero whether he is a super-villain. Mesmero confirms his villain status. He explains that he has spend weeks sitting in this restaurant, thinking, and eating. It is now clear to him what he must do, and it simple. Radius punches him in the face, feeling he has the jurisdiction to fight villains and defeat them. Sunfire grabs his arm before he can hurt Mesmero further. Mesmero asks Radius to look into his eyes. Radius thinks that Mesmero is hitting on him and explains that does not go that way. But he looks anyway and is instantly hypnotized.
As Mesmero gets the upper hand, Murmur touches him and commands him to sleep. He is unaffected, turns around and hypnotizes her by looking into her eyes. He comments that he felt her presence in his mind, but that he is a more powerful mental manipulator than she is. With Radius and Murmur under his control, Mesmero starts rising from the floor. Flex threatens him and approaches him. Sunfire notices that both the staff and patrons of the restaurant pay no attention to the fight, which suggests they are all under Mesmero's control. Mesmero explains that they are all mesmerized. He then looks Flex in the eyes and takes control of him.
Sunfire bursts in flame and commands Mesmero to release them. He finds that Flex, Murmur, and Radius are just children who have been pushed into the role of saviors for their country. But Shiro has many more years of experience than them and he is not afraid to demonstrate what he has learned so far. He quickly attacks Mesmero and gets a hold of his opponent's neck. He is standing behind Mesmero, so he can not look into his mesmerizing eyes. He starts to interrogate Mesmero, but they both find themselves staring into a mirror. A glimpse of the reflection of Mesmero's eyes is enough to hypnotize Sunfire. Mesmero has won the fight and controls all four heroes.
The scene shifts to the Department H headquarters. Guardian is pissed off. He claims that Alpha Flight is his responsibility. They left the rookies behind when they left for Orloo, because the Department feared they might not be ready for more assignments. Now they tell him that the Department failed to watch over the rookies once the rest of the team left. General Jeremy Clarke, to which he was speaking, claims that the Department has no idea when the rookies left or where they went. Vindicator interrupts him to point that she doubts what he is saying. She is certain that they have got the entire building bugged and monitored. Even if the rookies did manage to sneak away, she doubts that the Department really lost them.
The people of the Monitor Division watching Heather on camera, are concerned that she knows about them. One of them suggests that Heather is just being sarcastic. In his view, she has been acting uppity since she rejoined the team. Heather asks whether it has occurred to Clarke that the rookies are too young for the team. The rest of the members are all of age and seasoned veterans. She makes an exception for the rejuvenated "Mac". Guardian claims that he is as trained as she is. He tries to explain that his memories of all of Alpha Flight's past missions were recreated with some process. Clarke prevents him from speaking further, since Guardian is talking about classified information. Clarke ends the conversation by claiming that he will personally contact the members of Alpha Flight as soon as the Department locates the novices.
The scene shifts to another area of the headquarters, the Beta Flight wing. Two Epsilon Flight members are stationed as guards there. The narration suggests that maybe they are there to keep someone out, or conversely to keep someone inside. The guards converse about various subjects. One of them called Anthony is worried that the recent electoral success of the Liberal Party of Canada may lead to a changing political situation and the end of Department H, leaving them unemployed. Their conversation is interrupted by a strange sound, "sloosh", coming from inside. They decide to decide to enter the area to investigate. They locate no apparent source for the sound, but they do see several large tanks in a laboratory. Several bodies are held within the tanks. The guards figure that one of the bodies must have moved again. One guard notes that he hates it when they move, because it makes them seem alive. He even suspects that they might be dreaming within the tanks. The scene ends and the narration points that this should give the reader some food for thought.
The scene shifts back to the restaurant. Mesmero uses the captive heroes as sounding boards and explains his activities over the past several years and how he survived his apparent death at the hands of the Dark Riders. He starts from the day during which he run a small plan of his own in Vancouver. He found himself besieged by Sentinels and then Alpha Flight arrived, apparently to help him. He claims that he single-handedly defeated the Sentinels and rescued Alpha Flight in the process. Then his apparent allies turned on him and allowed the local authorities to capture him like a common criminal. He eventually freed himself and tried to establish a clean start Seattle. He came to love the city, but still hated the rain.
Then the Dark Riders arrived, a bunch of dreadful cretins with silly names. His own codename Mesmero has a certain devilish flare, but their names were uninspired. He was christened back when being a villain was more than just a job. Mesmero found himself banging his fingertips over the edge of the balcony of his own apartment. Gauntlet came to eliminate him and shot him, sending him plummeting down to his death. At least that was what Gauntlet thought. In the moment before Gauntlet fired, Mesmero was able to reach out and take over his mind. He instructed Gauntlet to fire past away from Mesmero's actual position, convinced the man that he had actually killed Mesmero, and told him to take his dreary little friends and leave the apartment. Which he did.
Gauntlet was through with Mesmero, but Mesmero was not through with Gauntlet. Mesmero kept concentrating and managed to extend his influence on the mind of the "stupid man" for months. He used this power to torment his would-be killer. He made Gauntlet step in front of oncoming traffic, caused him to buy shoes that he did not really need, and had him start overeating until Gauntlet gained 50 pounds (22.68 kilograms) in additional weight. He only let go of Gauntlet when he got bored with the game. The experience changed Mesmero's outlook on himself and his powers. He has realized that he is much like a virus, able to infect minds and stay in them until he himself provides the cure.
The scene shifts to Hull House, where there is a farewell party for Lilli who has just been adopted. Her adoptive father Mr. Smith offers to collect Lilli's things before leaving. Beatrice de la Salle tells Lilli that she should be excited to have a new home and a new family. Beatrice promises the rest of the children at Hull House that they too can can find loving parents to adopt them. Lilli has a private farewell and a hug from her close friend Claire. She promises not to forget Claire and hopes to keep in contact with her through correspondence and telephone calls. She also hopes to convince the Smiths to adopt Claire as well, since she could need a sister.
While escorting Lilli to the waiting car of the Smiths, Beatrice offers her some cryptic advise. She explains that there are things in life that people must do to make their world better. If things do not work out for Lilli, she can always return to Hull House. But this would mean that Lilli has failed to perform her duty, and they would not want that. As they part, Beatrice tells Lilli to do as she is told and she should not have any problems. As Lilli is about to enter the car, she sees a stranger waiting for her inside. He tells her to hop in. She does so, but asks where are Mr. and Mrs. Smith, her new parents. The stranger informs her that she was not really adopted by the Smiths, she was adopted by her country. Canada has custody of her.
The stranger introduces himself as Mr. Proctor, or "Coordinator". His job is to coordinate things. His agency knows what Lilli can do and its people are very excited about it. He explains that her abilities will allow her to become a member of Alpha Flight, and that is a special honor. He also promises her that she will become a national celebrity. The car leads her directly to the Department H headquarters. Lilli does not protest and realizes that her thoughts do not really matter. Hull House has taught her to accept that some things are as they are and that she has no control over them.
Over the next hours, Lilli gets to accept many treatments. She is forced to watch strangely hypnotic films. She is fed "energy building" drinks. She is stripped to her underwear and measured for a costume tailor-made to her specifications. She has an identification tattooed on her lower back. This causes her slight pain and reminds her of her deceased grandfather branding cattle. At the end of the day, she is led to her new room and Proctor checks her on her condition. She claims the experience was okay, but immediately asks him if she can call her friend Claire at Hull House. He denies her permission and tells her that Hull House belongs to her past. She should instead start settling in to her future.
The scene shifts to the exterior of the restaurant. Alpha Flight (Guardian, Manbot, Puck, Sasquatch, and Vindicator) have arrived there in search of the novices. Department H managed to locate the stolen Hummer in this area. Guardian and Vindicator are wearing long overcoats over their suits and have taken off their masks, as they prepare to enter the restaurant and investigate. The other three members of the Flight are instructed to wait outside.
Heather finds it peculiar that the rookies drove all the way to Montreal in the middle of the night and then stayed put in a restaurant. Mac points that they know that the stolen vehicle is here, but not that the rookies stayed in this place. In his view, they may be long gone. He speculates that their sneaking out was just a way to show off their independence. He points that Heather should know about such behavior, since she was young once. Heather takes offense at the implication that she is no longer young, with Mac quick to point out that he was not calling her old. As they enter the restaurant, they are greeted by Arlette who is apparently working as a waitress. She does not recognize them and simply asks if they are here for lunch.
While they take their seats at a table by their window, Arlette innocently remarks that Heather must be Mac's mother. Heather angrily replies that he is her husband and she seems ready to pick a fight with Arlette. Mac keeps calm and instructs Heather that they should keep a low profile until they find out what is going on. He has realized that Arlette is not acting like herself and has failed to recognize them. Heather agrees that something strange is going on, though she suspects that Arlette may be acting strange on purpose. She finds the restaurant to be normal-looking and nobody seems out place to her.
As soon as she says that, Jared arrives to clean their table. He casually uses his force field to clean the table from crumbs left from previous customers. He then smiles, politely asks whether they would like a salad, and flirts a bit with Heather. She is stunned to see him acting like this, but manages to hide it from Jared. She agrees to order a salad and discovers it will be prepared by Adrian, who is also working there. Adrian is using his own metal limbs as kitchen knives and chops vegetables.
Mac notes that they have located three of the four missing person. Heather points that they are there physically but not mentally. They still have not found the "Japanese man" (Sunfire). She knows how Shiro looks like because Clarke showed them pictures of him. She rises from the table and feigns going to the bathroom. She actually plans to search around for Shiro. She locates Shiro at the kitchen, where he is using his powers to cook burgers for the customers. Deciding that something is really off, Heather takes off her overcoat and asks Mac to call for reinforcements. Guardian takes off his own overcoat and summons Puck and Manbot (but not Sasquatch). Mesmero is rather surprised at the development, but uses a mental command to have Radius attack the Guardian. Radius obeys and attacks in haste.
The scene shifts back at the Department H headquarters, at the rooms reserved for the Prometheus Division. The Division works on technologies that the Department has "appropriated" (stolen) from various sources. The head of the Division is currently Dr. Myra Haddock, who is presiding in a meeting. Her subordinates report on what they have managed to acquire. One of them reports that they purchased a sound hammer wrist-attachment which used to belong to the super-villain Klaw. Another subordinate reports that they intervened in a field operation of S.H.I.E.L.D. and managed to get away with a recent model of the Life-Model Decoy technology. The LMD they have stolen has the form of Nick Fury. The same subordinate also reveals that they have faced a failure as well. They acquired what was supposedly a sample of Spider-Man's webbing, but it proved to be a fake.
Myra starts giving instructions, starting with having the stolen LMD delivered to Dr. Ko Bin Su for examination. The meeting is interrupted by a subordinate named Larry, who is eager to show something to Myra. He calls her by her first name and she does not seem to mind. She follows him, though she does not really expect positive results from his project. He has called on her enthusiastically before, only to demonstrate his latest failed attempt. This time, she is surprised. Larry and his team have managed to get the Prometheus Pit in working condition, after so many years of it being inactive. Myra claims that this was her very first acquisition for the Division and she is eager to finally have it under her control. She expects this break-through to bring new life and new power to their Division. She is very pleased.
The scene shifts to the restaurant, where Flex, Murmur, Radius, and Sunfire are attacking Guardian and Vindicator. Everyone is back in uniform. The artwork is looking more like a cartoon, according to the narration because this is the way Mesmero sees the world. Radius punches Guardian, but accidentally saves him from the fire-blasts of Sunfire. Flex is determined to stab Vindicator with his blades, but she manages to evade his attacks. One failed attack leads to Flex having his hand stuck in a table.
Manbot, Puck, and Sasquatch finally arrive. Guardian instructs them to subdue the novices. Sasquatch responds with a powerful punch to Radius, knocking the rookie into the nearest wall. Guardian tries to explain to the beast that their purpose is to subdue their teammates, not to kill them. Meanwhile Puck evades fire-blasts from Sunfire. He recognizes the man as "Shiro", but Shiro identifies himself as "Sunfire, Lord of the Living Samurai". Heather calls out to the others to pay attention to the civilians in the restaurant, who all act as if there is no fight and keep acting normally. She thinks they are all in a trance and have to be kept out of harm's way.
Guardian attacks Sunfire with a powerful blast of electromagnetic energy, which seems to take out the Japanese man. Guardian is then punched by Sasquatch, who is out of control. Sasquatch then attempts to use his razor-sharp teeth to attack Radius, who seems rather scared. Puck tries to stop Sasquatch and suggests they need Murmur to control the beast. Meanwhile Murmur attempts to touch Heather and commands her to die. Vindicator grabs Murmur's hand in time and causes it to touch Arlette's own face. She decides to see whether she can have Murmur use her power on herself. She threatens Murmur to command herself to remember, or else Heather with shoot lava on Arlette's pretty face. She knows that the vain Arlette worries about the safety of her face and her threat works. Murmur gives the command and suddenly remembers who she is, escaping Mesmero's control.
Vindicator instructs Murmur to use her power and the word "remember" on the rest of the novices. Meanwhile, Heather will face whoever is behind this scheme. She thinks she remembers what villain has this kind of powers. Mesmero reminds Heather of his identity and places her under his control. The action then shifts to the parallel efforts of Murmur and Mesmero. She is trying to free Alphans from control, he is trying to place more Alphans under control. Arlette frees (in order) Flex, Sunfire, and Radius. Mesmero enslaves (in order) Guardian, Puck, and Sasquatch. He discovers that his powers that his powers do not work on Manbot. At the end, Mesmero commands the enslaved heroes to attack the free ones and eliminate them. The story ends, with a "to be continued" notice for the next issue.
- According to the narrative of the issue, Mesmero has always been "a second-rate villain" and is aware of his own status. He has considerable power and has enjoyed the right opportunities, but he has never had the right plan. Which is why he has always failed.
- When Murmur and Mesmero tried to use their mind-control powers on each other, Mesmero won. He comments that he is a more powerful mental manipulator than she is.
- The previous meeting between Alpha Flight and Mesmero mentioned in this issue took place in Alpha Flight Vol 1 43 (February, 1987). However, Mesmero misrepresents the events of that issue when describing them. Alpha Flight was not there to help him face the Sentinels Mk VI, they were there to free the human hostages that Mesmero was holding. Alpha Flight defeated and destroyed the Sentinels, while the Purple Girl defeated Mesmero and freed the hostages. In that issue, it was also revealed that her mind-control powers are more powerful than his own.
- The meeting between Mesmero and the Dark Riders, and his apparent deaths at the hands of Gauntlet took place in X-Men Vol 2 21 (June, 1993). This issue retcons away the events of the death, and explains that Mesmero actually took control of Gauntlet, and caused him to believe that he killed Mesmero. It also explains what has Mesmero been up to since his apparent death.
- Mesmero's narration in this issue makes it sound like he had no actual activities between Alpha Flight Vol 1 43 (February, 1987) and X-Men Vol 2 21 (June, 1993). This overlooks his appearances in other titles, including X-Factor Vol 1, Excalibur Vol 1, and Captain America Vol 1. This was actually a busy period for him.
- The scenes involving Lilli introduce some information about her and her family background, but do not actually give her a last name. Her last name, "Stephens", was introduced years after the conclusion of the series.
- Prior to her arrival in Hull House, Lilli's legal guardian was apparently her grandfather. What happened to her parents has never been established.
- This is the first appearance of Doctor Myra Haddock on panel, but she was previously mentioned in Alpha Flight Vol 2 2 (September, 1997). In that issue she was mentioned as the only person missing from a meeting of the leadership of Department H.
- Mesmero theorizes that Gauntlet is an obsessive fan of the film The Gauntlet (1977) and has named himself after the film.
- This issue marks the last actual appearance of Hull House in Alpha Flight Vol 2. Several of the mysteries established about the orphanage and its ties to Department H were never explained or otherwise resolved.
- The last panel featuring Lilli in her bedroom depicts her wearing a basic red and white outfit. Whether it was intended to be her new uniform is unclear. She wears different clothes in subsequent appearances, and her first official uniform was completely different in design.