Oh God my Mind
Alright, our first character without a film appearance of some sort! First thing’s first, this character was a request/suggestion/whatever from Reddit user jbert146! Hi, jbert! Hope you enjoy this bullshit.
So Fantomex was requested on the grounds that, to most people, he’s really confusing from the outset. If you’re one of the rare few who aren’t confused by Fanotmex, congratulations on being Grant Morrison and/or Igor Kordey! Also, if you are those people, what are you doing here? Go write comics, you nerds. Please.
…I love you Grant Morrison.
But yeah, the main thing with Fantomex is that he’s, well confusing. Hell, that’s pretty much his mutant ability. That is, if whoever’s writing him at that time decides he’s a mutant or not. Honestly, the bad news here is that I’m either gonna end up answering no questions that you have or leaving you with a hell of a lot more than you had in the first place. But enough chitchat for now. Let’s fake an education in comics.
So is Fantomex a Drug Oooooooor
SCENARIO: Let’s say you and a friend are reading some X-Men or X-Force or whatever, and Fantomex comes up, as he tends to do from time to time. You both think he’s pretty cool, because hey, who doesn’t like French gunmen? Shit’s hype. Leon the Professional was French, and everyone loves Leon, because he’s cool. Plus, hey, dark and mysterious past! That’s always fun. But as you both read on, you begin to realize that maybe his past is a bit too dark and mysterious. Neither of you really know what the hell his deal is, and frankly, none of the X-Men seem to know either. So, logically, your friend asks you who Fantomex is, seeing as how you’ve suspiciously become a font of comic book knowledge ever since these articles first started coming out. But here’s the problem: you have no idea what the hell Fantomex’s deal is. Now, of course, you can’t let your friend know that, otherwise your reputation would be ruined, and nerd street cred is everything. So you gotta learn everything about Fantomex. Of course, you could pull up his wiki page, or read up on him in any other way, but wouldn’t you rather have it all streamlined a bit for you? Of course you do. For now, at least. So, here’s what you should know.
Step One: A Brief Explanation of the Weapon Plus Program
Ok, so before we wade into the quagmire of contradictions and crazy bullshit that makes up Fantomex’s life, let’s cover his point of origin first. So the thing with Fantomex is that he was, originally, at least, Weapon XIII. Yes, as in Weapon X, as in Wolverine. See, turns out the X wasn’t an actual X, but a Roman numeral for ten. The actual program itself is known as Weapon Plus, a decades old institution with the goal of creating super soldiers through less than ethical means. Weapon I was the Captain America program, and so on and so forth. Other notable products include the Skinless Man (WHO IS VERY IMPORTANT TO FANTOMEX), Nuke, the Vindicator, Wolverine and the rest of the Weapon X offshoots, the Hound, Huntsman, Fantomex (duh), the Stepford Cuckoos, Ultimaton, and Allgod. Naturally, most of their methods have evolved with the times, moving from eugenics to animal testing and back again, and moving from there into genetic engineering and VR brainwashing and training techniques, and eventually moving into virology. Basically, they just make morally questionable shit, which typically either murder a ton of people and then die, or turn on them and become an X-Man or a member of Alpha Flight or something.They don’t have a super great track record beyond Cap, honestly.
But yeah, bottom lining it, they’re a big ol shadowy government conspiracy with ties to the US and Canada that makes horrible murder creatures that turn out to be heroes sometimes. Aaaaaaand they kinda sorta grew Fantomex in a lab.
Step Two: No Seriously, What is His Deal?
Ooh boy, ok, strap in for this one. So Fantomex’s real name is Jean Phillipe, except no it’s not, it’s Weapon XIII. But wait, it’s actually Jean Phillipe Charlie, or is it actually Charlie Cluster-7? It’s… it’s all of those. We’ll just call him Fantomex though. Makes it easier on all of us. Alright, so Fantomex is a… um… ok, bear with me on this one. He is a mutant, but he’s also a mutate, which is to say, he’s a human who was experimented on until he gained powers, but he’s also part machine, being the product of “mating” between a human mother and a machine. All of this was done in order to create a generation of Super Sentinels, which would be more efficient mutant murder machines. Now, of course, this kind of person didn’t just come into existence naturally. Weapon Plus kind of sort of bred him and forced him through an evolutionary process which triggered his mutation. All of this was done in a virtual reality construct called The World (hey, G Men were never the imaginative types). In this construct, he grew up in “France”, sort of. However, the World apparently didn’t know too much about France, so Fantomex’s accent is a bit iffy.
However, being an international man of mystery, Fantomex keeps up the accent anyways, apparently just to screw with people. No, seriously. That’s a real thing.
Ok, so there’s the confusing origin out of the way. Now, what are his powers, you say? Well… hoo boy.
So you see that big, gross-ass thing up there that’s flirting with Fantomex? That’s E.V.A. She’s his android… ship… thing. Cool, right? Well, here’s where shit gets really weird. See, E.V.A. is kind of Fantomex’s primary nervous system. That he ejects out of his body. Like a sea slug. She is fully sentient, and essentially acts a reverse Venom symbiote, becoming a powerful threat when not bonded with her host body. She’s formed from Fantomex’s Super Sentinel nannies that run through his bloodstream, because Grant Morrison is a god damned crazy person. He can see through her, shape shift her into a ship (kind of like the bio ship in Young Justice), and all sorts of crazy shit. Also, I think she kinda wants to bone him? Which would be an interesting role reversal for him to be inside her for once, come to think of it, but whatever.
Additionally, Fantomex has three brains, because why the hell not. Apparently this is for parallel processing, but whatever. Still weird.
Shockingly, we still haven’t actually gotten to his mutation yet. Of course, in keeping with his theme of being ridiculously god damn confusing, he has the mutant power of… misdirection. Yes, misdirection. Surprisingly, this doesn’t give him the power to do street magic or punk you out of your money in a game of three card monte. Rather, it allows him to trick people by creating illusions with his mind. Kind of like Mastermind, but a little less powerful. Of course, if he is bonded with E.V.A., he gets a little more powerful with his illusions, becoming able to fool psychics, but that’s comics for ya.
Oh, also, his armor and mask are made of special ceramics and have built in shields against telepathy and other psychic attacks. Plus his bullets are alive and can never miss. This is because they are made of the skin of the Skinless Man, who is gonna get a whole article of his own someday, because man did that guy get a raw deal.
Step Three: Further Explanations of the Unexplainable
So hey, Fantomex also doesn’t produce a scent of any kind! So that’s cool! I’m not sure why, but that’s the way it is! Also, he has heightened reflexes, the ability to put himself into a healing trance through light autohypnosis, enhanced strength, AND a secondary nervous system, just in case. Basically, Fantomex is OP, pls nerf.
So what is the purpose of the three brains, you might be asking. Well, apart from being appropriately weird and out there for a Grant Morrison character, as far as I can tell, it basically just exists so that we could get a storyline where Fantomex is resurrected as three separate incarnations of himself. There was him, a female clone named Cluster, and… *sigh* Dark Fantomex, who was way less dumb when he called himself Weapon XIII. As far as I know, the only real differences were that one was a girl and that Dark Fantomex could use the misdirection powers at a higher level than the original. Eventually they refused though, so you know. Comics.
He also works a lot as an art thief, because he’s sort of French, and honestly, being French severely limits your job options to art thievery or being Nicolas Sarkozy, so that’s to be expected.
Apologies to all the French readers that almost certainly don’t exist. Love you all, but you guys are basically Europe’s punching bag until Greece finally finishes going broke.
Oh, also, one time Fantomex shot a kid right in the face, because X-Force is hardcore. Essentially, the team went to go kill what was supposedly a clone of the original Apocalypse, but, surprise surprise, the clone turned out to be a child. A child that Fantomex saw was not about to be killed by the rest of his teammates, and then decided to shoot himself. Why? Because Fantomex gets shit done. In a sort of redemption for killing the absolute hell out of that kid, Fantomex started growing and raising his own clone of Apocalypse, which he named Genesis. You may recognize him from one of the screenshots in last week’s article. He’s a great character. Of course, he only did this in order to save the world from the ever-approaching Age of Apocalypse timeline, but hey, he still unkilled that kid, I guess. Plus, he was technically acquitted of that when he was kidnapped by the Captain Britain Corps and taken to Otherworld in order to stand trial for it. I know, comics are crazy.
Step Four: Oh Please be Satirical
So here’s the main issue with Fantomex: he’s just too god damn confusing. His past is ludicrously convoluted, and it makes getting into the character a struggle. However, the saving grace here is that, apparently, he is meant to be a parody of characters in the trope of “dark mysterious past”. If that’s true (I’m not completely sure), then it’s immediately awesome, and I’m inclined to believe that because Grant Morrison is exactly the kind of guy who would do something like that.
Semi-ironically, as a result of being grown in a sort of reality outside of realities, Fantomex does not exist in the wider Marvel Multiverse, being completely unique to Earth-616. Or whatever the hell it’s called after Secret Wars happened. This actually kind of streamlines his continuity a little bit, meaning that there’s only one version of him to have to read up on (barring his brain-clones, of course), meaning that you don’t have to pore over alternate universe versions of him in order to find the best version of the character.
The issue, of course, is if the parody thing turns out to not be true, then Fantomex is yet another Wolverine, an awesome character who will become less and less interesting the more and more we learn about them. We can only hope.
So, there you have it. About as much as I can give you on Fantomex without spoiling too much of his story beats. If you want to read up on him, feel free to check out his original appearance in New X-Men, as well as his appearances in X-Force. That’s about all I got for that, anything else is up to a matter of personal taste.
Anyways, to prove that Fantomex has gigantic, huge balls, here he is making fun of Watchmen.
Until next time. Remember, suggestions are both welcome and appreciated, and will get articles every other week. See ya!