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Peter David (Writer), Andrew Currie (penciller), Dave Lanphear (Letterer), Andrew Hennessy (inker), Rob Schwager (Colourist), Rich Ginter (production), John Barber (Editor), Joe Quesada (Editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (Publisher)
In the future Wonder Man thinks about changes and the thawing of ice and people. In the present Simon introduces Ladykiller to her room in a SHIELD safehouse. She attacks him and is electrocuted by a shock collar, as he explains this will continue to happen whenever she tries to hurt someone but if she wants she could play checkers with Beast instead. Ladykiller tries to escape once she is left alone but stumbles into a booby trap and is dropped into a room with Beast who is ready to play checkers. Later in the kitchen Simon explains that he is immortal and so can wait much longer than she can for her to stop being stubborn and then asks about her life. She explains how she was sold into sex slavery and ended up killing the first man who tried to have sex with her. Carol and Simon discuss whether this project will work (Carol is doubtful) meanwhile Ladykiller is trying to escape again but once more stumbles into a booby trap. Later still, Simon asks her about her life, she tells him she was recruited and tested by the Mandarin who was impressed by her ruthlessness and gave to her the name Huan despite the fact he never recruits women. Later Simon is on the phone to his agent/producer Neal who thinks the project is going well, Beast bursts in to tell him Huan has escaped finally but as they’re trying to track her down Beast finds her sitting in the living room where she moves the first checker. She was not going to get caught by another boobytrap. She kicks over the table but Beast believes this is a positive first step.
Simon is climbing Mt Kilamanjaro, thinking about how there used to be ice and snow but that has long gone and been forgotten by everyone alive. He wonders if the same applies to him, is Wonder Man still Wonder Man if no one remembers him as such? He muses about the thawing of ice and how it could be either positive or negative and then thinks back to ‘Huan’ and how he looked for a thaw in her.
Wonder Man is introducing Ladykiller to her new room in a SHIELD safehouse. He calls her by her real name Huan and she demands to know how he knows it. When he glibly dismisses the question she attacks him and is electrocuted by her shock collar. He informs her that ‘the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results’ and that her collar will shock her whenever she tries to hurt someone as part of rehabilitation. Simon leaves telling her that Hank McCoy will happily play checkers against her if she wants.
Ladykiller once alone growls and then kicks her way through the metal shutter which covers the window. She laughs with success and jumps down from the bedroom. A trampoline appears from the ground and bounces her through an open door into a sitting room where Hank McCoy is reading a book in front of a checkers board. He asks if she would like to move first.
Simon and Huan are in the kitchen and he is dropping water onto a rock with a pipette. He explains that given enough time the rock will wear away. Huan is the rock and his is… Huan interrupts and suggests he is ‘the drip’. Simon is surprised with her making a joke. He informs her that he is immortal and he is willing to watch her grow old and die if she continues to be stubborn. He asks to know about her life.
Huan remembers a dead man. She explains how her parents sold her into slavery on her 12th birthday to pay a debt. She ended up in a brothel where a large man came to her room and told her she was beautiful. She began to undo his necktie as instructed and then throttled him to death with it - she had strong arms from her childhood on the farm.
A bodyguard/security burst into the room and threatened to shoot her. The woman who ran the brothel entered and told him to stop, she knew someone who would appreciate her artistry. Young Huan asked if she was an artist and was told she is clearly a prodigy, a thing of beauty. This was the second time she has been called beautiful in 5 minutes, but this time she believed it.
Huan leaves with Simon looking dejected. Carol Danvers enters and asks him how everything is going (referring to him as Professor Higgins). Simon tells her what Huan just told him, Carol doesn’t think it’s a very good sign. She admits she is helping as a favour, she admires his belief in the endless capacity and potential of the human spirit but she fears Huan is just manipulating him and trying to escape. Simon agrees it is a possibility.
At that moment Huan is in the attic kicking through another shutter. She climbs to the roof and begins to run, a trapdoor opens beneath her and she drops down a shoot into the living room with Hank. He tells her again that it is her move.
Simon and Huan are playing pool. She asks why all they do is play games. He asks if she thought they would torture her, they’re Americans they don’t do that. She tells him he is insane to believe that and throws a pool ball against his head. He asks her not to do that because it might damage the ball and then asks her to tell more of her story.
Huan was brought to Zhang Tong, the leader of a criminal empire. He interviewed her and explained that she was there because she killed a man who he had marked for death and she did it efficiently and ruthlessly. He usually had little use for women but he was willing to give her a test. She was handed a gun with a single bullet and told to use it wisely. If she killed herself she would escape a life of misery, if she killed him she would be allowed free, if she tried and failed to kill him, she would die painfully. He gave her 10 seconds to make a decision but she shot at him instantly. He applauded her resolve but criticised her marksmanship as she shot well over his head. Just then the burning lamp above him fell onto his robes.
Young Huan started to run and was hauled into the air by green energy, suspended upside down. She spat and cursed at him. He told her that she would be named Huan which means ‘Jade ring’ to remind her who is her master and asked if she wanted to be trained to kill. She replied that she did.
Simon realises that her master was the Mandarin. Huan is now free as his organisation is over, Huan agrees but now she works for another and Simon would have to torture her to find out who.
He asks if she ever saw her parents again? She responds that she did once in passing. Huan remembers seeing them burning as she watched.
Simon is on the phone to Neal about the documentary who is being very positive about the footage they’re getting. Beast bursts in and says that Huan has escaped through the basement, she must have squeezed through a tiny window which they thought too small to escape from.
They spot her on CCTV as she cautiously looks around for boobytraps, of which there are none (Beast not thinking she could escape that way). Carol says she will go after her and takes to the air to find her.
Beast rushes off and as he’s running through the living room finds Huan sitting there with her arms folded. She thought it was a bluff to see her tricked again and she refuses to give them the satisfaction. She kicks moves one of the checker pieces and then kicks over the table.
Beast remarks that ‘It’s a start’.
Neal (Wonder Man’s agent)
In the future:
The title (and Carol calling Simon Professor Higgins) is a reference to the musical “My Fair Lady” which is in turn based on George Bernard Shaw’s play “Pygmalion”. In both plays the story is about a professor transforming an ordinary flower girl into a true lady.