Psych Ward

Psych Ward: Fantomex

The man who once had three brains adapts to life with just one.

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Fantomex

By Tim Stevens

Fantomex is an adult male who presents as being in excellent physical shape. The client began his life as, essentially, an experiment in building the perfect mutant killing machine. It is ironic then that since becoming “public” he is strongly associated with mutantkind, even rumored to have joined a black-ops offshoot of the mutant rights group the X-Men. While the client has refused to confirm said rumors to this writer, he has hinted that they are indeed true. As a result of his “creation,” he has a significantly unusual physiology, exemplified best by his possession of three brains.

It seems that it was during this rumored membership that the client was killed on a mission. His faithful companion, the biological spaceship E.V.A., attempted to “resurrect” Fantomex via a cloning process. However, because of his aforementioned unusual physiology, the result was that the process produced three versions of Fantomex: the primary, roguish persona who retained the moniker, the female kind-hearted Cluster, and the so-called “evil” version that calls himself “Jean-Phillipe,” but is referred to by the other two clones as “Weapon XIII,” Fantomex’s code name upon his creation.

Since the split, the client has seen his romantic relationship with Betsy Braddock (the prominent mutant rights crusader also known as Psylocke) unravel and a romantic relationship with Cluster (essentially a female version of himself) begin. Also, with his mischievous side becoming dominant in this new body, he has returned to his previous life as a thief with notable gusto.

Fantomex & Cluster

The client—who presents as relaxed and flippant in session, not entirely different from how he presented prior to the “split”—denies that the event has caused him any psychological harm. However, as the therapeutic relationship has grown and evolved, he has admitted to some feelings of incompleteness, a sort of phantom pain of the psychological realm. Additionally, he confesses to meeting Braddock, although he is quick to end any discussion on the matter and remains resolved to not discuss either sense of loss with Cluster.

In some ways, this writer finds that the client “feels” like he has regressed to an earlier state of personality development. Without all aspects of himself represented, he is not unlike a teenager/young adult searching for a fully formed sense of self free of his or her parents. The difference here is, of course, the “parents” in question are just two aspects of his formerly fully formed personality. As such, what might be the best way to “heal” his feelings of incompleteness is to live, pursue healthy interests, explore new and challenging ideas, and develop new and/or deeper bonds with others.

As the therapist, this writer is creating a therapeutic environment that is inspiring to the client to pursue the above recommendations and safe enough that he can bring back his “stories” and explore his emotions regarding them in a nonjudgmental place. That said, he is still an adult, so it is also important that I do this without speaking to him as if he is a teenager as this may rupture the therapeutic bond.

Fantomex

In relation to the external world, the client is concerned about what his “evil” triplet will do, especially as Cluster believes that all three share common drives/goals that are uniquely guided by their new personalities. In other words, if all three wanted an item they couldn’t afford, Fantomex would steal it without anyone noticing, Cluster would negotiate for it using empathy, and Jean-Phillipe would hurt anyone in his way. Although, again, the client insists he is not bothered by the “split” he also seems to feel some sense of responsibility for how his “siblings” behave. This may decrease in time as Fantomex further grows his personality, thus making him feel more “separate” from the clones.

Fantomex has an appointment on June 26 with Doctors Sam Humphries, Adrian Alphona, and Dalibor Talajic. Review file UNCANNY X-FORCE #7 for details.

Psy D. Candidate Tim Stevens, MA is a Dialectical Behavior Therapy Consultant and Practicum Trainee who currently provides therapy and outreach at a state university.

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