The following was originally published in the November 18th issue of The Washington Comet. It is reproduced below, with the permission of all the parties involved.
The Crisis Command, the world’s most mighty, the champions of tomorrow, the super-team of America. Everyday we watch them save our world- a team of diverse individuals who fight off the absurdly abnormal with impossible ideas. They’re a busy bunch, and they do difficult work.
But the Crisis Command has graciously agreed to take some time to sit down with us here at The Washington Comet, so that we may all better get to know the people who walk among us with such tremendous talents.
Over the next few months, we’ll be covering each and every single member of the team closely. From what they’re enjoying on TV to their stance on what they believe their super-team represents, we’ll be digging into all the details. Today, we pick up with the most enigmatic of them all. The super-warrior of the Command, the Action Surgeon himself: Sawbones!
It’s a chilly night, as we huddle around a fireplace for comfort. The man before me seems untouched by the cold the way me and my team are. He sits with an assured confidence and ease, his hands held together over his knees. His eyes gleam red through his mask, watching us all, seemingly sizing us all up. And yet his face remains calm, offering no hint at all as to whatever it is he’s thinking.
One gets the impression this is a man that’s never lost a game of Poker.
‘Ready?’ he asks, with a small grin. Suddenly I am reminded of every sports coach I’ve ever had.
‘Y-Yes,’ I manage, lying, as the cold is still too much.
His grin widens.’Let’s get into it’ he commands, and I obey.
TWC: T-Thank you for sitting down with us, Mr. Mendez. How are you today?
How do I look? I’m good enough. Both ends of the candle are pretty much burned down between the next crisis, and nights shadowing in the emergency department. Best way to learn about pain, causing it and solving it, is hands-on, and I’m always learning.
TWC: Now, to start us off, I understand you used to play the Violin, yes? Are you much of a music person these days? What does Sawbones like to listen to? What are the Sawbones favorites? What are you into, and what does your musician hall of fame look like?
I miss the violin, I’ll tell you that. I miss working with my hands. Before…well, before I was Sawbones, I stood up in protest against abuse of power in my local government. You’ll understand I can’t really say where I grew up, people to protect. You know the line. But in the violence that followed, I lost the ability to play. It wasn’t until I got these powers I found a new way to give something back to the world. Now my obsession with precision and perfection goes into my career in costume, finding out everything there is to know about human bodies…so I can better protect them.
So music was my passion, and I still love it. But sometimes it’s hard to go back, and relive that loss. So I try to push forward. Still…give me the right sequence of drinks and we can talk about twentieth century serialism.
TWC: Now, I asked your colleague Noa-I mean, Prizefighter, about this, but I gotta know, how did you put your costume together? From your special lens-mask to everything else, what was the deal?
Talking to Prizefighter you might think we’re all in this for a photo-op or a hashtag. But the Sawbones gear is all about function. When I step out into the world, I’m either there to cause pain or heal pain, and in both cases I need to work with precision. My biospectral vision lets me see inside, where everyone hides their secrets. My gear lets me act quickly and efficiently on what I see there – tactical medical devices, goggles with smart displays and targeting software, stab and bullet resistant weaves for when things get messy. When you’re an action surgeon, you never leave home without all the right tools.
TWC: One thing everyone’s dying to know: What was your upbringing like? How did Sawbones come to be?
I grew up surrounded by people. Our community was very tight, and my mom was always cooking for everyone. I forget how old I was when I finally realized our neighbors weren’t actually blood, but even so, I never stopped seeing them as family. She loved bringing people together, looking after them. I got my sense of community from her. My hot streak comes from my father – he was the one that taught me to stand up to bullies. He worked at a steel mill, back when that kind of work was plenty for a small family to live comfortably. Tough and, let’s say guarded, as he was, though, the violin was all him. Well, not all. He started that fire, and my mom kept it going.
TWC: I understand you’re able to see the flaws in all things, is that right? How does that even work? That is, of course, if you’re willing to speak on it.
Without getting into the gory details, my biospectral vision lets me see people in more detail than the best medical imaging software. So I can see everything from swollen lymph nodes, old football injuries, cataracts, scar tissue, even an intestinal blockage. I don’t know that I’d call them flaws, but everyone’s body is a story of their history, the pain they’ve overcome or are currently dealing with. I can see pressure points, weak points, and if you’re someone causing other pains, then I use those to put you down. If you’re not, then I can see how fastest to put you at ease. I’ve found it’s best to know when to turn it on or turn it off, learned that the hard way after I got these powers and started trying to date again. Sometimes, a little mystery goes a long way in my private life. But professionally? My eyes are always on.
TWC: That’s…how do you even go about everyday life like that? Seeing the weaknesses and messes in all things, as they appear crystal clear. Do you find it hard to do what you do? To believe in people?
I think, growing up like I did, I learned to see when people were hurting, even if they didn’t explicitly say what was wrong. Reading people was something I was very used to, even before the powers. So that part of the job is easy. Believing in people can be hard, but all we have is each other. The alternative just leads to hopelessness, and that’s no way to live.
TWC: Well then, what do you reckon are the biggest flaws of our current society right now? And does the perspective to see problems display any solutions as well? Do you have any thoughts as to how we might fix things?
I think it’s easy to get wrapped up in your own problems and think that they’re unique. It doesn’t take special powers to see that we’re all a lot more similar than some folks are willing to admit. A great first step toward a solution would be reminding people of that.
TWC: I’m curious then, what are your thoughts on The American Individuality act?
It’s a mistake, and it’s frustrating to see so many people jumping on this ridiculous bandwagon. Encouraging this kind of divisiveness is irresponsible, at the very least.
TWC: What are your thoughts on Madame Fury? Can we expect a team-up soon?
Madame Fury? Well, you wanted the truth…I don’t know who that is. Can’t say I was so into the costume world before becoming part of it. Probably got some studying to do, as if there’s ever downtime.
TWC: What is it like being a mortal man with guns and blades next to superhumans like Originator, who can alter reality with a word, and Prizefighter, whose might is limited only by the belief of his audience?
It means always being on, but that’s not much different from when I was my own advocate, trying to make it in music. But the reality is those so called superhumans are my friends, and the more powerful you are, the more you need someone to remind you how the powerless might feel. And even with all their abilities, they’ve still got human bodies, and if it came down to it…I know where they’re hiding their secrets.
TWC: What is the ultimate goal and purpose of The Crisis Command, for you? Who do you serve, and to what end, in the end?
Every day is a new crisis, but the goal is always the same: keeping people, and hope, alive long enough to see a new day.
TWC: Well then, let me ask you this: Have The Crisis Command ever lied or kept vital secrets from us, the people?
I can’t speak for the others, but look at how I embarrassed myself above not knowing about Madame Fury. I’ve answered every question I’ve been asked since putting on the uniform honestly.
TWC: There are a lot of people of color, particularly men, who are taken by your example. You’ve grown into quite the symbol. What do you have to say to that?
I’ve never been comfortable with hero-worship, honestly. I’m not just the clips you see on the news – I’m a whole person, complete with flaws. If what I do inspires others to strive to be better, that’s great, but every single one of us is a person in progress, including me.
TWC: Do you happen to have any personal heroes? People you look upto?
Well, obvious answer is my parents. They shaped me, gave me my work ethic, taught me right from wrong, and encouraged me to have empathy for others, like good parents should. One of the biggest impacts on me was this little old guy that ran one of the neighborhood spots. He had two things on the menu, and that was it. Place didn’t even have specific hours. He opened at lunch, and closed whenever he sold out for the day. Nobody questioned it – well, until me, of course. I asked if he’d ever consider expanding the menu. He stopped what he was doing and sat me down. “Mijo,” he said, “I can cook just about anything you’d want, but these two dishes are my favorites. So I’ll always strive to make the best possible version of them, every day.” And that always stuck with me.
TWC: Do you believe in god then? Are you religious at all?
My whole neighborhood, including my parents, was Catholic, but it wasn’t ever something I really bought into. The sense of community was nice, but the Church is so hypocritical – I got disillusioned pretty early on. I still believed in some higher power, just not whatever they were peddling. After I got my vision, though, I stopped believing all together.
TWC: How do you spend your time off? Who is Ignacio Mendez, truly, beyond the superheroes? What does the ‘Action Surgeon’ do to relax? How does the man who sees flaws in all things find joy every day? And does that power extend to art as well?
Time off. Now there’s a concept. I’ve always put my all into whatever skill I’m learning, from the violin, to activism, and now, to honing my biospectral vision. I’ve never been really good at time off. When I’m not “on duty,” I’m usually putting time in at hospitals, trying to learn as much as I can about the human body. I’m not averse to blowing off some steam with a colleague, though.
TWC: Now, for the final question that I must ask everyone. Favorite alcoholic drink, go.
The first drink I ever had was a sip of my dad’s Paloma. Since then, it’s always been my go-to on the off chance I allow myself time to unwind.
And that was Ignacio Mendez, Sawbones! Join us next month, as we speak to the most mystical of the Command, Originator!
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