Isaac Mendez is a gifted artist. He is played by Santiago Cabrera.
Isaac is a wiry and handsome 28 year old gifted painter and comic book artist. He is also a strung out heroin junkie, unable to get through the day without a fix. Isaac specializes in violent images of tragedy. He assumed it was simply his style, until one day he picked up the paper and saw the image of a bus crash - the exact image he painted three weeks earlier.
Powers and Weaknesses
- Precognition — Isaac can paint future events in advance in detail.
- Isaac is finally learning how to paint without being high.
- Isaac has no knowledge of when the events he paints will happen, making it difficult to use the paintings until the event is upon him.
Isaac Mendez was in his studio attempting to destroy some paintings when his girlfriend of two years, Simone Deveaux walked in and stopped him. Isaac told her that he can't remember painting the canvasses, since he's been high for a month. He showed her different paintings. One painting he did weeks ago matches a newspaper photograph of a bus bombing in Israel yesterday. Another painting shows the Odessa train wreck that is being shown on a nearby television. The paintings are all a lot older than the events they show. Simone tried to get him to enter a rehab program, but Isaac decided to try and quit cold turkey and drove her out.
Wanting to help Isaac ease off heroin, Simone enlisted the help of her father's hospice nurse, Peter Petrelli to administer some morphine to him, but when they entered his apartment they found him on the floor of his studio, overdosed on heroin. Simone called 911. Peter wandered through the paintings and found one of himself falling or flying. Isaac muttered "we have to stop it." Simone and Peter see Isaac's newest painting covering the floor. It's New York city under a massive nuclear mushroom cloud.
A day or more later, Isaac and Simone were fighting. He pointed to the painting on the floor of New York being destroyed, and warned Simone that this will come true. Simone dismissed his claim and gave him an ultimatum — her or the drugs.
Simone wanted to sell some of Isaac's paintings and try get him straight. He asked her how he's supposed to paint the future without drugs. He said that all the paintings he's done lately have come true, and he thinks that he has to stop the nuke. Isaac told Simone that if she doesn't believe in him, she can leave. Simone dumped Isaac. Isaac got a phone call from Hiro Nakamura, but he doesn't understand Japanese so he told Hiro that he must have a wrong number and hung up. That night he was flipping through a sketchbook and saw a sketch of Simone and Peter kissing in the rain.
The next day, Simone once again came to see Isaac about selling some of his paintings. He told her that he can't sell the new ones, he's going to need them to prevent the nuclear catastrophe. Simone says she can try and sell the old ones, but she isn't sure if anyone will buy them. Isaac asked for an advance so he can buy "painting supplies". Simone turns him down, knowing the supplies are heroin. Isaac showed Simone the sketch of her kissing Peter in the rain and asked her where she was last night. She asked him if he was following her. He told her he sketched that seven weeks ago, and pointed out the painting of Peter flying which he also painted long before he ever met him. He asked Simone if she's in love with Peter. She says she doesn't know how she feels about Peter, or how she feels about him. Simone asked Isaac if thinks he can save everyone by doing heroin. Isaac said he can save everyone, he's going to be a hero.
Isaac used the last of his heroin and started painting, hoping his art will reveal a clue to stopping the nuclear blast. His irises go milky white and he sees images, a terrified cheerleader (Claire) being chased by an unknown person who casts a menacing shadow. He was so absorbed in his work that he didn't hear Peter and Mohinder Suresh knocking.
Peter Petrelli came to see Isaac. Isaac didn't want to talk to him, saying "You've already taken Simone, what else do you want to take from me?" Peter excitedly told Isaac that he believed he could paint the future. Isaac said that if he sounded like that, no wonder Simone left him. Peter wandered the apartment looking at Isaac's paintings . He saw Claire in one, and recognized her as the cheerleader that must be saved. Peter arranged some of Isaac's paintings and realized that they're related, telling a story. He asked Isaac who the cheerleader was, but he didn't know who or where she was since he had painted while high. Peter asked Isaac to finish the half-finished painting of the man in the baseball cap, but Isaac told him that he couldn't because he was out of heroin and out of money to buy heroin. Peter successfully mimicked Isaac's power and started painting as Isaac watched. By the time he was done, Isaac realized that they had to save the cheerleader. Isaac's phone rang, but he told Peter not to get it, it was just some Japanese man getting a wrong number and leaving messages for him. Peter answered the phone.
When Peter confirmed that it was Hiro Nakamura phoning, he told him he has a message: Save the cheerleader, save the world. Hiro and Ando Masahashi were confused - what cheerleader. Peter asks Isaac, but he didn't know, and told Peter to tell the caller that a guy from the future told him. Peter said the caller is the guy from the future. Peter told Hiro to come to New York and they'll find her together. Peter and Isaac looked at the paintings. Peter thinks they look like panels in a comic book, but there's a panel missing. Isaac said that Simone must have taken it to sell. He doesn't remember what was on it, he was high when he painted it.
Later that day, Isaac stared at a painting of Niki passed out, and instinctually rubs away some paint, revealing Alternate Niki's tattoo. There's a knock at his door. It's Eden McCain. She asked Isaac if she can come in.
She convinced Isaac to go with her, taking his paintings, to Odessa where he could be cleaned up and learn how to use his power without the drugs. Mr. Bennet went to see him and told him that the cheerleader he's been painting is his daughter, Claire, and the man in the baseball cap is called Sylar, and he's going to kill Claire. Mr. Bennet tells Isaac that Sylar hunts down and murders special people like Claire, and him. He asks Isaac to paint a picture to help him find Sylar. Isaac has been trying but can't yet without using heroin. Mr. Bennet produces some, but Isaac angrily refuses, he's trying to clean up. He asks Mr. Bennet to let him try one more time without the drugs, but was unable to produce a painting. Eden came to see him and used her power of suggestion to make him take the drugs. Isaac painted a man in a city, exploding.
Isaac told Eden he doubted that he would be able to paint the future sober. Eden reassured him that he would learn. She told Isaac that Claire is alive, thanks to him. She told Isaac that she’s leaving Odessa. Isaac asked her what good painting the future is if he’s locked up here. Eden kissed him on the cheek and gave him a cell phone and keycard so he could leave. He called Hiro and met him and Ando in Midland. Isaac was astonished that Hiro had a copy of the comic that wasn’t even out at the printers yet. He believed that he did go to the future. Hiro told Isaac the rest of what he saw in the future. Isaac told them that the brain-stealing man had been caught. Ando and Hiro were glad because he killed a friend of theirs. Isaac pulled out sketches of Hiro, Ando and Charlie he drew while sober and asked them if that was their friend. They confirmed it and Isaac realized that he didn’t need the drugs after all. Isaac told them that he painted a man exploding – he thinks that’s what destroys New York. They went to a motel to try and get Isaac to do another painting of the future. Isaac was unsure how to do it until Hiro suggested he concentrate. His eyes turned milky white and he began to paint. He painted Hiro with a sword facing off against a dinosaur.
Urged on by his instructor, Dominick Cabalo, Isaac honed his art skills and took various summer classes to help develop his craft. It wasn't until high school when he began winning illustration contests. With even more classes in illustration and design courses under his belt, Isaac moved to New York and soon after high school took various courses in college for comic book illustration. It wasn't until the annual New York Comic Convention that he caught the eye of Camacho Comics and they hired him on the spot. He worked there for 3 years, all the while learning the ins and outs of the business. Then in 2002, he self-published his own line of comics under his old Uncle Burk's name—one of the biggest influences in his life who supported his love of comics.
- 1x01 - Genesis: Isaac discovers that he can apparently paint the future, and it scares him.
- 1x05 - Hiros: Isaac and Peter team up to try and find a cheerleader.
- 1x11 - Fallout: Isaac decides to find Hiro Nakamura.
- I didn't do it, it was the one-handed man: In the original pilot, Mendez handcuffed himself to a pipe in an attempt to quit cold turkey, and the withdrawl was so painful that he cut off his hand so he could get at his drugs. Tim Kring explains the reason for the change: "That was changed because as we started breaking the story, we realized that we wanted to condense the actual real time of the series, so that you would come back each week and it would literally be the next minute or the next hour. And it just became too unwieldy for us to have a character, who was going to play a major role, having to deal with such a huge physical, medical issue and having a hand cut off. So we decided that it was sort of too ambitious for us to try to do that with this character."
- Isaac painted a total solar eclipse. This one may not be a precognitive painting, as that event would have been in the news
- Isaac painted a hand holding a glass or container with a bubbling liquid inside.
- Isaac didn't finish a painting of a girl apparently in a yellow jacket.
- Isaac painted a burning bus that later Isaac discovered was identical to a television story showing a suicide bombing in Israel.
- Isaac painted the depiction of a fiery train wreck, the one in Odessa that Claire Bennet ran into to save a man. Isaac also later saw this story on the news.
- Isaac painted a portrait of Peter Petrelli jumping off a building and seemingly flying. Isaac hadn't met Peter yet.
- Isaac painted a nuclear explosion in Manhattan on the concrete floor of Isaac's apartment. Isaac thinks his destiny is to stop that from happening.
Don't Look Back
- Isaac will author and illustrate the 14th issue of the comic book, 9th Wonders that depicts Hiro's "origin story"
- In the future, Isaac painted at least four different paintings of the mystery helix symbol
One Giant Leap
- Isaac paints a picture of Claire Bennet walking away from Zach in a school hall. He doesn't know who either of these people are at this point.
- Isaac looks at sketches from a few weeks back and sees Peter Petrelli and Simone Deveaux kissing under a red umbrella in the rain.
- Isaac painted a self-portrait of himself in his studio waking up from a precognitive trance.
- Isaac painted Claire on a set of bleachers as a shadowed figure approaches her.
- Isaac painted what appears to be a locker door flying at Peter Petrelli.
- Isaac painted Hiro Nakamura and his friend Ando in front of a "Homecoming" banner.
- Isaac painted Claire, looking scared and reaching toward the viewer.
- While he was high, Isaac half-finished a painting of a man in a baseball cap, casting a shadow. This is likely Sylar. Peter Petrelli mimicked Isaac's power to finish the painting, which showed a dead cheerleader, missing the top of her head.
- Isaac painted a picture of Niki awake.
- Isaac painted a picture of Alternate Niki falling unconcious. He painted over her tattoo, but later had the instinct to wipe the paint away from it.
Seven Minutes to Midnight
- Isaac's painting of a hand holding a glass with bubbling liquid inside might have been about the interrogation of Theodore Sprague.
- Isaac painted Charlie in the Burnt Toast Diner.
- Isaac painted a car exploding - this seems to be from the escape of Theodore Sprague from custody.
- Isaac painted Peter Petrelli's broken and lifeless body outside beneath a Union Wells High School Homecoming banner. A clock gave the time as 8:12.
- Isaac painted what appeared to be a being wreathed in flame, shooting fire from its hands walking down a city street. It's a man exploding.
- The painting of Sylar standing over a dead cheerleader was actually of Jackie, not Claire.
- Isaac painted Hiro Nakamura, armed with a sword facing off against a dinosaur.