Isaac Mendez

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Isaac Méndez
Heroes character
First appearance "Genesis"
Last appearance ".07%" (real-time); "Once Upon a Time in Texas" (flashback)
Portrayed by Santiago Cabrera
Shunsuke Sakuya (Japanese Dub)
Occupation Painter
Comic book artist and writer
Ability Precognition (expressed through visual art)

Isaac Méndez is a fictional character in the NBC drama Heroes. Portrayed by Santiago Cabrera, he has the ability to paint the future.


Isaac Méndez's story begins in the first episode, where he is a struggling, tortured artist living in New York City.

In "Better Halves", Isaac and Peter realize they don't know who the cheerleader was or where she lives. They notice that one of Isaac's canvases of the future is missing. Isaac realizes that Simone has taken it to sell with his other paintings. He doesn't remember what he painted since he was high at the time. After Peter leaves to try to track down the painting another way, Eden McCain visits Isaac's apartment, claiming to be a fan.

In the following episode, Isaac and Eden are in a paper plant in Odessa, Texas where Mr. Bennet works. Bennet tells Isaac that he helps people with special powers to better use them, and suggests that he teach Isaac to use his powers without heroin. Bennet explains that he desperately needs Isaac to create another painting of the cheerleader's attack, as he believes it will let him protect his daughter Claire. Isaac tries again to paint without the drugs, but after that proves unsuccessful, Mr. Bennet has Eden persuade Isaac to take heroin and paint an image.

Two weeks later in "Godsend", Isaac is doing well and has returned to New York. He's maintained his friendship with Hiro and Ando, who are also in New York. At his loft, Isaac is visited by Simone and Nathan Petrelli, Peter's brother, as Nathan wants to check out the "future paintings". Simone hadn't realized Isaac is home. Now clean and able to paint without heroin, Isaac professes his continued love for Simone. She's speechless.

During the events of "Distractions", Isaac is revealed to be actively seeking Peter Petrelli via his power because he has seen that Peter explodes. Isaac is later revealed to be working with Mr. Bennet when he calls him to notify him of Peter's whereabouts.

Isaac blames Peter for Simone's death and tries to shoot him, but Peter escapes. Isaac places Simone's body on his bed. Later, the police, having been sent by Nathan Petrelli, come to his home, saying that Simone was reported missing and neighbors heard a disturbance and gunshots. Then Mr. Bennet and Candice, disguised as Simone and hiding Simone's body, come in and the police excuse themselves. Bennet says they have created an alibi in which Simone will be in Europe for months.

Sylar stands over Isaac, the camera pans away, and Isaac screams as Sylar slices into his skull.[1]

Later Isaac's body is seen, dead on the floor, the top of his skull missing as Sylar uses his ability to paint the future, albeit in a twisted, more nightmarish style.


In "Lizards", Noah Bennet reveals that Isaac Mendez has painted eight as-yet-unfulfilled prophetic paintings and had sent them out to unknown locations prior to his death. Noah Bennet is the first to receive one of the eight paintings which depicted Kaito Nakamura lying dead on the ground after falling off a building. In "Kindred", Mohinder Suresh discovers another painting in Isaac Mendez's loft which has yet to be sent out. This painting depicts Noah Bennet lying dead on the ground from a gunshot wound to the head, while Claire stands nearby with an unknown shadowed character.

In "The Line", the other six paintings in the series of eight are discovered by Noah Bennet and The Haitian. The remaining six depict a bleeding Claire Bennet lying on a staircase; a man holding a vial of clear liquid; Niki Sanders pounding on a door; Peter Petrelli and an unknown man standing together looking out of a window, with a biohazard symbol visible; Hiro Nakamura and Kensei sword fighting; and Mohinder Suresh with a broken nose after firing a pistol, possibly one issued by The Company.


When Hiro Nakamura loses his memory thanks to the interventions of Arthur Petrelli in season 3, he and Ando travel to Kansas to find the latest issue of 9th Wonders. The owners of the store uncover hidden in the first issue an image of Hiro with Claire sixteen years in the past. At the comic store, Ando laments that there are no more issues left to help guide them, but the comic book owner tells them he heard a legend about the last 9th Wonders story. He tells Ando, Matt, and Daphne that he heard that Isaac bequeathed his sketchbook to a publisher's messenger- and that sketch book contains the last 9th Wonders story. This is the same sketchbook and messenger he left his book to in the episode ".07%" from season 1.[2] Before losing his memory, Hiro compares Usutu to Isaac, calling him "Mr African Isaac" before they meet.

Powers and abilities[edit]

Isaac has the power of precognition, which allows him to depict images of the future, usually while in a trance-like state. While in this state, his pupils and irises fade into light white color and he becomes unresponsively focused on painting the images in his mind. Very little context comes to Isaac when he sees the future. He can't tell anything about the people, places, or events involved beyond what he specifically sees at that moment. Thus, he is often surprised to find out weeks later what his work is actually depicting. Also due to the previous heroin use, Isaac was not able to clearly remember certain images after he painted them, as he stated in "Better Halves". It would seem that his precognitive abilities also augment his natural abilities as a painter, as Simone once complimented how much she appreciates the works he creates when he is high, and from the way Peter completed the unfinished portrait in "Hiros" when he first actively duplicated Isaac's power despite the latter having no innate talents whatsoever as a painter. It showed that Peter was painting an image he could partially see, so it could be suggested that Isaac's power allows one to trace an image from the future, rather than paint it from scratch

Originally, Isaac's powers were triggered by the use of heroin, and he was unable to use his powers without it. During the episode "Hiros", Peter Petrelli mimics Isaac's precognitive ability without the use of heroin to finish a picture when Isaac was out of drugs. A TV Guide article from early October, 2006, revealed that he would eventually try to find out if his power works without using heroin.[3] In "Seven Minutes to Midnight", Isaac attempted just this, but was unsuccessful. He does so successfully in "Fallout", after relaxing and taking advice from Hiro Nakamura to concentrate. Neither Peter, nor Sylar, after acquiring Isaac's abilities, needed heroin to paint the future.

In "Distractions", it is revealed that it's possible for Isaac to paint specific people and places if he honed his powers. This honing skill is used to find Peter but Isaac thought it did not work when he drew what seemed to be random scenery when actually Peter was invisible at that location. As evidenced in the episode Isaac reveals that he can interpret his drawings far better than while on heroin.


Isaac's painting of Manhattan's destruction in "Genesis", which forms the primary story arc of the first season.

Each piece is made for the show by comic book artist Tim Sale, who uses an ink wash paint style on paper media. Isaac is only shown painting the beginning outline or adding final coloring to the paintings.[4] The events depicted in each painting are often straightforward and recognizable, but others can be more subjective and open to interpretation. It is common to see a painting with seemingly no significance to the story, only to see it come to fruition in a later episode. For example, a painting of a hand holding a glass of boiling water appeared in pilot episode, "Genesis". This comes to pass seven episodes later during Ted Sprague's interrogation. It was originally supposed to have happened in the 2 hour pilot episode, where a terrorist had the same powers, when he was cut, Ted Sprague was thought up.[citation needed]

Legal issues[edit]

On March 19, 2007, Clifton Mallery and Amnau Karam Eele filed suit against NBC and Tim Kring claiming that the idea for Isaac Mendez, who can paint the future was stolen from a short story, painting and short film that they had produced. The suit was dismissed. On December 11, 2007, the New York Law Journal reported on Mallery v. NBC Universal, quoting from Southern District Judge Denise Cote's opinion that "the line between mere 'ideas' and protected 'expression' is 'famously difficult to fix precisely'", and stating that Heroes was not close to infringing.[5][6]


  1. ^ The Eclipse Pt 2
  2. ^ Zepeda, Dana Meltzer (October 2006). "Everybody's Heroes". TV Guide (October 9–14): 30–31. 
  3. ^ Topel, Fred (2007-02-13). "Tawny Cypress & Santiago Cabrera". Crave Online. Retrieved 2007-02-21. 
  4. ^ Bar, Beth (December 11, 2007). "Judge Dismisses "Absurd" Copyright Suit Over Heroes". New York Law Journal. Retrieved 2008-01-21. 
  5. ^ Smack Talk: Heroes Accused of Thievery