MULTIPLE MAN: Page 6 of 8

Publication Date: 13th May 2021
Written By: Peter Luzifer and Monolith.
Image Work: Peter Luzifer and Gremlin.


Jamie felt his world collapsing around him afterwards. He had come to cherish and rely upon Layla and the stuff she knew far more than he realized. Wolfsbane also chose to leave X-Factor without an explanation (secretly joining the X-Force black ops team to locate her biological father), and the team seemed on the verge of disbanding. Mutant Town itself was in dire straits as many former mutants moved away, leaving the remaining residents of the "Middle East Side" vulnerable to human factions who wanted to reclaim the territory for themselves. A former Purifier seeking revenge on X-Factor and all mutantkind hired Arcade to stir things up, and nearly all of Mutant Town was destroyed by his bombs and laser force fields. Val Cooper stepped in with the O*N*E and the federal government and declared Mutant Town condemned, primed for mass renovation to wipe out what had been there and replace it. She tried to strongarm X-Factor Investigations into working for the government, but Jamie and the others rejected the pressure she put on them. Instead, they blew up their own brownstone as a statement and relocated "XF Investigations" as a team to Detroit, Michigan. [X-Factor (3rd series) #28-32]

Madrox was happy to have his team stick together, and also with Siryn's little news: they were having a baby. Following their brief tryst a few months earlier, Theresa was pregnant with Jamie's child. Whether or not a dupe was "technically" the father didn't matter to them, and so Jamie and Terry renewed their relationship as they prepared to become parents. Out in Detroit, the team would add new members Darwin and Longshot as they expanded their activities. Val Cooper also caught up with Madrox and pressured him into taking jobs for the U.S. government. Jamie chose not to share the identity of this client with Theresa and the rest of XF Investigations. Another cloud hanging over Jamie's head during this period was the increasingly murderous nature of his dupes. More than once a new dupe would kill or attempt to kill an enemy, or even just someone Madrox was mad at when the dupe was formed. Jamie became concerned that his sense of self control was slipping away. [X-Factor (3rd series) #33-38]

All other matters were put aside the day Theresa went into labor. It was a breeched birth, making the delivery dangerous for both mother and child. Val Cooper had revealed her business relationship with Jamie earlier that day. While Theresa was willing to ignore Jamie's lies, they were both concerned O*N*E was showing such interest in a new mutant birth like their son. When the baby was born, Jamie sent a dupe to the NICU to monitor the baby at all times while Theresa recovered. High on the joys of parenthood, Theresa proposed to Jamie and he eagerly accepted. Whether or not they took Val's offer to work with the government full time, Jamie, Theresa and XF Investigations would be together as a family. When the baby returned from NICU, Theresa decided to name him Sean Madrox after her father, Banshee, whose death she was only now starting to accept. She then passed baby Sean to his father for Jamie to hold for the first time...

...and Jamie absorbed the baby.

In the hours that followed, what had happened became clear. Madrox's duplicates were a form of proto-matter conjured by his powers and could not technically pass on genes or bear children. Theresa had slept with Madrox's dupe. The "pregnancy" was a bizarre physiological reaction to Terry's night with the dupe, producing an infant dupe instead of a normal one. Madrox re-absorbed the proto-matter of "Sean Madrox" when they touched just as with any other duplicate. All this would be clear in time. In the moment, however, Theresa Cassidy flung herself off her bed and clawed at Madrox's chest, desperately trying to tear her baby back out from his body where it had disappeared. But her baby was gone. After a few hours to calm down, Theresa coldly broke Jamie's fingers when he tried to comfort her, and warned him the next time she saw him it would be his neck. [X-Factor (3rd series) #39]

Jamie couldn't be around anymore, and so he started walking. Six hundred or so miles later, he found himself in Vermont. Weary and nihilistic, Madrox's despair brought him to the brink of suicide. Remembering Reverend John Maddox and his son Daniel, Jamie decided to inform his duplicate that the boy couldn't have been his, biologically. The reverend told Madrox he and his wife had already discussed the matter, and he tried to counsel Jamie. Instead, Madrox pulled out a gun and prepared to shoot himself. John told Jamie he was asking for help just by being there, and he mustn't really want to die. But Jamie rejected the reasoning and said he just wanted a witness to tell people what had happened afterwards. John Maddox tried to rush his progenitor and take the gun, but Jamie knocked him unconscious. In those final moments as he said good-bye, Jamie received intervention from the most unlikely of sources. A young woman, years older than when he last saw her, but who still knew plenty of stuff he didn't. Layla Miller was alive, and she came back for him. [X-Factor (3rd series) #40]

Things moved quickly after that, for Layla brought Jamie back into the future timeline she had been living in for the past few relative years. The Summers Rebellion was in full swing, with an aged Cyclops and his daughter Ruby Summers leading humans and mutants in rebelling against the concentration camps and Sentinels that hounded the future. However, members of the Rebellion had been blinking out of existence for brief moments, and Layla convinced the Summerses that they needed Jamie Madrox as an investigator. When Jamie started to complain about being dragged around by Layla, the walls broke down between them and surprisingly (to Jamie, at least) they began kissing passionately. After their night together, Jamie took the time to shower and shave for the first time in over a month. Since the hospital. Layla saw the scratches on his chest when he was changing, from when Terry tried to claw their baby out of him. Jamie wept openly, and Layla comforted him as he began working to put his tragedy behind him. [X-Factor (3rd series) #41-44]

Madrox's investigation uncovered a web of intrigue tying the future to the present. Presidential advisor Anthony Falcone was responsible for the mutant concentration camps and sent an assassin named Cortex back in time to eliminate the ancestors of the Summers Rebellion leaders. In order to actually change the past instead of creating branching timelines, Cortex had been outfitted with a chronal variance inhibitor created by Doctor Doom. Jamie, Layla and Ruby found the extremely elderly Victor von Doom in the future to learn more about the Doomlock technology. To make matters more complicated, Doom had apparently given Falcone the Doomlock tech in the first place because Layla told him to at some point in her personal future but his past. And, on top of that, Falcone was being directed by the eldest Damian Tryp to keep the mutants corralled and prevent his own future of dystopian mutant tyranny. [X-Factor (3rd series) #45-49]

Events came full circle when Doom turned on the Summers Rebellion and summoned Cortex back from the present to do his bidding. Jamie came face-to-face with the assassin, literally, for "Cortex" was Jamie's lost dupe. The second duplicate Forge sent into the future had tried to return down the timeline, but was captured, tortured and transformed by Damian Tryp. Madrox fought against Cortex and the endgame unleashed by Falcone and Tryp's Sentinels, but his dupe was finally killed by Trevor Fitzroy. Fitzroy had been a surprising member of the Summers Rebellion, given that an older version of the man came back in time to torment the X-Men. He had been killed by Cortex earlier, but resurrected by Layla. She surprised Jamie with the knowledge that her mutant ability wasn't "knowing stuff" but raising the dead. The problem was, people she resurrected returned without souls, and Fitzroy's inevitable downslide into villainy would now be her fault. As Madrox tried to console Layla, Doctor Doom's time machine triggered once more, swallowing them both but depositing them to different locations. Jamie reappeared with X-Factor in Detroit while Layla was gone, for now. [X-Factor (3rd series) #50]

It was an awkward reunion. Theresa didn't snap Jamie's neck as she promised, but she did turn and leave without a word. Jamie and Guido decided to return to New York for their own detective agency to give Terry and the others space in Detroit. Only a matter of weeks later, though, the rest of the team showed up on their doorstep as Siryn closed the Detroit branch permanently and returned to Ireland. Jamie re-established X-Factor Investigations in Manhattan, using a former morgue as office space. He privately arranged in advance for Mayor J. Jonah Jameson to give them a pass on being "unruly super-freaks" in exchange for a favor to be named later.

X-Factor's first major case after their return was the mystery of the vanishing Invisible Woman. Franklin and Valeria Richards believed their mother was in trouble, but their father Reed Richards was suspiciously unconcerned. Their investigations at the Baxter Building gave Longshot a lead with his psychometry, allowing him to see Sue Richards being captured in the Fantasticar by Doombots in Latveria. In a complicated blend of future awareness and past awareness, Layla Miller then appeared in Latveria in Longshot's vision and began conversing with him. It seemed Layla had traveled to modern Latveria after she and Jamie met von Doom in the future, in order to give him the information he already had in that future timeline. The Invisible Woman was rescued and the Reed from the Baxter Building was revealed as an imposter but Layla, for the moment, remained in Latveria. [X-Factor (1st series) #200-203]

When Bastion lay siege to the X-Men in Utopia, he also arranged for his allies to strike at X-Factor Investigations. Madrox's people circled their wagons and survived the attack, bringing Layla and Theresa back into the fold. Terry quietly forgave Jamie for the loss of Sean, but their personal relationship was a thing of the past now. [X-Factor (1st series) #204-206] At Cyclops' invitation, X-Factor visited Utopia with the hope that they would move to the island base, allowing mutantkind to stand together. Jamie and Layla met with Scott and told him about the bitter old cyborg they knew leading the Summers Rebellion. Madrox rejected the mutant solidarity speech. He believed putting all the mutants on Earth in one place was not only dangerous, it sent the wrong message. X-Factor presented themselves to the public as a business like any other, just a group of people looking to get by in life. In that respect, X-Factor was following the ideals of "peaceful co-existence" more than the X-Men these days. Although they could not see eye-to-eye, the X-Men and X-Factor parted on good terms, regardless. [Nation X: X-Factor #1]

X-Factor Investigations continued to operate for some time. They rescued Pip the Troll from Hela in Las Vegas, leading the teleporting alien to invite himself to join the agency out of gratitude. Darwin left the team because of his encounter with Hela, while Wolfsbane returned, shell-shocked from her time with the X-Force hit squad, and very pregnant to boot. [X-Factor (1st series) #207-214]