MULTIPLE MAN: Page 7 of 8

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


Jamie held the team together as best he could, but he was having doubts about the adult Layla. Her time with Doctor Doom, her circular explanations and her general mystique made Madrox less willing to trust her than he had in the past. When Layla showed up unannounced on a case involving a feud between a daughter and stepmother, one of Jamie's dupes spontaneously proposed to Layla, and she accepted. Madrox re-absorbed the dupe and tried to take back popping the question, but Layla kept talking about wedding plans. This got under his skin enough for Jamie to yell at Layla to just tell him how the case ends, instead of playing games and stringing him along with hints. Layla maintained that it was preferable, even necessary, that he not be trapped by the burden of knowledge as she was. The case ended when Layla saved his life using mysticism, the same knowledge she had obtained from Doctor Doom because she knew she would need it here. On the spur of the moment, Madrox's trademark indecisiveness failed, and he asked Layla to marry him for real this time. Layla smiled, and told him to ask her again later. [X-Factor (1st series) #216]

Mayor Jameson's favor came due and X-Factor was asked to look into the death of General Ryan, an old war buddy of Jonah's. The case went bad when a group of super-powered mercenaries responsible for Ryan's death tried to kill Jameson too. X-Factor was caught in the crossfire and Guido was mortally wounded. His prognosis was terminal at the hospital but, miraculously, he bounced back. [X-Factor (1st series) #217-219] The next crisis came when Rahne's child, the half-god offspring of the wolf prince Hrimhari, was ready to be born and attracted supernatural interest. To his credit, when Layla started pouring salt around every entrance to their headquarters, Madrox rolled with it and did what she said. Jamie had come around to the idea that he may not always understand why Layla did something, but her reasons were usually both good and sound. Despite Layla's preparations, however, the events of the day were ultimately tragic. Wolfsbane gave birth to her son but the child was lost in the conflagration that followed. [X-Factor (1st series) #220-224]

On a whim, Jamie and Layla returned to his old family farm in Kansas while working a case nearby. They met a woman named Sally Roland and her son Terry who were squatting on the property. [X-Factor (1st series) #224.1] Days later, X-Factor was brought in when Sally was killed and the police found Madrox's card in her wallet. Sally's corpse was possessed by a demon named Bloodbath, who wanted to claim the souls reaped by her ex-husband, the Hangman. During these events, Jamie became suspicious and questioned Layla as to whether she used her powers to save Guido, meaning Strong Guy was brought back to life without a soul, but Layla was evasive and cryptic as usual. Madrox and X-Factor tracked B.B. to rescue Terry, whom Bloodbath was using as a hostage against Hangman. One of Madrox's duplicates was killed by Bloodbath, who proved capable of possessing and animating any corpse. This caught Jamie off guard and he was stabbed through the chest by Bloodbath inhabiting his own duplicate. Madrox-Prime died in front of his shocked teammates, his life slipped away and Jamie Madrox fell cold. Layla almost used her powers on him too, after admitting she had done the same to Guido. X-Factor's internal debate and a renewed attack by Bloodbath delayed Layla long enough that Madrox became permanently dead, beyond even the reach of her powers. [X-Factor (1st series) #225-228]

Meanwhile, Jamie Madrox was in Las Vegas, on his wedding night with Layla, having just been killed by a werewolf. Due to an impending crisis, the barriers between worlds were becoming thinner. A strange consequence was that, upon his death, Jamie Madrox found himself in another reality at the site of the death of another Jamie-Prime. This happened several times, with Jamie being killed and winding up in a new dimension with each occurrence. Madrox somehow adhered to the local rules governing his powers as well, meaning in some realities his duplicates each had a different power, or only lasted a few seconds at a time. Jamie started with a mildly divergent reality for X-Factor Investigations, moving on to a post-apocalyptic reality where Wanda had said "No More Humans" and finally one where he was an apprentice to Doctor Strange having failed to stop the rise of Dormammu. In this final dimension, the spirit of Doctor Strange cast a spell which brought Madrox back down the dimensional tunnels to return to his homeworld, the entire trip a bizarre and ominous distraction. [X-Factor (1st series) #229-232]

Although she didn't resurrect him, Layla believed Jamie would return. She had his corpse repaired by a medical student and preserved in dry ice so it would be ready when Jamie's consciousness returned. Nearly losing Jamie had cracked Layla's facade of indifference, and their reunion was an intimate one. Layla confessed to Jamie unprompted that she restored Guido, and did it out of a selfish desire to reject the control her knowledge of "stuff" imposed on her life. Moreover, Jamie's own death was a consequence of her actions thanks to the butterfly effect. He didn't die in the timeline as she remembered it but, now that she had changed things by resurrecting Guido, her knowledge would be less and less reliable in the future as the ripples continued. She promised that there would be no more lies between them, and she would be more forthcoming with the knowledge she still had. In Madrox's absence, Havok and Polaris had returned to oversee X-Factor. Jamie and Alex butted heads over leadership decisions, with Jamie attempting to steer the agency on the investigative side while Alex focused on the government and super-hero business being sent their way by Val Cooper and Wolverine. [X-Factor (1st series) #233-235]

The team was being pulled in too many directions, however, and did not remain stable. Though soulless, Guido had feelings for Monet and his attempt to act on them drove a wedge between the two, leading him to abandon the team. Wolfsbane's regrets over losing track of her child led her to depart as well, with Rictor and Shatterstar helping on her quest. Polaris discovered a personal tragedy that left her on the brink of madness, and Theresa was visited by the spirit of her father and the Gaelic goddess the Morrigan, the one true Banshee. In exchange for providing balance to Lorna's degenerating mind, Theresa agreed to ascend and take the Morrigan's place as a demi-goddess, allowing the previous titleholder to rest in peace at last. As she departed, the Banshee appeared before Jamie and acknowledged they both had never stopped loving each other, but now he would have the chance to move on. Before Jamie could respond, Theresa disappeared from their lives. [X-Factor (1st series) #241-244]

Madrox was furious at how his team was falling apart, especially Theresa's departure. He took his frustration out on Havok, blaming the conflict between their different leadership styles. Cooling down alone with Layla after the argument, Jamie proposed to Layla again. This time she accepted. They jetted off to Vegas together in order to get married in style by an Abe Lincoln impersonator. It wouldn't be X-Factor without a complication, however, as their priest was murdered by the ghost of Robert E. Lee. The general gave Jamie and Layla the latest in a series of warnings that something was coming which they all needed to prepare for. [X-Factor (1st series) #245-247]

Sure enough, there was a volcano in the Bronx when they got back to New York. Jamie calmly asked his wife if she knew about this, and Layla said no, there was supposed to be a volcano in Manhattan six months from now, but she hadn't wanted to worry him until then. This was the beginning of the Hell-on-Earth War, triggered by the birth of the seven billionth person on Earth, Rahne's son Tier. The Hell-Lords of the Earth dimension had the chance to claim dominion over each other's realms by killing Tier. Madrox and X-Factor rallied around Wolfsbane and her son to protect him, and learned Tier was also uniquely powerful enough to protect himself and kill the Hell-Lords who came for him. Struggling between offense and defense, Madrox was taken out of the equation early in the war when Mephisto transformed him into a demon under his control. The war ended when Guido killed Tier to claim the throne of Hell and use his power to resurrect Monet, who had died during the conflict. The battle-weary X-Factor were scattered across the globe in the aftermath of the war. [X-Factor (1st series) #248-256]

The still demonic Madrox ended up in Marakesh, where a young boy mistook him for a djinn. Layla found him, but Jamie's demon side left him unbalanced and unable to speak. It was difficult to say he even knew who Layla was most of the time. [X-Factor (1st series) #257] Jamie's transformation was beyond the scope of Layla's mystical knowledge to reverse. She brought them to Madrox's abandoned family farm in Kansas, hoping the familiar surroundings would reach him. Even so, she had to keep Jamie chained up in the barn, for he was more likely to attack her than listen to her at any moment. When Madrox lashed out at Layla one day while she was bringing him food, she blurted out that she was pregnant. This broke through the demonic haze in Jamie's mind and he let her go. Fearing for his wife and unborn child, and not knowing how long his mind would be his own, Jamie Madrox prayed to the only god he knew would answer. The Banshee came to Jamie and restored him to normal in an answer to his prayers. As Theresa used her godly knowledge to update Jamie and Layla on the fate of their friends, the Madrox family decided to retire. X-Factor Investigations had served its time, but now Jamie and Layla had earned a rest. [X-Factor (1st series) #262]

Jamie put his affairs in order so that he and Layla could retire in peace. He sold the X-Factor name to Serval Industries, allowing Polaris to continue the group under new leadership. [All-New X-Factor #1] He also made arrangements with a dupe he had sent out to California to learn the legal system. Lawyer "Matt Rocks" had gone totally L.A., but he was willing to subsidize Jamie and Layla with a portion of his income. [She-Hulk (3rd series) #8-10]

At some point, Jamie moved back to Muir Island, lending his duplicates to help staff the research facility. The island fell into the path of one of the Terrigen clouds, the transmutative mist originating from the Inhumans which was released into the atmosphere months prior in a battle between Black Bolt and Thanos. Madrox discovered firsthand that the Terrigen Mists were now deadly to mutantkind after mixing with Earth's atmosphere. The toxic effects led Jamie and all his duplicates to die a horrible death, the first known case of M-Pox. Jamie Madrox was buried in a mass grave by the X-Men in the days that followed. [Death of X #1-2]