All-New X-Factor #2

Issue Date: 
March 2014
Story Title: 

Peter David (writer), Carmine di Giandomenico (artist), Lee Loughridge (colorist), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), Kris Anka & Jared Fletcher (cover artists), Manny Mederos (production design), Jordan D. White (editor), Axel Alonso (editor in chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

Rather than being worried that mutants are breaking into his facility, Dr. Terrance Hoffman is quite pleased and prepares for their arrival. Elsewhere in the facility, special traps separate Gambit, Quicksilver and Polaris, though each escapes their own without injury. Afterward, Polaris happens upon the bound Fatale and frees her. She explains that Hoffman located and retrieved them from their dimensional exile and has drained the energy which threatened to kill them. Worse, he plans to use that energy somehow. Meanwhile, back in his lab, Dr. Hoffman employs his machine to drain the last of the energy from Abyss and Reaper, transforming him into a giant, seemingly comprised of pure energy. His first target is Polaris and Fatale, who do their best to avoid his projected energy blasts. So focused is he that Hoffman doesn’t notice the arrival of Quicksilver and Gambit. Quicksilver uses his gravity-defying speed to tow Gambit up to Hoffman’s ear, into which Gambit throws a charged card. The resulting explosion knocks out Hoffman, who reverts back to human form. Incensed at their recent torture, Reaper moves to kill the helpless Hoffman, only to be stopped by Quicksilver. To X-Factor’s surprise, Reaper and Fatale bear greater enmity toward Quicksilver than the man who had been holding them captive. They all reject his apologies and swear that they will never forgive him, nor stop trying to get even.

Full Summary: 

Excitedly, Doctor Hoffman races through his facility, his assistant hot on his heels. Calling to the doctor, the assistant suggests that maybe it would be best if they abandoned the facility… Repeating the word “abandoned” inquisitively, Dr. Hoffman asks why in the world would they do that? Didn’t he hear? the assistant inquires back. He said mutants were coming. Reaching his destination, a flatscreen computer terminal, Hoffman instructs his assistant to let them. They’ll be prepared.

Pressing his palm flat on the screen, the doctor activates a sequence opening blast doors, which retract like three petals of a triangle. His research on this endeavor, Dr. Hoffman continues, has been nonstop and thorough. What it’s lacked is field testing. And now it’s going to get it. With a smile, Hoffman addresses those within as “gentlemen” and asks if that isn’t right. After all… they owe him. Within the room, trapped in tubes like fireflies sit the mutants called Abyss and Reaper. How does he figure that? Abyss asks. He’s tortured them. In case he’s forgotten, Dr. Hoffman rejoins, he saved their lives. Death is preferable to this, Reaper counters. Well, then, Hoffman tells him, perhaps they’ll all be satisfied.

Elsewhere in the facility, Gambit glances around a corner, while Polaris watches Quicksilver take out the last of the guards they had come across. Taking stock of his situation, Gambit notes that Harry Snow was right – this seems to be some sort of AIM setup. He’s always game for a slug out with Advanced Idea Mechanics but, still, he wishes he had some clearer idea of what’s going on. He means, Snow couldn’t be specific as t’who was there. Just “some mutants” were being held there. And they’re flyin’ blind. They could be anywhere in this…

Suddenly, the floor opens up beneath Gambit, who falls down a smooth shaft. Quicksilver is at the entrance in a moment, but it’s too late and the hatch closes up before him. Immediately, he orders Polaris to open it, but she replies that there’s no metal in it, so it’s going to take her a few moments to…

Before she can finish her sentence, a transparent cylinder slams down around Quicksilver. Before even he can react, a vacuum is created, sucking him up through the ceiling, after which the tube retracts.

Left very much alone, Polaris sarcastically proclaims the situation just terrific. She leads the team into a fight and this is what happens. Okay, fine, she tells any who might be listening. They want to play? She’ll play. As the hallway around her and the technology behind it begins to erupt into its component pieces, she announces that she has a fun game called: Let’s bring this place down around your freaking ears!

However, one piece of technology is not hers to control and a tentacle snakes near enough to her to spray gas at her direction. Polaris only has a moment to recognize the danger and tries to cover her mouth, but it is too late. Coughing uncontrollably, she magnetically propels herself away to safety and into another room. Struggling to return to her feet, she hears someone weakly call out her code name and asking what the hell she’s doing there. Polaris looks up disbelievingly to see Fatale, bound to a giant, metal X.

Elsewhere, Gambit continues his uncontrolled descent through the shaft, finding nothing on which he could grab hold. Knowing that he nevertheless must find a way to slow down his trip, Gambit extends his legs out, pressing against the shaft and pushing his back against the opposite wall. Friction soon takes over and Gambit comes to halt, allowing him now to look over his shoulder down below. As he figured, a trap awaited him below, a furnace-like pit which is already making the walls of the shaft vicious hot.

Sweat on his brow, Gambit manages to produce a queen of spades and charges it. Suspecting that he’s not getting a second chance, Gambit tosses the card to the furnace below, hoping that he’s timed it right. The exertion, however, causes him to lose his grip, resuming his plummet below. He has only a moment to worry about whether the card will work before a massive explosion rocks the furnace below, obliterating it. As soon as he lands within the inferno, Gambit rolls to safety, silently noting that it was a lot closer than he would have… Gambit’s thoughts trail as he spies four heavily armed AIM soldiers.

Hey, how’s it going? Gambit asks them playfully. One of the men asks if the intruder is a mutant, but another replies that he doesn’t give a damn and orders them all to shoot him. However, before they can do so, their rifles disappear from their hands. A short distance away, Quicksilver playfully says hello and asks if they’re missing something while tossing their weapons to the ground. Undeterred, the lead AIM officer orders his men to get him. Quicksilver begins to ask “with that?” but his answer comes quickly, as the four men raise their right arms and cock the projectiles weapons about their wrists. Time slows for Quicksilver as the bullets race towards him less than a moment later. However, contorting this way and that, he bypasses them all.

In the moment in which this occurs, however, the four AIM agents find themselves under attack, specifically from a charged playing card, which explodes between them all. The four taken out, Gambit asks his teammate where did he come from. Told “death trap,” Gambit asks how bad. Thinking back to the array of small, airborne devices and circular saws erupting from the floor, Quicksilver smiles that it was nothing he couldn’t handle.

Meanwhile, in Hoffman’s lab, Polaris helps Fatale down, incredulous that she was about to be dissected. She then asks how did Hoffman end up capturing her, anyway. The last she heard, Abyss had transported her and Reaper into another dimension. Yes, Fatale confirms. After that bastard Quicksilver restored their powers and turned them into walking bombs. Raising her eyebrows, Polaris sheepishly asks that Quicksilver did that?

Too weak to walk on her own, Fatale leans on Polaris as she confirms. Fatale then adds that the other realm somehow froze time around them. Their bodies didn’t blow up for as long as we were in there… And then Hoffman... he pulled them out of there somehow with some kind of… machine… Then asked by Polaris why didn’t they blow up then, Fatale explains that Hoffman drained the energy off them. It was like he knew they were there, knew what to do. How he could have, she hasn’t the faintest idea. He left them powerless… and he kept talking about doing something with the power himself, though she can’t imagine what.

Elsewhere, Doctor Terrance Hoffman stands in the middle of a high-tech crucible. Clad in a sort of armor, he is bombarded by blinding energy from two extending terminals. From controls a safe distance away, Hoffman’s assistant reports that the device is at 100%. Nevertheless, at the center of the energy maelstrom, Dr. Hoffman emphatically orders him to keep going!

Still in the tubes serving as their prison, Abyss and Reaper attempt to shield their eyes. When Abyss opines that this is not going to end well, Reaper asks back how Hoffman is doing that. None of them had the power to do that! He must be manipulating the energy somehow, Abyss surmises. Terrific, Reaper rejoins. He definitely thinks they were better off when they were dying. No kidding, Abyss agrees.

Still at the controls, Hoffman’s assistant begins to feel less safe, as the maelstrom has expanded, affecting the equipment around. Worried, he announces to his boss that he’s shutting it off, only for the increasingly powerful, booming voice of Dr. Hoffman to proclaim No! Don’t you dare! Shielding his eyes from the debris of exploding equipment the assistant replies that he must. However, before he can reach the controls, a gigantic, fiery hand crushes him in its palm. I said NO!

Some distance away, Fatale continues to lean on Polaris as they made their way through the facility. Not as weak as before, Fatale voices that they have to get the others. When the surprised Polaris asks what others, Fatale tells he Abyss and Reaper. Hoffman has them there somewhe… Fatale’s words trail as the facility comes apart around them, including the ceiling above. Acting quickly, Polaris releases Fatale, who collapses to the floor, and raises her arms, magnetically holding back the debris which was about atop them. Hold on, she tells Fatale. She’s got it under control!

Oh, DOES she now? When Polaris mutters a “My God!” what was once Dr. Terrance Hoffman replies Indeed. Towering high above them is a giant made of glowing, white energy, trimmed with dark spots, reminiscent of cooling lava. You poor little mutants. You think you have so much power… and you don’t understand what is at your fingertips. ANY of you could do this. Any of you could do anything if you understood how to manipulate your abilities. But you don’t. You have one power and you stick with that, turning your nose up at the possibilities. Look at all that you could accomplish. Yet you allow the world to treat you as if you were dirt on their shoes. Sad and pathetic creatures. To think I actually felt sorry for you.

Their prison machine shattered by the energy crucible, Abyss and Reaper dig themselves free from its debris. Asked now what, Reaper tells Abyss that he doesn’t actually have any ideas on the subject.

Still focusing on Polaris, the energy monster that was Hoffman continues boom at her. It isn’t hard, he tells her, for a human to become a mutant. You simple have to know how to manipulate the energy properly. Watch, I’ll show you. With that, Hoffman balls his hands into fists and extends them at Polaris, creating an energy blast stopped only by her magnetic powers. You see? he asks her. I can harness the energy in my cells into sheer blasts of energy. Can you do that? In punctuation, Hoffman creates a more powerful blast, but this one hits only the ground, as Polaris magnetically launches herself, Fatale in tow, to safety.

A short distance away, Quicksilver and Gambit have arrived on the scene and spy the gargantuan Hoffman. Asked where that came from, Gambit tells Quicksilver that he’s not really caring so much as worried about where they’re going to send him. Considering this, Quicksilver asks Gambit if he still has cards. Told yes, he orders Gambit to get one ready. Producing a two of spades, Gambit asks what now. Now hold on tightly, Quicksilver replies. Gambit has only a moment to consider what this might mean before Quicksilver grabs him, propelling the two of them at lightning speed.

As they race, Polaris (with Fatale) continue to evade the blasts of Hoffman, who bellows at them to remain still and die willingly. It’s the least they could do in the name of scientific advancement! Concerned so much with the two women, Hoffman is unaware as Quicksilver races up his gigantic leg. Still towing Gambit, Quicksilver orders him to charge up the card and throw it when he tells him. Too late, Hoffman spies the duo and, just as he asks what they are doing, Quicksilver orders Gambit to throw the card, which disappears within the energy giant’s ear canal. Just like shooting a womp rat back home, Gambit quips. Receiving an inquisitive “what?” from Quicksilver, Gambit asks if he’s kidding. He’s never seen Star Wars? Told he has no use for fantasy films, Gambit tells Quicksilver he needs t’get a life. Seriously.

As they race safely to the ground, Gambit’s charged card explodes within Hoffman’s cranium. His eyes rolling back, Hoffman falls backwards, threatening to crush Polaris and Fatale, the latter of whom excitedly orders the former to get them out of the way. When Polaris yells that she’s going as fast as she can, Fatale emphatically tells her to go faster! However, Fatale’s fears prove unnecessary, as what lands on the ground is the much smaller, very human Dr. Terrance Hoffman.

Regarding the unconscious man, Gambit supposes that he couldn’t retain the power once he went unconscious. When Quicksilver asks what now, Reaper steps forward with a piece of debris held over his head. Now they make sure he doesn’t wake up. Polaris moves to stop him, but is held back by Fatale, who tells her to let him do it – Hoffman deserves it!

A moment later, Reaper brings down the heavy bludgeon, only to find it disappearing from his hands like quicksilver. Immediately, Reaper sees that the real Quicksilver has absconded with his weapon. Like the lady said, the speedster voices, the lady said no. And he believes that they should attend to what she…

His face beginning to grow angry, Reaper yells “YOU!” and launches himself at Quicksilver. He’s been waiting for this! However, Quicksilver easily sidesteps the attack, causing Reaper to fall onto the floor. Then he’s afraid Reaper will have to wait somewhat longer, he tells him.

Nearby, Fatale turns to regard Polaris and, with clenched fists, demands to know that this bastard is on his team?! Yes, Polaris replies simply. And he just stopped the evil scientist who captured her, so maybe she should consider being more polite. Screw that! Fatale exclaims. She’s rather have been eviscerated than saved by him. A little incredulous at this, Polaris begins to protest, but Fatale is resolute. If it means anything, Quicksilver interjects, he’s sorry for… Interrupting, Fatale tells him to save it! It means chuck-all! They are never going to forgive him for what he did to them. And they will never stop trying to get even. Turning to Polaris, Fatale tells her to think about that.

Hearing this, Gambit quips to that that went well. He sure does have a way with people, he then tells Quicksilver. Making friends all over the place.

Characters Involved: 

Gambit, Polaris, Quicksilver (all X-Factor)


Dr. Terrance Hoffman

Unnamed scientist

AIM scientist/soldiers




Story Notes: 

A rare typo has Fatale stating that the other realm somehow “frooze” time.

The "X-cell" members disappeared into Abyss' dimension in X-Factor (3rd series) #17.

Written By: