All-New X-Factor #6

Issue Date: 
June 2014
Story Title: 

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

Brief Description: 

In his remote house in the woods, Doug Ramsey awakens from a nightmare in which he has fulfilled his undesired destiny of becoming a tyrannical despot. Worried more and more that this future will come to pass, Doug decides to kill himself by jumping off a nearby cliff, only to find X-Factor waiting for him at the front door. After hearing the situation, Doug replies that it is unlikely that Warlock is working with his father, the Magus. However, his beliefs are called into question when Danger identifies and then forcibly removes a device Warlock secretly implanted next to Doug’s heart. Using his powers as Cypher, Doug detects the location to which the device is transmitting and decides to accompany X-Factor to investigate. Via their Raptor jet, the team arrives at a ranch outside of Houston, Texas, an apparent research facility of the company which the Magus claimed to head. Much to their surprise, the ranch transforms into an immense, technological tower from which the Magus emerges and innocently offers for them to enter. Within, X-Factor finds a high tech research facility and among its many employees Warlock, who is overjoyed to find his self-friend Doug is okay. Reunited, Warlock expresses a desire to leave with his friend, which greatly angers the Magus. However, Warlock’s father reluctantly and petulantly concedes, giving his blessing. As the team departs in the Raptor, Polaris offers membership in X-Factor to both Doug and Warlock. Seeing Warlock is infatuated with Danger, Doug whimsically asks her to tell him more. Meanwhile, back at Serval Industries HQ, CEO Harrison Snow’s wife, Angela, surprises him at work and invites him to lunch. As her husband goes to arrange reservations, Angela asks Linda Kwan, her husband’s assistant, how long she’s been sleeping with Harrison. Linda denies the accusation, which quietly angers Angela more. After threatening Linda not to lie to her again the next time they speak, Angela departs with her husband, leaving Linda very much alone.

Full Summary: 

The middle-aged, adult Doug Ramsey is clad in his “Lockwear” armor of his own design. His eyes glowing, his face aged and bearded, the “Truefriend” aims his suit’s weapons at his former teammates, all of whom are either dead or at his mercy. How could they not understand, even after this whole time? he asks. They knew this day would come and yet they nurtured him, were his friends, tried to tell them that the inevitable could be avoided. How stupid were they, anyway? Did they truly think there was any way that they were going to win? When Karma weakly attempts to speak, Doug inquisitively asks if she has something to say. Haltingly, she spits that she hopes that he dies… very soon… Well, that’s not nice, Doug replies. With that, he raises his hand and fires a repulsor blast from his hand. The world goes white.

(end dream)

The youthful Doug Ramsey awakens suddenly from his dream with a yell. In a moment, he is up, sitting on the side of his bed, cursing to himself. That’s it, he tells himself, his head in his hands. It’s done. Rising to his feet, he puts on his pants. He can’t live with this anymore. There’s a cliff not far from here. Good old-fashioned cliff. Just go the top and jump off, he tells himself, as he puts on a shirt. Overlooks some rapids, so his body will be washed away. Can’t bring him back from the dead if they can’t find his body. Now walking downstairs to the front door, Doug continues his line of thought. And then everyone’ll be safe, says to himself. No more evil Doug to worry about. No more dead mutants. That’ll be the best thing about being dead. No more mutants.

Opening the door, Doug is startled to find someone standing there. Please don’t say that, Quicksilver asks him. The phrase “no more mutants” brings some bad memories with it. Accompanying Quicksilver are Danger, Gambit and Polaris, the latter of whom asks how it is going. His former teammates said that this is where he’s living now, she tells him. Kind of isolated, doesn’t he think? They need to talk to him about Warlock, Gambit interjects. Got a few minutes? He didn’t have any other plans, did he?

At Serval Industries corporate HQ, CEO Harrison Snow greets Angela, his wife, and asks what she’s doing there. Did she just get back into town? Yes, she confirms, and she thought what better way to spend her first day back than to have lunch with her husband? Asked if that’s all right, Harrison confirms and the two embrace and kiss. The two are interrupted by Harrison’s assistant, Linda, who realizes too late that she’s walked in on an inopportune moment. Nonchalantly, Harrison reintroduces his secret lover to his wife and the two women exchange pleasant greets. With that, he begins to walk out of the room, informing his wife that he’ll just have his secretary make them a lunch reservation. That sounds splendid, Angela replies, as her husband departs, leaving her alone with Linda.

Warlock and the Magus? Doug repeats. Working together? That doesn’t sound right at all. Maybe… Looking down at Doug, who sits uncomfortably on the chair on his front porch, Lorna prods him to continue. The last time they fought the Magus, Doug explains, he wound up being infected by a techno-organic virus. Maybe that changed him somehow. Asked if it changed Warlock as well, Doug replies that he knows it doesn’t make much sense.

Looking up, he then addresses Danger and asks why she is staring at him. He didn’t think he was that interesting… He isn’t, Danger replies coldly. She then asks if Doug was aware that he has a piece of Warlock in him. He has a what where? Doug asks, visibly shocked. There is a small piece of him, Danger explains, lodged just above his heart. When Doug denies that there is, Danger confirms, adding that she knows what she is seeing. Growing angry, Doug raises to his feet and pulls his shirt open. See? he asks. Nothing there. Just him. So whatever she thinks is there, he assures her it’s…

Without warning, Danger extends her right hand and inserts two needle-like probes into his chest from two fingers, causing Doug visible shock and pain. The rest of the team stare in shock and horror, unsure how to react. Asked by an incredulous Polaris what she is doing, Danger replies that she is concentrating and tells them not to disturb her. Quicksilver orders Danger to get her finger out of Doug’s chest, but Gambit tells him to hold on. She seems to have a solid reason… Solid reason?! Quicksilver rejoins. She’s digging into his chest. The two continue to argue, but a moment later Danger is finished. As she announces that she’s got it, Doug falls to the floor. In a moment, Polaris is by his side. He reaaaally doesn’t like her, Doug tells Polaris. When she replies that he’ll be fine and not to worry, Doug incredulously asks what did she do to him…?

To this, Danger replies that she doesn’t believe she is the one he should be asking of that. Holding in her hands a small, wiry device, she explains that it’s a piece of Warlock, as she said earlier. Asked when it was put in him, Danger surmises logically at some point prior to him leaving his previous team. When Doug asks why, Polaris suggests that they ask Warlock. That shouldn’t be an issue, Doug declares, taking the device from Danger and concentrating as he holds it. He can read the information flow. Asked what he means by that, Doug explains that it’s broadcasting Warlock specifics about him. And he can tell them all where it’s going: Houston, Texas. With that, Polaris turns to leave, suggesting they go. When Doug inquisitively repeats “go,” Polaris confirms. They have a plane. It’s how they got there. Is he coming or what? Sure, he replies. Why not. It’s not like he had anything else planned.

Sometime later, the Raptor lands in a vacant field of a farm, a small complex of buildings and a water tower rising a short distance away. Exiting the craft, Polaris informs the team that, according to their records, this isn’t just a ranch. It’s a research facility for Techno, Inc. To this, Gambit interjects a reminder that that was the name of the outfit the Magus claimed to be the head of. And where he is, Polaris then adds, Warlock will likely be with him.

Referring to the complex in the distance, Quicksilver asks if that is the facility. When Polaris retorts that it seems kind of small, Quicksilver instructs them all to wait there. Before Polaris can finish asking why they should wait, Quicksilver is back, reporting that the building is empty. Are they sure they’re in the right place? To himself, Gambit notes that this is the right place. He’s sure of it. Not certain of how or why, but he’s sure.

Suddenly, the ground trembles beneath the team and begins to crack open. In an instant, Danger and Polaris are airborne, while Quicksilver grabs Cypher and Gambit by their waists and running them away. Gambit begins to object, but Quicksilver replies that they may need him for something else at some point in the future. Not that he feels that way of course, but it’s Lorna’s opinion. Now all a safe distance away, the team watches as the ground continues to shatter and something new and strange rises from what was once solid earth.

Towering above them now is a large, technological structure. Its base ringed by hemispheres comprised of blue hexagons, the structure rises from a thick, central stalk of darker blue metal, which jut out like an upright tuning fork. Circling around its top are five rings, circling parallel to the ground below. All throughout around the tower, electricity arcs. Taking all of this in from below, Gambit asks for thought, though Polaris replies that she has none that are terribly useful. The thing’s not even metal, she then adds. Her powers would be useless against it. She’s never seen anything like it. And she’s seen a lot.

Polaris and Gambit begin to argue about what next to do next, but find themselves interrupted by an electronic voice from the tower. Looking up, they see a hologram of the Magus’ head appear before them, greeting them. He supposes he should not be surprised, he tells the team. After their encounter at Serval, it was only a matter of time until they showed up to harass them. When Polaris incredulously repeats his word “harass” and then asks if he is insane, the Magus declares that an ironic question, coming from her. Oh yes, he continues, as he coalesces from a giant head to a smaller, full-bodied technological entity. Word of her uncertain mental state is common knowledge. She was in space for quite some time, remember. Now the size of merely a giant, the Magus opens wide his arms, gesturing to an entrance created by floating hexagons in one of the hemispheres. Come, enter freely and of their own will, he tells the team. And they will discuss matters.

Back at Serval, Angela Harrison and Linda Kwan act coolly to each other as they wait for Harrison to return. She’s been with Harrison for quite some time, Angela asks of Linda. A few years, Linda replies. Seem like longer. Mm hmmm, Angela responds. And how long has she been sleeping with him, Angela then asks. She can tell her, just between “us girls.” When Linda replies that she has no idea what she’s talking about, Angela begs her not to be that way. She shouldn’t deny what they both know. She’s afraid she’s mistake, Linda defends. Going to stick with denying it? Angela asks. Here’s the thing… she doesn’t do well with being lied to. She always feels the need to punish whoever is doing the lying. So how about she consider which she’s more concerned about… telling the truth or being punished… And they’ll talk again, okay?

Before Linda can reply, Harrison returns, announcing that they have a reservation at Salamanders, but they have to hurry. It’s in fifteen minutes. Addressing Linda, Harrison asks if they can do the reports later. Of course, Linda replies. Taking her husband’s arm in hers, Angela tells Linda that she’ll see her later. This was fun. Yes, Linda sheepishly agrees as they depart. It was. Once alone, Linda leans own on Harrison’s desk, reeling in what just happened. Jesus, she mutters.

At the Magus’ tower, X-Factor follows the Magus as he walks through his facility. All along the way, the two-story tall technarch receives variations of “Morning, Mr. Magus” from men wearing facemasks with a single, circular window in the masks’ center. Morning, the Magus responds with a friendly wave.

From below, Polaris asks what the gag is. Who are all these people? Disguised technarchs like he was? A handful, the Magus replies. Most are normal humans. Asked by her what they are doing, the Magus replies bluntly. “Working.” Turning to Quicksilver, Polaris asks if she’s the only person there who feels like her head is about to explode. He has to admit, he’s confused, Quicksilver replies. When the Magus innocently asks about what is he confused, Gambit decides to reply. Well, for starters, he’s evil. He’s the king of an entire world and he rules with an iron fist. And he wants ta kill his son. To this, the Magus repeats the phrase “an entire world” and then follows it with an angry, booming voice. MY WORLD IS DEAD, YOU IDIOT!!

Continuing, though less booming, the Magus explains that he returned to his world to reboot and rid himself of the virus. Instead it broke free and laid waste to the entirety of Technarch. Everything is gone and only a handful of his people survived. Asked by Doug Ramsey about Warlock, the Magus replies that he is safe. A tenth of his people live. Why expend time and energy trying to kill one? For the sake of tradition? Tradition be damned. It’s time to set old hostilities aside. He contacted his son and told him it was time to make amends.

Still unsure, Doug asks if he means Warlock just up and left the New Mutants. He did, the Magus then points out of Doug. Why not Warlock? Then why did he stick a piece of himself into him? Doug then asks. Replying that he doesn’t know, the Magus suggests that they ask Warlock. Almost ceremonious, the Magus calls out the name of his son, adding “I summon you!” A moment later, electricity arcs around what seems to be spare parts, which connect to each other until it forms Warlock. Self is there, father, he replies with a hint of a bow. How may he… Suddenly spotting Doug, Warlock proclaims “Dougfriend!!” and then adds that he had lost sense of him. Doug removed part of self that was within!

To this, Doug replies that he sure as hell did, only for Danger to raise her hand in the distance, correcting that technically she did. Confirming her correction, Doug asks Warlock if he knows Danger. They have met in passing, Danger replies. Now offering her hand in a more official introduction, she shakes that of Warlock’s, resulting in a slightly awkward greeting.

Before the moment lingers too long, Doug asks Warlock why he put a piece of himself in him, to remain connected to self-friend, he replies defensively. Self was… concerned. Asked why, Warlock explains that he was worried by the nature of friend’s dreams and of friend’s… concerns. Self was worried about self-friend’s possible demise by his own hand. Was this worry… misplaced? Taken aback, Doug begins to deny, only for Danger to note that his pulse is speeding up. He is lying. When Doug then replies that she’s really getting on his nerves, Danger retorts that at least now he’s speaking the truth.

Changing the subject, Warlock places his hands on Doug’s shoulders. Self has missed friend Doug mightily, he tells him. Self has spent time being part of Dougfriend, but that is not the same as being face-to-face. Self would like to… Yeah, Doug smiles slightly. Him too.

What is this? the Magus asks. What is he saying? Looking up at his father, who towers above him even though he kneels, Warlock tells his sire that self… has enjoyed allying with father. It has set much that was wrong… right. But now it is time for self to move on. Growing visibly angry, the Magus asks if he thinks that is all there is to it? He thinks he can come and go as he pleases? His voice growing louder as he continues, the Magus reminds his son that he has set aside his race’s genetic disposition of father killing son so that they may live in harmony… and this is the thanks he gets? You ingrate, the Magus continues, rising to his feet, energy crackling over his body. He would set his father aside to return to his life as a super hero?!

Self would, yes, Warlock replies calmly. Silently, the Magus appears ready to explode in white light. A moment later, however, it is over. The energy subsiding, the Magus reduces himself in size. Fine, he tells his son. Leave. Asked truly, the Magus confirms. He has no patience for those who do not desire to be there. Take him with them, he instructs X-Factor.

And what about him, Polaris replies. They’re supposed to just… just leave him there? Asked as opposed to what, Polaris replies “fighting him!” For what, Gambit asks. For operating a corporation that’s in competition with Serval? He hasn’t done anything wrong. When Polaris replies that he fought them back at Serval, Gambit points out that, actually, they attacked him. Leave now, the Magus interrupts. That is his best advice to them. He has no reason to fight them. Leave before he finds one. Grimacing at the threat, Polaris tells the Magus that, if he wants a reason, she’ll give him one.

As the Raptor departs, Quicksilver mocks Polaris’ reason. “Because I say so?” he repeats. Seriously? Told to shut up, Quicksilver remarks that, really, he thought it was charming. What did he want, she asks him. A big fight that they might well lose? Told he doesn’t lose fights, Polaris replies that this would have been his first.

Changing the subject, Doug asks Gambit if they are going to take him back to his cabin. Actually, Gambit replies, he was wondering if… considering they’re between teams… Interrupting, Polaris asks Doug if he would be interested in joining theirs. Replying that he’s not sure, Doug adds that it kind of depends on Warlock. He then asks Warlock his thoughts, only to notice that Warlock has been preoccupied with staring longingly at Danger, who seems oblivious to the attention. Reading the situation, Doug turns back to Polaris and asks her to tell him more about it.

Characters Involved: 

Danger, Gambit, Polaris, Quicksilver (all X-Factor)
Cypher, Warlock

Magus’ employees

(Cypher’s dream)
Lifefriend/future Cypher
Cannonball, Karma, Magik, Magma, Moonstar, Sunspot

Story Notes: 

Cypher’s dreams are the result of learning that in one possible future, his mind became influenced by a sentient, extra-dimensional weapon system, which led him to becoming a despot called Truefriend. [New Mutants (3rd series) #44-49]

Cypher tried to kill himself on one occasion to prevent this future from happening. [New Mutants (3rd series) #48]

“No more mutants” is the phrase muttered the Scarlet Witch, leading to the mutant Decimation. [House of M, Decimation]

Polaris and her lover Havok indeed spent quite a long time in space. They departed with a team of X-Men to the Shi’ar Galaxy in Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #475 (Sept 2006) and returned in X-Men Legacy (1st series) #258 (Jan 2012).

Warlock and his friends beat Magus by infecting him with a virus in Warlock #8-9.


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