X-Factor (1st series) #144

Issue Date: 
March 1998
Story Title: 
Points of View

Howard Mackie (writer), Duncan Rouleau (penciler), Jaime Mendoza (inker), Glynis Oliver (colorist), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (letterers), Jason White (assistant editor), Frank Pittarese (editor), Bob Harras (editor in chief)
Special Thanks to Allen Martinez

Brief Description: 

Dark Beast watches as Havok and Shard take on Mystique and the X.U.E., who have come to stop Havok from freeing the Dark Beast’s prisoners, including a young woman called Mary Stewart. Imprisoned in a tank, Mary recalls her tragic life, and how she met a young man called Alex, when Alex suddenly appears, assuring Mary that he will help her - but the Dark Beast reveals that Alex is actually Random. The battle between Havok and the others continues to rage on, and during the battle Fixx shows Shard why they must stop Havok. Shard understands, and sides with her former teammates, but Havok is still determined to free the Dark Beast’s prisoners, until Ever appears, and reveals that the prisoners cannot be freed, as they are all infected with a deadly strain of the Legacy Virus which is totally transmittable to humans. Ever reveals that the Dark Beasts plans to unleash the infected humans on the world and watch the fall of civilization. Havok and the others find the Dark Beast missing, as well as one of the prisoner tanks empty, so they begin to track him down. During so, they are confronted by Fatale, who is taken down by Havok with ease. Greystone also reveals that Havok was his childhood hero. The Dark Beast has made his way to the streets above the tunnels, carrying Mary Stewart with him, and “Alex” trails along, before shifting into Random and holding then threatening to kill the Dark Beast. Things get messy when Havok, Mystique, Shard, Ever and the X.U.E. catch up with them, and the Dark Beast tosses some vials to the ground which release a deadly gas. He uses this is as his cover to disappear, and soon the gas, reacting with bacteria in the air, explodes. In the aftermath, Mystique makes a quick getaway back to more important things, while Ever promises to go back into the tunnels and look after the other infected prisoners of the Dark Beast. Random and Mary Stewart accompany him, while Havok and Shard join up with the X.U.E. to go about fixing the future.

Full Summary: 

The former Morlock Tunnels, where Doctor Henry McCoy - the Dark Beast - has made his home and lab. He is a man of science, a seeker of truths, and not of this world. He was born into a world much different from this, yet circumstances beyond his control cast him into this timeline, where he has endeavored to make the best of his unique talents and abilities. And while there are those who would condemn him for his actions, and perhaps rightly so, McCoy is nevertheless a scientist. The yellow-clad woman in the tank behind McCoy is called Mary Stewart. If not for the purpose she serves as “genetic fodder” in McCoy’s body tanks, she and the rest of the human contained here would be of little interest to the time-displaced Doctor. A man of science, of course, should not be held accountable for the well-being of such creatures.

From the journal of Henry McCoy: The brave and off-maligned mutant Alex Summers, known to one and all as Havok, represents a genetic stock of purity and superiority. Our games of duplicity and deceit rivaled those created by the Bard himself. Plans within plans within plans. If only he had truly chosen the way of the Brotherhood, we’d have been the greatest of allies. Instead, he turned on me, choosing to defend the human waste who serve as my…test subjects. Now, he has brought a handful of new players into the fray. The photon-based life form called Shard, the shade of a girl not yet born. She has chosen to ally herself with Havok, her former X-Factor compatriot, and faux traitor to their mutant cause, against the traitors from her own future timeline.

Greystone, able to increase his strength and body to massive proportions. Fixx, whose mutant telepathic abilities are realized by the appearance of her psionic “sprites”. And Archer, who possesses the ability to become a being of pure energy…these three soldiers have sided with Mistress of Deceit, Mystique, seeking to prevent Havok from releasing the hundreds of humans I have contained for “enhancement” in this place. All the better for me if they should succeed.

Indeed, nearby in the tunnels, the handsome and brave Alex “Havok” Summers, along with the hologram girl Shard take on the deadly Mystique and the unpredictable X.U.E., while McCoy watches them, and the imprisoned Mary Stewart wonders what is happening. She wonders where she is and who the people surrounding her are. For eighteen years, Mary Stewart’s life has been one long nightmare.

(Shown with various flashback illustrations)

Mary Stewart has always been an outsider, even within her own family she never felt like she truly belonged. Mary’s father was a doctor, her mother was devoted to her children. Mary grew up in a nice house, went to good schools, and her parents never let her want for anything. Mary hated them for it. In turn, Mary’s parents sent her to therapists and new schools, but it made no difference. So Mary ran away, thinking she would be better off on her own. She wasn’t. In a month, she was living on the streets, where there was nothing romantic about the dirt, the cold, or the danger.

Even among the homeless, Mary Stewart was a loner, staying away from the shelters, and apart from the rest of the disenfranchised. Mary was looking at an early death until he came along. Was he a kindred soul? Mary wasn’t sure, but in him, she saw even more of an outcast…more of a loner. The newcomer called himself Alex, but Mary knew that wasn’t his real name, and she didn’t care - because he was kind to her, and from that moment on they stayed apart - together. Mary and Alex kept each other company, protected one another, and for the first time in her life, Mary no longer felt alone. Mary could have lived with Alex like that forever. But then, one night….

…it all ended. It was as though the shadows had come to life. Mary was suddenly grabbed by a dark beast in the dead of the night. As she looked for help from Alex, while being carried away, Mary suddenly realized that Alex would give her none. Then, Alex was gone. And here, now, Mary’s nightmare continues, stuck inside the tank.


‘Mary?’ a voice exclaims. ‘Alex!’ Mary gasps, as she sees her apparent friend standing on the other side of the tank. ‘I knew you’d come! Knew you wouldn’t leave me to -’ she begins to say, only for the mysterious Alex to interrupt her, telling her that there is no time for explanations, and he apologizes for what happened. ‘But…I’m gonna get you out of here!’ he assures her, telling her that they have to work fast before he comes back. ‘He? He who? What are you -’ Mary asks before Alex is pulled away from her, and the Dark Beast’s grinning face appears against the tank. ‘He would be me, dear child!’ McCoy snarls. ‘Random! Let us expedite matters. You would not want me to get cross with you…would you?’

Nearby, the battle continues to rage, as Havok blasts the X.U.E. through one of the tunnel walls with a full blast of plasma. ’You know I came here to help. But obviously you don’t need it!’ Shard tells Havok, who asks Shard why she is trying to help him. ’You were with X-Factor and none of them trust me’ he points out. ’Guess you could say I trust them less’ Shard replies, referring to the X.U.E., before pointing out that it looks like Havok is trying to help all the innocent victims of McCoy’s.

The X.U.E. return, and Archer tells Shard to stand down. ’You have no idea of the enormity of this situation!’ he exclaims, with Greystone and Fixx at his side. ’Sorry, Archer. You have no authority over me! I never really even liked you!’ Shard retorts, before egging him on: ‘You want some? Come on!’ she exclaims. ‘Get out of the way, little girl. It’s not you we want!’ Greystone tells Shard as he looms over her, remarking that Summers has to be taken down, now. Greystone explains to Shard that if she had hung around with them for a little longer, she would know that the future depends on what they are trying to do here.

‘Enlighten me, big guy! What are you trying to do here?’ Havok asks as he surrounds himself with plasma, while Greystone picks him up, telling Havok that is on a need to know basis. ‘Guess what?’ Alex replies. ‘I need to know!’ he shouts as he unleashes a huge blast of energy, freeing himself from Greystone’s grasp and causing the behemoth to topple backwards, knocking down more of the tunnel walls. Archer orders Greystone to back off, remarking that they all know Havok was his childhood idol. ‘You are never going to be able to take the steps necessary to subdue him!’ Archer remarks, while knocking Havok over with a burst of energy.

‘What’s this? I have a fan club out there?’ Alex asks. ‘Yes, sir. And I was never part of it!’ Archer replies. ‘I’m hurt’ Alex mutters sarcastically. ‘Unfortunately, you will be, sir’ Archer replies, dodging one of Alex’s plasma blasts. Fixx hovers over Shard, telling her that she should be working with them. ‘If it wasn’t for you, and the psionic bond we four share, we never could have come here!’ Fixx explains. ‘Don’t remind me’ Shard mutters, while Fixx tells her that she needs her to understand what is at stake here. Fixx apologizes for needing to resort to force, as some psionic fairies appear around Shard, who tells Fixx to keep those things out of her head, but it’s too late.

Suddenly, a voice booms ‘This isn’t necessary, Alex!’. Havok looks up and sees his brother, Scott Summers a.k.a. Cyclops, telling him that they are all X-Men. ‘Scott?’ Alex asks, confused. Scott explains to Alex that he has been trying to contact him, trying to get him to listen to reason. ‘We’ve got to work together to defeat McCoy, just like in the old days’ Cyclops exclaims, extending his hand to his younger brother. ‘You got it, Scott…NOT!’ Alex shouts, blasting his “brother” with plasma energy, causing Mystique to revert to her default form as she careens back across the ground. ‘Good try, Mystique, after the last run-in I had with Scott, even he wouldn’t try the reasonable approach!’ Alex exclaims.

Havok tells everyone that he doesn’t know who they are, not what they want, ‘But if you stand in my way of freeing these innocent people -’ he begins to say, only for Greystone to come up behind him, and knocks him over, ‘Childhood idol or not…you are going down, Mister Summers!’. Shard rushes over to where Havok has landed and tells Alex that what the X.U.E. are trying to do is the right thing. ‘Now you’re on their side too?’ Alex asks, telling Shard to get in line. ‘And you will all fall!’ Alex shouts. Suddenly, a voice cries ‘Enough!’. The X.U.E. all look around for the source. ‘I said…ENOUGH!’ the voice exclaims, much louder this time, causing the X.U.E. to convulse with pain. ‘My head…can’t take…any…more!’ Greystone exclaims, as he, Archer and Fixx revert to their host body guises.

Struggling from the attack, Archer, or rather, Jude Black, points out that the psionic backlash was overwhelmingly powerful enough to revert them to these forms against their will. He adds that there was nothing in the archives that said McCoy had such power. ‘Summers, did you -?’ he begins to say, but Alex replies that it wasn’t him, as he and Shard were laid low just like the rest of them. ‘But who?’ asks Shard, when, suddenly, a deformed figure steps out of the shadows - Ever! Now that he has their attention, Ever apologizes to everyone and admits that such demonstrations of his power abhor him. He declares that time is of the essence, and none of them appear to be in the mood for a dialogue. Ever tells Havok that Mystique and the others are right in stopping him. Alex asks Ever what he is talking about, reminding him that this was their plan.

‘And it was wrong!’ Ever exclaims, while everyone gathers around to listen. Ever explains that he tried to tell Havok that earlier at the skating rink, but he slipped into unconsciousness before being able to reveal what he has uncovered about McCoy’s agenda. ‘It’s worse than we had ever imagined, Alex’ Ever reveals, explaining that the poor souls locked away in McCoy’s body tanks are being used for a more nefarious purpose than they could imagine. ‘The Dark Beast has been playing with the Legacy Virus as a child would with building blocks!’ Ever announces.

Ever reveals that McCoy has zeroed in on the strain which Moira MacTaggert contracted, and created a version which is totally transmittable to humans. ‘The carriers of this new strain are those people in the tanks!’ Ever announces, before declaring that McCoy’s plan was to unleash the infected humans on the population, sit back and watch the fall of civilization. ‘Omigod!’ exclaims Havok, before Ever tells him once again that the prisoners of the Dark Beast cannot be released. Suddenly, Ever notices that one of the tanks is empty, and fluid is leaking out of it. ‘One lone carrier of a plague that could be more deadly than anything this world has known!’ Ever exclaims. Shard calls out to Fixx and asks her if she can use her psionic fairies to pick up the trail of the escapee, to which Fixx replies that she is already on to that. ‘And might I add…welcome back to the X.U.E.!’ Fixx adds.

A short time later, Havok, Mystique, Shard, Ever and the X.U.E. are following Fixx’s psionic fairies through the tunnel. ‘You’re telling me that in some alternate timeline I was responsible for the death of millions of humans?’ Alex asks. ‘Sorry to say…yes, Sir’ Greystone replies, explaining that those actions led to a whole chain reaction of anti-mutant sentiments, Sentinels ‘And…you can guess the rest’ he adds. ‘Great’ mutters Alex, before thanking the X.U.E. for stopping him. ‘And one more thing’ Alex declares. ‘Yes, Sir?’ Greystone replies. ‘Stop calling me Sir!’ Alex asks.

Suddenly, Fixx tells everyone to stop, as she is picking up something ahead, though she doesn’t think it is their quarry. ‘Something different. Something dangerous!’ Fixx exclaims. Greystone tells everyone to stand aside and that he will clear the way, when suddenly, a voice exclaims ‘Over here, big boy!’. Confused, Greystone turns to the direction of the voice, ‘How did you -’ he begins to ask, when the green-skinned woman standing behind him, flanked by some hideous creatures, interrupts, ‘What? Get behind you?’ she asks, before pointing out that Alex will be able to tell them, her name is Fatale and she is a teleporter. ‘Amongst other things’ the smarmy mutant adds.

Fatale boasts that McCoy sent her and these “friends” of his to do his light work. ‘I owe you, Havok. And I’m going to take great pleasure in watching you squirm!’ ‘Light work?’ Greystone asks, before telling everyone else to keep moving, assuring them that he will catch up with them in a few minutes. ‘Stop!’ Havok orders suddenly, before coming to the front of the group. ‘Hi, Fatale’ he smirks, before unleashing a phenomenal amount of plasma energy, which rips right through Fatale and the creatures. When the blast dies down, there is a quiet splosh as a drop hit’s the watery ground. ’Show-off’ Mystique mutters, although she looks quite impressed. Shard and the X.U.E. just stare at Havok, wide-eyed. ’I obviously have a reputation to live up to’ Havok remarks as he leads the way through the tunnel. ’Shall we proceed?’ he asks, beckoning the others to follow him.

Meanwhile, above ground, the Dark Beast bounds on ahead, pulling Mary along by the wires connected to her yellow armor, and Alex follows him. ’Come along, children. Haste truly makes waste!’ McCoy exclaims, pointing out that their pursuers are bound to emerge from the catacombs beneath their feet. Mary pleads with McCoy yo be left alone, and cries out to Alex for help. ‘Please, you whimpering simpleton! His name is not Alex!’ the Dark Beast booms, before revealing to her that it was all a ruse set into place to lure her kind into his grasp. ‘His moniker is Random. And he, much as yourself, lives and breathes at my whimsey!’ McCoy declares, warning Mary not to presume to fight her.

Mary is dragged along, and McCoy remarks that he cannot kill her for risk of tearing her containment suit and releasing his designer virus, permanently, but boasts that he can still perform a field lobotomy with the best of them. Making his way past several homeless people, McCoy warns them to get away from him, as he has work to do and people to kill. McCoy comes to a screeching halt, but doesn’t lose hold of Mary, as a child steps in front of him, ‘Stop running in the yard!’ she shouts, declaring that they have rules. ‘And who’re you supposed to be dressed up as anyway? The Bogey Man? It isn’t Halloween!’ she points out. ‘You dare?’ McCoy snarls, glaring down at the girl. ‘I double dare!’ the child snaps back. ‘You perish!’ McCoy tells her, when suddenly, a large weapon is placed to his head. ‘No. One move and I’ll blow your head off. You know I can!’ Random exclaims.

‘Can you, Random?’ McCoy asks, calmly. ‘Can you give up any chance of restoring your unstable cellular cohesiveness to normalcy? You’d give this up over a child? Over this girl? A human girl? You disappoint me. You were like the progeny I never had’ McCoy remarks, before asking Random a.k.a. “Alex” how his lady love would feel if she knew the depths of his betrayal. ‘How she was never anything more than a human rat. How you fell in love with a laboratory experiment of mine’. McCoy exclaims. ‘I’m sorry, Mary, I -’ Random begins, as McCoy interrupts, declaring that apologies are nothing. ‘Now I have to kill you both!’ he boasts, when, suddenly, Greystone, who has increased his size dramatically, bursts up through the ground, sending rubble crashing everywhere as he exclaims ‘Hello, folks! Hope I’m interrupting something!’

‘Random!’ a voice calls out. ‘Oboy…’ Random replies, before a powerful burst of plasma knocks him to the ground. ‘I’ve been waiting a long time to do that!’ Havok admits as he and the others emerge from the tunnels. Havok remarks that Random is the one who turned him over to McCoy in the first place, and that he has been keeping a pretty low profile ever since then. ‘Alex, I understand. I deserve everything you want to do to me right now, but please don’t turn your back on -’ Random warns Alex, but ‘Too late!’ booms the Dark Beast, as he tosses several test tubes filled with a green substance up into the air.

McCoy declares that he would love to say this has been fun, ‘But it was barely a diversion!’ he exclaims. ‘Another time. Another place!’ he adds as Havok watches in horror as the test tubes hit the ground, and crack open, causing a green gas to release. Alex warns everyone to be ready. ‘Whatever it was he had up his sleeve…it’s not going to be pretty!’ he exclaims. ‘You can say that again, Sir! And it stinks too!’ Greystone exclaims as the giant green gas rises, knocking buildings over in its wake.

Fixx points out that the contents of the vial seem to be reacting with normal bacteria in the air and mutating, hence why it is growing at such a rapid rate. ‘It’s going to have to reach a maximum overload in moments!’ Fixx points out as she and the others begin blasting it with what innate powers they have. ‘And that means?’ Greystone asks in response to Fixx’s statement. ‘Boom!’ Shard explains. ‘Alex! Watch out!’ Random shouts as he pushes Alex out of the way of the fast-approaching gas. Alex thanks Random, remarking that it would have taken him out. ‘It’s okay. But…Alex…about what I did…I’m sorry’ Random exclaims, to which Alex tells him to just accept the thanks, before the imminent explosion takes place.

The gas dissipates, and Ever announces that McCoy is gone. ‘Yeah, but he’ll be back. They always come back’ Alex remarks, before announcing that he is trying to figure out what they are going to do withy the rest of the people in the Dark Beast’s chambers. ‘And what are we going to do with her?’ Alex asks, walking over to Mary Stewart, who is sitting nearby. Ever declares that McCoy’s carriers must be kept whole and tended to until a cure for the Legacy Virus can be developed. Ever announces that he will stay with the Dark Beast’s captives and keep them safe from any further violations by McCoy. Ever offers Random and Mary to join him and help care for the others.

‘That’s nice, Ever, but now that we’ve saved the world…again…you can all work out the boring details amongst yourselves. Me…I’ve got a Senator waiting for me!’ Mystique announces as she strides away. Random and Mary walk over to Ever, while Greystone shrinks down to regular size, asking Havok if he is going to be joining them. ‘Joining you on what? Wasn’t the world saved already?’ Alex replies. Fixx stands between Shard and Archer as she explains that only one dangling thread was taken care of. ‘Time hasn’t been completely repaired yet’ she reveals. ‘Well…this is my time line, so I think I’ll stick around with you and make sure you don’t screw things up’ Havok tells the X.U.E., adding that he hopes he doesn’t live to regret it.

Characters Involved: 

Havok (former member of X-Factor, undercover in the Brotherhood of Mutants)

Mystique & Shard (former members of X-Factor)

Random / “Alex”

Archer, Fixx, Greystone (all X.U.E.)

Dark Beast, Ever, Fatale (all Brotherhood of Mutants)

Mary Stewart



In Flashback Illustrations:

Dark Beast

Mary Stewart

“Alex” / Random


Homeless people

Story Notes: 

This issue was originally supposed to be entitled “Fall of the Brotherhood, part 2”, following directly on from X-Factor (1st series) #143.

An error occurs on page 8, when Archer tells Shard to stand down, the word balloon comes from Greystone.

Shard shares a bond with the X.U.E. as of X-Factor (1st series) #140.

Ever tried to tell Havok about the plan in X-Factor (1st series) #143, but he passed out after being attacked.

Dr. Moira MacTaggert was revealed to have contracted the Legacy Virus in Excalibur (1st series) #80.

Random turned Havok over to the Dark Beast in X-Factor (1st series) #118.

Apparently, Ever remains with the Dark Beast’s prisoners until the Legacy Virus became airborne. His current status remains unknown. Presumably Mary Stewart was cured when the cure went airborne, as she hasn’t been seen or mentioned either.

Issue Information: 
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