X-Factor (1st series) #149

Issue Date: 
September 1998
Story Title: 
Times Change

Joseph Harris (writer), James Fry (penciler), Scott Koblish (inker), Glynis Oliver (colorist), Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s EM (letterers), Jason White (assistant editor), Frank Pittarese (editor), Bob Harras (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

A rather deranged Greystone is obsessed with returning to his true time, believing that he and the X.U.E. accomplished what they came here for, and he builds what he believes to be a time travel device. Havok has trouble sleeping, so phones his brother, Cyclops, to apologize for what went on with the Brotherhood. Polaris meets up with Multiple Man to discuss their future. Fixx tries to rouse Greystone as they have a meeting with Havok, and discovers him very unstable and babbling about returning to their time. Greystone gets aggressive when Fixx tells him that he cannot go, before Shard’s intervention prevents him from hurting Fixx. Archer meets with Havok before everyone else arrives, and tells him that he will not be joining the new X-Factor team, as he wants to make a life with his new family. Soon, Polaris, Multiple Man, Fixx, Shard and Greystone meet with Havok, who tells him that he wants this X-Factor team to be a pro-active mutant team who is in the public spotlight with the intention of taking risks and proving that mutants are not dangerous. During the meeting, Greystone announces that Multiple Man has to die as he will betray them all. He attacks Multiple Man, but is taken down by the others, before storming away. With his time machine completed, Greystone prepares to steal X-Factor’s jet. Fixx uses her powers to sneak into Greystone’s mind and sees what he is going to do, and learns that it’s likely to be more of a bomb than a time travel device that Greystone has created. Havok prepares to go and stop Greystone, telling Polaris that she is in charge if he doesn’t make it back. Eventually boarding the jet, Havok talks to Greystone and convinces him that what he is doing is wrong. Greystone soon realizes that all he did was create a bomb, and attempts to disable it, but it is stuck. X-Factor gathers outside their headquarters as they look up at the jet, not too far away from them in the sky, which, as Havok tries to disable the weapon with his powers, then explodes before their eyes. The telepathic Fixx announces that Havok and Greystone are dead, and Polaris watches the debris fall to the ground, along with the dreams of Havok, her long-time boyfriend.

Full Summary: 

X-Factor Headquarters, on the banks of the Hudson River, the mutant from the future known as Greystone sits in the workshop in the guise of his host body, Brian Young. ‘First you’re born. Then you die. Unless, of course, you jump through time and take over the body of some other dead guy…’ he exclaims while putting some sort of device together. ‘I’m Devlin Greystone!’ he shouts. ‘Brian Young is just some poor runaway who died in a bus accident and whose body I jumped into. I’m Greystone of the Xavier’s Security Enforcers. I don’t belong in the past. Got to get back!’ he exclaims frantically, switching between his true form and his Brian Young guise.

‘We changed what we had to change. Changed even more than we had to!’ Greystone exclaims as he fumbles about amongst various tools and mechanical parts. ‘I can get back. They say it can’t be done, but…I know I can!’ Greystone declares, and holding up some equipment, he declares ‘It’s all been fixed!’. Photos of deadly super-villains Dr. Doom, Immortus and Kang sit at his feet, as Greystone shifts back into his true form, although a massive size, boasting ‘We made the past a better place. Havok didn’t release the Legacy Virus and Micah isn’t going to rule over the camps’. Greystone declares that nobody will have to die now. ‘My mother won’t have to die. I’ve got to get back. Back to where I belong!’ he exclaims.

Elsewhere in the building, the handsome Alex Summers suffers through a fitful sleep. Tossing and turning. His past revisits him in the form of nightmares, night after night. It happens to everyone - though not everyone’s body is constantly absorbing ambient cosmic energy and converting it into plasma, like Alex’s. Not everyone is a mutant - and not everyone must maintain a constant vigil in respect to the build-up of said energy. Not everyone is the mutant known as…Havok! Alex goes wide-eyed, waking from his nightmares just as he lets loose a massive blast of plasma energy.

Sitting up in his bed, Alex thinks to himself that has not happened in a long time, and attributes it to the stress of trying to put X-Factor back together. Havok gets out of bed and splashes some water from a jug on his face, thinking that perhaps he hasn’t been getting enough sleep. Alex begins to get dressed, putting his uniform on and looking at the phone, telling himself that perhaps in an effort to put all his recent affairs in order, he has been avoiding the one phone call he knows he has got to make. ‘Maybe…’ he announces as he picks the phone up and begins to dial.

At that moment, in Anchorage, Alaska, the phone rings, ‘Hello…Scott Summers here’ the man known as Cyclops declares as he answers the phone, before realizing that he is speaking to his brother, Alex, who exclaims ‘Yeah, Scott, it’s your screw-up little brother calling to grovel and apologize…again’. Sitting by the fireplace, Scott casually responds to Alex by saying ‘You mean for launching a terrorist attack on a civilian airplane and throwing me several thousand feet to my death?’. ‘Yeah’ Alex replies, to which Scott asks him if he meant it. ‘No’ Alex tells him.

Scott asks Alex if he had a good reason for doing it, to which Alex replies ‘Yeah’. ‘I forgive you’ Scott tells his brother. ‘But…’ Alex begins, to which Scott interrupts, and reminds him that he is his brother, and that they have both made their fair share of screw-ups. Scott tells Alex to save the explanations until he can get up to Alaska to visit him and Jean. ‘It’s been too long’ Scott points out. Alex thanks his brother and explains that he is about to do something radical and wanted to bounce it off someone he trusts. ‘As long as it’s legal, I’m here for you, bro!’ Scott smiles.

Later that day, Jamie Madrox a.k.a. the Multiple Man, is out in a field, playing some kind of tag game with his duplicates. ‘A battle royale for the world championship belt! A no-holds-barred, full contact death match!’ Madrox exclaims. One of the dupes shouts back ‘One will enter…twelve will leave! Jamie Madrox is the Multiple Man! Undisputed champion of the world!’. Suddenly, while the dupes play-flight, their attention is drawn to something in the sky approaching them - green and glowing. ‘Wait!’ ‘Look!’ ‘Up in the sky!’ ‘It’s a bird!’ ‘It’s a plane!’ ‘It’s…super babe!’ the dupes call out as Lorna “Polaris” Dane arrives on scene.

‘Monkey pile on Polaris!’ the dupes shout as they all gather around Lorna, hugging her and kissing her. ‘Jamie! Cut it out!’ Lorna tells her friend, before telling him that she is still not sure about coming here and doing what she agreed to do. ‘Come on, Greeny! This is gonna be a blast! First you and me, then we’ll get in touch with the Guidster and Rahne the wolf-chick…who knows, maybe we’ll even convince Quicksilver to come back! It’ll be like old times!’ Madrox exclaims, referring to their fellow Government sponsored original X-Factor teammates Strong Guy, Wolfsbane and Quicksilver. ‘No! It will not!’ Lorna retorts.

Meanwhile, at X-Factor headquarters, Fixx knocks on Greystone’s door, asking him if he is awake yet. ‘You’re going to be late for the meeting that Summers called!’ Fixx tells him, before calling out to him again. When she gets no response, she sends one of her psionic fairies through the door, ‘Oh, well…you leave me no choice!’ she remarks. A moment later, the door opens, and Greystone, in his Brian Young guise, steps out of his quarters, rubbing his head he tells Fixx to keep her psionic fairies away from him. ‘You look terrible!’ Fixx tells her companion, asking him if he hasn’t been sleeping. Fixx is about to suggest something to Greystone, who interrupts her, telling her that just because he is stuck in a kid’s body doesn’t mean he is a kid.

‘Fine with me’ Fixx replies, before telling Greystone that he is late and that Archer sent her to find him while he talks with Havok about a personal matter. Greystone asks Fixx if she ever thinks about going home, to which Fixx replies that she doesn’t, as there is no need to. ‘But what if we could? Think of how things would’ve changed. Think of how great it could be. We’ve changed the past! We stopped Micah from -’ Greystone exclaims, to which Fixx interrupts, telling him that she can see where he is going with this, and her advice is to forget it. ‘If, through some miracle, we could return, that simple act could undo every bit of good we did’ she tells him.

Fixx declares that they created a better future for everyone except themselves. ‘We really cannot go home’ she announces. ‘How do you know! None of you know! We could go back to a perfect world! We’d be heroes!’ Greystone shouts as he grabs Fixx by the shoulders and shakes her violently. Suddenly, Shard phases through the wall, ‘Hope I’m not interrupting anything!’ she exclaims, to which Greystone stops shaking Fixx and tells Shard to mind her own business, before storming off down the hall. Shard remarks that Greystone seems a little more stressed than usual, and asks Fixx if she is okay. Fixx replies that she is fine, and explains that the stress of the time-jump is getting to Greystone. Fixx begins to explain that she is worried, when Shard interrupts: ‘You know what? I was just being polite. I don’t really care about any of you!’ she harshly tells Fixx, before reminding her that they are supposed to be at a meeting but are late.

Elsewhere, in the living area, Havok shakes hands with Archer, and asks ‘Why?’ Archer replies that he lost his family in the future, and now, with Jude Black’s wife and child, he feels as though he has been given a second chance. Archer adds that the mission he signed on for is complete, before telling Havok that he has a favor to ask. ‘I’ve never been good at good-byes, so…’ he reveals as he hands Alex an envelope. ‘You want to do it with a note?’ Alex replies. ‘Would you mind?’ Archer asks him. ‘No. Believe me, I, of all people, understand’ Alex assures Archer, before Archer turns and leaves, thanking Havok and telling him that it has been a pleasure serving with him.

Another door into the living room opens as Archer leaves, and Lorna and Madrox appear. Lorna sees the envelope in Alex’s hand, and angrily tells him that the letter had better not be for her, again, making reference to their past troubles with letters. ‘Er...no…Lorna...don’t be...no!’ Alex stutters as he puts the envelope behind his back.

A short time later, Havok stands before Polaris, Madrox, Shard, Fixx and Greystone, and asks ‘So…what is “X-Factor”? What makes us any different than any of the other mutant teams? The X-Men, Generation X, X-Force…how do we approach things any differently than them?’. Havok points out that in the past, they were the Government’s team, but now that is over. ‘We all claim to be striving to fulfil Charles Xavier’s dream of human and mutant coexistence, but all we seem to do is battle other mutants and stick to the shadows’ Alex points out, declaring that he wants to change that.

‘I want us to get proactive, take risks and go public as heroes. Let’s get out there and stop a few criminals usually reserved for the Avengers. Let’s influence public opinion with our actions’ Alex suggests. Havok remarks that he knows some humans are still going to hate them, ‘But they do anyway. We can do it’ he declares, adding that especially now that they are being rejoined by Polaris and Madrox. ‘We’ll make a different whether the world accepts us or not!’ Alex declares.

Suddenly though, Greystone switches from his Brian Young guise into his true form, and increases his mass, shouting ‘MADROX! He’s got to die! He’ll betray us all! Work for them! Work for him!’. Greystone lunges at Jamie, who leaps backwards, ‘Chill, already, big guy! I’m not working for anyone!’ Madrox assures him. ‘You will! If you live!’ Greystone retorts as he leaps at Madrox again, only to be repelled by a burst of psionic fairies courtesy of Fixx, before Polaris restrains him with iron beams, and Havok holds a plasma burst ready if needed, while telling Greystone that he doesn’t know what he is talking about, ‘But if you want to kill Jamie...you’ll have to kill me first!’.

Greystone reduces himself down to his Brian Young form, thus freeing himself from Polaris’ restraints, he leaves the living room, ‘You’ll see! You’ll all be sorry! But not me’ he declares as he leaves the room, adding that he doesn’t have to stay here anymore. ‘What was that about?’ Madrox asks as he puts an arm around Shard. ‘Maybe it’s the shirt. Plaid affects some people that way!’ he jokes, referring to his shirt. Fixx tells Havok that she is going to go after Greystone, as something isn’t right. ‘Not alone. We’re a team!’ Alex tells her.

Entering the lab, Greystone mutters to himself ‘They’ll see. They’re living in the past and they’ll be devoured by the future! But not me!’ he declares as he returns to his true form, large enough to carry the now completed machine over to the jet. ‘The machine’s done. I can go home’ he exclaims.

Outside the lab, Havok, Polaris, Madrox, Fixx and Shard arrive. ‘He’s in there. It’s an old underground lab of Forge’s’ Fixx announces, explaining that she and Greystone found it when they moved here. Fixx reveals that she is worried, remarking that the things Greystone said made no sense. ‘In our future Madrox never betrayed anyone!’ Fixx exclaims, adding that she is afraid Greystone may be suffering from temporal insanity. Fixx points out that with his training and powers, Greystone could be very dangerous.

‘Wonderful’ Mutters Alex, before asking Fixx if she can send some of those “fairy thingies” of hers into the lab before they go busting in. ‘If he’s not up to anything dangerous, I’d just as soon let him calm down’ Alex points out. Fixx replies that she agrees, and proceeds to unleash two psionic fairies into the lab, which goes noticed by a very annoyed Greystone. ‘What -?’ he exclaims as he sees the fairies and tries to swat them away. But to no avail, as they both enter his head. ‘NO!’ he booms, before shouting at Fixx, telling her to get out of his head. ‘I said…get…OUT!’ he shouts, somehow forcing Fixx out of his mind.

Outside the lab, Fixx screams and keels over due to the psychic backlash. ‘No. He can’t. Not that!’ Fixx declares as she gathers herself and sits up, rubbing her head. ‘He can’t what?’ Alex asks. Fixx reveals that Greystone has created a space-time distortion vehicle, explaining that it was a theoretical course they had at the X.S.E. Academy. Fixx explains that it is strictly science fiction as far as everyone was concerned. ‘We are here, so I guess…’ her voice trails off, before exclaiming that she cannot believe Greystone would construct a crude and workable device without blowing himself up. ‘We’ve got to stop him…now!’ she declares.

‘No. Not all of us. This is my team and Greystone is still part of it!’ Havok announces, declaring that he will talk to Greystone and see if he can get him off whatever ledge he has climbed onto. Lorna tells Havok that they are going to have to discuss this “my team” thing, and points out that if Greystone is already firing up the ship, she can magnetically hold it in place - but Alex interrupts, telling Lorna that he doesn’t want to force Greystone’s hand. Alex asks for some space so he can handle the situation. He enters the lab, and tells Lorna that if he doesn’t make it out of the lab, then she is in charge. ‘Hope it goes the way you want…’ he tells her.

‘This is not what I had in mind for the new X-Factor’s first mission!’ Alex thinks to himself as he sprints towards the jet, while telling himself that one must play the hand they are dealt, and as he leaps onto the hatch, Alex hopes that Greystone is in a state of mind to listen to reason. But, Greystone sits at the control seat, seemingly in a trance-like state, he mutters over and over ‘Going home…going home…going home…’. Havok soon sees that the hangar door is still closed and realizes that the chances of Greystone being in a reasonable state of mind seem to be diminishing.

Alex realizes if they the door at this speed they will be vaporized, so the handsome hero unleashes a powerful burst of plasma, hoping it will melt the door in time. There is a massive explosion moments later as the jet passes through the just-melted door, and takes off high above the city, where Havok has made his way into the main part of the jet, ‘Hey, Greystone. How’re you doing?’ he asks his runaway team member. Havok stand next to Greystone and asks him if he can land the jet so the two of them can have a nice chat about what it is Greystone is trying to accomplish. ‘Going home!’ is all Greystone replies.

‘Really?’ Alex asks. ‘And how are you planning on doing that? I was just wondering because Fixx seems to think that the device you built is nothing more than a big bomb!’ Havok exclaims, adding that Fixx seemed worried about him. ‘Fixx was…worried? She…?’ Greystone stutters, before exclaiming ‘The temporal time-continuum…with enough energy…and altitude…theoretically I can rip through and…’ his voice trails off, before he gets up from his seat, shouting ‘OMIGOD!’, and rushing over to his device, Greystone exclaims ‘What was I thinking?’ and admits that Fixx is right.

‘All I did was create a mini-reactor and now…’ his voice, yet again, trails off, before telling Havok that he needs to get clear of the plane. ‘Grab a parachute and jump!’ Havok tells Greystone that even if there was a parachute, he has gone that route too many times in his life. ‘We’ll disarm this thing together’ he assures the mutant from the future. ‘We’re a team’ Alex declares, while Greystone stares at the device and asks over and over again ‘What have I done…what have I done?’ before trying to remove the outer casing, only to discover that it is stuck.

‘I can’t do it…’ Greystone exclaims, putting his head in his hands, he then switches to his Brian Young guise, a young teenager, ‘Help me…please?’ he cries. Havok tells him to stand back, and surrounds himself with power, explaining that he will use a plasma blast to dislodge the outer casing, and urges Greystone to get control of himself. ‘We can get out of this, but I need you calm!’ he tells him. ‘Stay with me - stay focused - and we will live. I promise!’ Alex exclaims as he unleashes the plasma blast on the time device.

Down on the ground, the doors to X-Factor HQ burst open as Polaris, Madrox, Fixx and Shard make their way outside. ‘Hey! There they are!’ Madrox exclaims, motioning to the sky, where the jet is not far from their headquarters. Suddenly though, there is a massive explosion and the sky turns a orange-red color. X-Factor duck as Lorna tells everyone to move in tight, and she conjures up a magnetic bubble to surround them, protecting them from the falling debris.

‘Debris…’ Lorna whispers as tears begin to form in her eyes. ‘Lorna, do you think they…?’ Jamie asks, cautiously. Shard urges Fixx to use her psionic fairies, but Fixx interrupts, ‘No’ she states, dropping to her knees. ‘They’re gone’. She begins crying, and exclaims ‘They were just there…I had their psionic link and…now they’re gone!’. Madrox comforts Fixx as she hangs her head. ‘They’re dead. They’re both dead’ she announces solemnly, while Shard, shocked, puts her hands to her face, and a horrified Lorna watches the debris fall before her…and the dream of her long-time lover fall too….

Characters Involved: 

Fixx, Greystone, Havok, Multiple Man, Polaris, Shard (all X-Factor)



In Photographs:

Dr. Doom



Story Notes: 

Greystone, Archer and Fixx arrived in this time, from their future, in X-Factor (1st series) #143, and took over the bodies of Brian Young, Judge Black, and Jane Doe, respectively.

First time Greystone’s real name - Delvin Greystone - is mentioned.

Havok was prevented from releasing the Legacy Virus in X-Factor (1st series) #144, and Micah Leash was saved from the cult in X-Factor (1st series) #145.

Havok launched a terrorist attack in the name of the Brotherhood, and threw Cyclops out of the plane in Uncanny X-Men #339.

It has not been specifically revealed how Archer’s family died.

Havok and the others took up residence in Forge’s old building in X-Factor (1st series) #145.

Havok’s reference to jumping out of a plane with a parachute too many times in his life is a nod to being pushed out of the plane by his parents as a child to save his life.

This issue, #149, marks the final issue for X-Factor (1st series), which began in February of 1986, with the Original X-Men regrouping. There are a total of nine annuals, one special (Prisoner of Love) and the Flashback issue. During the Age of Apocalypse, the series was renamed Factor X.

Essentially, X-Factor (1st series) can be divided into two parts - #1-70 and Annuals #1-6 with the Original X-Men and their numerous supporting characters (the X-Terminators, Trish Tilby, Charlotte Jones, Ship, Opal Tanaka, Caliban), and #71-149 and Annuals #7-9, with the Government sponsored X-Factor team. In fact, those issues can then be divided once more, with the team parting ways with the Government circa #130.

It would seem that this was not originally intended to be the final issue of X-Factor (1st series) - a note in the letters page of #145 mentioned a core team established for #150. However, at last minute, the book was cancelled and replaced with Mutant X, which starred Havok in an alternate reality.

To keep trademark of the X-Factor name, Marvel released a 4-issue mini series in 2002, this series had nothing to do with the original. In 2006, X-Factor (3rd series) debuted, after the success of Multiple Man’s mini series, and with Multiple Man in the staring role, his former Government-sponsored X-Factor friends Strong Guy and Wolfsbane were brought along, adding to the mix former X-Force and X-Corp members Siryn and Rictor, and rounding out the team with Generation X and X-Corp alumni, Monet. The series is written by fan-favorite Peter David, and continues to this day.

With the exception of the two main x-titles, X-Factor (1st series) marks the second longest-running x-title, losing out to Wolverine (2nd series), which clocked in at 189 issues, but beating out Alpha Flight (1st series) and Excalibur (1st series), which lasted 130 and 125 issues, respectively.

Havok goes on to star in the Mutant X series, which replaced X-Factor (1st series). Mutant X is set in an alternate reality, and lasts 32 issues, before Havok returns to the 616 reality in Uncanny X-Men #411, and has remained with the X-Men in some capacity since then, his relationship with Polaris often a major storyline.

Polaris disbands what remains of X-Factor, and is later joins Magneto on Genosha [X-Men (2nd series) #97], where she is eventually caught up in the destruction of Genosha, but survives, and is later found by Jean Grey [New X-Men (1st series) #115, #132]. It is revealed that while on Genosha, Lorna discovered Magneto is indeed her father [Uncanny X-Men #431]. After rejoining the X-Men (with a new attitude to boot), Lorna was reunited with Havok, and their relationship became a main focus of many storylines. Lorna also received many other storylines.

Multiple Man fades into relative obscurity for a while, before joining Banshee’s paramilitary X-Corps [Uncanny X-Men #405] and later X-Corporation [New X-Men (1st series) #128], before opening his own private investigation company [Madrox mini series], and later expands that to “X-Factor Investigations”, where he is joined by several former X-Factor and X-Corp teammates. [X-Factor (3rd series) #1]

After suffering a heart attack in X-Factor (1st series) #111, Strong Guy was left in a coma, which he awoke from in X-Factor (1st series) #133. He then went on to re-join Lila Cheney travelling the stars [Strong Guy Reborn one shot], and much later joined his friend Multiple Man in X-Factor Investigations [Madrox #1].

Wolfsbane left X-Factor some time ago, joining Excalibur in Excalibur (1st series) #90 to be with her foster mother, Dr. Moira MacTaggert, who had contracted the Legacy Virus. Rahne remains there for some time, and after losing her powers in the “Dreams End” crossover, she returns to the Xavier Institute as a teacher to some of the students. [New Mutants (2nd series) #9], before joining Madrox and Strong Guy in X-Factor Investigations. [Madrox #1]. Eventually , however, she left X-Factor in favor of Cyclops’ secret para-military team X-Force.

Quicksilver did not last long as a member of X-Factor, and soon returned to his Avengers ties, though he has often come into conflict/partnership with various X-members since then, especially following M-Day, and was briefly reunited with, and opposed, the new X-Factor in X-Factor (3rd series) #18-20.

Following X-Factor (1st series) Dr. Valerie Cooper has not appeared as a starring character in any title, however she continues to make guest appearances in countless Marvel titles over the years, and appears prominently in the x-books since M-Day.

After remaining in the former Morlock tunnels to watch over Legacy Virus victims, Random briefly aligns himself with the second version of the Acolytes [Quicksilver #8-9], before being imprisoned in Neverland, a mutant concentration camp [Weapon X (2nd series) #5]. After escaping, he joins the Exodus’ new Acolyte team. [X-Men Annual (2nd series) #1]

Forge soon becomes a support-staff member at the X-Mansion, although that doesn’t last long, and he is soon swept off to obscurity, making random appearances every now and again in pages of the X-titles.

After leaving X-Factor, Mystique returned to her various schemes, and even set up a new Brotherhood of Mutants during the “Dreams End” crossover, during which she murders Dr. Moira MacTaggert. After infiltrating Banshee’s X-Corps and slitting his throat [Uncanny X-Men #401-406], she became a solo operative for Xavier [Mystique ongoing series], and would much later be reunited with Havok and Polaris as members of the same X-Men team, though that didn’t last long either. She is again a wild card.

After reverting to a more feral state, Wild Child returned to Canada and was placed in the new Weapon X program [Weapon X: The Draft - Wild Child]. Kyle lost his powers on M-Day [New Excalibur #9], and is later recruited by the Romulus and re-powered.

Following this issue, Shard joins up with her brother, Bishop, [Bishop: The Last X-Man #1] and is a supporting character in that series until her death. [Bishop: The Last X-Man #14]

After breaking free of X-Factor, Sabretooth returns to his regular lifestyle of murder, carnage and blood, terrorizing various characters across a myriad of titles, before being inducted into the new Weapon X program [Weapon X (2nd series) #1]

Neither Archer or Fixx have been seen or mentioned since this issue, however as mutants from alternate time lines were not affected by M-Day, they both presumably retain their powers and have set up “normal” lives for themselves somewhere, Archer with Jude Black’s wife and child.

Greystone has, thankfully, not been resurrected.

Issue Information: 
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