X-Factor (1st series) #228

Issue Date: 
January 2012
Story Title: 

Peter David (writer), Leonard Kirk (artist), Matt Milla (colorist), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), David Yardin (cover), Jordan D. White (assistant editor), Daniel Ketchum (editor), Nick Lowe (X-Men group editor), Axel Alonso (editor in chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

Now in the body of the recently killed dupe of Madrox, Bloodbath stands over the corpse of Madrox Prime and mocks the rest of X-Factor. Aghast at seeing Madrox murdered, the entire team attacks, only to find Bloodbath more than a match for them all. When Longshot manages a lucky shot, taking down the possessed dupe, Bloodbath merely reanimates his original body, healing it as he does so. The battle quickly resumes but is suddenly called off by Monet, who has begun to infer meaning from Bloodbath’s snide remarks regarding Guido. The resulting conversation leads Layla to reveal the truth: she has the power to bring recently deceased people back from the dead and did so recently with Guido. She also admits, much to Guido’s horror, that in doing so she brings them back without a soul. Reeling from the news, the team is divided on whether Layla should bring back Madrox. However, Bloodbath decides for them, uninterested in allowing in allowing the resurrection of someone who can generate an army of the soulless, as they are immune to his powers. During the reignited hostilities, X-Factor receives aid in the form of the Hangman, who has been convinced into assisting by his son Terry, who was told by his mother than the Hangman was a super hero. This support allows Shatterstar to decapitate Bloodbath, who immediately chooses Madrox’s corpse for possession. However, this was anticipated by Layla, who immediately performs an exorcism and thereafter banishes the exiled spirit to Hell. The crisis passed, Layla finds that the choice of resurrection has been removed from her, as she seems to be unable to bring him back. Meanwhile, elsewhere or else-when, Jamie Madrox finds himself in the hotel room of his murdered self and murdered bride, Layla.

Full Summary: 

Standing in the middle of the aghast X-Factor team, the Bloodbath possessed Madrox dupe stands over the bloody corpse of the original Jamie Madrox. Through a maniacal grin, the reanimated dupe acts as if he is recapping a television show for a returning audience. For you latecomers, he tells non-existent viewers, the evil Bloodbath just took over a Jamie Madrox dupe and killed Madrox Prime. Whoo-Eeee! That was exciting wasn’t it? One down, eight to go. Let’s go to Dorothy Kilgallen. Sorry, he then apologizes. Before their time. He’s dating himself. Which he kind of has to do since Match.com turned down his application.

Still reeling from what has happened, Longshot asks that that was just a dupe, right? He just killed one of Jamie’s dupes. That wasn’t the… Equally dumbfounded, the nearby hovering Monet haltingly replies that she thinks it was…

“JAMIE!!!” Layla Miller yells in abject horror. She rushes to Madrox’s immobile form and falls to her knees. No… No, no… This… this wasn’t supposed to happen… it wasn’t… This wasn’t one of the… the… “Options?” the possessed dupe asks. That what she was going to say, acolyte? Wasn’t one of the paths she foresaw? She has no one to blame but herself. See, he knows what Madrox knows. And she’s been a very naughty girl, hasn’t she? This happens to naughty girls. They get their toys taken away.

A short distance away, Rahne whispers to Terry to go out the front gate. His father’s there. At first, Terry worries that Bloodbath will see, but Rahne disagrees. As she transforms into her lupine form, she proclaims it’s because she’s gonna claw out his eyes!

Closer to Bloodbath, however, Banshee disagrees… because he’s hers! With that, she unleashes a sonic scream. Unphased, however, the Bloodbath-possessed dupe positions his scythe-sword in its path, deflecting it into Wolfsbane and knocking her into Rictor. Mocking the group as he does so, Bloodbath states that they don’t do a lot of coordinated attacks, do they? They should really work on that.

A moment later, Guido tackles the possessed dupe from behind, yelling for Longshot to act now. Without a word, Longshot does as instructed and tosses a handful of flechettes at Bloodbath, impacting the possessed dupe squarely in the torso. Still smiling, the dupe’s corpse sarcastically pretends to be injured and quips that his life is flashing before his eyes. God, but he’s boring… No, wait, he then corrects. That’s Al Gore’s life. But, hey, blood and gore go together so… <>

Suddenly, the Bloodbath dupe stops mid-sentence as a flechette impacts in the center of the dupe’s forehead. With that, it collapses into a lifeless husk. Still wary, Monet asks if he’s dead. She means, y’know, deader? Guido begins to reply that he doesn’t know but is interrupted by a voice calling out “Hey, kids.” After Guido replies with an “Aw, come on,” the reanimated form of Bloodbath’s proper body declares that he knows, right! How much does this suck? They kill him in one body and he just jumps into another corpse, even if it’s one he previously vacated. And if need be, he can heal it to get it back into fighting trim. Already crackling with energy, Bloodbath clutches his fists, which, as they return back to their undamaged form, produces blade-like knuckles. Then with a smile, the restored Bloodbath asks for his sword, please.

Not a problem, a stone-faced Shatterstar replies. He’ll give it to him point first!!! With that, Shatterstar races toward Bloodbath, holding the bloodied scythe-sword. He swings mightily at Bloodbath, who deftly dodges the arc. Is that what he really wants to do, Bloodbath asks. Spend the whole day sparring with B.B.? Or aren’t there things he’d rather be doing, like… he doesn’t know… finding out just how it was that Muscles McGurk wasn’t bothered when he was draining all their souls? With that, Bloodbath catches the sword from Shatterstar, whom he then kicks away.

As the team regroups, they unanimously reject interest in anything Bloodbath has to say. However, just as they are about to attack in unison, they are ordered to hold it by Monet. Nobody move, she orders. Nobody do anything! Smiling at this, Bloodbath asks how did he know that she’d be the one to ask… “you sexy thing.” Guido begins to ask what she’s doing but Monet tells him to shut up. It’s not Bloodbath, it’s him. There’s something wrong with him. Banshee tries to voice that this isn’t the time but Monet rejoins that this may be the only time. Undeterred, Banshee angrily reminds Monety that that monster killed Jamie! Why should they give a damn about anything he has to say!

To this, Bloodbath remarks that they don’t want to hear what he has to say. They want to listen to her. See, Madrox… he had his suspicions, and they were proven to him by what he just witnessed before he… well… offed him. Turning to a visibly dejected Layla, whom he again calls “acolyte,” Bloodbath asks if she has something she wants to get off her chest there?

Meanwhile, outside the front gate, Hangman finds his son Terry calling out to him and running into his arms. Effortlessly, Hangman lifts his son into his arms, remarking that it’s a hell of a way to meet. Swearing, Hangman remarks that Terry looks like his mother. He sounds like her even. He begins to suggest that they get out of there but Terry interrupts. Pointing back to the studio, he tells him that X-Factor’s still in there. He’s gotta help ‘em. No, he doesn’t Hangman retorts, beginning to lead Terry away. Yeah, he does, Terry replies, trying to hold his father back. Mom told him all about him. She told him he was a super hero. With wide eyes, Hangman looks back at his son. He’s a what?

Back in the studio lot, Guido calls Monet nuts. This creep is just trying to turn them against each other. Why’re they even discussin’?! Jamie’s dead and… Interrupting, Bloodbath grins that she could bring him back from the dead. Couldn’t she, acolyte? he asks Layla. And then he’ll be just like muscle man. That’s Strong Guy, Guido retorts, adding “blork” to the statement. Right, Bloodbath replies, picking his teeth with one of his recently generated knuckle blades. That’s a way better name.

Hovering a short distance above Layla and Madrox’s corpse, Monet asks if what Bloodbath says is true. Yeah, okay, Guido interjects. He’s had it. He’s not spending one more second wastin’ time with…

Yes, it’s true, Layla admits. Asked what she’s talking about, Layla explains that she can bring the dead back to life if it’s within minutes of death. It’s what she did with Guido. Asked by the astonished Guido if she did, the ashen Layla confirms. Guido then tells her to bring Madrox back too, and hurry, but Layla replies that there’s… a problem. When she brings people back, they don’t have a soul. Incredulous, Guido asks if she means like a zombie? Aw, c’mon! That’s the dumbest thing he ever… Guido’s words trail as he looks around and sees the wide-eyed faces of his teammates.

Grinning at the latest turn of events, Bloodbath asks the group if they’ve found themselves knee deep in demons recently? That’s why. When they start poking around his side of the street, the neighbors come calling. So, c’mon, he then tells Layla, bring Maddy back. Have another soulless creature in her group. It’ll be fun. The more, the scarier.

For a moment, Layla seems tempted and holds her outstretched hand, hovering just above the corpse of Jamie Madrox’s, whose lifeless eyes stare into empty space. Layla pauses for a moment and, without looking around, asks if anyone is going to stop her. Wordlessly, all of X-Factor stares around, looking at each other. Of them all, Monet and Banshee approach Layla. At the same moment, they speak. However, while Monet replies “no way in hell,” Theresa tells her to “do it.” In silent confusion, they both look at each other, visibly surprised by the other’s response.

At this moment of tension, Bloodbath leaps into action, holding his scythe-sword aloft and asking if he can weigh it. Immediately, the whole team leaps into action but continue to find Bloodbath a match. As he deflects their attacks, he notes that guys with no souls are a pain in the neck for him. And a guy who can create a whole army of ‘em? That just doesn’t do it for him.

Wolfsbane draws first blood against Bloodbath, clawing at his back. However, Bloodbath pronounces it silly and responds by impaling his own chest, so that the blade erupts from his back and at Wolfsbane. Luckily, Rahne manages to leap away in time, avoiding the sword tip. They’re just not getting it, Bloodbath announces. They can’t stop him! None of them can! They don’t have the mystic juice! They’re just mutants and genetic junkpiles! Sure, Muscle Man hassled him but, after he cuts him to pieces, he’ll still be able to suck their souls dry! They’re just delaying the inevitable!

Suddenly, a noose falls around Bloodbath’s neck and cinches tightly, much to his surprise. Replying that he doesn’t know, the Hangman adds that Bloodbath’s looking pretty evitable from here. From high above on a rooftop, the Hangman pulls Bloodbath off of his feet, allowing the quick-acting Shatterstar to decapitate him with a single blow. Got him, Shatterstar rejoices. Got the son of a…

Yeah, he got him, the newly reanimated Jamie Madrox’s corpse announces, sitting upright. But can they keep him? That’s the… Interrupting, the stone-eyed Layla informs Bloodbath that no, he doesn’t. Not in him! Not this time! Amused at having Layla’s hand wrapped around his newly acquired throat, Bloodbath asks what she’s gonna do? Chop this head off? No, Layla replies. She’s going to do what she’s spent the past few minutes summoning the strength, focusing her power, to do.

With that, Layla begins to recite in Latin, much to Bloodbath’s horror. Through Madrox’s frantic expression, Bloodbath asks how does she know… Ignoring him, Layla continues her incantation, her eye glowing red as power courses through her. A distance away, Theresa asks Rahne if Layla’s doing what she thinks she’s doing. Aye, Rahne replies. It’s an exorcism.

Back at Madrox’s animated corpse, Layla herself seems possessed as she continues her recitation. Under her grip, Bloodbath vibrates wildly and, a moment later, is ejected from Madrox’s body. Enraged, Bloodbath begins to curse Layla but, before he can even do so, Layla banishes him with an emphatic go to Hell!

From outside the Imperial Studio’s lot, Terry watches the dissipation of Bloodbath’s spirit. “Whooooooaaa! Awesome!”

At the site of the exorcism, Layla once again attends to the remains of Jamie Madrox, calling out his name. Believing her about to resurrect him, Monet orders her to get away from him. When Theresa replies that this isn’t her business, Monet replies “like hell.” However, Layla yells at both of them to shut up! The both of them! Through tears, she tells them it doesn’t matter! He’s not responding. Maybe she waited too long, maybe it was Bloodbath. She doesn’t know… but he’s gone. Jamie’s… Jamie’s gone.

Somewhere else, very far away, the very much living Jamie Madrox reels at the sight before him: a hotel room in which a murdered Jamie and Layla Madrox lie in their own blood.

Characters Involved: 

Banshee II, M II, Multiple Man, Rictor, Shatterstar, Strong Guy, Wolfsbane (all X-Factor)



(“next” world)
Multiple Man
Jamie & Layla Madrox

Story Notes: 

Dorothy Kilgallen was a renowned mid-20th century journalist best known for her columns on show business news and Hollywood gossip.

One of the public perceptions of former vice-president Al Gore is that he is rather stiff and boring, a feature some credit to his losing his bid for the office of president of the United States in 2000.

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