X-Factor (1st series) #241

Issue Date: 
October 2012
Story Title: 
Breaking Points: Day One

Peter David (writer), Leonard Kirk (penciler), Rachelle Rosenberg (colorist), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), David Yardin (cover artist), 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: 

Damien Tryp Sr. visits the hiding places of three interdimensional refugees – a Dread Dormammu, a Deathlok-transformed Captain America and Vanora, the daughter of Wolfsbane. He informs them that their wait is over and that, with the worlds now properly aligned, they have the opportunity to make their move, and go home. Later, at X-Factor HQ, Madrox has returned from Seattle with Far Sight’s suicide note, which seems to be immune to Longshot’s ability to read things psychically. At that moment, Madrox receives a phone call from Rahne, asking him and Havok to meet her in Central Park. As they depart, Banshee finds herself once again tempted by alcohol. However, before she can take her first drink, a voice surprises her, telling her she doesn’t want to do that. Later, Layla learns that Madrox has returned from Seattle. However, when Guido informs her that he and Havok have gone to meet Rahne in Central Park, she replies that this is not what’s supposed to happen. Sensing a trap, Guido asks Monet and Polaris for help to get there immediately. At Central Park, Madrox and Havok find Rahne, but Madrox’s suspicions are raised when he sees she is missing her omnipresent cross necklace. Her cover blown, Vanora drops her Rahne disguise and transforms to her true form, while Deathlok Cap attacks from the tree line. At first, it seems that Madrox and Havok have the situation covered, but only until the arrival of Dormammu, who imprisons the two in magical domes which form points in a mystical pentagram. Drawing their energies as being interdimensional nexus points, Dormammu is on the verge of casting his spell when Guido arrives, literally dropping in on him from above. When Polaris forces Deathlok Cap to use his own cannon to kill himself, Vanora escapes in the confusion, leaving only Dormammu behind. At first, Dormammu attempts to use a nearby woman as hostage, but the soulless Guido cannot care less about her life. Startled by this, Dormammu allows the woman to escape when she is rescued by a swift flying Monet. Now alone and without options, Dormammu literally explodes into flame, confusing those left behind. Though the crisis is passed, Monet is incensed at Guido’s apathy toward the woman’s life and orders him out of her sight. Angered himself, Guido quits X-Factor and departs into the woods, only to run into a mysterious man who claims to have been the one who destroyed Dormammu. He offers Guido employment, but finds he doesn’t even have to explain what it is: as Guido accepts. The two depart in a puff of smoke.

Full Summary: 

In the possessed body of Doctor Strange, the Dread Dormammu rages. In his left hand he generates a sphere of mystical energy, from which tendrils of magical destruction wreak havoc on the surrounding buildings. Vocalizing his rage as well as demonstrating it, Dormammu demands to know of what us he is in this world? This… damnable dimension? He is only a fraction of what he once was! He should be ruling this world, instead of being confined to impotent ranting!

Interjecting, Vanora points out that he seems to be the only man she’s even seen who boasts about being impotent. He is not a “man,” Dormammu retorts. He is the Dread Dormammu, and he is not impotent. He said “impotent ranting,” as in futile. Chomping on a rat, Vanora thanks him for clarifying that. She then tells him she hopes he’s happy: she thinks he just destroyed the set where they filmed “Newsies.”

Ignoring the smoldering movie sets around them, Dormammu replies that he has no idea what she’s talking about. All he knows is that they have remained there for far too long… Joining the two, a Deathlok Captain America asks what would he have them do? This is not their world. It is a world replete with humans, far too many to dispose of, even if he were at full power. Calling him “Rogers,” with a snarl, Dormammu tells Deathlok that disposing of them is his priority. It’s Deathlok, the cyborg corrects. Rogers is who he was. What he is, Dormammu counters, is useless to him. Big words coming from someone who’s impotent, Deathlok Cap quips back.

“Silence,” a voice days simply and forcefully, cutting off the escalating conversation. Floating high above, Damien Tryp Sr. proclaims their bickering is unseemly. Granted, no worse than such teams as the Avengers or X-Men engage in, but still… one would think they’d answer to a higher standard.

Enraged, Dormammu blames all of this on Tryp and fires a mystic bolt, which passes harmlessly through the figure and his flowing robes. Hardly, Tryps rejoins. He did not bring them there. The machinations of an other-dimensional Doctor Strange… and conjunction with James Madrox… are responsible. Speaking up, Deathlok Cap reminds Tryp that he told them to stay put until he sorted maters out. But he agrees with Smokey the Bore. Just remaining there is accomplishing nothing…

He agrees, Tryp replies. And he’s pleased to tell them that the worlds have now properly aligned… so that they will be able to access the dimensional might they required so that they may make a proper… impression. Asked by Vanora where the alignment is taking place, Tryp replies “New York.” And he assures them that once they are unleashed upon it… it will truly be a hell of a town.

At X-Factor HQ, Longshot declares “nothing.” Asked by Madrox if he’s sure, Longshot is positive. He’s not getting any reading off this suicide note at all. It’s like… it’s not even there. At that moment, Havok passes by the door and asks Madrox if he’s back from Seattle. No, Madrox rejoins, a strip joint in Cleveland. When Havok notes that he doesn’t have to take his head off, Madrox apologizes. He’s right. He just hit nothing but dead ends. They’re still ruling Far Sight’s death a suicide… and they didn’t give a damn that he couldn’t have written the note ‘cause he’s illiterate. Glancing at the suicide note, Havok asks if that is it. Told it is, he asks if he wants to know how he acquired it. Told “nope,” Havok drops the subject.

Speaking now to Longshot, Madrox asks if this could be some kind of leftover effect from when he was tossed into a coma. Longshot worries that it could be, yes. Asked by Havok if he had any idea what did that to him, Longshot replies that, if he had to take an educated guess, he’d say Mojo is behind it somehow. They two of them are going to have to have a… chat. Hearing this, Havok voices his hope that Longshot’s not planning to try and jump over into his “world” to confront him. There’s been too much dimension hopping and team members disappearing lately.

Rubbing the back of his head, Madrox states that he hates to say it, but Alex is right. To this, Havok asks why does he “hate to say it?” It just bugs him when he’s right. Believe it or not, Havok rejoins with a smirk, he finds that oddly complimentary.

Entering the room, Pip offers a phone to Havok (whom he calls “Tron”). It’s fer him and “Carbon Copy” over there. It’s the fleabag. When Havok finds himself too dumbfounded by “Tron,” Madrox takes the phone, but not before asking if he’s seen his costume lately. He’s one light cycle away from the grid. Answering the line, Madrox begins to joke that he’s glad she’s finally checking it, but finds his ear barraged and asks her to slow down.

Meanwhile, in the kitchen, Polaris finds Monet with a tub of ice cream and remarks it’s a little early in the day, isn’t it? Comfort food, Monet replies simply. Asked if the date with Guido didn’t go well, Monet again replies simply. Depends. Pressed further, Monet explains that they should just say that they didn’t part on the best of terms. Polaris replies by stating that explains why he’s moping around in the rec room. Asked if she’s talked to Theresa about it, Monet replies no and asks why. Because she’s her closest friend on the team. A good sounding board. Plus, she’s been awfully withdrawn since coming back from that business with the Morrigan. She figures the two of them could benefit from some time together.

So this is her thing, Monet asks. Trying to keep lines of communication open? Lorna replies that she figures it should be somebody’s thing, why not hers? Taking another spoonful of ice cream, Monet replies that she’s fine, “Hydra Hair.” And Guido will get over it. And Terry’s fine, too. Whatever happened, she’ll bounce back. She’s a survivor. They all are.

Upstairs in her room, Theresa sits at the edge of her bed, eying the bottle of liquor sitting on her nightstand. Reaching a decision, she takes the bottle and unscrews it. However, just as she brings the bottler to her lips, a Scottish voice tells her that she “dinna wanna be doing that.” Startled, Theresa drops the bottle, which shatters as it hits the floor.

Down in the rec room, the noise from above pulls Guido away from reading Helter Skelter. However, before he can consider if further, he is joined by Madrox and Havok, who inform him that Rahne’s finally turned up. She wants them to meet her in Central Park. She says she has a lead on the baby. Does he want to come? Asked if they’re leaving it up to him, Madrox replies “more or less.” Then fergit it, he replies, returning to his book. Ain’t really in the mood.

Grabbing his coat as they head to the door, Madrox asks Havok what’d he miss. He and Monet had a date, Havok explains. Apparently it didn’t end well. You’d think he wouldn’t are about that, what with not having a soul anymore. To this, Madrox supposes that maybe he doesn’t care, and that’s what has him angry. Careful, Havok warns Madrox, that was dangerously close to being deep. Thanks for the compliment there, fellow program, Madrox replies. That’s another Tron thing, isn’t it? Havok asks.

In Central Park, Madrox and Havok survey the baseball grounds of the North Meadow, but do not see Rahne in sight. Sensing something doesn’t smell right, Havok voices such and asks if Ric and Shatterstar were with her. Madrox replies that she said that were “fighting a rear action,” which he took to mean they were battling pursuers. Considering this, Havok replies that he sure hopes that’s the way she meant it.

Suddenly, Havok spies Rahne across a baseball diamond and the two begin to run to her. Unseen by the two, Deathlok Cap watches them approach from behind foliage and reports that the target’s acquired. Shouldn’t be long now.

Back at X-Factor HQ, Layla joins Guido in the rec room. She heard that Jamie was back and asks if Guido’s seen him. Not looking up from his book, Guido replies that he and the “light show” went to Central Park. Something about Rahne being there. Stunned, Layla replies “no,” and explains that she doesn’t come back yet. She returns soon, but not yet and not in Central Park. Putting the book down, Guido asks if she’s sure. Told she is, Guido erupts from the couch, shredding it to go through rather than taking time to go over or around.

Darting across the building, Guido calls out to Monet once, then louder again. At first, Monet is dismissive of Guido, but he presses that he needs her to get him to Central Park right now. When she quips that she’s not his ride, Guido explains that Madrox and Havok may be in the middle of something. Does she wanna screw around with him, or does she wanna save the day? Hearing this, Polaris asks “middle of what?”

In Central Park, Rahne waves to the approaching Madrox and Havok, and thanks God they’re there. She has so much t’tell them. However, before they close the distance, Madrox tells Havok to wait and asks Rahne where’s her cross. The one she’s always wearing. Her hand reflexively going to her neckline, Rahne replies that she doesn’t know. She must have lost it. That’s not important right now.

Havok, nevertheless, is unconvinced, telling her that Madrox apparently thinks that it is. And he’s inclined to defer to him on these matters. Turning to Madrox, he asks what’s the play there. In reply, Madrox says that Rahne has about five seconds to convince her that she is who she says she is… because he thinks she may be someone else. Someone who tried to kill him.

From an elevated position on a tree branch, Deathlok Cap announces that the cover’s blown, but they’re in position. To this, Dormammu reminds him not to kill them. They need them alive. Deathlok Cap tells him not to worry. But that doesn’t mean they’ll need all their body parts! With that, Deathlok Cap launches himself from the tree line, firing a beam of energy from his right arm.

In an instant, Madrox sees the attack and calls out to Havok, who is already ahead of him. Firing his own blast, Havok notes that no energy assault in the world can catch him off guard. Half a breath later, the blasts of Havok and Deathlok Cap cancel each other out. Fine with him, Deathlok Cap announces. Sniping from hiding was never his thing anyway. Taken aback at his attacker, Havok asks if it is Cap. Not for awhile, “sparkles,” Deathlok Cap replies. Name’s “Deathlok.” And it’s a shame… in another world, the two of them would be on the same side.

Nearby, Madrox maintains his attention on the faux Rahne. Creating a dozen dupes, Madrox calls out the name of Vanora. It’s she, isn’t it? The last part of her cover blown, Vanora reassumes her true form and laughs that it’s sweet he remembered her. She really felt like they formed a connection when she tried to kill him, but this time… she brought friends.

On cue, the Dread Dormammu appears in an explosion of blue smoke. Though he recognizes him, Madrox is helpless as Dormammu generates a magical dome, containing him and his dupes. Gloating, Dormammu states that there’s no point in struggling. He has thoroughly prepared this arena as a place of power. Sigils lain down, deities sacrificed to. All necessary, since his power is at such a low ebb, but that will change very shortly.

With that, Dormammu focuses his attention on Havok and calls out to “Rogers” and Vanora to get in position. A moment later, a gigantic pentagram of mystical energy illuminates the baseball field. At one point is of the pentagram is Dormammu himself, with at the other points standing Deathlok, Vanora, Havok and the group of Madroxes.

Perfect! Dormammu declares. They have provided him what he required. Alex Summers, a nexus to all others of his kind throughout dimensions! James Madrox, who shares a similar status! Now he employs that transdimensional power for his own use, tapping into the doorways provided by their very being… so that I can once again be all that he can be!

“So that’s the plan,” Guido remarks, as he drops onto the back of the Dread Dormammu. Try joinin’ the army, ya blork! With that, Guido follows up his back-crushing with a backhanded blow, knocking Dormammy into the air. The sorcerer’s spell broken, Madrox and his dupes, as well as Havok, are freed from their mystical prisons. Nevertheless, Havok replies that he needs a moment to recover, a moment which Deathlok Cap replies that he doesn’t have. A voice from above replies that Havok does… but he doesn’t. With that, the green, magnetic energy signature of Polaris repositions Deathlok Cap’s energy cannon away from Havok and to Deathlok Cap’s own chin. In the short time remaining to him, Polaris tells him, he may come to realize that his fateful mistake was threatening her boyfriend. “Blam,” she then voices, wiggling her finger as if pulling a trigger. Half a moment later, the Deathlok Cap’s arm cannon fires, blowing off his own head.

In the confusion that follows, Vanora slips away, though Dormammu is not as lucky. Seeing Guido barreling toward him, Dormammu grabs a nearby woman and pulls her in front of him, like a shield. Grasping her neck from behind, he warns Guido to stand back or the innocent woman dies. Rest assured, he will do it without hesitation. To Dormammu’s surprise, Guido tells him to go ahead. Then he’ll kill Dormammu. Told that he’s serious, Guido retorts so is he. He doesn’t know her. Doesn’t care.

Visible frightened through his blazing skull, Dormammu cannot fathom what is happening. Before he can come to grips, however, his one remaining bargaining piece is snatched from him, as Monet grabs Dormammu’s hostage and takes off into the sky. With nothing left for him, Dormammu disappears in an explosion. Though inexplicably soundless, the heat blast from it is as like a doorway to hell had been opened, leaving behind nothing by a charnel stench .

Taking in the smoldering spot where Dormammu once stood, Guido wonders what just happened. He tries to ask Monet, but receives only invective in return. She asks how dare he talk to her after he… He was going to kill her! And he didn’t give a damn! Shrugging at this, Guido declares it collateral damage. It happens. Ain’t gonna have a breakdown over it. Growing even angrier, Monet orders Guido not to talk to her, not even to look at her. Get out of my sight, you soulless creature!!!

For a moment, Guido is shocked, but this quickly turns to anger. “Fine!” he rejoins. The hell with X-Factor! And the hell with her!!!!! With that, Guido makes for the trees, knocking two which are standing in his way.

Guido does not have too far to go before he is found by someone else, a man with glowing eyes and a smoldering red flame about his head. He hoped Guido enjoyed his little gift just then, the mysterious, shadowed man tells him. Asked what he means, the shadowed man tells Guido that he just obliterated that pathetic excuse of a Dormammu for him. Think of it as… and incentive. He thinks Guido’s realized his gifts are wasted at X-Factor. Come with him and they will be properly employed. He can tell Guido more about it if…

Interrupting, Guido tells the man that he already knows as much as he needs to know. Let’s go. “We’re gone,” the man replies… and a moment later the two are, leaving behind only a column of red smoke.

Characters Involved: 

Banshee II, Butterfly, Havok, Longshot, M II, Multiple Man, Polaris, Strong Guy (all X-Factor)
Pip the Troll

Damien Tryp, Sr.
Dread Dormammu (alternate dimensional)
Deathlok Cap

Shadowed, mystery man

Central Park patrons
Hostage woman

Story Notes: 

“Newsies” was a 1992 musical film about the “newsboy strike” of 1899. A box office failure, it later gained a cult following and was adapted into a moderately successful Broadway version.

“Smokey the Bore” refers to the character “Smokey Bear” (not Smokey the Bear), a creation of the US Forest Service during the 1940s to help raised knowledge about forest fire prevention through personal responsibility. An anthropomorphized bear, Smokey is also evidently a forest ranger, who warns in advertisements, “Only you can prevent wildfires.”

Tron is a science fiction franchise originating from a 1982 film about a computer programmer who is transported into a computer, where programs are given form as people. The outfits these anthropomorphized programs wear is similar to the current costume worn by Havok.

The “business with the Morrigan” occurred in X-Factor (1st series) #239.

“Helker Skelter” is a 1974 book about the 1969 Manson murders and the subsequent prosecution of Charles Manson.

Guido was brought back from the dead, sans soul, by Layla in X-Factor (1st series) #219. Guido, along with the rest of the team, learned this in #233.

In stating that he wanted to “be all that I can be,” the Dread Dormammu is unintentionally mirroring a former recruitment slogan of the US Army.

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