X-Factor (1st series) #260

Issue Date: 
October 2013
Story Title: 
The End of X-Factor part 4

Peter David (writer), Neil Edwards (penciler), Jay Leisten (inker), Matt Milla (colorist), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), David Yardin (cover artist), Jordan D. White (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: 

Following the fall of Mephisto and the scattering of the team by Guido, Polaris finds herself alone in Manhattan, with the world returned to normal and no one remembering the events of the Hell on Earth War. Having no idea what happened to her teammates, Polaris sits at a bar, drowning her sorrows. However, after the bartender cuts her off, the inebriated Polaris becomes belligerent and magnetically tosses the bar’s pool table, narrowing missing passing pedestrians and demolishing a passing sports car. The police soon arrive on the scene, but know that they are outmatched and call in the SWAT team. Just as the SWAT commander is about to order the attack, he is ordered off by the arriving Quicksilver, who promises to defuse the situation himself. At first it seems like Polaris will stand down, but she soon turns on her half-brother without warning, taking out her drunken rage on him. Eventually, Quicksilver gets the upper hand and knocks her out. He intends to take her back to Avengers HQ, but is overruled by the SWAT commander, who takes Polaris away. Sometime later, Polaris awakens to find herself in maximum security prison cell. However, she’s informed by her captor that she’s not really a prisoner. He introduces himself as Harrison Snow, CEO of a large company offering her an opportunity in a new team called “X-Factor.”

Full Summary: 

In a bar, a woman presents her half-empty mug and asks the bartender to fill ‘er up again. He’s afraid not, miss, he replies. She’s had enough. Undeterred, the lady replies that she’s pretty sure she’s the one in the “best decision to pocide that.” Gingerly, the bartender asks if she means “position to decide that.” Of course, she means that, she rejoins. That’s why she said it.

Okay, the bartender begins, trying a different tact. He’s cutting her off. Does she understand him? Considering the way she’s dressed, she’s lucky he served her at all. In full costume, including cape and headband, Polaris asks the bartender what’s wrong with the way she’s dressed. She’s dressed like a superhero, he replies. Like an Avenger. She’s not an Avenger, Polaris explains. She’s with X-Factor. A little confused, the man asks if she means that game show with Simon Cowell. Silently, Polaris considers how to reply. Eventually she downs the last of the contents of her mug, cursing that she hates their team’s name.

The last of her drink drained, Polaris places it back on the bar and nudges it toward the bartender’s direction with a single finger. Hit her again, she instructs him. They’ve already been through this, he replies. Okay, Polaris remarks, let her put it another way: he gives her another drink… or she’ll destroy his bar.

Incredulous, the man asks “you?” Her, she replies. She’s going to destroy his bar? If she can’t get another drink, she tells him, yes. To this, he remarks that he believes he’d like to see that. For more than a moment, Polaris eyes the man with an expressionless stare, which is eventually punctuated with an equally expressionless “okay.” Asking if they should start small, she suggests the pool table. Told to knock herself out, she yells to the bar patrons currently playing on the table, asking if they would mind stepping back from the table for a minute. As they do so, the bartender, still doubting her, tells her not to hurt herself. Oh, she won’t, Polaris replies.

A moment later, the pool table is hurled through the wall and into the street outside, barely missing passing pedestrians. Unfortunately the man driving by in a sports car is not as lucky and the pool table shatters the driver’s side of his car. Immediately, he emerges from his demolished vehicle with a “what the hell…?”

Back in the bar, Polaris playfully explains to the horrified bartender that she sees the world in a totally different way that he does. Displaying the “sign of the horns” with each hand, she explains that she sees a world in which hell lords battle for dominance that destroyed pretty much everything. And the way it got settled was that an old friend won and took them over. And somehow, at the end of it, she wound up back in New York. Her team is scattered God knows where, and no one remembers a damn thing. Literally, a damn thing. None of their comm units are working, so she has no idea where the rest of the team is. And so, now she’s reduced to asking for drinks. So how about he gives her another…before she gets pissed off. Without another word, the bartender pours another mug of beer from his tap and hands it over. Taking a draught, Polaris commends his actions with a “there you go.”

Outside, the driver of the sports car emphatically explains to the officer on scene what happened. The officer attempts to get him to calm down, but the driver rejoins that he doesn’t want to calm down! Shortly thereafter, the officer and his partner enter the bar through the newly created hole, their service weapons drawn. After yelling hand in the air to the patrons within, the lead officer begins to ask who is responsible, but finds one of the patrons who had been using the pool table all too eager to point to Polaris.

After a moment of decision between the two, the officers demand that she put her hands over her head. NOW! Still at the bar and without turning around, Polaris asks the two if they will shut up already. Finally glancing at the two of them, she tells them to look at themselves, with their guns. They’re so into their guns, do they have any idea what she can do with them? She could detonate them in their hands. She could pull them away from them, shove them up their butts and pull the trigger, all without touching them. One of the officers replies that he’d like to see her try, but the bartender, already having learned his lesson, interjects that he doesn’t. Trust him.

They’re luck she’s in a generous mood, she informs them. With a snap of her finger, the clip from each of their guns self-releases, much to their shock and horror. Of course she’s still leaving each of them one bullet in the chamber. They can feel free to shoot if they’re so inclined. Maybe she’ll let the bullets hit her. Or maybe she’ll turn and drill them through their foreheads. They won’t know until they fire. Maybe this will be their lucky day. Maybe not. Only one way to find out. As the officers lower their weapons, Polaris eggs them all. Pull the triggers, she urges. Do it. C’mon. DO IT!

Seeing a lack of action, Polaris turns back towards the bar and her drink, smiling slightly to herself. Fill her up, she tells the bartender. From behind, the officers holster their weapons and walk back toward the hole. They’ll be back, one tells her. Looking forward to it, she replies. Hearing the bartender mutter something, Polaris asks what did he say. Pouring another beer as ordered, he tells her he said “freaking cops.” Don’t be so hard on them, she counters. They trained at the police academy with Steve Guttenberg or whoever. Nobody taught them how to deal with drunk super heroes. When the bartender sheepishly asks how one does do it, Polaris tells him via the SWAT team, obviously. And then pray the super hero’s too drunk to defend herself. Sheepishly asked if she is too drunk, Polaris wipes a bit of beer from her lips and guesses aloud they’ll find out.

Outside, the SWAT team commander calls his men into positions. He wants a clean shot option in thirty seconds! As he watches his orders carried out, the leader is asked by a civilian to excuse him. It’s commander, isn’t it? Still watching him men, the commander begins to tell the civilian to get behind, but finds he is interrupted. Holding up an ID card, the man interjects that, actually, he’s reasonable sure he doesn’t have to get behind anything. Turning around, the SWAT commander first sees the presented ID card and then the man himself. Oh, holy crap, he exclaims in surprise. Indeed, the civilian rejoins. Now, if he would be so kind as to have his men fall back and…

Without even waiting for him to finish, the commander follows instructions and order his men to pull back and let this “gentleman” through. As the men do so, the “gentleman” thanks the commander, adding that he would appreciate it if he leaves this to him. As the man walks toward the bar’s most recent entrance, the commander replies with a “by all means” and suggests the man proceed how he sees best. He always does, the man replies.

In the bar, the growing ever more inebriated Polaris informs the bartender that she killed her mother. Her mom and her dad. But her husband… Really? the bartender asks. Yup, she tells him. Bewwemoutask, she slurs. Receiving a “pardon?” for her statement, Polaris clarifies. She said she blew them out of the sky. Booooooom. They heard it for miles, prob’ly. And then… and this is the best part… her real father…

Okay, Lorna, a voice proclaims. That’s quite enough. Turning to the source of the voice, Polaris yells You! You son of a bitch! You… Before she can react, however, the effects of the alcohol take their toll and she promptly fall off of her bar stool. A moment later, standing over her, the man in question – her brother, Quicksilver – informs her that she is officially in Avengers custody. Just come with him and make this easy, all right? Narrowing her eyes, Polaris inquisitively repeats the word “easy,” to which Quicksilver replies that that would be preferable.

Back on her feet, Polaris asks her brother if the cops called him. Nooo, he replies sarcastically, he was simply walking home on a nice day. Avengers HQ is four blocks from there. He saw what was happening and… Interjecting, the bartender asks if Quicksilver is a friend of hers. He could say that, he replies. He’s her brother, Polaris clarifies. Turning to him, she tells him that all this time, she never got used to thinking of him that way. Her big brother. Or half brother, at least. Come, Quicksilver replies, putting his arm around her. They should discuss this at HQ.

Wait, hold it, the bartender again interjects. She put a hole in his freaking bar! And wrecked his pool table! He will be reimbursed, Quicksilver promises. The Avengers have funds set aside to deal with this kind of situation. They do? Polaris asks. They can pay for whatever damage she causes? Told yes, Polaris grins slightly. Exxxxcellent.

Back on the street, the police attempt to instruct all of the onlookers to head home. Nothing more to see there… In midsentence, the officer is interrupted when a magnetically propelled Quicksilver shoots from the hole in the bar and into the already-demolished sports car. Luckily for him, Quicksilver is none the worse of the impact and is back on his feet in moments. Standing atop the car to be better seen and heard, he begins to instruct everyone to get back, but is interrupted by Polaris.

Emerging onto the street, her right hand crackling with green, magnetic energy, Polaris addresses her brother by his given name, Pietro, and asks what he told them. She means, he was an utter creep to X-Factor. So how’d he explain that away, huh? What lies did he tell? Come on! They’re related! He can tell her! Did daddy give him some hints? Still standing on the car, which Polaris is levitating high above the street, Quicksilver begins to remark that he and Magneto are hardly on speaking terms. However, before he can finish, Polaris gestures and the car comes crashing onto the street below.

On a nearby rooftop, a SWAT sniper announces he has a clear shot. He receives the order to take it but, before he can pull the trigger, the green energy signature of Polaris upends the rifle out of his control.

Her attention truly still fixated on her brother, Polaris tells Quicksilver that he’s just like their father. Whatever he’s in the middle of now, Quicksilver’s right there with him. Admit it. Admit it! In punctuation, Polaris magnetically grabs four handguns and a M16 and aims all of them toward Quicksilver. All right, all right, he yells. Asked if he means he’s admitting it, Quicksilver denies but asks her to listen carefully. Talk fast, she rejoins.

He’s not his father, Quicksilver proclaims. Their father. He’s not him. Now he’ll admit he has a lot to live down from his time with him. And he’s doing his best to repent, but if she finds that impossible to believe, then just open fire right now. He would understand if she did. He’s hoping, however, that she sees reason. He’s hoping that…

Suddenly, all five firearms open fire. In less than a blink of an eye, Quicksilver is mobile, easily dodging every single bullet. Demanding to know if she is insane, he races to her side and grasps her by the shoulders. He means, he knows she’s drunk, but has she lost her mind?! Wanda never tried to shoot him! No, Polaris mocks, she just wiped out the mutant population! But that’s okay! No problems came from that! She made up for it! Quicksilver defends. Yeah, they have nothing but excuses Polaris replies.

Growing incensed, Quicksilver announces that he’s had quite enough and presses his half-sister ever backward. However, he does not see that she has magnetically levitated a manhole cover under his feet, which quickly then lifts the two of them in the blink of an eye above the buildings around them. Immediately, Quicksilver orders his sister to stop, and bring them down.

Oh, he’s like that, she counters, following it up with a left hook to Quicksilver’s jaw. She should just… just blow him up! Ram a spear of magnetic power right through his head! She should… Polaris’ words trail as Quicksilver delivers his own left hook. He hit her?! an incredulous Polaris proclaims. She hit him first, Quicksilver defends. She’s gonna do way more than that! Polaris rejoins. She’ll… A right cross interrupts her rant, followed by multiple blows from each side, all in the span of a moment.

That’s enough out of her, Quicksilver announces. Having rendered his sister unconscious, for a moment Quicksilver is relieved that the ordeal is over. However, a heartbeat later he soon realizes that they are still high above street level, now with no magnetic field left to hold them aloft. As they plummet back to the street below, Quicksilver acts quickly, grabbing his sister and spinning his free arm enough to generate an air vortex to cushion their impact. The act is only slightly effective and the two bounce off of trash bin before forcibly landing in an alley. As Polaris dozes, Quicksilver reels in pain.

A short while later, Polaris’ arms are handcuffed behind her back. Confused, Quicksilver asks the SWAT commander what he’s doing. Arresting her, the commander replies. Step aside, please. Acting the contrary, Quicksilver gets in the commanders way and tells him he can’t. They can and they will, he counters, and if Quicksilver gets in his way, they’ll take him too. Those cuffs will never hold her, he informs the commander. They have other arrangements. Now get out of the way, please.

Again, defying orders, Quicksilver places his hand on the commander’s shoulder. Eying the hand without moving, the commander bluntly orders Quicksilver to let go of him, immediately. For a moment, Quicksilver thinks about how to respond, but ultimately does as instructed. Sure, no problem. A few moments later, Quicksilver watches in silence as the police carry the unconscious Polaris out of the alley.

Sometime later, Polaris awakens to find herself in a prison cell, lacking windows or bars, and dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit. However, her first thought is that she tried to shoot Pietro! Debatable, voice replies through the windowless cell door. She knew he could dodge it. At least that’s the theory. Who is he, Polaris asks through the door. Is she in jail? “Jail?” the voice repeats. What jail could hold her? No, she’s not in jail. Watch.

With that, the door opens, flooding the small cell with light. She’s free to go, the man handing with his back to the light informs her. She’s not in police custody. They’ve seen to that. And who are they? Polaris asks back. Well, his name is Harrison Snow, the man replies. He’s the CEO of a rather large company. He’s there to offer her the ground floor opportunity for a project of theirs. Yeah? Polaris asks back. What’s it called? They’re calling it “X-Factor.” Walking toward Mr. Snow and the light behind him, Polaris asks him to tell her more.

Characters Involved: 



Harrison Snow

Bar patrons
Police officers
SWAT team and commander
Driver of sports car

Story Notes: 

As mentioned before in the series, the title of the comic X-Factor unfortunately bares the same name as the primetime network TV talent show competition, hosted by Simon Cowell.

The events Polaris describes to the bartender are depicted in the Hell on Earth War storyline. [X-Factor (1st series) #250-256]

Steve Guttenberg starred in most of the slapstick Police Academy movie series from the 1980s.

Polaris recently became aware that she killed her mother and the man she thought was her father during an accidental display of her mutant powers at an early age. [X-Factor (1st series) 243]

The Scarlet Witch wiped out the vast majority of mutants in the world at the end of the House of M storyline.

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