X-Factor (1st series) #93

Issue Date: 
August 1993
Story Title: 
The Longest Day - part 1

Scott Lobdell (plotter), J.M. De Matteis (scripter), Terry Shoemaker (penciler), Al Milgrom (inker), Glynis Oliver (colorist), Richard Starkings (letterer), Kelly Corvese (editor), Bob Harras (X-editor), Tom DeFalco (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

Havok and Wolfsbane arrive at the Xavier Institute, following Illyana Rasputin’s death. They find Colossus cold and distant, despite Wolfsbane’s attempts to bond with him. Havok and Cyclops have a game of handball and discuss the responsibilities of leadership, while Wolfsbane meets with the Professor. She is shocked to learn that he cannot help her, before explaining that they could do psion therapy at Muir Island, but there is only a fifty percent chance she will survive it. While waiting for the Professor, Havok attempts to go through an electronic file called “Mutant Underground”, but it is locked. The Professor catches Havok snooping, and tells him that the Mutant Underground is classified. Havok asks the Professor about Wolfsbane, before Wolfsbane explains that she has been given the chance to make her own decision, and requests a leave of absence to go to Muir Island and get her life back. At X-Factor HQ, Polaris and Quicksilver get memo’s requesting their begin wearing team uniforms, which annoys them. Polaris finds Multiple Man locked away in his room. She tries to talk to him, but a dupe tells her that he won’t answer. And he doesn’t - so Polaris tells him that she is here when he is ready to talk to her. Strong Guy talks to himself before he gets into the shower - only to be teleported away to another solar system - by Lila Cheney! Lila is determined to have Strong Guy back as her bodyguard, but Strong Guy is not interested, and tries to explain to Lila how much his life is different now. Lila is not impressed, and teleports him back to Earth - where he crashes into Polaris’ bathroom as she examines her own new uniform, while pondering the notions behind their costumes. Soon, Quicksilver shows off his uniform to Polaris and Strong Guy - who think it is amusing. Quicksilver is unimpressed with the pads and accessories on the uniform, so speeds about, causing them to all fall off - revealing a sleek costume underneath, which he likes. Meanwhile, Valerie Cooper is giving X-Factor’s new government liaison a hand-over. They discuss the job, and recent events, which have led to Valerie standing down from the position, as she wants to concentrate on the bigger picture of how mutantkind and humankind can find peace. She then wishes Forge luck - as with X-Factor, he is going to need it.

Full Summary: 

Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, in Sale Center, New York. A cab has just dropped off two former residents - Alex “Havok” Summers and Rahne “Wolfsbane” Sinclair, now both of X-Factor. The handsome Alex tells Rahne that it seems awfully quiet, to which Rahne agrees. ‘Like a tomb’ she declares, before the front door suddenly opens, and they are greeted by Warren Worthington III a.k.a. Archangel, who welcomes them into the mansion, adding that the Professor has been expecting them.

‘Hope we’re not intruding, Warren. I mean…um…Illyana’s death must have you all -’ Alex begins, while Warren assures them that they are not intruding, and points out that they are family. ‘I know the business you’ve got with Charles is pretty important’ Warren adds, and Alex tells him that it is, adding that the Professor insisted they go ahead with the meeting as planned. ‘He’s really something: “Much as we’d like it to,” he said, “the world can’t stop just because we’re in mourning”!’ Alex quotes the Professor.

Alex, Rahne and Warren move into a foyer where Bobby “Iceman” Drake is sitting on a sofa. Rahne exclaims that it feels so strange to be back, as this was her home when she was with the New mutants. ‘So much life here…so much happiness - but, now -’ she begins, while Iceman exclaims ‘You can just feel the ghosts in the air, can’t you’, to which Rahne agrees, while Havok quietly asks ‘How’s…ah…Peter taking it?’

‘No need to whisper, Alex. You can come right out and ask me yourself!’ Piotr “Colossus” Rasputin declares as he comes up behind Havok and puts a hand on his former teammates’ shoulder. ‘Peter, I…’ Rahne exclaims, spinning around. ’Hello, Rahne. It’s…good to see you’ Colossus tells her. ’Peter, I know yuir sister and I dinna always get along - but, I…I…’ Rahne exclaims, before hugging Colossus. But when Colossus doesn’t hug back, Rahne gets confused, and looks up at him. ’Peter?’ she asks.

Colossus tells Wolfsbane that there is no need for tears. ’Yes, we’re all saddened by what’s happened to Illyana - but life, as they say…goes on - and we must go on with it’. Rahne is shocked by Colossus’ comment, but remains speechless as Colossus asks them to follow him to the Professor. ’Bobby - I dinna ken…when I hugged him…it was like he was…’ Rahne whispers. ‘Dead inside. I know’ Bobby replies, adding that Colossus has been hurting so bad that he has just walled himself up inside his armor, refusing to come out. Rahne declares that someone has to talk to him. ‘We canna let him just -’ she begins, but Warren interrupts, exclaiming ‘Yes we can. I know a little about suffering - and I know that a man’s got to work though his pain - at his own pace’.

Archangel suggests that if they push Peter, try to get him in touch with his feelings when he is not ready, and they will be left to pick up the pieces for years. ‘When did you become a licensed psycho-therapist?’ Iceman asks his friend. ‘Maybe - when Apocalypse turned me into…this’ Warren replies. But Bobby still thinks Wolfsbane is right. ‘Someone’s gotta talk to the big guy - and I just elected myself!’ Bobby exclaims. Alex suggests to Bobby that he give Peter a little space ‘And you might just find him coming to y-’ Havok adds, before getting interrupted by Colossus, asking ‘Are you going to stand there all day talking about me, Alex - or are you and Rahne coming with me to see the Professor?’. ‘He may be walled up in there - but his hearing’s still pretty good’ Warren whispers.

Meanwhile, in Georgetown, District of Columbia, inside the home and headquarters of X-Factor, Pietro “Quicksilver” Maximoff holds up a blue spandex costume and tells Lorna Dane a.k.a. Polaris that it is bad enough that some idiot on a house subcommittee has decided that he has to wear an “official” team uniform, ‘But this monstrosity -’ he begins, before Lorna interrupts: ‘Belongs to me, Pietro’ Lorna explains, adding that, apparently, the same “idiot” who wants Quicksilver to look like a good little soldier has decided that her costume is ‘How did the memo put it…? “Inordinately provocative and conductive to moral subversion”!’

Quicksilver asks Polaris why he should be penalized for her exhibitionist tendencies, to which Lorna exclaims ‘Oooo…aren’t we in a lovely mood today’, and asks him if he is still ticked off over the whole mess with Valerie and “Project Wideawake”?. ‘Lorna - the less said about Ms Cooper - the better. And I am not “ticked off” about anything’ Pietro replies, before announcing, in a very sped-up tone, that he is a bit distressed about his wife, explaining that he has received two tickets to a performance of seventeenth century Baroque dance at the Kennedy Center - one of the “perks” of government service - he adds, informing Lorna that he would like to ask Crystal to go with him, but their last meeting was, to put it mildly, a disaster, and he is not even sure such an archaic mode of dance would appeal to her.

Polaris interrupts Quicksilver, telling him that she could not understand a word he said, and asks him if he could run that by her again, at half-speed this time. ‘No’ Pietro replies quickly. Polaris holds up a piece of paper: ‘Wow… “the New York Baroque Dance Company -” at the Kennedy Center! I would love to see that -’ Polaris exclaims. ‘Really? Thank you, Lorna - you’ve been a tremendous help!’ Quicksilver exclaims as he speeds past Polaris. ‘Yes, well - what’d I do?’ Lorna calls out, confused.

Polaris walks into another room and thinks to herself that Quicksilver goes so fast it is as if he is trying to run away from himself. ‘For all his apparent ego - I don’t think Pietro’s ever been comfortable in his own skin. Now, me…I’ve spent so much time with people like Mesmero and Malice messing with my mind, usurping my identity - that I’ve come to relish just…being me. I really look forward to the times when I get to be alone’ she tells herself, before seeing James Madrox the Multiple Man sitting on a sofa in a darkened room. ‘And speaking of alone’ she thinks, before calling out to him, recalling that Jamie has been locked away in his room since they returned from Cape Hayden.

‘Time for afternoon workout, kiddo’ Lorna announces. ‘Let’s hit those nautilus machines and pump up!’ she declares. But she gets no response, as Jamie just sits on the sofa in shorts and a singlet, staring into the darkness. ‘Jamie? Are you all right?’ Polaris asks. Suddenly, a voice exclaims ‘Jamie’s not in the most communicative of moods today’. Lorna looks to the back of the room and sees one of Jamie’s dupes. ‘In fact, he’s downright morose’ the dupe adds. ‘Jamie -?’ Polaris calls out again, but the dupe tells her not to bother, as Jamie won’t answer her.

‘Quiet!’ Polaris tells the dupe, before telling Jamie that she knows he is upset about what happened. ‘But killing Mellancamp…horrible as it was…it couldn’t be helped. It was either you or him’. ‘Told you, his lips are zipped. Can’t get a peep out of him’ the dupe exclaims. ‘You wanna talk - my door’s open any time - to all of you’ Polaris declares.

In a nearby room, ‘Heyyyy, Guido - nice bod, pal!’ Guido “Strong Guy” Carosella jokes as he looks at himself in the mirror. ‘Yeah - if y’go for gorilla’s on steroids. So, I’ve got a little…proportion problem. Well - maybe it’s a major proportion problem. Okay, okay - it’s a cataclysmic proportion problem! But I’ve got great hair - what little I’ve got!’ he jokes. Guido asks himself why is it that whenever he looks at himself in the mirror, he starts the whole negative self-image thing. ‘Could be because the image I’m seeing is so negative’ he suggests, before putting his goggles and towel on the counter, ‘Enough, enough, enough!’ he exclaims, deciding that it is time to wash away that self-loathing, and shampoo in that self-love.

But as Guido approaches the shower, he sees that the water is already running. ‘Waita-minute! Who turned on the water?’ he calls out. Through the steam of the hot water, a figure can be seen: ‘Someone who thinks your proportions are just fine the way they are’ a voice exclaims. ‘There’s a woman in my shower! Sean - is that you?’ Guido asks. ‘Guess again, tall, pale and adorable’ the woman replies. ‘Uh - can you give me a hint?’ Guido asks, before the woman reaches out and takes his hand, telling him that she can give him more than a hint. ‘Oh - I know, it’s Mae West!’ Guido jokes, before exclaiming ‘Gosh, Miss West - you’re looking awfully good for someone who’s been dead for thirteen years!’.

‘Guido, you dumb lug, it’s me!’ the woman exclaims. ‘Oh! It’s you! You - who?’ Guido asks. ‘You’re impossible, you know that’ the woman remarks. ‘Yeah - it’s my most lovable trait!’ Guido replies, before they are both teleported away, and the shower turns off.

Back at Xavier’s mansion, Alex approaches the gymnasium, where his brother Scott “Cyclops” Summers is working out. Alex thinks to himself that Charles wanted some alone time with Rahne, which suits him fine, as the whole mess with her being psychically bonded to him gives him the creeps. ‘But I love that kid - and the idea that she’s in so much pain - pain that I…however inadvertently caused…I just hope the Professor can fix her’ Alex thinks to himself. ‘Penny for your thoughts, little brother?’ Scott calls out. ‘Me? I was just thinking what a rotten handball player my brother Scott is -’ Alex smiles. ’Oh really? Care to put your money where your mouth is?’ Scott asks.

Alex removes his jacket, and quotes “Penny for your thoughts?” and “Money where your mouth is?” and asks Scott if he has been reading Bartlett’s Book of Familiar Clichés again. ‘Twenty bucks says I beat you. Horribly’ Scott declares. ‘You’re on!’ Alex replies, ‘But only if you tell me how you’re holding up’ he adds. Scott smacks the ball, while replying that he has been better. ‘Guess we’ve all been better. I still can’t believe she’s really -’, Alex then interrupts, telling Scott that he saw Peter. ‘He’s so busy proving what a rock he is - that he’s falling apart. ‘We’ll pull through. We always do’ Scott exclaims, to which Alex asks him how he can be so sure. ‘Because we have to pull through!’ Scott declares.

Alex whacks the ball back to Scott, who declares that if the X-Men told up every time they are hit, then Professor Xavier’s dream of a world where mutants and humans can live in harmony isn’t worth spit. Cyclops knocks the ball back to Havok, who replies ‘You really see it in such a grandiose way? We’re the guardians of the dream?’. ‘If not us - who?’ Scott asks. ‘I don’t know’ Alex replies as he slams the ball hard at Scott, who has to duck so it doesn’t take him out. ‘WHOA!’ Scott shouts, before blasting the ball with an optic blast: ‘Val Cooper? Project Wideawake? Rahne?’ Scott asks, before both he and Alex hit the floor as the ball rebounds around the room at a rapid pace.

‘All of the - above!’ Alex exclaims. ‘Not easy being a leader, is it?’ Scott asks as he smiles and catches the handball. ‘It’s not just that - it’s this business with the government - answering to a bunch of mutaphobic bureaucrats who’d just as soon see all of “our kind” shipped off to outer Mongolia!’ Alex declares. Scott asks his brother if he is waiting for some sage advice. ‘Words of wisdom that’ll put everything in perspective?’ he asks. ‘Well…yeah’ Alex replies. ‘Only words I’ve got are these: believe in the dream’ Scott exclaims. ‘Probably think that’s just another cliché, right?’ Scott asks. ‘Yeah, but as clichés go - that’s a darn good one’ Havok tells his brother.

In Xavier’s medlab, the unshaven Professor Charles Xavier informs Rahne that he has studied the results of her physical exam and conducted intensive psychic probes. He exclaims that the programming Rahne received in Genosha is very complicated, and that there are several variants at work that he needs to explain to her. ‘What are ye saying, Professor?’ Rahne asks. Xavier tells Wolfsbane that he could sugar-coat it for her, but the said reality is, that as things stand right now, there is nothing he can do to help her. Shocked, Rahne asks ‘What d’ye mean, “nothing?”’

‘When there’s a problem no one else can fix...yuir the one the X-Men turn to: yuir the man with all the answers!’ Rahne exclaims. ‘No, Rahne. Not all of them. Not even most of them’ Xavier replies. ‘Dinnae LIE to me!’ Wolfsbane shouts, reminding Xavier that he is the most powerful telepath on the planet, and telling him that all he has to do is go inside her mind, undo whatever the Genengineer did, and make her right again. Xavier asks Rahne to look at the monitors, which have images of her on it, as well as her brain. He tells her that the scan on the left is her brain as it was when she first joined them, while the brain on the right is the scan he did this morning.

‘But it looks so different!’ Wolfsbane points out. ‘Because you are different’ Xavier tells her. ‘This…bestial mode you’ve adopted has significantly altered both the physical configuration and the alpha-activity of your brain’ Xavier explains. He tells Rahne that in order for him to even attempt to re-program her, she would have to revert to her human form - but in doing that she will also revert to the near-mindless state of a Genoshan Mutate. ‘Ach! If I saw this in one of those awful science fiction movies Jamie’s always watching - I wouldna believe it!’ Rahne exclaims.

‘But it’s not some stupid movie - it’s muh life!’ Rahne declares. Xavier tells Rahne that he is well aware of that, and informs her that it is a life he is not willing to gamble with. ‘But - horrible as it is - once I go back to being that…thing - ye’ll be able to erase the Genengineer’s program and -’ Rahne begins, while Xavier replies ‘Perhaps…’. ‘“Perhaps?”’ Rahne asks, to which Xavier explains that what they have done to her is extremely complicated and he will need to run a full-scale diagnostic, and she would have to undergo psion therapy at Muir Island.

Xavier informs Wolfsbane that, even then, the delicacy of the operation means there is only fifty percent chance that they would succeed, and an equal chance that her mind would be destroyed in the process. ‘No - I dinna believe it!’ Rahne whispers. ‘Ye can do anything! Ye can work miracles!’ she tells Xavier. ‘I am not a miracle worker! Believe me, if I was…Illyana would be alive today’ Xavier declares. ‘I’m sorry, Professor. I dinna mean to -’ Rahne begins, but Xavier tells her that she has a decision to make - a painful and difficult one. ‘You have to decide how much of the person you are you’re willing to risk - to become the person you once were’, he tells her. ‘What…what should I do?’ Rahne asks, forlorn. ‘I wish I knew’ Xavier replies as he leaves the lab, and Wolfsbane begins to cry.

Someplace very far away…. ‘Lila Cheney - I am going to kill you!’ Strong Guy shouts as he and Lila stand on stage in front of numerous aliens all chanting Lila’s name. The scantily clad Lila tells the very naked Guido to cool out and enjoy the rush. ‘Listen to ‘em - they love me! We always said I’d top the bill at “Asteroid Park” - and here we are!’ Lila exclaims. Gudio puts his hands in front of his crotch as he tells Lila it is nice to see her, before asking if she doesn’t think it is a trifle inconsiderate of her to zap him halfway across the galaxy in his birthday suit? ‘Why should I be the only one to enjoy the view?’ Lila asks, smiling.

‘I am going to kill you!’ Guido exclaims as he reaches out to grab Lila. ‘Doubtful. Face it, Guido - you adore me - and, much as you hate to admit it - you’re delighted I brought you here: the rock and roll life-style’s in your blood’ Lila tells him, suggesting them get some clothes on him, as she needs her personal bodyguard and all around Guy-Friday back on the job. ‘Lila - I am not your bodyguard any more, and - and - there are ten thousand people out there staring at my -’ Guido utters, before Lila assures him that the only thing they are staring at is her.

‘Oh, gosh! Photographers!’ Guido exclaims as he leaps behind Lila, who tells him to just smile and wave, and enjoy the free publicity. ‘I don’t want any publicity! I just wanna go home!’ Guido shouts. ‘Honey…your home is by my side!’ Lila tells Guido, who replies ‘Maybe once, but not any -’, before several aliens rush up to Lila and ask her if he is bothering her. One of the alien security guards tells Guido that if he wants her autograph he can get it after the show. ‘Lila - call off your dogs!’ Strong Guy exclaims. ‘Sure - just sign on for the duration of the tour!’ Lila replies, announcing that she has sixty gigs lined up in the Goyimian System alone. ‘It’ll be a hoot - so - whaddaya say?’ she asks.

‘I say NO!’ Strong Guy booms as he knocks the aliens back. Guido tells Lila that he is not the same hyperactive party animal he was before, and that being with X-Factor has changed him. ‘I’ve got a real life now! Friends! And those friends need me!’ Guido declares. Guido tells Lila that his friends have lost someone close to them, and they are hurting, and he needs to be there for them. Lila replies that she heard about Illyana and tells him to get real: ‘You barely knew her’ she tells him. ‘Since when is how well you know someone a prerequisite for mourning?’ Guido asks. ‘Wow! Being with x-Factor really has changed you!’ Lila tells him.

‘In to an arrogant, self-righteous bore!’ Lila adds, asking Guido what he does at night: ‘Sit around with your pals discussing rainforests while National Public Radio plays in the background?’ she asks. ‘You’re distorting everything I’m -’ Guido begins, but Lila tells him that she has got the message loud and clear. ‘Do, big boy, if you think you’re too good for me - then you can just take a hike!’ Lila shouts, before kicking Guido and opening a teleportation portal, which Guido falls into, while exclaiming ‘Lila! Wait a minute - let me explain what I -’, but he vanishes before he gets to finish his sentence. ‘Ya big, dumb jerk - I’m really gonna miss you’ Lila mutters to herself.

Back in Georgetown, Polaris is trying on her new more modest blue and gold team costume, and looks in a mirror, deciding that the new uniform is not that bad. ‘Not as “provocative” and “subversive” as the one I designed’ she tells herself. ‘But at least it’s got style’ she decides. ‘Hmph! The nerve of Pietro calling me an exhibitionist! Hey, if I’m one, then so’s he! We all are!’ Lorna thinks to herself. Lorna tells herself that the rest of the X-Men work in obscurity, while X-Factor runs around in these outrageous outfits, making spectacles of themselves on the evening news.

‘Not that the others are exactly modest dressers - I mean, that getup Jean wears is a real eyeball scorcher - but X-Factor’s out there in such a…public way. “America’s most high-profile mutants” Dan Rather called us’ Lorna thinks to herself, wondering why they do it. ‘Are we so dedicated to Charles’s cause that we’d unhesitantly sacrifice our private lives in its name - or are a bunch of overgrown infants in desperate need of attention?’ Lorna asks herself, just as the still naked Guido crashes through the ceiling, into Lorna’s bathroom. ‘Guido?’ Lorna smiles. ‘Don’t ask’ Strong Guy mutters. ‘I wouldn’t dare…I’m too afraid of the answer I’d get!’ Polaris exclaims as she leaves the bathroom.

At Xavier’s Mansion, Alex stares out a window, and wonders what is taking the Professor and Wolfsbane so long. ‘Maybe…it’s worse than we thought. Maybe Rahne’s - hey - why look at the dark side? Could be it’s lot better. Could be the Professor’s already cured her - yeah - but even Charles has his limits’ Alex thinks to himself. ‘What’s taking them so long?’ he wonders again, anxious. Alex tells himself to take it easy, as having a nervous breakdown will not help the situation. He tells himself that he has to do something to distract himself, or else he is going to jump out of his skin.

Alex looks at the computer on the desk and decides he should mess around with it a little. ‘Hey- now that’s interesting. “Mutant Underground”, huh? That’s a new one on me’ Alex tells himself as he opens the file, but sees it is coded, and with one that he is not familiar with. He attempts to crack it, and knows that even if he can’t, it will at least keep his mind occupied. Alex leans over the desk and a voice inside his mind exclaims ‘Surely there are better ways of keeping yourself busy - than breaking into my private files’. Shocked, a guilt-looking Alex exclaims ‘Professor! You’re back! I…eh…didn’t think you’d really mind…seeing as how this file was open and all - and I was so worried about Rahne that I thought…well…’ Alex exclaims.

Charles tells Alex that it is all right, that he understands and no harm is done. ‘And to be frank…you couldn’t break that code if you had six months - it’s a Shi’ar encryption!’ Xavier reveals. Alex asks Charles if he would care to enlighten him about the “Mutant Underground”, to which Xavier replies that, for the moment, it is classified, and turns the computer off telepathically. ‘But, I -’ Alex begins, but Xavier asks him not to feel insulted, as this is not a matter of trust, but of prudence. ‘It would be best for all concerned if you remain in the dark about this - for the moment, at least’ Xavier declares. ‘I can’t say I like the idea - but I trust you enough to accept it - for the moment, at least’ Alex replies, before pointing out that they are no dancing around the main issue. ‘What’s the verdict, Charles? How’s Rahne?’ Alex asks.

‘How am I?’ Rahne asks as she steps into the office. ‘I’ve been better. But, y’know - I’ve also been a lot worse’ she declares. ‘What kind of answer is that?’ Alex asks. ‘The only kind, I’m afraid’ Wolfsbane tells him. Rahne explains that, for the first time in months she has been given a chance to make her own decisions about her life, to figure out how she feels, not how some Genoshan geneticist wants her to feel. ‘It’s been so long since muh mind was muh own…that the very idea of it scares my half t’death’ Rahne announces. ‘Fear isn’t anything to be ashamed of -’ Xavier tells Rahne, who exclaims ‘So ye keep telling me!’, while Xavier adds that it is the man who claims to have no fear that he worries about.

‘Rahne…if there’s anything I can do to help…anything’ Alex begins, to which Rahne tells him that even though she knows it is through no fault of his own, he is not part of the solution, but part of the problem. Rahne tells Alex that there is, however, one thing he can do for her. ‘Name it’ Alex replies. ‘Ye can grant me a leave of absence from X-Factor’ Wolfsbane declares. ‘What? Why?’ Alex asks. ‘So I can go to Muir Isle - and get muh life back’ Rahne declares.

Back in Georgetown, Pietro stands before Lorna and Guido, holding up a manual for his new costume. ‘It’s certainly…interesting. And very current’ a thoughtful Polaris remarks. ‘Yeah. Right on the cutting edge of contemporary super-hero fashion’ Strong Guy jokes. ‘It’s grotesque!’ Quicksilver shouts, decked out in his new costume - blue spandex one piece, with a large yellow “x” across the chest, and various metallic accessories on his shoulders, waist, crotch, thighs, knees and boots. ‘I look like something out of a…a comic book!’ Pietro exclaims. ‘Exactly!’ Strong Guy agrees. ‘What is the point of all of these ludicrous accessories?’ Quicksilver asks.

‘There is not point, Pietro…it’s just cool!’ Guido tells him. ‘Don’t you think it’s cool, Lorna?’ Strong Guy asks. ‘Unbearably’ Lorna jokes. ‘I am NOT “cool”!’ Quicksilver exclaims. ‘I am the fastest man on the face of the Earth!’ he declares as he begins speeding around. ‘How do those imbeciles expect me to walk - let along run - weighted down - with these ridiculous pads - and belts - and pouches?’ Pietro exclaims, speeding so fast that the accessories all begin to fall off. ‘Heyyyy!’ Guido declares.

‘“Heyyyy”? what?’ Pietro replies. ‘You look terrific!’ Guido exclaims, while Pietro replies that he has had enough of Guido’s puerile humor. ‘No, no, I’m serious - now that you’ve blown all that junk off!’ Guido exclaims, adding that Pietro is a sleek and lean fighting machine. Lorna smiles and tells Quicksilver that it does look pretty terrific, and suggests he takes a look for himself. ‘Hmph’ Pietro mumbles as he stands in front of a mirror. ‘Cool.’ he whispers. ‘What did you say?’ Strong Guy asks, surprised. ‘Oh…nothing’ Quicksilver tells him.

Meanwhile, at the Pentagon, Doctor Valerie Cooper stands at her desk, and tells her visitor that he has picked the absolute worst time to become X-Factor’s Government Liaison. ‘Would there ever be a good time?’ Valerie’s visitor asks. ‘Probably not’ Val replies, before announcing that with the team’s new duties outlined in the Magneto Protocols - Val is interrupted by her visitor who declares that he knows X-Factor is now officially the United States Government’s first line of defense against Magnus and his followers. ‘Starting right now - the heat is really going to be on’ Valerie exclaims.

The new X-Factor liaison informs Valerie that he has endured his share of heat, and points out that he is still alive to tell the tale. ‘I would think you’d be relieved - it can’t have been an easy assignment for you’. He adds that he has heard since the Cape Hayden affair, relations between Valerie and the team have become somewhat strained. ‘That’s an understatement’ Val replies, adding that, nevertheless, she is proud of her time with X-Factor, and proud of the job they have done. ‘I’m more convinced than ever that humankind and mutantkind have to find a way to live together…in peace - if this planet’s going to survive. That’s why I’m stepping aside. I think it’s time to concentrate on the bigger picture - and let someone else handle the day-to-day headaches with X-Factor’ Valerie explains.

The new liaison looks at a file Valerie hands him and smiles: ‘A polite way of saying that you don’t mind the fact that I used my influence to pull this assignment away from you -’. ‘Believe me - if I didn’t want to let it go - you wouldn’t be standing here now’ Valerie declares, before adding that she supposes she should wish him good luck. Forge replies that he appreciates the sentiment, and tells Valerie that he makes his own luck. ‘when it comes to X-Factor, Forge - believe me - you’re gonna need all the luck you can get!’.

Characters Involved: 

Havok, Multiple Man, Polaris, Quicksilver, Strong Guy, Wolfsbane (all X-Factor)

Dr Valerie Cooper


Archangel, Colossus, Cyclops, Iceman, Professor X (all X-Men)

Lila Cheney

Various aliens

Story Notes: 

Illyana Rasputin a.k.a. Magik succumbed to the Legacy Virus in Uncanny X-Men #303.

Apocalypse turns Angel into Archangel following his attempted suicide in the classic X-Factor (1st series) #15-24.

The “mess” with Valerie Cooper and Project Wideawake can be seen in X-Factor (1st series) #92.

Mellancamp’s disturbing death at the hands of Multiple Man took place in X-Factor (1st series) #92.

Wolfsbane was transformed into a mutate during the “X-Tinction Agenda”. In X-Factor (1st series) #89 it was revealed that the process including bonding Wolfsbane to Havok in a slave / master relationship.

Interestingly, the aerial shot of the Pentagon and surrounding area on page 29 is not an illustration, but an actual black and white photograph.

Issue Information: 
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