X-Factor (3rd series) #13

Issue Date: 
January 2007
Story Title: 

Peter David (writer), Pablo Raimondi (art), Brian Reber (colors), VC’s Cory Petit (letters), Joe Quesada, Danny Mik and Dave McCraig (variant cover), Sean Ryan (assistant editor), Andy Schmidt (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

In the aftermath of the recent confrontation with Singularity, the members of X-Factor go to see a therapist. Guido voices his despair that, even though he committed murder while hypnotized, he knows that people do not do things under hypnosis that they think is wrong. So what does that say about him? Layla Miller explains that her powers of precognition are not absolute, and that she actually feels like a pawn in the grand scheme of things. Expendable. Rictor expresses nearly uncontrollable anger at his loss of mutant powers, which in turn reflect his powerlessness at life in general. In contrast, Siryn believes all is well in the world, and continues to disbelieve that her father is actually dead. Her biggest joy in life is her new relationship with Jamie. In her session, Monet calmly and coldly states that she makes a conscious decision every day not to kill herself. She explains that her brother, Marius, who was “Emplate” and turned her into “Penance” still lives within her. In the darkness of night, she can feel him coming for her and transforming her back. The only thing that makes her happy right now, she says, is her new relationship with Jamie. In his session, Jamie explains he is actually unsure of who began his relationships with Siryn and Monet, him and a dupe? Or only a dupe? His memories become tricky during reintegration. He also voices his lack of surety at everything else in his life. How his parents died and as to whether he is actually a mutant or not. His uncertainty also extends to his decision, or lack thereof. He wants to do all options, and ends up doing none. During her session, Rahne speaks of the vision of future recently bestowed upon her by Tryp, namely that some years in the future she will murder Jamie and Layla on their wedding night. As the only way to avoid her destiny is suicide, itself a mortal sin, she feels she is damned. She cannot even tell her friends, for fear of their fear of her. Though he is not part of X-Factor, the therapist visits Pietro Maximoff, who seems pleased with his current lot in life. Though no longer a speedster, he revels in his new role of restoring powers to mutants who deserve it. While he is not their judge, he acts as an instrument of judgment, which in turn helps him to expiate his own recent sins. Later, considering this, as well as the rest of his sessions with X-Factor, the therapist, Leonard Samson, worries about the group’s long-term health. Each in their own way is disconnected from reality and there are too many “X-factors” to consider. By happenstance, Samson is passing before the X-Factor building when Monet throws Jamie through the front window, he having followed Samson’s advice and told her about his relationship with both she and Siryn. Just before losing consciousness, Jamie thanks him for his great advice.

Full Summary: 

The room is spacious and well lit, sunlight bathing through an immense window. The décor of the room is modern and eclectic, sporting a leather reclining couch, as well as a framed movie poster to the Creature of the Black Lagoon. In the center of the room is a simple couch, upon which sits Guido Carosella, who sits upright, his arms resting on his knees as he stares through the coffee table sitting before him.

Breaking the silence, the other man in the room says his name inquisitively, then informing him that, just so he knows, he’s been sitting in silence for twenty minutes. He gets paid to listen whether he talks or not. But he’d really rather earn his money. Despite the prompt, Guido remains silent for a few more moments, almost as if carefully choosing his next words. When prompted once again, Guido says, “He clucked like a chicken.”

Confused by this, the therapist begs Guido’s pardon, after which Guido explains. When he was a kid, he says, this hypnotist performed at Timmy Beechum’s tenth birthday party. And he put Timmy under and had Timmy clucking like a chicken. It was hysterical, he continues, Gil Schweitzer wet himself. He was laughing so hard. He talked to the hypnotist guy later, ‘cause he was this scrawny kid always wanting to know stuff… and he told him that you couldn’t make people do stuff they felt was wrong, even under hypnosis. When the therapist replies to him that that’s typically correct, Guido then states that he killed a guy under hypnosis. “Whuzzat say about me, huh, doc?”

Beginning to play with a yo-yo, flicking it back and forth, Guido explains that he just couldn’t be in pain anymore. His always ‘cracking wise” to cover up his… twisted upper body… has him in agony 24/7… the jokes just weren’t doing it. So he heard about this hypnotist who could help him. He helped all right… He helped him become a sleeper agent for Singularity Investigations. Helped turn him into a cold-blooded murderer.

“’Cept,” Guido continues, pausing in thought, if he didn’t already have it in him to be a murderer… how did he do that, huh? Did he turn him into something he’s not? Or just let out what he really…

Suddenly, the string on Guido’s yo-yo snaps, propelling it forward and shattering a vase on a nearby bookshelf. “Nuts!” he proclaims, adding that that’s just perfect. As the toy rolls back toward him, Guido calls it a cheap piece of crap, just before bringing it to a halt by stomping on it. The frustration, however, seems to grow into something of more intensity, as Guido buries his head in his hand, cradling the yo-yo in the other. He crushed a guy’s throat like a potato chip, he tells the therapist. He can feel it, hear it…

Interrupting, the therapist tells Guido to listen: What they did to him... It was a far cry from simple hypnosis. It was more along the lines of brainwashing. Like what they did to Patty Hearst. She was a law-abiding woman who wound up robbing banks. He’s a good man, the therapist reassures Guido. Yes, and a superhuman man, but being superhuman doesn’t mean you leave humanity behind. He has weaknesses, the same as any of them. The therapist knows that Guido was bullied a lot as a child, and the prospect of being a victim grates on him because of that… but he was victimized. It wasn’t his fault.

When no response is forthcoming, the therapist says Guido’s name inquisitively. Finally looking up, Guido responds with a question. “Hey, Doc. Why was Helen Keller a bad driver. When the therapist doesn’t seem to understand the question, Guido repeats it emphatically. Then asked why, Guido tells the answer with a smile. “’Cause she was a woman.” His grin quickly turning to an uncomfortable chuckle, Guido tells the therapist to always leave ‘em laughing. Guess that’s the only way to look at it.

A short while later, Guido’s position on the couch has been replaced by Layla Miller, attired in her customary white t-shirt, dog collar, skirt and striped elastic tights. Also as always, her blonde hair is worn in disheveled, asymmetrical pigtails. Sitting on the couch in a way reflecting her dress, Layla lays upside down, with her legs propped against the back of the couch and her head draped toward the floor. Watching this from across the sitting area, the therapist asks Layla if there is any particular reason she’s sitting like that. When she replies that it makes the world look interesting, the therapist then asks if it doesn’t look interesting enough right side up. To this, Layla guesses so, but that’s how everybody else sees it.

Explaining further, Layla says that here was this old episode of “Star Trek” where the Enterprise got hit by a Romulan ship. And to show it was hurt, they had the starship hanging sideways. “Do you know why that was silly?” she asks the therapist. When she is answered that, because up and down is meaningless in space, except in relation to a planetary body, Layla jumps up on the couch with a smile. Right! But it worked anyway, she continues, ‘cause it looked different. It was like, “Woah! The Enterprise is listing! They’re taking on water!”

When asked what her point is, Layla asks back what the therapist thinks. Then countered that the therapist would like to know, Layla replies, “And I’d like to know what you think. Checkmate.” Regarding the chessboard on the coffee table, Layla asks if the therapist plays. Told “occasionally,” she is then asked if she would care to, which Lyla accepts.

As she makes her moves, Layla asks if the therapist did the psychiatric evaluations of X-Factor back in the day. When he replies that he did, Layla asks what he found. Moving his pawn, the therapist tells Layla that she knows he can’t tell her that. Besides, why does she ask? Doesn’t she know? It’s what she always says, right? “I’m Layla Miller. I know stuff.” Replying that she does, Layla then adds that she doesn’t know everything. Just the future. Kinda. Interesting, the therapist replies. That’s quite a burden. It is, she rejoins. But sometimes, you have to make sacrifices for the greater good. When he asks how does she know the future, if he may ask, Layla tells the therapist that she sits naked in a room at midnight, speaks the word “reveal” five times and a small talking butterfly appears to her and tells her what’s to come. When the therapist asks, “Really?” she replies simply. No.

Resting her chin on the palm of her hand, Layla tells the therapist that she wouldn’t make that move. That’d put him in check. When he moves again, she tells him “nope” and “not that one either” to the next. Aaaaand that’s no good, she says about the next.

When the therapist tells her that she’s quite good at thinking ahead, Layla replies that she has to be. Would she describe herself as a control freak, he asks her. She wouldn’t use that term, she replies. As the therapist is clearly confused at her meaning, Layla takes the opportunity to change the subject, suggesting that they should just… Sensing another avenue of conversation, the therapist presses on, asking Layla to explain in chess terms. What piece best represents her? When she now seems to not understand, he clarifies. The king? Queen? The bishop? Picking up a piece, she tells the therapist this one. “A… pawn?” he replies. “Really?”

The therapist tells her that that’s interesting, considering that’s the most powerless piece. How does she see herself as a pawn? Because she’s part of a different game than everybody else, Layla replies, using the piece in a move. And only she knows the endgame. And she knows… she’s expendable. Pointing out the bright side, the therapist tells Layla that if a pawn makes it across the board, then she can be transformed into something better. Knocking the therapist’s king over in defeat, Laula replies, “So here’s hoping.”


As Rictor lounges on the couch, draping on of his legs off of it, the therapist supposes to “Ric” that the obvious question is, how is he adjusting to life without powers? When Rictor replies with a question of his own, asking why he’s talking like that, the therapist is confused. Like they’re old friends or something, Rictor tells him. “I don’t know you, you dunno me, but you’re calling me ‘Ric’.”

To this, the therapist says that, generally, he prefers to use first names, and “Rictor” is his surname. He can address him as “Julio if he wishes,” the therapist then adds. “J.E.” is also… Promptly told to forget it, the therapist tells Rictor that if he really wants him to call him “Rictor…” Interrupting again, Rictor states that he doesn’t want him to call him nothing, okay? To this, the therapist wonders why. Doesn’t he think he deserves a name?

Shooting upright, Rictor asks what that’s supposed to mean. When the therapist tries to explain, Rictor asks again. What the hell is that supposed to mean? Then asked if he’s afraid to answer the question, Rictor is incensed. He lived with his father being a arms dealer. He got killed, right in front of him, close as they are now, when he was six! He fought Sabretooth! He fought Death! He’s talking the actual Horseman! Rising to his feet, Rictor then tells the therapist to screw his “afraid.” What makes him think some dumb question scares him? Answering bluntly, the therapist says that it’s because he can’t wave his hands and shake a question to pieces. Then again, he can’t to that with anything anymore, can he?

With an “up yours,” Rictor goes for his coat, telling the therapist that he’s only there because Madrox told them they all had to come. He said it’d be good for hem to talk things out, after all they’ve been through. But he’s done. He’s outta there. With that, he walks for the door.

Still sitting, the therapist asks Rictor if he’s this angry all the time. He’d understand if he’s afraid to answer that question as well. Returning to the sitting area, though still standing, Rictor asks the therapist if he has any idea how transparent he is. Using “afraid” garbage to, what? “Provoke you?” the therapist asks. Yeah, Rictor agrees. Provoke him into talking to him. To this, the therapist supposes aloud that it is pretty obvious, especially to a savvy guy like him.

Heartened, Rictor then asks “Mr. Psychiatrist” to tell him how he’s doing. Well, the therapist begins, he supposes – as with anything – that he has good days and bad days. The bad days he wonders, “Why me?” and the good days are days he’s too busy to wonder that. When Rictor is startled at the prognosis, he in rendered dumb. Then prodded for an evaluation of his evaluation, Rictor replies, “Yeah. Pretty much.” When the therapist then asks “Julio,” how today’s been for him, Rictor narrows his eyes slightly. Bad day, he replies.


With a smile, Theresa Rourke tells the doctor, “Good day.” Replying the same, the therapist notes to her that she seems to be in a good mood. Replying no “seems” about it, Theresa explains why. They took a moral stand on the Registration Act, and she’s proud of it. They beat the bad guys, going up against Singularity Investigations. And she thinks the team’s really coming together. Everything’s great. When the therapist replies that that’s good to hear, Theresa shrugs her shoulders, arms open wide, stating that she’s really not sure what’s left to talk about! It certainly sounds like all the bases are covered, he then rejoins. To this, the therapist then tells Theresa that he’s sorry to hear about her father, by the way. Tragic loss.

Temporarily dumbstruck at the therapist’s statement, Theresa begins to laugh, burying her head in her hand. Yes, forgetting about that one, she was, she finally says. Incredulously asked if she… forgot her father died, Theresa replies that her “da” wants them to think he’s dead. But he’s not. It’s all part of some huge scheme to fake out his enemies. And, she continues, if he thinks she’s going to be wasting rears and grief, only to have him come waltzing back into her life, well… He can just be forgetting that. Theresa Cassidy, she says, is nobody’s fool.

To this, the therapist replies with an “I… see,” prompting Theresa to observe that he doesn’t believe her. He then points out, to the casual observer, that it might seem like she’s in denial. However, when she asks if he can’t tell her she’s wrong, he admits, “Not… one hundred percent, no.” Crossing her arms, she replies, “There you go.” Now beginning to play with her hair, Theresa asks how much longer. She’s got a hair appointment scheduled…

Interrupting, the therapist says that he understands she was somewhat brutally attacked not long ago. How is she dealing with that? Her eyes shooting to him, Theresa asks the therapist who told him about that? Jamie? Layla? Rictor? Who? When he replies that it doesn’t matter, she says that it does to her. It… Trailing, Theresa lowers her head and touches her forehead with the tips of her finger. It happened, all right, she tells him. She’s dealing with it. She’s dealt with far worse in her time. Asked if it has made her want to drink, she replies quickly but sheepishly, “No.” To this, he then points out that she said that awfully fast, like she was expecting it.

Standing, Theresa replies that she’s learned to try and expect everything, so she doesn’t wind up tied to another bleeding chair with another bleeding ball gag in her mouth, all right? Half-turning to glance out the window, Theresa apologizes, adding that she was in such a good mood…

Telling her that it’s okay, the therapist says that that was good. Getting upset is good. When she then asks him if he ever gets upset, the therapist replies “sure.” There are times he gets so upset, he just wants to… “Scream?” she asks. He supposes. Tragically, she replies, some of them don’t have that luxury. His vocal indulgence is her weapon of mass destruction. So… La-di-dah. Segueing the conversation, she then says that she’s rather focus on what brings her happiness, thank you ever so.

So prodded, the therapist asks Theresa what brings her happiness these days. “Just between us?” she asks. When he replies of course, she tells him with a smile that it’s Jamie. They’re a couple again. She thought they were one once, but it turned out that was a duplicate. But this time, he’s Jamie Prime. And she means “prime.” She can’t wait for her “da” to come back from the dead so she can tell him.


Sitting in the couch with her legs crossed before her, Monet files her nails, asking the therapist if Siryn is still in denial over her father. When he replies that she knows he can’t discuss that, she pronounces that that’s a “yes,” then. Even if it were, he tells her… And she’s not saying it is, mind her… Certainly he has to admit that everyone has to cope with trauma in their own way… Interrupting as she continues to file, Monet states that refusing to acknowledge isn’t coping. When the therapist then points out that he was her father, Monet snaps back, replying that he was like a father to her! Hell, he was there more for her than he was there for Siryn! He doesn’t see her going fetal over it! Asked if she is tempted to, Monet replies, “Of course.”

Returning to her filing, Monet tells the therapist that they are not going to do this now. When she is told, “No better time,” she asks why bother? Jamie said it would “Do her good” to talk to him, but she’s not seeing it. Besides, he’s already formed his opinion of her. Asked by him what that would be, she tells him, “‘Monet St. Croix.’ Arrogant, self-satisfied, bee-yotch. No surprise there.” To this, the therapist suggests that she try and surprise him. Taking the challenge, Monet affixes her eyes on the therapist and tells him that, every day, she has to make a conscious decision not to kill herself.

When she then asks if he is surprise, the therapist replies, “Somewhat.” Yay, she wins, she rejoins. The therapist asks if her statement is true. Not receiving a reply, he asks again. He’s the shrink, she says, eyeing the chessboard on the coffee table before her. He should tell her. Where does suicide rank in cause of death for people her age? Third, he replies, behind auto accidents and homicides. Picking up the black queen and regarding it intently, Monet says that he shouldn’t be startled then.

As the therapist then points out that, in her case…, Monet interrupts with a repeat of his words and a swear. As she now picks up the white queen, she says that girls her age kill themselves because they don’t know who they are. Gender confusion. Pressure to be skinny and pretty. To be popular. To be… whatever. She doesn’t… As she trails, the therapist prods Monet to continue. Now regarding both the white and black queens in her hand, Monet tells the therapist that she sees them in her head. Her brother, Marius… the monster who became “Emplate”… and Penance, the thing he turned her into. Kept her his prisoner…

As the two queens disappear into her clenched fist, Monet asks the therapist if he knows the Stockholm Syndrome, right? Of course, someone being held hostage starts to empathize with their captor. It’s a defense mechanism, also called “capture bonding.” Hard to feel much bonding, she continues, when your captor sucks down your bone marrow to survive.

Tears now streaming down her face, Monet says that the nights are the worst. She can see him in the shadows, coming for her… She sees herself turning back into Penance… Trapped in that body, screaming in her head and no one can hear her… Wiping the tears from her cheek, Monet says that she knows what others say about her. Think about her. But she has to be this way. Strong, overwhelming, better than everybody… She has to be this “M” person, because she draws her strength from her. If not for her, then… the forces inside her… They’d crush her, they…

Looking into her now open palm, Monet sees that she has accidentally crushed both chess pieces, half of each queen ground into powder. Not too symbolic, she quips, before apologizing and promising to replace them. Dismissing it, the therapist tells her not to worry about it.

Moving on, he then asks her to tell him. Is life really that... bleak? Does nothing make her happy? The corner of her lips rising slightly in a wry grin, she asks if he promises not to tell anyone. When he does so, Monet tells him that Madrox and she… Holy God, he just totally seduced her one night and she totally let him, and since then… Whoa. Un-be-lievable.


His hands on his hips and standing, rather than sitting, in the sitting area, Madrox regards the chessboard on the coffee table and asks the therapist if he knows the queens are missing. When the therapist replies that he does, Madrox changes subjects, informing the therapist that Rahne is coming in later. She’s been tough to talk to since Singularity. Something’s going on and he can’t convince her to open up. Asking if that is so, the therapist asks Jamie if he has considered having sex with her.

Smiling wryly, Jamie let’s out an “Ah,” to which the therapist replies that he could say that. When Jamie then remarks that he’s busted, the therapist rejoins that he could say that too. Striking his chin while thinking of what to say, Jamie muses that he bets this looks bad. Echoing Jamie again, the therapist replies that he bets he’s right. Theresa. Monet. Anyone else? Considering this, Jamie rejoins that, well, he wouldn’t kick Rictor out of his bed… Half a moment later, with a smile Jamie replies that he’s kidding. He’s kidding.

Interesting joke, the therapist replies. Maybe he’s overcompensating… Taken aback by this response, Jamie haltingly emphasizes that he was kidding. And no, there’ no one else. Not to his knowledge, at any rate, he then corrects. Look, he continues, his smile gone. He had a little too much to drink one night, and this dupe came out who was, like, his libido unleashed. The dupe bagged Monet, and he slept with Theresa. Running his fingers through his hair and furrowing his brow, Jamie acknowledges that maybe it was the other way around… or maybe he did them both… When the therapist remarks that he can’t be serious, Jamie replies that it all becomes his memories, and memory can be tricky. And since that night? It’s been just him, Jamie says. He thinks.

To this, the therapist replies incredulously, but Jamie quickly defends. Telling him to cut him some slack, Jamie tells the therapist that his whole flipping life has been turned on its ear! It’s, like, everything he can do to keep his head on straight! Finally sitting down on the couch, Jamie takes a throw pillow and sets it on his lap. A week ago, he continues, he knew for a fact that his parents had been killed in an accident, and that he was a mutant. And now it turns out his parents were murdered, and he’s some sort of… of genetic throwback. Not a true Homo superior at all.

Regarding this, the therapist asks Jamie where whom did he learn this, A dead dupe, Jamie replies, who found out from the bad guys, Perhaps they lied, the therapist offers. They are bad guys after all. Actually, Jamie replies, his face stoic in consideration, it’s been his experience that the bad guys are too insufferably pleased with themselves to lie. It’s the good guys you have to watch out for.

Jamie takes a moment to audibly sigh before speaking again. He misses the jokes, he finally says. He misses kidding around. He misses making mayonnaise jars that won’t open. He misses not caring about anything or at least pretending that he didn’t. To this, the therapist tells Jamie that it’s called growing up. People change, he continues. Priorities shift. He’s in charge now. People are counting on him. He has to live up to their expectations.

Does he, Jamie replies, moving to the edge of the couch. He has no idea, Jamie tells the therapist, how tempted he is to just bolt. When has why he doesn’t, Jamie replies that he can’t… decide… to do it. He sees all the options… He wants to do all the options… and so he does nothing. Like an object at rest staying at rest. He thought when he took a stand on the Registration Act, that it would make it easier for the future. Then asked if it has, he replies, “Nope,” Just made it more difficult. More expectations to fill. Jeez, doc, he replies, his life is such a mess right now.

To this, the therapist suggests that he just wait until Theresa and Monet find out what’s going on. He has to tell them, he tells Jamie. Or at least one of them. He owes it to them. Yeah, Jamie replies. He’ll get right on that.

Rahne is silent, her arms crossed as she stared out the window in the night cityscape, the buildings illuminated by office lights. Breaking the silence, the therapist asks Rahne if she wants to tell him about it. When she doesn’t answer, he repeats her name, only to be told by her in a thick Scottish accent that he “dinna wanna” to hear it. Replying that he “din… uhm… does,” he is told that he doesn’t deserve this burden. Asking why, he is told because he can’t warn anyone and because he’ll know what she is, but he canna do anything about it… When he then asks what she is, Rahne turns around and replies that she doesn’t know. She doesn’t know if she’s a girl who turns into a beast… or a beast that turns into a girl. In demonstration, Rahne turns into her half-wolf form. Her eyes are cold and her fangs are bared.

All she knows is this, Rahne continues, transforming back to human form in mid-sentence, when she’s a girl, she’s torn by doubts. Issues like… like father figures and wanting to be loved, and loving others… Chiming in, the therapist categorizes these as things they discussed ages ago. Aye, she replies. But, when she’s… this… she says, instantly transforming to her lupine form, all doubts go away. Her mind is clearer. In full animal form, it’s positively pure. Part of her wants to be that way all the time. All the time.

Changing the subject slightly, the therapist tells Rahne that Jamie said something “happened” to her, and asks her to tell him. Hesitating at first, Rahne, still in wolf form, tells him that she was shown a future. And she knows what he thinks: it was a fake. Except she knows it wasn’t. Every sense says it was true. Asking the obvious, the therapist what was this “true future.” When she does not respond at first, he says her name inquisitively.

She was in a bedroom ,she explains. She knows it was her, because she say herself in a mirror. She was covered in blood. Hers, the therapist asks. No, she replies. Theirs. Jamie’s. And Layla’s. She was grown up. Maybe twenty or so. And they’d gotten… it was their…


Naked, save for the fur that covers her body and her cross hanging from her neck, the hulking wolf-form of Rahne is covered in blood. Turning from her image in the full-length mirror, Rahne regards with horror the inert forms of Jamie Madrox and his bride, Layla. Dressed as if just returning from the wedding, Jamie is sprawled on the floor, his eyes vacant. Blood pours from his abdomen, which has been slashes open by claws. Lying nearby on the bed, the body of Layla is likewise prone and eviscerated. No longer the form of an early teen, Layla’s body is that of a woman in her prime. Her white wedding dress is stained by her own blood.


They were dead, Rahne explains. Looking at her own claws, attempting to remember their bloodstained form from her vision, she reiterates that they were dead… because she’d killed them. Gutted them like trout. To this, the therapist replies that she doesn’t know if it’s true, though. That it even might be true, Rahne rejoins through now-human lips. She… she could kill herself to make sure it can never happen… but suicides go to hell. But so do murderers. So she’s damned if she does, damned if she doesn’t. She…

Burying her face in her hands, which rest on her knees, Rahne says that God’s abandoned her. And her friends would fear if they knew. “Help me, please.”

Please. Help yourself,” Pietro smiles, offering a plate of donuts. When the therapist declines, Pietro replies with an “as you wish.” Setting the plate down on a collapsible table, Pietro asks the therapist what brings him to his humble clinic. Before he can receive a reply, he asks to guess. He’s been chatting with the fine people in X-Factor and decided to look him up for old times’ sake. That’s pretty much it, the therapist replies. He has to admit, he then adds, every time he gets stuck behind someone who doesn’t know how to use an ATM, he thinks of him.

Switching subjects, the therapist asks Pietro if he has any regrets over no longer being a speedster. Pietro replies, but as he had been chewing a donut, his answer was unintelligible. When the therapist begs his pardon, Pietro repeats with an empty mouth. None. The frentic pace that marked his previous existence… He doesn’t miss it a bit. Not only does he stop and smell the roses, he can appreciate the slowness of their growth.

To this, the therapist remarks that that’s good. That’s good. So… As the therapist’s thoughts trail, Pietro repeats the word. So? “So,” the therapist finally says, “I hear your evil now.” With a smile, Pietro replies that, yes, he hears that also. Asked if it is true, replies of course not. As he places a partially eaten donut back on the tray, Pietro rhetorically asks if he did inadvertently cause a situation to occur that many would term evil. Yes, he answers himself. But he was motivated by love, and what greater good is there?

Rising from his chair, Pietro adds that he now does more good in order to expiate his inadvertent sin. Voicing to what Pietro alludes, the therapist says that he’s giving mutants twisted versions of their original powers. They get what they deserve, doctor, Pietro defends. He’s not the judge; merely the instrument of judgment.

When the therapist remark, like a “pawn,” Pietro replies that it is more of a bishop. Moving diagonally while spreading the Good Word. People now may judge him harshly… even try to destroy him… but history will bear him out as the savior of mutant-kind, not its destroyer. To this, the therapist asks Pietro if he’s certain about all that. After all, they say history is written by the winners. To the therapist’s surprise, Petro tells him that he’s wrong.

The future, Pietro continues musingly, is written by the winners. History is written by the survivors. He is a survivor, and trust him… so is every person in X-Factor. Except, perhaps, Pietro says bitterly, Layla Miller, whom he would happily squash like an insect. Turning back to the still-seated therapist, Pietro asks if he’s sure he doesn’t want a pastry.

“You sure you don’t want a pastry,” Leonard Samson says into his tape recorder, giving his thoughts on his session with Pietro. An impressive disconnect from his previous statement, he opines. His further discussions with Pietro Maximoff, he continues, indicated what he could only term as a messianic complex. It bears further stuffy. Everyone, he then muses, does. Jamie has asked him to continue working with his team, but he admits he’s concerned about the group’s long-term health. They are, each in their own way, disconnected from reality. In denial. In shock. In trouble. Their future is murky at best. They…

Chuckling to himself, Samson repeated Guido’s words. “’Cause she was a woman.” Declaring that terrible, he muses that he has to tell Jen that.

Anyway, he continues, as he was saying… There are too many unknown, too many – X-factors, if you will – that make it difficult for him to predict what’s going to happen…

Suddenly, as he is walking past the front door of X-Factor Investigations, Leonard comes to a halt, both in speech and motion, as Jamie Madrox comes flying through the front window. Acting quickly, Samson manages to catch Jamie, as well as the dupe created from the impact with the window.

A moment later, the angry form of Monet, the cause of Jamie defenestration, yells through the broken window. “You two-timing son of a bitch!” she calls to him. You’re dead, Madrox, she tells. You hear me? Dead!

Looking up to him, one Madrox weakly repeats Samson’s words from earlier, “You gotta tell ‘em. You owe it to them.” Great advice there, doc, he says. The other dupe, just as weakly, informs Samson that he loves what he’s done with his hair, by the w… Before he can finish his thoughts, the dupe falls unconscious, joined by the other Madrox.

Glancing slightly upwards, Leonard Samson emits a slight sigh.

Characters Involved: 

M, Madrox, Layla Miller, Rictor, Siryn, Wolfsbane (all X-Factor Investigations)

Doc Samson

New York pedestrian and motorists


Jamie Madrox

Layla Madrox


Story Notes: 

In many ways, this comic is a sequel of sorts with X-Factor (1st series) #87. In that issue, Doc Samson also had sessions with X-Factor, as a result of the recent events with the attempted assassination of Charles Xavier. [X-Cutioner’s Song]

Patty Hearst, granddaughter of famed newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst, became famous after her abduction by the Symbionese Liberation Army in 1974. Though her reasons for doing so are unclear and still debated, Hearst joined her captors in a bank robbery, where she was arrested. During her trial, she claimed that she had been brainwashed, though the defense was not enough to avoid a conviction.

Guido told Samson that he had been bullied a lot as a child during their previous session. [X-Factor (1st series) #87]

Guido’s remark of “Always leave ‘em laughin’” is a verbatim quote of how he ended his previous session with Samson.

Helen Keller was a 19th century woman who, despite being born deaf & blind, managed to become an author and activist.

The old episode of “Star Trek” that Layla is remembering is “Balance of Terror.”

Theresa Cassidy’s father, Sean Cassidy aka Banshee, was killed in X-Men: Deadly Genesis #2.

Rictor mentions to have fought Sabretooth and the Horseman Death. This is a reference to New Mutants (1st series) #90-91. By then the position of Death was filled by Caliban whose powers had been enhanced by Apocalypse. Rictor is a bit exaggerating when he claims to have "fought" them - as actually he more liked stumbled in on a confrontation between the other two and for the most part of the battle, he was trying not to bleed to death after Sabretooth had scratched his gut.

X-Factor took a “moral stand” on the Registration Act in X-Factor (3rd series) #9 & 10. The tackled Singularity Investigations later, in #11 & 12.

Siryn was brutally attacked by Damian Tryp in X-Factor (3rd series) #4 & 5. She had a brief fling with a duplicate of Jamie Madrox during the Fallen Angels mini-series.

Madrox discovered that he was a “genetic throwback” by an elder Damian Tryp, time-projected from the future. Rahne was shown a future from a vision by the same Tryp, just shortly before. [X-Factor (3rd series) #12]

Quicksilver compared living with super-speed to being perpetually behind people at ATM’s who did not know how to use them during his previous session with Samson. [X-Factor (1st series) #87]

Samson’s “Jen” no doubt refers to Jen Walters, the She-Hulk.

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