X-Factor (3rd series) #26

Issue Date: 
February 2008
Story Title: 
Messiah Complex, part 7

Peter David (writer), Scot Eaton (penciler), John Dell w/ Andrew Hennessy (inkers), Frank D’Armata (colorist), Joe Caramagna (letterer), Will Panzo (assistant editor), Nick Lowe (editor), Axel Alonso (executive editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Flinch, Miki, Keith (cover A), Silvestri, Weems, Firchow (cover B)

Brief Description: 

At the ruins of the Xavier Institute, Xavier and Cyclops quarrel over the decisions the latter has recently made. It ends when Cyclops makes it abundantly clear to his former mentor that his opinions are no longer welcome, causing Xavier to depart. Meanwhile, on one of Cyclops’ missions, Wolverine’s X-Force infiltrates the ruins of the hospital in Alaska, where the baby had been born. While they find no direct clues, Caliban does discover that whatever masked his ability to sense the baby and Cable is now gone. The team departs, just as they have been detected by local police. Elsewhere, Siryn has less luck when she finds Peepers, a mutant who had called X-Factor for help. To her horror, she finds him devoured, unaware that the culprit, an animal-like entity known as Predator X, slinks away, looking for its next prey. In Canada, Cable also seems to be at an end, having been cornered by Lady Deathstrike and her ninjas. Exhausted and wounded, his time is nearly up. Meanwhile, of sorts, in the future, Layla Miller and the Jamie Madrox dupe she accompanied ambush two security enforcers, attempting to figure out the cause of the dystopian future in which they have arrived. To their horror, the soldier informs them that they, mutants, are responsible for the concentration camps. Before they can discuss further, they are detected and captured by other security forces. At first they read Layla as a normal human, however to the Madrox dupe’s irritation Layla confesses to being a mutant in order to be taken along with him to the camp.

Full Summary: 

Standing amid the ruins of what was once his institute, Charles Xavier asks Cyclops if he has lost his mind. Did he even consider the consequences of what he has done? To this, Cyclops pauses from his clean-up work. Brandishing a shovel, he asks if Xavier means dispatching their best trackers, their most formidable fighters? It needed to be done, he states. They’re at the mutant equivalent of DEFCON 1… Interrupting, Xavier accuses Scott of panicking. Stating that he’s disappointed, he adds that he thought he taught Cyclops better. Though his eyes remain on Xavier, Cyclops speaks to everyone else at the site, asking them to give the two of them some space.

As all of the rest of the teams walk away, Xavier begins to apologize, suddenly detecting Cyclops’ displeasure. Saying he is sorry, Xavier admits that, whatever his concerns, he shouldn’t have expressed them in front of the others. He only did it because… Because it seemed like a good idea at the time, Cyclops finishes. But he has to admit, Xavier retorts, sending killers after his own son?

Scott takes a moment to consider his reply. Finally speaking, he reminds Xavier, calling him Charles, that he trained him to be leader of the X-Men. Didn’t it occur to him that, for him to take the reins… Charles would have to stop driving? Taken aback, Xavier begins to stammer excuses, but Scott interrupts, pressing. That’s what he thought. As his former student turns to walk away, Xavier follows, asking if he doesn’t see. These are special circumstances. They’re always special circumstances, Charles, he replies. Not like this, Xavier counters. The survival of their race is at stake. In times such as these… as much as he hates to hew to a cliché – two heads are better than one. Still walking and leaving Xavier behind, Scott quips that two heads go in two directions. They can’t afford that now.

Pausing for a moment, Xavier concedes to Scott that his message is received. He’ll do what he needs. He’ll back off. His back to Xavier, Cyclops states that Charles knows that’s not going to happen. They’re going to have a dozen confrontations like this. He can’t have the distractions. At first, Xavier does not follow, but then asks if he means… He can’t be serious, he finally states, his eyes going wide in disbelief. Finally turning back to his former mentor, Cyclops says that he trained him. Let him do his job.

(somewhere in Canada)

In a frozen wasteland, Cable sprints across ice and snow, laser blasts exploding around him. Strapped to the front of his costume is a pouch, in which rests an infant girl. Suddenly, Cable comes to a full stop, drawing his handgun. However, Cable then pivots to follow the origin of a voice which greets them. It is from Lady Deathstike, who is accompanied by half a dozen of her masked ninjas.


In less icy landscape, a mountainous area decorated with trees and greenery, an automobile attempts to avoid hitting a deer, failing spectacularly in the process. In addition to the impact, the vehicle runs off the road, finally coming to a violent stop against a tree. His windshield and door windows shattered by the impact, Peeper prays aloud, asking God – or somebody – to help him… get him out of there. Detecting someone, he asks if anyone is there. He can’t see… are they from X-Factor? To Peeper’s horror, the answer is simply the sight of bloodstained white teeth lunging toward him, belonging to the creature known as Predator X. The horrific but temporary sound of Peepers screaming reaches the highway some distance away, which unfortunately for Peeper is very much empty.

(80 years from now)

In Brooklyn, NY, driving through the ruins of the Sheepshead Bay Mutant Relocation Camp are two security forces, clad in full-body suits and faceplates. As the wheels of their security vehicle stirs up dust, one laments that they are so damn late. To this, the driver replies that his companion was the one who was so mindblasted after the party that he practically had to pick up pieces of his brain off the…

The driver’s words suddenly trail, during which the passenger asks if he… Yeah, he sees it the driver states, referring the sight of a young, blonde girls lying perpendicularly across the path ahead. When the driver suggests that it could be an ambush, the passenger immediately discounts. Incredulous to his partner’s disbelief, the driver reminds him that mutants’ll do anything to catch them off guard. After another moment of back-and-forth, the driver reports that his screen show she’s clean. Not a mutant. They can help her.

A few moments later, the two have exited the vehicle and approach the little girl. The passenger trooper, referring to the driver as Tangretti, tells him to hold back – he’s got this. Bending down to one knee, he asks the young girl, in fact Layla Miller, if she is okay. Who did this to… Suddenly, Tangretti interrupts, yelling to his partner that the girl’s readings just shifted! Now he’s getting a mutant read off her. What can she say? Layla announces, suddenly opening her eyes. It comes and goes. With that, she then asks Jamie not to hurt them too much. Actually, Layla, several Jamie Madroxes reply in staggered statements, he’s thinking that, however much they hurt them… is going to be just enough.

Having knocked down one soldier, Madrox grabs the other and pushes him against a wall. Through bared teeth, Jamie tells him that he wants to know everything he knows about that mutant concentration camp over there. When the man tells Madrox to go to hell, “mutie,” Jamie replies first with a left cross, then adding that he’s looking at hell right over there! And he’s one of the demons who…

Jamie’s tirade continues to be punctuated with blows and kicks until he is held back by Layla. She reminds him that they want to find out as much as they can about that place. If he beats the man to death, they’ll need a Ouija board to learn anything. Returned to his senses, Madrox replies that he knows she’s right. She usually is. It’s just… it’s unbelievable. Back in their own time, mutants are a dying breed. But if they manage to survive all that… then this is what they have to look forward to? What kind of future do you call that?


What was once a functioning hospital in Cooperstown, Alaska is now wrecked. Instead of staffed by doctors and nurses, it is surrounded by police and SWAT teams, standing guard. One such sentinel, “unit three,” reports to his dispatcher that all’s quiet. Whole lot of nuthin’

However, much in contrast to the oblivious officer’s words, one-by-one a group of mutants sneak behind him, gaining entrance to the hospital. Suddenly, the officer twists his head in mid-sentence of complaining of their task, noting that the guys who did the damage aren’t coming back. When his dispatcher asks if there is a problem, the officer replies in the negative. Just his imagination, he states, completely unaware of Wolfsbane trailing the group which has passed him by.

The last of those attempting to gain entry, however, does not act so subtly. Instead, appearing out of nowhere, Warpath connects right cross, knocking the officer out with one blow. Catching the walkie-talkie, Warpath reports with grunts to the dispatcher who attempts to understand the officer’s last message. Taking this as being an all-clear report, the base signs off.

Immediately, Rahne chastises Warpath, sarcastically noting his stealth. When Warpath then replies that he doesn’t do stealthy, Wolverine steps into his face. What’s he’ll do, he tells him, is what he’s told. There’s nothing in it for them to have to fight their way in. True, Warpath replies, nonplussed. On the other hand, having a walkie-talkie so they can listen in on the cops and track their movements lessens the chance of having to fight their way out. Wolverine considers this silently for a moment as Warpath offers the device. Finally taking it, Wolverine then hands it to Hepzibah, telling her that she’s in charge of the “squawk box.” The rest of them, “let’s move.”

The whole team, comprised of Wolverne, Rahne, X-23, Caliban, Warpath and Hepzibah, silently make their way past crime scene responders, meticulously examining the scene of the attack. Once by them, the team regroups, with Wolverine telling them so far so good. When they were first there, there was too much crap in the air to get any scent. Plus they didn’t know what they were looking for. “Now they are knowing,” Hepzibah interjects. “Cable.”

Replying that she’s correct, Wolverine adds that between that and the smoke and chemicals having dissipated, they got a better shot. They split into pairs. X-232 is with him, while Caliban is with Hepzibah and Warpath with Wolfsbane. When Warpath then objects, stating that he’d rather work with Hepzibah, Wolverine growls a response that he goes where he says, clear?

As Warpath walks off, Wolverine quietly calls Rahne closer. He tells her to keep an eye on him. When the moment comes, and it’s gonna, they can’t hesitate. He can’t hesitate. Warpath’s valuable to the mission, but if there’s any chance he’s gonna falter at the finish line, Wolverine says he has to know.

When Rahne finally catches up to him, Warpath states questioningly that Wolverine doesn’t trust him, does he? When Rahne obfuscates, Warpath grimaces, telling Rhane not to lie. She sucks at it. Truth is, he continues, he doesn’t blame Wolverine. He knows he ha a history with Cable. Of course, he knows, Rahne replies. But Wolverine trusts him. He wouldn’t be on this mission if he didn’t.

Slightly changing tack, Rahne tells Warpath what she wants to know, with his history with Cable, why he would agree to this mission. Squatting down on a file box while Rahne transforms into the lupine form of Wolfsbane, he explains that Cable and he were teammates. He was his mentor. His friend. But that baby is hope. For their species. He knows what Cable would do if he were in his shoes. The mission always comes first. Transforming back to her human form, Rahne asks back what the problem is then. He doesn’t know, Warpath replies. He guesses he just wishes there was a way to save the baby… and save Cable.

Elsewhere, the sound of Cable’s backhand impacting across the face of one of Deathstrike’s ninjas results in a resounding KRAK. Though this lays low one of her soldiers, Deathstrike leaps upon Cable back and begins to claw. However, Cable moves quickly, grabbing Deathstrike by her hair and flipping her over his back and slamming her onto the snow with a thud.


Standing over the still conscious soldier, Madrox asks who was responsible. “For what?” he man replies. To this, Madrox instructs the soldier not to get cute. For the camps. When the soldier then replies with “Oh, like you don’t know,” Madrox tries another line of questions. He suggests to the soldier that he pretends they’re new in town. Hard to get up to speed when no one talks or writes about mutants. It’s a non-issue, the soldier replies. The government monitors all communications, written and spoken. Anyone even mentions mutants, the government shuts ‘em down and deletes the references.

Incredulous, Madrox replies that they can’t monitor what every person everywhere says. Grimacing, the soldier replies to this that they really are new in town, aren’t they? The camps, Madrox presses. Who’s to blame for… Interrupting, the soldier repeats the question before answering. They are, he says. Mutants. Or rather a mutant. His type, he tells Madrox, has no cause for complaining about the camps. They brought them on themselves.


Flying above the treetops, Siryn becomes annoyed at her inability to find Peepers, until she finally spies his car in the woods. Lading softly near the rear of the vehicle, she notes his bumper sticker – “I break for Mutants” – and is forced to admire his quiet defiance, even on the run. She likes him already. Now calling out to him by his alias, she tells Peepers that it’s Theresa Cassidy, from X-Factor. A moment later, however, as she rounds the side of the car and looks at the carnage within, she calls out to Jesus, Mary and Joseph. What could possibly have done this?

Some distance away, a slightly sated Predator X traipses through the woods.

Back at the hospital in Alaska, Wolverine and X-23 halt there search when they hear two gunshots. Likewise, Warpath and Rahne leap into action, beating Wolverine and X-23 to the source of the commotion. Upon arrival, the foursome see Hepzibah and Caliban sitting upon a host of captured police. Caliban screamed, Hepzibah smiles. Alerted the me.

Apologizing, Caliban replies that he has good news and bad news. Good news: whatever kept him from sensing the baby and Cable… it’s gone. Delivering the bad news, Hepzibah states that their neighbors know they’re there. All units converge on hospital! yells the base over the walkie-talkie.

Immediately, Warpath notes that he grabbed a look at the hospital schematics. There’s some old maintenance tunnels accessible through the basement. By the time they get in… they’ll be in the Blackbird. As soon as Wolverine okays the plan, the rest of the team leaps into action. Holding back, Rahne tells Wolverine that he doesn’t need to worry about him. Oh yeah? Wolverine counters. Well, they should hope his daddy-issues don’t keep him from getting the job done.

Thousands of miles away, back at the former Xavier Institute, Scott Summers and Charles Xavier part ways, both figuratively as well as literally.

Cable’s eyes, both his real and artificial, are trained upon Lady Deathstrike, who stands before him, poised to attach. Ready for such an attack, Cable covers the baby with his left, metal arm. Finally, Deathstrike attacks, going for the infant. Just as quickly, however, Cable pivots his metal arm to intercept. The attack fails, though Deathstrike’s claws pierce the forearm, staggering Cable. As their quarry reels, the ninjas return to the side of Deathstrike, who smiles as she states, “No more guns. No more running.” Time is up.


In disbelief, Madrox asks the soldier if he expects him to trust him. What he’s saying? It’s… it’s ridiculous. Completely ridiculous! There’s no way that they’re responsible for… Madrox’s protestations are interrupted by Layla, who calls out his name. He reminds her that he said not now! Whatever it is, it’ll wait. Actually, she counters, she doesn’t think it will.

As a light fills their area, the soldier again calls Madrox an idiot. He should have believed him about the non-issues! The moment he even mentioned “mutants,” he led them right to them. A moment later, both Madrox and Layla are surrounded by armored soldiers, each with a rifle trained on them. One of the troops detects Madrox as a mutant. Some sort of replicator, his sensors detect. When he then announces that there’s no read off the girl, that she’s normal, the former captured soldier yells for them not to be fooled. The girl’s a…

The soldier is quickly silenced by a left hook from Madrox’s dupe. A moment later, the dupe, as well as the others, being to reincorporate into their progenitor by a power dampener. Their quarry pacified, two soldiers grab Madrox by the arms to haul him away, while another leans down to Layla, asking if she is all right. Was he using her as a hostage?

With cold, resolute eyes, Layla replies negatively. She’s his accomplice. She may not “read” like a mutant right now, but that’s her power. She is a mutant, just like him. Wherever they’re taking him, she belongs there too. A few minutes later, as the soldiers close the doors to their prison transport, Madrox chastised Layla’s actions as being dumb. Real dumb. “Yes, well…” she beings to reply. “It seemed like a good idea at the time.”

Characters Involved: 

Siryn (X-Factor)

Caliban, Hepzibah, Warpath, Wolfsbane, Wolverine, X-23 (All X-Force)

Angel, Cyclops (all X-Men)

Professor X

Mercury, Rockslide, Surge,


Mutant baby

Lady Deathstrike



Predator X

Cooperstown, Alaska police force


Boom Boom, Cable, Feral, Shatterstar, Warpath (all X-Force)

(80 years in future)

Layla Miller, Multiple Man dupe


Security force

Story Notes: 

This is chapter 7 of Messiah Complex. It is continued from Uncanny X-Men #493 and is continued in New X-Men #45.

In an obvious homage to the X-Men films, Professor X looks incredibly like actor Patrick Stewart, who portrayed the character in the movies.

“DEFCON 1” refers to the US Armed Forces readiness of “Defense Readiness Condition 1,” signifying imminent attack.

A Ouija board is an occult related tool, which those who believe in communication with the deceased use to do so.

Wolverine’s concern regarding Warpath deals with his long relationship with Cable, including being a founding member of the first X-Force.

Issue Information: 

This Issue has been reprinted in:

Written By: