X-Factor (3rd series) #3

Issue Date: 
March 2006
Story Title: 
The Big Bang

Peter David (writer), Ryan Sook & Dennis Calero (pencillers), Wayne Von Grawbadger & Dennis Calero (inkers), José Villarrubia (colorist), Cory Petit (letterer), Omar Otieku (production), Molly Lazer & Aubrey Sitterson (asst. editors), Andy Schmidt (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

While investigating the murder of Gloria Santiago’s sister, Siryn and Madrox run headlong into Singularity Investigations who appear to be manipulating the situation to divert attention from their client, Jack Vaughn. In Mutant Town, Rictor saves a former mutant from being beaten to death and Rahne and Guido deal decisively with a riot in the streets started by “reals”, humans who are persecuting former mutants now that they are powerless. Rictor walks in on Monet dancing naked while waiting for the mysterious Layla Miller to fix her tub. As he leaves Monet, Rictor is attacked by the man he saved in the streets who is really an assassin sent by Singularity to kill the new member of X-Factor who is clouding their ability to read the future. Rictor is saved by Layla Miller, who confesses to being the anomalous new member that Singularity is after. She is here to make sure, X-Factor don’t discover the truth behind “M-Day”. As the assassin tries to make a move on Layla, the water from Monet’s tub causes the light fixture above the assassin to collapse and electrocute him. Layla seems to know this would happen and when the dying man asks who she is, she sinisterly replies that she’s Layla Miller and she “knows stuff.”

Full Summary: 

Siryn is asleep, dreaming happily of Ewan McGregor. She is talking in her sleep, commenting on how nice his light saber is and agreeing to swim down the toilet with him. She smiles and says softly that Liam is welcome to join them.
As she sleeps, Layla Miller creeps into her room with a flashlight and resets her alarm. A moment later, the alarm blares startling Theresa out of the dream. She lets out a short scream which shatters the glass face of the alarm clock. Jamie calls out from the hallway and notes that she’s awake.
Siryn asks how he knew and Jamie replies that all his Star Wars collectible glasses just shattered. Siryn tells him to grow up and he replies to get dressed, they have a situation. He tells her that Gloria Santiago has been arrested for killing her sister. Siryn is surprised and rubs the sleep from her eyes. Siryn says she’ll be ready to roll in five minutes and Jamie says he’ll warm up the car. Layla appears from nowhere and tells him not to bother. He asks why not and she simply replies, “You’ll see.”

Minutes later, Jamie is riding through the night sky clutching fiercely onto Siryn’s back. Jamie confesses to himself that he’s finding the prescient Layla Miller a bit disturbing. He wonders how she knows what she knows and is thankful that she’s on their side but questions how he knows this for certain.
At the Marquis Hotel, police have already roped off the crime scene and are questioning witnesses. Jamie jumps from Siryn’s back to the rooftop and she compliments him on his dismount. He notes that he spent two years training with the US Olympic gymnastics team… or at least one of his dupes did. She asks if there’s anything his dupes haven’t done on his behalf and he says “had sex”.
The roof door is locked and Jamie proceeds to pick it. Siryn asks if he’s serious about his dupes not having sex and he admits that they’ve been pretty active. She asks if he himself has been and he replies that he’s not sure. She asks what he means and he explains that he’s having a tough time remembering what he did and what his dupes did since memory is not linear for him. Siryn says that sounds creepy and Jamie agrees wholeheartedly.

At the crime scene, an officer questions the two and is about to block their access when Jamie produces a bar card and tells the man he’s the alleged perpetrator’s lawyer. This surprises Siryn. The officer denies them access to the crime scene but Siryn uses her voice to persuade him, throwing in several stereotypical Irish catchphrases. Jamie teases her about these and she tells him he’s walking home.
Inside the room, a detective is completing his questioning of famed actor, Jack Vaughn. Siryn interrupts and using her voice tries to force Vaughn to confess what really happened. She is stopped by Damian Tryp, Jr. of Singularity Investigations. He warns the detective of Siryn’s mutant powers and advises him to wear earplugs as he and his men escort her and Madrox out. He identifies himself to Siryn and gives her his business card.

Back at X-Factor’s offices, Rictor hears something happening outside and goes to check it out. He finds a small gang of thugs assaulting a former mutant. Rictor confronts them and tells them if they’re looking for trouble, then they’ve found it. The leader asks who’s going to give it to them. Guido steps from the shadows and says he loves a great entrance line like that.
The gang leader tells him to stay back and calls him “freak”. Guido says menacing “You talkin’ to me?” and Rahne appears in wolfoid form and says she thinks they were talking to her, as she lunges at them with fangs bared. The gang runs away and as Rahne is examining their victim, they hear the thugs screaming from around the corner. Rahne initially doesn’t care and is more concerned with their former mutant victim. But Guido convinces her to come with him to check it out. Since he has no powers to help, Rictor volunteers to see to the guy who got beaten up.

Inside, Monet is complaining about the condition of the building again as she gets ready to take a bath and the handles come off. Layla enters and asks what the problem is. Monet snidely outlines the current problems: why is she still here? When will she learn to knock and the fact that the faucet just came off of her tub. Layla doesn’t miss a beat telling Monet that she’s here to help, the door was open and that those are just the handles, the faucet is the thing the water comes out of. Monet sighs and says that if she wants to help then she can fix the tub and call her when it’s fixed. Layla smiles and eagerly gets to work.

Outside, Rahne and Guido discover a full-blown riot in Mutant Town started by “The Reals”. “Reals” refers to those humans who have chosen to persecute former mutants now that they no longer have the power to fight back.

Elsewhere, Siryn and Madrox meet with Gloria Santiago, who states that she has no idea what happened. She remembers going to the hotel to confront Jack Vaughn for taking advantage of her sister. She remembers him opening the door but everything after that is a blank. Jamie asks Siryn whether she thinks Gloria is in shock and Siryn counters that perhaps Singularity had her mind-wiped by a telepath. Jamie asks if she really thinks Singularity has those kinds of resources and Siryn tells him she got a vibe off of Mr. Tryp Jr. that tells her there’s more to them than meets the eye. She knows they clean up the messes left by the rich and powerful but senses there a bigger agenda behind their actions. She also reminds him that they owe Singularity some payback. Jamie suggests they bring Monet in to scan Gloria’s mind.

Monet is in her room dancing in a short silk robe and nothing more with headphones on. The song is “I’m Too Sexy” and she is singing along with it. As Rictor knocks on the door and asks if she has a minute, Monet sings the lyric “Oh yes, oh yes”. As Rictor enters, she sings “Too sexy for my robe” and throws it off. Rictor is pleasantly surprised to see a naked Monet “shaking her sexy butt on the catwalk”. He’s not as pleased when she notices him, picks him up and sends him flying into the hallway.
She angrily asks if anyone here knocks! He responds that he did knock and she replied “yes” when he asked if she had a few minutes. She argues that she had her headset on and he retorts that if he had X-Ray vision, he might have seen that, of course that would also mean he’d have already seen her naked, rendering the whole argument pointless to begin with. He gives up while he’s ahead and tells her he came to tell her there’s trouble on the streets and that Rahne and Guido could probably use her help. She slams the door in his face and he shrugs and says that she can explain herself to them later on why she didn’t give them a hand when they needed it.

Rictor makes his way downstairs and is blindsided by a punch from the guy he saved from the”reals” on the street. The punch knocks Rictor out and his assailant calls in to his boss, Mr. Tryp. He says that he has stolen a kitchen knife and will make it look like a suicide. Layla emerges from the doorway and says ominously, “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”

Outside, the riot rages as tensions that have been mounting since M-Day finally boil over into violence. Guido takes on some of the bullying “reals” who retaliate and try and take him down. Rahne goes wild, clawing into the rioters indiscriminately. She jumps on Guido’s shoulder and yells out to the rioters to get out of Mutant Town. Guido adds “And stay out” and Rahne swears to God that they’ll kill them if they don’t.

Back at X-Factors offices, Rictor’s assailant reports to Mr. Tryp that he’s been spotted. He walks into the kitchen and finds Layla waiting for him. She tells him he’s wondering who she is, everyone does. She informs him that she knows who he is and that Singularity sent him. She knows that Singularity is aware that someone joined X-Factor who wasn’t supposed to and is screwing up their ability to read the future. She knows they suspected it was Rictor, who should have died perhaps but changed his mind and that he had come to finish the job. But they were wrong. She’s the one who joined up and is affecting the future.
The assassin hears this and pulls out a switchblade. Layla continues, telling him that she has to do this job, a job she hates. This job is to ensure that X-Factor doesn’t discover the truth behind the Decimation and that she must make sure that it sticks. She hates it because it means misleading X-Factor and that she lost her parents twice.
The assassin says that he’s about to put her out of her misery then. Layla tells him he’s not because of these and shows him the screws from Monet’s tub. He asks what that means and she replies “It means you’re screwed.” At that moment, the light fixture in the ceiling above him collapses and water from Monet’s tub comes rushing down on him along with the wiring from the light. He jeers that it missed him but a second later, he is painfully electrocuted.

Upstairs, Monet wonders why the lights went out. In the kitchen, Layla approaches the assassin with a flashlight. She tells him that he’ll be dead in five seconds when his heart gives out and that his mother will mourn his passing but his wife won’t. With his final breath, the assassin weakly asks who Layla is. She turns the flashlight up to eerily illuminate her face and replies sinisterly, “I’m Layla Miller. I know stuff.”

Characters Involved: 

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

Damian Tryp, Jr. and an unnamed assassin (both Singularity Investigations)

Jack Vaughn

Gloria Santiago

Jansen and other unnamed NYPD officers

Unnamed emergency response team members

Unnamed Marquis Hotel staff

Unnamed anti-mutant thugs

Rioters in Mutant Town

Story Notes: 

Siryn references actors Ewan McGregor and Liam Neeson in her dreams. Both starred in the most recent Star Wars prequels, thus the reference to “light sabers”. This may also be a double entendre given the decidedly erotic overtones of Siryn’s dream. The comment about swimming down the toilet refers to the film “Trainspotting” in which a drug addict played by McGregor has a hallucination in which he swims down a toilet bowl.

Monet is listening to and singing the song “I’m Too Sexy” by one-hit-wonders Right Said Fred.

M-Day was caused by the Scarlet Witch’s reality-warping powers. The result is that 90% of the world’s mutant population has been rendered powerless. The full effects of this are still being revealed at this point in continuity and only a select few among Earth’s heroes are aware of Wanda’s role in this event.

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