The team reaches breaking point
- Havok and Polaris had been in space for many months, trying to defeat Havok’s long-lost brother Vulcan, who had overtaken the Shi’ar Empire. After finally stopping him, they returned home but struggled to find a place to fit in.
- Wolverine and Cyclops’ philosophical differences had resulted in a Schism, after which Wolverine had restarted the school in Westchester, separate from Cyclops and his followers.
X-Factor was in turmoil after the recent events and began to fall to infighting. M didn’t trust the soulless Strong Guy, whilst Banshee thought he could be useful to do the things the rest were unwilling to do. The tension between Rictor and Shatterstar were also coming to a head, all the while Layla just sat next to a freezer containing the body of Madrox. During this time, the team was visited by Wolverine, who, explaining that he was worried about the team, introduced them to their new members, Havok and Polaris. [X-Factor (1st series) #229]
- Madrox’s soul didn’t die, instead it bounced around the multiverse. Every world he ended up on, he woke up in a version of himself that had just been killed. On his travels, he made enemies with a grown daughter of Wolfsbane, a cyborg Captain America and an alternate version of Dormmamu. On the last world he landed on, he allied with Doctor Strange and the sorcerer managed to cast a spell to send him back home. [X-Factor (1st series) #229, 231-232]
After bouncing around the multiverse, Madrox found himself back in his original body again and woke to discover Layla waiting patiently by his body. Ecstatic at seeing each other again, the two made love for the first time. Afterwards, Layla brought him up to speed on recent events with the team.
Elsewhere, the rest of X-Factor were helping Val Cooper disband a group of anti-mutant protestors. The team tried to do it peacefully at first but, when they saw the group had guns, they were forced to attack. During the fight, they learned that the group had a bomb, and so M and Havok worked together to blow it up out of harm’s way. When the team got back to base, they were shocked to find Madrox alive and well. Whilst most of them were happy, M angrily grabbed Layla and flew her away to talk. Layla was forced to explain that she didn’t bring Madrox back and that Strong Guy was the one who should be dead. By bringing Strong Guy back to life, she had caused a chain of events that was beginning to nullify all the knowledge of the future she had acquired. [X-Factor (1st series) #232-234]
When an amateur superhero was murdered in Seattle, X-Factor were hired by the man’s mother to try and find out what happened. When Longshot tried to get a psychometric reading off the victim’s video camera, he was stunned by some kind of feedback and fell into a coma. Unable to wake him, Madrox and Shatterstar went to Seattle and pretended to be costumed vigilantes in a bid to infiltrate the man’s team. When another of the team was murdered, Shatterstar came face to face with Scattershot, the man who killed him. The two fought and, during the battle, Scattershot revealed he was from Mojoworld, but teleported away before Shatterstar could find out why he came to Earth. [X-Factor (1st series) #235-236]
When the team became worried that Wolfsbane was sinking into depression after the events surrounding her son, Polaris and Banshee took her on a road trip to have a break. Along the way, they ended up meeting John Maddox, Jamie’s priest dupe. Connecting to him due to her religious background, Wolfsbane confessed everything she had done since they last met and he was shocked by what had happened to her. After their meeting, she found a new perspective on things and decided to find her son. [X-Factor (1st series) #237]
At base, life continued. Much to everyone’s surprise, Longshot woke from his coma. Strong Guy asked M on a date and Wolfsbane left to find her son with the help of Rictor and Shatterstar. Soon after, the team got a call from Wolverine, who told them about a man who had been murdered using a very loud noise. Seemingly implicated in the murder, Banshee went to investigate along with Havok and they discovered that some other members of the man’s family had also died the same way. Banshee discovered that one of the family, a young girl, had accidentally summoned a real banshee known as the Morrigan. The banshee was killing the family one by one and so Banshee had the girl summon Morrigan again. It was all a trap, though, and Morrigan kidnapped Banshee to confront the woman who dared brandish the banshee name. Instead of killing Banshee, Morrigan offered her the chance to live up to her heritage and to become a real one. Banshee declined and was thrown from the top of a lighthouse for her disobedience. Fortunately, she was saved by the timely arrival of a strange, winged, demonic-looking woman named Jezebel. After the two women defeated Morrigan together, Jezebel gave Banshee a cryptic message about choosing whether or not to walk with the gods when the time came. [X-Factor (1st series) #238-239]
M’s date with Strong Guy did not go well when he got into a fight with the villain Behemoth. Elsewhere, Layla raced against time to save the life of a woman she had never met but who would be very important to her future. The woman would go on to invent an experimental piece of equipment that would save Jamie’s life in the future. [X-Factor (1st series) #240]
M was in a mood after her disastrous date with Strong Guy but he didn’t seem to care, again due to his lack of soul. Polaris tried to get them to talk but was met with stubbornness on both ends.
Meanwhile, some of the enemies that Madrox had made on his trip through the multiverse had somehow made it to Earth 616 and they were now conspiring to kill him, thanks to the guidance of the elder (and still incorporeal) Damian Tryp. Vanora, the alternate daughter of Wolfsbane, phoned Jamie and lured him out to Central Park. He took Havok and M with him but, when they arrived, Jamie realized something was up. Indeed, they were attacked by the cyborg Captain America and alternate Dormmamu but, fortunately, Strong Guy and Polaris showed up just in time. Though Captain America and Vanora were taken out, Dormmamu grabbed a bystander and held them hostage. Uncaring to the hostage’s fate, Strong Guy was goading him to kill the hostage when the mystical being was suddenly killed by unknown means. Instead of celebrating the win, M angrily yelled at Strong Guy for gambling with an innocent’s life. Having had enough of the distrust, he quit the team and stormed off, only to be met by a mysterious figure who revealed he was the one who had killed Dormmamu. The man invited Strong Guy to join his side and they both disappeared in a cloud of smoke. [X-Factor (1st series) #241]
- After leaving the team, Darwin had a dream that left him with the belief that Wolfsbane’s son would be the cause of a great catastrophe in the future. [X-Factor (1st series) #214]
Wolfsbane, Rictor and Shatterstar tracked down Wolfsbane’s son, now a young boy named Tier. Unfortunately, they discovered they weren’t the only ones who wanted him. Vanora, with the help of Damain Tryp, had found the boy, as had Darwin, former X-Factor member. Darwin was adamant that he needed to kill the boy but Rictor confronted him and caught him off guard, thanks to his newly regained powers. After Wolfsbane stopped Vanora from hurting her son, the group managed to escape to one of Wolverine’s safe houses. Wolfsbane decided to leave the team so she could look after her son and protect him from those who wanted to kill him. [X-Factor (1st series) #242]
When Longshot accidentally got a psychometric reading off an old photo of Polaris’, he uncovered a secret from her past she never knew. Longshot tried to lie to her but, after she realized he was holding something back, he was forced to reveal what he saw. Using M’s telepathy, he showed Polaris that she was the one who caused her parents’ plane to crash years ago, killing them both. Traumatized by the revelation, Polaris had a mental breakdown and slipped into a catatonic state.
Elsewhere, Banshee had been seeing visions of her father and was unable to distinguish whether they were real or not. Knowing what she had to do and with the help of Layla, Banshee summoned the banshee Morrigan, whom she had fought only weeks before. Transported to a different place and time, Banshee begged for Morrigan to help Polaris through her trauma. Morrigan declined, instead offering Banshee the chance to do it herself. Without hesitation, Banshee agreed and Morrigan relinquished her millennia-held power and passed it to the other woman. Banshee was imbued with the power of a real banshee and took the mantle of Morrigan, using her new abilities to wake Polaris from her coma. With her otherworldly powers, Banshee decided to leave the team and carry on the mantle of her predecessor. She visited a very confused Jamie and told him that, should he ever need her help, he need only pray for her. [X-Factor (1st series) #243-244]
With the recent departures from the team, Jamie angrily lashed out at those around him for not doing more to stop them. He couldn’t get his head around what happened to Banshee but, when Layla tried to explain, Havok jumped in. He covered for Layla and told Jamie it was he who helped Banshee contact Morrigan, which caused her to leave the team. Shatterstar and Rictor soon teleported back to base, but without Wolfsbane. Havok and Polaris had a talk about their places on the team. Though Havok decided to quit, Polaris told him she liked it with X-Factor and the two broke up on good terms. As Havok left, Madrox nonchalantly asked Layla to marry him and this time she agreed. [X-Factor (1st series) #245]
Jamie and Layla eloped to Las Vegas and got married without anyone else knowing. As they were enjoying their honeymoon, they got dragged into solving the murder of a man who had been in a civil war re-enactment. The culprit turned out to be the resurrected corpse of Robert E. Lee, whom Madrox had to defeat. During the fight, though, the zombified man indicated that something big was coming and that X-Factor would be right in the middle of it. [X-Factor (1st series) #247]
When Pip was shot in the head, M entered his mind in a bid to wake him from his coma. However, this allowed Pip to accidentally hijack her body, an opportunity Pip used to help the team find his attacker. Locating the gun used to shoot him, Longshot got a reading off it and the team teleported to where they hoped to find the shooter. Meanwhile, Jamie and Layla had arrived back in New York but their taxi driver turned out to be a demonic messenger. Cryptically telling them that X-Factor would fall, he dropped them off at a nearby botanical gardens, the place where the rest of the team had happened to teleport. The assembled team together found Pip’s shooter but, before any of them could act, the ground opened up beneath them and literal Hell started to spill out. The team fought for their lives to kill all the demons emerging from the portal. Eventually, they succeeded and the portal closed, but it left the team confused about what had happened and what it meant for the future. [X-Factor (1st series) #246, 248-249]
Restored to his own body, Pip left the team soon after, as he couldn’t deal with M being furious with him for hijacking her body. Their drama took a back seat when Wolfsbane and her son Tier arrived on their doorstep, looking for help. Jamie immediately accepted them both back into the team but the reunion was cut short by Darwin, who had been hunting the two down. Believing that he had to kill the boy to stop the apocalypse, Darwin fought the team and held a gun to Tier’s head. When it came down to it, though, he couldn’t pull the trigger and stopped his assault.
Just as he did so, Strong Guy smashed through the building, also looking to kill Tier. Working alongside Jezebel, the winged demonic woman who had saved Banshee a few weeks before, Strong Guy made short work of the team. Before he could get to Tier, Layla teleported most of the team away with a spell. Darwin and M were too far away for the spell to work on them and they watched hopelessly as the rest of the team vanished and their headquarters exploded. The rest of X-Factor ended up in the Underworld and at the mercy of Mephisto, Jezebel’s father, as well as six other lords of Hell. [X-Factor (1st series) #250]
The Hell Lords attacked the group and, whilst they put up a good fight, X-Factor was no match for them. Jezebel, who had turned against her father, teleported the group away before anyone was killed and the team returned back to the ruined remains of X-Factor’s home. There they found M standing over Darwin, whom she had savagely beaten. Even during the beating, he had not told her that his death abilities he had absorbed off Hela months ago had indicated that she was about to die soon. When Layla checked on him, Darwin asked if knew that M was dying. Both solemnly and quietly, she admitted that she did.
Wanting some answers, the team quizzed Jezebel, who let them in on what was going on. Millennia ago, the Hell Lords all waged war against each other until a higher being forced them to stop. The being gave them a wager and said that the first one to kill the seven billionth human to walk the Earth would become ruler over all of the others. As it turned out, Tier was the seven billionth and the Hell lords were all trying to kill him to win the competition. The team vowed to protect Tier but were soon found by Pluto, who demanded they hand the boy over. When the team attacked, M went head-to-head with the Greek god but was brutally beaten down for her troubles. Jamie and Jezebel were seemingly killed by a blast from Pluto, an act with spurred Tier into action. Tired of seeing everyone suffer for him, he attacked Pluto in a feral rage and managed to kill the Hell Lord, much to the astonishment of everyone else. The other Hell Lords saw this and turned on each other, giving X-Factor the opportunity to escape. As the sky began to bleed, the team didn’t realize that Jamie and Jezebel had been captured by Mephisto. Whilst Jezebel was restrained, Jamie had been converted into a mute demon. [X-Factor (1st series) #251-252]
The team made it to a safe house where they tried to come up with a plan of action. M was suffering after her fight with Pluto and, after passing out, Layla informed her that she was dying because she had bleeding in the brain. Since Tier had managed to kill Pluto, Polaris decided to see if he was willing to take on the other Lords of Hell. Wolfsbane, however, was unsure of the plan. When Tier was alone, he was visited by another Hell lord, Satana, who tried to manipulate him into going with her. He realized he was being tricked though and attacked her, alerting the rest of X-Factor to her presence. Tier managed to take Satana down and then agreed to Polaris’ plan in a bid to end the chaos once and for all.
After thinking about it though, Tier started having second thoughts. However, before he could tell the rest of the team, they were all teleported back to New York. In the time they were away, the Hell Lords had destroyed the city in their bloody war, with Mephisto the only one still standing. Polaris was angry to discover Tier didn’t want to go into battle and was even more annoyed when the rest of the team backed him up. They were then found by Strong Guy, who had broken Jezebel out of her shackles and taken Madrox from Mephisto’s clutches. Unfortunately, Madrox was still affected by Mephisto’s demonic influence and attacked them team. As they fought off the duplicating demon, Jezebel tried to kill Tier but was stopped by Layla. When Strong Guy also tried to attack, M fought him off but together they fell through the ground and into a Hellish landscape.
An epic battle erupted, with X-Factor trying to protect Tier against the literal forces of evil. Things got even worse when Mephisto declared himself ruler of Earth, having defeated the other Hell Lords, as well as all of the Earth’s heroes who had stood in his way. Strong Guy and M continued to fight each other, getting out all the tension that had grown between them over the past year. However, when Strong Guy finally let rip and beat M down, she didn’t get back up again. After seeing that Mephisto had essentially won, Jezebel stopped trying to kill Tier and effectively gave up. Now realizing what it all meant, Tier decided to kill Mephisto himself and Jezebel agreed to take him to the Hell Lord’s lair. Meanwhile, Shatterstar searched for M and found her dead in the arms of a devastated Strong Guy. [X-Factor (1st series) #253-255]
Polaris, Jezebel and an army of demon Madrox dupes launched a full frontal assault on Mephisto’s stronghold. Unbeknownst to Mephisto, this was a diversion and the rest of X-Factor managed to slip through the back. Once inside, Tier killed the other Hell Lords Mephisto had been holding prisoner. Meanwhile outside, Layla found Madrox Prime and captured him in a forcefield, hoping she could try to undo Mephisto’s influence later on. Inside, the team confronted the Hell Lord but Shatterstar and Rictor were apparently killed in the assault. Whilst the remains of X-Factor held back his demonic army, Tier took on Mephisto himself and killed the Hell Lord. However, his victory proved short-lived, when Strong Guy stabbed him through the back with a trident, killing him instantly. With a blinding flash of light, the world was restored to the way it was before the battle had begun. The new Lord of Hell, Strong Guy, used his newfound powers to bring M back to life. [X-Factor (1st series) #256]
- The various members of X-Factor were scattered across time and space.
- Jamie briefly disappeared again when the world was restored but Layla found him and returned to his old farm with him. She revealed to him she was pregnant, a revelation that caused him to regain his senses and pray for help. His prayers were answered by Morrigan, who used her banshee abilities to purge Mephisto’s influence from him. Jamie and Layla decided not to reform X-Factor Investigations and retired from superhero life. [X-Factor (1st series) #257]
- Wolfsbane found herself in the Arctic and, after passing out, had a vision of Tier’s father, Hrimhari. After nearly being killed by a polar bear, Strong Guy appeared and saved her. He told her he had to kill Tier in order to save M’s life. Despite never being able to make things up to Wolfsbane, he teleported her out of the Arctic. She appeared in America again, just in time to save Father John Maddox from being shot. After talking with him for a while, he offered for her to become a deacon at his parish and she accepted. [X-Factor (1st series) #258]
- Shatterstar and Rictor landed in the Mojoverse and ended up being pitted against each other in one of Mojo’s arenas. After escaping, they found out that they had travelled backwards through time and that Shatterstar’s DNA had been used by the scientist Arise to create Longshot. After jumping forward in time, they helped Dazzler give birth to Shatterstar. To make sure history worked out how they remembered, they took the baby to be raised in the far future of the Mojoverse. [X-Factor (1st series) #259]
- Traumatized by recent events, Polaris turned to alcohol and got drunk in a bar. When she caused a fight, the police were called. Quicksilver got to her first and tried to calm her down but again the intoxicated Polaris was more interested in fighting. Eventually, they were arrested by the police, at which point Polaris was visited by a mysterious man named Harrison Snow, who offered her a job. Snow had purchased the rights to use the X-Factor name and wanted to form a new group with Polaris and Quicksilver on it. [X-Factor (1st series) #260, All-New X-Factor #1]
- After hanging around with X-Factor, Quicksilver eventually regained his powers and rejoined the Avengers for a short while. [X-Factor – The Quick and the Dead]
- Darwin reappeared in Tunisia and, after getting out the country, travelled to Las Vegas in search of Hela. By chance, he ran into Monet and, after a brief fight between them, he realized she was real. After talking, the two of them had sex, at which point Hela appeared before Darwin to see if he wanted to give his death powers back. He changed his mind and the goddess of death left him in peace. [X-Factor (1st series) #261]
- After her liaison with Darwin, M relocated to the Jean Grey School and joined the X-Men. [X-Men (4th series) #7]
- Longshot ended up fighting the cosmic entity known as the In-Betweener and accidentally warping reality. After finding a cosmic cube and undoing the damage he caused, he went on to join the X-Men for a brief period. [Longshot Saves the Marvel Universe #1-4]
- After leaving the team, Havok became leader of the Unity Squad, a group comprised up of Avengers and X-Men. [Uncanny Avengers (1st series) #1]
- Strong Guy was soon deposed as ruler of Hell by the Thunderbolts, who had been hired by Mephisto. [Thunderbolts (2nd series) #21-22]
- Pip the Troll eventually left Earth and returned to space [Hulk vs Thanos #1-4]