X-Factor (1st series) #243

Issue Date: 
November 2012
Story Title: 
Breaking Points: Day Three

Peter David (writer), Leonard Kirk (penciler), Jay Leisten (inker), Matt Milla (colorist), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), David Yardin (cover artist), Jennifer M. Smith & Jordan D. White (assistant editor), Daniel Ketchum (editor), Nick Lowe (X-Men group editor), Axel Alonso (editor in chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

As the team feels the absence of Guido, Lorna shares another loss from her past with Longshot. However, when she shows him a photograph of her parents from the day of the plane crash which killed them, Longshot experiences an involuntary psychometric flash after touching it. At first Longshot attempts to avoid talking about it, but Lorna becomes enraged and demands he tell her what he saw. However, not believing that he will tell the truth, she tries to force Monet to use her telepathy to show what Longshot saw. Eventually, Monet agrees on her own accord and Lorna experiences the final flight of her parents. She sees her parents killed by a jealous Magneto, but immediately surmises it is a lie, which Monet confirms. Longshot then shows Lorna the true memory, of how she had been on the plane too, as a three year old, and had become upset upon hearing her parents argue about her father’s realization that he was not her true father. Though not understanding their argument, young Lorna had been upset enough to manifest her mutant power, accidentally destroying the plane. She was found some time later by Magneto, who had been drawn to the magnetic pulse. Knowing that the young Lorna was his true daughter, he ordered Mastermind to rewrite her memories to give her a chance at a “normal” environment, which he could not provide. In the present, Lorna nearly comes undone at the truth she has learned, but she has her friends and loved ones around her this time.

Full Summary: 

Lorna Dane is on her knees, her eyes filled with horror and her arms reaching out into the sky, as if to hold back the world.

Staring down at a photograph, Lorna Dane is lost in thought as she walks through X-Factor HQ. So lost in thought is she that she fails to hear Madrox greet her as she passes. Madrox, however, does not fail to notice Lorna’s preoccupation and surmises that there’s something wrong. As he turns to follow, he notes to himself that Layla texted that she wanted to chat about something in his room, but said it wasn’t urgent. It can probably wait a few minutes, he thinks.

Upstairs in Madrox’s room, filled with lit candles and roses, a naked Layla lies in the bed, seductively covered only by a sheet. Sighing at Madrox’s lack of presence, she remarks that she should’ve brought a book.

Oblivious to the goings-on in his room above, Madrox is in the office of Havok, who tells him not to worry. Lorna gets like this every year around this time. Moody. Detached. Asked if there’s any particular reason, Havok replies that it’s the anniversary of the airplane crash that killed her mother and dad. Taken aback, Madrox remarks that he thought Magneto was her dad, to which Alex replies that he is, but she didn’t know that for the longest time.

Considering this, Madrox surmises that Lorna’s mom cheated on her husband with Magneto. That’s messed up. That’s the current understanding, Havok rejoins. Unless they find out Magneto lied or was an android or something. Madrox begins to question the remark, but Havok interrupts, suggesting that he not ask. Turning his attention to the mountain of files he has been sorting since Madrox entered, Havok remarks that his filing system is for sh…

Spotting Monet walk by the office, Madrox calls out, asking if she could come in for a minute. Ignoring her brusque chastisement at being called in with a “hey,” Madrox asks if she’s heard from Guido. He’s getting worried. Visibly angry, Monet replies that she hasn’t and, if he asks her, they’re better off without him. They done? Madrox tries to reply that they’re not, but Monet replies “good” and storms off. Watching her leave, Madrox remarks to Havok that the way Lorna is today… Monet’s that way year ‘round. Makes him count his blessings, huh?

Elsewhere, Lorna finds Longshot in the rec room, staring at a large chair in the corner. When Lorna asks what’s wrong, Longshot replies that this was Guido’s favorite chair. Mostly because it held his weight. Touching his shoulder, Lorna tells him that he’ll be back. She’s sure of it. Once he gets over being pissed at Monet… He’s not sure, Longshot counters. They’ve been hemorrhaging teammates lately. He means, yes, the line for the bathroom’s shorter, but… Stopping in midsentence, Longshot suddenly tells Lorna that she’s probably right. She was going to ask him something?

Suddenly realizing that she did, Lorna tells him that she was wondering if he knew where all the candles went. She wanted to build a memorial. Noticing the photo in Lorna’s hand, Longshot asks what she has. A Polaroid of her parents, she explains. It got pulled out of the wreckage of her dad’s plane. Technically, her mother’s husband and not her dad, she guesses, but he was her dad for so long that it’s… Never mind.

Noticing the airplane in the photo behind her parents, Longshot asks if she was a pilot. Confirming, Lorna adds that he flew private charters mostly. One day, he was on his way to pick up a group in Las Vegas and decided to bring her mom along, just for fun. Moved to tears, Lorna adds continues that it crashed. They were both killed. Asked what caused it, Lorna replies that the investigators claimed they found every scrap of metal in the wreckage magnetized. Considering this implication, Longshot asks if she thinks her real dad, father did it… Magneto? He denied it, she replies. She wants to believe him, but part of her is…

Lorna’s words trail as she moves to catch the photo which has just slipped from her hands. However, as it lands closer to him, Longshot moves to pick it up, suggesting that she calm down. Much to his surprise, however, his power kicks in, his eye flashing in a powerful vision. Lorna calls out to him, asking what’s wrong, but rather than answer Longshot holds the photo out arm’s length, telling her to take it back. Lorna begins to protest, but Longshot only more emphatically tells her to take it back.

As Longshot hastily retreats, Lorna follows swiftly behind, asking if he saw anything with his psychometry power when he touched it. Longshot replies abruptly that he didn’t see anything, but Lorna counters that he did and bluntly asks if the photo told him something about her parents and about their death. Pausing briefly at the door, Longshot tries to explain that this power is unreliable, but Lorna presses further, reaching out angrily both with her arm and her power at her teammate.

Coming down the steps, Theresa is lost and her own thoughts, talking to herself. She doesn’t care how he keeps coming back. She knows it’s a trick… She needs to talk to someone about it. She can’t just… Theresa stops mid-thought and mid-sentence, punctuating it with a Oh, holy crap, as she finds Lorna magnetically levitating Longshot off his feet. As Theresa calls out for Alex, Lorna’s continues grilling Longshot, telling him she’s not screwing around. And so help her, if he’s covering for Magneto because he doesn’t want to piss him off… she assures him that’s not his biggest problem right now! Through great pain and gritted teeth, Longshot relents, agreeing to tell her.

Arriving on the scene with Madrox, Havok tells Lorna to put Longshot down, asking what’s wrong with her. Her eyes still concentrating on the floating Longshot, Lorna replies that he knows what happened to her parents and is about to tell her what he… Lorna’s glowing eyes return to normal, as she suddenly declares that that won’t do. He might lie. She needs to see what he saw. With that, she leaves the group, including the now grounded Longshot, yelling out for Monet.

In short order, Lorna has Monet magnetically pressed against a wall, which cracks under the pressure. Lorna tells Monet that she doesn’t give a damn that Monet doesn’t “like being summoned.” She’s going to do exactly as she tells her or… Interrupting the two, Layla arrives, clad in nothing but a sheet which she clasps against her chest. She instructs Lorna to put Monet down, as she’s going to end up helping her find out the truth anyway. So drop her. Now.

Without letting up on Monet, Lorna turns her anger toward Layla, asking if she knows. Receiving an “of course,” Lorna asks why doesn’t she just make her tell her. Because that’s not how Lorna finds out, Layla explains circularly. And if she doesn’t find out, and if things don’t unfold the way they’re supposed to, it… can end badly. Satisfied for the moment, Lorna drops Monet and tells Layla that they’ll do it her way for now. After Lorna leaves, Layla bends down to Monet and asks if she’s all right. Monet replies that she is and quickly orders Layla away from her, but just as quickly thanks her for reining in Lorna.

A short time later on the building’s roof, Lorna and Longshot sit cross-legged across from each other, with Monet sitting perpendicular to them, her arms out-stretched and touching their heads. Standing just behind them is Theresa, who looks on in silence with the photograph in her hand. Watching from a short distance away, Madrox regards the séance-like scene for a moment and then asks Havok why he had them come out to the roof. Havok explains that, if Lorna gets incredibly upset, he doesn’t want her magnetism trashing the furnishings. When Madrox then ask if it’s preferable that she’s up where she can level the entire block, Havok is taken aback for a moment, finally admitting that she should’ve thought it through better.

Sensing all in readiness, Lorna instructs Theresa to give Longshot the picture again, after which she orders Longshot not to try to hide anything. Reaching out for the photo, Longshot replies that, with Monet’s telepathy connecting them, that wouldn’t be possible. As Longshot takes the photo, Lorna replies that she did something like this back when she was with the X-Men. It was revelatory and very helpful. She’s sure this will be… Unnnhhhh…

Lorna’s eyes go white, and a moment later she is on a small, private plane. In one of the seats she sees the Polaroid camera, surmising that it’s the one that took the picture. Further up the fuselage, she hears voices and begins to approach. As invisible as a ghost, Lorna finds her parents in the cockpit, her father asking her mother how long she thought she could cover it up. It was a mistake, Arnold, she tells her husband. She admits it! But it was… it was years ago! Still angry, Arnold asks his wife when she was going to tell him about her, huh? When was she going to tell him their daughter wasn’t “their” daughter?!

Lorna’s mom begins to protest, but Arnold presses. He had test done, Suzanne, he tells her. After the weird stuff that’s happened around her lately… Got the results hours before they got on the plane. Confused, Suzanna begins to ask why he didn’t say anything, but suddenly comes to a horrific conclusion. Her face aghast, she says he’s going to kill her. Push her out… Right, Arnold confirms. His master plan. Way easier than divorce. Or maybe he’ll just crash the plane. Just end it all…

Suddenly the couple’s attention is diverted by the plane, which seems to begin to come apart around them. As Suzanna attempts to yell apologies, Arnold just repeatedly cries out NO! in futile protest. Outside the plane in its path is the costumed Magneto, who holds the aircraft in his magnetic clutches. Addressing Suzanna within, Magneto asks if she truly thought she could escape him. Did she believe she could return to her old life? If he cannot have her… then nobody can! With that, Magneto rips apart the plane, which spirals to the ground below. Caught up in the event around her, the spectral Lorna calls out to Longshot that this is… Bullcrap!

The next moment, Lorna finds herself in a darkened void, empty with the exception of her spectral form and Longshot, who replies that he’s not sure what she… Visibly angry, Lorna informs him that Magneto gave a damn about no one back then! If he told her that Magneto killed her parents because it fit into a master plan, she’d buy it. But out of jealousy? Shouting dialogue from a bad romance? Appearing between the two, Monet interjects that it wasn’t from a bad romance. It was a lyric from “Turn it On” by Franz Ferdinand…

Lorna begins to ask what kind of game she is playing, but Monet interrupts, explaining that Longshot was trying to protect her. He mentally begged her to twist the details, so she did. But personally, she doesn’t give a damn what Lorna knows or doesn’t know, so if she really wants… Lorna interrupts with a succinct “Yes. I do.” Her eyes still on Lorna, Monet tells Longshot that he heard her. She wants the unexpurgated truth. Sighing slightly, Longshot answers “okay.”

Back in the plane’s cockpit, Arnold rolls his eyes. Right. His master plan. Way easier than divorce. Or maybe he’ll just crash the plan. Just end it all…! Horrified, Suzanna begins to protest, telling him to think of Lorna, but Arnold mocks back for her not to be an idiot. He just wanted her not to be able to run away when he confronted her! She wasn’t really going to crash… How does she know what he’d really do and not do? Well, maybe she doesn’t! he replies.

Back in the cabin, the spectral Lorna finds herself examining the seat on which lies the Polaroid camera. The blanket draped across the seat begins to stir, and from beneath it a very young Lorna emerged, drearily rubbing her eyes and clutching a stuffed monkey. Hearing the voices, the young Lorna gets up and makes her way to the cockpit, with her spectral, older self trailing behind.

Oblivious to her approaching daughter, Suzanna yells to Arnold that he was never around, and then he came along, and made her feel so special! He said she was perfect! He never said she was perfect, she then points out of Arnold. Sarcastically, Arnold asks her to excuse him for being busy earning a living to support his wife and their… sorry, her… child!

Suddenly, the two hear young Lorna telling for them to stop fighting. Still angered, Arnold tells Suzanna to shut that little brat of hers up. Leaving the cockpit, Suzanna goes back, but in transferring her anger toward her young daughter, she tells her to be quiet. Just shut up and go back to… STOP FIGHTING!!! young Lorna yells again, this time as she begins to glow green with energy. Suzanna barely has a moment to realize something is very wrong as another, more powerful wave of energy erupts from Lorna. “STOPPP FIIIIIGHTIIIIING!”

A moment later, the entire plane erupts apart from within.

The spectral Lorna suddenly finds herself back in the void, yelling for Longshot to make it stop. A voice speaks out from the darkness, apologizing to Lorna that they are sorry, but it’s too late. However, it is neither Longshot nor Monet. Back in the past, in the wreckage of the plane, young Lorna lies unconscious and still very much alive, her brown hair now green. Regarding her from some distance, Mastermind notes that they’re too late. Nothing more to be done there. A pity, Magneto replies. Suzanna had so much potential beyond being the mother of his children. Why, she could have… ah, well. No sense mourning what couldn’t be.

Approaching his unconscious daughter, Magneto notes that Mastermind is wrong about there being nothing to be done. Saying hello to the child, Magneto tells her that he was drawn there by the magnetic pulse she unleashed. Her power manifested far earlier than it should have. Unusual, but not unprecedented. But she’s not quite ready for those abilities or the life that he has to offer her. She requires a “normal” environment. He explains to the little girl who cannot hear him that Mastermind will, via illusions, rewrite her memories. Reaching out to her, Mastermind notes that he couldn’t do this as effectively if she were older, but a child’s mind is very… pliable. She won’t remember she was there. She won’t remember the truth of this day. And with any luck… she never will, until he’s ready for her to.

In the here and now, Lorna yells out in emotional pain, trying to claw at her own face. Havok rushes to her side, attempting to hold down her arms. What the hell did they do to her? What did they put in her head?! As if she hasn’t had enough problems in her life! Stepping forward, Monet explains that, assuming he’s referring to her mental instability… it’s all traceable to this. Asked “this what,” Monet explains that the mental barriers that were put in place by Mastermind. The ones that the truth has been straining against all these years. She killed her parents. She didn’t mean to. She was barely three years old. But it wasn’t mechanical failure, and it wasn’t Magneto. Although he tried to save her from the knowledge. It was just her. Picking up the now unconscious Lorna, Havok replies that they’re lying. The both of them… they put this in her head to get back at her because she…

Interrupting, Layla (now fully clothed) emerges from the stairwell, telling Havok that they’re not. It’s what happened. And he can either waste time killing the messengers… Or he can try to help the woman he loves through this… Assuming he loves her enough.

As Monet and Longshot fill them in on all the details, Madrox can’t help but find himself wondering: is this a good thing or a bad thing? Lorna’s had problems her whole life. Now they know why. Maybe it’ll help… or maybe… sometimes the past is better left behind.

Characters Involved: 

Banshee II, Butterfly, Longshot, M II, Multiple Man, Polaris (all X-Factor)

Arnold & Suzanna Dane (Lorna’s parents)
Magneto, Mastermind I (both Brotherhood of Evil Mutants I)

Story Notes: 

Havok’s reference to a “Magneto android” refers to Polaris’ first story with the X-Men, in which she was believed to be Magneto’s daughter. However, they were later convinced otherwise, when the Magneto turned out to be a robot duplicate. [X-Men (1st series) #49-52]

Franz Ferdinand is a Scottish indie rock band. Their song “Turn it On” was released in 2009 on their album “Tonight: Franz Ferdinand.”

Lorna’s revelatory trip down memory lane when she was with the X-Men probably refers to Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #430-431.

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