Nation X: X-Factor

Issue Date: 
March 2011
Story Title: 
A Tale of Two Islands

Peter David (writer), Valentine de Landro (penciler) Pat Davidson (inker), Jeromy Cox (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy’s Cory Petit (letterer), Christian MacNevin (cover artist), Jody Leheup (editor), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

During World War II an elderly woman was present when the Warsaw Ghetto was being “cleaned out”, and wrote details into a book. Today, the entire team of X-Factor arrives on Utopia, after accepting an invitation from Cyclops to visit the island home of the X-Men. While there, Rictor gets jealous about Shatterstar’s over-friendliness with Northstar and Iceman, while Boom-Boom completely ignores Rictor, in favor of fawning over Shatterstar. Strong Guy gets into a fight with Rockslide, Darwin makes his peace with Professor X, Siryn has a talk with Mirage, and Longshot and Dazzler are also reunited - and have sex. The various members of X-Factor have their own feelings about Utopia, none more profound than Multiple Man, who is against the idea of this island home to mutantkind. Cyclops enters a lengthy debate with Multiple Man and Layla Miller, who reveals to Cyclops that she has seen a future, eighty years from now, where Utopia did not work. Darwin and Professor X soon encounter a strange elderly woman on the edge of Utopia. They ask her what she is doing, before Darwin takes her book from her. This causes her to get very angry and increase in size. Northstar and Nightcrawler pull Darwin and the Professor to safety, but in the process, the book is dropped into the ocean, and eaten by a shark. Various mutants from around the island prepare to engage the large old woman in combat, while Layla sends Namor into the ocean to help Darwin. Cyclops fells the old woman, and Multiple Man attempts to restrain her, before Namor and Darwin return with her book. The old woman cryptically tells Cyclops that Utopia will not work, and informs Multiple Man that his way will not work, either, before she disappears. X-Factor then leave the island, with Multiple Man and Cyclops parting on good terms. Multiple Man hopes that one of their ways will succeed, and Longshot is left on the island, still in bed with Dazzler.

Full Summary: 

The 22nd of April, in the year of their Lord 1943. An old woman writes into her diary. She watches as innocent civilians are paraded past by soldiers. She writes that it will not last much longer now, that the Warsaw ghetto will be cleaned out soon.
She supposes that it is a blessing, in a way, as thousands have already died of malnourishment and stinking poverty. But she knows that the fate that awaits them is not any more generous. The elderly woman tells her diary that this war will not endure, that it cannot, as it will break under the weight of its own self-righteousness and excessive goals. ‘But how many will die before the final bullet flies?’ she wonders. ‘There is neither present, nor future. Instead, merely the past repeating itself endlessly, as I once told Eugene O’Neill’ the old woman writes into her diary, when suddenly, her red-inked pen dries up. ‘Damn. Out of ink. Need to refill’ she declares.

Suddenly, ‘You’ a voice booms. ‘Mmm?’ the woman mutters, glancing up over her spectacles. ‘Come with the others right now! The ghetto is being cleaned out. It’s over!’ the soldier shouts. ‘No, young man. It’s never over’ the woman replies. The soldier strides over to her and tells her that she doesn’t say “no” to him, that she has to obey orders. ‘You obey them. I…less so’ the woman replies. ‘What is that book? Give it here’ the soldier demands. The woman doesn’t look at the soldier, she just tells him that it is none of his concern. ‘I said give it to me!’ the soldier shouts as he pulls the diary from the old woman. Instantly, the old woman shoves her sharp-tipped pen into the soldier’s neck. “It’s over” she quotes the soldier. ‘The very ignorance of the notion, young man. The times, the places, the faces all change. But the great “it” is never over’ the woman tells him as he falls to the ground, her pen still stuck in his neck.

‘It’s an inglorious history your kind produces, and you write it in blood’ she tells him. The woman declares that she can do no less, and uses the blood dripping from the soldier’s neck to refill her pen. ‘Thank you…for your contribution’ she tells him.
Suddenly, another soldier shouts ‘Man down! We have a man down! It’s Otto!’ and two soldiers go over to their fallen comrade. ‘What the hell -?’ one of them mutters, while the other realizes that Otto is dead, that someone stabbed him in the throat. But he is confused when he sees that there is no blood. ‘How can there be no blood?’ he wonders, adding that he saw him go down this alley seconds ago. ‘And you saw no one leave? Then his killer must still be here!’ the other soldier declares. ‘Where?’ the first asks, looking around.

From her undisclosed location nearby, the woman continues to write in her diary. ‘The ghetto will burn. They always burn. The blood is erased by the flames. But it will happen again. And again’. She writes that there will always be those who choose to treat their fellow humans as something less than human. And the result of such dehumanization will be the same, for as long as there is a need for intolerance and bigotry - and her.

Utopia, off the coast of San Francisco, home to the world’s mutant population - or at least, most of the world’s mutant population. Wolverine a.k.a. Logan and Scott “Cyclops” Summers walk alongside one of the landing pads, and Wolverine announces ‘He’s not going to come’. Scott replies ‘He’ll come’, to which Wolverine tells him that he wastes his time. ‘My time to waste’ Scott replies. ‘Twenty bucks’ Wolverine offers. ‘Excuse me -?’ Scott asks. ‘Twenty bucks says that Madrox and his crew blow off your “invitation”. That they don’t set foot on Utopia’ Wolverine bets. ‘You’re on’ Scott tells him as they shake hands, and Wolverine mutters that was the easiest money he ever made.

Suddenly, there is a blinding white light. ‘Huh? Now what?’ Wolverine mutters, baring his razor-sharp adamantium claws. ‘We got company!’ Wolverine declares, but Cyclops tries to calm him down. ‘Yer kidding’ Wolverine mutters, as standing before him and Scott are the members of X-Factor!
‘Hi. You called?’ Jamie Madrox the Multiple Man and leader of the private investigatory team calls out. He is flanked by the glamorous Monet St Croix, the de-powered Rictor and his boyfriend, the extra-dimensional warrior Shatterstar. Guido a.k.a. Strong Guy, the extra-dimensional Longshot, the adaptable Darwin, Theresa Rourke Cassidy a.k.a. Siryn, and finally the enigmatic Layla Miller.

Wolverine swears to himself, and pulls out a twenty dollar bill. ‘Double or nothing on whether they stay?’ Cyclops smiles. Wolverine tells him not to push his luck. Suddenly, dropping down from the air above are Pixie a.k.a. Megan Gwyn and Jean-Paul “Northstar” Beaubier. ‘Jamie Madrox and company as I live and breathe!’ Pixie gasps. Madrox looks up and asks ‘How’s it going, Megan and -?’, as if he had forgotten who Northstar is. ‘Jean-Paul’ Northstar replies. ‘Right, right. Northstar’ Madrox remarks. ‘And who are -?’ Northstar begins, as Shatterstar smiles and walks over to him, introducing himself. ‘Stop it!’ Rictor calls out, grabbing Shatterstar by his arm. ‘Stop what?’ Shatterstar asks. ‘You know what’ Rictor scolds him, before both young men turn and walk away from Northstar. ‘Okay, I just think we missed something’ Pixie mutters. ‘Me too’ Northstar agrees, while Pixie declares that Shatterstar is gorgeous, but Northstar decides ‘Eh. Not my type’.

‘Gentlemen…ladies…welcome to Utopia’ Cyclops greets X-Factor. Scott suggests that instead of a guided tour, they can just stroll around and see the sights. ‘Meet old friends, find new ones. In short…’ Scott’s voice trails off, as Madrox interrupts: ‘Make ourselves at home?’ he asks. ‘Exactly’ Scott replies. Layla walks over to Scott and Madrox and asks if she can tag along with the two of them. ‘If you wish, Miss - uhm - I’m sorry, I don’t think we’ve been -’ Cyclops begins, but Layla tells him that they have, a few times. ‘Wait…Layla? Layla Miller?’ Cyclops gasps. ‘Yeah’ Layla replies. ‘Oh my God’ Scott mutters. ‘Well said’ Layla tells him.

‘You got her back! From the future!’ Cyclops remarks as he puts his hands on Layla’s arms. Madrox smiles and tells Cyclops that he just used a bolt of lightning to fire up the flux capacitor. ‘Nothing to it, really’ he adds. Examining the large M tattoo on Layla’s face, Scott asks her how long she was there. ‘Five years’ Layla replies. ‘Lord, look what they did to you! Five years stranded alone. Layla, I’m so sorry. I never meant to -’ Scott begins. Layla strokes his face and tells him that she knows he didn’t, and assures him that she wasn’t alone. ‘No? Who was with you?’ Cyclops asks. ‘Nobody you know’ Layla tells him as she walks away.

In the meantime, walking through the “streets” of Utopia, Shatterstar tells Rictor that jealousy doesn’t become him. Rictor replies that he is not jealous. ‘I just didn’t want you to make an idiot of yourself’ Rictor explains. Suddenly, Bobby “Iceman” Drake calls out to Rictor, ‘Hey! Who’s your friend?’ he asks. Shatterstar smiles and turns to Iceman. Introducing himself, he explains that they have met in passing. ‘Stop it!’ Rictor snaps, pulling Shatterstar away from Bobby.
The young men continue on, walking past other mutants, including the young mutant called Dust. Shatterstar tells Rictor that he seems insecure about them, and that he thinks he knows why. ‘Yeah?’ Rictor asks. Shatterstar explains that, for one thing, Rictor must still feel inferior without his powers. ‘Also, people you care about tend to leave you…from your father being gunned down, to Rahne walking out on y-’ Shatterstar begins.

Rictor cuts him off, muttering that he is beginning to think it was better when Shatterstar was a killing machine who didn’t give a rip about emotions and feelings. ‘People grow. Change. That’s what makes us people instead of cardboard cutouts -’ Shatterstar declares, before he is interrupted, by a voice who shouts ‘Oh my God -! Is that…Shatterstar!?’ gasps Tabitha “Boom-Boom” Smith who stands there with Surge. ‘Hey, Boom-Boom’ Rictor calls out to his long-time teammate and friend. But Tabby just brushes him off: ‘Yeah. Hi, Rictor’ she mutters, much more interested in Shatterstar. ‘Holy jeez! You look fantast -’ Boom-Boom begins, but Shatterstar grabs her and dips her, planting a kiss on her lips.

When he pulls away, Shatterstar tells Tabitha that she looks well herself. ‘Uh…thanks. That’s uhm…uh…’ Tabby mutters, as Surge steps forward and introduces herself. ‘Right. What she said. Let’s go, uh, meet the others…’ Tabby tells Shatterstar, before exclaiming that he is so glad he ditched the ponytail and the “mommy dearest” shoulder pads. ‘Are you?’ Shatterstar asks. ‘Oh, God, yes…they were just, like, totally gay’ Tabby exclaims. Rictor just rolls his eyes.

Nearby, the young mutants Rockslide, Armor and Onyxx are playing a game of sport, possibly American Football or gridiron. ‘C’mon! Let’s see what ya got!’ Rockslide exclaims as he races forward with the ball. ‘That’s it! That’s it!’ he shouts as Onyxx and Armor lunge at him. But Rockslide tells them that they are pathetic, and boasts that he is the irresistible force and they have nothing. ‘One side!’ he shouts as he pushes Armor and Onyxx aside. Suddenly, the ball is dropped from Rockslide, as Guido tackles him. Armor drops her force field and stands next to Onyxx, who remarks that it looks like the irresistible force just met up with the immovable object. Armor agrees.

‘Get off!’ Rockslide shouts, but Guido sits on his back exclaims ‘Check it, I’m king of the mountain. Right, Paisan?’ Rockslide just replies ‘I’m not your Paisan, fella. I’m Rockslide!’ He forces Strong Guy off him, and into the air. Guido lands near Onyxx, who asks him if he is okay. ‘Oh, I’m great. And it is on!’ Strong Guy replies, frowning.

At that moment, Cyclops leads Madrox and Layla onwards. Scott tells him that he appreciates the good faith effort of their coming here. ‘Well, you invited us. Seemed the thing to do’ Madrox replies. ‘I assume you know why you were invited’ Scott adds. ‘As detectives go, I’m no Sherlock Holmes, but even I can figure it out: You want us to move here to Floating Evil Island’. Cyclops tells Madrox that it is called “Utopia” now. ‘Is it’ Madrox replies. ‘You sound sceptical’ Scott remarks. ‘There’s a part of Flushing, Queens that’s called Utopia. Still looks like Flushing to me’ Madrox tells Scott, before asking whatever happened to the dream of mutants living with mankind in peace.

‘That was before mutants became an endangered species. The rest of us can’t afford to sit around and wait to be picked off’ Cyclops explains. Madrox states the people are just confused about mutants, that’s all, but Scott declares ‘That’s their problem. Not ours’. Madrox tells Cyclops that it is not like they make it easy for humans, as half the time “humanity” can’t tell the good mutants from the bad mutants, and they are all lumped together. ‘That’s absurd -’ Cyclops begins, when suddenly, ‘Scott -’ a voice calls out. Scott, Madrox and Layla turn, to see standing before them Emma Frost a.k.a. the White Queen, Namor the Sub-Mariner and Magneto, the Master of Magnetism. ‘I see we have recruits’ Emma, in diamond-form, declares. ‘Welcome to our Brotherhood’ Magneto announces, while Namor just frowns. Layla smiles, Madrox gasps, and Scott grimaces. Layla covers her mouth to control her laughter, while Madrox asks Scott if he has anything to drink around here. ‘Absolutely’ Cyclops replies. ‘Thank God!’ Jamie exclaims.

Back outside, Guido and Rockslide are engaged in hand to hand to combat, while Armor and Onyxx just walk away from them. Nearby, Darwin is walking alongside Professor Charles Xavier. Darwin hangs his head and tells the Professor that he should never have stopped looking for him, and that he feels like he let him down. Charles addresses Darwin as Armando, and tells him that he has nothing to apologize for. ‘You found a home with X-Factor. You had every right to stay with them. Plus, you obviously, did find me. So it all worked out’. Xavier adds.

‘Has it? I mean…I’ve been imprisoned a few times in my life, Professor. Whether you’re in it voluntarily or not, it’s no less a prison, right?’ Darwin asks. Charles tells Armando that someone with the codename “Darwin” certainly must understand that one needs to evolve to survive. Darwin asks the Professor if he is saying that Utopia is the next step in the evolution of mutants. ‘In our case? It very well may be’ Charles replies. Darwin points out that at one time, the Duckbill Platypus might have been the next step for mammals. ‘I suppose’ Charles replies, before asking Darwin what his point is. ‘Point is: It still looks pretty weird’ Darwin remarks, before noticing someone standing on the edge of the island. ‘Yes?’ Charles asks. ‘Who the hell is that?’ Darwin inquires as they look at the cloaked figure.

Sitting on the bank that leads to the shore of another part of the island, Rictor has his back to Shatterstar, who is still talking to Boom-Boom and Surge. ‘So those blades have the power to transport you?’ Surge enquires. ‘They do indeed’ Shatterstar confirms. Boom-Boom tells Shatterstar that so much has happened to him since she last saw him. ‘The new look, the powers. What happened?’ Tabby enquires. Shatterstar replies that he is happy to tell her about it, but that it could take a while. Boom-Boom tells him to go ahead, as they have time.

On a nearby balcony, ‘Well, he certainly excels at making friends’ Monet remarks as she watches Shatterstar. ‘He has that knack, certainly’ Longshot agrees, before Monet asks Theresa what her take on this place is. ‘I’m not sure. It seems so -’ Theresa begins to reply, before a voice behind the trio calls out “Perfect?” The trio turn and see Danielle “Mirage” Moonstar and Alison “Dazzler” Blaire standing before them. ‘Is that the word you were going for? Mirage asks her former X-Force teammate. ‘Oh my God, Dani!’ Theresa exclaims. ‘Hey, Terry, Monet’ Mirage replies as she goes over and the three girls hug. ‘Don’t I resent you for some reason?’ Monet asks. ‘Probably. But who can keep track’ Mirage asks. ‘Good point’ Monet smiles.

‘Alison’ Longshot remarks as he approaches Dazzler. ‘Longshot’ Alison replies. ‘You, uh…you seem fit’ Longshot tells her. ‘Thanks. Fighting for my life keeps me trim. Plus there’s pilates…’ Alison explains. ‘Ah, yes, I hear that’s very…uhm…’ Longshot mutters, before Monet pushes him into Dazzler: ‘Oh, for God’s sake! Hug, you two!’ she orders. Dazzler smiles at Longshot and asks him if he has slept with Monet yet. ‘No, but she wants me. I can tell’ Longshot replies. ‘Who wouldn’t?’ Dazzler smiles. ‘You don’t’ Longshot points out. ‘True. So true’ Alison agrees.

Mirage tells Theresa that she heard about the baby, and that she is sorry. Theresa thanks Mirage, before Dani tells her that she thinks this is what Theresa needs to heal - this place, but be surrounded by friends. ‘By a dying race?’ Theresa asks. Mirage tells Theresa that they are not dying. ‘For starters, there’s Hope, she -’ Mirage begins, but Theresa replies that staking their future to one child, however optimistic her name, just seems foolish. Calmly, Siryn explains that she had this tragedy in her life that she wants to put past her, but that the longer she is here, the more she is reminded of it. ‘This place is a sanctuary’ Mirage protests. ‘No. This place is the Titanic, and you guys are just rearranging the deck chairs’ Theresa replies.
‘She’s so bitter. So sad’ Dazzler remarks, looking out at Theresa. Longshot replies that he knows, but that he remains optimistic that Siryn will come around. ‘So…would you like to have sex for old time’s sake?’ Longshot asks. ‘Unbelievable. You think that just - yeah. Okay’ Dazzler replies, smiling as she begins to walk away.

In the communications / meeting room, Cyclops motions to a screen which depicts Strong Guy and Rockslide’s battle, now joined by Colossus and Gentle. ‘I see your people are settling in’ Scott mutters. Madrox quickly tells him that no one is settling in. Cyclops reminds Jamie that M-Day changed the game, and points out that they need to survive as a race. ‘You keep saying that!’ Jamie declares. Scott replies that the truth doesn’t change. ‘Neither do you. You’re as myopic as ever’ Madrox declares, banging a fist on the table, which creates a duplicate. ‘They’re American citizens, for crying out loud! They let themselves get driven out of their own country!’ Madrox exclaims.

‘A country that’s becoming increasingly unrecognizable. San Francisco was burning, and the mob kept coming…’ the dupe points out. Madrox asks if they are going to stop coming after mutantkind here and the dupe suggests that here on Utopia, they can defend themselves without worrying about civilians, that they can form a mutant nation, consolidate their efforts - ‘Put all our eggs in one basket, you mean’ Madrox remarks. ‘We weren’t there, Madrox! How come, huh? When mutantkind was making its last stand, where were we? Trying to get divorce photos at a fleabag motel?’ the dupe shouts.

Cyclops turns to Layla and asks ‘What the hell is he doing?’ Layla, who is knocking back a drink, replies ‘He’s beside himself’. Madrox turns to Cyclops and declares ‘I figured you’re not listening to me, so I might as well talk to someone who would for a bit’. But, Cyclops assures Madrox that he is listening. ‘You’re just not saying anything I didn’t expect’ Scott tells him. “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome” Madrox mutters. ‘I stand corrected’ Scott remarks. Madrox explains that Max and his guys break out of Bartertown in an ancient locomotive, and that Max was clinging to the side and says to the guy who is driving the locomotive, a guy called “Pig Killer”, “So, what’s the plan”?’

Madrox continues, explaining that Pig Killer laughs and says “Plan? There ain’t no plan!”. Madrox tells Cyclops that he is here now, Mad Madrox, and Cyclops is the engineer of this floating target filled with good guys and bad guys, and that he has taken the survival of mutantkind onto his shoulders. ‘The train’s moving, and I’m asking: What’s the plan?’ Stern-faced, Cyclops replies that he is saying the train is going, with or without Madrox. ‘Climb aboard, or get the hell off the track. Your choice’ Scott states.

Jamie leans back in one of the chairs and announces that perhaps there is a third choice - no one is screaming for X-Factor’s heads, because they don’t have to be evil mutants to get their attention. ‘They just need a problem to be solved and a check book to pay us’ Jamie points out. ‘Or plastic’ Layla adds. ’Yeah, Mastercard, Visa. Next month, Amex’ Madrox jokes. ’No one is screaming for your heads yet. But they will be. You haven’t seen what I’ve seen’ Cyclops tells Multiple Man, who quickly retorts that Cyclops hasn’t seen what they have seen. ’Meaning -?’ Scott asks. ‘I’d rather not -’ Jamie begins, but Cyclops sternly asks him what he meant. ‘Nothing, I didn’t mean any -’ Jamie begins, but Layla calls out ‘He means you, Scott. He saw you, or what was left of you. So did I’.

Cyclops confesses that he doesn’t understand, so Layla informs him that eighty years from now, he is a cyborg, bitter, angry and frustrated because his concept of Utopia was perverted. Perverted into camps where mutants are forced to live together while Sentinels look on. Layla adds that Cyclops was hiding with his daughter Ruby and still fighting - and it never stops. ‘It never stops’ Layla tells the shocked Cyclops.

Back on the edge of Utopia, the strange cloaked figure is revealed to be the elderly woman - writing with red ink into her diary. ‘It never stops. The need to segregate, to push others who are different into somewhere that they won’t -’ she writes, before Charles Xavier and Darwin approach her. ‘Excuse me. Who are you?’ one of them inquires. ‘What are you writing down there? Are you spying on us?’ Darwin asks. Charles tells Armando to wait, and remarks that there is something odd about her. Charles explains that he cannot mentally perceive the woman, as if she is not even there. ‘She’s definitely there’ Darwin points out. The elderly woman turns to face Darwin and, calling him “boy”, tells him to keep back - for his own good.

‘Don’t call me “boy”’, Darwin tells her, before asking her what she is doing messing with the Professor’s mind. ‘I’m warning you…’ the old woman begins, before Darwin snatches the book from her, demanding to see it. ‘Give it back!’ the old woman shouts. ‘I said - give it - BAAAAACK!’ the old woman screams as her mass increases, and she towers over Charles and Darwin.

Back in the meeting room, ‘I have a daughter named Ruby? Does she have my eyes?’ Cyclops smirks. ‘Scott, how can you -’ Madrox begins, to which Scott replies ‘Faith, Jamie. Faith that this time, this place, is happening for a reason other than to be perverted by a future that may or may not occur’. The Madrox dupe begins singing “Ya gotta have faith-uh, faith-uh, faith, ya gotta have -’.
Jamie just frowns and tells his dupe that he has outstayed his welcome. The dupe replies that perhaps Cyclops did take it upon himself, but that someone had to, and they weren’t stepping up. ‘Tell him your way better plan. The one that’ll make sure the future you saw couldn’t possibly happen. Impress him with -’ the dupe exclaims, before Madrox absorbs his dupe back into him. ‘Sorry about that. They get a little out of control sometimes’ Jamie tells Scott, who remarks that the dupe was making sense to him. ‘Uhm…guys. Big problem’ Layla announces, motioning to the monitor depicting the very large old woman.

On the edge of Utopia, Charles tells Darwin that the woman’s presence appears to be blocking his telepathy, but that he has a plan. ‘Yes sir?’ Darwin inquires. ‘Give her the book back’ Charles tells him. ‘Right. Good id-’ Darwin begins, before Northstar and Nightcrawler a.k.a. Kurt Wagner arrive on scene. ‘It’s all right, Professor! We’re here!’ Kurt announces as he prepares to teleport the Professor to safety. ‘Kurt, w-!’ Charles begins, while Jean-Paul grabs Darwin and begins to fly him to safety. ‘Wait! Stop!’ Darwin calls out. ‘I said stop!’ he shouts, so Jean-Paul does - but the force of the sudden halt mid-air causes Darwin to drop the book into the water. ‘How dare -’ the old woman begins, when suddenly, more mutants appear before her, including Shatterstar, Banshee, Angel, Iceman, Wolverine, Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Magik, Magma, Sunspot, Warpath and Domino.

Cyclops, Madrox and Magneto move to the balcony to observe the battle. ‘I hate to bring this up, but -’ Magneto begins, before Cyclops interrupts, remarking ‘The island wasn’t built to withstand this much weight?’ Magneto confirms this, and adds that whoever - or whatever - that woman is, she could sink them just by standing where she is. ‘To say nothing of tipping the place over if she gets close to the edge’ Madrox adds. ‘Layla?’ Jamie asks, looking around, he wonders where she went.
But, Layla is already down on the battle ground, rushing over to where the Sub-Mariner has been tossed to the ground. ‘Prince Namor. You need to go help Darwin’ Layla tells him. Rubbing his neck, Namor replies ‘What…? Who are you?’ Layla introduces herself and explains that she “knows stuff”, and announces that she knows he needs to help Darwin. ‘What does Charles Darwin have to do with -?’ Namor begins, but Layla tells him not that Darwin, the other one.
At that moment, Darwin is beneath the water, swimming after the book. ‘No’ Darwin cries out as a large shark swims towards the book, mouth wide open. ‘Oh, hell no!’ Darwin exclaims as he sees more sharks. ‘Problem?’ a smug Namor asks as he swims up to Darwin. Darwin reveals that one of those sharks swallowed the book. ‘Which one?’ Namor asks. ‘No idea!’ Darwin exclaims. ‘Well, then…we’d best get to work!’ Namor declares as he grabs one of the sharks and pulls its mouth open. ‘Don’t just float there looking disgusted. Get in here and get your hands dirty!’ Namor orders.

Back on land, ‘Bring me my book! Before I -’ the woman screams, before she is knocked off her feet by a powerful optic blast. ‘Doesn’t matter how big you are, joints still work the same’ Cyclops calls out, with Monet, Wolverine, the White Queen, Iceman and Colossus at his side. ‘Madrox - what are you -?’ Scott asks when he sees a dozen Madrox dupes busy tying up the large woman. ‘If it was good enough for Gulliver -’ Jamie begins, before the old woman pushes upwards, knocking all of the dupes off of her, she points out that Gulliver broke free from the Lilliputians’ bonds. ‘Oh yeah. Right. Guess my idea wasn’t all that swift’ Madrox mutters.

The old woman, still in her large form, crouches down in front of Cyclops, who asks her who she is and what she is doing. ‘I am the injured party here! Not you! I insist you return me -’ she begins, before the book lands at Scott’s feet. ‘Here, take it. Take it and be damned’ Namor tells her. Unimpressed, Darwin asks why he is the only one covered with shark “yechhh”. ‘You are not Imperius Rex’ Namor explains, ‘Yeah, just nervous wrecks’ Darwin replies. Looking down at the book, Scott asks ‘All this…over a book?’ to which the woman, who has returned to her regular size, explains that it is not just any book, and crouches down to pick it up.

The elderly woman explains that it is the book. The book of the others, whence all knowledge comes. ‘To know the past is to know the future. To learn from the past is to change the future’ she declares, before asking Scott if he would change his? ‘It is all here, after all. The reasons why this Utopia of yours will come crashing down all around you. How your enemies will bring you low. How destruction will come upon you, from without and from within’. Holding the book out to Cyclops, she asks him if he would like to see why Utopia cannot possibly work. ‘No’ Scott tells her. ‘Really? Why not?’ the old woman asks. ‘Because it has to work. And whoever you are…whoever the “others” are…none of you is welcome here’ Scott replies.

‘You are a fool, Scott Summers’ the old woman calls out. ‘That’s what I was trying to tell him’ Madrox smiles. ‘And you’re an even bigger fool, Madrox’ the old woman declares, turning to Jamie. She tells him that he and Scott are too much alike to be friends, that they will wind up killing each other. ‘On that day…I’ll make note of it. A footnote, perhaps’ she announces before vanishing.

X-Factor regroup, and Shatterstar crosses his swords, ready to teleport the team. Cyclops informs them that the invitation remains open, that if any of them change their mind, Utopia will be here, waiting for them. ‘The invite goes both ways, Scott. X-Factor could use a guy like you’ Madrox tells Cyclops. ‘Oh, really?’ Scott asks. ‘Especially if you can type’ Monet adds. ‘Is she going with you?’ Cyclops inquires. ‘Looks like’ Jamie replies. ‘I’ll try to live with the loss’ Scott remarks sarcastically.
The portal opens, and Siryn, Rictor, Layla, Darwin, Monet, Guido and Madrox enter the portal, walking past Shatterstar, with glances back at the X-Men and the other mutants. As X-Factor fade out of sight, heading back to New York, Jamie thinks how he really would like Utopia to succeed, just as he wants X-Factor‘s way to succeed. But, two things concern him. Firstly, what if neither succeeds. And, secondly, he keeps thinking he forgot something, or someone….

Back on Utopia, Longshot lies back in bed, arms behind his head, smiling at Dazzler, who is snuggled up to him. ‘Did you feel…the ground shaking earlier?’ Longshot asks. ‘That was probably just me’ Alison replies. ‘Want to go again?’ Longshot suggests. ‘Longshot…this was fun. Really. But now it’s over, and - yeah, okay’ Dazzler replies as they pull the covers up over themselves….

Characters Involved: 

Butterfly, Darwin, Longshot, Monet, Multiple Man, Rictor, Shatterstar, Siryn, Strong Guy (all X-Factor)

Angel, Colossus, Cyclops, Dazzler, Iceman, Magneto, Nightcrawler, Northstar, Storm, Sub-Mariner, White Queen, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Magma, Magik, Mirage II, Sunspot (all New Mutants)

Armor, Dust, Gentle, Onyxx, Pixie III, Rockslide, Surge IV, X-23 (all X-Men students)

Boom-Boom, Domino, Warpath, Professor X (all residents of Utopia)

Old woman

In Flashback:
Old woman

Story Notes: 

The story doesn’t really fit anywhere in continuity, because this story is supposed to take place shortly after the “Utopia” crossover, but at that time the X-Factor team is actually disassembled and doesn’t reunite until the events of the “Second Coming” crossover.
Eugene O’Neill is a famous American dramatist of the early 20th century.
Multiple Man first met Northstar way back in Alpha Flight (1st series) #107.

Layla Miller was lost in the future during the “Messiah Complex” crossover.
Siryn lost her baby in X-Factor (3rd series) #40.

The scene between Shatterstar and Iceman is probably done on purpose, alluding to Iceman’s troubled love life and the regular fan speculation that he may be gay or bi-sexual.

Boom-Boom ignores Rictor presumably because she is upset with him. They sort of had a thing going back when they were both X-Terminators and New Mutants, and probably she holds a grudge now that he is gay. Similarly, she seems unaware that Shatterstar, whom she spent time with when they were both members of X-Force, is gay and is in a relationship with Rictor.
Darwin was looking for Xavier in X-Factor (3rd series) #33.

“Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome” is the third film in the Mad Max film series, starring Mel Gibson.

The reality eighty years into the future in which Cyclops was a cyborg, can be seen throughout X-Factor (3rd series) #42-50.

The song that the Madrox dupe sings is “Faith” by George Michael. The song was a massive hit for the singer, reaching No. 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and No. 2 in the UK Singles Chart. It was released in 1987 and is it is the title track from Michael’s first post-Wham! Solo album.
The “Gulliver” reference is to Jonathan Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels”.

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