BIOGRAPHY - Page 1
Layla Rose Miller lived a rather unassuming life until her mutant powers manifested. After her parents died in a car crash, Layla became a ward of the state, living in St. Joan's Orphanage in the New York bowery. When her mutant powers developed, Layla quickly became an outcast among the other children in the orphanage, as the ability to bring animals back from the dead would have been an unnerving ability under the best of circumstances.
Shortly before the events of M-Day changed mutantkind forever, Layla had a visit from her own future self. The adult Layla arrived after spending many years in the future, some eight decades down the timeline. She was there, Elder Layla explained, to close a causality loop and ensure that the future took place as she remembered it. To achieve this purpose, Layla used future technology to implant her younger self with the sum total of her own memories and experiences. This device contained a chronal variance inhibitor that allowed Layla to know the future and influence it without causing the timeline to split into alternate realities with each action she took. This essentially made Layla into a pawn of fate, pre-determined to carry out the actions that she now remembered in order to make sure they happened to begin with. [X-Factor (3rd series) #50]
When Wanda Maximoff engineered the House of M reality with her powers, Layla's unique status somehow protected her from the memory wipe that struck everyone else. Looking for help, she found Luke Cage and Hawkeye in the human resistance. When she made contact with Cage, Layla was able to show him a glimpse of the universe as it was supposed to be. This prompted Cage to locate the SHIELD agent Wolverine, who went rogue from Magneto’s organization because he also remembered reality as it should be. Together, they found Emma Frost, whose telepathic powers connected with Layla and restored Emma’s true memories. With Emma’s help, Layla restored several other key heroes around the country, creating a small unit to oppose the House of Magnus and Wanda’s new reality. [House of M #4-5]
Layla deliberately downplayed her overall importance, misleading everyone into believing she was a new mutant whose power just happened to protect her from the reality warp. With everything that was going on, the heroes simply accepted Layla as a godsend and didn’t question her story too closely. Layla accompanied the restored heroes as they confronted the House of Magnus, and she reawakened the memories of several others during the struggle, including Quicksilver and Magneto himself. The conflict eventually spurred Wanda to take action and utter those fateful words… ”No More Mutants.” [House of M #6-7]
Once the universe reverted to normal, Layla found herself back in the orphanage on M-Day (although she had a brief dream where her parents were still alive immediately after reality reverted). [House of M #8, X-Factor (3rd series) #9] Shortly afterwards, she ran away and made her way to the offices of X-Factor Investigations in Mutant Town. Layla quickly made herself useful around the office, organizing the files and generally tidying up the agency. She was so useful, in fact, that it was several days before anyone thought to question why she was there in the first place. Even then, they considered the strange girl who claimed to “know stuff” relatively harmless. [X-Factor (3rd series) #1]
Among the earliest events Layla arranged for X-Factor was bringing the depowered mutant Rictor into the agency and preventing Siryn's death at the hands of the rival agency, Singularity Investigations. Singularity was run by a genetic precursor to mutantkind, a "Killcrop" calling himself Damian Tryp. Part of Tryp's power was the ability to revisit his younger selves at different points in time, guiding himself through his own lifetime. The closed causality loop created by Layla's involvement in X-Factor was a new element that Tryp hadn't anticipated, altering history into something his eldest self did not remember. This drew Singularity's attention to X-Factor and, as Rictor was the most recent known addition to the agency, they concluded he was the "anomaly" affecting their plans. An agent was sent to kill Rictor, but Layla was prepared for him. She positioned him just right in the kitchen so that a leaky tub from the floor above collapsed, dropping water and electrical wires on the guy, electrocuting him to death. She then delivered his corpse back to Singularity via a messenger service, with a warning to stay out of Mutant Town. [X-Factor (3rd series) #3]
Despite her best efforts to carry out her business uncontested, Layla's actions (or rather, her inactions) eventually came under scrutiny by the rest of X-Factor. When Siryn was brutally beaten in an alleyway, Rictor demanded to know if Layla knew it was coming, and if so why she did nothing to stop it. Ignoring Ric's accusations, Layla went out on the front porch and "waited for things to happen." She had earlier called Mrs. Charnoff from St. Joan's to come and get her, and the matron arrived at X-Factor to fetch Layla right in front of Wolfsbane. Layla claimed she wasn't a mutant anymore, and Mrs. Charnoff assured Rahne that Layla would of course be invited back into the orphanage. Rahne was less than convinced, and soon took Madrox with her to St. Joan's in order to check on Layla. They found her sitting with the other children, sporting two fresh black eyes.
Layla told Rahne and Jamie some half-truths about the nature of her "future-sight" (but not its origins), and admitted that she knew about Theresa's incident ahead of time, but allowed it to happen because she believed it was important the incident occur. At the same time, Layla also told them that she would be struck dead if she ever revealed the source of her information. Under pressure from X-Factor, Mrs. Charnoff was more than happy to let a problem ward like Layla slip through the cracks, and unofficially released her into their care. Back in Mutant Town, Rictor sat down with Layla and pointed out how easy it would be to give yourself a black eye, if you really wanted to. Layla didn't deny the implication. As Rictor walked away, Layla was seen releasing a dead butterfly back into the air, watching it fly away. [X-Factor (3rd series) #6]
Note: In light of later revelations, it may be difficult to understand what Layla meant by being “struck down.” She was likely speaking metaphorically, for if X-Factor found out the truth about her knowledge before she remembered them doing so, that would shatter the causality loop and possibly obliterate the universe altogether.
Something Layla considered a major part of her mission was to prevent the Decimation from being reversed. To this end, she made efforts to prevent X-Factor from learning the cause of Decimation in the first place, which the X-Men and Avengers who had been present on Genosha were keeping from everyone, including their closest allies. Because of this, she also considered Pietro Maximoff a major nemesis, due to his knowledge of the House of M and newfound ability to restore mutant powers, albeit in an unstable form. When Pietro came to visit X-Factor Investigations, Layla tried to arrange his death -- she manipulated some street toughs into chasing Quicksilver, expecting him to time-jump into the future and be struck dead by a truck when he appeared. Instead, the street tough was an ex-mutant who ended up talking to Pietro and had his powers restored, thwarting Layla's efforts. Apparently, some small bit of Wanda's chaos nature existed in Pietro, making it more difficult for Layla to anticipate and counter him with her implanted knowledge. [X-Factor (3rd series) #8]
Quicksilver ended up revealing the truth about M-Day to X-Factor in the worst way possible, driving a wedge between them and the X-Men. When Madrox confronted Layla about keeping things from them, she pointed out that she had very clearly stated she would never be able to tell them everything she knew. Jamie eventually lost the argument when Layla mentioned they would still be arguing long after they got married one day. [X-Factor (3rd series) #9]
The struggle between X-Factor and Singularity came to a head when a researcher named Henry Buchanan came to X-Factor, asking for their aid in breaking his ties to Singularity. He had been involved in a project to create a virus very similar to the Legacy Virus, in order to wipe out the de-powered mutants on Earth to prevent them from ever regaining their powers, a future which the eldest Damian Tryp was trying to prevent. Buchanan was killed before he could turn over hard evidence to X-Factor or the authorities, and so the team arranged to storm Singularity Investigations and steal the data Buchanan had been working on. While the rest of the team was busy, Buchanan's wife was abducted by the youngest Tryp, but Layla arranged a crash between four pizza delivery trucks and got her to safety. A rogue Madrox duplicate eventually blew up Singularity, killing the younger two Tryps in the process, but not before Rictor uploaded all their information to Layla at X-Factor Investigations. Although Singularity as a corporation was no longer a threat, the eldest Tryp survived the death of his younger selves, due to his unique temporal status. What's more, he now knew of Layla's involvement in the timestream, and came to X-Factor long enough to threaten her that when two forces of chaos like themselves clashed, the results were always... unexpected. [X-Factor (3rd series) #10-12]
Having failed in her previous attempt to eliminate Quicksilver, Layla decided to try a different route. Believing that he needed to reach absolute rock bottom before redemption could be achieved, Layla arranged for Pietro to have a confrontation with Black Bolt of the Inhumans. Knowing Pietro would normally use his powers to escape before any real confrontation took place, Layla convinced Pietro to meet her in the near future and watch through a window as he survived Black Bolt's attack and was soon after embraced and kissed by his estranged wife, Crystal. Knowing the outcome of the encounter, Quicksilver felt confident in not running away when the Inhumans arrived, suffering Black Bolt's rage and then revealing to his former king information he had gleaned from his earlier time-jumps. But Layla had tricked Pietro; what had seemed from a distance to be a reconciliation with Crystal was actually a final good-bye. Crystal informed Pietro she had petitioned for an annulment before the Inhuman council, and it had been granted. Pietro was now and forever denied his wife and daughter. [Silent War #3]
The fallout from Decimation continued when a terrorist group of former mutants known as the X-Cell began striking at political figures, believing the government was somehow behind M-Day. X-Factor inadvertently interfered with the government investigation of X-Cell, and felt pressured to bring them in before the feds did the same, in their own more heavy-handed way. Layla tried to explain to X-Factor that they didn't need to do anything and that the X-Cell situation would take care of itself. When it became clear the team wouldn't stay out of it, Layla gave them assignments to keep them busy: Siryn and M were sent to stand on a street corner, Wolfsbane and Strong Guy had to investigate a sewer system, and Madrox and Rictor ended up delivering sandwiches. As it turned out, these assignments brought them into direct conflict with the X-Cell. The depowered Blob accosted Jamie and Ric for their sandwiches, beginning a confrontation. Blob and Fatale made their getaway in a stolen car right past where Monet and Theresa were standing, and ended up crashing when they came to the open manhole where Guido and Rahne decided against sewer searching. Just as Layla intended. When the X-Cell turned to Quicksilver to restore their powers, Layla managed to turn them against him by playing a recording of Quicksilver and the X-Men admitting the truth behind House of M. The same sequence of events also cost Pietro the Terrigen crystals that gave him the power to reactivate mutant abilities, letting Layla deliver another crushing blow to her "nemesis." [X-Factor (3rd series) #17-20]