Writer: Peter David. Pencils: Valentine De Landro.
What Happened: We begin with some backstory on Falcone(the evil guy from the future in charge of the Sentinels), and we discover why he hates mutants(they killed his parents when he was a little kid). 80 years in the future, Cortex(now taking orders from a semi-senile Dr. Doom)is trying to murder the members of the Summers Rebellion, starting with Madrox. Cortex misses Jamie and Ruby, but winds up putting a hole through Trevor Fitzroy's head, killing him. Ruby flips out and winds up knocking Cortex far away from the Summers base and onto the beach, where Layla Miller was waiting. Ruby orders Jamie to find Layla while she goes after old Dr. Doom. Before she can take a shot at Doom, her father, Cyclops, blasts Ruby to the floor and Doom explains that since Cyclops is more machine then human at this point in the future, it was child's play for Doom to take control of Scott. On the beach, Cortex prepares to kill Layla, but is interrupted by the just arriving Jamie. Jamie tells Layla to go back inside to see what Ruby wanted and then he challenges Cortex to a one-on-one throwdown(!). Jamie promises not to spawn any new dupes during the fight and Cortex promises not to use his powers and the two go at it. Cortex(being EVIL)pulls a gun and shoots Jamie three times in the chest, leaving him laying on the sand in a pool of blood. Back inside, Ruby manages to incapacitate her possessed father, but by this point, old Doom has taken his leave. By this time, Layla has arrived inside and Ruby asks Layla to return Fitzroy to life(?)and surprisingly, Layla begins to do just that(!). Back on the beach, Jamie is being healed by a mutant healer who is incinerated by Cortex. Jamie attacks Cortex with renewed vigor, but is shocked by the arrival of gigantic Sentinels. These Sentinels are able to open dimensional portals which suck mutants into them, thereby ridding Falcone of them forever. Jamie makes a few dupes and they form a human chain, keeping several members of the Summers Rebellion from being sucked into the void. Cortex, who was watching the whole ordeal play out, decides to lop of Jamie's arm, which would send the dupes and mutants into the void, but before he can, Fitzroy grabs Cortex from underneath the boardwalk and begins to drain the life out of him. Fitzroy then opened one of his time travelling portals directly in the massive Sentinel holding Falcone, sucking him in, along with Cortex. Falcone wound up emerging in front of his house some 40 years earlier, just in time to see the deaths of his parents, while Cortex seemed lost in time. With the battle finally over, Jamie confronts Layla and asks her how she was able to resurrect Fitzroy. Layla explains that her power was never "knowing stuff' as she had so often claimed, but that she could return the dead to life. However, those she brought back would be soul-less and without morals. Before Jamie could ask her more, a time platform opens up underneath both Jamie and Layla(a final trap set by old Doom)returning Jamie to the present and Layla to a year earlier. Layla meets up with her younger self outside the orphanage she was in and tells her the entire story. After she's done, she zaps her younger self with a device that causes her younger self to forget some of what she was told, but not everything, thus explaining Layla's knack for "knowing stuff". With that done, the older Layla walks away, ending this issue.
What I Thought: First off, the issues preceding this one were flat out awesome for the most part, and the entire Cortex storyline is probably my all-time favorite X-Factor storyline, which says A LOT! This issue, while very good, just didn't quite reach the level of greatness the past couple of issues had reached. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed this issue and this comic WILL be getting a very good score from me at the end of this post, but there was just something a touch off here for me. I can't quite put my finger on what that missing thing was though... Maybe it was the fact that old Doom disappeared so quietly, or maybe it was Cortex constantly taunting Jamie instead of just killing him. I don't know. Enough with the minor complaints though, let's talk about the good in this comic, and there was a lot of good here. First off is the revelation that Layla's mutant power is actually the ability to return the dead to life. Wow, I can honestly say I didn't see that one coming, although in retrospect, I think Peter had been dropping hints for a very long time about Layla's abilities. I also loved the way Peter fixed it so that Layla knew the stuff that she did(by meeting with her future self). That was a stroke of genius. I also like the fact that Cortex is still out there somewhere, meaning he could always return to menace Jamie and the team down the road, which I REALLY hope happens, Cortex was an wonderful villain. All in all, this storyline was great. Now why can't all of the X-books be this good?
Score: 9 out of 10.Now THAT is one BIG Sentinel!