|X-Factor (3rd series) #44|| || |
Issue Date: August 2009
Story Title: Dirty Sexy Monet
Staff: Peter David (writer), Marco Santucci & Valentine de Landro (penciler), Marco Santucci, Pat Davidson, Craig Yeung & Patrick Piazzalunga (inkers), Jeromy Cox (colorist), David Yardin with Nathan Fairbairn (cover), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), Jody LeHeup (assistant editor), John Barber (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)
Having slept a full day, his first real sleep in a month, Jamie Madrox is rested enough to work on the task assigned to him by Scott Summers. Deducing that Hecat’e’s momentary lapse in existence might be the result of someone manipulating time, Madrox asks to meet with someone on the intelligence level of Reed Richards, someone who Madrox has learned is still alive in this future. Accompanied by Layla and Ruby, Madrox returns to Detroit and to the ruins of a former high class hotel in which their person of interest, having lost some of his sanity, now resides. Meanwhile in the present, Monet’s attack against Longshot ends just as quickly as it begins. Monet explains her actions as being the results of a presence within Lenore’s mother which attacked her and then fled, leaving no further clues to its origin. Though having been nearly passing out from the chokehold, Longshot offers a lead when he recounts that he heard Monet say something that sounded like “codex.” Later at headquarters, after Monet’s suggestion, the team decides to sequester Lenore at a hotel penthouse, guarded by Darwin and Monet, while Theresa and Longshot look into the “codex” angle with other X-teams and law enforcement. That night at the penthouse, the well stocked liquor cabinet leads to drinking and, several bottles later, Lenore passes out, leaving Darwin and Monet alone. Escalating her flirtation she has had all day with Darwin, Monet offers herself to him. However, sensing that this could not be possible, no matter how much he wants it, Darwin resists. Realizing the ruse is up, Monet transforms into a purple, electronic-like being which has been controlling Monet’s possessed body… and acting under the instructions of Cortex.
(Eighty years from now…)
Shirtless, Jamie Madrox looks out of the window of his room and into a demolished Atlantic City, a shell of what it one was. Noting the rising sun, bringing a new day, he silently notes that he didn’t think he was going to see a new day. He was all set to die. All set. With Terry’s screams in his head, and the guilt in his heart, it was just too much. And then Layla showed up and upended his world. Again.
Reaching her arm around Madrox in an embrace, Layla tells him good morning. When he replies that he didn’t hear her come in, she replies that she moves on little cat feet. Like a fog. Which he’s usually in when she’s around, Madrox admits. Rubbing her hands over his face, Layla notes that he’s shaved. Good. No scratchy face. More kissable. Now all smiles, Madrox turns to her and admits that his head’s all scrambled. Emotionally, he’s got more baggage than a JFK carousel… The airport’s called BHO now, but she gets what he’s say…
Layla suddenly stops in midsentence, when she notices the scratch marks on his chest. Asking if it’s from Siryn, Madrox replies yeah. When she tried to claw the… the baby from the… Sean. She named him Sean. She…
In tears, Madrox collapses to his knees, resting his head on his fists. Great, he mutters. Told by Layla that it’s okay, Madrox rejoins that it’s not okay. There’s no crying in noir. Life isn’t noir, Layla counters. Yeah, well, Madrox defends, it should be. Rubbing his neck, Layla tells Madrox that some scars go deeper than skin. No kidding, he replies.
Rubbing his eyes, Madrox thanks God that Scott didn’t see this. Or Ruby. The spoken words of “you wish” from the doorway, cause Madrox to look up, whispering “swell” to himself. Standing in the doorway are both Ruby and Scott. Cloaked once again, Scott tells Madrox that Layla once broke down and cried like a little girl and that worked on him because… well… she was a little girl at the time. What’s his excuse?
Rising to his feet, Madrox tells Scott that there’s great news: it’s senior citizens day at Red Lobster. Chow down. Ah, Scott snarks, there’s some of the old Madrox spirit. As he pulls his shirt over his head, Madrox asks Ruby if they washed his shirt while he was asleep. Affirming, Ruby adds that it was self-defense. They smelled like he’d been wearing them for a week. A month, Madrox counters, but who’s counting? Even on his best day, Ruby replies, he was never Mr. Hygiene.
As he pulls his coat on, Madrox silently notes that he can’t get over Ruby acting like she knows him from the “old days,” except he only met her yesterday. Time paradoxes give him the trots.
A short time later, the foursome are outside among the pigeons, which have claimed the city. When Scott notes that he’s had a day to get some sleep, Madrox rejoins that it doesn’t make up for the previous thirty days he hasn’t slept, but it’s a start. Then asked if he’s given thought to their situation, Madrox replies that, actually, yeah he has.
Trailing Scott and Jamie, Ruby walks next to Layla and asks her, “Did you do him?” Grimacing, Layla tells Ruby that she’s got to get her own sex life and stop trying to live through everybody else’s. When Ruby points out to Layla, calling her “butterfly,” that she didn’t answer, Layla replies that it didn’t suit her fancy. With a smile, Ruby asks if “fancy” is her pet name for her… Told to shut up, Ruby chuckles to herself.
Oblivious to this, Madrox continues his conversation with Scott. If people are popping in and out of existence, he tells him, maybe someone’s mucking with the past to affect the future. The whole John Connor approach. Grimacing, Scott tells Madrox to stop living in movies. In real life, changing the past only creates alternate timelines, parallel universes. You’re no expert, Madrox points out to Scott. Him neither. They need to consult someone like Reed Richards.
When Scott points out that Reed’s long gone, Madrox reiterates that he said “like” Reed Richards. Taken aback, Scott begins to ask what he means, but then realizes he understands. He doesn’t mean… Hecat’e told him that he was alive, Madrox counters. Half alive, Scott rejoins, and totally insane. He must be kidding. Does he look like he’s kidding? Madrox asks. He’s given him a challenge, he then reminds Scott. And he’s seizing it with both hands.
With one hand, Monet holds Longshot by the throat, while Theresa yells for her to let him go. Asked by Darwin what’s wrong with Monet, Theresa replies that she’s trying to kill Longshot! That’s enough wrong for now!
Through a red-tinted vision, Monet sees her prey, Longshot, along with Darwin and Theresa, though she hears none of them. Slowly the tint of the world grows less red and the moving mouths of Theresa and Darwin begin to produce sound, little at first and then at normal, though exasperated, volume.
The first words she hears are of Darwin pointing out the glow in her eyes, which Theresa does not see. However, by this time her senses have returned and Monet releases Longshot’s neck. Rubbing her hands through her hair, she answers to Darwin’s repeated calling of her name that she’s okay. She appreciates his concern. It was very sweet, she adds, kissing him on the cheek. As the startled Darwin rubs the area she kissed, Monet rises to her feet, asking Longshot if he’s okay. Replying that he’ll live, he adds that she has quite a grip. Thanking him, she points out that she works out, eats right and has super strength. Must be the eating right thing, Longshot opines.
Bursting into the room, Lenore reports that the doctor’s on his way. Turning to her, Theresa replies that it’s okay. She can tell the doctor everything’s okay. It is fine, isn’t it, Monet? Theresa asks, turning back to Monet. Oh, yes, replies Monet with a smile. No problems here. In fact, she’ll go with her to assure the doctor she’s all right. Back on his feet, Darwin agrees that it’s all right. He’ll go with her and keep an eye out for attackers. Monet can stay there and rest. For a moment, Monet begins to grow angry, but then her expression changes, after which she tells him that he is so considerate and thanks him. No problem, the oblivious Darwin replies.
Once they have gone, Theresa returns her attention to Monet and asks what the hall happened. Seemingly unsure herself, Monet replies she hit some sort of… of psychic feedback. A result of a mental barrier in her subconscious. Asked if she generated it herself, Monet replies negatively. It was from an outside source. To this, Theresa begins to ask Monet if she can get past it. She doesn’t want her to risk herself but… Actually, Monet interrupts, she already managed to break through it. That caused the feedback that momentarily threw her. Asked what she found, Monet replies that it’s impossible to say. It sensed her presence and, realizing she was stronger, it decamped. Lenore’s mother should awaken before too long.
Still rubbing his throat, Longshot notes that he could have sworn that Monet said something. A word. It was hard to make out, what with his blood pounding in his ears. It might have been… Codex? Cotex? Considering this, Theresa replies that a codex is a kind of book and kotex is… Stopping in mid-explanation, Theresa rubs her head and tells Longshot to never mind with codex.
Turning back to Monet, Theresa asks if she recalls anything about…? No, Monet replies. Nothing left from when she pushed it out of her head. Changing subjects, Monet points out that Lenore’s apartment isn’t safe. She’s a target there. What does she suggest? Theresa asks.
“A hotel penthouse?” Lenore asks, “Really?” Sitting at a table with Theresa at XF headquarters, while Longshot and Darwin stand nearby, Lenore adds that this is where they’re going to hide her? But… she can’t afford something like that. Monet arranged it, Theresa explains. She’s very well connected. And he, Longshot says, referring to himself, will be happy to continue to protect…
Interrupting, Lenore sheepishly points to Darwin and asks if he could possible do it. It’s nothing personal, she tells Longshot. Really. But she saw what happened with her mom and, well… Chiming in, Longshot states that she finds the randomness of his powers a bit disconcerting? More or less, Lenore affirms. She means… she still thinks he’s, y’know… totally hot, but… He completely understands, Longshot interrupts. As much as women are attracted to him, eventually they are equally repulsed. It’s a yin and yang sort of thing. Not sure how to respond to this, Lenore settled for a “whatever.”
Hands on his hips, Darwin tells Lenore that he appreciates her trust and he assures her that he’ll be unwavering in his attention to… “Woah,” he stops in mid-sentence, as Monet enters the room. Clad in a short, red skirt with a stylish, large black belt, she wears a tight-fitting top which shows a great deal of cleavage, form-fits most of her torso and stops just above her bellybutton, showing an ample portion of her flat stomach. Complementing her outfit with sunglasses which rest above her brow, Monet asks if they are ready to go.
His eyes still wide, Darwin haltingly asks if she’s… coming with him. With muss? He means them. He means… she’s coming along? Setting down her bag for a moment, Monet replies of course. He’s fine on defense, but he needs someone on offense. If that’s okay with him, she then adds. Yes, of course, Darwin replies, gesturing oddly. She’s totally offensive. Realizing his unfortunate choice of words, Darwin closes his eyes and rubs his bald head. Moving to him, Monet playfully touches his bottom lip and tells Darwin that he’s so cute when he’s screwing up a compliment. Receiving an exasperated thanks, Monet picks up her back and moves to the door, calling for the others Allons-y!
Later, at the penthouse, a slack-jawed Lenore pronounces their room amazing. Does she even want to know what it goes for per night. If she told her, Monet replies, her head would explode, and they’d be out a client. As the hotel porter moves their luggage into the main room, Lenore asks how long are they going to stay there. She means, Monet has enough luggage for, she doesn’t know. A week, Monet replies as she hands the porter some money, she packed light.
Defensively, Lenore replies that she can’t live her whole life there. Not that the life she was living was any great shakes but… Interrupting, Monet replies that she won’t be there indefinitely. Siryn and Longshot are chasing down leads. Checking with other X-teams, plus government agencies and even street sources… seeing if this “codex” thing gets any hits, or if any other former mutants have been attacked. Meantime…., she continues, they can relax. What does she say? With this, Monet opens a small cabinet, which contains several full-sized bottles of alcoholic beverages. Eying the bottles therein, Lenore replies that it beats the hell out of a minibar. Darwin, however, eyes the posterior of Monet, who has leaned over and thrusting it upward, seductively.
Back at XF Investigations, Theresa eyes a wine bottle. Picking it up, she holds it for a moment before putting it to her lips and raising it. A voice causes her to lower it, a voice which asks if she’s out of her mind. Turning to the voice, Val Cooper, who stands at the doorway with a cane, Theresa replies with a “Hey, Val,” to which Val again asks Theresa if she’s out of her mind. Rubbing her free hand through her hair, Theresa replies that that’s good. She didn’t hear her the first time, but the second time she emphasized two words and it was much clearer.
You’re an alcoholic! Val states, grabbing the bottle from Theresa. And, Theresa counters, this is O*N*E’s business how, exactly? She can’t drink this! Val continues to emphasize. Well sure, not now, Theresa admits. It’s way over there. Ignoring Theresa’s sarcasm, Val tells her to look… She knows that she’s been off her game. She’s indifferent to what her team does. Her follow-throughs on the cases they’ve brought her stinks. She gets it. She knows what she’s going through. But she can’t just sit there guzzling…
“Water,” Theresa interrupts. Wine, Val continues, like it’s going… “It’s water,” Theresa reiterates. It takes another second for this to register with Val, who looks down at the bottle and asks that Theresa is drinking water out of a wine bottle. She was, until she showed up, Theresa tells Val. Asked why she’s doing that, Theresa replies that it’s the alcoholic equivalent of safe sex, she guesses. Step three of the twelve steps: turn your lives over to God. So, she’s leaving it in Christ’s hands. Told that she doesn’t understand, Theresa tells Val that, if God loves her, if he really loves her… then he’ll turn the water into wine. If he doesn’t, it’s further proof of… something. She doesn’t know what.
Reclaiming the bottle, Theresa tells Val not to tell her she has some idea of how she feels, ‘cause she doesn’t. She couldn’t. There’s no way… “I miscarried five years ago,” Val interrupts. Oh, Theresa replies awkwardly.
(80 years from now…)
Looking up at the ruins of a building, Madrox notes that this place is amazing. This used to be an incredibly beautiful hotel. One of the best in town. And now look at it. Crossing his arms as he stares up at it, Madrox notes to Layla and Ruby that he’s traveled seven hundred miles and eigh decades and wound up back in Detroit. If he went back to X-Factor’s HQ, what would he find? Rubble, Layla answers. Like most of Detroit.
And… they’re all dead, Madrox asks. The team. Yes, Layla answers abruptly. Anything else he want to know? Yeah, Madrox replies. Is he really up there? Yes, Ruby replies, as unlikely as it seems. He really is.
Above them, a hand party the curtains to look down upon the trio, standing on the street, far below.
Playing the raconteur, Monet tells Lenore and Darwin that, finally, just to get him off her, she said, “Brad, you know who you should meet?” And she drug him over to Angelina and she said, “Brad. Angie. Angie, Brad. Why don’t you talk about making a movie together?” And she headed back into the party, left them on the patio. Next time she saw them was at the wedding.
Reclining on the couch, while Monet and Darwin sit on the floor, over half a dozen bottles spread around their area, Lenore tells Monet that she has the most incredible life. It has its moments, Monet replies.
Sitting on the floor a short distance away from her, Darwin asks Monet if she really should be drinking this much? They’re supposed to be protecting Lenore… Interrupting, Monet replies that she’s perfectly safe. And what does he mean, should she be drinking this much? He’s drinking as much as she is. More. True enough, Darwin admits, but since excessive alcohol is basically harmful… his metabolism evolves to process it faster. He doesn’t get drunk.
Smiling devilishly, Monet replies that that’s… interesting. Then noting that Lenore has passed out on the couch, Monet notes that that’s something else interesting. It seems they have some privacy. As Monet begins to crawl across the floor toward him, a seductive look in her eyes and smile on her lips, Darwin replies that he’s not sure he understand…
She believes he does, she rejoins, calling him by his given name of Armando. Growing every-closer, she asks Darwin if he thinks she’s blind. Does he think she hasn’t noticed how he’s been looking at her? She can hear his heart speeding up when she walks in a room. She can? Darwin asks. Yes, Monet smiles, rubbing her hands across his face. Can he hear hers? Stammering no, Darwin is pulled by Monet toward her chest, placing his head between her breasts. Asked how about now, he whispers that it’s clearer now, yeah…
Pushing himself away from her, Darwin tells Monet that she’s clearly had too much to drink. This isn’t right. No, she counters. She’s had just enough. Standing up, Monet begins to pull her top off. Rictor wants her, she says. Longshot too. Now topless, Monet drops her shirt onto the floor and unbuckles her belt. And so do five of the world’s top ten bachelors as listed in Cosmo, Monet continues. “But… I… want… you.”
With this, Monet lets her skirt fall to her feet and steps out of it. As Darwin’s eyes go wide and his voice rendered speechless, the now naked Monet walks to him, telling him that she’s going to take him and do things to him he couldn’t imagine. And then…
And then… Darwin interrupts, grabbing Monet’s wrists, she figures he’ll fall asleep in a blissful haze of post, y’know, whatever. And then it’s just she and Lenore… As Monet asks what he’s doing, Darwin presses. That’s the plan, right? Monet begins to protest, but Darwin grows angry, telling Monet that he doesn’t believe her! Because much as he might hope and pray and dream… it wouldn’t be this easy! She’s Not this easy! So stop messing with him and…
Darwin stops in midsentence, as Monet transforms, her whole body turning into a mesh purple circuitry. Now lifting Darwin off of his feet, she tells him that she was willing to make it fun for him. But no. He had to stare into the mouth of the proverbial gift horse. All right then… have it his way. With this, she tosses him violently against the wall.
Moving to finish the job, the pseudo-Monet tells Darwin that he wasn’t on Cortex’s list. But there’s always room for more.
Darwin, Longshot, M, Multiple Man, Siryn (all X-Factor)
(80 years in the future)
Hecat’e, Layla Miller, Ruby Summers, Scott Summers (all Summers Rebellion)
Man behind the curtain
JFK is the Federal Aviation Administrations three-letter code for John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. “BHO” no doubt refers to Barack Hussein Obama, after whom in this future the airport was renamed.
Madrox incurred the deep scarring on his chest when a distraught and incensed Siryn attempted to claw her newborn baby from his chest after Madrox had accidentally reabsorbed him.
John Connor is a character from the Terminator franchise series, who was born as a result of time-travel paradox.
A codex has had several meanings throughout history, but can be applied to basically most bound volumes today. Very different from this is “Kotex,” which is brand of feminine products.
“Allons-y!” is the third reference to the current Doctor Who series in X-Factor (preceded by “Bad Wolf” and “Vote for Saxon”). In the Doctor Who series, the Tenth Doctor is fond of saying “Allons-y,” which is French for “Let’s go.”
“Angie & Brad” no doubt refer to Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, who officially became a couple after working on the 2005 film “Mr. & Mrs. Smith.”
“Cosmo” is the short-hand name for “Cosmopolitan,” an international women’s interest magazine.
This Issue has been reprinted in:
X-Factor Vol. 7: Time And A Half (Trade Paperback)
Issue Summary written by: Douglas Mangum