Series: X-Factor (III)
Timeline/Arc: Earth-1191 / post Messiah CompleX [X-Factor (III) #027]
Character(s): Layla Miller, Linqon & Dwayne
Team(s): Summers' Rebellion
please note: this review, while written by fai_dust (/Pixie Child), was written for and first posted at comicvine here; http://www.comicvine.com/x-factor-layla-miller-stuff-happens/37-136064/ .
80 years in the future, Layla is in the internment camp located in Sheepshead Bay that she and the dupe of Madrox were in, in the Messiah Complex arc. She is standing in the middle of a large X she had drawn in the dirt, facing one of the walls. She's been in the same position for eight days, and the guards have dubbed her "The Statue". They have a bet running on how long she's going to stay that way. One guard is determined not to lose the hundred dollars riding on it and goes to make her go inside. She goes on about space junk and the guards ask what her point is. "We're due," she tells him, just before he is struck by a large metal, circular object. As she climbs over the junk to escape, she points out the irony that the program that used to monitor space junk was shut down to fund the camps.
In Atlantic City, an old man is sitting on a bench at the beach. A bright red hand is placed on his shoulder, asking her father to go inside. He replies that he knows "she" is coming today. She reminds him that he has been saying that every day for the past twenty years. He agrees, but looks a photo, regardless. It's a young girl, with blonde hair covering her right eye.
Layla is walking through downtown Manhattan. She stops in front of a wig shot, looking in the window. A homeless man is sitting in front of the shop, and he asks what the ‘M' is for. 'Miller' she tells him. She then breaks the glass window and takes a blonde wig. The man freaks out, asking if she's nuts, now the police will come. She replies that that is what she's counting on and so is Linqon. Just then, a blue haired girl is running down the street, being chased by two police cursers demanding her surrender. Someone walking behind Layla throws a lit cigarette on the ground, and Linqon runs up to Layla. Layla assures her that everything will be fine, just as the cars that were pursuing Linqon crash into one that was arriving because of Layla breaking into the store. Gasoline leaks from the cars onto the cigarette on the ground and the cars ignite. Linqon takes advantage of it and takes off.
Dwayne, a blonde car thief, sees this and becomes interested in how Layla was able to do it. He follows her to a mutant rights protest and watches as she approaches two guys who are talking about how the camps don't affect them. She engages them in conversation and convinces them that the government is about to implement a program that will hold anyone with mutants in their bloodline going back ten generations in captivity for observation indefinitely. This changes their minds and they join in the protest. Dwayne steps out of the shadows, she Layla tells him she knows his name and that he's a car thief. Even more impressed, he agrees to give her a ride from Manhattan to Atlantic City. When he asks her what's in Atlantic City, her response is just as enigmatic; "Once I'm there? Me." However, he does just that.
When they arrive in Atlantic City, Dwayne is trying to convince Layla that there is absolutely nothing there and hasn't been for ten years. She asks him if she really believes that, then why did he drive here there? He says he didn't know he had a choice. She reminds him that everyone has choices, then corrects herself and admits, except her. He asks her what she means, and she tells him that because she knows what everyone's going to do, she doesn't have the right to make her own decisions. Dwayne tells Layla he has no idea what she's talking about, then admits that he drove her because he really had nothing better to do. His explanation is cut short, however, as they are attacked by a blast of energy that hits the ground directly in front of Dwayne. The woman from before appears and tells them to get lost, then freezes. "Wait... you?"
"I get that a lot." is her response. "You're his daughter." The woman tells Layla that ‘he' is waiting for her. Layla goes off and Ruby helps Dwayne stand. He introduces himself and she tells him her name. He asks if it's just a coincidence, and Ruby says it was Layla who told her parents to name her that.
When Layla sees Cyclops, she runs towards him, elated to see a truly familiar presence, only to be slapped away. He proceeds to call her a monster and blame her for everything that has happened to him. When he demands that she look at what has become of him, both his left arm and leg are robotic as well as a metal plate over his left eye. This finally gives her a chance to respond and she breaks down in tears. She reminds him that she did know what was going to happen, and that includes knowing what was going to happen to her. She did everything knowing what was going to happen. She used to have terrible nightmares about what they would do to her in the camp, but she did it anyways because she knew it had to happen. "You think if I had the power to make things not happen, I wouldn't have used it to save myself? You think I wanted this?" She pounds on his chest, calling him names and begging him to kill her if that's what he wants. She doesn't care how, but she wants him to kill her because she's just so tired of knowing. Scott realises how wrong he was about her and he kneels down and holds her as she sobs promising her that everything will be okay.
Later, Ruby marvelling at the situation of taking the picture of Layla that her father has been caring for decades. After it's done, Scott asks Layla if she knows how she's going to get back. She says no, and he's surprised. He offers to tell her, but she says no. It's safer to assume that if she doesn't know something, it's for a reason. Scott then tells her that he's got clothing set aside for her.
After changing, they're in a ruined casino and Layla's asking Ruby how long they've been hiding in Atlantic City. Ruby informs her they've been there for years. Cyclops is mostly using power cells for energy and as long as Ruby stays in her ruby form, she doesn't require food. When Layla inquires about what would happen if she switched to her human form, the Summers woman admits that she doesn't know. She's been in that form for so many years that if she were to go back, she may age almost seventy years is seconds. In need for a change of subject, Layla brings up Linqon. She tells Ruby she's a new mutant in New York, helpless and afraid. Ruby doesn't understand the point. "She needs your help. Because things are about to change. It's your time." Ruby walks away from her, but Layla follows her, insistent. She reminds the older woman about her father's dream, and Ruby admits that yes, she heard the story, but she also heard about all the mutants who died because of it, the 'norms' who rejoiced in their deaths and that the ones who didn't die ended up in camps. Layla reminds her that she experienced it firsthand, but normal people are starting to come around and that by helping Linqon, it will start the revolution. Ruby begins to challenge that, but Cyclops interrupts, Dwayne beside him, and says that they have nothing to lose because they aren't really living as it is. Ruby smiles and says she did know that, but she wasn't sure he did. "Layla... to hell with getting the apple cart rolling. Let's kick the damn thing over."
In the city, the President is giving a speech over television screens in the street. He is saying that they don't know how the plans for ‘Operation Purity' became public before they were ready to implement it, but because it has, they are not going to deny it. The people must trust in their elected leaders to make the tough decisions, testing centers are being set up and all citizens will be required to submit for genetic testing. "And for those who believe that they are exempt from the law... Incentive will be provided." As he gives the threat, Sentinels rise on either side of the main screen. A man with a megaphone is yelling that their country has gone insane. The President is still going on about how the testing is being done out of love. "War is peace. Hatred is acceptance." Ruby can't take anymore of the speech. She shoots one Sentinel through the head before yelling "And up is down! And down is where you are going!" Linqon looks up from the crowd to see Ruby and Dwayne on a rooftop. She introduces herself. She says she is a mutant and she knows most of them are not. But it's time they stand together and say that it's enough. It is time to rebel.
As the battle rages, civilians and Ruby's team against Sentinels and the police force, Layla walks right through the thick of it writing in her diary. The stuff that is happening around her will be known as the Summers' Rebellion. What will happen next, she's still not really sure of and that's unsettling. It makes her too much like everybody else and she doesn't want to be like everyone else. Right now she's having a good time being Layla Miller and knowing stuff.