Friday, August 22, 2008

X-Factor: Layla Miller #1 Review

Written by Peter David
Art by Valentine De Landro

Spinning out of the events of Messiah Complex comes this Layla Miller one-shot. While a tad late for any sales boost or non-X-Factor fan interest, this issue still picks up one of the few loose ends from that event in the form of Layla Miller and her being trapped a concentration camp in the future.

While I loved this issue, your enjoyment will be limited to how much you like Layla's character and her knowledge of 'stuff' because this issue focuses heavily on her and David even fleshes out her vague powers / knowledge (still no definitive explanation though).

Personally, I love Layla and I loved this issue. However, if you do happen to hate her character for some reason, this issue also features the events of the fabled Summers Rebellion, which first saw mention way back around the time Bishop was first introduced in the 80's or early 90's (can't recall the exact issue it was mentioned). As such, this issue acts like a Days of Future Past or other X-Men future based story and fills in many of the details of this tumultuous time period.

The issue does this through a series of events, all premeditated by Layla and her knowledge of 'stuff', starting with one of the best prison break scenes ever. Layla draws an X on the ground near a fence and stands there for 10 days straight, never moving from it. The guards were going to move her back to a cell, but ended up taking bets on how long the crazy mutant would stand there. On the tenth day, we find out some random space debris, which the government lost track of over time, had its orbit decay and it landed right next to where Layla was standing, killing her guards and providing her an escape. It sounds a bit hookey, but it's pure Layla and this issue features a lot of great 'Layla moments' like this.

From there, Layla goes about setting into motion the events that led to the Summers Rebellion, including the leaking of false / half true knowledge of a government initiative to round up any normal humans with a history of mutants in their family's background.

She also meets up with, as you may have suspected, Scott Summers and his daughter, Ruby, who will be the catalysts of this rebellion. Yes, Scott is our Cyclops and he's been turned into a cyborg of sorts, supposedly done to him by humans. His daughter's mother, while not named, seems to be Emma Frost from what I can tell, but, again, no confirmation.

There's a great scene with Scott and Layla where he tears into her for not telling them all the 'stuff' she knows and Scott blaming her for the world turning out the way it is. It leads to Layla breaking down crying and explaining how she knows things, but can't do anything about them, like a chess piece that can see who's moving her, but is still unable to make any new or different moves with the knowledge. I think a fair comparison would be that she is akin to Dr Manhattan, of Watchmen fame, and his ability to know what is going to happen, but unable to change it at the same time.

In the end, the rebellion goes off without a hitch and we see the catalyst for it with Ruby Summers leading the charge in defense of the humans, whom the government has sicced Sentinels on for the previously mentioned rounding ups. Off topic, but I think Ruby may be the mysterious baby from Messiah Complex all grown up and merely a Summers by name with no blood relation, but the issue doesn't spend nearly enough time on them to confirm nor deny it. Meanwhile, Layla slips off panel, still trapped in the future for the time being.

Verdict - Must Read. Even without the Layla centered focus, this is the kind of stuff X-Factor has been missing since Messiah Complex ended and it gives me a little more resolve to stick with the sagging X-Factor title with hopes of her return in the near future.

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