X-Men: Divided We Stand

X-Men: What Comes Next? Part 2

The end is nigh! With the slam-bang conclusion to "Messiah CompleX" in the books, what does the future hold for mutantkind? We snagged tapped minds behind the X-verse to drop some hints on what's coming for the characters on the X-Men's fringe teams, X-Factor and the New X-Men.

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X-FACTOR #28

By Eric Drumm The X-Men have their futures written in blood With "Messiah CompleX" now a thing of the past, some mutants will find new beginnings as others will come to the end of their path. The future has not yet been written, however the choices that these heroes make will shape them for this brave new world or be their undoing. In part two of our look at the future of mutantkind, the X-creators tease about what's in store for the extended teams and whether or not they will be coming home.
X-FACTOR

JAMIE MADROX CURRENT STATUS: As the leader of X-Factor Investigations, Jamie Madrox won't put anyone under his command in danger. His "dupes," however, often have plans of their own. Sending two of his dupes into the future to explore the ramifications of the mutant baby being born, Madrox fell into a coma shortly after. One dupe died after learning of a young Bishop's treachery, but Madrox woke up in the present to give the X-Men a warning about the traitor in their midst. FUTURE FORECAST: "Jamie is a bit shell-shocked, but he knows what he has to do: Get Layla back," says editor Nick Lowe of Mardox's heavy burden. "But who's to say he'll get that chance." LAYLA MILLER

CURRENT STATUS: Layla jumped into the time portal with the Madrox dupe and journeyed alongside him to the future. Finding herself locked away in a concentration camp, Layla learned that the mutant baby would bring about the deaths of millions of humans, causing mutants to be rounded up. Killing the dupe to send a message back to the present about Bishop, she stranded herself in a future where her kind gets exterminated. FUTURE STATUS: "No one knows," forewarns Lowe. "Probably not even her."

RICTOR CURRENT STATUS: One of the many mutants who lost their powers after M-Day, Rictor still managed to prove himself a valuable member of X-Factor during "Messiah CompleX." Infiltrating the mutant-hating Purifiers, Rictor went undercover within their ranks and wanred the X-Men just how deep their influence goes, proving to be just as useful without his mutant gifts. FUTURE FORECAST: "He's in mutant town, with the rest of X-Factor," explains Lowe. "And his life seems to be falling apart. His only ray of light is Wolfsbane." WOLFSBANE

CURRENT STATUS: The Scottish slicing machine known as Wolfsbane helped Rictor in gaining the trust of Purifiers, even going so far as to feign a gunshot wound. During the ensuing battle, she learned that her childhood tormentor, Father Craig, may have been in league with the enemy. Now a member of the X-Force strike squad, the fur will surely fly once Rahne Sinclair gets some answers. FUTURE FORECAST: "How far will she go to find out the truth?" asks X-FORCE co-writer Christopher Yost. "Too far." "She's leaving X-Factor, but no one knows it yet," adds Lowe. "Not even Rictor. And it might break his heart." NEW X-MEN

X-23 CURRENT STATUS: The cloned "sister" of Wolverine shares all his best qualities: razor sharp claws, a heightened healing factor and a taste for blood. As a member of X-Force, thus far she has taken out a Sentinel, sliced up the Reavers and apparently killed Lady Deathstrike. Currently on Muir Island with X-Force, her mission of revenge for her teammate Hellion remains in the front of her mind. FUTURE FORECAST: "X-23 was born to kill," Yost states plainly. "That's all she knows. And every time she starts to create a life for herself, it's taken away from her. Now, she's being drawn back into the world she was raised in. She knew her mother wanted better for her, she knew Wolverine wanted better for her... but she's wondering if that's even possible."

HELLION CURRENT STATUS: Joining his fellow New X-Men in a surprise attack on the Purifiers, Hellion wound up ventilated by Lady Deathstrike. Teleported to safety by Pixie, the combined efforts Prodigy and Beast saved him from bleeding out. Although stabilized, he still lies mortally wounded. FUTURE FORECAST: "Hellion had been questioning everything about himself," reminds Yost. "His psuedo-girlfriend left him, his best friend died, his leadership of the New X-Men team was taken away from him, he was falling for X-23, [whose] cold blooded murdering tendencies deeply distrubed him...and then he got five claws run through him by Lady Deathstrike. If Hellion wakes up, I'm betting he's going to have a whole new outlook on life."

SURGE CURRENT STATUS: As team leader of the New X-Men, Surge did what she thought necessary to protect mutant life. Organizing the attack on the Purifiers, she blamed herself for the complete debacle that wound up almost killing Hellion. Returning to the destroyed X-Mansion and overcome by guilt, she still carries on. FUTURE FORECAST: "Surge was the rebellious girl who became the leader of the New X-Men—and she totally failed," says Yost. "She messed up big time in 'Messiah CompleX', and almost got her entire team killed. She tried to manipulate her boyfriend Prodigy to leave the mansion for his own safety, which backfired on her. She's at her lowest. But when her team needs her, will she be there for them?"

ROCKSLIDE CURRENT STATUS: Like a rookie Thing, the New X-Men's resident tough guy Rockslide has been breaking his fists on things throughout "Messiah CompleX." Defending the mansion from the Sentinel attack and fighting off the Reavers, Rockslide understands that there have been casualties, but that will only make him hit much harder. FUTURE FORECAST: "Rockslide likes to punch things—he's going to get that opportunity," promises Chris Yost. To learn what's next for these mutants, check out X-FACTOR #28 and X-FORCE #1, both on sale February 13. To look back on how they got here, check out the first issues of X-FACTOR and NEW X-MEN on Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.

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