While the larger X-Men line has seen several revamps in the last seven years or so. Since it’s relaunch nearly three years ago, X-Factor, written by Peter David and drawn by several dark, realistically-inclined artists, has managed to keep a consistent look, tone, and for the most part, cast, even in the face of multiple shake-ups across the X-Verse. Now, the editors at Marvel have given PAD, as he makes himself known to fans, two oversized one-shots to focus on two “missing” characters. The Quicksilver one-shot, X-Factor Special: The Quick and the Dead, premiered in early May, and the August solicitations gave us a tiny peak at Layla Miller’s turn in the spotlight. The book will carry a similar feel to the ongoing series, mixing gradual noir story telling with some big action. Artist Valentine De Landro lends “realistic” pencils in a way that, according to PAD, are “perfect for the emotional story [he wants] to tell.” The solicitations mentioned Layla would find herself in the midst of the Summers Rebellion, a somewhat fabled event in the world of the X.
Back in Uncanny X-Men #302, Bishop mentioned the Summers Rebellion for the first time, and throughout the years, there have been hints and clues, but never a straight-forward telling of the events. We know that Forge, re-branded as “Genesis,” had a part, along with Remy LeBeau, “The Witness,” and someone named - you guessed it, “Summers.” We also know that this Summers united mutants and humans together against the Sentinels, and it led to freedom for the mutants. Some of them, including a mutant named Hecat’e went on to form the Xavier Security Enforcers, or X.S.E., of which Bishop and his sister Shard were a part. And the rest? Well, after all these years, we’ll have some of the blanks filled in come August, and the release of X-Factor Special: Layla Miller.
In speaking with Peter David about the upcoming one-shot, we were able to delve a little more into the current status of Layla Miller. Regular readers know the girl who “knows stuff” was last left in the future timeline Bishop came from, trapped in a mutant prison camp at the end of last year’s X-book X-over, Messiah CompleX. The one-shot will pick up “a few months” after she was stranded in the future. David says Layla “falls in with some rather unusual company” and is thusly thrust into the Summers Rebellion towards the latter half of the issue.
David teases that it “is called the Summers Rebellion for a reason” and that readers will meet several characters that have been mentioned in relation to the event, but never seen prior to this special. Whether these are new incarnations of known characters, or other rarely mentioned Rebel leaders, however, remains to be seen.
Layla’s demeanor can be summed up in one easy word: cool. This little, mysterious, weird girl always seems to remain collected. David explains this as “an almost supernatural calm” that is held frequently by deeply religious people. “Any good thing is a gift from God; any bad thing is a test to be met and overcome.” Still, Layla is exceptional even from within this pack, as she knows not just that “everything happens for a reason…she knows the reason.” This is, according to PAD, the true nature of her ability, seeing the big picture and like any good chess player, staying “ten steps ahead.” However, her strong air of confidence, which David says is in both herself and her powers, will be tested, and even “slip a bit” in this dystopian future. PAD notes that Layla has “a very strong emotional reaction at one point.” What that means for her status, and the status of that future, remains to be seen in August.
David was glad to get a chance to catch up with Layla, stating that he missed her. He also assures her fans that “hints are dropped” about her future, strongly implying that the girl who knows stuff’s story won’t be ending just yet. If she does make it back to the present, however, even she may be surprised, with X-Factor’s status in question after the burning of the former Mutant Town in X-Factor #31.
If the promise of long-lost X-Plots being revived and fleshed out, along with the status and future of the enigmatic Layla Miller isn’t enough for fans, Peter David leaves us with one last tease:
“I’ll tell you this: I think the first five pages is the best opening sequence I’ve ever written for any comic book, ever.”
X-Factor Special: Layla Miller is currently scheduled for release August 20, 2008.