X-POSITION Week 21: Peter David

Some little girls can be so precocious. Between the way they smile and the twinkles in their eyes, one would think these girls have the secrets of the universe rolling around in their heads. And while this may not hold true of every young lady, there is definitely one in the Marvel Universe who has a singular awareness of the world. Her name is Layla Miller, and she has a fondness for saying "I know stuff."

Layla is one of the team members of "X-Factor," which is written by Peter David (PAD to his fans). The book follows the humorous yet noir-ish adventures of X-Factor Investigations, a detective agency whose primary focus is mutant-related matters. Layla has been a huge help to the team in its work and – according to the e-mail I've received from readers – is proving to be quite a popular character, albeit a bit of an enigma.

Fortunately, Peter David is our guest this week here at X-POSITION, and he has a few answers to fans' questions. As the scribe for Layla, he knows what she knows, so let's find out together more about "stuff."

Peter, to kick things off, we received a few questions about "X-Factor" #24 which arrived in stores last week. Volk1 is first up, and he was wondering about the issue's evil-doer. "Is the Isolationist a mutant? If not, how did he get his powers?"

That's a very good question. No, the Isolationist is not a mutant, although he does wield mutant powers. How did he acquire his particular curse then? That is very much a story for another day…

Another day, another X-POSITION then. Our next question is from BobbySue, who could use some clarification about the story's ending. "I'm kind of confused about the Terrigen crystals in Rictor's back. How did they get there exactly – did Quicksilver put them there? How did they help protect him? And why did they fall off?"

A few of the crystals lodged in his back when they exploded out of Quicksilver (my reasoning was that they ricocheted and landed there). My reasoning was that the crystals accentuated Rictor's desires.

He wanted to be desirable to Rahne...and so he was. He wanted to be able to survive attacks by the Isolationist...and so was able to. But the power of the handful of crystals that remained were not infinite, and basically they burned out.

Jose Estrada was curious about two characters who made an appearance a few issues back, and is hoping for some repeat performances. "Will you be following up on Marrow and Callisto? And is there any possibility that one of them will join X-Factor after the crossover?"

There's every possibility that we will be following up on them, yes. Can't say right now if they'll join up.

Here's a second character-related request, this one from SGuthrie. "With Sinister back as a major threat in the X-Universe, will those mutant-villains-in-limbo, the Nasty Boys, show up at some point too? Or are the Marauders his only main back-up that we'll see?"

No plans for the Nasty Boys at this point.

Okay, one more guest-request from Marcus Martin – we sure get a lot of those! However, I'm curious about this one myself…

"Since you're writing X-Factor and a Hulk again (albeit the She-Hulk), should we expect a future crossover between the two of them like you did in your previous run on 'X-Factor' and the 'Incredible Hulk' series?"

I am toying with the idea of having Jen's and X-Factor's paths cross, presuming I can work it out timing-wise. But I don't know that I'd have the story ping-pong back and forth as I did last time.

All right, we're done with the random queries, time for some Layla-love. First up to worship at her alter is Novaya Havoc. "Peter David! Guess what? I love Layla Miller! With that said, in the latest 'X-Factor' Nicole's death seemed kind of a quick wrap-up with the 'But she's a robot!' reveal. Was this always planned, or was it a last-minute change?"

No, I always planned it that way. I'm not quite sure how I could have done a slow wrap-up with that revelation, y'know?

We know… stuff. And on the topic of "stuff," mccak1986 was wondering how our favorite little lady knows so much. "When will the subject of the source of Layla's powers be delved into again?"

Honestly – do we really want to know? I have my own thoughts and theories as to how and why Layla can do what she does, but I'm not convinced that revealing them would improve the character one iota. I mean, Wolverine was an enigma for decades; if Marvel had never done "Wolverine: Origins," it wouldn't have bothered me at all. So I'm not certain that doing "Layla Miller: Origins" would be such a good idea.

It might not be, but I'm sure Layla's many fans would still buy it! And if you did tell that story, it might possibly answer the following question from Manolinator: "Can you explain how Layla and Wanda Maximoff are connected? Or are they not connected and I'm just confused…"

I will simply say this: there is a school of thought that believes Wanda somehow created Layla from whole cloth. This is not a belief to which I subscribe. There may or may not be a connection between the two, but I'm not going to go into specifics beyond saying that I don't believe Wanda "invented" her.

So where did Layla come from? I guess it depends if you believe in the theory of Marvelution. Speaking of beliefs, Brian Brus wanted to know more about the political leanings of the X-Factor members when it comes to a polarizing topic in their universe.

"Mr. David, I haven't noticed in your current work nearly as much of an emphasis on mutant racial solidarity as the big company X-events recently promoted, or perhaps you're just being more subtle. If anything, your previous 'X-Factor' tales seem to have played with it more (Guido's G.C.s still cracks me up). How do you approach the 'mutant race' concept in your stories now versus then?"

I think that X-Factor lives a far less insulated existence than they used to (back when they had government-sponsored headquarters). They're out there in New York City, surrounded by tons of non-mutants and former mutants. That has to shape one's worldview so that one is more concerned with the future of the entire human race rather than simply the mutant race. I think it prompts less of an "us versus them" point of view.

Rather than mutant solidarity, I think X-Factor is more concerned with racial solidarity and the future of the entire human race. That said, there will certainly be events coming up that are going to very much inform Jamie's worldview, particularly in terms of the future of mutant/human relationships and how X-Factor's actions can and should impact upon them.

Faded joins us again this week with a few questions, but first, some kind words: "Give my regards to the art team. Pablo Raimondi was excellent as usual, but his co-artists were brilliant as well and deserve some praise! This is how you do co-operative penciling! Here are my questions...

1) Since we've already learned Rahne may be the member leaving the team for the new X-Force, will we learn more about the prophecy that she'll kill Jamie and Layla on their wedding night before she leaves?

No. But that's not to say we won't learn more about it afterwards. I mean, even if Rahne does join X-Force, there's nothing to say that guest appearances are out of the question.

2) Speaking of cast shuffling, will the new member be a member of an existing team?


3) With Siryn's fate with Prussian Blue and family still unresolved, will they, along with the Isolationist and/or Clay, play a role in the upcoming "Messiah CompleX" issues?

No, but that doesn't mean we won't see more of them in the future.

4) You recently posted a poll on your blog for fans to vote for their favorite X-Factor characters. Do you have sinister plans for the winner or are you just curious where the fans' minds lay?

Nah, just curious.

That sound you just heard was a collective sigh of relief from all our readers.

It was previously announced that some of the X-books will either go away or be replaced by others after "Messiah CompleX." While I realize that you can't tell us what is coming down the pipe, if you answer the following question from Slmgolodner, you will help to reduce the anxiety level of many of your fans.

"I love just about everything Peter David writes, especially 'X-Factor' (old and new). I wanted to show my support for the title – and Mr. David – by ordering a subscription from Marvel, but I don't want to do this if the title will not be around after 'Messiah CompleX,' or if the title will be around without Mr. David. Should I forego the subscription at this time?"

If "X-Factor" is going away, nobody told me. And considering I just turned in an outline for issues #28 through 32, I'd hate to think I just wasted my time.

It sounds like you can subscribe away, Slmgolodner!

That wraps up another week of X-POSITION. In seven days, writer Christopher Yost will be here to chat about "New X-Men" and "X-Men: Emperor Vulcan" (the latest issue arrived in shops yesterday). Put together your questions and e-mail me ASAP (and don't forget to put "X-Position" in the subject line).

One more thing to keep in mind: "Messiah CompleX" is getting closer and closer. It is now merely weeks away instead of months. Be sure to check out our panel previews of what's to come. I hope you're feeling ready…


Now discuss this story in CBR's X-Men forum.

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