X-Factor #8: Lost and Found

Scott and Jean are “eliminat[ing] traces of radiation left by Glow Worm and The Bulk” in the sewer tunnels. Jean comes to terms with Scott’s marriage and he shows her a picture of Maddie with his son. When Scott repeatedly brings up the point that Maddie should have been her, Jean angrily condemns him for walking out on his family wife and son, and taking “advantage” of her loss of telepathy to “keep [his] marriage secret”. She would have still been playing the fool if she had not figured it out and confirmed with the rest of the team.

Meanwhile, Warren, Bobby, Hank, Rusty, Artie and Vera are watching the news reports of the event that took place the night before. Hank gets annoyed with reporter Trish Tilby spinning the news and casting a bad light on mutants. He then shoos everyone off to training practice.

Artie walks Rusty to the Practice Room. The two friends grow suspicious of Cameron Hodge, spying on him through a broken window. This delays Rusty from practice, where Angel and Iceman are goofing off, waiting on him. Angel gets distracted by Jean walking down the hall and flies into Iceman’s ice loops. Rusty finally joins them and makes a passing comment that his lack of control over his powers is preventing him from getting into an intimate relationship.

At the Pentagon, Freedom Force, a “government law enforcement agency”, strives to find out the connection between Rusty and X-Factor. Rusty is wanted by the government, and Freedom Force is tasked to find assigned wanted mutants “in exchange for a full pardon”.

Later that night, X-Factor is gearing up to intervene in “a battle between mutant factions” in Central Park. Warren approaches Jean while they are suiting up, to defend Scott’s decisions for keeping Maddie a secret from her because he still loves her and does not want to “lose [her] all over again”. Scott catches their exchange from a distance, and mistook it as Warren rekindling a romance with Jean. He snaps at Rusty’s offer to help on the mission and grounds him.

Rusty leaves the basement with Artie as X-Factor gets ready for their mission. Artie telepathically relays to Rusty that a mysterious helicopter (revealed to be Freedom Force) is following X-Factor. Rusty hurries to inform Hodge, who merely tells him off. Rusty decides to take matters in his own hands and rushes to Central Park to warn X-Factor that they are walking into a trap. X-Factor encounters Freedom Force, who set up a ruse to lure X-Factor and hopefully Rusty out.

While X-Factor battle Freedom Force, Rusty, who is on the run, meets another mutant named Skids. Skids has a force field that envelopes her so nothing can touch or harm her. While the human onlookers mob Skids, Rusty uses his powers (and the knowledge that Skids can’t be harmed by his flames) to protect her. Freedom Force soon catches up with them.

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