Are you reading this right now and wondering what the hell is going on here? People have been praising X-Factor for years and years now as one of Marvel's most consistent books, but it does have a tendency to try and lock out new readers. It may tie in to seemingly every Marvel event going (although it's keeping away from Fear Itself, the characters are going to be appearing in Children's Crusade in a few months' time), but the series does seem to enjoy following up every jump-in point with something dense and convoluted. So in the interest of helping you all decide if X-Factor is worth reading, we'll now attempt to explain every loose plot point which may be wrapped up over the next year/two years.
Before there were mutants, apparently there were 'changelings', which gather their powers from birth. Tryp is one of those, and he used his powers to kill Jamie Madrox's parents. For some reason he then split into three - his past, his present, and his future selves, only for the two younger versions to be blown up by a Madrox suicide bomber. Which left Old Tryp alone with his grudge against mutantkind. Believing changelings are better, he wants to kill off all the mutants. He seems to exist everywhere at once, and spends most of his time trying to manipulate others into deleting mutantkind from the planet. Apparently he may return as of issue #230, which also leads us to...
2: Wolfsbane's prophecy
Tryp grabbed Wolfsbane right at the start of the series and showed her a vision of the future. In it, she appears to have murdered Madrox and Layla Miller on their wedding night. This has haunted her ever since (along with that time she ate her dad) so she's tried to keep away from both of them. Until, she got pregnant, and now she's back, hassling them both with her crazy ways. Madrox and Layla had a sort of on-again off-again thing going on, but she's currently being very mysterious - so mysterious that Madrox is currently 'off' her.
3: Layla Miller
Layla Miller first appeared during House of M, where she performed the duties of the Deus Ex Machina and saved everyone. Since then she's been sent to the future, aged enough that's she's legal, and joined up with Dr Doom. She's spent several months living with the Doctor, for unknown reasons. He gave her a mysterious gauntlet, and she may have told him about Scarlet Witch. Oh, and also Shatterstar may be helping her to keep her secrets. David says that this storyline may be explored as of issue #255.
Cortex is one of Jamie Madrox's dupes, who went mad for some reason. He was defeated when he attacked the team, and banished to another dimension. Apparently he's still alive though, and could turn up again at any point. He wears stupid glasses and appears to have some kind of purple machine virus on his body.
Pip the Troll joined the team recently so David could make jokes about internet trolls. It seems that he's a mole working for someone else though, and will at some point betray the team. Nobody knows who this someone else might be. Although perhaps he's connected to..
A group of depowered mutants headed up by Callisto and Marrow, X-Cell tried to get their powers back but something went wrong. In the case of Fatale and Abyss their powers overloaded and they had to leave Earth to stay alive, while Marrow and Callisto escaped without any damage. They're still around somewhere - and while they *should* be friendly with X-Factor, they may not be. They harbour a massive grudge against Quicksilver, but he's now gone back to The Avengers so that plot point will probably never get tied up.
This isn't actually very interesting.
It's long been the belief of fans that Longshot is Shatterstar's father, while Dazzler is his mother. While this has never been confirmed in the comics, David sure does enjoy teasing it. This is another plot point which will probably never be explained, as David has a tendency to tease things instead of reveal them. See also: Monet's family history. We'd like to take this moment to pray that Dazzler is not Shatterstar's mother, as Longshot's power is decidedly date-rapey and we don't want Dazzler to play any part in his sex life. Or, y'know, life.
So! Eight plot points, all of which may appear over the next year/two years of X-Factor. So what do you think? Interested in picking it up? Or put off?