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James Madrox (Cortex) (Earth-616) 005

Madrox sending his dupes into the future

Origin

According to Forge after M-Day, all potential futures with mutantkind flatlined. However, when the the mutant since M-Day was born two new futures popped up. To explore these new futures, Cyclops and Emma Frost recruited the help of Madrox the Multiple Man.[2] Madrox and Layla Miller traveled to Eagle Plaza in Dallas, Texas to meet with Forge. Madrox create two dupes to send into the two remaining mutant futures who would recover all the information they could and then die so their memories would transfer to Madrox. Cortex was one of these two dupes.[3][4]

Becoming Cortex

Once this dupe had gained the information about this mutant future he attempted to return home. By unknown means he became trapped in a vortex where time did not exist.[4] It was here that he was captured by Tryp and Anthony Falcone. Tryp and Falcone then made massive alterations to him and added cybernetic modification to turn him into a doomlock, a being that could alter time without creating divergent timelines. He had become Cortex.

Cortex was then sent back in time with instructions to kill specific key individuals who progeny would become leaders of the Summers Rebellion. To accomplish this, Cortex could mentally control several people at once.

Assassinating

A former mutant named Lenore went to XF Investigations, claiming that someone was trying to kill her. She felt she was being followed, but every time she looked, it was a different person doing it. Her best friend Candy, another former mutant, was found dead of a gunshot wound which the police ruled a suicide. Lenore didn't believe it, because Candy had a pathological fear of guns. Before Candy died, she told Lenore that she thought she was being followed. Later, Lenore's mother showed up at Lenore's apartment and attempted to shoot her, but was foiled by Longshot. Escaping, Lenore's mother took Darwin hostage. At the last minute, she turned the gun on herself, but it backfired due to Longshot's luck powers. At the hospital, Monet attempted to read Lenore's mother's mind, but was overpowered and collapsed. When she woke up, she grabbed Longshot's throat and said "Cortex."

Once she calmed down, Monet told the group that her violent outburst was because of psychic feedback that occurred after she had broken through a psychic barrier in Lenore's mother's mind, but that whatever was controlling her had fled. She then manipulated the group into moving Lenore out of her apartment and hiding her in a penthouse suite in an expensive hotel. There she tried to seduce Darwin, but he figured out acting out of character and was trying to get Lenore alone, and so resisted. Monet's body turned bright purple and became covered in tint lights and circuitry.

Monet St. Croix (Earth-616) controlled by James Madrox (Cortex) (Earth-616)

Monet while possessed by Cortex

During this same time, while Strong Guy and Rictor were visiting Rev. John Maddox in Vermont, Shatterstar busted through the window and tried to stab Rictor, saying only "Cortex".[5] A fight ensued, and Shatterstar was narrowly freed from Cortex's control.[6]

James Madrox (Cortex) (Earth-616) 002

Cortex is revealed to be a dupe of Mardox

Meanwhile, in the future, Multiple Man was tasked by Cyclops with discovering why certain people seemed to be blinking out and then back into existence. Multiple Man theorized that someone might be altering the past to affect the future. To find out more about time-travel, Madrox, Layla and Ruby Summers all traveled to Detroit to speak with Doctor Doom. They brought Doom with them to Atlantic City, but Doom soon betrayed them and summoned Cortex to with the instructions to kill all the mutants.[7]

Cortex immediately killed Trevor Fitzroy and was then attacked by Ruby. Next in very quick succession, Cortex comforted Madrox Prime, shot him, and killed Salvé. During the fray Falcone showed up with his Sentinels. Before the Sentinels could finish off the mutants, a freshly resurrected Trevor Fitzroy drained enough energy from Cortex to weaken him and open a portal to consume Falcone and his Sentinels. Just before it closed, Ruby threw Cortex into the portal.[4]

Cortex's current whereabouts and status are unknown.

Power Grid [17]
Intelligence
 3
Strength
Speed*
 2
Durability
Energy Projection
Fighting Skills
* Teleporter

Powers

Cortex was originally a duplicate of Madrox the Multiple Man, but because of alterations made by Tryp and Anthony Falcone, with technology taken from Doctor Doom, Cortex has gained the following powers:

  • Doomlock: Cortex is equipped with a chronal variance inhibitor, originally designed by Doctor Doom, which stops the creation of divergent timelines. Possessing a doomlock turns one into an "invariable", allowing one to go back in time to change the future, instead of creating alternate ones. The only caveat is due to the energies involved, that one must become a cybernetic organism, with the technology bonded to the body, becoming more machine than man.[8]
  • Mental Possession: Cortex is able to mentally dominate and control several people at once. Cortex has stated that his abilities are considerable, but not infinite, and that there are only so many places he can look at once. He can gain control of individuals either through physical contact made with tentacle branches protruding from his eyes[9] or from psychic contact through one of his already possessed minions.[10]
James Madrox (Cortex) (Earth-616) 001

Cortex opening a portal

  • Teleportation: Cortex has also been shown opening teleportation portals.[11]
  • Energy Discharge: Cortex can create energy blasts from his hands. He used this energy to kill both Trevor Fitzroy and Salvé.[9]
James Madrox (Cortex) (Earth-616) 003

Cortex shooting off energy

  • Regenerative Abilities: Cortex possesses some advanced healing capabilities. He was able to survive M punching a hole through his chest,[12] and one of Longshot's throwing knives to the back of his head. The knife to the base of his spine seemed to cause him a considerable amount of pain.[9] After his arm was cut off by Shatterstar, Cortex was able to grow a new one in a matter of moments.[13]
  • Superhuman Strength: Cortex seems to possess an unspecified level of superhuman strength. He was able to thrust a cop's nightstick through the cop's stomach, killing him.[6] Once controlled by Cortex, his agents retain their own natural strength.

Despite being a duplicate of Multiple Man, Cortex can no longer create duplicates on his own or be absorbed Madrox Prime. It is unclear if this is because of his prolonged separation of Madrox or because of the process that turned him into a cyborg.[6]

Abilities

Cortex's agents retain their own abilities and memories.

Strength level

Cortex himself has an unspecified level of superhuman strength. He was able to thrust a cop's nightstick through the cop's stomach, killing him. Once controlled by Cortex, his agents retain their own natural strength.

Weaknesses

Anthony Falcone is able to establish a real-time communication link to Cortex from the future. He is also able to send a pulse through this link that causes Cortex pain. This pulse disrupted Cortex's control over one of his agents.


Equipment

Cortex wears an odd pair of glasses which may be a part of his mind control method, allowing him to see through his agents' eyes.

  • Creator Peter David was stated that Cortex is definitely not dead and will eventually return.[14]
  • Cortex does not consider himself to be counted among the living.[11] It is unclear if he is then a reanimated corpse, or simply feels he is beyond mortality.
  • One odd note is that Cortex was one of two duplicates that went to two supposedly separate futures. Layla Miller and one duplicate went to Earth-1191 where they were put in the mutant concentration camp, with the dupe eventually dying and Layla escaping and starting the Summers Rebellion. The dupe that would become Cortex went to another future. However, Cortex enters the scene as working for Anthony Falcone from Earth-1191, and says that it was Anthony Falcone himself, under the guidance of Damian Tryp, that turned him into the doomlock. This leaves the question of how he got from his original future to Earth-1191. However, because Tryp was the one who originally captured Cortex, it is possible his future was Cortex's original destination and is one of the two mutant populated futures to appear after the birth of the first mutant since M-Day referred to by Forge in X-Factor Vol 3 #25. Creator Peter David has said he's "planning to revisit Mr. Tryp and a variety of aspects of that future history starting somewhere around [X-Factor] issue #230."[15] It's possible some of Cortex's history will be revealed as well.

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