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  • In House of M, the authors introduce Layla Miller, a young girl who is able to make characters remember that they are in fact part of a Cosmic Retcon by Scarlet Witch. After the event, she disappears for a bit before reappearing in X-Factor, where it is eventually revealed that she has the power to bring things back to life, only without a soul. Now, if you'll pardon a bit of Wild Mass Guessing, here's where the brilliance kicks in: everyone in House of M was dead except for the Scarlet Witch, who had killed everyone. Layla brought the people back to life, and they lost their souls in the process. In House of M, Layla does her magic on, among other heroes Tony Stark. However, they specifically do NOT revive Captain America. Cut to a bit later, you've got a certain other crossover event going on where a potentially soulless Tony Stark is heading the pro-Registration side (widely disfavored by the writers), while Captain America heads the anti-Registration side. This doesn't entirely account for where other heroes end up standing, but it DOES justify some of the Character Derailment they put Iron Man through. Romancer Bruce
    • Also, check out some of the other characters that were restored by Layla. You've got Spider-man, who sells his marriage (but not his soul) to Mephisto in One More Day. You've got Cyclops, who starts X-Force, a black ops team that goes against the peaceful co-existence that the X-Men have gone for in the past. You've got Emma Frost, who uses a Battle Royale to select students who will have continued education. You've got Doctor Strange, who starts using darker magic. Basically all of the characters who had their memories restored by Layla have been subject to some sort of derailment since House of M.
      • Could you also say that by putting themselves in these positions and dealing with the aftermath of their decisions, they are slowly restoring their own souls. If you look at the aftermath of these major events, you'll see that each character comes to terms with what they had done. For example, Tony, despite not remembering the Civil War, says that he would have made the same decisions, Cyclops says the same thing after all the mutants find out about X-Force, and Spider-Man finally accepts that, while his deal with Mephisto changed history and sacrificed his marriage, it made the lives of his friends better for it. The events that spiral out of these decisions remind each character of why they became a superhero and how the abuse of power and destruction of relationships can lead to people like Norman Osborn taking control of national security.
      • There's an odd scene in the Strange miniseries where Doctor Strange tries to make a Deal with the Devil and sell his soul (timing is vague but it's some time after World War Hulk) and is told he doesn't seem to have one.
      • Nice theory, but a few problems. One, Tony was NOT reawakened during house of M. The combined group of Avengers and X-men had no way of getting to him, and he was unaware of any events afterwards. This is evident when he is surprised to see Peter so upset afterwards for reasons unknown to him. Luke Cage on the other hand, was WELL aware of what events transpired, but returned the same.
    • Avengers Annual (2012) offered the possibility that the Marvel universe after House of M isn't actually (or ultimately) real, just reality as Wanda created it in her madness. This could be Fridge Horror or Fridge Brilliance, depending on your perspective -- all the character derailment of the last few years is due to the characters not being their real selves, but the people as Wanda imagines them to be.
  • When Layla restores someone's memory of the real timeline, they have to go through everything in seconds. In Spider-Man's case, that means the deaths of Uncle Ben & Gwen Stacy. For Emma Frost, that means the genocide of millions of mutants on Genosha. For Hawkeye, this means knowing that he's supposed to be dead.
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