X-Factor #1-2

Considering the comics I’ve read featuring mutant superheroes, Peter David is the best at showing the reader what it would be like to have particularly odd sets of powers. It’s not that he comes up with new and unusual variants on abilities (although he does), it’s that he gets inside the head of diverse characters and brings out unexpected key elements of their personalities as they’d be shaped by their powers. Then he demonstrates this knowledge through subtly clever dialogue.

X-Factor #1

I came into this series launch knowing only the bits about Jamie Madrox, Multiple Man, that I found out in the previous miniseries Madrox, and I know nothing about Rictor, whose appearance opens the issue. Jamie’s trying to stop Rictor, depressed over his loss of mutant powers, from jumping off a building. (The method he uses, creating variously emotional versions of himself and making them pitch for the gig, is blackly funny.)

Even never having seen Rictor before, I was given everything I needed to know about him though dialogue. The conversation, though, never advertised how much it revealed, both about the character and the state of the larger Marvel universe, as he reflects on the absence of his powers and how much he’s lost.

Sook and von Grawbadger’s art is darkly moody yet in the vein of Kevin Maguire, capturing both action and expression well. The shadows and light sources, beautifully colored by Jose Villarrubia, particularly impressed me with how well they create an urban night atmosphere.

Humor is a key component of this book, but so is classic noir. Strong Guy and Siryn are trying to get the goods on a con man when their witness is killed. They’re additional operatives in Madrox’s detective agency, which is investigating what happened to cause mutants to lose their powers. (This series ties in with the Decimation event, but it can be read completely stand-alone.)

X-Factor #2 cover

Also joining the group are Monet and Wolfsbane. If you’ve read previous mutant titles, these names will be familiar as intriguing but underused characters; if you haven’t, everyone is introduced briefly to the reader.

I’m really glad I waited to read this issue until I had the second. (First issues these days aren’t always good examples of how series will continue, so I try to give new titles I’m optimistic about more of a try-out.) The last two pages created a gasp-inducing cliffhanger that was completely unexpected and provided an intriguing hook for future series drama.

I don’t want to go into too much depth on the next issue, or this will devolve into me saying “wasn’t it neat when Monet saved the day?” and “isn’t describing her as ‘Supergirl meets Veronica Lodge’ just perfect?” I’m also enjoying the use of walking deus ex machina plot device Layla Miller — she’s treated as exactly what she is, but somehow she has more depth in David’s hands.

Unfortunately, the art isn’t as good as in issue one. A fill-in artist, Dennis Callero, is already contributing some of the pages, and in one key scene, Monet is mis-colored as Siryn. Still, I can’t wait for #3!

4 Responses to “X-Factor #1-2”

  1. hostile17 Says:

    This is one of the very best books to come out of Marvel’s stable in the post House of M world. “Decimation” is turning out to be very big for the house of ideas and I just love Peter David’s writing on this book. He didn’t have total control over his previous short run on X-Factor, but he does now and it looks like he will make the best of it. A TPB collecting the initial issues of this series should be worth its weight in gold.

  2. Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] I am most disappointed by the lack of further adventures of these characters, though. If I want to read more, I’ll probably look for fanfic instead of trying to figure out which comics to read. The earliest ones are too cheesy, the Claremont/Byrne are too stuck in their format, and the current ones are too far removed from what I like about the characters. By “stuck in their format” I mean that they were written to be read two months apart several decades ago, so they don’t make a satisfying experience when read in large chunks, in my opinion. At least I have X-Factor. […]

  3. Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] I should skip straight past the exclusives. With the exception of a couple of Marvel titles (X-Factor and Nextwave), there’s nothing here I’m interested in. And the penalty this month for not skipping was having to see the Pittsburgh Comicon ad just before the Wizard solicitation. It features two comic characters, the busty Spider-Woman and Tarot, with a burst reading “Big Things Happen at the Pittsburgh Comicon”. You don’t say. (Apparently, the boobs on Spider-Woman are to promote the appearance of Brian Bendis. Write your own joke.) […]

  4. Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] X-Factor #3 continues the title’s excellence. I become more and more impressed by writer PeterDavid’s use of Layla Miller as a kind of future-seeing force of destiny. […]




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