Goodbye, X-Factor — Series Ends With #262

X-Factor #262

Peter David’s run — and the title itself — ends on X-Factor with the recent #262.

I found the series an entertaining read, combining heroics with old-school soap operatic complications as a diverse group of characters tried to work together in a superhuman detective agency. I particularly liked the personalities David gave the cast. I didn’t talk much about the recent storylines, because once you get into demonic wars and such, it’s hard to identify a good starting point, and I liked the human-level interactions a lot more. But I’ll miss the title.

David’s biggest accomplishment, I think, was making the walking plot device of Layla Miller, a girl who knew the future, someone to worry and care about. She started out really obnoxious, someone whose whole life was “I knew that would happen”, but became a well-rounded person with her own worries about how to handle that power. Her ability was even used for comedy at times, as the chain of events she foresaw could be Rube Goldberg-ian.

X-Factor #262

Why I wanted to note the title’s passing, though, was the ending of this final issue. Layla, now aged into adulthood through a trip to the future (I think), and Jamie Madrox (Multiple Man) have gotten married, and she finds herself pregnant, an event she didn’t foresee. Jamie, meanwhile, has been turned into a demon after the battles the team has faced. They’re hiding out on his family’s farm, but the law considers them trespassers, and the sheriff has arrived (with some big weapons) to arrest them.

So, lots of conflicts, and one issue really isn’t enough to deal with them all in depth, but David makes a good try. It’s the very last page that left me with warm, fuzzy feelings. It ends with Jamie and Layla catching up on what’s become of former team members and deciding to retire to raise their coming family together. Given how the Distinguished Competition is currently averring that no superhero can be married or have a happy personal life, I found it a refreshing change. As an adult reader, I want to see some characters that have optimism and a settled home life, not just perpetual teenagers.

The art, by Neil Edwards and Jay Leisten, is just the kind I like, with clean lines and character expressiveness that reminds me of Stuart Immonen’s work. It helps, when you’re dealing with fights that have personal components, to be able to read the characters’ faces emotionally. It’s also nice to enjoy looking at them.

There’s a key fact that’s not explained in this issue, by the way, and that’s that Siryn, who became Banshee, became a goddess back in issue #244. Wikipedia filled me in on that.

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