plus: Quick and the Dead one-shot; She-Hulk 31
As part of my 2,011 in 2011 comic-book reading challenge, I’ve read a lot of Peter David’s “X-Factor” from the last part of the last decade, and the series is, for the most part, both consistent and consistently underrated. There is an artistic misstep in the middle of this two-year run, however.
As part of the X-Men crossover event “Messiah Complex,” Madrox and Layla Miller visit the future. And while this is necessary for the events of the crossover, Peter David takes pieces developed here and uses them throughout the next two years of storylines.
Dealing with post-crossover syndrome, David deals with the ramifications of Jamie’s trip to the future. Wolfsbane leaves, to join X-Force. Quicksilver gets some closure in the “Quick and the Dead” one shot. The team fights Arcade, because as the last mutant team standing at this point in the public eye, they are “the only game in town,” which is also the name of the trade paperback collection of issues 28-32.
Larry Stroman, who worked on the first volume of “X-Factor” with Peter David in the 1990s joins with issue #33, a Secret Invasion crossover. Unfortunately, Stroman isn’t a good fit with the book, making the next several issues a chore. If you enjoyed Darwin in “X-Men First Class,” you’ll also see him here, teamed up with Longshot.
Penciller Valentine De Landro comes on with issue #37 and then takes over with #39, the beginning of the next arc, which helps out the artistic chores.
David’s story about Madrox and Siryn’s baby, which I’ll try not to spoil here, is excellent use of the serial format by David to leave shocking cliffhangers and surprise endings.
The events lead to an arc which basically continues through issue #50, as the mysterious Cortex battles the team in the present, and Jamie Madrox in the future attempts to fight on the side of the Summers Rebellion, which is trying to save mutantkind from being hunted to extinction.
While I can see fans being turned off by some of the art in the middle of the run, and perhaps even by some of the adjustments made immediately following Messiah Complex, Peter David is doing a good job of maintaining what a monthly comic book should do here – react to crossovers with the effect on particular characters, and continue to develop those characters.
- Matt Price
Comics read in 2011: 769. Still to go: 1242.