Plot: Madrox, Wolfsbane, Siryn, M, Rictor and Strong Guy try to muddle through mutant kind's despondent present and dystopian future.
Commentary: Emotional. Heartwarming. Miserable. Finally after months of being caught in the nets of "Messiah CompleX," Peter David can write actual drama and story for his characters. And the story, though heavily affected by the 13-issue crossover, rarely alludes to it. X-Factor isn't about the adventures of a mutant team, but individuals with problems.
One of those problems is, of course, being a mutant. Mutant Town is no longer a warm, safe place for our heroes, especially Rictor, who engages in a street fight with some local de-powered mutant thugs. Trying to find a safe-haven in a world filled with Purifiers, super villains, and just plain old bigots is getting harder, even in the one area where mutants are supposed to be living together harmoniously. After coming back from treating his brawl-induced wounds at the ER, Rictor explains that the hospital has been overwhelmed with mutant-on-mutant crime victims. Tensions are high, and despair over the future of mutant kind is affecting everyone.
Especially Jamie Madrox and Rahne Sinclair. Jamie cannot cope with losing Layla in the future and helplessly holds onto Rahne for support. Finding an appealing escape in X-Force membership, Rahne can neither be there for him nor tell him why, as her mission is a secret to everyone. The two deal with despair differently: Jamie engrosses himself in solving an unsolvable problem while Rahne runs away from the people she loves as not to see them suffer.
Thankfully, Peter David provides some great comic relief in Strong Guy, Monet, and Madrox's hungry duplicate. All three listen to their comrades' problems, understand their anguish, and respond with sympathy in their own way. Strong Guy jokingly quotes Brokeback Mountain in reply to Rictor's stubborn resolve. Monet assures Rahne that her friends still love her, in Monet's own backhanded way. "Don't be a stranger. Or at least don't be any stranger than you already are." And Jamie's duplicate lets Rictor vent all his frustration, concern, and helplessness, and then goes out for pizza.
If you want soap opera super-heroism, X-Factor marks the spot.
Final Word: Best X-title you’ll read this month!
What did you think of this book?
Have your say at the Line of Fire Forum!