That "different" X-Title
While most people think that the big 3 books for the X-Men have been Uncanny X-Men, X-Men and Astonishing X-Men they might be missing a real gem in X-Factor. There's no argument that X-Factor doesn't have the huge battles and epic storylines that the other 3 books have, but it works because it dares to be different. It's like street level X-Men mixed with crime noir fiction and comedy... and it all works perfectly together. Although the comedic elements are always present, it never takes away from the seriousness of the story. Peter David has tried this formula with other books, and it's failed miserably, but here it just works and after reading X-Factor you wouldn't want to see these characters act any other way. It's also one of the rare X-Titles that actually acknowledges what's going on in the rest of the Marvel Universe constantly. You always feel that the story you're reading is in current continuity.
There is practically no action in this issue, and as usual that means it's one of the more entertaining ones. It's heavy on good dialog and character development. Jamie Madrox for instance has easily become one of the most interesting and complex characters in the X-Men universe while keeping a sense of humor about the whole thing and it's all because of X-Factor. The team meets Josef Huber, and while it's obvious that he isn't forthcoming with his real motives, the team can't help but listen to what he has to say. His argument to save the Mutant race seems a little ridiculous, but at the same time he makes it so convincing that the reader doesn't have to make a leap of faith as to why Madrox and the rest of the team would listen to him. There's also other plot threads that are intermingling in this issue, but it's done with great pacing and at no point does it cause the reader to be confused about anything. Each member of the team has something going on and each direction they're taking is actually interesting. The side mission that Monet and Siryn go on is probably the less interesting of all, but it still shows potential as all isn't as it seems. Each character is so well defined that you can't help but enjoy every moment of this issue.
While Josef Huber claims to have a plan to save the Mutant race in the main story, we have Beast trying to do the same thing in the back up story: Endangered Species Chapter 7. While some readers might be less then impressed that this story is being told as back ups in 4 different titles, it's amazing to say this but... the 4 titles in question are actually very good. Uncanny X-Men, X-Men, New X-Men and X-Factor are actually enjoying great story arcs right now and all have great writers at the helm. In this chapter Beast finds himself teamed up with who could be the last individual on the planet that he would want at his side. What's made more interesting is that his reasons for not wanting help from this character are shown to be much more complicated then simple hate and distrust. His new partner presents some very interesting ideas on how to solve the current Mutant situation and it might surprise some. While it doesn't cement if this story is going to have a lasting impact or not, I must say it's gotten a little more intriguing with this last chapter. Anyone not collecting all of them might want to avoid reading Endangered Species until it's done, as I'm sure Marvel will release a collected volume soon after the story is concluded. Especially if it has any impact on the core titles.