Sucks To Be Tier...
The Overview: *Disclaimer* This is the first X-Factor book I have ever read so I will be reviewing it from the perspective of a complete new-comer to the series. I decided to pick it up because it had the shiny red banner of Marvel NOW on the cover and also in my experience I have found that that rounded issue numbers, such as 100, 150, etc... always seem to be good jumping on points for readers. That being said, this issue did in fact have some interesting qualities that made it somewhat accessible to new readers, such as myself, so I feel confident in reviewing it with some basis of understanding. Anyway, on with the rest of the review:
This issue builds off an event that happened in issues prior and it begins with an ominous foreshadowing of a war on the verge of erupting due to an incursion of demons. The point-of-view this comic is told from follows a character by the name of Tier and by his narrative alone we already feel compelled to find out to what will unfold.
The Good: I love it when creative teams write issues in a way that makes it accessible to readers whether the series is on its first issue, 17th issue, or even its 250th issue as is the case here. The little forward at the beginning of the comic does a great job of picturing the characters included in the story (including their name, alias, and power) and also gives a brief synopsis of what recent events have occurred which I found delightfully helpful. Even the story overall seems like a fresh starting point or a new chapter that welcomes readers, both new and old, to the next exciting tale this book has to offer.
In the first couple of pages we are introduced to Tier and his perspective is written in a way that readers, both those who are familiar with him and those who aren't, can feel even a little bit of sympathy for the character. I like feeling invested in the characters I read about and the writer, Peter David, does a great job of making me feel compelled to want to know what happens to Tier. I love how the writing is done in a way that with just a couple of pages, I care enough to want to know how things will pan out. There are great moments that make you think one thing is going to happen to this character but then it doesn't and you want to know what will happen next or if he will be okay or not.
The Bad: The confrontation scenes in this book are just poorly choreographed. The action is borderline mediocre from the subpar way the team members use their powers, to how easily they are tossed or beaten , to how easily fights end, this is just quick and sloppy fighting that seems forced or put there just to save the book from being nothing but dialogue and setup (which I would not have minded).
Also, some older readers might complain that this issue is entirely setup and nothing really groundbreaking happens. However, I feel that while that may turn off long time readers, this book is an introductory book (as shown by the Marvel Now banner on the cover) and when that is the case I don't penalize books for trying to open the door to newcomers. That being said, it is something that needs to be addressed for people who have been following this book from the beginning and might be bothered by the book slowing down in order to get more people on board.
Another thing is that the art is hit or miss for me from panel to panel. The closeup panels where we can clearly see faces are nice and detailed but when the panels zoom out and try to get the whole team in the picture it just doesn't look as smooth.
The Verdict: As a new reader, will I continue picking up X-Factor? Yes, I will. This issue did more than enough to convince me to continue. The book is interesting and set up clearly so that we know the mission statement of this new arc and why we should be hyped. With only a few minor problems, this book does a great job of setting up what X-Factor is, what the characters can do, what their personalities are like, and how they play off of each other. It's a nice issue and really that's all it is, just nice. It's not mind-blowing but it's far from mediocre overall. As far as recommending it goes, this book seems tailored to those who like occult-type books. So if you are into that, maybe give this one a shot but it is in no way a must buy if your pull list is already pretty long. Money is tight, I get it.
3.5/5 stars. My curiosity is piqued and I enjoyed this issue enough to consider looking for back issues. Not for everyone but try giving it a shot if you can.