This is one of the most critically and fan acclaimed issues of X-Factor. Get to know the team from the inside out as each member is interviewed by Doc Samson, psychologist to the super-hero community. Ever wonder why Quicksilver has a short fuse? Find out in this informative, albeit humorous, issue.
The issue starts with one of Wolfsbanes dreams in which she and Feral are caricatures of Ren and Stimpy. It's revealed that Wolfsbane had been describing her dream to a psychiatrist and she goes on to state that she has dreamed herself as many different television characters before and she'd like to know why. The psychiatrist answers Rahnes questions with more questions which causes her to chuckle and explain that that was exactly what Strong Guy said he'd do instead of giving a straight answer. The psychiatrist then states that Rahne is lacking a sense of self and in all her dreams she's someone else drawn from a T.V. program or movie possibly because she's subconsciously seizing whatever personalities stick to her memory in search of an identity she's comfortable with, trying out different persona's as one would try on shoes, looking for one that fits. The psychiatrist then notes that Rahne holds authority in a high regard and would like to know about the authority figures in her life. She mentions Storm and Havok and then talks about Professor Xavier and how horrible it was when he was injured. The psychiatrist asks if she loves Xavier which she affirms but when he asks about Havok there is a prolonged silence before she affirms again. Wolfsbane then claims she loves him in a way that makes it hurt when she's not near Havok. Wolfsbanes father is then asked about, causing Rahne to shout that she doesn't want to talk about him as he hated her, she then storms out of the office as the psychiatrist claims that she might be trying to make up for the love that was denied by her first authority figure, which causes Rahne to come back in and utter, "Wow."
Quicksilver is next to sit counselling, something he claims is an idiotic government legislation, that they need counseling after a traumatic mission is rubbish as there is nothing that they can't handle and they don't need a doctor dissecting them. The psychiatrist then says he believes Pietro doesn't think much of him, which Pietro affirms by stating he doesn't think much of anyone. The psychiatrist goes on to say Valerie Cooper did warn him that Quicksilver had an uncontrollable urge to be high-handed and arrogant, Pietro asks if he's upholding that assessment and the psychiatrist states he is indeed, noting that Pietro almost seems proud of it. Quicksilver finishes a rubix cube and claims he revels in it as not everyone can raise arrogance to an art form. The shrink then asks if Pietro doesn't think much of himself too, to which Quicksilver replies "Myself most of all." but not because of inferiority complex but because he holds himself to an incredibly high standard where no one else comes close. The shrink then mentions that he doesn't wear an X-Factor uniform before asking if there's anyone on X-Factor he feels close to, only to be rebuffed. Quicksilver then asks the shrink if he has ever stood in line at an ATM behind someone who didn't know how to use it, waited in line at a post office behind someone who wanted to know every possible way he could mail his package, been served by someone who couldn't comprehend "Whopper no pickles" and how do those occasions make him feel. The psychiatrist states it makes him impatient, irritated and sometimes angry, which Quicksilver claims is because it's like your life is being slowed to a crawl by the inabilities of others and then states that entire world, everyone evereywhere can't work the cash machines and so it's reasonable that he should be irritated and impatient.
Polaris is next to be interviewed and the psychiatrist starts by noticing her jaw brace has been removed. Lorna replied that it helped her lose weight and then sits in silence until the shrink says he believes she doesn't want to be here and that if that's the case she may leave if she wants before asking why she doesn't like him, stating that she has a very high I.Q., is an intellectual and is thus very aware of her own shortcomings. Lorna begins ranting about how the psychiatrist is going to call her fat before collapsing back into her seat muttering about how she didn't want to let him get into her head. On prompting, Lorna reveals that it's because so many others have gotten into her head and controlled her. The psychiatrist claims it's a bit ironic to be able to command magnetism and yet have trouble feeling attractive and tendency to repel things. Lorna promptly storms out.
Strong Guy plays with a yo-yo over the course of his examination which begins by the psychiatrist bringing up the point that he had 'warned' Rahne about him and wonders if Guido has had alot of experience with psychiatrists. Guido states he had been to many guidance counselors in his youth, right up until his mutant powers surfaced. The shrink asks if he remembers when that first happened, resulting in a flashback which reveals Guido as a highly intelligent 'nerd' and class-clown in his schooling days. He had a crush on one of the girls at his school but wouldn't let anyone realize he was hurting as people will either pity you or torment you. After school one day Guido's crush winked at him, causing Guido to say something which he can no longer remember, which then promptly caused the girls boyfriend to punch him. The school kids started to laugh at Guido who then attacked his crushes boyfriend, only to be beaten up again by the boys friends, then his mutant power kicked in and his arm swelled to roughly the same size it is today, hugely out of proportion. In shock, Guido stumbled back in-front of a schoolbus, causing further mutation. It took several more impacts over a few days before Guido realised he had to release the energy he absorbed within a 90 second period otherwise it would distort him permanently, but by then the damage was done and to this day Guido is in constant agony but doesn't let anyone know because they'll pity him, so he makes his facade of jokes. The X-Factor team are the first real friends Guido has had and if they pitied him it would shatter him.
Jamie Madrox, at the start of his interview attempts to use a joy buzzer on the psychiatrist, but is told to get rid of it. The shrink asks about his childhood, which Jamie states was growing up on a deserted farm with the only company being his dead parents. They then do some word association, "Black" "Motown", "Up" "And Away", "Over" "The Rainbow", "In" "Sane", "Alone" "Hell". When asked if he had purposely stated those answers to get a reaction out of the shrink, Jamie replies that he doesn't really know. The psychiatrist asks if he likes to get reactions out of people, which Jamie claims he does, he loves attention and will do anything for it because it reminds him he's alive if people notice him and if people notice him it makes him feel that he's not alone.
At the start of his interview with Havok, the psychiatrist states that he doesn't seem very relaxed, which Alex says is because he struggles to feel relaxed anymore, always looking over his shoulder, keeping an eye on the rest of the team or looking out for whoever might attack them next. Alex feels as though he's carrying a great deal of responsibility and if anything happens to his team it will be his fault, he also has the feeling that someone is about to attack them, though it's revealed he has that feeling pretty much constantly. The shrink then asks about Alex's brothers, Scott, who Havok claims is the ideal leader, dependable, dynamic and determined, before revealing that he is jealous of Cyclops, who seems to be able to command respect whilst Alex has to work himself to his limits for it and he always feels like he's playing 'catch-up' with him as a result, which is why he's tense and detached, because he's not living in the here and now but rather trying to stay two steps ahead of everyone so he doesn't screw up. Alex then claims he feels as if everyone is judging him, but when the psychiatrist suggests they ask them about how he measures up, Havok turns away stating he's afraid of their answer. After a short silence he again claims that something is definitely about to happen.
Whilst the psychiatrist is looking through his notes Polaris returns, stating that she lost 15 pounds in the last month and that she thinks that she looks great, that she isn't repressed and is not self concious and is not 'repulsive' and is not afraid to take chances with what people will think of her before revealing her new outfit, a very scantily made red and gold costume before storming out of the shrinks office, leaving him startled enough to drop his pen.
Valerie Cooper comes in next and she thanks him for consulting with her team, claiming that they're not an easy group and what helps her deal with them is that she's come to know them all so well, which is important to being in charge. The shrink then asks Val to tell him her impressions of each of the members of X-Factor. For Rahne, Val claims she's your typical teenager who once had a crush on Alex which is now completely gone. Val then states that Lorna is very bright, open and together, unafraid to let people in emotionally. Pietro is apparently snotty and for no reason, Guido is a hedonistic party animal who only cares about himself, a smart alec who feels no pain, Jamie is a real loner who doesn't need alot of people and why should he with all his dupes and Alex is totally confident as a leader and out of his brothers shadow. Valerie then asks why her team doesn't act like the other mutant teams but storms out when the response is that they're totally normal and refreshingly human and that she might need some awareness training. Valerie is then promptly captured by an unknown foe. The psychiatrist then leaves his office to inquire about where to send his bill, though finds only Valerie's shoe, revealing himself to be Leonard Samson.
#40 on Wizard Magazine's "100 Best Single Issue Comics Since You Were Born" list.