X-Factor #255

Posted by Undeadpool (589 posts) - - Show Bio

The Good

Peter David isn’t letting up on the pathos one iota. Despite the literal, actual (multiple?) lords and ladies of Hell pulling out all the stops and throwing down to see who will be crowned absolute ruler, the story remains squarely focused on X-Factor and those in its ranks. Much in the same way that the best examples of zombie media use the living dead as a backdrop, David uses the war of Hell as a way to showcase the core characters. From Layla and Tier fending off Mephisto’s daughter Jezebel with the barrier of non-aggressive resistance (as well as the one Layla got from Dr. Doom) to Polaris and the main group fighting off clone after clone of demonized Jamie Madrox all the while losing ground, there’s still one pairing that stands out: Monet VS Guido.

Monet and Guido had recently hit it off, or at least tried to with varying levels of success, but Guido was left rejected and despondent. Losing his soul beforehand after being resurrected by Layla’s dubious powers did little to help matters. They throw down in the bowels of Hell, but the punches being thrown are mere distractions, even a somewhat blatant metaphor, for their deeper conflict. Blatant isn’t always bad, though, this is a title that demands high drama. This fight, in particular, ends with an incredible cliffhanger that I’m absolutely salivating to see the resolution of.

Leonard Kirk, along with Jay Leisten and Matt Milla, do their usual top-shelf work with the illustrations. I’ve often spoken of artists who have great fluidity and illusion of movement, but this crew does something just as impressive, though very different: an excellent sense of impact and kinetic force. The blow-by-blow, the connections, the shattered backgrounds all pop amazingly and give a tremendous sense of the sheer power being exerted by some of these beings. He’s no slouch on the faces either with the characters’ expressions being clear and, at times, heart-wrenching. Emotions are a difficult thing to display in this medium, panels being fairly small, so it’s great to see someone who really nails it.

The Bad

This story arc has dragged a bit. These last two issues have been absolute treats, but the few that preceded them weren’t the best paced and that’s really starting to become apparent. Tier gets some great development, but it’s long overdue and Rahne has, unfortunately, been relegated to shrieking about everyone leaving her child alone. There’s also a very major plot reveal that happens near the middle and was hinted at in the last issue, but the fact that it happens off-panel is dramatically inconsistent. It’s great to see the montage of everyone realizing what’s gone wrong, but it just feels unearned and a little cheap. I’d have gladly sacrificed an issue prior to have this portion drawn out a bit more.

The Verdict

X-Factor is STILL, I’ve said it before I’ll say it again, one of the most underrated books on the shelf. The characters and the team were once almost a punchline, but Peter David’s work since the Madrox mini-series has absolutely elevated the team to one of the most emotionally resonant and diverse groups in the entire Marvel Universe. They don’t squabble like the X-Men, they aren’t brooding killers like X-Force, they’re not whacky like X-Statix, they truly are just what they are and that's the best of all of those teams. They’re dysfunctional for sure, but they also work together like few other teams and have a sense of humor about their situation. Pacing issues aside, this series continues to be one of Marvel’s unsung best. I can’t say that I’m sad that it’s ending, it sounds like a mutual decision and I’d rather see it go out on the creators’ terms than have it shamble along without passion or drive, but I’ll definitely miss it after September.

Staff
#1 Posted by cyberchop979 (451 posts) - - Show Bio
#2 Edited by H_MAN81 (2 posts) - - Show Bio

Ending this series is a huge mistake..hope madrox gets his own comic tho

#3 Posted by Trevel8182 (751 posts) - - Show Bio

@h_man81 said:

Ending this series is a huge mistake..hope madrox gets his own comic tho

#4 Posted by Mercy_ (92674 posts) - - Show Bio

@h_man81 said:

Ending this series is a huge mistake..hope madrox gets his own comic tho

Agree with the former, disagree with the latter.

With the state of Marvel (and really DC, as well) with stories for shock value and temporarily boosted sales for the most part, it's probably better if the core group of X-Factor is just left alone. I can name about three - maybe four - writers currently working at Marvel who I'd trust not just with the legacy of this book, but even with the singular characters themselves.

The best thing for these characters is probably to stay shelved.

Moderator
#5 Edited by Trevel8182 (751 posts) - - Show Bio

@mercy_: Good points and I agree I just don't won't these great characters to slide back into the background and disappear into obscurity.

#6 Posted by Mercy_ (92674 posts) - - Show Bio

@trevel8182: I know that feeling well, but at the same time...which would you prefer - them being shelved, or being misused?

Moderator
#7 Edited by Undeadpool (589 posts) - - Show Bio

@mercy_ said:

@trevel8182: I know that feeling well, but at the same time...which would you prefer - them being shelved, or being misused?

I think if Peter David feels like he's run his course with the title, it should just be shelved. Otherwise we're looking at a Simpsons situation of going through the motions and being merely passable.

@cyberchop979: Thank ya!

Staff
#8 Posted by Mercy_ (92674 posts) - - Show Bio

@mercy_ said:

@trevel8182: I know that feeling well, but at the same time...which would you prefer - them being shelved, or being misused?

I think if Peter David feels like he's run his course with the title, it should just be shelved. Otherwise we're looking at a Simpsons situation of going through the motions and being merely passable.

I was talking about xerox-kitty with this on tumblr.

My consolation and the only thing that tempers my irritation with Marvel is that the book had run its course and it wasn't cancelled due to sales. I agree that when something has run its course, it's time to put it away and say you're done. The only other thing that would happen is that story lines stagnate and things just become contrived. It's why I think it's great that Geoff Johns is stepping down from GL (aside from any issues people may have with his writing).

I'd rather look back at something fondly that ended on a high note than be forced to watch it continue on for longer than it should have and decline in quality (which is what I felt happened with Legacy after Carey left).

Moderator
#9 Edited by kantrip (127 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm sad to see it go, but I am happy that the story will be told completely tho. This was a good issue and I too want to know what the cliffhanger to all this is. There has to be more to the story than just the punch out that we saw there. I'm also curious just how (or if) Madrox will get De-Demonized.

#10 Edited by mickeymayhew (207 posts) - - Show Bio

I wonder if Peter David's decision to end X-Factor was in any way due to his recent illness as opposed to the title simply having run it's course?

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