X-Factor #257 Review

Posted by Undeadpool (464 posts) - - Show Bio

The Good

I have asked and I have received: Peter David has put X-Factor back to its focus on the smaller, much more character driven stories that it does best. Layla Miller finds herself in Marrakesh searching for her wayward husband, who is still possessed by a demon after the climax of last issue. When she finds him in the house of a young boy, whose mistaken him for a djinn that will bring his mother back from the dead, the situation turns out about as bad as it possibly could. There’s even an interesting twist thrown in that turns reader expectations about a character completely on its head, and is actually a refreshing moment, despite being extremely brief. Even without the supernatural hooks, at the heart of this issue is an extremely heartbreaking situation of a husband and wife who just want to try and put their life back together, but have a massive roadblock in the way. We’re not actually given much closure on whether or not that’s going to be possible, but there are definitely some signs and some progress made in one direction.

Neil Edwards pencils and does a great job with character expressions particularly, but special attention must be paid to his creature design. I won’t say what the creature is, what it represents or where it comes from, but it’s one of the most genuinely unsettling things I’ve ever seen in a superhero comic and it’s used to great, by which I of course mean absolutely terrible, effect. Layla’s at the center of the story, and her every inner tumult is apparent but the side characters aren’t given short-shrift as frustration, anguish and terror flash across them from one panel to the next. Even poor Jamie, with a supernatural headcrab having taken up residence on his face, communicates and emotes so much with just body language.

The Bad

If you don’t care about Jamie Madrox or Layla Miller, then you shouldn’t pick this book up. Then again, I can’t imagine why you’d have stuck with the series this long were that not the case. There’s not much forward movement on Jamie’s “demon” situation, and not much is even known about whether the process is reversible, but I’m fine with delayed gratification as long as it gets resolved.

The Verdict

Absolutely amazing. I thought I wouldn’t be ready for more X-Factor so soon after such an emotionally draining arc, and an ESPECIALLY draining final issue of that arc, but here I am ready to love again. The B-story of the boy and his uncle trying to bring back the woman of the house is actually quite affecting and shouldn’t be discounted, but it’s hard to talk in-depth about without revealing too much. Suffice it to say, again, that there’s a great moment when you think a well-worn trope is about to be trotted out, but things go in an entirely unexpected, and absolutely tragic and terrifying, direction. Cover-to-cover a great issue and thus begins the six-issue End of X-Factor, and if it’s any indication, this should be the best arc yet.

Staff
#1 Posted by kantrip (100 posts) - - Show Bio

I really do hope Peter David has some good resolution in store for Jamie and Layla. He has put poor Maddrox through the ringer through this whole series. I liked the pairing of Jamie and Layla too. The man who can be all places at once, and the woman who can see all possibilites, but neither of them have as much control as one would think.

I also want to know what he has in store for M and Rahne after this as they are the last of the original members who have also had utter hell made of their lives.

#2 Posted by SolthesunGod (276 posts) - - Show Bio

Totally agree great issue. I read that he actually found this arc difficult. He said it was tough writing single issue arcs but you really can't tell from this. Bleeding Cool is claiming there is some X-Factor news coming up.....and PAD apparently told a fan at a con recently that he's writing a new X-Book. I have a hard time believing that it's just going to be X-Factor but I wouldn't be shocked if he does a S.H.I.E.L.D book with Dazzler and some other mutants maybe Quicksilver and Polaris.

#3 Posted by DavidMacho (1 posts) - - Show Bio

Just an important correction, here. The issue is actually drawn by two artists, Neil Edwards (first half) and Carmen Carnero (second half), in her first Marvel gig, as it's stated on the cover and credits. That "creature" you mention is on the second half, and was designed by Carmen. (sorry, tried to send you a PM, but I haven't been to find out how to do it) ;)

#4 Posted by papad1992 (6815 posts) - - Show Bio

I didn't really get this issue... after a total meltdown from the Hell on Earth War, we get this as a follow-up issue? I don't get it. Out of all of the emotional uproar from character to character (M, Rahne, Guido) we get a story about Layla and demon-Madrox. I felt lost when I was reading this issue. First of all, how the heck did this boy find/catch demon-Madrox? Where's the rest of the team? What happened to Rictor and Shatterstar (as it seemed like Mephisto killed them)? I have so many more questions... and this issue answered none of them. We are getting down to the wire, with not-so-many issues left, I felt that this was a waste of an issue. Sure it's always great to see a Layla-centered issue but after such an excellent previous issue, this isn't what I wanted for the fall-out. I know I'm ranting but after such a long run of this series (which I've loved from the beginning) I feel that the last issues are precious. And this issue literally did not deliver on any level. It didn't expand further on the fall-out of the event. It didn't give any direction towards any plot. It didn't explore on the characters that were most distraught from the event. It didn't give any resolution to demon-Madrox's condition. Nothing. I'm upset.

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