Comic Book Review: X-Factor #12

X-Factor is certainly one of Marvel’s top three titles currently on the market. Peter David is doing an amazing job on this title. X-Factor is always a consistently fantastic read. There is no doubt in my mind that X-Factor #12 is going to be very entertaining. Let’s do this review.

Creative Team
Writer: Peter David
Penciler: Renato Arlem
Inker: Roy Allen Martinez

Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10.
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10.
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10.

Synopsis: The issue starts years in the future. We see that mutants have taken over the world and easily slaughtered all of the humans. Tryp reveals that his being attuned to the elemental nature of the Earth linked him to the planet’s very essence. Soon he began to exist at all points in his own lifeline. A true “Multiple Man.” Tryp’s future body became unstable and he developed machinery to perpetuate him. It is similar to a feeble individual on life support. We see some mutants take out the scientists guarding Tryp’s elder body. They then destroy the machinery supporting Tryp’s body. One of the mutants radios back to his home base and tells them that Tryp has been eliminated.

We cut back to the present. Jamie, Rhane and Monet are stunned by the elder Tryp’s story of the future. Rahne doesn’t believe Tryp’s story and immediately attacks him. Tryp smacks around Rahne and throws her back into Jamie which causes him to sprout a duplicate. The dupe is a total chicken and runs out of the room afraid.

We shift to Layla back at the brownstone. She is ordering pizzas from several different restaurants. All of them to be delivered within the half hour. She then orders a pair of bolt cutters from her local hardware store to be delivered immediately.

We shift to Singularity’s building. The young Mr. Tryp and the middle aged Mr. Tryp enter the building. They decide that they need to take down X-Factor permanently. We see Rictor downloading files from Singularity’s computer system while Siryn finds a room full of assault weapons and dynamite next to the computer room.

We cut back to the elder Mr. Tryp talking to Jamie, Monet and Rahne. The elder Tryp uses his powers to project his vision of the future into Monet and Jamie’s minds. That once X-Factor learned the truth about Decimation they became instrumental in restoring the mutants to their powers. When the X-Men would do nothing, X-Factor got the job done and became revered by all mutants. However, by restoring the powers back to all the mutants, the balance was tiled and chaos was unleashed. The Human population was wiped off the earth by the mutants. That absolute power corrupts absolutely. That after the mutants killed off all the humans, then they stated warring wit each other and laid waste to the entire world. Singularity is creating a virus to kill all the former mutants so they don’t recover their abilities. The only other option is to destroy X-Factor. Either way, one of the two plans must be carried out in order to save the future.

Monet tells Jamie that the elder Tryp is not lying. The elder Tryp then tells Jamie that Dr. Buchanon’s wife is currently in custody of Singularity. That if X-Factor does not leave the building immediately, then Mrs. Buchanon will be killed.

We cut to the van holding Mrs. Buchanon captive. The driver of the van is stuck in traffic. Four pizza deliver tricks collided at the intersection and traffic isn’t moving for blocks. We then see that van doors have been sprung open and Mrs. Buchanon has been rescued. We see a pair of bolt cutter lying in the van.

We shift back to Rictor and Siryn leaving with the files concerning Singularity’s plan to unleash the virus. The young Mr. Tryp and middle ages Mr. Tryp stop them and we have a little brawl. Jamie, Monet and Rahne appear on the scene and Jamie tells Rictor and Siryn to stand down. X-Factor then leaves the building. The young Mr. Tryp and the middle aged Mr. Tryp then walk into their weapons room. Standing in there is the “gutless” duplicate from earlier in this issue. The dupe says that erasing memories is very difficult. That the dupe has found the memory of Mr. Tryp creating the storm that killed his parents. That memory makes him what he is today. The dupe says he is the part of Jamie that compels him to do the unexpected. He is the unpredictable. He is the X-Factor. The dupe is wearing a bunch of dynamite around his chest. The dupe presses the detonator. We see the entire Singularity blow up in a massive explosion.

Suddenly, with the death of the dupe, Jamie receives all of the memories that the dupe had re-gained about Mr. Tryp killing his parents. We shift back to X-Factor’s brownstone. Layla has Mrs. Buchanon with her. Layla receives an e-mail from Rictor with an attachment of all of Singularity’s files. Suddenly, the elder Mr. Tryp appears before Layla. The elder Mr. Tryp tells Layla that when two chaotic forces battle, expect the unexpected. End of issue.

The Good: X-Factor #12 was another fantastic read. Peter David is really doing something special with this title. This issue was a wild one. David has cranked up the tension and excitement up to a whole new level. I liked the pacing of this issue. It wasn’t rushed, but it certainly wasn’t slow. It has a nice even pace and dropped several large bombs on the reader.

The scene where Jamie’s dupe regains his memories of Damian Tryp killing his parents and then blows up the two Tryps and their building was simply stunning. My jaw was on the floor after that scene. I didn’t see that coming and absolutely loved it.

Jamie regaining his memories about Tryp once his dupe was killed was interesting. This should provide for some great character development for Jamie. He now has to deal with the fact that he is not a mutant. I wonder if it will affect how the mutants in X-Factor relate with Jamie. David has already done a wonderful job with Jamie’s character so far in this series. It seems that David still has plenty more in store for Jamie.

I loved the twist that David put on X-Factor’s quest to uncover the mystery of the Decimation events. What initially seems to be a very commendable mission, to uncover what happened during Decimation and to attempt to return the lost powers to the ex-mutants suddenly takes a sinister turn. It is a very logical progression that if all the ex-mutants regained their powers then the mutant majority would seek to lay down retribution on the human minority. And of course, once the common enemy, humans, are wiped off the planet, it is only logical that the mutants would then turn on each other in a mad dash for power. That is simply human nature.

I dig that David is taking this direction with this plotline since mutants and the mutant cause has always been cast in a very positive and favorable light. Marvel has always wanted the reader to support the mutants and their cause. Marvel has always wanted the reader to hate the anti-mutant humans. However, David shows that just being a mutant doesn’t make you correct. And that advancing the mutant cause isn’t necessarily a good thing. Mutants are just like humans and are just as capable as being hateful and willing to kill those not like them. Hmm, complexity. Different shades of grey instead of black and white. Placing the reader in a position where he suddenly doesn’t know who to root for. Makes for a compelling story, huh? Just imagine if Civil War took this approach.

The ending scene was perfect. The only Tryp left is the elder Tryp. The reader then gets teased with the promise of two total wildcards who are agents of Chaos in the elder Tryp and Layla getting ready to battle each other. This should be very interesting.

And speaking of Layla, once again, David does a great job with her character in this issue. I hated Layla when she first appeared. However, David has made me love her character. Layla is simply a cool character. I thought her inventive plan to free Mrs. Buchanon was delightfully creative. Layla is a total wildcard that spices up any plotline. And Layla’s unflappable low key demeanor makes her even more entertaining.

As always, David crafts some fantastic dialogue. The dialogue has a nice natural flow to it. All the characters have their own fully developed voices. David continues to keep a rather dark storyline from being too heavy by delivering some entertaining and funny banter between the characters.

The Bad: The art is average. I almost never enjoy it when a single issue has more than one penciler. It usually gives the issue a schizophrenic look. Art has been the Achilles’ heel of X-Factor. There has been absolutely no stability in this area. Marvel absolutely has to address this major need on an otherwise incredible title.

Overall: X-Factor #12 is another excellent read. David is delivering an absolute gem each and every month with this title. X-Factor is arguably Marvel’s best written comic book. This is a title that is always such a satisfying read. I think that most readers would love this title. The only reader that wouldn’t enjoy reading X-Factor is the type of reader that just wants fast paced issues full of massive brawls. Give X-Factor a try. It is certainly worth your money.