Comic Book Review: X-Factor #13

X-Factor is the Marvel title that The Revolution enjoys reading the most. Peter David has been flying under the radar with this title. David has delivered some of the strongest writing in the industry. X-Factor boasts some of the best character development and dialogue that you will find on any comic book. I failed to post a review for X-Factor #13 since I was back in the 305 for Thanksgiving. Let’s go ahead and do this issue justice.

Creative Team
Writer: Peter David
Artist: Pablo Raimondi

Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10.
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10.
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10.

Synopsis: We begin with Guido at Doc Samson’s office for a little psychiatric evaluation. Guido talks about how he killed Dr. Buchanan while hypnotized. That Guido went to a hypnotist for therapy in order to cope with his pain. That Guido had always been cracking jokes his entire life in order to cover up his pain. The hypnotist was a sleeper agent for Singularity and he turned Guido into a killer.

Doc Samson tells Guido that it isn’t his fault. That it is normal for him to be upset about being used like this. Guido responds with avoiding the serious discussion by cracking another joke. Doc Samson comments “Always leave ‘em laughing, eh?”

We then see Layla in Doc Samson’s office. Layla and Doc Samson get into a metaphysical conversation about reality. Doc Samson tells Layla that she has assumed a heavy burden about “knowing things” about the future. Doc Samson then asks Layla if she would describe herself as a control freak. Layla says no.

Layla looks at the chess board in front of her and says that the chess piece that best represents her is the Pawn. Because she is part of a different game than everybody else. That only she can see the players. She knows the endgame and she knows that she is expendable.

Next up is Rictor. Doc Samson asks Rictor how he is adjusting to life without powers. Rictor is angry and doesn’t want to talk to Doc Samson and says that he is only here because Madrox told all of X-Factor that they had to come for their own good after all they have been through.

Doc Samson asks Rictor if he is angry all of the time. That Rictor has bad days where he wonders “Why me?” and he has good days where he is too bust to wonder “Why me?” Doc Samson asks Rictor what kind of day today is. Rictor says a “Bad day.”

Next for Doc Samson’s couch is Siryn. Siryn is in a great mood. Doc Samson asks Siryn how she is dealing with her father’s death. Siryn laughs and says that he father isn’t really dead. That he will be back, just wait and see. Doc Samson asks Siryn if all the recent events have made her want to drink. Siryn says “No.” but it seems that she is not being totally honest.

Doc Samson asks Siryn what makes her happy these days. Siryn says Jamie Madrox makes her happy. That they are a couple again.

We then see Monet on Doc Samson’s couch. Monet confesses that every day she has to make a conscious decision not to kill herself. That Monet sees her brother, Marius, the monster who became Emplate and Penance, the thing he turns Monet into and kept her his prisoner. That at night Monet can see Marius coming for her. She can see herself turning back into Penance. Monet says she has to be this strong, over-whelming, better than everybody else person because if not then the forces inside her would crush her.

Doc Samson then asks Monet if anything makes her happy. Monet says Jamie Madrox makes her happy. That one night, Madrox seduced her and then since then it has been unbelievable. (Uh oh. Not good.)

Next up is Madrox that sly dog. Doc Samson begins with telling Madrox that Rahne is coming in after him and if Madrox has considered having sex with her. Madrox looks up and asks if he is busted. Doc Samson says “Yes.” Samson asks Madrox if he is sleeping with anyone else. Jamie responds that he wouldn’t kick Rictor out of bed. Jamie then says that he is only kidding.

Jamie says that one night he got drunk and bumped himself which caused one of his dupes to appear. This certain dupe was Jamie’s libido. That dupe bagged Monet while Jamie-Prime slept with Siryn. Or maybe it was the other way around. Or maybe the dupe shagged both of them. Jamie says his memory is tricky.

Since that night, it has just been him shagging both ladies. Jamie asks Doc Samson to cut him some slack. That he has just found out that his parents were actually murdered and that Jamie is not a mutant, but some other sort of genetic throwback. Jamie tells Samson that the bad guys are too insufferably pleased with themselves to lie. It’s the good guys you have to watch out for.

Jamie mentions how he misses the joking around and being a slacker. Samson says that it is called growing up. That Jamie is in charge of X-Factor and the rest of them count on him and he has to live up to their expectations. Samson tells Jamie that he has to tell Monet and Siryn about each other.

Next is Rahne. Rahne tells Samson that she doesn’t know if she is a girl who turns into a beast or a beast who turns into a girl. That when she is a girl she is torn by father issues, doubts and wanting to be loved. Whereas, when she is the beast, all the doubts go away and her mind is clearer. Part of her wants to be the beast all of the time.

Rahne then tells Samson that she was shown the future. That she was in a bedroom covered in blood. Jamie and Layla’s bloody dead bodies were in the room. Rahne said that she had killed them.

Rahne says that she could kill herself to make sure it doesn’t happen, but suicides go to hell. Of course, so do murderers. So, she is damned if she does and damned if she doesn’t’. Rahne says that God has abandoned her and her friends would dear her if they knew.

Last up is Quicksilver. Samson tells Pietro that he understands Pietro is evil now. Quicksilver says he is not evil. Did he inadvertently cause a situation to occur that many would term evil? Yes. But he was motivated by love and what greater good is there? Now, Quicksilver is giving ex-mutants their powers back. Each mutant gets what they deserve. So if their powers are messed up then it means they themselves were twisted and not worthy.

Quicksilver says that history will bear him out as the savior of mutant kind, not the destroyer. That history is not written by the winners. The future is written by the winners. History is written by the survivors. Pietro is a survivor and so is every person in X-Factor. Pietro then hesitates and says except Layla who he would happily squash like an insect.

We cut to Doc Samson walking to the X-Factor Brownstone and talking into a small tape recorder. Doc Samson concludes that everyone in X-Factor beasts further treatment and study. Samson says that Jamie has asked him to continue to work with X-Factor. Samson says that he is concerned about the group’s long-term health. That they are each, in their own way, disconnected from reality, in denial and in shock.

Doc Samson arrives at X-Factor’s brownstone and sees Madrox being thrown out the first floor window. Samson catches Jamie. Monet then tells out the window that Madrox is a two timing son of a bitch. Monet then yells that Madrox is dead. A woozy Jamie tells Samson “Great advice there, Doc.” End of issue.

The Good: X-Factor #13 was an excellent read. David continues to deliver one incredibly well written title. Issue after issue, David cranks out Marvel’s most intelligent title. As always, David delivers well crafter dialogue that gives this issue a nice flow. Each character has their own unique voice and David creates excellent chemistry between the characters.

In X-Factor #13, David takes a step back for the reader to catch their breath after the climax to the long running Singularity story arc. David offers the reader an unprecedented amount of insight into each member of X-Factor. Most writers after a major story arc will crank out a one-shot issue that offers up a “monster of the week” style villain and story. Just a filler fluff one issue action story.

Not David. Instead, David takes this opportunity to delve deeply into the psyche of each member of X-Factor and begin to lay the foundation for future plotlines in this title. David pulls off more character development in one issue than some writers can pull of in an entire year. Yeah, I’m looking at you, Daniel Way.

What makes X-Factor such a phenomenal real is the wonderful character studies that David delivers each issue. David doesn’t rely on mindless action scenes and double page splash shots by a “hot” artist. Nope, David does it by delivering incredibly detailed and insightful character studies that yield some of the most developed and intriguing characters that you will find in any comic book.

I think the idea of having the members of X-Factor undergo therapy with Doc Samson is an excellent idea. X-Factor is such a dysfunctional family and they certainly need some counseling from a person like Doc Samson. This is an unusual dimension that you don’t see on team titles. Having a resident psychologist tending to the members further differentiates X-Factor from all of the other super teams on the market. It is also a great tool for character development and is a nice literary device to allow the reader unfettered access to the inner thoughts of each character.

Of course, what makes David’s stories truly genius is that he doesn’t take himself too seriously. David serves up plenty of well timed and well crafter humor. Without humor, this title would be way to dark and somber. When titles get too dark and take themselves too seriously, then it is hard for the reader to take the title seriously and usually the title ends up being more of a parody than a serious work.

David wisely uses his excellent sense of humor carefully sprinkled throughout this issue to keep the reader chuckling. Plus, the humor highlights the more serious scenes and gives them greater impact on the reader. Can a title be intelligent, serious, dark and moody and still be funny? Absolutely. And Peter David proves that with every issue of X-Factor.

I found Guido’s struggle with his guilt over killing Dr. Buchanan to be rather intriguing. I’m glad that David is taking the time to really explore this issue. Guido is so often just played off as the “funny guy” that it is cool to finally get a look at what is really going on inside his mind.

David did an excellent job making Monet more understandable in her scene. Up until now, she has just been a snotty bitch. We finally get to look behind Monet’s image that she projects and finds out that she is really a very scared girl. This scene did a great job making Monet a much more complex and interesting character.

The scene with Siryn was great. David continues his long running joke about how mutants never die. Siryn is firm in her belief that Banshee is not really dead. What would make this joke perfect would be if in a year or two, Marvel actually brings Banshee back to life.

Rahne’s scene definitely got my attention. Rahne is a character that I have never liked or ever been even remotely interested in. I don’t dig her look and her character bores me. However, this scene actually got me intrigued be her character. I’m curious to see where David takes this plotline about Rahne killing Madrox and Layla at some point in the future. I think that David just may get me interested in Rahne after all.

The scene with Rictor was emotionally charged and well done. I dig Rictor’s character and his turmoil over being powerless is good plotline. I’m glad that David added a powerless mutant to the roster. It is an unusual move, but it adds an interesting dynamic to the team and the story. I’m also curious to see where David takes the Rictor/Quicksilver plotline.

The scene with Jamie was probably my favorite. Jamie is my favorite character and I relate to him the most. Jamie is being forced with having to shed his slacker image and to grow up and be responsible. That is tough for some people and I certainly know that from experience. Still, it is cool to watch the maturation of Jamie Madrox on this title. David has really done a lot for Jamie’s character and has made him into such a more developed and fascinating character than he has ever been before.

Obviously, the best part of this issue was the Jamie/Siryn/Monet love triangle. I like where David is taking this plotline and it certainly is going to spice things up at the Brownstone over the course of the next couple of issues.

The ending was great. This issue was a heavy read and could have easily been overwhelmingly depressing. However, David get the reader to smile at the end and also gets the reader excited to see just how much more trouble Jamie is in for with the next issue.

Argentine artist Pablo Raimondi is very talented. I dig mi hermano’s style and think that it works very well on X-Factor. Raimondi’s art is a great match for David’s tone. The lack of one stable artist on X-Factor has been this title’s Achilles’ heel. I hope that Raimondi will stick around for a while and give some much needed stability in the art department.

The Bad: No complaints at all.

Overall: X-Factor #13 definitely is not a comic book for action freaks. Of course, if you are an action freak then you aren’t going to ever read X-Factor. Personally, if find X-Factor to be a wonderful change of pace and a nice breath of fresh air compared to the majority of the titles being published by DC and Marvel. I urge everyone to give this title a try. X-Factor is so impressively well written that I can’t imagine anyone other than a complete action freak being disappointed with this title.

1 thought on “Comic Book Review: X-Factor #13

  1. I gotta say,I completely agree with you,X-Factor is such an awesome read.It doesnt have to be crammed with a ton of pointless fight scenes just to tell a great story.And thank God,no shock scene gaurantee per issue just to take your mind off the other crap you just had to digest.(yes,im also talking to you Daniel Way, you no talent ass clown.)Peter David has a way of moving the story along at just the right pace.He doesnt have to rush it,nor does he tell the same old boring stuff that you read just the issue before,then repeat it for about a yaer or so.(holy geez,im still talking about you Daniel Way,making me wait 114 issues of Ghost Rider,and probaly will still be fighting satan in some old hick town.)Not to mention Rokk,he is also REALLY messing up your beloved Wolverine title over on orgins.Thanks again for the awesome reveiw.Cant wait for the next one. Tim Grasty.

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