Comic Book Review: X-Factor #14

I finally posted my review for X-Factor #13 yesterday, so I can go ahead and do the review for X-Factor #14. This title is such an enjoyable read. It is depressing that X-Factor #13 came in at the #48 spot in the November, 2006 sales chart with a total 42,844 issues. That is less than some titles that are clearly inferior in quality such as Ghost Rider, Flash, Ultimate X-Men, Wolverine, Wolverine: Origins, X-Men, Uncanny X-Men and New Avengers. It just goes to show that people will buy anything with Wolverine or the X-Men on the cover no matter the quality of the story. I really hope more people start giving X-Factor a chance. I’m sure that X-Factor #14 is going to be another great read. Let’s hit this review.

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: The issue begins with Jamie Madrox walking into a room and having several guns pointed to his face. We then flashback to earlier. Jamie is talking with Siryn. Jamie tells her to hit him, yell at him, anything but the silent treatment. Jamie says that he is 90% sure that it was him and not his unleashed libido who slept with her. Siryn tells Jamie that she is being silent so she doesn’t start screaming and demolishing the neighborhood with her sonic powers. Siryn tells Jamie to come back later when she is not so homicidal.

Jamie leaves the room and is grabbed by the throat and picked off the ground by Monet. Monet proceeds to smack Jamie into the wall causing a dupe to appear each time. Monet wants to talk to the dupe who seduced her. Jamie tells her that it doesn’t work that way. That he has not control over what dupe appears. That it is just the luck of the draw. Monet reasons that if it is luck of the draw then she’ll keep hitting Jamie into the wall until that dupe appears.

We cut to Guido and Rahne visiting the widow Ms. Buchanan. Guido has decided that he has to face her and tell her what he did to her husband. Rahne tells Guido to be tactful. Ms. Buchanan answers the door and Guido immediately bursts out that he killed her husband. That he crushed his throat. Ms Buchanan faints.

We shift to Rictor and Jamie at a bar drinking some beers. Rictor asks the only logical question anyone would ask Jamie about his current problem. Rictor wants to know “which filly was the wilder ride.” Jamie calls Rictor a pig.

The two sit in silence and then Jamie says “Monet.” Rictor says he knew it. Jamie says that Siryn is like ocean waves washing over you. Monet’s like a monsoon. Jamie says that now they both hate his guts. Rictor comments that if you gotta go down, you might as well do it in style.

Jamie then asks Rictor what is going on between him and Quicksilver. Rictor says they are just talking about Pietro giving Rictor his powers back. Rictor says it is not big deal. It isn’t like he is sleeping with Pietro….anymore. Jamie does a spit take. Rictor says he was just joking.

Jamie then laments how dysfunctional the team has become. Rictor tells Jamie that at least he doesn’t have to work that he and Pietro are an item. Jamie agrees saying that Rictor wouldn’t want to make Shatterstar jealous. Rictor does a spit take.

We shift back to Guido and Rahne with Ms. Buchanan. Rahne tells Ms. Buchanan that they gave an anonymous tip to the police and that the police have found the body. That she should be hearing from the police soon. Ms Buchanan tells Guido that she and her husband went to Church every Sunday. That everything happens for a reason. That Guido’s reason for being on this earth is not to rot in jail because the monsters at Singularity victimized him.

Ms Buchanan says that her husband’s murder will be one more unsolved murder. That Singularity gets no more victims. That Singularity doesn’t get Guido. She makes Guido promise. Ms. Buchanan and Guido embrace each other with tears streaming down their faces.

We cut to Jamie at the Zoo meeting with Doc Samson. The two are looking at a Polar Bear swimming. Jamie mentions that Polar Bears are going to be extinct in a few decades courtesy of global warming. Jamie says that it shows that things of beauty can be hurt without anybody intending it. Samson asks Jamie if that is what Jamie believes he did to Monet and Siryn.

Jamie tells Samson that he feels like he is all over the place. That because his life is out of control, the team is becoming out of control. That Jamie needs to pull it together, but he doesn’t know how to. Jamie says that his dupes are literately all over the place. It’s like they’re running the show and he is playing catch-up and damage control. That one dupe is working for S.H.I.E.L.D. and other dupes were sent out in Jamie’s “great odyssey of learning” who still haven’t come back.

Jamie and Samson are now looking at the monkeys. Samson tells Jamie that it would be a good start to get himself together by literally doing so by gathering up his stray dupes. Jamie agrees by saying what is the worst that could happen? With that, one of the monkeys flings his poo at the window where Jamie and Samson are standing. Jamie asks Samson if that is an omen.

We cut to Monet and Siryn sitting silently in a room reading magazines. Layla enters and tells the two ladies that she can’t deal with the two of them not talking. That they can be mad at Jamie but they shouldn’t be mad at each other. And that if it doesn’t change, then Layla is going to make it change.

Layla storms out of the room. Monet then asks Siryn if she wants to go shopping. Siryn is stunned and offended that Monet’s solution would be to go shopping. Siryn asks where Monet planned on shopping. Monet responds Paris and that she could have her jet ready for take off in half an hour. Siryn pauses and then says, Ok, let’s go.

We shift to Jamie sneaking into S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters. Jamie bluffs his way past security at the entrance of the building. Jamie opens the door to his dupe’s office and we are now back to the scene at the beginning of the issue. There are several S.H.I.E.L.D. agents with the guns pulled on Jamie and none other than Val Cooper is sitting in the office.

Val tells Jamie that she is still with O.N.E. and was here for a meeting and talking S.H.I.E.L.D. out of taking Jamie out when he tried to bluff his way into the building. Jamie tells Val that his dupes are running out of control and he is trying to reclaim them. Val tells Jamie that she is the only thing that is keeping the Feds from putting X-Factor in jail. That Val has been running interference for X-Factor out of old times’ sake when she used to run X-Factor. Jamie tells Val that he doesn’t need her protection. Val tells Jamie that he does need her protection and for Jamie to stay out of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s way.

Jamie leaves the building and walks down the street. Jamie thinks how he has a low level psychic link to his dupes and he can track on to a general area. That Jamie’s dupe was in the next room at the S.H.I.E.L.D. building.

Suddenly, a girl interrupts Jamie’s inner monologue and asks him to buy some Girl Scout cookies. Jamie picks up one of the boxes of cookies and a gas sprays out into his face. Jamie passes out. The girl yells for her Hydra agents to grab Jamie and put him in the van. The girl then tells one of the Hydra agents to inform their leader that they have captured S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Jamie Madrox and are on the way back to headquarters and for them to immediately proceed with their plan. End of issue.

The Good: X-Factor #14 was another excellent read. Once again, David delivers another incredibly well written issue. I’m not surprised. David has been on a real hot streak with X-Factor. As always, the dialogue is perfect. Each character is so richly developed and they each have their own voice. The chemistry between the characters continues to impress me. The interaction between the various characters is so natural.

David continues to move this title along on a very steady and measured pace. It isn’t fast and it isn’t slow. It is perfect. The pacing has an enjoyable natural flow to it. David allows the stories to organically develop and grow. Nothing is forced or artificial. It seems that X-Factor has taken on a life of its own and David is merely shepherding it along in whatever direction the characters desire to go.

As always, David does an impressive job balancing very serious dramatic scenes with an excellent sense of humor. The reader will experience a wide range of emotions while reading this title. On one page, the reader may feel sad and then the next page will get the reader laughing.

The scene with Rictor and Jamie was pure gold. I loved it. David delivers excellent dialogue with plenty of humor. I loved the relaxed and natural feel to this scene as well as the humor. And the line about Shatterstar was classic! Every guy has had a conversation similar to this where your best friend wants to know how a certain girl performs in the bed.

There were a couple of other humorous scenes. The scene between Monet and Siryn was also great. Siryn first derides Monet’s idea to go shopping. But, once Monet mentions that the shopping would be in Paris, Siryn is all for the idea. The scene between Monet and Jamie is also a great example of David’s humor that keeps the story from being too heavy.

The scene with Jamie and Doc Samson was a wonderful blend of humor and drama. It is impressive how effortlessly David can shift back and forth between thought provoking serious dialogue and witty dialogue while making it seem so natural. David has made Jamie such an intriguing character. I love how complex Jamie’s mental state of being is and how his dupes have such an impact on his psyche. I also like how David has made Jamie the rock for the rest of X-Factor. And however Jamie goes so does the group. This is an unusual position for Jamie who has always been a C-list character. It is nice to see Jamie evolve into a higher profile character with more influence and responsibilities.

The scene with Guido and Ms. Buchanan was very touching. David delivers a rather emotional scene that tugs on the heart of the reader. I feel so bad for Guido. I’m glad that his meeting with Ms. Buchanan went the way it did. Hopefully, this will provide Guido the ability to deal with what he did and move on. I love that David has spent plenty of time examining the impact of killing Dr. Buchanan has had on Guido. Many writers would have glossed over this potential plotline.

No matter if the scene is serious, humorous or a combination of both, David employs a writing took that you rarely see comic book writers take advantage of. That is the proper use of silence. David is a master at using the silent panel to make a scene either more dramatic or to make a scene funnier. Either way, it is a very effective literary tool and David uses it with practically ever issue.

David also ends the issue with a nice hook that gets the reader excited about the new story arc. David introduces Hydra into the mix along with a nice case of mistaken identity with Jamie being abducted instead of his dupe. This should prove to be an interesting little plotline.

David also hinted at a future plotline involving Val Cooper and S.H.I.E.L.D. crossing paths with the rogue X-Factor. I guess everything has to have some type of tie-in with Civil War and this is how David is managing to work it into X-Factor.

I’m also interested in learning more about Rictor and Quicksilver. I totally dig Rictor, and not because he is a fellow Latino. I just think he is an entertaining character and I really dig that X-Factor has an ex-mutant as a member. I don’t think I really want Rictor to get his powers back. I certainly don’t want Rictor to get some messed up powers from Quicksilver that end up ruining his character.

Oh yeah, Peter David has by far the most entertaining re-cap pages at the beginning of every issue.

Raimondi continues to supply some solid artwork. It is great that we are starting to see some stability in the art department on this title. Raimondi is a nice choice for X-Factor and I hope he stays around for a while.

The Bad: No complaints at all.

Overall: David delivers another gem in X-Factor #14. I’m really impressed with the incredible quality of dialogue and character development that David consistently puts out on this title. X-Factor is definitely the most intelligent comic book that Marvel publishes. Many titles I buy out of loyalty or affinity to a certain character or team. Other titles I buy because of the all out entertaining action. I buy X-Factor because it is simply one of the best written comic books on the market. Seriously, give X-Factor a try. It is well worth your money.

2 thoughts on “Comic Book Review: X-Factor #14

  1. I like the fact that Pablo Raimondi is drawing X-Factor because looking at previous issues, it wasn’t eye catching but now it is. Just my 2 cent.

Comments are closed.