The Revolution always looks forward to the latest issue of X-Factor. This is a very underrated title and is certainly one of the best titles that Marvel is currently publishing. Davis continues to impress me with his incredibly strong writing on this title. I fully expect X-Factor #18 to be another great issue. Let’s hit this review.
Writer: Peter David
Penciler: Khoi Pham
Inker: Sandu Florea
Art Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10.
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10.
Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10.
Synopsis: We begin with Elijah, the leader of the X-Cell, is at Quicksilver’s apartment. Elijah blames the government for the events of M-Day. Elijah says that he has heard that Quicksilver can help ex-mutants. Quicksilver asks Elijah is worthy and Elijah says yes. Quicksilver is about to touch Elijah when Callisto arrives on the scene and grabs Quicksilver’s arm and tells Elijah not to touch him.
Callisto mentions how her powers were out of control when Quicksilver restored her mutant abilities. Quicksilver comments that Callisto was simply unworthy. That it may have been a part of Quicksilver’s learning curve of how to handle his new powers.
Quicksilver believes that he has refined the process and that he needs a vessel. That his power can be overwhelming and he requires somehow what can serve as a catalyst. Quicksilver will siphon his power to that person and then that person will place that power into the ex-mutant. Quicksilver says he already has someone in mind to act as that vessel.
We cut to the FBI questioning Rictor about the X-Cell. Val Cooper enters the room with Madrox by her side. Val tells Rictor that he is free to go.
We shift to Siryn and Monet along with the French girl arriving at the X-Factor brownstone. We zip inside brownstone where the members of X-Factor are meeting. Layla tells Madrox that they don’t need to go looking for the X-Cell. That everything will take care of itself. That the members of X-Cell will self-destruct on their own without X-Factor’s help. Layla tells them to trust her. That she “knows stuff.”
Monet, Siryn and Nicole, the French girl, enter the room. Monet and Siryn introduce Nicole to the members of X-Factor. Siryn tells Layla that Nicole is going to room with Layla. Layla is actually surprised. Rictor laughs saying how beautiful this is because Layla didn’t see this coming.
Monet says that taking on X-Cell is a waste of time. That they should just tell the members of X-Cell what really happened on M-Day. Layla gives up and says that even though she told them that they don’t have to do anything that if they want to ignore her then she ahs several locations they need to go to. Layla then gives Madrox and Rictor one location, Rahne and Guido another location and Siryn and Monet a third location.
We cut to Rictor and Madrox busting into a deli telling the deli guy to freeze. The deli guy asks them if they are here for the pick up for Layla Miller of X-Factor. The deli guy gives them an order of pastrami sandwiches. Rictor is pissed and wants to kill Layla.
We cut to Siryn and Monet standing on a street corner. They have no idea how long they are supposed to stand on this street corner. A car drives by and asks the ladies how much it will be for both of them together. Siryn and Monet both want to kill Layla.
We hop to Rahne and Guido lifting up a manhole cover in the middle of the street and peering down into the hole. They both agree that they aren’t going to go down into the sewer. The two decide to screw what Layla told them to do and go back to the alley where Rictor and Rahne first ran into the FBI and search for clues. Guido doesn’t place the manhole cover back on properly and they walk away.
We shift back to Rictor and Madrox walking back to the brownstone. Suddenly, a man rushes out of an alley and grabs the plate of deli sandwiches. The man’s hat and trench coat blow off and the man is none other than a de-powered Blob. Blob and Rictor start fighting.
Suddenly, a de-powered Fatale appears on the scene and attacks Madrox. Blob and Fatale manage to escape on hop into a stolen car and drive off. We see Blob and Fatale race by the street corner where Siryn and Monet are standing. They chase after the car. The car then hits the manhole cover that Guido didn’t put back properly and the tire gets stuck in the opening and the car crashes.
Siryn and Monet arrive at the car crash. Suddenly, Marrow appears on the scene and tells Siryn that it has been a long time since she saw her. End of issue.
The Good: X-Factor #18 was another fine read. David keeps cranking out quality issues on this title. X-Factor #18 was well paced giving us a satisfying blend of dialogue heavy scenes with a bit of action and excitement. This was also a well plotted issue with how Layla’s seemingly random assignments all clicked into place by the end of this issue.
Of course, David’s dialogue was top notch and all the characters are wonderfully developed with many layers to their personalities. This should not come as a surprise since I find X-Factor to be the title most committed to character work out of all the titles currently on the market.
X-Factor truly is an intelligent read. I can’t say that about many comic books that I read. Nor should I have to. A comic book doesn’t have to be “intelligent” for it to be an excellent read and well worth your money. However, it is enjoyable to read an “intelligent” comic book just as a refreshing change of pace. You can’t live off cotton candy just like you wouldn’t want to live off spinach.
David employs an enjoyable sense of humor in this issue. X-Factor in general is a rather dark title with storylines that are heavy and can really weigh on the reader. David wisely uses enough well placed humor in X-Factor #18 in order to keep the issue from being too dark. It also shows that David never takes himself or his story too seriously.
David continues to generate fantastic chemistry between the various characters. Rictor and Madrox always combine together for entertaining scenes. Their deli run highlighted how the two characters react differently to being manipulated by Layla.
Monet and Siryn continue to generate excellent chemistry. The scene with them standing on the street corner like two hookers was hilarious! I have to give David credit. Initially, I was not a fan of either Monet or Siryn. David has quickly changed that over the course of the past several issues. I now find both characters to be rather intriguing.
And I am continual shocked at how much David has made me absolutely love Layla’s character. Normally, you can count on my loathing the plucky teen-age female hero on any super team. Star-Girl and Cyclone from the JSA, Jubilee from the X-Men, Jolt from the Thunderbolts, etc. They are normally phenomenally irritating and annoying.
David wisely gives us the anti-plucky teen-age female hero with Layla. She is everything that the aforementioned teen-age female heroes are not. She doesn’t babble on like a bubble headed idiot. She isn’t overly perky and optimistic. Layla has an old soul. She is a scruffy alterna-teen who looks at the world with a jaundiced eye. She has a cool laid back attitude.
Best of all is Layla’s intriguing power which is a wonderful literary tool. There are endless entertaining possibilities with a writer like David who knows how to properly employ Layla’s abilities. X-Factor #18 is an excellent example of how Layla’s powers can be used to create a neat story.
David delivers an exciting hook ending to X-Factor #18. We get both the Blob and Fatale and then the final page appearance of Marrow. That is a pretty good ending that certainly gets me interested in the next issue.
I’m glad to see that David is focusing on many of the ex-mutants. It is interesting to see what characters like the Blob who were extremely powerful mutant villains and to contrast what they were with what they are currently doing. Plus, X-Factor is pretty much the only Marvel title that is still exploring the ramifications of the House of M story. To me, House of M failed to live up to the hype and was quickly dumped and overshadowed by the impending juggernaut known as Civil War.
I’m glad that David is still investigating the fall out from the events of the House of M and Decimation. There are still plenty of potential storylines to be cultivated out of M-Day that would provide for some entertaining issues.
The Bad: I’m just not a big fan of Khoi Pham’s artwork. I find it to be boring and unappealing. The art on X-Factor has been the Achilles’ heel for this excellent title. I’m disappointed that Pablo Raimondi was kept on this title.
Overall: X-Factor #18 was another fine read. David continues to impress with his incredible work on this title. There are very few reads on the market as well done as X-Factor. I strongly recommend giving this title a try.