Comic Book Review: X-Factor #20

Peter David gave us a great hook ending with the last issue of X-Factor. I cannot wait to see what Quicksilver’s plan for Rictor is and if Rictor is going to decide to join up with Quicksilver. X-Factor #20 should definitely be one interesting read. Let’s hit this review.

Creative Team
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: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10.

Synopsis: We begin with Quicksilver channeling his powers through Rictor to restore the mutant powers to Cross, Fatale, Abyss and Reaver. Rictor comments that he still doesn’t have his powers back and then passes out. Callisto tells Marrow to not let Quicksilver restore her powers. That Marrow should at least wait and see what happens to the other first.

Suddenly, the ground shakes and Cross looks out the window and sees a scene out of the movie “300.” We see hundreds of Madrox dupes armed with trash can lids and shields marching toward Quicksilver’s building. Madrox thinks how this is one of those rare moments of unity between his dupes. That the members of X-Cell must pay for poisoning one of his dupes and almost killing Siryn.

Cross, Abyss, Fatale and Reaver rush out the building. Guido, Monet and Guido come out from behind of Madrox’s dupes. And we have a huge brawl on our hands.

We cut back to Quicksilver’s apartment where Layla Miller makes her entrance. Layla plays a recording of Cyclops from several issues back where he admits that M-Day was the result of the Scarlet Witch and not the result of some sinister government scheme to destroy mutants.

Quicksilver summons up another version of himself and then lunges for Layla and Marrow steps in and takes down both Quicksilvers. Callisto takes down the third version of Quicksilver. Another version of Quicksilver appears and stabs Marrow in her back.

We shift back to the brawl outside. Suddenly, Cross begins to glow and Maddrox smells something burning. It is Cross. Cross then explodes into a huge burst of flames. The other members of X-Cell suddenly begin to feel hot as well. Monet wisely distances herself from the members of X-Cell due to the fact that she is wearing a brand new shirt.

We hop back into Quicksilver’s apartment where Quicksilver grabs Layla and tries to use his power on her. To his surprise nothing happens. Layla isn’t a mutant after all. Rictor wakes up and tells Quicksilver to let go of Layla. Layla then mentions that the newly re-powered member of X-Cell are spontaneously combusting.

Rictor yells that he is shutting down Quicksilver and grabs him. Quicksilver attempts to use his powers on Rictor. Rictor then digs deep inside and uses his earth powers to eject all the shards of the Terrigan crystals from out of Quicksilver’s body. Quicksilver collapses to the ground.

Wolfsbane then enters the apartment. Layla tells Wolfsbane that Quicksilver is powerless. For her to forget Quicksilver and help with Rictor. Rictor says how he is powerless again, but how great it felt for a second there to have his powers again. Rictor then says that he thinks he is dying.

We shift back outside where Abyss uses his powers to transport himself, Fatale and Reaver to the Brimstone dimension in hopes that it will stop them from also exploding.

Madrox thinks how Val Cooper isn’t going to be thrilled about this. That X-Cell’s leader is dead, half their membership has vanished into literally nothing. That Callisto and Marrow have escaped. And Quicksilver is no longer a threat and there is no reason to turn him over to Val.

Madrox says that Quicksilver was able to pull version of himself from the future and bring them to the present. However, if something happens to one of those future selves in the present then when Pietro “catches up” to that point in time…then his “past” is going to return to haunt him.

We see Quicksilver in an alley holding the final remaining shard from the Terrigan crystals. Suddenly, the final shard also disappears in a puff of smoke. Quicksilver cries out “Noooo!” and then stumbles through the alley. End of issue.

The Good: X-Factor #20 was another great read. David turns in a well paced story that provides the reader with tons of action. Actually, it is quite a rarity to get an issue of X-Factor that is heavier with action scenes than dialogue heavy scenes. However, it was a nice change of pace to get plenty of quality action.

Of course, just because we got more action than usual, it doesn’t mean that David didn’t give us his usual well crafted dialogue. David also delivers a well plotted issue as everything seems to come together just like Layla Miller told X-Factor it would. The reader realizes as we watch the members of X-Cell literally implode that Layla Miller was right that the issue with X-Cell would resolve itself. And it did.

This was certainly an interesting resolution to this story arc. I didn’t see David ending it in this fashion. But, I liked it. Rictor got to man up and have his one last moment in the sun as a super powered hero. Quicksilver lost his precious Terrigan crystals. And on top of it all we learn that Layla Miller is not a mutant. That is a satisfying resolution that neatly resolves the loose end in Quicksilver and places a new question in the reader’s mind with regard to Layla Miller.

There is no doubt that Layla Miller rocked it in this issue. I love her attitude! Nothing David ever does is without an eye to the future. The little speech from Cyclops a while back definitely come into play as Layla use a recording to expose Quicksilver for the fraud that he is.

And what exactly is Layla Miller? We know she isn’t a mutant. But, she definitely isn’t a normal human due to her unnatural powers. So, my guess is that Layla is the same thing that Jamie Madrox is: a Killcrop. It shall certainly be interesting to learn more about Layla’s mysterious nature and powers.

It was cool to see Rictor powering up and taking down Quicksilver in a decisive fashion. I hope that Rictor doesn’t die. Even though he is a de-powered mutant, he is definitely an integral part of X-Factor. David has managed to make Rictor into a rather compelling and interesting character.

I thought Quicksilver’s fate was perfect. Quicksilver has totally lost his mind. He has played god with his fellow de-powered mutants and has caused numerous deaths. For Quicksilver a life without powers is worse than death. I’m curious to see what is in store for Quicksilver. You know that he isn’t going to give up his quest for re-gaining his mutant powers.

Now this is a rather dark and serious issue with the death of Cross and the gruesome fate of Reaver, Fatale and Abyss and the showdown with Quicksilver. However, David keeps X-Factor #20 from being too dark by injecting some humorous dialogue into the story. The scene with Monet and Fatale was pretty funny. It made me love Monet even more. I also liked the levity added to this issue by the 300 reference in Madrox’s style of attack on Quicksilver’s building.

The Bad: I remain unimpressed by Khoi Pham and Sandu Florea’s artwork. I find the art to be terribly dull and drab. It just creates an incredibly boring feel to what is an excellent story.

Overall: X-Factor #20 was another great read. David continues to make X-Factor by far and away the best written of all the X-titles. I know this title isn’t going to get the sales numbers that Uncanny X-Men and X-Men will. However, X-Factor is a much better buy than those other two titles. You definitely get your money’s worth each and every month with David’s X-Factor.