Comic Book Review: X-Factor #21: Endangered Species

Last issue of X-Factor concluded a major story arc. So, David should have something new and interesting in store for us with X-Factor #21. This title is always a quality read and I have no reason to believe that we won’t get more of the same with this issue. Let’s go ahead and do this review for X-Factor #21.

Creative Team
Writer: Peter David
Penciler: 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 Jamie drinking by himself. He thinks how it sucks being alone. A dupe then appears and asks Jamie if they had sex would it constitute actual intercourse or would it just be masturbation. Jamie thinks that maybe there is something to being alone.

We shift to an icy cave in some remote location. Jamie talks how humans need to be with each other for a sense of community and security. That solitude will eventually make a person crazy. We see a man with a glowing red eye and a hood over his head yells out for the voices to stop. The man hears all the thoughts from thousands of people. The man takes some pills and then the voices disappear.

We cut back to X-Factor’s brownstone where Layla reminds Nicole to jiggle the toilet handle or else stuff will come back up through the toilet. Nicole thanks Layla for being nice to her and then heads to the bathroom. Layla says to herself what a little creep Nicole is.

We shift to Jamie approaching Monet and Siryn. Jamie asks if they can all be friends again. Jamie apologizes profusely for his mistake in sleeping with both of them. Jamie says he is just trying to be honest. Guido enters the room to watch the excitement. Monet tells Jamie that if he is honest and tells them which woman was better in bed then she will forgive him.

Jamie panics and knows that if he says the truth then Siryn will be upset that Monet was better in bed. Luckily, Rahne enters the room and yells at Monet for being so cruel. Rahne says that sometimes she can’t stand any of them. Monet tells Rahne to back off. That when Rahne gets all mad she gets this weird doggie breath and it makes Monet sick. Monet suddenly covers her mouth and rushes to the bathroom to puke.

We see the mysterious man with the red eye suddenly teleport onto a road in New York. A big truck hits the man and the man doesn’t move an inch. The truck is demolished and the driver flies through the windshield and onto the street. The mysterious man calls the driver an idiot and trudges on.

Jamie narrates how it is a scary world and it is nice to know that you are not alone. We cut to Nicole looking out of her bedroom window and seeing the mysterious man on the sidewalk looking at her. Nicole smiles.

We cut to Rictor’s room. Rahne enters and gives Rictor some food. Rictor knocks the food away. Rictor is distraught that he lost his powers again. Rictor feels so alone now that he is no longer apart of the Earth. Rahne tells Rictor that he is not alone. The two then kiss. Jamie narrates how the greatest instinct in humans is the survival instinct. And that the more people there are the better the chances of survival. That there is strength in numbers. Even if it is only two. Rahne takes off her shirt and the two prepare for some sex. (Does this constitute bestiality on Rictor’s part?)

We shift to Guido meeting with Val Cooper at a diner. Guido is blunt and says he knows why Val wanted to meet with him. Guido asks Val how much she is going to offer to pay him to spy on X-Factor for her. Guido says he won’t do it and that he isn’t that type of person. Val then says that Guido has it all wrong. Val is here to ask Guido to be a Sheriff of Mutant Town. That Guido would be the “Special Deputy” and would be the head of law enforcement for the district.

We zip to an older couple meeting with Jamie, Monet and Siryn about retaining X-Factor’s services. The couple gives Jamie a picture of their two grandchildren. Evidently, their mother got re-married to a man who is a part of an anti-mutant cult. They have the children singing anti-mutant music praising the death of all mutants. The grandparents say that their grandchildren are being poisoned and brainwashed. The grandparents say that they have a court order allowing them visitation rights but that their daughter and her new husband never let them see the grandchildren.

The grandparents want X-Factor to provide the necessary muscle so they can see their grandchildren again and maybe even undo some of the damage. Jamie asks Monet and Siryn if they would like to get their hands dirty. Both ladies say “yes.” They then both touch Jamie and say “Thanks, boss. Appreciate it.” Jamie thinks how he thinks they sounded sincere.

We cut to Nicole entering the kitchen with a plastic bad in her hands. Nicole tells Layla that the toilet flushed back something from earlier. It is a pregnancy test. The pregnancy test is positive. Layla is stunned because this is something that she didn’t know what going to happen. And that if she doesn’t know that something is going to happen then it can’t be good.

We shift to Jamie drinking alone in a bar. Jamie thinks how this probably isn’t a good thing. Suddenly, the mysterious man from earlier enters bar. The man introduces himself as Josef Huber. Huber says that he and Jamie are going to become great allies. That they are rather alike in a way. That Huber has always been an isolationist and that it is a terrible way to live.

We get an Endangered Species back-up story. Beast demands to see the High Evolutionary. Snow Cat refuses to let Beast pass. The two begin to brawl. High Evolutionary then telepathically tells Snow Cat to bring Beast to him so they can talk alone.

We cut to Beast asking High Evolutionary for help. High Evolutionary doesn’t see any need to help the Beast. High Evolutionary believes what happened to the mutants is a part of nature. Just like how an asteroid killed off the dinosaurs.

High Evolutionary says that since magic created the demise of the mutants that science may not be able to remedy the problem. High Evolutionary tells Beast that it is better that Beast stays where he is than to embark on these grand voyages to the wrong destinations. That High Evolutionary told this to one of Beast’s colleagues when he cam here, and like the Beast, he found the truth unacceptable.

The Beast asks the name of the colleague. High Evolutionary refuses to talk anymore and tells his animal soldiers to take Beast to the outer gates. That their business has concluded. We see Beast walking away from the outer gate. End of story.

The Good: X-Factor #21 was another good read. David just keeps the ball rolling on this title delivering Marvel’s most dependable and consistently good read each and every month. X-Factor #21 was well paced and plotted as David unfolds the new story arc in a measured manner. David has an excellent sense of timing and has always allowed the various plotlines to unfold in a natural manner. David always takes the time to make sure that each plot has a proper foundation.

I dig this twist that David throws at us with the interesting proposition that Val makes to Guido. Guido as a government sanctioned Deputy? Wow, I did not see that coming at all. This is a neat move by David. Will Guido accept Val’s offer. I have a feeling that he will. And it will be curious to see how this plays out with his teammates. There is plenty of tension between X-Factor and the government. And X-Factor has made it publicly known that Mutant Town is under their protection and not the government’s protection.

The scene with Rahne and Rictor scene was well done. It was an emotional scene that conveyed the feelings of loneliness that are overwhelming both characters. This scene was quite emotional. I feel bad for both characters. On the surface, this seems like an unusual combination. However, it is only natural that these two lonely souls would seek comfort and warmth in each others arms.

David has done an excellent job evolving Rictor’s character in the wake of M-Day. What is amazing is that I actually like Rictor’s character much more since he lost his powers than I ever did when he had his powers. David does a brilliant job conveying Rictor’s sense of loss.

David shows that mutant powers do not make a character and that readers will be just as interested in these powerless ex-mutants as we were when the characters had powers. This excellent character work that David is giving us with Rictor is just another example of how X-Factor is heads and shoulders above the other X-titles in terms of writing.

The scene where Nicole shows Layla the positive pregnancy test was quite titillating. Just who is the pregnant member of X-Factor? I would imagine it is either Monet or Siryn as a result of Jamie hooking up with both ladies. Which one do I think it is? I’m going to go with Monet. Only because a pregnant Monet has much more entertainment potential. You could see Siryn being a mom. Monet? No way. That is about the last thing I could ever see Monet being. And the fact that “little miss know everything” Layla didn’t see this coming is very interesting.

As always, the scenes with Jamie rocked. Jamie is David’s darling and it shows in each and every issue. David has made Jamie Madrox one of my most favorite characters in the entire 616 universe.

Nicole is certainly a strange girl. Evidently, there is some connection between Nicole and Josef Huber. I’m interested to learn more about Nicole. She is certainly more than she seems. And the fact that Layla doesn’t like Nicole makes the reader uneasy about what Nicole might be up to.

Josef Huber is a pretty cool mysterious character. I loved the scene of Huber in the cave being plagued by all the thoughts of the people in the city. David has piqued my interest with this character that lives in isolation just to keep his tenuous grip on sanity. It seems that Jamie never has a single dull moment in his life. Huber and whatever his unknown mission is will be the centerpiece of the new story arc which should be another fun ride.

I really enjoyed David’s running inner monologue that discussed the themes of loneliness and the human instinct and need to be a part of a larger group. This inner monologue weaves and connects all the various different scenes together in such a pleasing fashion. It is rather poetic and is part of what makes X-Factor the best written comic book that Marvel publishes.

Endangered Species back-up story was average. For the most part, I found the dialogue between Beast and High Evolutionary to be a bit dull. However, this mysterious colleague of the Beast who has already spoken with High Evolutionary is quite fascinating. I’m curious to find out just who is this mysterious colleague.

I also agree with High Evolutionary that M-Day can certainly be viewed as just nature’s way of weeding out the mutants. I also found it interesting that High Evolutionary mentions that science may not be the answer for a problem rooted in magic. Might this cause Beast to venture off in a different direction than his current course?

Mi hermano, Pablo Raimondi, was a welcome addition to X-Factor #21. The artwork on X-Factor over the past several issues had been abysmal. Raimondi delivers quality artwork that is a nice match to the tone and mood that David has created on this title.

The Bad: I have no complaints with this issue.

Overall: X-Factor #21 is another fine read. David continues to impress me with his top-notch work on this title. X-Factor is always an absolute joy to read. Unlike many comic books, X-Factor is actually worthy of being called a work of literature. If you enjoy a comic book with a commitment to character development, well crafted dialogue and plots that engage the reader then definitely give X-Factor a try. It may be an X-title, but it is totally unlike any other X-title on the market.

2 thoughts on “Comic Book Review: X-Factor #21: Endangered Species

  1. The “Isolationist” character was apparently introduced in David’s original X-Factor run and then left as one of many dangling plots from the 1990s for over a decade; I have no idea who he is; but, so far, his introduction works as well as if he was a new character, so no complaints about that.

    As for who’s pregnant, M is the obvious choice, given the vomiting; but the most wild fan theory I’ve read is that both M and Siryn are both pregnant; that the test is Siryn’s, and M vomiting means she’s also pregnant. That would be pretty awesome. Given the early word on “Messiah CompleX” is that it involves the X-Men, the Purifiers, and the Marauders facing off over an unexpected mutant birth, maybe this his something to do with it (although given that both parents in each potential case are mutants, this wouldn’t qualify as “unexpected”).

    The “Endangered Species” story was good; nothing spectacular, but there’s only so much you can do in an eight-page backup story. Mike Carey writes a fantastic Beast, so it’s great that he’s the central character.

  2. Two fun facts.

    1) “A dupe then appears and asks Jamie if they had sex would it constitute actual intercourse or would it just be masturbation. “

    I asked my rabbi the same question in regards to a female clone of myself.

    2) “Evidently, their mother got re-married to a man who is a part of an anti-mutant cult. They have the children singing anti-mutant music praising the death of all mutants. The grandparents say that their grandchildren are being poisoned and brainwashed.”

    This story is based on a true story about two twin girls who put out a CD of Arayan Power music. The story is here.

    With a picture here.

    Note the lovely tee-shirts although I think I just validated Rokk’s no Nazi rule. Two points off for me.

    PS, It was M who started puking.

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