The Revolution always looks forward to the latest issue of X-Factor. David never disappoints on this title. At the moment, X-Factor is arguably the best written comic book from Marvel. There is no doubt in my mind that X-Factor #23 will be another excellent read. Let’s do this review.
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 Quicksilver pulling Layla from the river. Quicksilver gives Layla CPR and saves her life. Quicksilver thinks how Layla can only die at his hands and no one else’s. Quicksilver then knocks out Layla.
We cut to the X-Factor brownstone where Beast and Cyclops arrive since Jamie has called them in to listen to Josef Huber’s plan to save mutantkind. Huber tells Beast and Cyclops his plan to use the Endangered Species Act to protect mutants. Cyclops is interested and tells Huber to tell him more.
Layla wakes up in a room with a creepy Quicksilver staring at her. Quicksilver rambles on about how he has to kill Layla. Quicksilver lunges at her and Layla manages to slip past him and run out of the room. Quicksilver curses at how slowly he moves now without his powers. Layla runs out of the room and realizes that Quicksilver has taken her to an empty carnival. Quicksilver chases after her.
Quicksilver is on the carousel that is rotating around and doesn’t see an iron bar headed for his face. Quicksilver smashes into the iron bar and is knocked out.
We cut to Solo and Clary with the two kids that Monet and Siryn are after. Solo puts them on an elevator in a hotel that is to take them to the penthouse where Clay is waiting for them. Suddenly, the elevator jerks and begins to rise up in the air. Clay and Solo force open the elevator doors and notice that there is a hole in the elevator shaft where the elevator was airlifted away.
We see Monet and Siryn flying away with Monet carrying the elevator by its cables. Clay then calls Huber and informs him that Monet and Siryn have the kids and that they should be occupied for a little while longer. Huber is pleased. Huber hangs up his cell
Huber thinks how he is glad that he has all the telepaths out of the way. That Cyclops and Beast are susceptible to his powers since they didn’t bring a telepath with them. And that Huber has taken care of the three X-Factor members in Layla, Siryn and Monet that would be able to ferret out his plans. Huber does notice that Rictor, even though he has no powers, seems to be resistant to Huber’s influence.
Suddenly, Jamie’s cell phone rings. It is Layla on the other line. Layla frantically tells Jamie that Nicole tried to kill her and that Nicole is working for some guy named Huber. Jamie puts down the phone. Huber realizes that his cover has been blow. We now have a brawl as Huber immediately attacks the members of X-Factor.
Huber has all the different powers of just about every member of the X-Men. Huber thinks how he has been manipulating all the events over the past several months. That Huber supplied X-Cell with the weaponry to approximate their lost powers. That Huber arranged for Monet and Syrn to be elsewhere so their mind-based powers wouldn’t threaten him. Huber had Nicole take care of Layla so her abilities wouldn’t threaten him. That Huber was a silent partner in Singularity Investigations. That Huber is their god.
Huber opens up a mechanical portal built courtesy of Forge’s skills and transports them to a frozen arctic location. End of story.
Forge shows Beast a machine that he built that combines the mutant detecting Cerebra technology with the chronal machinery that powers Nimrod’s time travel. That it can scan various timelines. It can search them for mutants. That ever since M-Day, all the different timelines that we have seen in the pages of X-Men have either ceased to exist or they still exist but there are no mutants in them. There is no registering of any mutants at all in any of the various timelines.
Beast refuses to accept what Forge has shown him. Beast totally freaks out. Forge offers his help to the Beast. Beast rebuffs Forge’s offer and says that none of them can help him.
We cut to the Beast arriving back at a motel room he is sharing with Dark Beast. Beast says that they have been wasting their time. That mutants came from human parents whose DNA combines to create the X-Gene in their offspring. That Scarlet Witch destroyed the X-Greene, but she couldn’t have destroyed its building blocks. That they can isolate chromosomes from normal humans that combine to create mutants and then rebuild a viable X-Gene from scratch.
Dark Beast counters that mutation is a one-in-a-million occurrence and finding the right humans would be life finding a needle in a genetic haystack. Beast responds that he already knows where to look. End of issue.
The Good: X-Factor #23 was another wonderful read. David dishes out a well plotted and paced issue. This story has been moving along at David’s typical restrained and steady pace as he has slowly constructed this story arc. X-Factor was the crescendo as the pacing significantly increased and David delivers a rather dramatic turn of events with the end of X-Factor #23.
Of course, David spins his usually finely crafted dialogue. I never doubt for a moment what enjoyable dialogue we are going to get with each issue of X-Factor. The dialogue has such a pleasant and natural flow. And this is a huge part of what pulls the reader into the story. You never get that typical comic book dialogue that seems stiff, forced or a bit over the top. David is able to generate such realistic dialogue that each of the characters seem as real as you and I.
And this strong dialogue goes hand-in-hand with David’s incredible character development that makes each member of X-Factor such deep and complex three-dimensional characters. And I definitely am digging David’s version of Quicksilver. I have always found Pietro to be a rather boring and bland character. Not anymore.
David is giving us such a creepy and twisted version of Quicksilver. Pietro embodies all the desperation and delusional behavior of a man who once possessed great power and the ego to match. I’m interested to see what David has in store for Quicksilver. Pietro has certainly fallen about as far down as a character can go. But, we all know that Pietro is going to make a rebound at some point.
David continues to tease the reader with some strange circumstances surrounding Rictor ever since he defeated Quicksilver. We know that Rictor has some of the Terrigan crystals embedded along his spine. Evidently, these crystals are giving him some sort of psychic abilities that shield him from Huber’s powers. I’m definitely interested to see what David has in store for Rictor.
David does a brilliant job of blowing the readers mind with this issue. David manages to seamlessly tie Huber into all of the various disparate plotlines which succeeds in creating a cohesive and unified story since the very first issue of X-Factor. Nothing that has happened has been an isolated incident or random. That everything has been a part of what is obviously a much grander plan. And what exactly is this grand plan that Huber is hatching? I cannot wait to learn more about why Huber has been playing the puppet master with X-Factor for the past twenty-three issues.
X-Factor #23 has such an impressive construction and flow to the story. David frames every scene just right. I dig how David has Jamie and Huber face to face at the Brownstone as each one of them gets their phone calls one after each other. I love how all the different pieces click together with the two phone calls and everything is set in place for the big showdown between Huber and X-Factor.
Often it seems that writers overlook the general framework and flow of an issue. That they simply dash scenes together with no rhyme or reason. David takes the effort to make the transitions between the scenes seamless and artistic. He takes the framing of the story and uses it to make the issue have a more rhythmic and imaginative flow
David definitely serves up a fantastic hook ending. We have Huber kicking ass and then suddenly teleporting Jamie, Strong Guy, Rictor and Rahne out into the middle of some arctic region. And none of our heroes in trouble can teleport or fly. It should certainly be interesting to see how our heroes get themselves out of this mess.
Raimondi cranks out his usual nice artwork. Raimondi’s style is a good match to David’s tone on the title. It is also enjoyable to finally see the artist carrousel on this title stop spinning. A consistent artistic vision to a title is vitally important to its long term success.
The backup story was average. At least we finally got some direction and movement on what has been a lumbering and listless story. It was a cool plot twist that there are no mutants in the various future timelines. Hopefully, the Beast’s plan that he devises at the end of this issue actually turns out to be more successful than all of his previous ideas. This is part 11 of a 17 part story so it is definitely time for this storyline to get moving.
The Bad: I have no complaints with this issue.
Overall: X-Factor #23 was an exciting issue with David dropping several bombs on the reader as we finally see how the different ongoing plotlines on this title all relate to each other. If you still haven’t given this title a try, then definitely do so. David delivers one of the strongest reads that Marvel publishes. And David does so on a consistent level each and every month.