Comic Book Review: X-Factor #27: Messiah Complex

Messiah Complex just gets better and better with each issue. I fully expect David to push along the Layla/Jamie future plotline in X-Factor #27. I have a feeling that we are in store for another quality read. Let’s not waste any more time and go ahead and do this review.

Creative Team
Writer: Peter David
Pencils: Scott Eaton
Inks: John Dell, Andrew Hennessey & Dave Meikis

Art Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10.
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10.
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10.

Synopsis: We begin with Layla bumping into one of the internment camp guards. Layla and Jamie’s dupe then approach a young Lucas Bishop. Bishop tells Layla and Jamie’s dupe that the mutant messiah came along and everyone thought everything was great. Of course, until the messiah ended up killing a million humans.

Lucas says that he wishes the messiah was never born. Lucas says that people tried to kill the messiah when she was a baby. Bishop says the he wishes someone would have killed the messiah. Then his parents would still be alive and he wouldn’t be living in a concentration camp for mutants.

Layla then hugs Jamie’s dupe and says that she is sorry. One of the guards from earlier cries out that he is missing a grenade. Layla attaches the missing grenade to the dupe’s shirt. Layla apologizes and says that this is the only way. Layla says “Trust me. I’m Layla…Madrox. I know st—“ and with that the grenade explodes and Jamie’s dupe is killed.

We shift back to the present at Forge’s lab. Emma tells Scott that the triplicates have located Gambit. That the Marauders are on Muir Island. Scott contacts Bishop and X-Force to head to Muir Island immediately. That Scott’s team will meet up with them there as soon as possible.

We see Siryn standing next to Jamie’s comatose body. Siryn prays to God about how they really have had a tough time lately and that they desperately need some help. Suddenly, Jamie snaps out of his coma. Siryn yells for the rest of the X-Men and X-Factor to come over here immediately. Suddenly, the M tattoo from Jamie’s dupe appears on Jamie’s face. Jamie immediately asks “Where’s Bishop?”

We cut to Professor X on Cable’s ship. Professor X is doing his best to work on Cable’s injuries. Professor X tells Cable that he has already worked past Cable’s psi-shields. That once Professor X is done repairing Cable that Nathan has some explaining to do. Professor X says that if he likes what Cable says then he won’t shut down Cable’s brain and he will help Cable save mutantkind.

We shift back to Forge’s lab. Emma can’t get a read on Bishop. That he must be using some sort of scrambler. Scott reasons that Bishop had contacts within ONE and could have orchestrated the Sentinels attack on the X-Men. Jamie barks at Scott that they have to go find Layla immediately. Emma uses her powers to make Jamie go back to sleep.

We slide back to Charles and Cable talking. Cable says that he was not behind the Sentinels attack on the X-Men. Cable says that he is not a traitor to the X-Men. Cable says that he doesn’t have time to explain how he is not dead. Cable says that all that matters is that the baby survives. That Cable is the only one who can keep the baby safe. Charles agrees to help Cable. Cable and Professor X then head toward Muir Island.

We jump over to Muir Island. The Marauders have set up camp. We see Gambit holding the baby. Mr. Sinister orders the Marauders to prepare for the X-Men’s arrival. Gambit hands the baby over to Mr. Sinister. Mr. Sinister and Gambit then leave the rest of the Marauders and enter Mr. Sinister’s lab. There we see what appears to be Mr. Sinister’s corpse on the ground. The Mr. Sinister that is alive then transforms into Mystique. Mystique holds the baby and tells Gambit that it is time for the next step.

We cut back over to the X-Mansion. The New X-Men head over to the graveyard. There they find Predator X snacking on the remains of some dead mutants. We slide back to Bishop and X-Force arriving on Muir Island. The team walks around and is stunned that there is no sign of the Marauders. The place looks abandoned.

Wolverine then retorts that maybe it is all a ruse done by someone like Lady Mastermind to make them think that the place is empty. Suddenly, Wolverine stabs his claws out in front of him. We then see that Wolverine has gutted Lady Mastermind. With her possible death, the illusion disappears and we see that the Marauders have surrounded X-Force. End of issue.

The Good: X-Factor #27 was another excellent installment of the Messiah Complex story arc. David serves up a nicely plotted and paced issue. With only two issues left to the Messiah Complex story arc, David goes ahead and slides into place the various pieces in order to set up for the dramatic final finish. David makes sure to give the reader an enjoyable mix of action and drama.

David constructs plenty of his normally well done dialogue. All the various characters speak with their own unique voice and this leads to some nice chemistry in this issue. As we have gotten throughout this story arc, David keeps the twists and turns flying at the reader. And this was evident in the stunning scene involving Layla and Jamie’s dupe in the future. We finally get the big payoff with this plotline as our two heroes learn that Bishop must be the traitor who is trying to kill the baby. This scene certainly makes the reader understand the basis for Bishop’s motivation to kill the baby mutant.

And David ends the future plotline scene with a dramatic ending. Layla hooking the grenade to the side of Jamie’s dupe knowing full well that the dupe must die in order for Jamie to receive his knowledge about Bishop. What a painful and traumatic decision Layla has to make in this scene. And then Layla delivers her usual tagline except this time she calls herself Layla Madrox instead of Layla Miller. This furthers the fact that at some point Layla and Jamie do indeed end up getting married. This was such a cool way to close out this scene.

David also delivers a wonderfully crafted scene between Cable and Professor X. I dig the edge to Professor X’s character that we see in this scene when he threatens to shut off Cable’s mind. David does a nice job building off of the new more aggressive Professor X that Brubaker has been giving us over on Uncanny X-Men. I like seeing Professor X loosen up a bit and being more willing to use his powers in a much more aggressive and invasive fashion.

Of course, David wasn’t done with the swerves just yet. David delivers a total shocker with the apparent death of Mr. Sinister and Mystique assuming Mr. Sinister’s identity to now run the show. I loved it. This is the type of thing that has made Messiah Complex such a blast to read. The reader truly does not know what in the world is going to happen next. And the writers have done a great job making the reader believe that just about anything can happen and to not take anything at face value. I cannot wait to learn just what in the world that devious Mystique is plotting.

David then ends this issue with a rather dramatic ending with Wolverine having gutted Lady Mastermind and X-Force squaring off against the Marauders. We certainly are going to be in store for one huge battle in the next issue.

The artwork by committee is not terrible, but it certainly isn’t anything great either.

The Bad: I still find the Predator X plotline to be the weakest plotline. It appears to be just a throw away plotline designed to keep the New X-Men busy and out of the way of the big boys during the massive conclusion to this story arc.

Overall: X-Factor #27 was another strong read. Marvel continues to impress me with the impressive quality of work that they have cranked out on Messiah Complex. It is great to see Marvel finally successfully pulling off a big event. Again, if you have not been reading Messiah Complex then I urge you to get this story arc when it is released in trade paperback format. It has enough quality drama, character work and action to appeal to a broad base of comic book readers.

2 thoughts on “Comic Book Review: X-Factor #27: Messiah Complex

  1. Loving this storyline.
    I’ve been wondering why Sinister was being drawn sligtly differently. (with stuble)
    And was wondering if he might have lost his powers on M-Day.
    I think the fact that Mystique has killed him confirms it. (In the past only Cyclops optic blast could hurt him)
    Anoter excellent twist. I haven’t read a storyline with so many great twists in a long time.
    Looking forward to seeing Gambit and Mystiques plan for the baby. (must be to help Rogue)
    And to see how the X-Men react to Bishops betrayal.

  2. Sinister still has powers (he used his telepathy in the last X-Men arc, for example). One of the theories floating around the net is that Mystique got Rogue to use her instant-death-touch on him.

    I’m uncertain about whether he’s dead, or just incapacitated (at any rate, next week promises to reveal his “fate”).

    My bet is that Layla makes it back from the future, but after several years, so that she and Madrox can get hitched within the timeframe of the current series (and now they’ve got matching tattoos and everything!).

    I didn’t notice the different inkers while I was reading, but, going over it, that does account for the changes in feel.

    Wolverine got plenty of cool stuff to do this week; which just goes to show that the character works best when he’s just doing Wolverine-type stuff, rather than being shoved in Way and Loeb’s annoying plots.

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