Comic Book Review: X-Factor #29

The Revolution always looks forward to the newest issue of X-Factor with baited breath. Peter David was simply born to write this title. David consistently delivers such an incredibly well executed issue each and every month. I fully expect X-Factor #29 to be another fantastic read. Let’s hit this review.

Creative Team
Writer: Peter David
Pencils: Valentine De Landro
Inks: Andrew Hennessey

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 Rictor burning the letter that Rahne left him to explain why she left X-Factor. Rictor thinks that he doesn’t give a damn why Rahne left and he no longer gives a damn about her.

We cut to Jamie and Guido stunned that their favorite bar in mutant town is closed. We some more “Gameday Improvement” signs near the closed bar. Jamie talks about that maybe they should give up. That mutant town no longer has many mutants left in it. That it is now called the Middle East Side.

Guido says that X-Factor is needed. Jamie says that there isn’t even an X-Factor anymore. That Rahne is gone. That Layla is missing in the future. And that Guido is leaving to become the government’s sheriff of mutant town. Guido then states that he told Val Cooper that she could take the job offer and shove it. That he would never leave X-Factor no matter the money. Jamie responds that Val rescinded the offer because there is no longer any mutant town left. Guido stands there slackjawed that Jamie guessed the truth.

We see Jamie entering the brownstone. He thinks how he is barely holding X-Factor together. That even though the thought of quitting sickens him, maybe it is time for him to realize that it is a losing fight trying to keep X-Factor together. Still, Jamie can’t shake that feeling that they have unfinished business.

We see Siryn and Monet sitting on a couch. Siryn tells Monet that she is going to tell Jamie that she is pregnant with his baby. Siryn calls out for Jamie, but he is lost in his thoughts and walks past her. Monet then screams “Idiot” at Jamie and gets his attention. Siryn then tells Jamie that she has something to tell him. Jamie cuts Siryn short and says that he knows what it is. Jamie says that Siryn could not have picked a worse time. That he really expected more from her.

Siryn snaps that she expected more from Jamie. That Jamie should be supportive considering he had a little something to do with it. Jamie yells for Siryn to go ahead and blame everything on him. That everything in the world is his fault.

Rictor then enters the room and tells Jamie that he is quitting X-Factor and then walks out of the room. Jamie then chases after Rictor. Siryn is seething at Jamie. Monet comments that this is all vaguely familiar. Suddenly, Monet says “Got it. ‘Three’s Company.’” That Siryn and Jamie’s conversation was like an episode of “Three’s Company” where two people have a massive misunderstand that could have been easily avoided.

Monet says that it is obvious that Jamie didn’t know what Siryn was going to talk about. that he thought Siryn was going to leave the team. That Siryn would have realized that Jamie is wrong a lot of the time if she weren’t blinded by being in love with him. Siryn protests that she is not in love with Jamie. Siryn then stops and thinks for a minute and realizes that she is in love with Jamie.

We cut to Jamie stopping Rictor before he gets out of the front door. Jamie tells Rictor to stay. Rictor says that there is no need for him to be on the team. That he isn’t even a mutant anymore. That he is just some type of weird mutant wannabe. Rictor says that he is sick of mutant stuff. That he is now a normal guy and should just live a normal life.

Jamie then tells Rictor to leave if he wants to. Jamie angrily says “Vaya con dios.” Rictor replies “Don’t speak Spanish. You sound like an idiot.” (LOL!!! I know that exact feeling! I have friends that I say the same thing to.) Jamie thinks how he always hears that humans are social animals. That maybe humans are loners by nature and are social merely out of necessity for survival and that sometimes being alone becomes more important than anything even survival.

Rictor steps out of the front door and is shocked that the X-Factor brownstone has been ripped from Earth and is floating in space. Rictor hops back into the brownstone and slams the door shut. Rictor stammers to Guido that they are in space. Guido opens the door and everything is perfectly normal. Guido asks Rictor if he is okay. Rictor runs back outside and swears that just a second ago the building was in space.

Guido thinks Rictor is just playing a joke on him and walks back into the building. Suddenly, a portal opens up beneath Rictor and he falls into it. Guido turns back around and is stunned that Rictor has disappeared.

We slide over to Jamie in the kitchen talking to Siryn. Siryn tries once again to tell Jamie that she is pregnant. Before she can say anything Jamie starts rambling on about how if they don’t all stick together that they are going to get slaughtered. That there are still all kinds of threats to mutants out there. Plus, they still have to get Layla back somehow. Guido then yells for Jamie to come outside.

We cut to outside the brownstone where Guido tells Monet, Siryn and Jamie that Rictor was standing on the sidewalk one second and disappeared the next. Jamie tells Guido to start pounding a hole in the concrete so then can see if it leads them to Rictor. Guido pounds a huge hole into the ground and the group hops into the sewers below.

Jamie thinks that this is exactly why X-Factor can’t quit. Because “they” will never quit. That there will always me more of “them” who will try to destroy and kill mutants for no other reason than that mutants exist. Kind of like why George Mallory wanted to climbed Mount Everett. Because it was there. The team walks through the tunnel under the sidewalk and then end up coming back out of the ground outside of the brownstone again.

We cut to Rictor waking up and being tied upside down on a cross with a giant swinging axe slowly lowering down between his legs. A voice from off panel says that he came up with the idea for this device while reading Edgar Allen Poe (David must be referring to The Pit and the Pendulum. Great story.) and watching the movie “Goldfinger.” Rictor screams out for Monet.

We hop back to X-Factor outside of the brownstone. Monet hears Rictor and flies off in his direction. Jamie makes a dupe who grabs a hold of Siryn as they fly off and follow Monet. Jamie and Guido then suddenly realize that everything around them has turned into a jungle. Guido comments that it must be a hologram. Suddenly, a large boulder rolls toward them and pins Guido to the ground.

Jamie thinks to himself that this is how they do it. Divide and conquer. That unlike heroes, villains don’t know the meaning of the word “quit.” The same villains just keep coming back again and again hoping to wear the heroes down. And that the villains just love to let you know it was them. Jamie then spies another “Gameday” sign that has a picture of Arcade on it. End of issue.

The Good: X-Factor #29 was yet another incredible read. David crafts a well paced issue as he employs a steady and measured pace that builds tension within the reader. This issue is also strongly plotted as David does a nice job seamlessly kicking off the new story arc with a clear direction and purpose in mind.

David composes more of his usual wonderful dialogue. This is largely what makes X-Factor such a delight to read. David gives each character strongly developed external voices. David continues to honor his commitment to phenomenal character work. There simply are not many titles that will deliver the same quality of characterization that X-Factor does. The members of X-Factor are some of the most fully developed and three dimensional characters that you will find on any comic book on the market.

I love Jamie’s running monologue in this issue. The running monologue that David serves up in each issue is one of the greatest strengths of X-Factor and certainly part of what makes X-Factor so special and unique. Jamie’s running monologue is practically poetry with the way it flows and the imagery and power in which it impacts on the reader.

David manages to create such thought provoking internal debates about the human condition in these running monologues. In X-Factor #29 the debate centers on the social aspect of human beings. The seemingly instinctual need to band together. And how this instinct to live in groups can conflict with the equally powerful urge to isolate oneself in times of crisis or trauma.

David’s running monologues actually get the reader intrigued and make us examine the topic at hand. David is wise and talented enough to show the reader the question at hand and to not simply lecture the reader. David merely floats the question out there and lets both sides of the debate make their case and then lets the story itself attempt to answer the question. This all enables the reader to critically challenge their own belief and then arrive at their own conclusion. David achieves what other writers attempt to do and fail. Many other writers when trying to do the same thing simply come across as lecturing, preachy and pontificating.

I loved how David handled Rahne’s decision to leave the team. David is clearly poking fun at the arbitrary editorial decision to strip Rahne from the team and place her on X-Force. David speaks through Rictor when he states that it doesn’t matter why Rahne left the team. And David is correct. There is no need to come up with some lame excuse for her leaving X-Factor. It is a shame that Rahne is gone since I’m sure whatever the editorial staff has in place for Rahne over on X-Force will not be able to match what David could have done with her character on X-Factor.

I totally dig David’s handling of Rictor’s character. Rictor is finally beginning to emerge from his denial about being an ex-mutant. For the first time, Rictor seems to be accepting that he is just a regular human and that by being a member of X-Factor that he is just acting like a weird mutant wannabee. Rictor makes a valid point. However, as we see in the end of this issue, the enemies of mutantkind are not going to be willing to let Rictor walk away just because he is now an ex-mutant.

And I was proud of mi hermano, Rictor, as he stood tough and resolute in the face of death. Rictor isn’t about to punk out and start crying and begging for mercy. Rictor shows his grit and determination as well as some very smart thinking as he yells out for Monet figuring that her super hearing will pick up his cries for help.

And speaking of Monet, let me just say once again how much I completely adore her character. She is simply awesome. For my money, Monet is the best female super hero in the 616 universe. I just dig her attitude and general outlook on life. And Monet serves the role of the gadfly very well.

Of course, despite the fact that X-Factor is a dark and moody title, David makes sure that he mixes in just enough humor. David’s humor is well placed and timed to keep this title from getting too dark and somber. And the humor isn’t in your face “Bwa-ha-ha” styled humor. And I certainly appreciate that.

The scene between Guido and Jamie is a nice example of the casual and nature style of humor that David brings to X-Factor. Of course, the best scene in this issue is the one where Monet uses a “Three’s Company” to explain Jamie’s reaction to Siryn when she tried to tell him that she is pregnant. That was awesome. It is always pure genius when a writer can work in “Three’s Company” into the story.

David ends X-Factor #29 with a great hook ending with the appearance of Arcade. I dig that David bringing back a fun old school X-Men villain in Arcade. Plus, I have always liked Arcade’s over the top and campy death traps. I also like that David had been teasing this appearance over the past couple of issues with all the “Gameday” signs that have been popping up around Mutant Town.

Valentine De Landro does a solid job acting as the fill-in artist for this issue. De Landro’s style is a nice fit for the style and mood on X-Factor.

The Bad: I have no complaints with this issue.

Overall: X-Factor #29 was a wonderful read. However, I readily understand that X-Factor is not for everyone. This title is not going to give the reader non-stop action. There aren’t going to be several double page splash shots and raucous brawls. X-Factor is more the thinking man’s comic book and draws its strength and charm from well crafted dialogue and character work. X-Factor is an incredibly well crafted title that should appeal to most comic book fans outside of action junkies.

1 thought on “Comic Book Review: X-Factor #29

  1. Peter David is one of my all time favorite writers but I think X-Factor is just average. Maybe I just had my fill of melodramatic mutant teams or maybe I just dont synch with the characters. It’s not bad like Wolverine or Wolverine Origins, but all in all, New X-Men was the better title.

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