Writer: Peter David
Penciler: Dennis Calero
Inker: Jose Villarrubia
Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 5.
Synopsis: X-Factor #5 starts with Rictor showing up at the diner that Siryn said she was going to grab a bite. She isn’t there, so Rictor uses the tracer they all carry to find her.
We then cut to an abandoned theater with Siryn all beat up, tied up to a chair and gagged. A doctor who used to be a mutant patched up her injuries from the last issue. The doctor rants and raves about how he used to be a mutant before he lost his abilities. He slaps Siryn around a little. The doctor continues to talk to Siryn and un-gags her. Her vocal cords have been temporarily paralyzed due to the dart from the last issue.
The doctor continues to torture Siryn by stabbing her leg to make sure she will behave. The doctor continues to rant and rave about mutants losing their powers and how X-Factor and X-Men haven’t done anything to find out who is responsible for the mutants losing their powers.
We then cut back to Rictor who finds Siryn’s tracking device and then a lock of her hair and follows it to the stage door of the abandoned theater. We see the doctor threatening to cut out one of Siryn’s eyes if she doesn’t swear to find out who de-powered the mutants and then fix everything and get the mutants back their powers. Siryn says she can’t do that.
Rictor then calls out for Siryn. The doctor sneaks around to behind Rictor and is just about to stab him in the back when Siryn frees one of her arms, pulls the ball gag out of her mouth, and lets out a sonic scream blasting the doctor’s glasses into his eyes. The doctor starts raving that they took his powers away and he wants his life back and now he is going to kill them.
Rictor wraps one of the stage ropes around the doctor’s neck and the doctor, while trying to stab Rictor cuts the rope attached to the sandbag. This causes the rope to tighten around the doctor’s neck pulling him off the ground and hanging him. That is one dead doctor. Rictor gets Siryn and they leave. End of issue.
The Good: First, X-Factor #5 has the funniest intro page where you get a short synopsis of the story up to this issue. By far the best one I have ever read. Gotta love Peter David.
As always, the dialogue was absolutely fantastic. There was very little action, but the dialogue was so entertaining that you didn’t need much action. David has a great sense of comedy and is able to mix it in with gripping suspense and serious dialogue. This creates a well-rounded story that never borders on too much humor that takes away from the serious side of the comic. It is the perfect amount of humor so the story isn’t overwhelmingly dark like, say, Daredevil.
Peter David’s crazy doctor was an interesting character. It was a neat way to show how many of the lower profile mutants have reacted to losing their powers and basically their identity and purpose in life.
The story was extremely well-paced and crafted. It engrossed the reader and created a nice feeling of suspense. Peter David created a really cool little one-shot story that was fun to read.
The art rocked. I have really come around to Dennis Calero’s art. Calero’s art is perfect for the dark, moody, and offbeat vibe of this version of X-Factor. His use of shading adds to the story. Calero draws great facial expressions and mixes up the “camera angles” for each panel. There is plenty of variety and it creates an enjoyable comic to read.
The Bad: Now, after praising David and this issue, I’m going to tell you that with X-Factor #5, the Revolution will be placing X-Factor on our Probation List. I know what you followers of the Revolution are asking? Why? You just complimented the story! You have it, 4 Night Girls, in your rating! True. Taken as just a single issue, it deserved a high score because it was well done. The Revolution’s rating system rates the single issue and not the title overall. Yes, this issue was well done; however, looking at X-Factor over the first five issues, I have serious problems with the direction of this title.
I do not mind a one-shot every once in a while. Particularly after a very large storyline has ended. It gives the reader a chance to catch their breath, digest what just happened, and re-group before the writer kicks off another large storyline. However, X-Factor has only had 5 issues and has had nothing even remotely resembling a large storyline. If anything issues 1-4 centered around a very small storyline and not much else.
In an early X-Factor review, the Revolution pointed out that it felt like not much was going on with this title and that David had no real direction and was not building this title up to much of anything. It is far too early in this series for there already to be a one-shot issue when almost nothing has happened in this title in the first four issues.
I like David and I like Calero’s art, but they really have to get this title some purpose and direction if the Revolution is going to keep spending our hard-earned money on it.