Comic Book Review: X-Factor #7

X-Factor has been a surprise hit here at the Revolution. This title doesn’t get all the pub and attention like all the other X-Titles, but you know what? Outside of Astonishing X-Men, X-Factor is the best X-title. So, obviously, I expect X-Factor #7 to be a good issue. It is early in the morning and I have a full pot of Café Bustelo brewing here at the Bunker. Let’s hit this review.

Creative Team
Writer: Peter David
Artist: Ariel Olivetti

Art Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: This issue starts with Jamie Madrox being thrown out of a window of a very tall building. We then shift back to “earlier that morning” at X-Factor’s brownstone. Rahne tells Madrox that Damian Tryp, the head of Singularity, wants to meet with Madrox at 3 pm today. Rahne tells Madrox to send a duplicate since this may be a trap. Madrox says no. That he isn’t afraid of Tryp and will meet him in person. A visitor that we can’t see speaks off panel and tells them that he has to speak with Siryn.

We then shift to Siryn’s room where she is asking Layla for an alcoholic beverage instead of the root beer that Layla brought with Siryn’s lunch. The visitor then enters the room. It is Cyclops. Layla leaves and Cyclops gives Siryn the bad news that Banshee was killed. (You can read about that over in X-Men: Deadly Genesis.) Cyclops tells her that he has brought Banshee’s personal effects with him and that there is going to be a reading of the will. Siryn sits there confused and says “But…why? It’s not like he’s really dead.” Cyclops is stunned.

We hop over to Singularity’s building where Tryp and Madrox are meeting. Madrox trades some witty barbs with Damian Tryp and Damian Junior. Tryp then tells Madrox that he wants to signs X-Factor to an exclusive contract and have them join Singularity Investigation. Madrox busts out laughing. Tryp then offers to buy X-Factor outright for $50 million for the entire operation. Madrox is stunned.

We cut back to X-Factor’s brownstone. All the members are sitting around depressed that Sean Cassidy, the Banshee, is dead. Guido enters and asks what is wrong. They tell him that Sean Cassidy is dead. Guido thinks they are talking about 1970’s Hardy Boy and pop star Shaun Cassidy. They tell him they are talking about Banshee and Guido feels like an idiot. (Very funny scene. The majority of the readers won’t get the joke or know who Shaun Cassidy is.) Siryn then enters the room and tells them that the X-Teams are always mourning someone’s death and then they turn up alive. That she isn’t falling for it. Banshee will turn up alive at some point. (You have to admit, that she has a point.) Siryn leaves to go order take out. Her teammates think that she is in total denial.

We cut back to Madrox and Tryp. Madrox tells Tryp that such a generous offer must mean that X-Factor must be getting close to something in their investigation. Something that Tryp doesn’t want them to find out. Madrox says that whatever Tryp is hiding has something to do with the Decimation and that Tryp had something to do with it. Tryp loses his temper and says that it is possible that one of X-Factor’s friends or allies are behind what happened with the Decimation. Tryp then tells Madrox that everyone lies. To each other. To themselves.

We shift back to Siryn going through the personal items that Cyclops left her. In the package is a DVD. Siryn plays it. It is Banshee saying his last good bye to her. He tells her that he is proud of her and glad that she has been using the last name Cassidy instead of Rourke. Banshee then tells Siryn that the family castle, Cassidy Keep is now hers. Banshee then tells her that he is bequeathing something very special that has been passed down for generations between father and son in the Cassidy family. Siryn looks at the small package that Banshee is talking about. Banshee goes on that by giving her what is in that package it is his way of showing that she is his heir in every respect and that he loves her. (Very well done scene.)

We skip back over to Madrox and Tryp arguing. Madrox tells Tryp that he is going down. Tryp responds by with the wave of a finger levitating Madrox and then throwing him out the window. Madrox splits into two supplicates and then they both disappear. We then see the real Madrox on top of the building with the two dupes being sucked back into him. Madrox calls the X-Factor brownstone and tells Layla to sweep the office of electronic bugs. And that when he gets back they will analyze the DNA samples that he took off of the two Tryps. The two Tryps stand at the broken window. Tryp senior tells Tryp Junior that it shall be interesting to see how Madrox reacts once he fins out that Tryp Senior was responsible for the death of his parents.

We shift back to Siryn. She unwraps the small package and inside it is Banshee’s family pipe. She lights it up and starts smoking and says “He’ll be back. He’s not fooling me. Nope. Not for a minute. Nice try, Da. The panel then fades to black and all we see is the dialogue balloon saying “Nice try.” End of issue.

The Good: David is such a talented writer. It is a shame that he gets lost in the mix with all of the other “Hot Names” like Johns, Morrison, Bendis, Millar, Brubaker, etc. Because, you know what? David is every bit as good as all of those other writers. David is one of the best in the business.

I loved how David handled Siryn’s reaction to Banshee’s death. David took the joke that mutant heaven has revolving doors and ran with it. It was funny and touching at the same time. It is nice to see someone poke fun at the way mutants never seem to stay dead. The scene with Banshee on the DVD saying good-bye to Siryn was well done. And the final scene with Siryn lighting up the family pipe was perfect. A nicely done ending to this issue. David definitely caught me off guard with the way he wrote Siryn’s reaction to Banshee’s death. It was unexpected and was pretty funny.

It was interesting to note that when Cyclops first saw Layla that he asked “What’s she doing here?” And when Siryn asked if Cyclops knew her he immediately retreated by saying that he didn’t know her and that he was just surprised to see a young girl handing around X-Factor’s brownstone. It should be interesting to see if at some point X-Factor finally discovers Layla’s role in House of M and that some of the X-Men have been keeping it a secret.

Now, the real action was in the scenes between Tryp and Madrox. After not progressing this storyline at all for the past two issues, David really turned it up a notch. Singularity and X-Factor have now officially told each other that “it is on so bring it!” Plus, the fact that Tryp Senior is a mutant or a metahuman was revealed. And the big bomb was that Tryp Senior is the one who killed Madrox’s parents. David really got this storyline moving with this issue! I can’t wait to see what role Tryp played in the Decimation.

David also writes a great Madrox. I am enjoying Madrox under David’s direction far more than I have at any point before. David has done a good job developing Madrox and helping him to evolve as a character. And this is no surprise. David’s two strengths are excellent character development and growth and strong dialogue. Those two strengths are evident in X-Factor #7.

After two issues that seemed to do nothing to advance any plotlines, I’m glad to see that David has this storyline back on track and building toward something. X-Factor is simply a great read.

The Bad: I had been running hot and cold with Dennis Calero’s artwork. But, overall, I liked the style and look of his art for a title like X-Factor. I did not like Ariel Olivetti’s artwork in this issue at all. It was very sloppy, weak and inconsistent. Some of the facial expressions were just beyond terrible. It is a shame that an issue with such strong writing got saddled with such poor art. I hope that Olivetti is just a guest artist, because this artwork does not add anything to the reading enjoyment of X-Factor #7.

That is my only complaint. I loved the story and this was a well written issue. I’m really enjoying X-Factor and this is one of the very few X-Titles that I would actually recommend to anyone.