Comic Book Review: X-Factor #9: Civil War

X-Factor #9 is another Civil War tie-in. As a general rule, I can’t stand tie-in issues to whatever big mini-series of the year that is going on. I find them to usually be wasted issues that neither advances the plotlines of the individual title nor the plotlines of the mini-series. On top of that, I have found all the various Civil War tie-in issues to be highly unimpressive. However, X-Factor is a fantastic title and I have really enjoyed Peter David’s writing so I have faith that X-Factor #9 is going to be a pretty good read. Let’s hit the review.

Creative Team
Writer: Peter David
Penciler: Ryan Sook
Inker: Wade von Grawbadger

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10.
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10.
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10.

Synopsis: The issue starts with the members of X-Factor arguing with Quicksilver while Madrox sits there stressing that they are all going to turn to him and expect him to make a decision on what to do. And Madrox sucks at making decisions. Quicksilver apologizes for his hand in M-day. Quicksilver points out that they have a common enemy: the government and the Registration Act. Monet says that Quicksilver could be considered a common enemy. Quicksilver counters with who would X-Factor rather deal with? The enemy they know, Quicksilver, or the enemy they don’t know, the government and the Registration Act. Quicksilver says he wants a chance to make things better.

The X-Factor members then turn to Madrox and ask him what they should do. Madrox responds by getting his jacket and leaving the office. Madrox runs into Layla outside on the steps of X-Factor’s brownstone. Madrox is angry that Layla never told him that she knew about Decimation and M-day. Layla tells Madrox that he is lousy at making decisions and that is exactly why he needs her. Layla then tells Madrox to go to the intersection of Buchanan and Broadway and buy a stocking cap, scarf and gloves on his way there. That it will help him make up his mind about the Registration Act. Madrox says ok, but that their argument is still not over. Layla agrees that they will argue for a long time since they will eventually get married. Madrox cringes and leaves.

We see Madrox at the corner of Buchanan and Broadway where he runs into Aegis who is running away from a S.H.I.E.L.D. drone telling him to surrender and that S.H.I.E.L.D. troops are on their way. Aegis tells Madrox that he is on the run for simply trying to prevent some crime. That the Registration Act has changed the game and that heroes should not be hunted down for trying to help people. Madrox and Aegis then turn down an alley that is a dead end. S.H.I.E.L.D. troops then surround the outside of the alley way and tell Aegis to comply with the law and surrender peacefully. Suddenly, the ground rumbles and hundreds of Madrox’s dupes come running out with their stocking caps pulled low, the scarves wrapped over their faces and their gloves on. They all rush the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and all bolt in different directions. A Madrox dupe with no hat or scarf then walks out of the alley and the S.H.I.E.L.D. team leader stops him and questions him.

We then see Madrox and Aegis running to a subway station. Madrox and Aegis are wearing a scarf around his face and a stocking cap pulled low. Aegis thanks Madrox for his help escaping. Aegis says he will use the subway tunnels to try and hook up with Captain America. Aegis then enters the subway. Madrox then sucks back in all of his dupes. We see the dupe being questioned by the S.H.I.E.L.D. team leader. Suddenly the dupe stretches and disappears. We see Madrox sucking back in all of his dupes.

We then shift to Quicksilver at a fancy boutique purchasing a fine suit. Suddenly, the Astonishing X-Men appear and call out Quicksilver. Quicksilver refuses to leave the building. At this point, X-Factor arrives on the scene and Madrox tells the X-Men to stand down. Siryn says that Quicksilver may be an evil monster, but at least he hasn’t pretended to be a friend and lie to them like the X-Men did concerning Decimation and M-day. Siryn blasts Colossus. Cyclops blasts Madrox, but that just gives Madrox enough energy to create 50 dupes. Madrox then challenges Cyclops to blast him again so he can make 100 more dupes. Madrox totally calls out Cyclops and tells him to bring it. Madrox asks where the X-Men stand on the Registration Act. Cyclops tells them that the X-Men have told Tony Stark that they will remain neutral on the issue.

Quicksilver suddenly appears next to X-Factor and tells Cyclops that being neutral is what encouraged monsters such as Hitler and his atrocities. Cyclops says that the US government are elected officials, not like Hitler and his power grabbing Nazis. Strong Guy responds that Hitler didn’t grab power. He was elected. (Seriously? We are honestly going to compare the Registration Act to Hitler and the Nazi party? That is totally insane. And this is why the story didn’t get a 9 out of 10 Night Girls. Automatic 2 point deduction.)

Madrox then tells Cyclops that X-Factor is going to call a press conference stating that they are opposing the Registration Act. Madrox then tells Cyclops to get out of Mutant Town or they will have their own little Civil War right now. Cyclops says that the X-Men will leave, but if Quicksilver should step foot outside of Mutant Town then they will take him out. Cyclops whishes Madrox luck with his little kingdom, but to not call the X-Men when it all comes crashing down, because the X-Men won’t help them. End of issue.

The Good: X-Factor #9 was another gem from Peter David. I would have easily given the story a 9 out of 10 Night Girls if it weren’t for the totally asinine Hitler comparison to the U.S. government and the Registration Act. People have gotten way out of hand with Hitler and Nazi comparisons. American use it so frequently in comparing it with just about any political decision that they disagree with. It has gotten ridiculous. Hitler and the Nazi party is one of the darkest point in modern history. To liberally compare it to obviously more minor events only devalues what an atrocity that Hitler and the Nazis were. I think people need to reign in the Hitler comparisons.

There is absolutely no reason to be comparing something as the Super Hero Registration Act to Hitler and the Nazis. A power mad dictator who sparked a world war and engaged in genocide has nothing to do with a Registration Act that has super powered vigilantes who are operating outside of the law to register with the government, have their identities kept secret and then trained and put on the payroll of S.H.I.E.L.D. Yeah, I’m just not seeing the connection. Maybe it is just me. I expect more from a very talented and intelligent writer like Peter David.

Other than that, this was a fantastic issue. David is making X-Factor one of the best comics on the market. I loved the opening scene. Madrox was a character that I have never had an interest in at all. David has totally changed that. David has developed and grown Madrox’s character into a highly interesting and entertaining character. Madrox is their leader, but is totally opposite from the typical team leader. The X-Men have Cyclops. The Avengers have Captain America. X-Factor has……Madrox. A guy who can’t make a decision. I love how he just grabbed his jacket and when presented with making a tough decision. You would never see Cyclops or Captain America do that!

The scene with Layla and Madrox was also well done. Layla is another character that I had no interest in until David got his hooks into her. David has made Layla an incredibly fascinating character. And Layla gives us another gem by stating that she and Madrox are doing to get married one day! And Madrox’s reaction was priceless. He never says anything. He just cringes in pain and walks away.

The scene with Aegis and Madrox was nice. Even though David follows the footsteps of Bendis, JMS and Jenkins by not even trying to show the pro-registration as anything more than bad guys, this was still a cool scene. Madrox finally realizes what he needs to do and his escape plan for Aegis was neat.

But, the best scene was the showdown between X-Factor and the Astonishing X-Men. David finally does what has never been done with X-Factor. X-Factor has always come off as nothing more than X-Men late. X-Factor is like an ugly uncoordinated little brother who suffers from a lack of an identity when compared to its handsome big brother in the X-Men. Not any more. David has given X-Factor its own identity. Its own purpose and motivation. X-Factor is stands for the common man. The little man who gets ignored by the elite teams. X-Factor brings super powered heroes closer to reality. They aren’t interested in taking space missions, fighting aliens or traveling to alternate realities. They are here to prevent regular crimes that threaten their people in Mutant Town.

It was a wonderful to see Madrox stand up against Cyclops. To see X-Factor refuse to back down to the X-Men. This was a true moment of maturity and I’m glad that X-Factor is taking their own path. Not every X-team has to have the same agenda and work together. Not every X-team needs to act like one big family. I am glad that David is taking this direction for X-Factor.

As always, David crafts some of the best dialogue in comics. David has an incredible ability to develop his character’s personalities and giving them their own unique voices. David’s dialogue has such a wonderful and natural flow. There is no other book on the market that delivers the quality dialogue that David creates in X-Factor. It is a wonderful combination of humor and seriousness.

David is moving his storyline along at a nice pace. X-Factor is never going to be a high paced comic. It isn’t going to boast adrenaline pumping brawls with every issue. No, David doesn’t rely on action and mindless fights to move along his story. Instead, David relies on wonderful character development and well crafted plots and dialogue. David’s X-Factor just may be the best literary effort in all of comics.

David has now aligned X-Factor against the U.S. government and alongside of Quicksilver. I am very interested to see were David takes this plotline. Quicksilver is an unusual addition to this odd mixture of characters. I am confident that with Quicksilver added to the mix that we are going to be in store for some great upcoming issues. Plus, maybe we will finally address some of the dangling plotlines and questions left over from House of M, Decimation and Son of M.

The Bad: Just the idiotic Hitler and Nazi comparisons to the U.S. government and the Registration Act. I think it is quite clear that Marvel lied when they said they were going to present both sides in equal light. That is too bad. Civil War could have been so much more interesting and complex if they had followed through on that promise. I guess personal agendas and biases take precedence over creating a captivating storyline.

Overall: X-Factor #9 was a fine issue. I wish this comic got more attention. I think that many people over look Peter David. I know there are plenty of “hot” writers like Brubaker, Johns, Morrison, Millar, Loeb, Bendis and Ellis. I think that people forget what an excellent writer David is in his own right. David is crafting one of the most interesting and unique comic books being put out by either Marvel or DC. I definitely recommend checking out X-Factor.