X-Factor #10

X-Factor #10 Review

X-Factor #10

The Hellfire Gala has certainly left its mark on the X-Men franchise. For the first time in the Krakoa era we have our first X-Men team officially announced, led by Cyclops and Marvel Girl. Along with that Magneto and the Omega-Level Mutants worked together to transform Mars into Planet Arakko, a new livable planet that has now been labeled the center of the Sol System, taking that title from Earth. Now with the Hellfire Gala winding down what last minute surprises will Marvel’s biggest party of the year have left to hit the reader with? Let’s find out with the conclusion of the Hellfire Gala in X-Factor #10.

Writer: Leah Williams and David Baldeon

Artist: David Baldeon, David Messina, and Lucas Werneck

Colorist: Israel Silva

Story Rating: 2 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 3.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: After Eye-Boy make sure the rest of the team is ready X-Factor finally makes their appearance at the Hellfire Gala as a team. While everyone is having fun Prodigy tells his teammates he forgot something at the Boneyard and excuses himself.

Over at Club Pepper in Los Angeles, Prodigy approaches one of the bartenders. The bartenders hand Prodigy a cell phone he left himself. Both bartenders say they given up hope they would ever see Prodigy after the night he gave them the phone.

Back at the Hellfire Gala, Rachel Grey senses Shatterstar has just shown up. Rachel realizes that this must mean Shatterstar must have been successful in his mission. Shatterstar would go on to confirm this by detailing how Morrigan was defeated.

Siryn is hen shown being resurrected.

Over at a mansion in Los Angeles, Prodigy confronts a guy named Buck Thatcher. Buck is stunned to see Prodigy back. Prodigy punches Buck in the face knowing he is the one who killed him.

Back at the Hellfire Gala, while Kyle Jinadu talks with Captain America, Northstar congratulates Polaris on joining the X-Men.

At another part of the Hellfire Gala, Daken dances with Aurora. While dancing Daken does his best to convince Aurora why they should be officially a couple. Before they can confirm anything Northstar calls Daken.

X-Factor #10
Prodigy shows Eye-Boy the details of his death in X-Factor #10. Click for full page view.

Over in Los Angeles, Eye-Boy finds Prodigy, knowing he wasn’t actually going back to the Boneyard. Prodigy reveals that Buck Thatcher, who he has knocked out, is the predator who killed him, showing Eye-Boy video of his past self revealing all the details. Prodigy goes on to detail how he discovered Buck Thatcher always targeted young queer black men.

Hearing all of this Eye-Boy uses one of the powers he has been practicing to hit Thatcher with an energy blast much to Prodigy’s joy. Eye-Boy tells Prodigy that Thatcher is alive but severely injured. Prodigy hugs Eye-Boy while admitting he couldn’t kill Thatcher.

Daken and Aurora show up and are told everything that happened with Thatcher being responsible for Prodigy’s death. Daken and Aurora then arrange for Thatcher to be arrested.

Daken and Aurora then walk out with Aurora calling Daken out for how he got turned on watching her tell Thatcher his fate.

At 4:04 am Eye-Boy and Prodigy return to the Hellfire Gala venue. There they are greeted by Speed. Speed reveals that Eye-Boy invited him. Prodigy thanks Eye-Boy for this.

As Prodigy, Speed, and Eye-Boy walk around the venue Eye-Boy senses something wrong. Speed then suddenly finds the dead body of Scarlet Witch on the ground. Speed can’t believe his mom is dead. Eye-Boy tries to get Speed out of there as Northstar shows up to investigate the scene.

Sometime later, after investigating Wanda’s body, Wolverine asks Charles Xavier, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Northstar, Magik, and Northstar where Magneto is. End of issue.

The Good: One of the biggest problems with the Hellfire Gala crossover is that its been clear what are the actual chapters of the event and which comics are just simply tie-ins. X-Factor #10 is a great example of the latter as Leah Williams and David Baldeon try to pack as much of their ongoing plot in this series and have it tied to the greater Hellfire Gala. By doing so many running sub-plots addressed here come across as a rush mess.

The opening of X-Factor #10 with the team getting ready for the Hellfire Gala and there interactions during the party were solid. This is where Williams and Baldeon were able to show the chemistry of the X-Factor team. You get that they have all spent a good amount of time together as a team by this point. It all made Polaris leaving X-Factor to join the new X-Men team be something that is a meaningful step forward for her journey thus far.

The art by David Baldeon, David Messina, and Lucas Werneck was just fine. Each of their styles will not hit with all readers. But they got the job done for what the scripted asked for. The final page by Werneck hit the way it should for a major death, like Wanda Maximoff.

X-Factor #10
X-Factor join the Hellfire Gala and talk with their friends in X-Factor #10. Click for full page view.

The Bad: As X-Factor #10 progressed shaking the feeling that you are reading a series finale never went away. It is clear from reading X-Factor #10 that this is the final issue of this series. The way you tell that is how rushed every single plotline in this issue is told. Whether it’s the direct ties to the Hellfire Gala event itself or the storylines Williams and Baldeon have developed over the course of X-Factor. There is no one single aspect of this final issue that isn’t rushing to get wrapped up.

The biggest example of this is the storyline with Prodigy. While I have not read all of Williams’ run on X-Factor, the story around Prodigy finding the person who killed him is clearly one of the major sub-plots that has been developing over the course of this series’ run. But because this is the final issue of X-Factor the story around Prodigy finding and confronting his killer never got the time to be properly addressed. This leads to someone like myself not being as invested in this part of X-Factor #10 as I should be even with the serious subject matter that is being attempted to be tackled.

The writing for how Prodigy’s death investigation is wrapped up never comes across as a major story. Even when his teammates they don’t seem to care. We get that idea with how Northstar just passes the investigation off on Daken and Aurora instead of having the entire X-Factor team back up Prodigy, their teammate. And when Daken and Aurora do show up to the scene they don’t show any sort of care for what Prodigy went through. They just coldly get the facts and walk out. That makes it seem there was never any sort of bond formed with this X-Factor team. It leaves me thinking how I can just forget about the X-Factor team after this issue concludes since they don’t care about their own teammate.

Making things worse is Williams and Baldeon feel the need to use the very next panel to have Aurora call Daken out about being turned on from everything they just did to help Prodigy. This is an extremely dismissive way of wrapping Prodigy’s story up. It further paints the picture that the only concern these two had was continuing to flirt with each other like they were doing during the Hellfire Gala. This in turn makes it appear that Williams and Baldeon number one concern was making it clear that Daken and Aurora are now dating. Which goes to show that X-Factor #10 was never the planned final issue but was forced to be because the series is canceled.

Eye-Boy’s part also just comes across as odd as he just happens to be able to use some Naruto-type power to injure Buck Thatcher. It just a deus-ex machina to have Prodigy’s killer appear to suffer some sort of consequence since we aren’t likely to address what took place after this issue. It just makes Eye-Boy less interesting as a character that can just magically pull out any power that the writer needs.

The rushed storytelling is further shown with Shatterstar’s sudden appearance in the middle of the Hellfire Gala. Instead of explain to the reader through character interactions what was up with Shatterstar we get narration from Rachel Grey. The narration itself just came across as Williams talking directly to the reader through her script rather than something Rachel Grey was saying. And unless you know about who Morrigan is already you would never know that Shatterstar’s story is tied to Siryn’s resurrection It speaks to the need for X-Factor #10 wrapping everything up every possible story even though there isn’t enough time to properly do so.

X-Factor #10
Wolverine asks Charles Xavier, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Northstar, Magik, and Northstar where Magneto is to answer for Wanda Maximoff’s death at the end of X-Factor #10. Click for full page view.

Then there is the missed opportunity for X-Factor #10 to give us more insight into how Polaris is joining the X-Men team. With Polaris having been the leader of X-Factor it would’ve done wonders for this issue if we got to actually find out what argument Polaris made to convince everyone she should be elected as a member of the X-Men. Providing that type of insight would’ve added importance to Polaris’ character. It would’ve also shown respect for the leader of X-Factor and explain why she is leaving the team to join the X-Men.

With how rushed every aspect of this series finale is the death of Wanda Maximoff that closes out X-Factor #10 and the Hellfire Gala crossover leaves a lot to be desired. The way it is all handled comes across as being forced into this issue because it is the final chapter of the Hellfire Gala crossover. Even though it is a major death you can’t help but think this will be a fake out in some way. Which is a shame because as a reader we should be as shocked as Jean Grey was amongst the assembled X-Men. That just speaks to how the format the Hellfire Gala took as a crossover event was disjointed.

Overall: The Hellfire Gala ends in disappointment with X-Factor #10. Due to being the series finale Leah Williams and David Baldeon rush to wrap up as many storylines set up in this series as possible, leading to less care taken for even the serious subject matter being tackled. That all leads to an ending that comes across as forced into X-Factor #10 because it is the end of the Hellfire Gala crossover not because it is part of the natural flow of the story. Which just leads the ending to come across as a cheap way to sell a comic and grab headlines rather than something that truly impacts the reader.

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