X-Factor has been a surprise series that is one of the most recent new launches for the X-Men franchise. Right out of the gate Leah Williams has made this a fun series to be reading. The energy of this series stands out from all the other X-Men books. The randomness of the cast for X-Factor plays a big role in this. Northstar, Polaris, Daken, Prodigy, Prestige, Eye-Boy, and Aurora aren’t X-Men you expect to all be working together. But Williams has made the team work thus far as X-Factor has been positioned as the detective agency on Krakoa. Their latest case has taken X-Factor to visit the Mojoworld, which has been turned into a Twitch-like streaming haven from the universe. Let’s see what happens next with X-Factor #3.
Writer: Leah Williams
Artist: David Baldeon
Colorist: Israel Silva
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Spiral talks directly to her viewers to inform them about X-Factor as the team does battle against the Durkitt’s pod gang. After the X-Factor defeat the Durkitt’s gang Spiral Showcase and talk about the dead mutant on stream.
On her show Spiral asks Prodigy when the last time he talked to his friend from school. Prodigy is confused by the question but doesn’t learn anything because Spiral decides to go to an ad.
Prestige tries to read Spiral’s mind but is unable to. Spiral reveals that Mojo provided her and other top streamers with psychic shield neural implants. Eye-Boy notices that there is something unknown with the implant that he sees.
Spiral brings her show back and has her team, which includes a mutant named Ginny who has refused to go to Krakoa, reveal that the mutant that was killed is Wind Dancer (Sofia Mantega) and shows the team how she died, much to Prodigy’s shock.
Spiral asks her viewers for some questions to ask X-Factor. Northstar and Polaris tell Spiral they’ve had enough and demand answers to what is really going on.
Spiral announces that she is going to stream Wind Dancer’s autopsy in a few minutes and decides to give X-Factor a sneak peek by teleporting them to where her body is being preserved.
X-Factor ends up at the arena of the top streamer on Headshot TV.
Back at the Boneyard, Aurora decides to listen into one of the psychic voicemails. But just as she is about to Aurora finds Daken back in the kitchen making some food. Daken flirts with Aurora a bit by making some bad jokes. Seeing that Aurora is getting comfortable Daken asks about the guy she hooked up with in Bellingham. This immediately pisses Aurora off and she walks away.
Back in Mojoworld, X-Factor are fighting a bunch of contestants in an arena. Polaris makes a ramp for the team to head to the top floor of the arena. Once they get their X-Factor is shocked to find out that Shatterstar is the top Headshot TV streamer.
Shatterstar reveals that he was the one that sent X-Factor the blood box that led them to Wind Dancer’s case since it is difficult to communicate with people outside Mojoworld. Prodigy asks about the spheres surrounding Shatterstar. Shatterstar says they are VIP subscribers of his and talks up how great his life as a streamer is.
Shatterstar then takes X-Factor to Arize’s Arize and Shine Channel Studio-Home. While they walk to it Shatterstar talks about how the Mojoverse loves mutants and Wind Dancer died on her terms for a stream, though he isn’t clear of the “why.”
Shatterstar goes on to reveal that Wind Dancer DNA, like many others that have died, is going to be dispersed into the next generation of Mojoverse clones, which is the second biggest business in Mojoverse behind streaming. He goes on to talk about how Arize does the cloning process.
Shatterstar then shows the team Wind Dancer’s body that is being preserved before the autopsy that Spiral is going to be streaming. He leaves the team to do what they need to do.
Prodigy says that he wants to be the one to carry Wind Dancer out since she was his friend. Northstar says they can’t waste time and uses his powers to take Wind Dancer quickly.
Polaris talks with Shatterstar and promises that they will come back for him.
Shatterstar then goes back to his arena to continue his stream. End of issue.
The Good: Leah Williams has really nailed down the tone that she is striking with her work on X-Factor. With each issue we see how the detective agency of Krakoa differs from that of the CIA-style work that X-Force is doing. Establishing those differences allows the hook of X-Factor and the team dynamic to shine.
The best example of that is how Williams is having this latest story in X-Factor #3 to take place in Mojoworld. By taking our team of mutants to this place Williams is able to explore what the new attention mutants are getting means. They are now more popular than ever but with that popularity there is a price. That price is well shown with how Spiral and Shatterstar’s interactions go about differently. Through these two top streamers of Headshot TV we see two different looks into this world.
With Spiral we see how someone has gone all in out of the pure joy and fame of it. Spiral is a pure host with how she teased X-Factor with information about Wind Dancer. It was a cool, new way to position Spiral as an antagonist who is using Mojo’s new business to her advantage. This at least will provide understandable motivation for when Spiral likely comes after X-Factor after they took Wind Dancer’s body before her autopsy livestream.
With Shatterstar, we see more of the darker side of this streaming life on Headshot TV. Williams and artist David Baldeon did a very good job showing that this is not the life that Shatterstar was looking for. Both from his dialogue and way he reacted during the conversation with X-Factor it’s clear that he is being forced into things. Which goes into the sub-plot of the Marvel Universe sudden fascination and love to see mutants in action. Giving this spot to Shatterstar is a good way to use a minor character like him in a major role that hooks readers in to his sub-plot.
Wind Dancer turning out to be the mutant that was killed also added to the greater story of the mystery behind Headshot TV and Mojoverse. Mojo use of mutants are questionable. And now we learn more about what he is doing as he is cloning people like Wind Dancer that die on screen to create a new set of clones that he can use. This creates greater questions for what Mojo’s endgame is as it doesn’t seem that it is not just about his Headshot TV streaming service. What the true purposes is for this will be interesting to see play out.
Through all of this Williams once again does a great job showcasing the dynamic of this X-Factor team. She knows exactly how to bring out the personality of each member so she gets across what there voices are. From Northstar’s no nonsense way of leadership to Prestige’s more though out way of trying to analyze things by reading others minds, the team plays off one another well.
Williams also does a good job using previous X-Men history to give weight to the story. That is best shown with how Prodigy’s reaction to Wind Dancer that uses their previous history as New Mutants. Williams gave enough details about Prodigy and Wind Dancer’s history together to understand why the former reacted the way he did compared to the other X-Factor members. Having those details made the moment when Prodigy wanted to be the one to carry Wind Dancer back to Krakoa and why he was disappointed when Northstar didn’t listen to him.
The slow approach to developing Aurora’s sub-plot was a good change of pace. We get hints through her interaction with Daken that she is hiding a lot from X-Factor. There was a clear trigger that was pulled by what Daken said. What that is creates more questions behind her death that was the big storyline for the first issue of X-Factor.
Baldeon’s artwork delivers on the colorful world that is the Mojoverse. He taps into how even though things are all bright and colorful there is a deep, seedy nature to what is going on. You never feel good about the whole streaming culture Mojo created. That is best shown with how Shatterstar acted with the X-Factor team. Those scenes hint at a lot of things going on behind the scenes that need to be uncovered.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: X-Factor #3 was another great entry in what is quickly becoming one of the top titles in the X-Men franchise. Leah Williams captures a fun dynamic with the team and develops the new status quo in the Mojoverse to have multiple layers that are still being uncovered.
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