The latest entry in the newest iteration of the X-Factor series is out now and I’m here to review it, no strings attached and my personal opinions abound. So, let’s get straight into it.
The story opens with Havok, brother of Cyclops and figurehead of the failure of a team that is the Avengers Unity squad, playing pool in a bar and getting briefed on Serval and the X-Factor team by his man on the inside. Yeah, no one is really surprised that it’s Quicksilver, what with Gambit pegging him from the moment he walked into Serval., but let’s talk about Havok. Now, if there is one person I dislike more than Wolverine and Captain America whenever they show up in an X-Men book, it’s this sellout right here.
First off, he left Polaris at her wedding for the nurse he was psychically dating while in a coma with the help of her mutant son. Second off, wasn’t he flirting to high-heaven with Wasp in Uncanny Avengers? They have a child together and are married in the upcoming arc, which I know will be retconned soon enough since Cap got disfigured by acid and Marvel can’t have that, but still. Now he claims he wants Quicksilver looking out for her because she’s his girlfriend and she’s nuts, and he uses these exact terms in the same page.
Quicksilver wisely points out that she has no reason to trust him well enough to serve as a mole and she tried to shoot him, but she was drunk and their whole family has issues like…well, every major character in these books. Wolverine kills his kids, the Summers brothers are currently on the opposite sides of the law and don’t get me started on their extended families, do I need to cover anymore? For that reason Havok’s claim that she’ll trust him because they’re blood rings hollow as hell. They wrap it up with Havok also being a deadbeat and Quicksilver saying everyone hates him, which he tends to bring on himself and I think Finesse likes him as a mentor.
We then skip to Serval, aka Google, and learn that Harrison Snow had implanted a nanotech camera in Polaris’ eye while she was sleeping so he sees what she sees. Yes, he violates her privacy like it was a Tuesday for him, but he’s big business. It was probably in her contract under the terms no one reads. Anyway, he learns at that moment they’ve been hacked from the PR head and decides to give his new team a call.
Two members of the team, Polaris and Gambit, are in his new room in the building and playing with his cats that Mystique gave him when Iceman decided to freeze the world over after corralling his ex-girlfriends into a snow cave for their safety, his ice clones claim, in Astonishing X-Men…including Polaris. Anyway, one cat scratches her and she flips out and gets ready to deal with it violently until Gambit snaps her out of it. Okay, maybe she isn’t a paragon of good mental health but I refuse to say Havok was right.
Snow pops up then and takes them down to their server room, where the guy running the place reveals they are being hacked and he knows the location for their team to go deal with it. Gambit notes he’s screwed as the place is the headquarters of his Thieves’ Guild even though it doesn’t pop up on the map. So he and Polaris suit up as Quicksilver arrives (with Gambit correctly claiming he was updating the Avengers about them) and take their shiny new jet out for a spin after it beams them up.
Meanwhile Snow goes to confront last arc’s villain of the week, Hoffman, and recruits him after illegally detaining him. He still has his mutant powers, but his DNA reads human, so naturally the megacorp wants him to work for them. Hoffman signs up when he learns they get benefits, which A.I.M doesn’t I suppose. Must be because they keep getting blown up or attacked…
As the team arrives on location, Gambit come clean that he knows who’s responsible despite the fact that he’s not involved in this one. One of his members is Nil, a technomancer. He uses magic to control computers and such…really, magic for that? Anyway, Nil confesses he was only able to get into Serval by using a new medium for his powers.
It’s Danger, who helped spring Cyclops from prison and hates being locked up and controlled more than anything. So naturally when Polaris springs her she’s too pissed to think about anything but killing everything. Cue fight next issue before she joins the team.
Okay, so while it isn’t an action-based issue it does move the plot along and reveals several key things while introducing a new team member. We learn that Serval is basically any big corporation in Marvel like Roxxon or Alchemax or Oscorp and we learn Quicksilver is a spy, but no real shocker there until his sister finds out and tries to kill him again.
So I’m giving it a 4 out of 5 because the art work still isn’t doing it for me and calling it a review.
Okay, I feel that I need to expand my horizons beyond the big names of Cyclops, Emma Frost, and Wolverine (not a fan of the guy lately). So I’ve decided, after reading the first two chapters of the fourth iteration of X-Factor going under the “Original” name of All-New X-Factor, to start reviewing this series. This review in particular will encompass Issues# 1 -2, which features Gambit, Polaris, and Quicksilver undergoing their first outing as part of the new X-Factor, which is now a corporate superhero team.
So let’s get to it with Issue #1, which opens with two scientists, the one named Hoffman being the important one, giving themselves pats on the back for a good and hard day’s work of torturing some mutant in the name of science. This is the Marvel Universe so that’s expected, but Hoffman seems even more douche-baggish with the sincere way he smiles as he says it’s for the greater good and then goes to get an espresso from Starbucks. That tells you two things, the first of which is that this is normal behavior that he does daily and the second is that he honestly believes what he says. But more on him later as the scene changes to Gambit.
Being one of the premiere thieves of the Marvel Universe, he’s taking to his role to liberate a statue locked into place with a mystic spell after navigating a bunch of laser alarms while hanging from the ceiling. It’s once he gets it that he finds that Wolverine is there and that the owner knew he had tried robbing him since he tripped an alarm made by Tony Stark, which must’ve hurt his ego as much as Logan talking down to him like a child and revealing he knows Gambit is running the Thieves’ Guild. Now, despite his condescending tone Wolverine has a point in that it poses no immediate threat and he is stealing…which is wrong I suppose.
But, if you’ve read Cable and the X-Force, Colossus and Domino successfully did the same with a Hell-hole device that was inside of a secure bank lock-box after releasing demonic hordes. Why these apocalyptic things are even left in one piece escapes me, but I’m with Gambit in that it would be better if the thing disappeared. After all, if some ancient sorcerer comes from three thousand years in the past and knows the spell to activate it, they’re screwed. And since this is the Marvel Universe that will probably happen in a later arc.
After getting dressed down by Wolverine, Gambit goes to a bar to unwind. Said unwinding involves beating the hell out of a bunch of guys saying New Orleans had Hurricane Katrina coming a few years back. We don’t blame him for the ass-kicking in that case, but before he can get another drink Polaris comes up to him and tells him to get a coffee to sober up so they can talk business. When he explains that Wolverine told him to go straight and narrow if he wants to stay at the school and remain a member of the X-Men (which I will point out has nothing to do with one another given the sheer amount of crap they get into illegal or otherwise) she asks him to take a trip with her to Virginia.
While on the private jet she explains she’s working with Serval Industries, a rising company that specializes in electronics and such. There’s a minor incident when someone launches a missile at the jet, but Polaris is the Mistress of Magnetism for a reason and it goes boom with a snap of her fingers. She then explains that Serval is basically Marvel’s version of Google and they have enemies, but since they help people she’s working for them as a member of their new corporate team, X-Factor, the name for which was bought from the previous owner Jamie Madrox (Multiple Man) by Harrison Snow, the CEO of Serval, at Linda Kwan’s insistence as their PR person.
Now, this guy is smooth as silk but gives you that greasy feeling that Gambit picks up on and asks flat out if he’s evil. He laughs, not really denying it, but he wants Gambit on the team because Polaris recommended him. He then reveals Quicksilver, Polaris’ half-brother, wanted to join to look after her upon learning they got Polaris out of jail after she tried to shoot him and trashed a bar while drunk. Yeah, that doesn’t go over well.
We can clearly see that Quicksilver isn’t the most wanted person around by Polaris or Gambit, with one claiming he’s spying on them for the Avengers, which he denies (although the preview for issue #3 says otherwise) and the other thinking he’s evil, which he denies again. But ultimately Polaris decides to give him a chance. And it’s just in time as Harrison sends them on their first mission to deal with Hoffman, who it turns out is a biologist who has been employed by some A.I.M looking dudes and he wants them to go and do what they do best when it comes to heroes and shady organizations.
So they put on some snazzy outfits and go in destroying stuff to rescue the kidnapped victims. Gambit doesn’t really buy the timing and the excuse Harrison gave him for having them do this, but he’s done worse for less and gives it a go. The team arrives just as Hoffman is about to vivisect Fatale and he is ecstatic at more mutants arriving since they would be more test subjects.
So ends Issue #1.
Going straight into Issue #2, it picks up with Hoffman going to field test his research against the intruding mutants and unlocks a doorway to two mutants who are locked up in giant pods and clearly dislike the man, what with the torture and all. It then skips to our heroes being split apart and Polaris deciding to just trash the place in a fit of rage until she ends up where Fatale is. Gambit somehow escapes the standard Fall-into-Furnace trap with a well-placed charged card only to find himself at gun point. Quicksilver shows up about then and takes their guns away, but the chumps prove to be smarter than the average mooks as they have wrist mounted spares built into their bracelets. It doesn’t help as Quicksilver dodges the bullets and Gambit puts them down with another charged card.
On the subject of Polaris, she’s with Fatale who reveals Quicksilver gave her and the other two who were captured their powers back after M-Day but turned them into living bombs. The only reason they didn’t blow up was because they were frozen in time in another dimension and then pulled out of it by Hoffman, who siphoned off the excess energy. We then cut to Hoffman following up on that and getting ready to use that energy for himself to turn into an energy monster.
Cue the boss fight where Hoffman claims the mutants didn’t know the potential of their abilities or how to manipulate them and then claims that it was because of this that they let the world treat them like dirt and he can do it so much better than they can. Yet, for all that bragging, Gambit and Quicksilver put him down with an charged card inside his ear in less than five pages without a scratch. Pathetic.
Naturally the mutants he tortured want to finish him after he goes night-night, but they turn their hatred towards Quicksilver and make it clear they will get even for what he did to him one day. But that’s a story for another day as the comic ends.
Okay, review time.
Now art-wise I’ve seen better and it’s just not my style how the artist has drawn the series, but it’s still good enough for me to understand what’s going on. Plot-wise, it’s a good opening and doesn’t take forever like some other series that will remain nameless. On the minor characters, Hoffman is an affably evil douche who you find charming and want to throttle at the same time, Harrison is clearly shady but he’s big business so that comes with the territory, and it’s pretty clear Fatale, Abyss, and Reaper have a bone to pick with Quicksilver and will show up later as antagonists. The major characters interact with one another in an interesting manner, with Gambit and Polaris being rather close while no one really likes Quicksilver, but they do work well enough for a first mission with no real hiccups.
So I give both issues a 4 out of 5, as it is interesting but the artwork leaves a lot to be desired.