Written by Peter David
Pencils by Neil Edwards
Inks by Craig Yeung & Rick Ketcham
Colors by Rachelle Rosenberg
Review by Joey Braccino
“They say anything’s possible. If that’s true, then everything is possible. And if everything is possible… why bother with anything? I guess it’s because you never know. Except I do. Because I now stuff. Too much stuff.”
I was super-duper close to not writing any more reviews for X-Factor because it’s been consistently fantastic for almost 8 years and one can heap praise for so long before running out of things to say. And then Peter David and Company put together issue #240, and I thought of some more good things to say.
Peter David shifts focus from Banshee and Havok (the leads in the last X-Factor arc) to Layla Miller and throws her into a one-and-done riff on the cult classic film, Run Lola Run. And it’s brilliant. Layla has gone through the ringer under David’s pen: android stalkers, astral battles with omni-temporal CEOs, and an extended stay in a dystopian future during the Summers Rebellion. Since returning from the future, Layla has surprisingly taken a secondary role in the series considering the vital role she played in the first half of David’s run. Issue #240, however, is totally focused on Layla “I Know Stuff” Miller, and it addresses all of the free will versus fate, butterfly effect goodness that makes the character enthralling.
The plot sees Layla running (like Lola) to stop a teenager from committing suicide. Sounds heavy because it is, but what’s even heavier is that David frames the story around all of the potential consequences of Layla’s actions on her trip (like in Run Lola Run). You know, the whole aforementioned temporal philosophy hoohah. It’s deep, it’s intense, and David and Edwards find a stylistic way to portray the three divergent potentialities (reminiscent of Run Lola Run) concurrently on the comic book page. It’s fascinating. There’s death, there’s success, there’s some great Guido and Monet stuff, there’s some hoodlum smackdown, and there’s some cyberbullying. The most important bit of stuff in this issue, though, is the deeper look into Layla’s actions way back in issue #217 and all of the string-theory-esque ramifications of that one moment. Craziness. Butterflies. Craziness like Run Lola Run.
Neil Edwards takes over art duties from Paul Davidson. As I mentioned above, Edwards deftly portrays multiple playbacks of the same events (with subtle differences) by using a cascading panel layout. It’s sequential, but it’s not, and it’s brilliant. Craig Yeung and Rick Ketcham’s inks and Rachelle Rosenberg’s colors are crucial to this layout, as each potentiality is washed in a different color. Truly creative, and it makes this one-and-done one of the most visually fascinating books on the stands this week.
Check this series out. I can’t say it enough. It must be fate that this is Women in Comics week here at Talking Comics, because X-Factor #240 is a Layla-centric one-and-done that shows our lady-lead taking “control” of her future, and struggling with all of the temporal-anomalies that come along with those shock quotes! Peter David has been weaving together one of the best stories in all of fiction, so hop on and enjoy the ride!