Written by Peter David
Pencils by Leonard Kirk
Inks by Jay Leisten
Colors by Rachelle Rosenberg
Review by Joey Braccino
Peter David’s critically-acclaimed X-Factor series reaches its 100 main-title issue!!! When the series started in 2005, Jamie Madrox led X-Factor Investigations through noir-tinged detective tales in Mutant Town. Over the years, David has transcended genre by taking his expanding cast on time-traveling and dimension-hopping romps. He has put our loveable heroes up against werewolves, ancient Celtic goddesses, zombies, cyborgs, and Helspawn. A-listers like Wolverine, Spider-Man, and the Fantastic Four have come through the book from time to time. The cast has expanded and contracted, and now, leading up to a monumental 250th issue, Peter David has once again shifted the thematic trapping of X-Factor. This time, we’re in full-out hellfire and brimstone mode as Madrox, Layla, and Company fight demons at the edge of a lava-spewing chasm to the depths of Hell.
Issue #249 is an interesting issue for a few reasons, not the least of which is the aforementioned shift toward a more occult tone. First of all, the new cast of X-Factor is finally brought back together for the first time since the 5-issue “Breaking Points” storyarc from earlier this summer. Characters Siryn/Banshee, Darwin, Wolfsbane, Havok, and Strong Guy left the core cast during that storyline, leaving a significantly smaller group of merry mutant (or otherwise) investigators: Madrox, Layla, Polaris, Monet, Longshot, Ricor, Shatterstar, and Pip. It’s interesting to see these old and new players interact together in the same book for the first time, especially since they’ve all floated around each other in peripheral storylines and one-and-dones in X-Factor for the last year or so. There’s a fresh synergy on the page that comes from these character interactions, and it bodes well for upcoming issues.
On a related note, Polaris really shines in this issue as she takes point in the battle against the demonspawn. While Madrox might be the “leader” of X-Factor, it’s the newly-attired Lorna Dane that calls the shots during the brawl and has the most interesting interactions with characters like Monet and Rictor. Dropping Havok was the best thing that could have happened to Polaris, as Peter David clearly demonstrates both a firm grasp on the character as well as an apparent mission to turn her into a formidable leader in her own right.
As I’ve mentioned in past reviews, Leonard Kirk is my favorite of the X-Factor stable of rotating artists since #200. While he may not sync up with the original noir trappings of the series, his artistic dynamism perfectly matches the shift toward more supernatural and superheroic storylines in the book.
Buy this book. Issue #249 features some intriguing character beats and smash-em-up superheroics. The cliffhanger ending promises an exciting story in the upcoming “Hell On Earth War” arc that starts in #250. Peter David and Leonard Kirk are putting together some of the best stories in comics right now with X-Factor. 100 issues! 100 MORE! Join up!