There's Hell! Up there! BEHIND YOU! It's coming to Earth!!!!!!

There’s Hell! Up there! BEHIND YOU! It’s coming to Earth!!!!!!

X-Factor #250

Written by Peter David

Pencils by Leonard Kirk

Inks by Jay Leisten

Colors by Matt Milla

Review by Joey Braccino

The “Hell on Earth War” begins in X-Factor #250, and Madrox and the crew are assaulted by demons, monsters, werewolves, and old mutant friends from cover to cover. As I’ve stated in past reviews of Peter David’s uber-brilliant X-Factor, this series, moreso than any other book on the stands, relishes in its own internal continuity. David has been telling a long-form story for over 100 issues, building upon past plot threads and continuing character development. It truly is a testament to his writing prowess that he can not only juggle so many plotlines, but also that he can make each and every issue manageable and jump-on-able for new and/or casual readers.

Well, almost every issue. Issue #250—a milestone achievement in its own right—is the culmination of nearly everything that has happened over the last 2 years in X-Factor comics. While previous issues have also built on past events, David wrote those stories in tighter one-and-done or two-part comics that focused on segments of his large cast. He even cut his ensemble of characters in half during last summer’s “Breaking Points” storyline. With issue #250, David brings several of those breaking-pointed characters back (of course, accompanied by several unexpected twists) and manages to take all of those cascading plot threads and knot them all together in one giant, action-packed bundle of goodness.

I won’t go into the plot too much because there is some sort of plot twist or returning character or important development on each and every page in this comic. I will say that the “Hell on Earth War” promises to be one crazy storyline as Peter David and company move X-Factor toward a more horror-inspired, mystical, supernatural comic book a la Dr. Strange and Sandman.

Leonard Kirk’s artwork is gorgeous. As his work on X-Factor has evolved over the last 20 issues or so, he has also started experimenting with new panel layouts and perspectives. There are some spectacular moments in this issue—car crashes, explosions, Lorna Dane, werewolves, HELLSPAWN—and Kirk manages to capture all of them exquisitely. Jay Leisten and Matt Milla perfectly compliment Kirk’s artwork, and it’s a relief to see X-Factor handled by a consistent, regular art team after almost 50 issues of rotating artists.

Verdict

Usually, I’d be 100% BUY BUY BUY, but I would be remiss if I didn’t consider the amount of past continuity referenced in this issue. Unlike past issues of X-Factor which seemed geared towards recruiting new readers, issue #250 is clearly the culmination of over a year of stories. Still, while the returning characters and escalating plot threads might be missed by new readers, Peter David still imbues this issue with his trademark humor and four-colored expertise. So I’ll say I’m 97% BUY BUY BUY instead!

We’re well on our way into Peter David’s second hundred issues of his critically-acclaimed X-Factor run, and, given recent news, we can only hope that Peter recovers and is able to continue telling the stories that so many of us admire. Best wishes to Peter David and his family during this trying time.

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About The Author

Joey Braccino took his BA in English and turned it into an Ed.M. in English Education. Currently, he brings comics back in a big way all day every day to public education. In addition to proselytizing the good word of comics to this nation’s under-aged citizenry, Joey is a firm believer in the academic and literary merits of cultural media more broadly—particularly film, radio, pop journalism, and social media. #Excelsior!

2 Responses

  1. Bob Reyer

    Joey,

    Great “non-spoilery” review, which was not easy to do, considering all that happens in this issue!

    For readers playing catch-up, “Breaking Points” began in #241, and I’d say if you went back to about issue #230 or so, you’d have a great grasp on things. Mr. David always does a fabulous job getting you back up to speed on things issue-to-issue, but as you say, this one’s a doozy!

    Bob
    ps) According to Kathleen David’s blog ( http://kathwp.malibulist.com/ ),
    Peter has dictated a new script using some fancy computer software, has already taken some steps on his own, and even took a road trip to a bookstore yesterday! All the TC family sends our best wishes to the Davids! rrr

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