Writer: Peter David
Penciler: Neil Edwards
Inker: Jay Leisten
Colorist: Matt Milla
Review by Joey Braccino
Peter David’s “The End of X-Factor” run is based around a very simple premise: “The Hell on Earth War” is over and the members of X-Factor have been scattered across space and time. With each character separated from the team, Peter David has focused on resolving the individual ongoing arcs of each member. Some of the individual stories have been more successful than others—last issue’s Shatterstar/Rictor/Longshot resolution was incredible; the preceding Rahne Sinclair… not so much—and, fortunately, X-Factor #260 Polaris-centric story features all of the wit, the personal drama, and the on-point characterization that David’s work is known for.
Polaris, a late addition to this current iteration of X-Factor, was just coming into her role as leader of the team when “Hell on Earth War” struck. In the aftermath of the war, in which the world seems to have forgotten that any of the demonic brutality actually happened, we find Polaris disconnected from her team and coping with her aimlessness at a local bar. Tensions get a bit too high with the locals, and Polaris stands up to one too many dares, resulting in some property destruction and some snarky one-liners. Needless to say, Polaris’ behavior draws the attention of the Marvel Universe’s golden boys and girls, The Avengers, and, as the cover suggests, a certain white-haired speedster responds to the call.
Peter David handles Polaris and Quicksilver’s banter expertly. Their conversation is imbued with continuity and emotional weight, particularly in Polaris’ (David’s?) questioning of how Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch have suddenly garnered so much favor with the Avengers despite their respective roles in the “House of M” storyline. The ultimate resolution to Polaris’ story in this issue raises several new questions and promises a future for the character (and for the X-Factor name).
Neil Edwards has long been one of the more regular pencilers in X-Factor’s rotating stable of artists. Some of Edwards’ recent turns on the book have been less than stellar due to splitting art duties with other pencilers with styles poorly matched to his dynamic, naturalistic aesthetic. Fortunately, Edwards is the sole penciler on this book, and his linework and sequencing are stellar. His handling of Quicksilver in particular is reminiscent of the intense realism of an artist Bryan Hitch’s work on The Ultimates. Matt Milla’s colors are vibrant and rich, and in a comic in which we have a silver-haired speedster in a blue bodysuit and a green-haired magnetrix, the colorist’s job certainly isn’t easy.
Buy. X-Factor #260 is another highlight of “The End of X-Factor” storyline. Polaris and Quicksilver aren’t actually A-List names in the Avengers or X-Men Universes, but Peter David handles them with care and emotional resonance. Neil Edwards delivers a stellar visual experience filled with fantastic character work and intense action sequences. Two more issues, boys and girls, and then David’s X-Factor ends its (current) run. As I mentioned, this issue promises a future for the name X-Factor; what exactly that means is unknown, but we can only hope…