Writer: Peter David
Artist: Carmine Di Giandomenico
Colorist: Lee Loughridge
Letterer: Cory Petit
Review by Joey Braccino
We here at Talking Comics have made our love for Peter David’s X-Factor quite clear over the last few years. When the last volume came to a close after 8 years of critically-acclaimed, character-driven stories, we mourned the end of the adventures of Jamie Madrox X-Factor Investigations. Of course, so did thousands of other readers, so it came as no surprise that Marvel would relaunch the title as part of the All-New Marvel NOW! initiative. All-New X-Factor debuted a few months ago to, frankly, lukewarm reviews; many missed the wit and synergy of Madrox and the old crew but found the “Corporate Superheroes” premise intriguing. The series has chugged along since, with David sending Gambit, Polaris, and Quicksilver on superheroic escapades for Serval Industries.
I think my local comic book guy at FJB Comics in Jersey City said it best: “I’m happy to say that X-Factor finally got good.” Here we are at issue #5 and it seems as though Peter David and Carmine Di Giandomenico have found their footing with the new team and new direction for the title.
The series really picked up last month with the adventure to the Stolen Island and the high-octane “recruitment” of Danger. There were so many rich character beats left dangling at the end of last issue that Peter David wisely and effectively weaves and resolves this week. And that really was the appeal of the last volume as well: the continuity. The high points of this issue aren’t necessarily the climactic techno-brawl or shocking Smaug reveal, but rather the intimate sequences between Mr. Snow and Linda, Gambit and Danger, and the X-Factor team eating breakfast. David’s uncanny ability to build an entire world around ongoing character arcs and relationships rather than simply focusing on the next villain or mission—that’s the real draw of X-Factor, and I’m glad that All-New X-Factor has found its stride in this department.
That isn’t to say that All-New X-Factor #5 is light on the superheroic. As mentioned above, there are some shocking developments regarding cover-worthy Warlock and the return of the Technarchy. And any time those pesky techno-aliens show up, you know you’re up for some smashing. While Carmine Di Giandomenico’s moody, pulpy European aesthetic is perfect for the quieter moments that David scripts for Gambit and Danger or Quicksilver and Havok, it is equally up to the task of illustrating the dynamic, kinetic action sequences that make up the last half of the issue. Di Giandomenico’s surreal linework is visually stunning and makes for some wildly enthralling designs for Warlock and Danger.
Buy. All-New X-Factor has certainly picked up the pace over the last few issues, and Peter David and Carmine Di Giandomenico are finally starting to build up that brand-new, engaging, character-driven world that X-Factor is all about. And keep an eye out for a LOST reference!!!