Review: X-Factor #233 by Peter David & Leonard Kirk

X-Factor #233
In From the Cold

Written by: Peter David
Art by by: Leonard Kirk
Coloring by Matt Milla
Lettering by: VC’s Cory Petit

Published by: Marvel
Cover Price: $2.99

Note: This review is for the digital version of the comic available from Marvel Comics on Comixology

Warning! This review contains quite a few spoilers!

Summary (contains spoilers): This issue starts with a cloaked figure riding a dog sled driven by fire-breathing dogs up to the Arctic in order to find the Isolationist. An adversary X-Factor has fought in the past who can use the mutant power of any living mutant.

The cloaked figure reveals herself to have horns and claims to not be a mutant in the classic sense, which makes Isolationist curious about her. She seems eager to kill all mutants and bring on the apocalypse (a word which is pregnant with subtext in the Marvel Mutant Universe).

Meanwhile, Jamie has made it back to Earth-616 after his recent “Exiles” like dimension-hopping. Layla was so happy to see him, they had sex right in the morgue. Creepy! They talk a little about Layla bringing Guido back from the dead with no soul, and what has happened to X-Factor since Jamie was gone. Wolverine put Havok and Polaris in charge of the team, and they currently were going after an anti-mutant militia group.

The team displays some great teamwork, and is easily able to take this group down, at Val Cooper’s request. The team is definitely annoyed to be working for Val. Val makes an off hand comment that Madrox could not have done better, which offends Havok:

Review: I am glad to see Leonard Kirk on this book. He’s drawn some of my favorite PAD stories on Supergirl, and it is great to see him taking over X-Factor, which I’ve thought has had some real inconsistent art in the past.  Emanuela Lupacchino has been very good, and seeing her rotate with Kirk should be pretty cool.

I will admit I was a little disappointed that we didn’t get to see any kind of real confrontation between Madrox and Havok/Polaris. Especially since X-Factor now seems to be doing jobs for both the X-Men and Val Cooper, which should create some conflict. I was really looking forward to seeing how that would play out. That said, the battle against the anti-mutant militia group was well portrayed and was a great one and done story.

I especially loved seeing how Havok and Polaris had this team operating much more functionally that Jamie ever did. X-Factor often seemed to stumble into victories, but this was an X-Factor team working at it’s full potential here.

I also thought that Jamie and Layla’s reunion should have produced a little more angst. Jamie seemed pretty quick to accept Layla’s response that “I brought back Guido because I am tired of fate pushing me around.” Granted, we only got to see a few pages of this, and people seem to forgive a lot when they are just happy to see someone alive they thought was gone forever. I am hoping that PAD will expand on this more in upcoming issues.

I also am real glad to see the Isolationist back. I always like when X-Factor has a powerful opposing force working against them. I’ve found myself missing Singularity quite a bit in the recent issues (it was great to see Trypp in the Jamie is Dead arc). I am really curious who this horned character is that tracked him down and isn’t a mutant.

PAD has teased us quite a bit over the years with the whole “beyond mutant” concept, ideas like Jamie being born with his powers, and I am really curious where this will all lead.  I am especially curious if name dropping Apocalypse was not just a tease.  Apocalypse got his start in X-Factor, and neither Havok or Jamie’s X-Factor teams have ever really encountered Apocalypse.

One thing I do hope PAD continues doing is having the team split off into different teams investigating different cases. There are 12 current members of X-Factor, and that leaves a lot of room for stories to spin off. I do hope that in the future all the stories don’t keep coming together to show they are all part of one big conspiracy. This actually is something I have seen Peter David do often in his books and comics, and while it usually is done really well, sometimes it does get a little cliche.

I do have to mention is that X-Factor is just about the most new reader friendly comic out there. I jumped in the middle of an arc, and had no problem following what was going on. I was quick to start buying backwards and catch up on the last seven years of back issues that I missed, not because I felt I had to, but because I enjoyed the series that much.

All in all, this was a very good issue of X-Factor, though I did feel like it tried to do a little too much at once, and some of the things I was most looking forward to in this issue just didn’t happen. So, while I didn’t like this one as much as other issues of X-Factor, it still is one of the best comics I read every month, and the addition of Leonard Kirk on art is definitely a much needed shot in the arm.

Final Score: 8.0 – A solid issue of X-Factor that sets up a lot of huge story potential for the future.

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