Review: X-Factor #246 by Peter David & Paul Davidson

X-Factor #246
Short Story

Written by: Peter David
Art by by: Paul Davidson
Coloring by Rachelle Rosenberg
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!

One of the reasons that Peter David has long been my favorite comic writer is that he has no problem smashing the status quo of books he writes. Even in the midst of this long run on X-Factor, he still has plenty of surprises to throw at the reader. The last 5 issues of X-Factor were called Breaking Points and showed the team practically crumbling apart. Breaking Points was an excellent arc, but it was emotionally exhausting. Going into this issue and knowing it featured Pip the Troll, I was expecting something pretty light-hearted and done-in-one leading into whatever fresh hell PAD will be putting his characters through in the lead up to issue 250. And as usual, PAD shattered my expectations…

Summary (contains spoilers): The issue starts with a woman (Vera) getting mugged in an alleyway, when her attacker is suddenly confronted by Pip the Troll, who declares that he’s got a “nose for trouble and a fist for noses”

He proceeds to beat up the assailant and then takes the victim out for a drink, convincing her that he’s Tyrion from Game of Thrones. They go to a nearby bar where Pip is the resident Norm. The women freaks out and says her attacker is still following them.

Pip heads outside to check it out, and we find out that is was all a ruse, and “the mugger” is named Wendell and was in on it with Pip the whole time to help him pick up women. Wendell then tells him that he overheard some guys saying “X-Factor will fall tonight.” Even though it’s Pip’s night off, he feels drawn to help his co-workers. He says that Earth brings out the worst in him, which is the what most people consider good behavior. He puts Vera in a cab and goes off to save the day.

Pip ends up stealing a cab of his own after the driver calls him an Oompa-Loompa. He reflects on his time with the team and how he has protected them from the cranks. On time, a woman came in trying to get the team to do a seance to contact her dead husband. He uses what seems to be “cosmic attunement” to reveal to her that the guy faked his own death and went to the Bayshore Paradise hotel with some other woman. He says that he solves five or six cases like this a month and puts the money in the petty cash box. According to Pip, “I keep the place running. I protect them. I am X-Factor. It’s just that nobody knows it.”

Another time, the Friends of Humanity sent in some Foot Clan rejects to take down X-Factor, and Pip used booby traps to take hem all out.

Pip arrives at X-Factor HQ to find Vera is there. She pulls out a gun, says “X-Factor will fall!” and shoots Pip in the head.

Review: I loved that this issue opened up with a very noir scene. One of the things that jumped out at me when PAD did the Madrox mini-series way back in 2004 was how seamlessly he blended noir into the superhero genre. X-Factor has sort of gotten away from that over the years, so it was nice to see that back in this issue.

PAD did a great job of showing how Pip feels about his new team and how he reflects on his adventures with Adam Warlock and Gamora. It was never quite clear why Pip stayed around X-Factor until this issue. I loved the team shot they used; Paul Davidson really captured the team perfectly:

The end of this issue completely threw me for a loop. PAD had me so distracted by Pip’s stories, that I didn’t even realize I was at the end of the comic until it happened. I love when I finish a comic and scream realizing that I have to wait a few weeks to find out what happened next.

Going by Comicvine, Paul Davidson has done a few random issues of X-Factor during the last few years. I hope he does a lot more work on this series. Like I said last time I reviewed X-Factor back in issue 233 my only real complaint about X-Factor is that the art seems to be very inconsistent from issue to issue. Paul Davidson’s work here was great, and I would like to see him on this book much more often.

I did kind of feel that this book was a little too fast a read, but honestly most of that was because I was really drawn into it and real curious where it was going, so don’t take that as a real complaint.  This was just another great issue of one of Marvel’s best and underrated series.   Next time you complain about paying 4 bucks for a comic you don’t even really like, put it back on the shelf, grab X-Factor instead.  You’ll thank me later!

Final Score: 9.0 – X-Factor doesn’t get a lot of attention, but month after month it is Marvel’s most consistently well-written comic. This issue wasn’t what I was expecting it to be, but that doesn’t take away from it being a terrific issue.

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