Monday, March 26, 2012

What's Your Issue? Spotlight on X-Factor #233

We're back to Peter David's X-Factor this week. Honestly!? This issue kind of exemplifies why I always champion X-Factor as one of my favorite comics. They can change things up in an organic, interesting way and somehow make me not only like it, but like it even more.

After Jamie Madrox is resurrected after his night of 1,000 deaths, him and Layla Miller embrace in a way that might make you blush. That was last issue. In this issue? It becomes apparent that Layla has become Jamie's new slam piece. And no, there's no nicer way I could have put that. As Madrox often does, he's having a whole internal debate about how wrong the whole thing was and blah, blah, blah. Jamie has been attracted to Layla ever since he went to the future and she was older babe. He needs to get over himself about this, and finally deal with his gross emotional problems. To her credit, Layla is having kind of the same thoughts re: regret. But she's a little bit more honest here, admits the whole Guido-no soul thing, and ... yeah, I'll admit it. I kind of want them to get together. And let's give it up to Peter David who somehow made me feel not icky about that. It's weird how Layla is becoming my favorite.

Where's the team? Madrox asks. This is when Layla alludes to a change in leadership.

Then, suddenly! It's like an X-Factor book from 1995. Except, for some reason, Shatterstar is now on the team. Which? ... Awesome. Thanks for answering those fan letters with editorial decisions, Marvel. I didn't actually write any fan letters but, man, now I wish I did. I would have been vindicated here. What makes this book a fun throwback? Val Cooper is directing the team to a terrorist situation (I'm guessing somewhere in the Bible belt? I could look it up, but lazzzzzy!). Havok is now team leader, directing everybody to be their best. Creepy Dollhouse voice, "I try to be my best!" The initial plan is a good one; use Theresa's modulating voice to soothe the terrorists into dropping their weapons. The one catch? She's never really tried it on groups of people before, especially groups as large as this one. I like exploring the dynamic of their powers. It's fun.

But their plan works. People start dropping their weapons. But, one of the terrorists is deaf. In order for Theresa's voice to control you, you need to be able to hear it. I also liked that terrorists in comics too can be handicapable. He gets some people to snap out of it (it's not real mind control, so it is intensely easy to shrug off her voice I guess), and the team launches into action. Rictor gets to use his powers in a fun moment. Rahne is wolfing out and going after stragglers. The real fun comes when someone sets off a bomb, then Havok has Monet launch it into the air, and then he detonates it with a plasma burst. When the terrorists try to shoot the team up in protest, Lorna appears and stops all the bullets. Cool.

There's a brief discussion between Val and Havok with some of the other team members chiming in about Madrox. Havok seems much less of a jerkface than he used to be and kind of misses his old multiple buddy. But I think Alex needs to remember than Jamie didn't talk for a long time then seemingly died from the Legacy Virus. The Multiple Man of the 2000's is much more chatty, and I feel like they might butt heads. All of this is speculation; this issue is just to present not only a fun action sequence, but that the team can function without Jamie's leadership at the helm of someone else. I mean, readers could have guessed that before now (Jamie has been absent before), but it's quite another thing to see it actually happening. Can't wait for the next issue though.

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