Reviews of trade paperbacks of comic books (mostly Marvel), along with a few other semi-relevant comments / reviews.

04 July 2008

X-Factor, v. 1: The Longest Night

Collects: X-Factor #1-6 (2006)

Released: February 2007 (Marvel)

Format: 144 pages / color / $14.99 / ISBN: 9780785118176

The germ of the latest X-Factor series was the Madrox miniseries, in which Jamie Madrox, the Multiple Man, ran a detective agency using the skills gained through his many duplicates.

But X-Factor, v. 1: The Longest Night is a different beast altogether. Between Madrox and X-Factor was the Decimation, reducing mutant numbers to about 200, and X-Factor picks up the plot — the only title to do so, really. Former mutants are angry and afraid; anti-mutant bigots come into Mutant Town to kick some of the mutant butt. Rictor, a former member of X-Force and the New Mutants, contemplates suicide before Madrox and his colleagues take him in.

 coverThe core of this X-Factor is from Peter David’s run on the original X-Factor: Madrox, Wolfsbane, and Strong Guy. Also part of the team are M, of Generation X, former X-Forcers Siryn and Rictor, and Layla Miller, a kid who “knows things.” They are opposed by the mysterious and well-heeled Singularity Investigations.

David’s plots are grim, with riots, savage beatings, and murders, although the most horrifying thing might be Layla constantly wandering around saying she knows things. David keeps things from getting too grim, using his customary wisecracking dialogue. And that’s the appeal of any David comic: the dialogue and the characters. He picks up Strong Guy, Wolfsbane, and Madrox as if his X-Factor run was only a few months ago rather than 15 years ago. M’s arrogance comes across well, although it cracks a bit too often for the first storyline; Rictor mainly mopes along. I’m not fond of Siryn’s new persuasion powers, and I’m not convinced by David’s handling of the character. Layla is annoying, but I’m sure she’s supposed to be.

I’m not a big fan of the art, supplied by Ryan Sook and Dennis Calero. They use a heavy line for outlines but are often sketchy with the details. This gives the characters a somewhat blank look, which with all the violence, death, and weirdness is not the right approach. I also don’t like their take on Wolfsbane, who looks more bestial than previously. There’s also a social worker who has a wide-eyed, unfocused look about her that makes her appear as if she took a big gulp of the joy juice.

Despite the art — and its not that bad, not really — this is much better than the previous book by David that I read. It’s well worth your time.

Rating: X-Men symbol X-Men symbol X-Men symbol X-Men symbol 4 of 5

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I actually couldn't disagree more. I think the art style, though I do prefer Sook's slightly over Calero's in this particular volume, is pitch perfect for the tone of the story. And I don't see any merit in the observation about lack of detail...unless you're using a definition of the word I'm not familiar with. No, it's not typical balloon muscle cartoon comics, but I take that as a plus not a minus.

To end on a good note, I like your blog. Just disagreed this time.

12:42 PM  

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