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Friday, November 6, 2015

X-amining X-Factor #63

"Family"
February 1991

In a Nutshell 
Iceman and Marvel Girl go to Japan to rescue a captive Opal. 

Plot/Writer: Louise Simonson
Plot/Artist: Whilce Portacio
Letterer: Michael Heisler
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco
Special Thanks: Kimson Agena
Special Assist: Homage Studios

Plot
While out on a date, Opal and Bobby are attacked by a group of Japanese men with cybernetic implants, who were sent by their master to retrieve Opal. They toss a surprised Bobby out the window of the high rise restaurant as Opal fights back, but she only manages to tear away one of their insignia. The cyber warriors' leader, Hiro, tells Opal they're taking her back to her grandfather, then they all teleport away. Outside, Bobby ices up and returns to the restaurant, picking up the insignia left behind. He takes it to Opal's parents, who recognize it as the insignia of the Tatsu clan, and explain that they adopted Opal as a way to free her from her grandfather, though they were unable to save her birth mother. In Japan, Opal's grandfather Tatsu'o tells her she is to marry one of his cybernetic warriors and provide him with an heir, and Opal meets her birth mother. Back in New York, Bobby prepares to head to Japan, insisting on going alone but ultimately acquiescing to Jean accompanying him.


In Japan, Bobby and Jean meet with Mariko, as Opal vows to play the part of the submissive granddaughter until she can find a way to escape. At the Yashida home, Mariko tells Bobby of an upcoming sumo match, declaring it will be the best chance to rescue Opal, but insisting her ninjas carry out the attack and rescue, so as to prevent an international incident. Bobby reluctantly agrees. At the match, Mariko, Bobby and Jean arrive as spectators, waiting for the ninjas to get into place. But Opal, hoping to attract the attention of the crowd, suddenly shouts out that she's been kidnapped. When Tatsu'o strikes her, Bobby leaps into action and a fight breaks out between him, the ninjas and Tatsu's cyberpunks, which ends when the cyberpunks teleport away with Tatsu'o and Opal. Mariko is furious that Bobby didn't stick to the plan, but he tells her it never would have worked, since Tatsu'o could have teleported away at any moment. He declares that now they're doing things his way, that he'll storm Tatsu'o's stronghold and bring Opal out himself, or die trying.

Firsts and Other Notables
Whilce Portacio joins the book as the new regular artist, the final future Image co-founder to work on an X-book and, given that both Jon Bogdanove and Paul Smith were only on the book for, essentially, a storyline a piece, the first regular penciler the series has seen since Walt Simonson left after issue #39 (even better, Al Milgrom is finally no longer inking whomever is drawing the book). Portacio also gets co-plotting credit alongside Simonson.

New artist, new costumes: X-Factor gets new uniforms this issue, now featuring a uniformed blue/yellow look. Of course, as with the previous costumes, it's pretty much just Scott & Jean sporting them, save for the few times Iceman is running around sans ice. This also marks the first time that Cyclops is wearing a costume without a skullcap, thus exposing his hair.


Ship is seen to be experiencing some malfunctions, a setup that will be followed up on in the next story.


In Japan, Bobby and Jean meet get assistance from Mariko, making this the first time Jean and Mariko have met (with both women thinking to themselves about how they can understand Wolverine's attraction for the other). Bobby and Mariko, meanwhile, act like old friends, but I can't honestly think of a time that they've ever interacted on-panel, nor really any reason they'd have had to interact behind-the-scenes at any point.


This issue reveals that Opal is actually adopted (with the corresponding papers the thing she received in issue #59 which so freaked her out) and is the granddaughter of a Japanese crimelord who employs a series of cybernetically-enhanced ninja warriors, all of whom appear here for the first time (they'll make one more appearance in a later Uncanny X-Men story, but that's about it for them).


A Work in Progress
Hiro, the totally-subtly named leader of the Cyber Warriors, is impressed by Iceman's honor, in that he doesn't kill his foes.


During the attack on Tatsu'o, several of Mariko's ninjas shout taunts and braggadocio at the Cyberpunks, which seems, you know, contrary to the whole "silent killer" thing ninjas are supposed to do.  


The Grim 'n' Gritty 90s
"Cyberpunk Ninjas" is about as 90s as you can get.

Also, this issue was published at a time when someone thought it was still necessary to explain to readers what the Yakuza are.


Teebore's Take
Taken on its own merits, there's plenty to like about this issue: the arrival of Portacio provides the series with a regular artist for the first time in ages; Simonson's development of the book's supporting cast doesn't abate in the wake of "X-Tinction Agenda" and the arrival of Portacio, with Opal featured front and center; along with Opal, Iceman is given a rare opportunity to headline a story, and pairing him with Jean makes for a fun and rare (if rather arbitrary for this story) combination. Yet at the same time, it's hard not to read this issue in relation to the respective issues of Uncanny X-Men and New Mutants on sale at the same time. New Mutants #98 features Liefeld unleashed, for better and worse, for the first time and the introduction of what will become a significant new character. X-Men #273 features an assortment of top artists and stands as a representation of a franchise at a crossroads. Compared to that "cyberpunk ninjas" pale in comparison (not that they were shining too brightly anyway), and for all this issue's relative merits, they simply don't stand up in the face of what the other titles are doing at the same time. X-Factor will yet have its standout moments before the line gets reshuffled, but it's still a shame that it comes up so short out of the "X-Tinctiona Agenda" gate in comparison to its fellow series. 

Next Issue
Next week: Fantastic Four #347-349, Excalibur #34, and Wolverine #36.

Collected Edition

51 comments:

  1. During the attack on Tatsu'o, several of Mariko's ninjas shout taunts and braggadocio at the Cyberpunks, which seems, you know, contrary to the whole "silent killer" thing ninjas are supposed to do.

    I've let myself be told that the Samurais on the other hand used to announce their name, their family, their deeds of might, after which they proceeded to insult the opponent.

    Them being explicitly "Cyberpunks", the "cybernetics steal your humanity" coming up here certainly ain't no coincidence: Kind of a big deal in the Cyberpunk 2020 role playing game is the Humanity Cost that ensues from installing cybernetics and drags down one's EMP stat, maybe all the way down to zero at which point one loses the character to cyberpsychosis.

    New artist, new costumes: X-Factor gets new uniforms this issue

    Knowing now the role that merc royalties played in the Image Exodus, he must've been a tad pissed at Jim Lee scrapping them at the first possibility.

    I'm massively annoyed of the "you sell looks that I created for the character and pay me none" angle, when Cyke continuously continues to keep his visor, Rogue her skunk-stripe and Wolverine his flaps, still the most recognizable aspects.

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  2. I really like these costumes, particularly on Jean -- I almost wish she'd kept this look for the relaunch even though it wouldn't have been a proper "uniform" anymore if the other all ditched them.

    I also like the way Portacio draws iceman. I can't quite explain why, but I think I like that he's a little smoother and less blocky here than the way other artists usually drew him.

    In fact, I actually liked Portacio's artwork better than Lee's at this time, preferring his UNCANNY issues to Lee's X-MEN issues when they drew them concurrently. Nowadays, in retrospect I think I prefer Lee after all, but I still really enjoy Portacio's X-work.

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    1. I agree on pretty much every sentence of this. Portacio's Iceman is probably my favorite of any artist. He never has looked cooler to me (no pun intended).

      Agreed on Jean's look as well. Way better than the orange and blue that Jim Lee gave her, which I have never liked.

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    2. As usual, Jason... great minds.

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    3. I really like the way Portacio draws the ice effect around Iceman's hands - the ring that encircles each hand with space between the hand and the effect. Something about that just really appeals to me.

      I think I've always preferred Lee to Portacio, but Portacio was always a close second for me.

      @Jason: I have fondness for Jean's orange and blue Lee look, cuz it was the one she was wearing when I first encountered her (I was always mesmerized by her card in the first set of X-Men trading cards), but objectively, I can see that's not that great a look (it's just kind of...there).

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    4. Yeah, the circles around the Iceman hands! Love that. I almost brought it up.

      I prefer Lee to Portacio as an artist, although I am not a fan of Lee's costume designs.

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    5. I like the ice rings too. A few artists followed Portacio's lead with that. I know Brandon Peterson did for sure, and I feel like maybe one or two others did it as well.

      I like some of Lee's costume designs, or I would if they weren't so busy. I mostly have no problem with his Cyclops outfit, for example -- I just feel like the straps around his thighs and all the pouches on his belt are silly. Years later, Joe Mad eliminated the thigh straps, at least, though I think subsequent artists brought them back. And Lee's Rogue costume, bomber jacket and all, is the character's definitive look as far as I'm concerned. Nobody has ever designed a better costume for her.

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    6. Totally agree on Rogue. That's her definitive look for me as well.

      Cyclops look is definitely too busy, but I don't mind it. Storm's is fine. Jean Grey's, as I mentioned, I have a strange fondness for despite recognizing it's objectively not very good.

      And that's about it for original Lee costumes, right? Everybody else is a holdover/return to form, with a few minor tweaks here or there.

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    7. Well, since I love cataloguing things like this, let's see... of the X-Men who appeared in X-MEN #1:

      NEW COSTUMES
      -Cyclops: New costume design by Lee.
      -Jean Grey: New costume design by Lee.
      -Rogue: Entirely new costume designed by Lee.

      RETAINED COSTUMES FROM LEE*
      -Banshee: Retains updated school uniform designed by Lee.
      -Forge: Retains updated school uniform designed by Lee.
      -Gambit: Retains original costume designed by Lee.
      -Psylocke: Retains ninja costume designed by Lee.

      RETAINED COSTUMES FROM OTHER ARTISTS*
      -Archangel: Retains costume designed by Walter Simonson. (Somehow the only character whose costume came from another artist and goes completely untouched.)
      -Beast: Retains classic blue/black trunks, though Lee gives him big furry sideburns.
      -Colossus: Returns to original Dave Cockrum costume with several tweaks (squared-off shoulder thingies, new belt, new gauntlets, new leggings, no blue pants in human form).
      -Iceman: I think he returns to the classic light blue/powder blue uniform with minor tweaks, but I'm not sure we see it in any of Lee's issues.
      -Storm: Retains Outback costume designed by Marc Silvestri, though Lee replaces the lightning bolt with two "X"s and doesn't put nearly as much black into the outfit, making it look silver rather than black.
      -Wolverine: Retains brown costume designed by John Byrne.

      Interestingly, like you said, Lee really only designed a small handful of entirely new costumes for X-MEN #1, retained three he had previously designed in UNCANNY (counting Banshee and Forge as one costume), and the rest were just updates to, or even simple carry-overs of, existing looks.

      And of course, issue 4 would bring us Jubilee, also still in her Lee-designed costume.

      * Note that nearly every character (except Gambit and Archangel) received the minor tweak of an "X" someplace on their costume.

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    8. Gambit's original was by Lee? He did premiere in one of the ugly drawers' issues (or alternatively, the Annual), but did Lee design it still?

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    9. See, that's where you guys go all off the rails. Jim Lee's costume for Rogue is no good. NO GOOD.

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    10. Also ... I think this has already come up before, but remind me how we know that Lee is the guy who redesigned the blue and gold Kirby school uniforms? I always want to give Silvestri the credit for that, but that is probably wishful thinking. (But Silvestri does get the credit for designing my favorite Rogue outfit, the one that debuted in Uncanny 229.)

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    11. Jason, the All-New-New Muir Island X-Men adopt the standard X uniforms (of early New Mutants look) in Silvestri's #254, yes, but Lee then sexes them up with an amount of on-panel ado in his #258. Plus of course there's the circumstancial evidence of him making enough changes to anyone's look for the merchandise royalties.

      Re: Rogue, it's green, or green n' black. OR, orange. Yellow on her is just as nonsense as basketball as the X-Men's pastime. I in a way like the swimsuit-y #229 one, but her getting her threads shredded all the time so she must remind everyone not touch her lest she absorbs their memories and powers is an institution and best acknowledged by her wearing any combination of the same recycled clothespieces according to (I guess) what ever she has managed to get patched between adventures. Just skim through her issue-per-issue looks from #192 or so forward, it's like they had a big chart at the office wall "Rogue wears something of these thrown together" and the different artists go by it.

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    12. I always thought Storm's redesigned outfit by Lee was initially colored as black leather, but only became more metallic and silver once the cartoon came out, as that's where it was first featured in that color.

      The outfit he gave Rogue was ok, but as Teemu mentioned, my favorite costume of hers was actually the non-costumes she wear from the Romita Jr era until post-FOTM.

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    13. Storm's outfit looks pretty much silver to me right away in X-MEN #1. I can only think of a handful of times where it looked legitimately black -- an annual or two and the STORM mini-series by Warren Ellis and Terry Dodson (which was also the final time she wore that costume).

      Jason -- The SIlvestri updates to the original uniform are different from Lee's redesign and generally very minor. Silvestri kept the yellow as a single "stripe" that ran up from the waist and over the shoulders around the neck area. Lee extended the yellow out to cover the shoulders. He also added neck straps so the uniform could be worn with a flared collar, boot straps, glove straps, and useless thigh straps like he would eventually give to Cyclops.

      Also, though this is probably more of an artistic choice, Silvestri drew the uniforms with a ton of black, the way Kirby did way back when, so they actually looked yellow-and-black. Lee left the black parts much more open for highlights, making his version appear yellow-and-blue most of the time. Lee's version is much more of a departure from the original Kirby design than was Silvestri's.

      Courtesy of Teebore himself, here's a sample of the Silvestri version (see Sharon at right, not Moira's alternate look) versus the Lee version from Marvel.com.

      'Nuff said!

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    14. Also, all this costume talk reminds me -- I posted this here some time ago, but it still fascinates me: Lee's original thumbnail for the X-MEN #1 wraparound cover is in one of Claremont/Lee Omnibus collections, and it's notable that Lee drew Cyclops in his Dave Cockrum costume with the only noticeable tweak being new straps on his gloves. Colossus, also, looks to be dressed in something that more closely resembles his original look. Meanwhile, Rogue is wearing her new Lee costume, so this was obviously drawn after Lee had redesigned her. Makes me wonder if the new Cyclops costume was a last-minute decision or editorial directive.

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    15. Also, Teemu -- Lee definitely designed Gambit. The afore-mentioned Claremont/Lee Omnibus has some preliminary design sketches from him. He just happened to not draw his debut appearance.

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    16. Courtesy of Teebore himself, here's a sample of the Silvestri version (see Sharon at right, not Moira's alternate look) versus the Lee version from Marvel.com.

      Somehow brutally symbolic that during the Claremont era the new sexed-up uniforms by Lee MAY HAVE BEEN a development deliberately informed by the corrupting effect of the Shadow King, but post-Claremont they're just business as usual at the pre-Image Exodus Marvel.

      Thanks for the Gambit info, Matt.

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    17. Cool, costume talk!

      I prefer the Rogue costume from Silvestri of issue 217. Is that one different from the Outback era? Lee's XMen 1 is a close second.

      Storm's Silvestri costume from the Outback era is probably her worst one from the Claremont run, imo. I much prefer the Lee updates.

      I like Cyclops' Lee costume. The head cover just always looked weird to me, although it fits more with his name. The short lived X-Factor one during this period is pretty good though.

      If you have to pick a favorite costume from X-Men #1, what do people pick?

      Cyclops, Gambit or Rogue would be my choices. Cyke probs takes the award for me. He just looks cool.

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    18. Like Matt, I’m totally partial to these uniforms over the updated X-Men outfits, I much prefer this look on Jean to the orange-and-blue outfit Lee gives her soon (vastly preferring yellow-and-black, in fact to the extreme of the New Mutants student duds or Matt’s Silvestri example, to-yellow-and-blue as well), and while I’ve not seen a lot of it I also like Portacio’s work better than Lee’s.

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    19. Zephyr: I prefer the Rogue costume from Silvestri of issue 217.

      The issue with the younger members on Muir Island and Dazzler finding out Juggernaut is a fan? That issue wasn't by Silvestri but on of the fill-ins, and Rogue's costume (except for the jacket) is the black full-body tricot and green shoes that she's been using earlier (he said, slightly afraid that the wife is up for an Iceman revelation too). Were you thinking some other issue?

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    20. My bad, I meant 218, which I am pretty sure is Silvestri, at least the cover. Rogue looks pretty sweet on that one.

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    21. Zeph, the interiors of 218 are Silvestri (his first issue). The cover is actually by Art Adams!

      Matt, thanks for the comparisons re: Lee's blue/gold vs Silvestri's. I guess I mever gave Lee enough credit for how much he tweaked.

      I still prefer outback Rogue as my fave Rogue costume; it's the thigh high boots and opera gloves that make it for me. And the black and green color combo.

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  3. I guess Bobby and Opal where just really, really good friends

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    1. Eh, Bobby is hardly the first gay guy to have had a heterosexual relationship(s) before coming out.

      And given how rarely in his 50+ year publishing history his romantic relationships were front and center (relative to Cyclops, Wolverine, Storm, Kitty, etc.), the retcon is less egregious than it would be for other X-Men.

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    2. No doubt. Bobby always felt underdeveloped to me- despite being around as long as everyone else, we really don't know that much about him and he never really evolved beyond being the joking, youngest member. It still feels cheap the way that went about outing him.

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    3. Did they actually out the normal-age one yet? All-New #40 has only just popped up in Marvel Unlimited and Jean seem to have left a bit of a divergence for the normal-age Bobby despite addressing the issue with young Bobby.

      I think the was quite stylishly done with the young one, as opposed to the normal-aged one just one of these day going "oh by the way guys..."

      Of course the cheapness comes from the painfully obvious out-of-universe considerations that made Marvel feel like having a long-since established gay character, to which I believe the only appropriate response is aggravated snark towards any scene published during those 50 first years that now courtesy of it get retroactively questionable.

      My current personal favorite is Uncanny #331 and Emma Frost, a telepath, remarking "You finally realized you're not cut out to be an X-man, so you've decided to use your mutant ability to pursue your first love: interior decorating?", after Bobby messed up her office.

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    4. And, to underline it, the consternation about it goes firstly and foremostly towards Marvel as a company, which now is clearly responding to such societal calls that nowadays have also commercial meaningfulness, but which back in the day had Claremont need to sneak in their nowadays-oh-so-lauded lemanship of Mystique and Destiny in there and completely nixed Nightcrawler as their child in favor of plot horridness that was Azrael. In a way it's like they're really retconing their own history as a publishing house with this sort of thing.

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    5. John Byrne has said there were jokes around the Marvel offices about Iceman being closeted all the way back in the seventies. It seems Bendis has only canonized what many already believed to be true, so I have no real problem with the revelation despite my general dislike for the vast majority of changes modern Marvel has made to their characters.

      Plus, I haven't read the issues but from what I gather -- and has been basically confirmed here by Teemu -- it's only the time displaced teen Bobby Drake who is out, while the modern day Bobby is still in the closet. I think that's an interesting dynamic to mess around with.

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    6. Nah, UXM #600 (which was, finally, released last week) features a conversation between Teen Bobby and Current Bobby in which Current Bobby comes out, so any possible dynamics between the two different Icemen is gone now.

      Though, of course, UXM #600 was also the end of Bendis' run, so Lemire could just retcon it all away or just ignore it at this point (Iceman was in Lemire's first issue, but the question of his sexuality understandably didn't come up.

      @Teemu: In a way it's like they're really retconing their own history as a publishing house with this sort of thing.

      Yeah, but isn't that the whole point of progress? For things to get better over time? I mean, back in the early 80s Marvel nixed Claremont's Mystique/Destiny relationship because they (presumably) felt it was more trouble than its worth. Now, they believe that prominently featuring a homosexual character is good for business, so they're okay with it. Their attitude remains the same (do what's good for business), but the expectations/desires of the readership/society at large has changed (or their perceptions of those expectations have, which in this case, is the same thing) and they're responding to it. I don't see anything wrong with that.

      Look at it from another angle: just because Sue Storm was initially presented as a flighty female who more often than not had to be rescued in the early days of the Fantastic Four circa 1961 doesn't mean the Marvel of today shouldn't feature competent, independent female characters capable of standing on their own.

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    7. Ah, but with Sue Storm it was a lengthy on-panel process (while of course also an exercise in making the character more fit to the times), as examplerized during Byrne run from the (in)famous talk show visit in FF #245 to her adopting the Invisible Woman moniker in #284, and associated drama in between. While with Bobby it's a case of "Look you modern audiences, whaddya know, an original X-man's been a gay since the beginning! The issue's out now!".

      Comparing for example to Northstar, who had the element written into him from pretty much the beginning, though occasionally in nowadays-cringeworthy way, one can hardly make an ado of Marvel making a big fuzz of his wedding some years back. Or even with Mystique/Destiny, cos the hints were (sneaked) there from the beginning too even if not in so open fashion. If it was internal know about Bobby in Marvel during the seventies that's of course a thing to consider, but for a regular audience member it's a bit of a cheap turn of events when they have played Bobby's (few, granted) relationships like with Opal here totally straight.

      But, I'll give them that: if they go on and out Maverick too next then everything is forgiven.

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    8. The problem with most coming out stories is that there really is no build up to it. Some writer just decides a character should be gay, and overnight, they are.

      And Bobby being closeted all this time just doesn't work, given his past relationships.

      One of the few times a character coming out really worked for me was Karma. She had been in Limbo long enough so that it didn't feel like she just switched to women inbtween panels of some issue. And it helped that prior to her departure, she wasn't involved in teenage love shenanigans like the rest of her fellow New Mutants.

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    9. wwk5d: Some writer just decides a character should be gay, and overnight, they are.

      Ha, you make it sound like them sudden musical numbers on a TV series: "Today I just woke up, and feel all things anew..."

      I think Karma was a bit older than the rest, and would not have had an approximate age peer back then in the mansion to shenanigan with (if not among the younger X-Men). I find it just a slightly bit awkward thing particularly with her, because there being not too much to work with the character one may be kind of inclined to draw the connection to her young rape victim backstory as a plausible cause for her non-male-oriented sexuality of today. Like, it's teeny-weeny suggesting that instead of some people just happening to be homosexuals, you'd need to have been bitten by a homosexual spider in your youth or endure some other trauma.

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    10. Yeah, but we never really saw her commenting at all on whether or not any male character she came across was attractive or not. As opposed to many of the other characters, who you'd at least get a thought bubble or 2.

      I doubt most people would make the connection of rape leading to homosexuality in Karma's case, since it's barely referenced by her or other characters, and it hardly defines who she is as a character. I doubt John Francis Moore even remembered or knew about that aspect of her history when he he wrote X-force 75.

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    11. I have to admit that problem there may be particularly mine, because I have had access to the character only in very select 1980's issues and nothing after that and only learned of the matter from secondary sources. But, despite that, such an ignoramus certainly has no business to be writing comics to connoisseurs such as us then! Would that be vol 1 of the X-FORCE in the 90's or some later installation?

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    12. @Teebore: // any possible dynamics between the two different Icemen is gone //

      Heh. Countdown to someone asking Byrne to draw a “gay incest” kiss between them starts now.

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    13. @Teemu: but for a regular audience member it's a bit of a cheap turn of events when they have played Bobby's (few, granted) relationships like with Opal here totally straight.

      That's a fair point. There's definitely something to be said for execution. An idea can be good but executed poorly (and vice versa).

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  4. Psst... Teebore -- I just noticed you're missing a collected edition at the bottom of the post. In addition to ESSENTIAL X-FACTOR 5, the full run of X-FACTOR 63 - 70 also appears in spectacular full color in the X-MEN BY CHRIS CLAREMONT & JIM LEE OMNIBUS volume 2. (Which, despite its title, actually lists Claremont's, Lee's, and Portacio's names all on the cover and spine, just as volume 1 listed Claremont, Lee, and Silvestri.)

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    1. I did not know that! I'll have to add it (and update the X-Men link).

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  5. Opal, hoping to attract the attention of the crowd, suddenly shouts out that she's been kidnaped.

    Corrected that for you. :)

    In Japan, Bobby and Jean meet get assistance from Mariko, making this the first time Jean and Mariko have met (with both women thinking to themselves about how they can understand Wolverine's attraction for the other).

    Jean would have the memories of Madelyne from the wedding of Mariko and Logan. Kind out of nowhere comes the notion of Mariko that taking care of the family businesses has taken toll on her, shown consistently both in text and art here. Surely she assumably never was in her teens during her early UNCANNY visits either, which reminds us of Wolverine's age and puts a bit of an awkward spin on Wolverine's love triangle with barely-in-their-twenties Jean and Scott of the same era.

    Bobby too was there at the wedding, but I have hard time believing that particular instance would have made the X-tended X-family feel especially close to Mariko, considering. Logan was dating her around the time of Dr. Doom/Arcade shenanigans, so maybe the whole gang had an off-panel afterparty and the two hit it off there.

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    1. Corrected that for you. :)

      Huh? Is "kidnapped/kidnaped" one of those American English/British English things, like "canceled/cancelled" or "favorite/favourite"?

      Jean would have the memories of Madelyne from the wedding of Mariko and Logan.

      Yeah, though is still the first time Jean herself has met Mariko, which the text rightly acknowledges.

      Bobby too was there at the wedding

      I don't think he was - there's no mention of him being there, nor any background figures that seem likely to be him. He was off at accounting school and/or with the Defenders at that point, and since he and Logan were never close, it seems unlikely he'd get invited (I'm pretty sure he was at Cyclops & Maddie's wedding a few issues later, which makes sense, but Mariko of course wouldn't be there).

      Logan was dating her around the time of Dr. Doom/Arcade shenanigans, so maybe the whole gang had an off-panel afterparty and the two hit it off there.

      Maybe, though Mariko wasn't kidnapped by Arcade so she'd have no specific reason to be in the country/hanging around.

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    2. It was a call-back to the X-amination of X-Factor #43, "Kidnaped!", and the comments therewith. :)

      And rats with Logan's wedding, you're right he had only a very select guest list for the occasion which otherwise too seemed like a small party and anyway it was of course abroad. I thought I was being clever there, but, nope. I'm also a tad bit worried about various superhero weddings being readily there in the use-memory.

      Kidnaping Mariko (or an attempt to it) would of course be a stupid move, her being the head of a Yakuza family. I btw cherish the edutainment element of comics and thanks to them can readily note that Yakuza comes from the numerals 8-9-2, ya-ku-za, which is a losing hand in a Japanese card game, and which reminds of the days when they were on the side of the small guys needing protection. Actually when there was the devastating tsunami in Japan some years back, the first emergency aid packages to the sites were delivered by Yakuza while the official Japan were still sorting themselves out. Those organizing it actually told the delivery people to not tell that to people, lest they'd not accept the aid.

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  6. "(they'll make one more appearance in a later Uncanny X-Men story, but that's about it for them)."
    The cybersamurai also make an appearance in New Warriors.
    What happened to Bobby's power-control belt? It seems to disappear this issue.

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    1. I did not know the Cyberwarriors pop up in NEW WARRIORS. That's one of those series I keep thinking I should read, just for stuff like that. It's not an X-book, but it's definitely X-adjacent at times, thanks to Firestar and Nicieza.

      Bobby looks to be wearing his belt early in the issues (specifically when he's visiting Opal's parents - it doesn't really match the design of the belt, but it's gray, so I assume that's what they were going for), but it does indeed disappear later. At times, it looks like maybe he's supposed to be wearing it, and Oliver just didn't color it gray.

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  7. "X-Factor gets new uniforms this issue, now featuring a uniformed blue/yellow look"

    I'm kind of "meh" on the uniforms. Don't like them, but I don't hate them either.

    "Ship is seen to be experiencing some malfunctions, a setup that will be followed up on in the next story."

    Didn't Simonson have a different resolution in mind, as per X-factor Forever?

    "This issue reveals that Opal is actually adopted...and is the granddaughter of a Japanese crimelord who employs a series of cybernetically-enhanced ninja warriors"

    Well, of course she is. She's Japanese, isn't she?

    Portacio is here which...have to say, not a fan of his artwork. Well, let me be more clear: not a fan of his penciling skills, but I he is a good inker. And his layouts are a nice change from the standard grid paneling. But overall, his artwork hasn't aged well at for me. Still, after 3 months of Bogdanove and Milgrom, it is something of an improvement.

    As for his story telling skills...well, it, its a story about cyber ninjas WITH HONOR. It may feature a Simonson supporting character, but this does have more of a Portacio feel to it. Opal was introduced as a normal frumpy girl, and I can't imagine Simonson had this background planned for her. Who knows, its possible the papers she received in #59 were related to something else?

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    1. Didn't Simonson have a different resolution in mind, as per X-factor Forever?

      I haven't read X-Factor Forever yet, but I've always heard that she had a different explanation in mind as well. Certainly, I don't think she had any plans to blow Ship anytime soon, but of course, he had to go in order to get X-Factor back with the X-Men.

      It may feature a Simonson supporting character, but this does have more of a Portacio feel to it.

      Oh, definitely. That co-plotting credit shows. I could see Simonson having some kind of spin on the general idea of Opal being the unknowing adopted child of a criminal in mind (given the conventions of the genre, nobody gets to stay "normal" for very long. Heck, it's a miracle Charlotte Jones did), but "said criminal has a gang of cybernetic ninjas at his disposal" is pure Portacio. No way Simonson had that specific beat in mind at any point.

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  8. Well, of course she is. She's Japanese, isn't she?

    Moreover, she's Bobby Drake's love interest. Of course her (grand)dad is revealed as villain.

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  9. For all of Jean's worrying that Bobby will be safe, it's surprising that she does absolutely nothing during the battle but stand around. What's her TP/TK status at this point?

    Best line: when the main cyberpunk thinks he notices Bobby in the rafters and says it must be impossible and that "all gaijin do look the same..." haha

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    1. At this point Jean still has just her telekinesis, with no telepathy. But that doesn't excuse her standing around doing nothing during the fight.

      I also chuckled at that "all gaijin look alike" line.

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  10. I'd be more impressed by 42 comments on an issue of X-Factor if most of them were actually about X-Factor.

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