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Friday, December 9, 2016

X-amining X-Factor #82

"Sittin' by the Dock of the Bay"
September 1992

In a Nutshell
X-Factor battles the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants

Writer: Peter David
Penciler: Rurik Tyler
Inker: Al Milgrom
Letterer: Richard Starkings
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Kelly Corvese
X-Titles Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
As local police & immigration officials discuss the situation with the Genoshan mutants seeking asylum, Sauron is revived by the life force of a drunk who strays too close to him. Overhearing the discussion, he decides to contact his Brotherhood teammates about some potential new recruits. Meanwhile,Val is admonishing Jamie for this handling of the Rhapsody situation, but Alex intervenes, saying Val needs to submit her criticisms through him. Their argument is interrupted by the phone. Just then, Lorna returns from the hospital and learns X-Factor has a new mission. Elsewhere, Strong Guy says goodbye to Shrew, her testimony complete with no sign of Cyber. At the docks, an immigration official argues with the Genoshans, saying the situation in Genosha is better now, so the US can't grant them asylum. Suddenly, they're drawn outside by the sound of a fight, as the Brotherhood arrives and attacks the soldiers in the name of the Genoshans. Shortly thereafter X-Factor arrives, and manages to defeat the Brotherhood. Meeting with Prodigal, the Genoshans' leader, Havok reiterates that Genosha is a changed, better, place now, and to prove it, he and the rest of X-Factor will accompany the would-be refugees back to Genosha.

Firsts and Other Notables
The new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, fresh off their ill-fated alliance with the Morlocks and general ass-whupping at the hands of X-Force, appear in this issue, attempting to recruit the X-Patriots and then battling X-Factor.


Sauron, last seen being delivered to X-Force's morgue for an apparent autopsy, returns this issue. Somewhere along the way his body made it into the ocean, apparently, and comes in contact with a derelict whose life force revives him. It's not a terribly elegant return, but at least David makes a point of acknowledging his apparent death.


While saying goodbye to Shrew, we learn that Guido's last name is Carosella.


In addition to Prodigal, who appeared last issue, we meet two more notable (ie speaking) X-Patriots this issue, Jo Beth and the hot-headed Lukas (who appear to have the ability to turn into a giant snake).


The X-Patriots' return to Genosha, accompanied by X-Factor, will be several issues in coming, delayed in part by the events of "X-Cutioner's Song" and its aftermath, an interruption which eventually leads Peter David to leave the book out of frustration.

A sign of the creative shakeups happening in the X-Books, Kelly Corvese takes over as editor of this series from Bob Harras, though in an editorial on the letters page, Corvese says that Harras is still considered to be overseeing all the X-Books. He also proceeds to tease a bunch of projects for 1993, including the Deadpool, Sabretooth and Gambit limited series and the new quarterly series that will become X-Men Unlimited.

The next issue blurb in this issue is also incorrect; it teases X-Force appearing in the next issue, but they do not.

Creator Central 
Joe Quesada provides the cover for this issue.

A Work in Progress
Toad tries to argue that the use of "evil" in their name is parodic; the X-Patriots don't really buy it.


Quicksilver notes that he's never liked Toad, citing their time together in Magneto's Brotherhood when Toad would constantly harass Scarlet Witch.


Blob and Pyro's role in Freedom Force is also acknowledged.

It's confirmed this issue that Phantazia has a physical body, and isn't just a head with a floating cape, as she appeared in X-Force.


Upon hearing Sauron boast about having killed Cannonball, Rahne promptly freaks the eff out on him, something which leaves her shaken and upset afterwards.


Blob is defeated when Strong Guy simply rips up the dock to which Blob has affixed himself.

The Grim 'n' Gritty 90s
Citing political correctness, a police officer references Strong Guy's "GeeCee" as an alternative for "mutant".


While being chewed out by Val, Madrox is wearing a Ren & Stimpy shirt; right around this time, Marvel had picked up the license and would soon be publishing a Ren & Stimpy comic, an the duo started popping up in backgrounds and shirts and things like that in various series.


The Reference Section
The title of this story obviously shares its name with a well-known Otis Redding song; as a result, I always think of this issue briefly whenever I hear the song.

Pun with Peter
Multiple Man points out that with his X-Factor uniform on, he has a multiplication  sign on his forehead.


When Havok declares the team is going to Genosha, we get the whole "Surely you're joking/Don't call him Shirley!" routine, which is obviously cribbed from Airplane! (though I first encountered it here. And still laugh at it).


Young Love
Polaris returns home from the hospital in this issue, which overjoys Rahne because when Alex is happy, it makes Rahne happy.


It's in the Mail
Instead of letters asking about Quicksilver's official X-Factor uniform, this time there's a letter asking why he isn't in the corner cover box. The response cheekily says that he is, he's just moving so fast no one can see him.

Austin's Analysis
This is another issue which showcases Peter David's often underrated ability to craft compelling fight scenes. Pitting the new X-Factor against the new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants (whose previous incarnation morphed into X-Factor's Freedom Force predecessors) is one of those ideas so obvious its a wonder it took this long, and David does an excellent job of using the shared history, on multiple levels, between the various combatants inform the action. From Quicksilver's disdain of Toad (born of his early days with the Brotherhood's first incarnation), to Blob & Pyro's involvement in Freedom Force, to even the relatively recent events in X-Force in which Sauron seemingly killed Wolfsbane's old New Mutants teammate Cannonball, the action is more than just mindless violence because it's rooted in the characters. Of course, the art, which varies in places from "ugly" to "competent", does the story little favors, preventing the issue from being considered a true classic. But there's still enough here to make it very entertaining and engaging, even though it is almost entirely one issue-long fight scene.

Next Issue
Next week: X-Men #12, Excalibur #54 and Wolverine #60

7 comments:


  1. Sauron, last seen being delivered to X-Force's morgue for an apparent autopsy, returns this issue. Somewhere along the way his body made it into the ocean, apparently


    Did they give a viking funeral to a worthy opponent, or did they dump the carcass into the sea after carving it up? YOU decide!

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    1. Actually, if you read X-Force 11, they returned his body to the Morlocks. Guess the Morlocks dumped it in the sea?

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  2. // Madrox is wearing a Ren & Stimpy shirt //

    Ren is on the shirt of one of the Madroxes in that scene and Stimpy on the other, until they merge — which could have been left an Easter egg but David opted to call it out in dialogue a page later. (Duo Damsel of the Legion of Super-Heroes did a similar trick with her costume’s colors in some incarnations.) While it’s a neat enough little bit, I’d have enjoyed it more without the lampshade; also, it begs the question of what would happen were Madrox to split off more than one duplicate and confuses the issue of there being a primary Madrox who creates copies of himself versus truly dividing himself in two.

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  3. After X-Force I believe the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants were next in Darkhawk 18/19 or so looking for his power stone and the energy it held. I want to say that was before this X-Factor appearance but it might have been afterwards.

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    Replies
    1. It must have been after this issue and before they appear in X-Men Annual 2 where Pyro is told he has the Legacy Virus and you see Phantazia in a bikini.

      Delete
  4. Man, did I love this one. Quicksilver's whole bit here with Toad turned him into my favorite character on the team.
    (Although reading those earlier Silver Age issues, Toad is never or nearly never, seen leering or letting after Wanda. It was Mastermind who was the sleaze who kept coming onto her. Toad just kissed Magneto's ass.

    And "multiplication sign" was great too.

    X-Factor taking out the whole team in one issue was so cathartic at the time, after X-Force spent six issues fighting the Brotherhood with complete ineptitude.

    This issue is a joy. Probably my favorite "fight issue" of the David run. I don't even mind the relatively bland artwork, cause the script just crackled with fun.


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  5. This was the first -- and for a few years, the only -- issue of X-FACTOR I owned. I think it got it in one of those comic book variety packs from Toys "R" Us.

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