Thursday, December 6, 2018
X-amining X-Factor #108
In a Nutshell
X-Factor hunts Mystique who is hunting Legion.
Plot: John Francis Moore
Script: Todd DeZago
Pencils: Jan Duursema
Inks: Al Milgrom
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco
Forge revisits the events of Mystique's apparent death with Rogue & Nightcrawler, suspecting she may have survived. His suspicions prove correct when Nick Fury shows Forge & Val Cooper footage of Mystique posing as a secretary at the Israeli embassy, in order to obtain a visa for Avalanche & gain info on Gabrielle Haller. After Havok & Strong Guy fail to capture Avalanche, X-Factor realizes Mystique is targeting Haller's son, Legion, to make him pay for killing Destiny. X-Factor travels to Te Aviv & confers with Haller at the hospital where the comatose Legion is being treated. As they hunt for Mystique, Mystique poses as Haller and prepares to inject Legion with a lethal drug via syringe. But the real Haller enters the room, and begs Mystique to spare her son. Shortly thereafter, X-Factor also arrives, triggering a standoff which ends when the syringe is telekintically suddenly flung from Mystique's hand by a now-conscious Legion.
Firsts and Other Notables
Legion, the son of Professor X & Gabrielle Haller, last seen in issue #70, after serving as a host for the Shadow King during the "Muir Island Saga" (which resulted in him being comatose), returns this issue. Having been cared for in a hospital in Israel, he wakes up just as Mystique is about to kill him. This in turn sets the X-books on the road towards "Age of Apocalypse", as the newly-conscious Legion, in the course of the "Legion Quest" story, will attempt to rewrite reality by killing Magneto in the past, in the process inadvertently creating the "Age of Apocalypse" reality.
With Legion poised to have his profile raised significantly across the X-line over the next few months, this issue provides a handy recap of his history.
X-Men 2099 scribe John Francis Moore joins the series as the book's new regular writer (here just plotting while DeZago continues to script); he'll remain on the book through "Age of Apocalypse", then depart shortly thereafter.
The Chronology Corner
Rogue appears here following "Phalanx Covenant" and before X-Men #38; Nightcrawler, after Excalibur Annual #2, but before Excalibur #83.
A Work in Progress
Rogue & Nightcrawler are on hand to help Forge revisit the circumstances of Mystique’s apparent death.
It’s said that the events of X-Men Unlimited #4 happened a three weeks ago, which, in the sliding timeline, probably means it happened earlier in the day.
We’re reminded that in her earliest appearances, Val was friends with Mystique in her Raven Darkholme identity.
Val immediately recognizes “Jon Bloom” as one of Avalanche’s aliases, though I don’t think we’ve ever seen it used before.
Mystique claims she would have killed Legion for killing Destiny a long time ago, if it hadn’t been contrary to her plans, which seems like a vague explanation (at best), for why she’s only going after him now (instead of at some point more immediately after the "Muir Island Saga".
It’s revealed here that Blob’s foiled hijacking in the previous issue was setup to be a distraction for X-Factor.
Just one month after the completion of one line-wide crossover, this issue kicks off a storyline that sets up the next one, a scant few months away (for all the talk of event fatigue in modern Marvel, it's hardly a recent phenomenon...). But even without knowing what's coming, it's a strong issue, as the Russian nesting doll of plot, in which X-Factor is hunting Mystique who is hunting Legion generates a lot of tension (and, of course, Mystique's particular power set works really well in these kinds of stories to that end as well), which is beautifully heightened even further when Legion - established earlier in the issue as a true wild card and mega-power threat - wakes up at the end of the issue, to leave us hanging from a cliff. Moore & DeZago also make good use of the characters' histories, not just in the direct "Mystique wants to avenge Destiny's death", but also Mystique's brief insanity period that led to Forge leaving the X-Men, and the shared past between Val, Mystique-as-Raven, and Forge, when all three were working for the government. So even as this technically starts the X-books on the road to their next big event, there's plenty to enjoy independent of that.
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