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Thursday, February 14, 2019

X-amining X-Factor #110

"Creatures on the Loose!"
January 1995

In a Nutshell
X-Factor battles aliens in Madripoor.

Plot: John Francis Moore
Script: Todd DeZago
Pencils: Jan Duursema
Inks: Al Milgrom
Letters: Starkings/Comicraft
Colors: Matt Webb
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

On the planet Boh-tan-ee, a hooded figure learns her quarry has gone to Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, X-Factor suddenly appears in Madripoor, teleported there by Legion. They land atop a spaceship floating in the bay, from which emerges a massive rock-like alien. Strong Guy battles the creature, during which he is captured by a mysterious figure in a trenchcoat. Meanwhile, Mystique is flying to Paris from Israel, steadfast in her desire for revenge on Legion. Back in Madripoor, the electrical energy of the alien creature affects both Polaris' and Havok's powers, while Strong Guy finds himself a captive of the alien Jornick, who is using an image inducer to appear human. Just then, Lila Cheney teleports in, telling Strong Guy that Jornick has robbed her treasure hoard, including a music box she needs to avert a war. But Jornick reveals he sold the box, leaving Lila despondent over her fate. Elsewhere, the rest of X-Factor struggles to stop the destruction wrought by the creature released by Jornick, until Strong Guy and Lila arrive, and Lila teleports the beast back to its home planet. Upon her return to Earth, however, she finds a massive spaceship in the skies above Madripoor waiting for her, and she tells Strong Guy they're in big trouble now.

Firsts and Other Notables
Lila Cheney, who last appeared at Scott & Jean's wedding in X-Men #30, pops up in this issue. She'll stick around through next issue.

X-Factor arrives in Madripoor, teleported there by Legion; Havok theorizes this is because Legion knew about Jornick & Lila and figured they would keep X-Factor busy and out of Legion's hair.

Mystique appears briefly, stewing on her thwarted plans for vengeance; she sits out the next issue before appearing in X-Men: Prime, after which she'll return for issue #112, beginning a long run in the series that will more or less carry through to the end of the book.

A Work in Progress
Thanks to his time bodyguarding Lila Cheney, Guido rightly points out he has experience dealing with aliens.

Jornick’s image inducer is D’Baaran, the species whose planet Dark Phoenix destroyed.

It's in the Mail
The letter column teases four new X-Factor members joining in the coming year, saying there will be “someone old, someone new, someone borrowed and someone blue. I believe those work out to be Wild Child, Shard, Sabretooth & Mystique (or possibly Sabretooth as the old and Wild Child the borrowed), all of whom will join the team over the next year.

Austin's Analysis
As with the previous issue, this once again feels a bit like X-Factor - the team/concept - is getting lost in their own book. Everything over the last few issues certainly follow on logically from one another: X-Factor is tasked with hunting down Mystique (who led their government-backed mutant team forebears), which leads them to encounter Legion, who in turn sends them to Madripoor for the events of this issue. But even with Strong Guy offering a connection to Lila and the extra-terrestrial elements of this issue, it still feels like we're a far cry from "team of mutants that works for the US government while expressing a greater-than-average dose of humor and/or psychological angst" when the majority of the issue is spent on generic action as the team fights an alien rock monster in an Asian city. Granted, some of the pushback against this idea may be triggered by hindsight, knowing that this particular iteration of the team will shortly be blown up by the transition into and out of "Age of Apocalypse", and thus, this is less a harmless diversion from the series' usual fare, and rather the last gasp of, essentially, the entirety of the "All New, All Different" X-Factor as we know it. Of course, it's not entirely fair to blame this issue for changes wrought in future ones, but nevertheless, it's hard not to read this, knowing what's coming, and not feel like the pages could have been used for something better - or, at least, more X-Factor-y.

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  1. "Havok theorizes this is because Legion knew about Jornick & Lila and figured they would keep X-Factor busy and out of Legion's hair."

    A calculated risk? I mean, it would have taken them hours anyway to get back to Israel from Madripoor, even if they have the Lila stuff to deal with. Lila could have teleported them back there in a much shorter time frame, too.

    "Jornick’s image inducer is D’Baaran, the species whose planet Dark Phoenix destroyed."

    His comment about D'Baaran technology in that panel is also kind of cold.

    "or possibly Sabretooth as the old and Wild Child the borrowed"

    I'd go with that, since you could say Wild Child was borrowed from Alpha Flight (even if it was canceled by that point, no?), and Sabretooh was a much older existing character. Of course, "borrowed", whether about Sabretooth or Wild Child, should imply they would be returned at some point...

    "and rather the last gasp of, essentially, the entirety of the "All New, All Different" X-Factor as we know it"

    Last gasp indeed. Multiple Man and Quicksilver are both long gone at this point. Post-AOA only Havok and Polaris will be all that is left of PAD's X-factor (unless you also count Val?). It would have been better to have them go out in an adventure closer in style to the earlier type of story this version of the team was known for, but I guess there was no time with all the AOA set-up? Plus, Generation X aside, I do believe most of the X-titles were supposed to end on some sort of cliff-hanger before the AOA crystal wave hits.



  2. // On the planet Boh-tan-ee //

    I hope the sound of me rolling my eyes to that didn’t startle the neighbors.

    // X-Factor suddenly appears in Madripoor //

    Which is described as a trip “halfway around the world”. The distance from Israel to Singapore (close enough) is just under 5,000 miles; Earth’s circumference is about 25,000 miles. Obviously it’s still a remarkable distance to teleport — never mind teleportation being an extraordinary feat, period — but Havok’s incredulous “We're in Asia?!?” kind-of triggered me because even if the Mediterranean is rather an intercontinental crossroads they were already in Asia.

    Since I’m being cranky, I’ll mention that my least favorite of the early Comicraft fonts — namely, Clobberin’ Time — gets a fair bit of use here, in the story title as well as when Lila and Guido each shout the other’s name in surprise.

  3. Good that Alex finally got to visit Madripoor where Wolverine wouldn't let him and even the Reavers are afraid to go.


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