Thursday, September 6, 2007

X-FACTOR #72 – November 1991

Multiple Homicide

Peter David (Script), Larry Stroman (Pencils), Allen Milgrom (Inks), Glynis Oliver (Colors), Michael Heisler (Letters).

X-Factor investigates the apparent murder of Madrox, The Multiple Man. Not surprisingly, the dead body belongs to one of his duplicates. Madrox is shocked to discover that he cannot re-absorb his duplicate’s dead body. Later, the team has a press conference announcing themselves to the public. Another Madrox duplicate appears in the audience, calling the X-Factor member an imposter.

Commercial Break
The back cover has an ad for a Wolverine NES game. The box art comes from a Wolverine Jim Lee cover. I think the X-Men arcade game (which featured very nice work by Art Adams on the cabinet) also came out in 1991. A few years before this, the infamously bad X-Men NES game was released. The X-Men were still years away from getting their own TV show or movie, but apparently they did have enough popularity to be merchandised as video game characters.
There’s an ad for the Marvel Swimsuit Special , so I guess T&A has already become common in mainstream comics at this point. It’s priced at $3.95, almost four times the price of Marvel’s regular titles at the time, so maybe they were aiming it at older readers.
The Bullpen Bulletins page mentions Rob Liefeld’s Spike Lee-directed Levi’s 501 commercial. I tried finding this on Youtube but didn’t have any luck. It also mentions a print ad for Dewar’s Whisky that featured artist Denys Cowan. Why exactly Cowan is appearing in hard liquor ads is beyond me.

I Love the ‘90s
A mystery figure quotes “Don’t have a cow, man.”

The Peter David/Larry Stroman run continues and remains solid. It’s not surprising that the current X-Factor series started out as the Madrox mini-series, and that he remains the major focus of the book. Peter David’s first X-Factor story also heavily revolves around Madrox, so I’m assuming he has a lot of affection for the character. Madrox’s ability to duplicate himself instantaneously offers a lot of story potential, so it’s surprising that the character stayed in the background for so many years. I’m pretty sure the characterization of Madrox as a flippant prankster originated in this run. Even though he was created in the late 1970s, I don’t think there had been much of an effort to really give him a personality at this point.

There is almost no action in this issue, just a brief scene with Havok and Polaris saving civilians from an apartment fire. Most of the focus is on characterization, like Polaris and Havok discussing their relationship, Madrox’s angst over the death of his duplicate, and Wolfsbane’s crush on Havok. The original phonetically spelled out “New Yawk” accent that Chris Claremont gave Guido has been toned down, which is probably for the best. Larry Stroman is able to pull off the bizarre proportions Bill Sienkiewicz gave the character.
The pacing of the book is a little odd. Page eight has eleven panels and page twenty-nine has fifteen panels, yet some pages have only three or four panels. This could’ve been divided out more evenly. But even Stroman’s cramped pages look pretty good. This is the second issue in a row without a lot of action, but he’s still keeping things visually interesting.


James said...

Peter David pretty much singlehandedly gave Madrox a personality. And he's still finding interesting ways to develop his character (it's only with David's second stint on X-Factor that he developed the idea that each duplicate represents an aspect of Jamie's personality).

This issue has some comics-fandom significance for me. I was a teenage Marvel fan who decided one month in 1991 to stop reading almost all of the X-books, because I didn't like the (proto-Image) direction they were taking. X-Factor was the one I kept reading, and #72 was the first issue I bought after I made that decision.

That Liefeld commericial was run pretty often during Saturday Night Live that year. Yeah, I watched SNL as avidly as I read the X-books back then.

G. Kendall said...

I remember seeing the commercial on MTV a lot. I was excited to see a comic creator on TV, but even then I was bothered by his claim that he "created X-Force".

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