Wednesday, September 19, 2007

X-FACTOR #77 – April 1992

Great X-Pectations

Credits: Peter David (writer), Larry Stroman (pencils), Al Milgrom (inks), Michael Heisler (letters), Glynis Oliver (colors)

The Mutant Liberation Front battles X-Factor and breaks Slab and Hairbag out of prison. Cannonball arrives and tries to talk Wolfsbane into joining X-Force. Havok attempts to arrest him, but Polaris allows him to escape as a favor to Wolfsbane. Meanwhile, the MLF selects their new target, a doctor who has developed a test for determining mutantcy in fetuses.

Commercial Break
Entertainment This Month runs a small ad for Rob Liefeld’s Youngblood. I'll post more about this later.

This isn’t a direct crossover with X-Force, but it does feature the team’s major villains and guest stars one of its members. Peter David keeps it from feeling forced by focusing on Cannonball and Wolfsbane’s shared history, and the political motives of the MLF. I’m actually surprised the MLF didn’t have much staying power. Yes, most of the outfits are ridiculous, but it would’ve been easy to just re-design them. They also have political motives that can make for interesting storylines, as seen in this arc. They’re basically The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, with three times as many members. Considering the lack of credible X-villains and the abundance of mutant spin-offs, it seems like these characters would’ve made more appearances past 1995.

Stroman’s art becomes more stylized with this issue. I wonder if he felt the need to exaggerate his figures to fit in with the early ‘90s ethic, or maybe he was altering his style to fit the Liefeld designs of many of these characters. Maybe he was just naturally evolving into this look. For the most part it works, but some of the figures are starting to look unattractive.

I seem to recall Peter David commenting that this storyline was censored, but there don’t seem to be any obvious re-writes in this issue. The idea that a test could determine if a fetus is a mutant is very interesting, and the inference that this could lead to an abortion is here, but the “A” word is never used. This issue also introduces Vicki Wang, a lawyer fighting for the civil rights of supervilliains. I don’t remember if this went anywhere but it’s an interesting concept. David also puts the X-Force characters to good use. The scene between Wolfsbane and Cannonball is a nice payoff for New Mutants fans, and there’s a great sequence with Quicksilver going up against Tempo’s time-altering power.

1 comment:

James said...

If I remember correctly, the story of the fetal testing ran through several issues of X-Factor, before being dropped without a conclusion. You can find a bit more information about David's clash with editorial over the story here:

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