Tuesday, February 12, 2008

X-FACTOR #97 – December 1993

The New Humanity
Credits: J. M. DeMatteis (writer), Jan Duursema (penciler), Al Milgrom (inker), Richard Starkings (letterer), Mike Thomas (colorist)

Haven tries to convince Polaris that she’s not an enemy, and leaves her with a copy of her book, “Man, Mutant, & The New Humanity”. Polaris attempts to comfort Madrox and learns that his personality has been split amongst his various duplicates. Random is attacked by government soldiers at his home and defeats them easily. X-Factor attends a lecture given by Haven, in which she details her belief that mutants are the first step in an evolution that will lead everyone into a new "golden age". Havok and Forge suddenly burst in and attack Haven.

Continuity Notes
Random lives with an older black woman named Vera. According to her, Random’s real name is “Marshall Evan Stone the Third”.

J. M. DeMatteis begins to make the title his own with the introduction of Haven, a New Age character who spends a lot of time talking about “a new humanity”, “limited perceptions of reality”, the dawn of “the era of love and harmony”, etc. DeMatteis does have some of the characters dismiss the spirituality talk as gibberish, but considering some of DeMatteis’ other work, it wouldn’t surprise me if he has a bookshelf filled with books on similar topics in real life. He’s successful in building up Haven as an interesting mystery, as opposed to a lot of the mysteries in the other X-books, which usually consisted of new characters with intricate connections to established characters. Haven may or not be a villain, may or not actually be a mutant, and may or may not be crazy. I was really drawn into this storyline as a kid, and still remember being shocked by the bizarre revelation about Haven’s powers.

Years before Peter David reinvented Madrox’s status quo, a similar idea shows up during this run. Madrox, dying of the Legacy Virus, is manifesting aspects of his personality into each of his duplicates. David’s current interpretation is that even minor aspects of his personality can define a duplicate, while the duplicates here represent more broadly defined character traits. One’s depressed, one’s angry, and one’s childishly naive. It’s interesting that Madrox is getting so much attention, even the cover, when Marvel was so determined to kill the character off at this time. Random also receives a lot of the focus, even if doesn’t add much to the storyline. DeMatteis tries to develop Random through his relationship with the mother figure introduced here. The elder woman nags at him, tells him to pick up his clothes, Random pulls a gun on her, and she causally dismisses him. I had no idea where he was going with this as a kid, and still don’t.

Jan Durrsema returns as artist for this issue, which is a welcome change after the previous few issues. Her work is still heavily influenced by the Quesada interpretation of the characters, but she brings some personality and solid storytelling to the art. Thankfully, it doesn’t have the sheer ugliness of so many other books of this era.


IvánN Díaz said...


I'm a Spanish X-Men fan and I have found your blog today and I love it!

I'll be here from time to time :P

Luke said...

You're right on about Haven. I had similiar appreciation for this story and her character when I read this as a kid. I figured she'd end up as a villain, but she was very different from most of the other X-villains at the time. And, though I am loate to admit it, I really dug all the screentime Random was getting. Because, well, Random was awesome! Heh heh.

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