Wednesday, February 27, 2008

X-FACTOR #98 – January 1994

Into Oblivion
Credits: J. M. DeMatteis (writer), Greg Luzniak (penciler), Al Milgrom (inker), Matt Webb (colorist), Lois Buhalis (letterer)

Havok and Forge attempt to arrest Haven, but Polaris fights against them, dividing the team. Haven refuses to fight back and vanishes, although Forge says it felt as if everyone else “ceased to exist” for a second. Forge reveals to X-Factor that Haven believes that a Golden Age between humans and mutants will occur in seven hundred years, after the Mahapralaya, a series of natural and man-made disasters. Haven is trying to speed up the Golden Age by causing these disasters today, inciting political revolts, even wars, and using science to alter the Earth’s weather patterns. Polars is skeptical, but is willing to listen to Forge’s evidence. Meanwhile, Madrox discovers that two of his duplicates cannot be reabsorbed. Random tells Guido and Wolfsbane that he’ll join their side after the secret government agency after Polaris turned against him. Finally, Val Cooper is revealed to be Haven’s latest follower.

The Haven storyline continues, going at a pretty leisurely pace. I liked these issues when they first came out, and they still hold up, but it seems as if the storyline was padded out a little to climax with issue #100. Haven’s motivations are revealed, reminding me of the Batman enemy Ra’s al Ghul, placing her as a well-intentioned but ruthless opponent. DeMatteis still doesn’t offer any clear answers, though, as Polaris casts doubts on Forge’s claims. I like the fact that the characters can come into conflict with one another while staying true to their characterizations, and DeMatteis is able to give everyone a point of view without making anyone seem like an idiot.

DeMatteis also has a nice handle on Madrox, making Marvel’s insistence that the character die even more confusing. In this issue, Madrox creates a duplicate for “every stray thought…every unconscious fear…every single voice in my head…you’ve all got form and shape and substance.” I had totally forgotten that DeMatteis briefly went in this direction years before Peter David did in the new X-Factor series. Unfortunately, this scene only lasts for a few pages and the idea is left unexplored until David follows a similar path years later.

1 comment:

Luke said...

I enjoyed the Haven storyline as well, and this issue in particular stood out to me because to my young brain, this was pretty original stuff -- having only seen Ghul once or twice on Batman: The Animated Series. The killing of Multiple Man made even less sense after this issue, with all of the neato attention he was getting, but even at the time I remember (and Wizard apparently agreed with me) that if he dies, its only a matter of time before a duplicate shows up.

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