Credits: J. M. DeMatteis (writer), Jan Duursema (penciler), Al Milgrom (inker), Richard Starkings (letterer), Glynis Oliver (colorist)
Random offers to sell X-Factor information on the people who paid him to kill Polaris. Forge pays him for the information, and to accompany X-Factor on their mission to capture Haven. While on the plane ride, Wolfsbane threatens Havok, telling him that she needs to be free of their psychic bond at any cost. Before she hurts Havok, she reverts to wolf form and is comforted by Guido. X-Factor arrive at Haven’s headquarters and briefly face her brother, Monsoon. Val Cooper appears at Haven’s side, as Haven confesses to creating global chaos in order to bring about a “golden age”. When Wolfsbane attacks her, Haven heals her of the Mutate bonding process, allowing her to return to her human form. Now free of her psychic bond to Havok, Wolfsbane joins Haven.
The lettering font changes back and forth throughout the issue. It looks as if Starkings is experimenting with computer lettering, as some of the lettering looks stiff and perfectly spaced, while other balloons look more organic. This could be the first comic I’ve reviewed on this blog with computer lettering.
According to the Statement of Ownership, average sales for this year were 423,808 with the most recent issue at 665,700. Just think, the awkward transition issues between Peter David and J. M. DeMatteis are probably the highest selling issues of this series ever, thanks to speculators. Or, maybe Random really was the next Marvel superstar after all!
The Haven storyline continues, as DeMatteis uses his new character to resolve a long-running subplot. Wolfsbane’s condition goes back to the X-Tinction Agenda crossover, which was over three years old at this point. It’s hard to say where exactly Peter David was going with the story, as his issue dealing with the situation was rewritten soon before he left the title. DeMatteis played with the idea for a few issues before tying it into his ongoing Haven storyline. This is preferable to the way subplots are often just forgotten when a new writer takes over a series. It gives the series a stronger sense of continuity, which it really needed after a string of aimless issues. Introducing Val Cooper into the storyline also helps to create a feeling of stability. I'm not sure why she was written out of the series in the first place, but it's nice that DeMatteis hasn't forgotten her. This is a more serious version of X-Factor but it doesn’t feel like a totally different book. Random keeps showing up, though, not contributing anything to the story. DeMatteis is loyal to David’s original “anything for a buck” interpretation of the character, which is entertaining for a few pages, but he’s really just a distraction from the main storyline.