Tuesday, March 25, 2008

X-FACTOR ANNUAL #9 – 1994


Contact
Credits: J. M. DeMatteis (writer), Matt Broome (penciler), Steve Moncuse & Terry Austin (inkers), Janice Chiang (letterer), Glynis Oliver (colorist)


Summary
Professor Xavier has a mental conversation with Haven. She tells him the story of her childhood, growing up privileged in India, sheltered from the poverty around her. Once she learned of other people’s suffering, she dedicated her life to helping the poor. She briefly lost track of her dream when she became involved with a strange man. Their short affair abruptly ended, reaffirming her commitment to her mission. Meanwhile, X-Factor is escorting a large canister, with Random along as hired help. The canister is revealed to Professor Power, who uses androids to free him and reunite his consciousness with his body. Professor Power blames Xavier for the death of his son, and wants to kill every mutant associated with Xavier so that he can feel the same pain. When he faces capture, Power uses the last of his energy and disappears. Haven continues to explain her motives to Xavier, but goes back into “oblivion” when he tries to probe her mind. In the “non-being”, Haven realizes that Xavier was able to reach the secret inside of her mind. Her affair left her pregnant, and the source of her powers, and the inner voice that guides her, is her fetus. The fetus is a conscious, powerful symbiote that will never be born. Realizing that Xavier poses the greatest threat to her cause, she reluctantly arranged for Professor Power’s release earlier that evening.


Continuity Notes
Professor Power previously appeared in Marvel Team-Up and Spectacular Spider-Man before finally showing up in an X-comic with this issue. Driven by his hatred of Xavier, Power’s consciousness inhabits the body of his dead mutant son. It’s not hard to figure out that he was created by J. M. DeMatteis.


This story takes place in-between the final pages of X-Factor #102.


I Love the ‘90s
Guido compares a hypothetical Hitler’s brain and Kennedy’s clone to “Shannon Doherty’s press agent”.


Commercial Break
There’s an ad for the kiddie film 3 Ninja Kick Back. I never actually watched any of the 3 Ninjas movies, but their mere existence angered me as a young teenager.


Review
It’s nice to read an annual that's more than just filler. DeMatteis, writing Haven for I believe the final time, finally establishes her origin. It was less than a year before her "mysterious origin" was resolved, which is admirable when you look at the other X-books of the era. The revelation that Haven was powered by symbiotic mutant fetus blew my mind as a kid, and it still stands out as bizarre. It’s Morrison-freaky years before Morrison came anywhere near the franchise. DeMatteis continues to focus on Haven’s sincere motives, and her reluctance to do what she thinks must be done. It’s a nice hook for a villain, and it’s a shame that she was just forgotten over the years (I vaguely remember her coming back in later X-Factor issues, but I purposely erased those memories years ago).


In order to introduce some action, DeMatteis revives his Professor Power character (who must’ve forgotten about his blood feud against Xavier over the years). I like the way the two storylines intersect at the end; after several pages of Haven expressing her admiration for Xavier and trying to win him over to her side, we see that she’s still willing to have him killed. I’ve mentioned before that Haven’s “burn the world in order to save it” philosophy is similar to Ra’s al Ghoul’s, and her admiration for Xavier in this issue reminds me of the relationship between Ra’s and Batman. You could view DeMatteis’ pairing of Haven with Xavier as a crass attempt to give his new character more cache, but I think that the two play off each other well, and their scenes together reinforce my belief that Haven had a lot of wasted potential. This issue also continually emphasizes the idea that Xavier is a deeply compassionate, caring man; an interpretation that I can’t reconcile with the more cynical take on the character we see today.


If anything holds this issue back, it’s Matt (or Mat?) Broome’s art. It’s not nearly as bad as his earlier X-Force fill-ins, but it’s still pretty awkward and crammed with That ‘90s Look. This is his last work for Marvel before going to Image. Terry Austin inks some of the pages, bringing up the quality a bit, reminding me of the work he did with another ‘90s guy, Brandon Peterson. Broome recently returned to comics with a totally different look, so I’ll give him credit for growing over the years.

Cleaning House
Credits: Matthew Friedman; Amy Meyer (Script), Kerry Gammill (Pencils), Hilary Barta (Inks), Ashley Posella (Colors), Richard Starkings (Letters)

Summary
Guido cleans up Madrox's room and reflects on the opportunities he had to help him in his final days.

Review
It's another story designed to sell the importance of Madrox's death. It's your typical annual back-up,and you've got to wonder why it took two people to write it. I like Gammill's art, and wish he had been used more often during this era. Why not have have Gammill draw the main story and give the new guy the short back-up?


1 comment:

Fnord Serious said...

I never saw any of Broome's work back in the day, but he is doing pretty good work on The End League. He's not terribly consistent, but his good panels outweigh his bad panels, IMO.

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