Monday, June 2, 2008

X-FACTOR #108 – November 1994

Promised Vengeance
Credits: John Francis Moore (plot), Todd Dezago (script), Jan Duursema (penciler), Al Milgrom (inker), Richard Starkings/Comicraft (lettering), Glynis Oliver (colorist)

Forge asks Rogue and Nightcrawler to use his hologram technology to replay Mystique’s death in Mississippi. Forge suggests that Rogue didn’t make sure Mystique was alive because she didn’t want her taken into custody, or because she really did want her dead. Angered, Rogue leaves with Nightcrawler. Nick Fury appears, with videotape evidence from the Israeli embassy of a shapechanger creating a travel visa for one of Avalanche’s aliases. Havok and Guido investigate Avalanche’s hideout, but he manages to escape. Further investigation at the Israeli embassy shows that the personal files of Gabrielle Haller were accessed by Mystique. Haller is the mother of Legion, the mutant who killed Mystique’s longtime confidant, Destiny, months earlier. X-Factor heads to the Tel Aviv hospital where the comatose Legion is being treated. Wolfsbane follows Mystique’s scent and leads the team to confront her as she prepares to inject Legion with poison. Mystique’s body suddenly jerks, tossing the syringe away, as Legion awakes from his coma.

Continuity Notes
Legion is the autistic son of Professor Xavier and Gabrielle Haller. Legion has three distinct personalities and often behaves erratically. He killed Destiny in Uncanny X-Men #255 (his wiki page says that he was under the Shadow King's influence at the time, but I think that came later).

Creative Differences
There are quite a few awkward hand-lettered balloons that don’t fit in with the computer lettering. Most of them are used to repeatedly clarify Mystique’s powers, which is kind of excessive.

This is the beginning of an attempt to integrate X-Factor more closely with the other X-titles. The Generation X preview special had sections dedicated to every X-title, and most of the write-ups for the spinoffs emphasized how important they were going to be for the larger picture. More than once the editors mentioned their desire to eliminate the idea that any title was peripheral. It doesn’t look like this storyline would actually impact the other titles at first, but it does lay the groundwork for the massive “Age of Apocalypse” crossover. The previous issue’s fill-in even gets to play a tangential role in this story, as it’s revealed that Blob was being used as a distraction by Mystique to keep any attention away from her. I’m sure if it were published today, X-Factor #107 would’ve had a “Countdown to the Dawn of the Age of Apocalypse!” banner somewhere on that hot pink cover. The books maintained a tight connection throughout the “Age of Apocalypse” storyline, but I seem to remember most of the spinoffs going back to their own directions after the event was over.

Mystique returns after “dying” just a few months earlier in the infamous X-Men Unlimited #4. One of the larger plot holes in that issue, why Rogue didn’t bother to search for Mystique’s body, is addressed by new writer John Francis Moore (who for some reason isn't scripting at this time). Moore tries to make something out of the absurdity of Rogue’s inaction by using it as a character moment for both her and Forge (showing that Rogue has conflicted feelings about her mother, and that Forge has rotten people skills), so it at least comes across as more than a continuity patch. The rest of the issue is dedicated to Mystique’s plans for revenge over a story that was published in 1989. That comic was already five years old at this point, so it felt a little forced even then, but Moore and Dezago do an admirable job of making it work. X-Factor’s role as government agents and their connection the previous government mutant team lead by Mystique help to make the story feel unique to this title, which is always a plus. The pacing of the story works fine and thankfully doesn’t spend too much time on red herrings like the Avalanche fight. Duursema’s art is a little too “90s” on certain pages, but I still like most of it. This is actually the strongest issue of X-Factor in months, now that I think about it. The story moves at a decent speed, and it actually feels like something is happening again.

1 comment:

Paul said...

I loved that cover by Steve Epting. His post AoA run on the series was a highlight.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...