Thursday, August 28, 2008

X-FACTOR #113 – August 1995

Wreaking Havok Part Two – Impulsive Behavior

Credits: John Francis Moore (writer), Jerry Bingham (penciler), Al Milgrom (inker), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (lettering), Glynis Oliver (colors)


Havok falls unconscious after being stabbed by Fatale’s poisoned spike. X-Factor tries to rescue him, but Fatale sets the nightclub on fire and escapes. Havok later awakens inside a ship at the harbor. Fatale explains to him that his increased powers have raised the interest of her employer. Yukio secretly tracks Fatale to the docks and sneaks into Havok’s chambers after she leaves. She tries to break him free, but his restraining coils are electrified. Fatale discovers Yukio and attacks, while Havok’s powers begin to go out of control again. After learning Havok’s location from the crimelord Tatsu’o, X-Factor arrives to see the ship explode. Havok is convinced that the explosion of his powers killed Fatale and Yukio, but Yukio emerges from the water alive. Havok puts on the containment suit Polaris gives him, but he’s convinced that things are only going to get worse. Later, Scarlett McKenzie meets a mysterious figure in a limo. He’s still determined to get Havok.

Continuity Notes

The mystery man in the limo has the Sugar Man’s unique word balloons and lettering font. It’s clearly supposed to be him, even though Moore doesn’t give him that strange speech pattern where he runs words together.

This issue reveals that Guido is in the hospital and Wolfsbane’s on her way to Muir Island. Forge attempts to justify Mystique’s presence on the team by saying that she’s “more valuable working with us than in jail -- and I implanted a biological restraint and tracking device to keep her in line.”

Commercial Break

Apparently, there was a Mighty Morphin Power Rangers movie, because there’s an ad for it on the inside front cover. Actually, seeing this reminds me of a Wizard article that claimed that the success of the Power Rangers movie fast-tracked development of the X-Men movie.


Well, this isn’t as confused and chaotic as the previous issue, thankfully. At the very least, Jerry Bingham does capable fill-in art that blends in with the Steve Epting issues. The story is very straightforward this time, since it only involves X-Factor chasing Fatale and rescuing Havok. Even though it hasn’t been handled very well so far, I don’t mind reviving the idea that Havok’s powers are uncontrollable. Havok’s anxiety over his powers was a large part of his character until he was brought into this title, so I think it’s a legitimate avenue to explore. Moore tries to smooth the transition between teams a little bit here, with a one-sentence explanation of what happened to Guido and Wolfsbane since we last saw them. It’s still a lackluster resolution to the previous storyline, though, and it comes one issue too late. There’s also a half-hearted explanation for why exactly Mystique is on the team, which is another idea that has potential but has suffered from a botched delivery. You can’t help but to think that Marvel had no idea what to do with this character, as she shifted from being a reformed government agent, to a woman driven insane by grief and the nature of her powers, to a manipulative murderer, to a reluctant member of X-Factor, in less than five years. All of these shifts felt forced at the time, but looking back to see how quickly they came about makes you realize just how poorly she was handled. Theoretically, putting Mystique in X-Factor is a nice way to acknowledge her past with Forge and as a government agent, but the creators also have to deal with nonsense like X-Men Unlimited #4, which portrayed her as a heartless killer. And is she supposed to be insane or not? After years of so many inconsistent interpretations, it’s hard to really care about anything that’s done to her. Adding Mystique did make me cautiously optimistic about the future of this title, and I was relieved that this issue wasn’t a total mess. I don’t think I realized that this series was a lost cause until the Adversary storyline, unfortunately.


Jeff said...

Speaking of Adversary and Mystique, I recently reread Claremont's Fall of the Mutants tie-in issues. God I miss 3-issue long epics that built on years of accumulating storylines and featured a lot of nice character beats. We just don't get this anymore with the write-for-the-trade mentality. Morrison was the last to do it I think.

I had forgotten that Mystique had basically completely reformed under Claremont and have to marvel with you at all the damage they did to her character. Luckily, I never read X-Factor, so I didn't have to put up with this crap.

rob said...

I love that story. Claremont gives every character (X-Man or Freedom Force member) a moment to shine, and the scene where Storm gets her powers back is great.

I think the second Adversary story is the end of the line for this title in my head, only because this next set of issues at least has Steve Epting's art. After that, when Jeff Matsuda comes on and Moore leaves, it's all crap.

Flamethrower Zen said...

Actually, there were two Power Ranger movies. I have two younger step-brothers and was forced to watch them over and over and over and..

wwk5d said...

Interesting that Fatale's original boss was intended to be Sugarman, and not Dark Beast. I wonder whose idea it was for the change, and what the original plans were (couldn't have been worse than what Mackie did).

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