Thursday, October 2, 2008

X-FACTOR #117 – December 1995

Adversaries…Old and New

Credits: Howard Mackie (writer), Steve Epting & Stefano Raffaele (pencilers), Al Milgrom (inker), Glynis Oliver & Malibu Hues (colors), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (lettering)


Haven screams out in agony as her unborn child demands to be released. Roma appears in front of her, telling her that it’s too late and that the Adversary will be reborn. Meanwhile, X-Factor is being attacked by a Sentinel. Unbeknownst to the team, Forge and Val Cooper borrowed the Sentinel from the government to use as a training exercise. The Sentinel swats Wild Child through a window into X-Factor’s headquarters, which leads Havok to overreact and destroy it. Wild Child wakes up inside Forge’s lab and briefly meets Shard. When Wild Child later asks Forge about her, he’s surprised to learn that her hologram program spontaneously appeared. Havok is given a letter that is supposedly from Scarlet. He follows the letter’s instructions and drives to a nearby coal processing plant. He’s confronted there by Random. Meanwhile, Naze comes across Roma while driving out of the desert. They leave to find Forge, hoping that he can’t deny Naze face-to-face.

Continuity Notes

Naze is Forge’s mentor, who was killed off back in the ‘80s not long after his first appearance (He was secretly killed and replaced by a Dire Wraith, which was revealed in the “Fall of the Mutants” storyline). His role in virtually all of his appearances is to warn Forge about the Adversary. How he survived isn’t explained.

The implication that Adversary has always been Haven’s baby is a retcon that first appears here. Roma tells Haven “you have brought this upon yourself” by trying to bring about the catastrophes of the Mahapralaya (a reference to this issue). The implication is that Adversary had been lying to her about the Mahapralaya for all of this time. Later, Naze asks Roma about Haven, implying some past connection between the trio.

“Huh?” Moment

A misplaced word balloon has Mystique referring to Shard as “cute”, when it’s supposed to be Wild Child’s line (everyone knows Mystique only has eyes for octogenarians).


And now, X-Factor’s lame sequel to “Fall of the Mutants” begins. I can see why Mackie wants to bring Haven into this, since she was presented as a major villain in the title for a while and it creates the impression that all of this stuff was planned out in advance. Of course, knowing that this title has gone through three writers since Haven was introduced kills that illusion, and retconning the Adversary into DeMatteis’ original Haven story undermines what he was trying to accomplish with the storyline. The rest of the issue is dedicated to a pointless fight scene with a Sentinel, and even more scenes of Random stalking Havok. Random was first sent after Havok in issue #115, and only now do they meet face to face (and the actual fight scene is left for the next issue). All of it’s just exceedingly dull, as the plot continues to move incrementally towards some big battle that only receives a tiny amount of foreshadowing in each issue. If the characters had more personality, I wouldn’t mind the aimless plotting so much, but Mackie isn’t able to make any of the characters even slightly interesting.

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