Credits: Howard Mackie (writer), Jeff Matsuda (penciler), Al Milgrom (inker), Comicraft (lettering), Glynis Oliver (colors)
Summary: In Georgia, X-Factor is called in to apprehend a group of mutants accused of murder. Forge usurps authority from the local sheriff and his men, allowing X-Factor to take charge of the investigation. When the team is ready to apprehend the mutants, they begin to merge together. Forge realizes that their target has been Madrox, the Multiple Man. Meanwhile, Bastion’s aide Harper warns Graydon Creed to stay away from the Friends of Humanity and continue his presidential run.
Continuity Notes: Graydon Creed names Senator Brickman his Vice Presidential nominee. I’m sure this goes nowhere, but giving Creed a VP at least adds some credibility to the storyline. Also, Shard claims that she’s no longer a hologram, but a “photon-based lifeform” after the events of Uncanny X-Men ’96.
Miscellaneous Note: According to the Statement of Ownership, average sales for the year were 194,652 with the most recent issue selling 205,663 copies.
Review: This is Madrox’s inevitable return to the book. Before the “mutant militia” makeover, this would’ve been a welcome move, but dragging the character into the current incarnation of the team just seems cruel. The entire issue builds up to the Madrox revelation at the end, which results in an extremely padded story. Madrox and his dupes spend a few pages running from stereotypical rednecks, Forge and X-Factor spend a few pages dealing with the stereotypical rednecks, each cast member splits up and has a long inner monologue, the monotonous presidential race intrudes for two pages, then Madrox is caught, and finally his identity is revealed. Like I’ve said before, if Mackie wrote more engaging characterizations, these thin plots would be more forgivable. Unfortunately, most of the characters barely have any personality, so you end up with dull characters starring in dull stories.