Monday, April 4, 2011

X-FACTOR #146 - June 1998

Fairie Light

Credits: Howard Mackie (writer), Lee Moder (penciler), Scott Koblish (inker), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (letters), Glynis Oliver (colors)

Summary: Fixx uses her sprites to monitor Greystone, Archer, and Havok as they depart in different directions. Havok meets with Madrox, who’s unexpectedly invited Polaris to join their conversation. Greystone assumes his civilian identity of Brian Young and attempts to rescue Brian’s sister from their abusive parents. Archer takes the human form of Jude Black, a wanted terrorist with an estranged family. When he tries to reconnect with Jude’s family, he’s attacked by revenge-obsessed Genoshan Mutates. Fixx calls the team together, and the Genoshans quickly exit.

Continuity Notes: Fixx says that by touching Havok with one of her sprites, he’s now telepathically connected to the other XUE members.

We Get Letters: In response to a letter, optimistic about the book’s future, “We’ll say it again as we head up to issue #150, old fans and new will be enjoying X-Factor again!” Aside from the continuing misconception that the book will make it to #150, I think the “again” is slightly amusing.

Review: I wonder if the creative team ever realized that the occasional callbacks to the “classic” X-Factor just reminded people of how bad the later issues looked in comparison. Howard Mackie is still trying to sell the XUE characters as the new stars, but it looks like someone has recognized that the book can’t abruptly drop all of the established regulars. For some reason, Havok, the character who suffered the most during Mackie’s bewildering run, is going to be the bridge between the old and new teams.

If you really are a Havok fan, do you really want to see the same writer responsible for abusing the hero beyond recognition using him as a means to pass credibility on to a group of new characters? If any character represented the low point of Mackie’s writing, it would have to be Havok. And now that Marvel’s twisted him into a dupe/villain/retroactive spy over the past few years, apparently because they had no idea what to do with him, the readers are expected to keep following the book that’s dragged him into the mud? That’s even more naïve than believing people care about the XUE’s human identities.

One’s an ex-terrorist with marriage issues (and he’s named “Black”…as in “dark,” like a villain, get it?), and the other’s a kid from an abusive family (his last name is “Young”…and he’s a kid, which is a crazy coincidence). Yes, the fans really wanted this instead of a reunion of Havok, Strong Guy, Polaris, and Madrox. Heck, at this point in continuity, Marvel could’ve easily brought back the original X-Men cast to revive interest in the title. Why this book continues to go in such misguided directions is mystifying.


Matt said...

Has anyone ever revealed at precisely what point editorial became aware that this title would be cancelled? It sounds like it was either extremely last minute, or the letter columns were blowing smoke right up to the end!

wwk5d said...

I still say Marvel new they were going to go with the Mutant X thing, and this was just a mis-direction to ward off any rumors to make the new title a surprise.

Btw, who did the cover? It looks much better than the regular art at the fact, it looks like something we'd see later from Marvel, not from the late 90s. Other than George Perez and a few others, most of the art I remember from that era was more retro-cartoony...

G. Kendall said... says Mike Miller drew it and inked it. Most of his fill-ins during this era looked pretty rushed, so maybe this is a better representation of his work.

Anonymous said...

I think they must know by the next issue, which is a dull (but harmless) filler issue about Shard facing mutant prejudice from some kids. I don't even think the next issue blurb here properly reflected that. Regardless, the letters page procalamations are hilarious.

Miller draws that next issue and it looks good. I always wished he did some more high profile stuff.

Cerebro said...

Regarding the continued references to issue #150...I believe Marvel originally intended for the "Mutant X" storyline to kick off in that issue. I can't recall where I saw it, but I, distinctly, remember seeing some Tom Raney preview art for the series that was labeled as "X-FACTOR #150". Based on that, I'm guessing Marvel must have decided late in the game to relaunch with a new #1.

gummi48 said...

If I remember correctly someone said the plan was for Mutant X to run 12 issues and then return to X-Factor. Mutant X proved popular enough to continue.

And if you think this is bad, read the full run of Mutant X.It was so awful Paul O'Brian actually refused to review it on X-Axis for a while before writing some scathing reviews of its final issues.Those review were so funny they provoked genuine tears.

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