Monday, May 30, 2011

X-FACTOR #148 - August 1998

Sorry Is the Hardest Word

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

Summary: Henry Gyrich locates Havok and places him under arrest for his terrorist activities. Polaris suddenly appears and steals Havok away. The government’s soldiers and Mandroids pursue the mutants, leading Polaris to disrupt the Mandroids with an EM pulse. One of the Mandroids goes haywire, forcing Havok to rescue Gyrich. Val Cooper arrives and uses her authority to exonerate Havok. On their ride home with Val, Polaris tells Havok that their relationship is over.

Continuity Notes: Dark Beast is mistakenly referred to as being “from the future” twice. Havok is being arrested specifically for attacking an airliner in Uncanny X-Men #339.

We Get Letters: Tom Raney is announced as the new artist, beginning in issue #150. The editor even teases new character designs for the team by Raney that will debut soon. Raney will go on to pencil X-Factor’s replacement series, Mutant X, a book that Marvel still doesn’t seem to know will exist. This is the next to last issue and no one seems to know the book is cancelled.

Review: Havok’s rehabilitation continues, as Howard Mackie now tries to justify Havok’s treatment of Polaris and his terrorist attack from Uncanny X-Men #339. Mackie’s still going with the “I was undercover!” defense, which works about as well with continuity as claiming Dark Beast is from the future. No explanation is given for what exactly Havok hoped to achieve by attacking a civilian airliner, or blasting Polaris in the face and nearly killing her; “undercover” is the only rationalization Mackie seems willing to muster (although in a previous issue he intimated that Havok was still under Dark Beast’s influence during those scenes, which contradicts all of the telepaths and third-person narrative captions that assured us this was “the real” Havok). Oddly, Havok’s brutal assault on Polaris isn’t even mentioned at all. She’s more upset about him disappearing without personally saying goodbye, it seems. As far as breakup scenes go, this one’s obviously lacking, although it is a minor miracle that some effort’s being put into rationalizing the past three years of storylines at all. The action sequences are the issue’s highlight, as Lee Moder brings some excitement to the mineshaft chase scene and Mandroid fights.


Cerebro said...

As I mentioned with the last issue, it would seem that Marvel didn't decide until the last minute to launch MUTANT X as a new series. The inclusion of Tom Raney promo material for issue #150 seems to support this.

If memory serves, X-FACTOR wasn't the only title of this era affected by "last-minute-change-of-plans" syndrome. I seem to recall the INCREDIBLE HULK letter columns hyping the book's new direction that was to kick off in issue #475. The catch being that the, then, current volume of HULK ended with issue #474. The following month, it was relaunched with a new #1.

wwk5d said...

I agree with Cerebro, to an extent. I have a feeling they wanted to launch Mutant X as a series, but wanted to keep it a surprise, hence all the red herrings about #150. Plus, I read somewhere Mutant X was only supposed to last 12 issues...but since it was selling higher than X-factor was, they kept it going...

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