Credits: Howard Mackie (writer), James Fry (penciler), Scott Koblish (inker), Comicraft (letters), Glynis Oliver (colors)
Summary: Havok calls Cyclops to make amends, as Greystone works on a time machine. Archer decides to leave the team to take care of Jude Black’s family, while the remaining members of X-Factor and the XUE meet. Havok proposes a new X-Factor that will stop super powered criminals and aid the public. Greystone suddenly lashes out at Madrox, and then returns to work on his time machine. Fixx realizes that he’s suffering from temporal insanity. Havok sneaks onboard Greystone’s vehicle and tries to talk to him. Suddenly, the unstable craft explodes.
Creative Differences: X-Factor was originally supposed to go to issue #150 and beyond. A Marvel house ad earlier in the year even promised that #150 would resolve the mystery of Graydon Creed’s killer.
We Get Letters: The letters page is still vague about the future of the title, even though this is the last issue. The editors boast about Tom Raney, the new regular artist, and encourage readers to come back next month to see more of (presumably) Archer’s redemption. However, a blurb on the bottom of the page announces that X-Factor subscriptions will be carried over to X-Men. Why exactly the subscriptions didn’t carry over to the replacement series Mutant X is unclear, but this does lead some credence to the theory that Mutant X was originally intended as a miniseries. Some of the details surrounding X-Factor’s odd cancellation are covered in this edition of Comic Book Legends Revealed, with the editor providing some more information in the comments thread.
Review: After a twelve-year run, this is how X-Factor says goodbye. No retrospective, no tribute to the past, no massive finale that sends the series off on a high note…just more aimless wandering followed by a tacked-on explosion on the final page. The characters still have the personality of oatmeal, the scripting is still dull and occasionally robotic, and of course, virtually none of the mysteries introduced during Howard Mackie’s run have been resolved. This is what happens when a book is kept alive by completists; it sells well enough to stay afloat, but isn’t a high enough priority for editorial to pay it too much attention. I can’t imagine anyone at Marvel was thrilled with the previous three years of this book, but since it wasn’t losing money, it’s allowed to continue with virtually the same creative team under a new name. And, to be fair, the early issues of Mutant X sold fairly well and received decent reviews. However, it wasn’t long before the book slid down the charts, as the stories and characterizations became increasingly arbitrary and occasionally just ridiculous. The fans who suffered through the final years of X-Factor could’ve seen this coming, yet Marvel allowed Mutant X to creep along for years. A brand new regime at Marvel is what it eventually took to end this nonsense. And, if we’re to believe the rumors, “New Marvel” gave Howard Mackie another chance with The Brotherhood. That’s a book that’s been largely forgotten, but it’s another poorly received, for-completists-only title with nonsensical plots and no direction. Mercifully, this one died after only twelve issues.