Posts Tagged ‘x-men

24
Sep
08

X-Factor #35

Publisher: Marvel – $2.99

Written by Peter David

Art by Larry Stroman

Though it didn’t occur to me until lately, X-Factor is Peter David’s best work and although it’s lacking lately because of Marvel’s annoying need for crossovers, it’s still the best X-Men related title to be published since Grant Morrison’s run on New X-Men around the turn of the century. Fallen Angel is a fantastic piece of work that’s approaching it’s 50th issue and has built a small following, but it’s probably the second strongest outing by David as a long term writer that I’ve had the pleasure of seeing him complete but it’s just not as great as far as characterization and pacing as X-Factor.  Where Fallen Angel has a great story, great characters that have grown with the story and a definite vision of a future(as opposed to the unfortunately usual habit of just walking into the abyss without evidence of an ending) David consistently produces a great character book, but that’s not the miracle of X-Factor.  What he’s done that is so special is take a half dozen regular character who have existed for decades and made his own incarnations of them to the point that David, as a storyteller and monthly writer, owns the book to an extent that even the most talented writer taking over the book where he leaves it will create disappointment and disjointed movements for the characters.

This issue really isn’t proof of that greatness, but we’re coming up on three years of consecutive work on this title and if you were to sit down with all of the issues, which if you want to do so, come on over and read them, I’ll let you, you’ll see a fantastic group of characters who grow and live, who are funny and conflicted and, when Marvel isn’t fucking it up for everyone, make a fine plot move quite well.

This issue is, annoyingly and unfortunately so, a Skrull-pushing Secret Invasion tie-in, but it’s really quite readable if you’re not reading SI(and I’m certainly not) because David banks on the reader knowing the characters.  You’re given the information that Skrulls have invaded Earth, they can look like people and are impersonating important players in the Marvel universe, and we move on to the story.  Like I said, it’s not great, but it’s okay and considering this is all being done while being forced to abdicate to the big Marvel cross-over, it’s really better than okay.  This also marks a good six months or so of David not being able to do what he does because of Marvel.  First you had Messiah Complex, which was good but cost X-Factor two of it’s most dynamic characters, my favorite – Layla Miller – ended up stranded in the future in a concentration camp, and one of the most dynamic and interesting characters, Raine Sinclaire, was taken away to take part in the mediocre X-Force.  David tried as best as he could to bounce back from that and then Secret Invasion came along.  For this, I’m giving him a free pass on development until this is all over.

What I didn’t care for was the serious decrease in art quality on this issue.  Larry Stroman illustrated the majority of Peter David’s run on this very same title in the 90’s, a run that I really enjoyed and originally bought as a kid and then enjoyed once again earlier this year.  Stroman’s art wasn’t great then, but it worked to move the story along in a fashion that was slightly more interesting and creative than his contemporaries.  I don’t feel like that’s the case in this situation.  His pencils come off as sloppy and results in characters that seem almost blurry or detached from the scenes.  I hope he’s not staying on for long or, if he is, he gets his shit together.  I’d hate to see a great series get derailed by half-hearted artwork.  I want this series to last for a very long time to see what Peter David is capable of.

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