Editor's Note: X-Factor #31 arrives in stores tomorrow, May 21.
This book is still one of the most fun in Marvel's collection right now. Peter David has such a great feel for these characters, and while not every issue is necessarily ground breaking, every one is consistently good, and in the case of this issue, above average. Props to the writer for being able to write each character in the book with a distinctive voice.
The story is pretty straight-forward: a guy with a grudge dies and has a dead-man switch on him that ruins everyone's day. This is a scenario that shows up in some of the best sci-fi. As such, it should feel cliché, but Peter David manages to breathe urgency into the situation. You actually feel for the people trapped in the rapidly de-populating Mutant Town as the bombs begin to go off. I must admit, he also wrote one of the most heartbreaking scenes I have ever seen in a comic where firefighters could not reach burning victims and had to watch them die from only a few feet away. This is made all the more painful by an art crew that pulls off anguish on the face of the firefighters. The book got an extra bullet just for the feeling this scene evoked in me.
David also has managed to consistently show off the powers of each of the members of the X-Factor team. I particularly liked the use of the Multiple Man pyramid in this particular issue for the rescue of a man on a rooftop, and Guido using his strength to shower water on the fires from an open hydrant ripped from the ground. However, the depiction of the remaining depowered member of the team, Rictor, is the most poignant. Rictor is completely helpless in this book. No powers, no direction and even his skills fail him in the end. This is a recurring theme for Rictor, and I am curious where David is going with it.
At the end of the issue it looks like the X-Factor team is in for more changes, I'll be here for the next issue.
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