Thereâ€™s no need to repeat my love for Peter Davidâ€™s X-Factor and its valiant leader, Jamie Madrox; Iâ€™ve said it all before. But X-Factor #32, once again proves to the world just why it is Jamie and the rest of X-Factor make for one of the best comics being produced at the moment.
That being said, this issue did provide me with one frustration, which weâ€™ll get to at the very end.
If you havenâ€™t been keeping up, then thankfully there is the â€œPreviouslyâ€ page which nicely sums up all that is going on. For my part, letâ€™s just say that Mutant Town has gone to hell in a handbasket and X-Factor are either hell or the handbasket.
Issue #32 is not action packed, full of explosive drama or life changing events – thankfully. X-Factor has never been the Iron Man or Avengers type of book with someone dying every other issue, and an explosion on every fourth page. It is the other side of the X-Men story; the mutants who donâ€™t fit in, despite actually trying too (ie, compared to living out in some mansion with a jet underneath the tennis court).
So in true X-Factor spirit, this latest issue, penned by Peter David and illustrated by Valentine de Landro, takes us in to the fabric of X-Factor, the team.
There is a lovely scene to open proceedings between Madrox, a clone, and an elderly gentleman, who provides a bit of a lifeline to Madrox as the issue unfolds. He preaches the need to stick together, something that, of late, X-Factor hasnâ€™t been doing so well.Â These panels lead straight in to a meeting between Madrox and the head of O*N*E, Val Cooper.
Essentially, as Cooper describes it, X-Factor constitutes a â€œclear and present dangerâ€, and subsequently, they are presented with an ultimatum; join up with the government in some capacity, or split up and go witness-protection-y.
Theyâ€™re given the regulation 24 hours to think about it, in which time we get to spend a bit of time with Jamie, and his hallucination, which of course comes in the form of Layla Miller (still missing mind you!). These are nice moments, because we get Layla back, though in her incorporeal form, but with her fantastic sense of humor, and ability to make Jamie cringe. It also provides a line into Jamieâ€™s thinking, and his mental health.
By the end of the second third of this issue, Jamie has finally grown a pair and manages to subsequently pull the team back together! There is a beautiful moment between Jamie and Syren, followed by a great team moment.
As I mentioned at the beginning, there is a frustration for me in this issue. There is a â€œ5 months laterâ€ which, you would think, should change the status quo; create a difference from what weâ€™ve been reading, to what we will be reading. However, in just a few pages, the five months later has effectively been undone by Val Cooper, who is once again back on Jamieâ€™s tail.
The art is nothing really to speak about. It doesnâ€™t detract from the story, which I guess is the least you can ask from any comic artist, but it doesnâ€™t spring out as fantastic art either. Valentine de Landro is someone who will probably always get a gig, but I would doubt that he is going to be anything special.
X-Factor #32 gets 3 out of 5, a point detracted for the art and another point detracted for the continued refusal to go look for Layla Miller, despite the protestations that this book is about the team! Still, worth getting on to X-Factor, and â€“ weâ€™ll wait and see â€“ but issue #33 may be a jumping on point for anyone interested.