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My first introduction to witnessing an event as it took place was the Civil War/Infinite Crisis year. Back then, I was a little bit younger, and apparently I didn’t mind the mass of books that you had to buy to keep up with what was happening. I was blissfully unaware of the sheer greed that went with such an event and the need to tie-in as much as humanly possible to make as much money.

So when I saw the Secret Invasion banner on top of my X-Factor this past week, I was crestfallen. Not entirely surprised, just disappointed.

xfactor33cover.jpgWhat was worse, was the introduction of Larry Stroman on art for the book. Even after I’ve read through the book twice, I am still no closer to working out if I liked his art or not. But I’ll get to that in a moment.

The first problem I have was the storyline, or lack thereof. X-Factor has removed themselves to Detroit, where unbeknown to the majority of the team (except apparently Guido, for some unknown reason), they are still at the beck and call of Val Cooper and O*N*E. Theresa is pregnant with Jamie’s baby, and they have managed to build a nice little reputation for themselves in their new home.

However Val Cooper gives Jamie a 24 hour deadline to wrap up their newest case, the search for one Armando Munoz. Our young fugitive is, of course, a mutant, and his father – an ex-deadbeat – is desperate to locate him. However, by the end of the book, young Armando somehow manages to have found himself in with a Skrull, who is being chased by Jennifer Walters (She-Hulk), who if I guess, is working for the Initiative, knows that Armando’s friend – Longshot – is a Skrull, and is working with a lass named Jazinda.

It’s all very confusing, and I only know most of that thanks to some supposition and some good old fashioned Wikipediaing. But what annoys me is that the book continues next month in She-Hulk #31, another Peter David book, a book that I’m not buying, and a book I am completely out of my depth on.

Back to the art.  Now, it’s not a new thing for people to be upset with Larry Stroman’s artwork. From what I hear, you either love him or you hate him. Myself, I am nothing but baffled. There are some panels which I love for their stylized action and bodies, and there are others where faces look just like they’ve been made out of clay (I kept seeing Clayface from the Batman cartoons).   And more often than not, these came together in one panel where the bodies and action were great, and the faces were… hideous.

It’s capped off by the last page, a nice big splash page, of She-Hulk running in. Since when was she Asian? Or is that an alien? Is she a Skrull? Did I miss something? And who is that person with their mouth open?

Sadly, as much as I love X-Factor, I have to give X-Factor #33 a disappointing 2 out of 5 Stars. The only redeeming quality was the dialogue and inner monologues of David’s characters. I would like to excuse him as being the puppet of Marvel and their desire to cross everything over with Secret Invasion, but on the other hand, I know what Peter David is capable of, and this is so far below it, I am saddened. If you’re not reading it, and want to know if this is necessary for Secret Invasion, don’t worry, you’re not missing out on anything.

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The Author

Joshua Hill

Joshua Hill

I'm an aspiring author who just happens to also work on the web, reporting on the environmental research and science at Planetsave.com that makes sense of the climate change hype, reviewing fantasy books at FantasyBookReview, because I love fantasy books and want to tell you all about it. I also blog over at Life As A Human and at Extralife.

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5 Comments

  1. Ricco
    July 21, 2008 at 5:30 pm — Reply

    She-Hulk’s bounty hunter partner Jazinda is an immortal Skrull and the daughter of the Super-Skrull.

    I hope the art get better, ‘cuz the person with their mouth open is supposed to be Monet…

  2. Andrew
    July 21, 2008 at 7:06 pm — Reply

    I agree, the art was both confusing and awkward. I hope this guy only lasts for the current arc and then replaced by someone with sense of proper storytelling! I really want Sook back, he’s half the reason I fell in love with the book in the first place.

  3. July 21, 2008 at 10:46 pm — Reply

    PAD does wonderful things with crossovers foisted upon him, as if it forces him to bring his A game to get past the hurdle. In interviews he’s said this crossover is something he chose to do to appease She-Hulk’s fan base (both of them) and their constant requests for a crossover. Apparently crossovers that orginate with himself don’t come from the same creative place as the others. I too am not getting She-Hulk and I have little hope I won’t be confused with part 3 next month, if only because Stroman is such a god awful artist.

  4. Brother129
    July 22, 2008 at 11:11 am — Reply

    I was actually someone who was really looking forward to Larry Stroman doing X-Factor again. If you look at this work on the book in the 90’s, you’ll see why I was excited. Understandably, it may not be everyone’s cup of tea…but even I’m hoping it gets better after this first issue. The unfortunate thing is that in order to get this issue, you have to be up on Secret Invasion, She-Hulk, and of course X-Factor themselve. PAD has also introduced two new additons on the team, Longshot and Darwin, so there was a LOT going on this issue.

  5. Madsen
    September 24, 2008 at 2:22 pm — Reply

    X-factor 33-35 are the ugliest comics I have ever read. X-factor = cancelled for me and the members of my studio. Back to torrenting marvel comics.

    How does this guy work for Marvel? No person looks like a person, all the characters look awful and all the scenes, effects, vehicles, etc. look retarded. What the hell are they thinking going from 32 issues of awesome art, all following the x-factor atmosphere into this bullcrap. I’m out.

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