Review: X-Factor #34

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Following up on last week’s review of two linked comics, this week I get to sit down and review both X-Factor #34 and X-Factor Layla Miller #1. And for all those of you who get sick of seeing me review 5 out of 5 comics, your wish has come at last.

In this installment; the in-continuity/issued X-Factor #34, part 3 of the Darwin Awards storyline that was last seen in She Hulk #31.

X-Factor_34_Cover.jpgYou really have to split this review in to two; otherwise you end up thoroughly depressed and unhappy. Peter David still knows how to tell a tale. That he wrote both X-Factor and She Hulk helped the continuity through the crossover. However, what that continuity also did was shine a light on the real problem – the artwork in X-Factor.

Let’s look at the storyline first. Last we heard from Detroit, She Hulk had arrived, and was tracking a Skrull that is like a holy-man, and integral to the Secret Invasion taking place. Conveniently enough, she ran into X-Factor, and last we saw, She Hulk she was being buried under a mass of Madrox dupes.

Meanwhile, her partner Jazinda has tracked down the Skrull, and tried to take him on; not a good idea. Monet too has caught up with the Skrull, but both are out for the count, leaving only poor Darwin, the hapless and seemingly witless lackey in this series. A mutant with the ability to adapt to any situation (hence the name Darwin, pretty clever, right?), the Skrull – who had been teamed up with Darwin under disguise as Longshot – is trying to convince Darwin to join him.

In essence, Longshot-Skrull is trying to convince Darwin that he is the missing link between a genetic line between the Skrulls and the Humans, due to his natural ability to evolve.

Enter the rest of the crew, who all attempt to pile on the Longshot-Skrull, but really doing nothing more than providing a minor nuisance of themselves. That means it’s all up to Darwin, who after getting a nice pep-talk from Monet (he has a crush on her), starts towards Longshot-Skrull, who is attacking everyone with conviction; and no, I don’t mean that he is really in to the cause, but apparently the fire-like substance that he is firing at everyone is conviction taken malleable form.

Darwin starts one of those great cinematic slow crawl/walks (aka, Wolverine vs. Jean Grey in X3), and is about to take him (I assume) before She Hulk knocks him out.

That’s pretty much it to be honest. This series really served no purpose whatsoever, and was just an attempt to shoehorn X-Factor and She Hulk in to Secret Invasion.

Now, this is where I get a bit harsh. I am well aware that, for the most part, art is subjective; what is beautiful to one could be ugly to another. However, there is no two ways about Larry Stroman’s artwork; it is, simply, detestable and poor. There is an utter lack of consistency, and one that does not weave from good to bad, but from bad to bad to weird and back to bad again.

The second page was what scared me, and forced me to put the book back down for a little while. Jamie Madrox, in two panels – one right next to the other – looked both entirely different from one another, and nothing like Jamie Madrox. In fact, it looked very much like a young child’s attempt to draw a person’s face, but forgetting that a face is three-dimensional.

It got steadily worse from then on, with different characters changing within seconds, scale being thrown totally out of the window, trailing along with it believability, cohesiveness and any possible chance at something looking nice.

The artwork so detracted from the story, that I cannot give X-Factor #34 more than 2 out of 5. I am well aware that X-Factor has not been great, but I have not hated it – the story that is. I won’t be giving this book up either, simply because I enjoy Peter David and his X-Factor characters. But Larry Stroman has to go, now!

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