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It can’t have been that long ago that I praised X-Factor as being one of my favorite comic books. It must have been even less time than that that I announced, even though the artwork by Larry Stroman was giving me heart palpitations, I would continue to buy the book for Peter David’s writing.

Yeah… what was I thinking?

xfactor35cover.jpgX-Factor issue 35 picked up – sadly – where the Secret Invasion tie-in left off. Even worse, to my eyes at least (and to many others, as a note), was Larry Stroman’s artwork. I feel as if I’ve been apologizing for Stroman’s artwork over the months he’s been on the book. I say up front – it’s bad, but I say keep buying it because of Peter David’s writing.

This month, it’s getting a bit too hard to do that.

Put it this way. Imagine you purchased an album from a song writer you really loved, who was stepping out with a new band. Now, the band can’t seem to find a right note in a music store, and seem to revel in that, but the lyrics to the song are beautiful. No matter how hard you try, I can guarantee you; you probably won’t get past the fourth or fifth track on the album. The song writer might be fantastic, but it’s the music you’re hearing for the most part.

So no, the artwork is not good in this issue.

The story on the other hand?

meh…

Last month we saw the Secret Invasion tie-in wrap up, and the young mutant Darwin returned to his father. It was a happy ending, and as Madrox explains close to the beginning of this issue, that’s why they do their jobs, for those occasional happy moments.

Naturally, everything is not as it seems.

Issue #35 opens with Darwin in captivity, being studied by a group of scientists that look like they failed to make it as Oompa-Loompas because they weren’t purple enough. The inner dialogue of Jamie Madrox is presented as they arrive at a hospital, and find that Darwin’s father has been seriously injured.

The detective on the scene is apparently a transplant from a Popeye comic, as he looks almost identical to Wimpy, always willing to pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today. With no answers to what has happened to Darwin’s father, the reader is transported to X-Factor HQ, where Longshot shows up.

What follows is some great Peter David writing, which still manages to come through despite the … yeah, never mind, I’ve said enough.

Longshot manages to confuse Strongman while simultaneously convincing him that he isn’t a Skrull. The running joke through the rest of the issue is worth reading, but maybe not enough to combat the artwork. Seems Longshot saw himself in Detroit, and came to see what he was doing there, when he was obviously not in … it gets funnier, trust me!

A quick cut through the mad-scientists lab where a death-row prisoner, who has volunteered for science, explodes, and we see Longshot and Strongman arrive at the hospital. Longshot apparently attracts people to him? At least that seems to be his mutant power, along with some telepathic abilities that he uses to find out that Darwin’s father actually sold his son out to these scientists for a nice lump sum.

The issue begins to finish up here, obviously beginning a to be continued, but before we go Jamie accidentally creates a dupe. This dupe then proceeds to try and smother Darwin’s father while he’s lying in his hospital bed with a pillow. This is where the story falls apart, maybe because of the art, maybe not. I assume that we’re supposed to get the impression that Madrox is shocked at what happened, but he seems more clueless than shocked.

This book does not score well. The writing only gets 3 out of 5 and the artwork… I’m not sure if I’m allowed to score zero out of 5, so we’ll go with 1 just to be on the safe side, bringing the grand total for X-Factor #35 to 2 out of 5 Stars.

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If you’re not reading X-Factor #35, don’t pick it up. If you are reading X-Factor #35, let’s see how long we can stick with it together, and maybe soon, Marvel will replace Stroman with… anyone!

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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4 Comments

  1. Ricco
    September 23, 2008 at 2:26 pm — Reply

    The oh my God said at the end of the comic was so out of nowhere I had to re-read the page a few times to see if I had missed something.

    The art is killing me, the characters look like a cavemen versions of themsleves…

  2. James
    September 23, 2008 at 7:06 pm — Reply

    The art is destroying this book. Thankfully the December solicits list a different artist down so hopefully the book shouldn’t have to undergo too much more of this. Strohman was good for the original XFactor in the 90’s but the tone of this comic is different, lets hope he is off this permanently.

  3. September 23, 2008 at 10:10 pm — Reply

    When they first showed Darwin’s dad in the hospital bed, at first glance I wondered why there were centaurs in the room. Then I realized it was just how Stroman draws women…

  4. September 24, 2008 at 8:06 pm — Reply

    Oh and what was up with Rictor not being affected by Longshot’s sex magic? I guess his coming out as bi was just a lame ass joke on PAD’s part after all. Pity.

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