X-Factor just recently ended, or at least, the original series did. Here we have an All-New Marvel NOW! relaunch of this book, except with a totally new cast of characters and a fresh artist. Although I am well-read in the X-Men universe, I have never read X-Factor regularly. Does this relaunched #1 tickle my fancy? Is it good?
All-New X-Factor #1 (Marvel Comics)
Gambit isn’t currently on any X-Men rosters, that’s why it’s so great to see him put back into the mix with X-Factor. As well as being the narrator of this issue, he is a vital part of the team, possessing a skillset very different from anyone on the team and keeping the mood a little more mysterious than it would be without him.
The X-Factor are a rejuvenating new concept of a team of superheroes, both because they are corporately funded and because they are active merely “to help people.” They seem more wholesome than say, Batman Inc. or the Avengers and return to the roots of the superhero genre — when heroes were there merely to make the world a better place.
The whole spirit of this comic makes the X-Factor a totally unique team. All of the members are in some way rejects, or misunderstood, yet together they become a force of good and are zealous in their goal to improve the lives of others. Although most of the characters are very troubled and torn internally, the only character we really get to see down in the dumps is Remy; and that is a little overplayed. After a little tough love from Logan, Remy becomes somewhat dysfunctional and starts drinking. This seems a little implausible — I imagine that if Logan were real, and you had encountered him before, you would be able to take a talk from him… then again, maybe Gambit is a bit more sensitive than we realized.
The team forms in the standard way: all of the characters are called together in the face of conflict, with no one really volunteering for the team, but also no one resisting the idea of banding together. In a way this is just the story of X-Men rejects who decided they would be less useless together. When you look at it from that “underdogs banding together” angle, this book is a success. It was clearly conceived to give new life to characters that creators thought were overlooked throughout the Marvel U and banding them together.
The conflict of this initial arc is a little bit tedious and overused. It’s really just a ploy to get us to sympathize with this team from the start. A mutant is in danger, so it’s X-Factor to the rescue! Because the mutants are victimized from the start, it takes away any potential inner conflict, and makes the mission very straightforward. The X-Factor is clearly the good side, the mad doctors are clearly the bad guys; it all just seems a little predictable and too straightforward to me, although we’ll have to see how future issues unfold before I can say if that’s a bad thing.
Although Kris Anka draws the (quite gorgeous) cover, the interior pencils are done by Carmine Di Giandomenico. The pencils are all well and good, but what stood out to me the most about the art was the fun paneling. Characters bleed into different panels, and there is a nice mix of both personal panels and epic full body shots. This is anything but your standard 9-frame design — there is a great movement and motion in this comic without the action being hard to decipher.
Is it Good?
- Unique and interesting art
- Characters are likable and witty
- Plot is boring and repetitive
- Wolverine, get him out of there
For a debut, this comic isn’t bad. The plot is certainly lacking, and the whole situation seems a bit lackluster compared to other Marvel conflicts currently. But still, Gambit and his supporting characters make this book by being such enjoyable and human characters. The art and cover are also quite awesome.