Connect with us
X-Factor by Leah Williams Vol. 1
Marvel Comics

X-Men

‘X-Factor by Leah Williams’ Vol. 1 review

X-Factor has more than delivered on its promise of a unique story, and has sown a lot of seeds for future stories that all look to be really compelling.

We’re a ways into the Dawn of X, and by now we have a wide variety of titles to read. There’s bound to be something for everyone. But that’s not enough, says Marvel. We’re gonna get more. Now I’m not one to complain about getting more options, but I’ll admit: if we’re getting a new X-book, there should probably be some way to ensure that it’s unique. We need to make sure that we’re not just getting a clone of a book that already exists. Wait, isn’t this the premise of X-Factor?

Let me go back and change some words…

Listen to the latest episode of our weekly comics podcast!

We’re a ways into the dawn of Krakoa, and we’ve got so many mutants living here. There’s bound to be a place for everyone. But that’s not enough, says the Five. We’re gonna bring back the dead ones. Now I’m not one to complain about having more mutants, but I’ll admit: if we’re cloning and resurrecting a mutant, there should probably be some way to ensure they’re unique. We need to make sure we’re not just getting a clone of someone who’s already alive and kicking. The solution seems obvious: X-Factor!

X-Factor by Leah Williams Vol. 1

Marvel Comics

I’ve really enjoyed Leah Williams’ writing at Marvel for a while now. X-Men Black: Emma Frost was one of the best love letters to a character that I’ve ever read. Age of X-Man: X-Tremists was a captivating story about the nature of love. And Gwenpool Strikes Back, her recent miniseries with David Baldeón, was earnest, heartfelt, and downright hilarious. So I was never going to complain about the both of them getting a proper ongoing in the revitalized X-line. That being said, though, I wasn’t totally sold. The premise of the book was great, the creators were great, and the style looked to be great, but the cast just wasn’t really my thing. Rachel Summers has always been a character I’ve struggled to enjoy, as has Daken. Northstar and Polaris never really appealed to me. Prodigy and Eye Boy were fun, but I wouldn’t read a book just for them.

But I should have known better. Leah’s always had a flair for being able to find why people are fans of a character and displaying it prominently. And that skill shines greatly throughout this volume. After reading just four issues of this comic, I understand what each character brings to the table and why I should care about them. And that’s honestly the most ringing endorsement I can give X-Factor — the creative team gives me a reason to care about each member of the cast, despite my disinterest at the beginning.

What really strikes me about this comic, though, is just how imaginative it is, which shines the most in two-part arc that takes place in the Mojoverse. In its original incarnations, this was a place designed to riff on TV culture, with Mojo himself being the epitome of a TV network executive. But for the first time in a while, we’re given a fresh take on this world. It’s not about network television anymore, it’s instead a parody of Twitch. Williams and Baldeón legitimately modernized the entire concept, bringing this world to life in the age of the internet and streaming. Everything about this arc feels cutting edge and new, something that the Mojoverse sorely needed.

X-Factor by Leah Williams Vol. 1

Marvel Comics

David Baldeón is absolutely at the top of his game in this series, too — he’s always been an expressive and dynamic artist, but his design work is incredible here. Characters’ facial expressions and body language are top notch, and his new designs for the whole team are really slick and stylish. His work to create the streamer dystopia of the Mojoverse is legitimately incredible, and his modernization of characters like Spiral, Shatterstar, and Adam X the X-Treme all do such a great job capturing the characters while updating them.

If I had to come up with a fault in this book, it’d be that the last issue in the collection takes place after X of Swords and it’s a bit disorienting after three issues that take place before it. The roster page for the issue does make note of this, but there are enough offhand mentions to events that were clearly not in this collection that it ends up feeling a bit disjointed. But honestly, when awkward crossover placement is the worst thing about a comic, it’s a really good comic. X-Factor has more than delivered on its promise of a unique story, and has sown a lot of seeds for future stories that all look to be really compelling.

X-Factor by Leah Williams Vol. 1
‘X-Factor by Leah Williams’ Vol. 1 review
X-Factor by Leah Williams Vol. 1
A fantastic opening to what appears to be a genuinely fresh series.
Reader Rating4 Votes
9.1
Leah Williams' character work is top notch, giving every member of the cast a thesis.
David Baldeón's artwork is dynamic and expressive, and his designs for the characters and world are stylish and really well done.
The story's funny while never making the stakes feel light, which is a really narrow tightrope to walk, but both creators absolutely nail it.
The X of Swords crossover happening in the middle of the collection makes the final issue read a bit weirdly.
9
Great

Like what we do here at AIPT? Consider supporting us and independent comics journalism by becoming a patron today! In addition to our sincere thanks, you can browse AIPT ad-free, gain access to our vibrant Discord community of patrons and staff members, get trade paperbacks sent to your house every month, and a lot more. Click the button below to get started!

Comments

In Case You Missed It

'The Death of Doctor Strange' #2 is bold and even a bit haunting 'The Death of Doctor Strange' #2 is bold and even a bit haunting

‘The Death of Doctor Strange’ #2 is bold and even a bit haunting

Comic Books

Marvel Comics solicitations January 2022: Wolverine, Devil's Reign, and more Marvel Comics solicitations January 2022: Wolverine, Devil's Reign, and more

Marvel Comics solicitations January 2022: Wolverine, Devil’s Reign, and more

Comic Books

X-Men: The Trial of Magneto #3 X-Men: The Trial of Magneto #3

‘X-Men: The Trial of Magneto’ #3 is mostly filler for a fast-paced event

Comic Books

'Catwoman: Lonely City' #1 review: This cat still has claws 'Catwoman: Lonely City' #1 review: This cat still has claws

‘Catwoman: Lonely City’ #1 review: This cat still has claws

Comic Books

Connect
Newsletter Signup