The second review for the week is now ready. The Daily Bugle edition will be looked at later this week, but will likely be an Impressions column.

General Information

Title: X-Factor #8-9
Author: Peter David
Illustrator(s): Dennis Calero and Jose Villarrubia
Original Publication Date: June and July, 2006
Cover Price: $2.99 US, $4.25 Can for each of two issues

Premise

X-Factor (currently Jamie “Multiple Man” Madrox, Rahne “Wolfsbane” Sinclair, “Strong Guy” Guido, Theresa “Syrin” Cassidy, Monnet St. Clair and a depowered Richtor, who are housing House of M‘s Layna) learn the truth behind M-Day, the Decimation, and the House of M at the same time that the Civil War is going on and Quicksilver shows up for a visit.

High Point

The internal monologue Madrox has in the second issue.

Low Point

For all the Civil War branding and hype, this still feels like a House of M title. While it’s nice to see the ramifications of one of these big events continue for a long period of time, it doesn’t really suit the brand. This is an interesting chapter in the X-Factor story, but without reading the first seven issues, there are several complete pages that just have no meaning for me. Civil War has some influence here, but I wouldn’t recommend it to those not planning to read the title. (That being said, it does seem like a pretty good comic in the film noir style, so it may be worth reading in its own right. If that style sounds interesting to you and you are reading Civil War, these could be good sampler issues for you.)

The Scores

This feels somewhat original. The tone is a deeper noir feel than we’ve had from Bendis and Maleev on Daredevil, which may give you some idea of how dark this is. The Marvel universe is an ugly place for mutants right now, and these guys are trying to find some light at the end of the tunnel. On top of that, we’ve got a team of heroes that don’t seem like heroes. These guys are, and feel like, co-workers just dealing with what comes to them rather than a group of people who are out saving the world. It’s a comic with superheroes, but it’s not a superhero comic. It’s a very different feel and attitude for the Marvel universe. I give it 6 out of 6.

The artwork has its ups and downs. I’m not always pleased with the way the individual faces are rendered, but I love the arrangement, shadows, colours and tone. I give the complete package 4 out of 6.

The story is also difficult to judge. This feels like the regular title is serialized, and that it would play out well for those who have been here since the beginning. The rest of us may feel like there are more gaps to fill in than we’ve been given the information for. Since this is part of a Civil War review series, and since I’m buying this and reading it in that context, that’s the context I’m going to judge it in. As a crossover event title, it’s fairly weak. It feels like it mentions Civil War to get the visibility that comes with that branding more than it feels like the Civil War fallout is important to this title. As part of the series starting with #1, it could read much better. I give it 4 out of 6.

The characterization is there for three of the main characters only in these two issues. The group’s leader, Madrox, gets a lot of introspective moments in the second issue. Syrin and Layna get a few moments, but we don’t get a chance to really see this play out. I give it 4 out of 6.

The emotional response is muted due to the general lack of information about this Tryp character they discover things about, and other such feelings that you’re jumping in on the middle of things. There are some amusing moments, but not enough to pull me in. It seems interesting enough to tempt me to grab the TPBs back to issue #1 and start from there, but I don’t think I’d be doing that if I weren’t already interested in the title. I give it 3 out of 6.

The flow within the issues works very well. As I said, this feels like a long-term serialized story that’s smooth when read in its entirety, but not very easy to jump in on. I give it 4 out of 6.

Overall, these aren’t bad comics, but if you want to read them, read them because you’re looking for a noir comic set in the Marvel universe, and not because of the Civil War stamp on the cover. I give it 4 out of 6.

In total, X-Factor issues 8 and 9 receive 29 out of 42.

Civil War Review Checklist

  • New Avengers: Illuminati
    Special
  • Amazing Spider-Man #529-531
  • Fantastic Four #536-537
  • Civil War 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, complete
  • Civil War: Frontline #1-10
  • Amazing Spider-Man #532-537
  • Black Panther #18
  • Cable/Deadpool #30-32
  • Captain America #22-24
  • Civil War: Young Avengers and Runaways #1-4
  • Civil War: X-Men #1-4
  • Daily Bugle: Civil War Edition
  • Fantastic Four #538-543
  • Heroes for Hire #1-3
  • Iron Man #13-14
  • Ms. Marvel #6-8
  • New Avengers #21-25
  • Punisher: War Journal #1-3
  • She-Hulk #8
  • Thunderbolts #103-105
  • Wolverine #42-47
  • X-Factor #8-9