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Review: All-New X-Factor #6

Six issues in and all of the members of the All-New X-Factor have signed up. I like the casual way the team has come together, with everybody just sort of asking if Danger, Cypher and Warlock would like to hang out. But I wish writer Peter David focused more on that element of the series. It would be a wonderfully subversive twist on the idea of a superhero team, especially starring these characters in this Marvel Universe. Everyone in All-New X-Factor has been here before. They’ve all been members of different superhero teams, some long-lasting and some not. The idea that they’re all randomly grouping up together for form yet another new team, and what everybody thinks of that, would be an interesting – and I think entertaining – focus for the series.

All-New X-Factor #6

And I think PAD recognizes this, but I fear he’s still a little too focused on general superheroics. All-New X-Factor isn’t looking to be subversive. It isn’t looking to be anything more than just another superhero comic, and in the All-New Marvel NOW!, that’s just not good enough anymore.

Comic Rating: 6/10 – Pretty Good.

All-New X-Factor is growing on me just a little. The comic is becoming more rewarding to read, though if I wasn’t dedicated to doing these long reviews, I probably would have dropped the comic by now. Why am I dedicated to these long reviews? I dunno. I guess I owe it to the memory of Multiple Man to keep them going. But it’s just not a very catchy, entertaining comic. It’s readable and well put together, which can’t be said for every comic on the stands. But All-New X-Factor is unimpressive. It doesn’t really seem to have anything to say, and all of the characters are kind of just hanging out waiting to see if they’ll still be a comic by the end of the year. PAD tries to inject a little humor and humanity in the characters, but it’s not enough, and it’s just not as good as the last volume. PAD doesn’t have the same handle on these characters as he did on the last roster, and it shows every time he engages in a little playful banter.

The new issue is mildly entertaining, especially in how PAD deals with the Magus. One might say the ending of this issue was unexpected, but I kind of saw it coming. There were only two ways X-Factor was going to deal with the Magus, and this was one of them. In today’s day and age, this was definitely a predictable ending – not that I didn’t prefer it over the obvious fight climax. X-Factor has done enough fighting in only six issues. But this sort of twist ending is a little anti-climactic, though at least it serves its purpose of getting Cypher and Warlock on the team. The status quo of the Magus has changed, but I don’t imagine there are too many Magus fans out there to deal with the potentially ruffled feathers. It’s a solid wrap-up to last issue, and like I said, I’m enjoying the casual way the team is coming together. I just wish PAD put more focus on that perspective.

Join me after the jump for the full synopsis and more review!

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Review: All-New X-Factor #5

Well glue forks to my hands and call me Wolverine, I actually liked this issue of All-New X-Factor! I’ve been pretty hard on the series so far, but I really felt that Peter David’s writing and characters were finally starting to gel in this issue. Yes, he still has them rush off to face the next big, elaborate bad guy, but the first issue is all about slowing down the pace and letting us get to know who these characters are and why they’re doing what they’re doing. That is fundamental to appreciating fiction. You can’t just throw a bunch of superheroes onto a team together and have them fight bad guys.

X-Factor #5

Yet that’s exactly what PAD did for the start of All-New X-Factor, but he’s finally getting into the substance of why these characters are together and what motivates them to be a part of this series and this team. It’s a definite step in the right direction.

Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.

The problem with All-New X-Factor is that it doesn’t have a soul. There doesn’t seem to be any greater purpose to the comic or any larger story that PAD is trying to tell. From issue #1, it’s felt like generic superhero mediocrity. It’s as if Marvel really wanted to relaunch X-Factor but didn’t have any good ideas, so PAD just grabbed a bunch of random X-characters and threw them together on a team. Not that any of this has really been fixed in the new issue. But at least with with All-New X-Factor #5, I’m finally starting to see what this endeavor means for these characters and why they’re putting up with it.

In a lot of ways, I definitely think PAD has a good idea on his hands; several, in fact. First there’s the idea of the first corporately-owned superhero team operating in the Marvel Universe. What does that mean for all involved and for the MU as a whole? Second, and more importantly, is the idea that these characters have all been down this road before, and they know this isn’t how such things are done. What do the superheroes themselves think when they’re randomly put together on a team? Unfortunately, five issues in, I don’t think PAD has really focused on either of those ideas very well. He really seems content to just tell random stories about his random X-heroes fighting random bad guys. That’s disappointing. I think PAD either needs to start focusing on the characters and their individual journeys or he needs to reveal the larger Serval Industries plot, because random fights against the Magus or whoever aren’t going to sell comics in this day and age.

All-New X-Factor finally delivers a worthwhile issue, but it’s not without the same faults that continue to plague this series. Join me after the jump for the full synopsis and more review.

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Review: All-New X-Factor #4

I consider myself a dedicated X-Factor fan…I guess. Or maybe I was just blinded by my love of Multiple Man. Was that it? Peter David wrote an amazing Multiple Man! He re-defined the character for the 21st century, and it was a thing of glorious beauty! And more than just Multiple Man, the whole previous volume X-Factor was a lot of fun. So what am I not seeing in the All-New X-Factor? Was PAD’s previous series this shallow, and I just really enjoyed seeing Multiple Man? I kind of get the feeling that if he switched out Gambit for Multiple Man, I’d probably be enjoying this comic a lot more.

X-Factor #4

As it stands, the newest issue of All-New X-Factor is more of the same, and I’ve still got to give the thing a big ole meh!

Comic Rating: 5/10 – Alright.

There’s not much to this new issue. All-New X-Factor #4 is all about recruiting Danger to the team by way of a big, explosive fight scene. PAD peppers the fight with some nice character moments, especially for Gambit and Polaris, but at the expense of a seemingly incompetent Danger. The angry robot spends the entire issue promising to kill everybody but never seems to focus enough to actually carry it out – though, of course, it’s not like she’s allowed to really kill any of the main characters. But you’ll see what I mean in the synopsis.

Like I said, Gambit and Polaris get some good moments. Gambit spends the issue trying to snap Danger out of her murderous rage, while Polaris has some murderous rage of her own. But I don’t really care one lick about Danger, her history with the X-Men or her potentially joining X-Factor. I’m fairly certain that nobody else in the X-Office cared enough to use Danger in their comic, so PAD snatched her up. Or maybe he really wanted to use her, I don’t know. What I do know is that we went through a lot of trouble to add her to the team, and I just didn’t care for any of it. We took an abridged tour of Gambit’s recent solo series, but I don’t feel as if the story affected Gambit at all or had any impact on the series. They might as well have gone to the Savage Land or Latveria to recruit Danger.

I don’t want to come off as overly harsh in my reviews of All-New X-Factor…not like with Teen Titans. That book is actively bad. But All-New X-Factor is just bland. It’s bland characters on bland missions with no real emphasis on the corporate angle, at least not yet. And I’m just not happy with bland.

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Review: All-New X-Factor #3

I need to talk about the cover of All-New X-Factor #3 for a moment. I don’t usually discuss covers in my reviews, but this needs to be said, because cats in comics is kind of my kryptonite (as well as Youtube videos of cats who sound like they’re talking). I dig the unique look of the All-New X-Factor covers. But this cover shows Gambit snuggling with a bunch of cats, and the quote, “I’m their freaking king” above his head. This led me to believe that X-Factor was going to meet an army of cats, and they were going to really like Gambit, and therefore he was going to declare himself the ‘King of Cats’! BUT IT DOESN’T HAPPEN!

All-New X-Factor #3

I kind of want to demand my money back. And I want the ‘King of the Cats’ to become a thing immediately.

All-New X-Factor #3 shows a bit of improvement over the first two issues, but not by much. The characters and their relationships are still paper thin, the premise is still a bit uncomfortable, and writer Peter David hasn’t found anything really interesting for anyone to do (other than crack crappy jokes). But somehow, this issue at least felt like it was put together a little better than the first two.

Comic Rating: 5/10 – Alright.

At three issues in, I see signs that some of my concerns with this comic might even out. PAD is clearly trying to build up the relationships between his main characters, but he’s still working with a bunch of blank slates, so there’s just not much he can do yet. I get why Gambit doesn’t trust Quicksilver, but the characters have never had anything to do with one another, so the mistrust just rings hollow. And Polaris has been such a non-player for the past few years that she doesn’t really have any sort of relationship with anything, whether it be her teammates or the Marvel Universe as a whole.

Also, when has Gambit been a crazy cat person? That cover isn’t about Gambit becoming King of the Cats, but instead its about how Gambit has brought three pet cats to live with him at Serval Industries. When did that happen? Has Gambit always had a bunch of pet cats and I’ve just never noticed?

Or is it another bit of plot that PAD has pulled over from Gambit’s recently cancelled solo series? I hope the lot of you were reading that series, because X-Factor’s second big mission is mired in characters and plot points from it. Of course, considering the series was cancelled due to low sales, I think we can all agree nobody was reading it.

But PAD forges ahead anyway! Join me after the jump for a full synopsis and more review.

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Review: All-New X-Factor #2

Nope, I still don’t care for it. I was pretty harsh in my review of All-New X-Factor #1, but I had high hopes that the second issue would alleviate some of my concerns and prove that I’m an idiot. It didn’t. Not even a little. The second issue is just as generic and uninspired as the first. It doesn’t help that writer Peter David spends the whole issue in action mode, pushing what little character and creativity exist into the background.

All-New X-Factor #2

It’s not that All-New X-Factor is a bad comic, per se, it’s that I know PAD can do much, much better. So far, the relaunch is painfully mediocre, and that’s just not good enough.

Comic Rating: 5/10 – Alright.

There is nothing about the second issue of All-New X-Factor that has anything to do with ‘X-Factor’ as a comic or a concept, let alone this new Serval Industries angle. The mission to save a bunch of captured mutants could have been performed by any of the X-Men squads, either of the X-Forces, the New Mutants, the Fallen Angels, the X-Statix; anybody. Any chance PAD had to make this comic specifically about these characters is wasted. Gambit, Polaris and Quicksilver are all in fine superhero form, but nothing they do is particularly unique to them, least of all the dialogue.

Gambit makes a Star Wars reference in this comic that literally anybody in the universe would make. Captain America would make that same reference. I could see Magneto making that reference, it’s so simple.

I think part of the problem is that PAD (or Marvel?) just didn’t pick very interesting characters for this team. Gambit, Polaris and Quicksilver don’t really have anything to do with one another, but they’re all old hats at this concept. They all know what it’s like to randomly be part of a new superhero team, so they’re all familiar with what they’re supposed to be doing. But they’re not really familiar enough with each other to make the banter or interpersonal relationships all that interesting. There’s no wonderment involved in being on this superhero team.

So far, All-New X-Factor is just a group of workman superheroes doing their job, but it’s written as if this is all supposed to be really cool and exciting. Generic superhero comics are a dime a dozen, even at Marvel Comics. X-Factor needs to find a way to stand out and do something new.

Also, if you don’t remember the specific characters and the conclusion to the X-Cell storyline from 2007, you’re a little bit out of luck with this new issue.

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