Everything’s coming up Marvel this week as John Carle returns with his special edition of The Pull List. Sal Loria is back next week so be sure and check in then, and every week, for brand new installments of The Pull List Comic Reviews. – Ed.
Pull Of the Week
X-Factor #50 – Marvel – $3.99
Writer: Peter David Artist: Valentine De Landro
X-Factor #50 is the issue where everything finally comes full circle for the events of this entire volume of X-Factor. Ever since the House of M, Layla Miller has been a question mark in the Marvel U. Is her mutant power really that she just “knows stuff”? This issue finally answers the question as Peter David concludes his story arc revolving around Jamie and Layla eighty years in the future dealing with the Summers Rebellion against a corrupt man trying to destroy all mutants using the technology of Doctor Doom and employing a corrupted dupe of Multiple Man who had been misplaced in time during the “Messiah Complex”.
How Peter David did it definitely took some planning as all of the events that spun out of the House of M and created Layla Miller tied up perfectly in this issue and how it happened is something this reviewer never would have guessed when the series first launched with X-Factor #1.
The issue also ends with a short story where X-Factor Investigations picks up a case in New York after finally deciding to leave Detroit. Their first case which will be tackled in the renumbered X-Factor #200 next month is given to them by Franklin and Valeria Richards, children of Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman, the latter of which has gone missing.
It is certainly an interesting coincidence that Marvel let X-Factor hit issue #50 before letting the next milestone number of issue #200 happen in next month’s renumbering the same way they did with Captain America #50 and Captain America #600. But much like Cap issues #50 and #600 were great issues, X-Factor is already going gangbusters so we can let it slide this time.
This volume of X-Factor has had a little bit of everything. The series started off in a very noir tone and has gone back and forth with it multiple times throughout. There has been sci-fi with elements of time travel and wild technology. And of course there has been tons of super hero drama and action, especially when this more low key team has crossed paths with the X-Men.
This is one of the series that down the line deserves an omnibus. Coming back from rumors of cancellation to being one of the best written X-titles on the shelves, X-Factor is able to actually transcend the X-Men overload that some readers have. Because every issue doesn’t revolve around “mutant” issues and instead builds more on the characters who happen to be mutants, X-Factor #50 is a prime example of how X-writing should be taken moving forward.
X Necrosha – Marvel – $3.99
Writers: Mike Carey, Craig Kyle, Zeb Wells, Christopher Yost Artists: Clayton Crain, Ibraim Roberson, Dustin Weaver
It’s hard not to look at X Necrosha and compare it to Blackest Night from DC. Both stories revolve heavily around characters returning from the dead and attacking those they had emotional ties to during their lives. The evil / dead side of the equation is covered in all black garb. The leaders of the black side is a somewhat inconsequential character in the grand scheme of things (i.e. not being the level of a Magneto or Lex Luthor level villain). The only real differences come from X Necrosha’s main antagonist still being alive herself and from the undead brought back to life being somewhat sub-par characters.
X Necrosha starts off with Selene, the former Black Queen of the Hellfire Club, gathering her generals together, Wither, Blink, Senyaka, Mortis and Eli Bard as she explains her ultimate goal in the first few pages. The first thing that stands out is that none of these generals have been very critical players in X-Men history and the gathering cabal has a lackluster feel to it. Blink, along with various revived X-Villains from the past, attacks the X-Men’s home, Utopia, strategically hitting singling out specific inhabitants of the island. At the same time, Selene reveals the meaning behind the name Necrosha.
Also included in the book are two other stories, the revival of Cypher from the grave and a short story about the revived Destiny and her interaction with her daughter and now current X-Man, Blindfold. Each of the two stories ends with a cliff hanger directly tying in to New Mutants and X-Men Legacy respectively.
Regardless of whether it was coincidence or planned to go against Blackest Night by Marvel, the events of X Necrosha already feel repetitive and old. Maybe because we have experienced four months of Geoff Johns skillfully writing how people would react to the dead coming back and attacking them or because we are so used to X-Men characters not staying dead, this story arc doesn’t feel new and exciting.
Not to say that Kyle and Yost’s writing is bad, but it just feels like we have experienced this whole story before. Clayton Crain’s painted style also has worn out its welcome with the deranged faces that come from it. If you are a hardcore X-fan, you have already picked this up but for those who are casual readers, this is one that it wouldn’t hurt to let pass you by.
Dark Reign: The List: Wolverine – Marvel – $3.99
Writer: Jason Aaron Artist: Esad Ribic
Slowly, The List series of one-shots has degenerated from what it initially was meant to be. Norman Osborn has put together his list of eight things he needs to do to set the world “right” and neutralizing Wolverine is on there. This issue, one would think, would show how Norman plans on taking out Wolverine. Instead, ex-Dark Avenger Marvel Boy, whose time spent on the team was a complete waste, informs Wolverine that Norman has set his sights on The World, a self contained bioweapon facility that Wolverine and Fantomex thought they destroyed back in Grant Morrison’s run of New X-Men.
When they get to the facility, a chemical that help controls anyone who believes in a higher power is unleashed which leaves only the Kree Marvel Boy and French Fantomex to save the day. The entire time, Norman watches his attempted conquest of the facility on security cameras but never directly sets his targets on Wolverine.
While an average Marvel Boy or Fantomex story, this issue is not a good Wolverine book. It also falls under the category of books with a “Dark Reign” banner that are produced just for the sake of making an extra buck. Had it not been produced as one of The List titles, this issue wouldn’t have even made it in as a one issue story in the current Wolverine: Weapon X or Wolverine Origins books.
Both Marvel Boy and Fantomex are not strong enough characters to carry a book, even together. Between no one really caring about Marvel Boy and Fantomex’s lack of representation in years, the two fall short of coming up as stars in this issue.
The only redeeming piece of this issue comes from a short story included in the back where Wolverine is being chased and happens upon a religious woman with a flat tire who views him as an angel sent to save her. This issue gives some great character moments for Wolverine in just a few short pages and gives a much better representation for the character than he was in the main story of the issue. But, this small story alone though isn’t worth the price of the full issue.