Thursday, 6 June 2013
Review: X-Factor #257
Art by Neil Edwards
Published by Marvel Comics
As the end of X-Factor draws near, the team are still busy dealing with the repercussions of the Hell on Earth War. Namely, their leader Jamie Madrox is still trapped in the form of a Demon!
Wrapping up a decade old series is no enviable task and this first installment of "The End of X-Factor" is bizarrely stand-alone. You'd think with so many plot threads left dangling, Peter David would have his hands full, but somehow he makes time for a completely different story that doesn't necessarily star X-Factor themselves.
While tracking down the missing demonic Madrox, his wife Layla Miller finds herself butting heads with a devastated Uncle and Nephew, desperate to resurrect their lost loved one. Coming into possession of the transformed private detective, the pair believe him to be a D'jinn capable of traversing a dimensional portal and bringing their deceased relative back to them. Unfortunately, they may not like what they find on the other side.
The story itself is nice enough, with a few cruel twists and turns to keep the reader guessing. Most notably, Layla's knowledge of the future is completely wrong in this case. Where memories would tell her that she'd find a Human Madrox and that the Uncle's magic would fail, she stumbles across the still demonic Madrox and very much working magic. Throwing this traditionally all-knowing character into the middle of a genuine mystery makes for a fun dynamic.
The Uncle and Nephew, while noble in their pursuit of bringing back a loved one, tend to veer a little too close to crazy to be 100% sympathetic. By the time their plan has come to fruition, it has failed abysmally, brought a vengeful god unto our world and cost the young Nephew his life. The death of the boy is particularly shocking, as he rushes towards what he thinks is his Mother and crumbles to dust. Rarely do you see such needless death, particularly visited upon a child. One would have thought such a fate would be better suited to a wrong-doer.
However, I still can't wrap my head around the notion that we had six entire issues of the beloved series left and this standalone story was one of them. By all means, David should address the current demonic form of Jamie Madrox, as I fully expect him back to his wise-cracking Human self by the end of the run. But the issue didn't even solve that problem, offering a random side adventure in it's stead. This is the time for prioritizing and the issue simply ignored that.
6 out of 10