Overview

X-Factor #200

Review

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X-Factor #200

Credits

  • Words: Peter David
  • Art: Bing Cansino, Marco Santucci, Karl Moline
  • Colors: Jeromy Cox
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $4.99
  • Release Date: Dec 16, 2009

Forty-eight pages of new story. Seventeen pages of character biographies. One reprint of Madrox #1. This is how you re-launch a title.

Having read the first thirty-odd issues of X-Factor, but sadly losing track during the Secret Invasion/She-Hulk cross-over, I possessed fond but fleeting memories of what this book used to be like. Perhaps it was the shoe-horned event awareness or Larry Stroman’s oddly misplaced art duties… it’s difficult to really pinpoint why the flame burned out. After reading this reestablishment of the characters, though, I can’t help but feel like I missed out on something special this whole time.

The story is sharp and agile, with quick-witted dialogue and bang on character beats. The subtlety in the words shared between principals feels lived in and renders any previous knowledge of their exploits or arcs moot. You are given everything you need to know on the page, while still wanting to be a part of it all along.  Both inclusive and inviting, this issue of X-Factor is the perfect jumping on point.

Franklin and Valeria Richards are worried about their mother, The Invisible Woman. X-Factor, New York’s finest (and only) Mutant Detective Agency is on the case. The details of the plot are so layered and well-paced out that regurgitating them would do any potential readers a disservice. It’s not that there are giant twists, turns or reveals (save for the end) that need to be protected. This well-crafted, double-sized issue simply deserves a read through in order to be appreciated: no silly hooks, just good comic book inside.

Artists Cansino and Santucci evoke a rendered and gritty style with their pencils, somewhat reminiscent of Leinil Yu, especially in some characters’ faces. It is good art that becomes great with the way they stage a throwdown between Strong Man and The Thing, trashing up the Baxter Building. Even the subtle ways in which they make Reed Richards - the tall glass of whole milk of the superhero world - seem menacing is a feat in and of itself. If you are at all curious, pick this meaty book up.

For those easily scared off or previously burned by a $4.99 price tag (I’m looking at you, Hulk #600), this is a very well-packaged book. Not only does it provide the main story and a wonderful back-up, but also includes character bios and a synopsis of the story so far. If that’s not enough, there’s also a reprint of Madrox #1 by David and Pablo Raimondi. This was a wonderful five-issue mini, originally printed in 2004 as a part of the Marvel Knights line and signalling the unofficial origins of the current era of X-Factor

If this renumbering is only successful for bringing more readers to that book, then we’re already ahead of the game.

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