Review by From the Booth‘s own KEN
It’s hard to believe that for so long I’ve been buying every X-book out there but I’ve never picked up a copy of X-Factor. It might be because X-Factor always seemed to have the secondary characters that I wasn’t too familiar with, many of which had never been members of the X-Men. But when previous From the Booth host Madonna said it was the X-book he looked forward to every month, it was only a matter of time until I picked up the trade.
Peter David is probably best known for his 12 year run on the Hulk but he has written extensively for many of the major comic publishers as well as written several novels. Ryan Sook has worked primarily for Dark Horse and is well known to me for his work on Buffy books. Dennis Calero has primarily worked for IDW and Acclaim (the company that would eventually buy and drive Valiant into the ground before it was rebooted) but also recently did work on two X-men Noir books.
X-Factor has referred to many things over the years. Initially it was composed of the original X-Men as an independent team, then as a government sponsored entity, and in this incarnation it is a detective agency founded by Multiple Man.
The events of the first issue take place shortly after M-Day in New York City. Mutant Town, a borough of the city previously inhabited by powered individuals, is now mostly full of de-powered mutants targeted by bigotry and race riots. Shortly after saving a suicidal and de-powered Rictor, X-Factor takes on the protection of mutant town while also acting as a police force within in. This puts X-Factor in the bull’s-eye of another investigations agency and their mysterious CEO whose motivations are still left unclear by the end of the first trade.
X-Factor is composed of Jamie Madrox (Multiple Man), Guido (Strong Guy), Rahne Sinclair (Wolfsbane), Theresa Cassidy (Siryn), Monet St. Croix (M), and the depowered Rictor. Although these are second and third tier characters, David manages the same trick that Ed Brubaker pulled in The Rise and Fall of the Shi-ar Empire. He makes you care about the characters because he can put them in credible mortal danger and replace them with another character at any time. Also, the interplay between the characters comes off as the main plot point and they’re not reciting the same Wolverine/Cyclops argument lines you’ve been reading for a few decades.
I found this book to be the best X-trade I’ve read since the previously mentioned Brubaker arc and maybe even better in some ways. The writer credits a previously released Multiple Man limited edition series with allowing his run to exist so I’m likely to find and read that at some point too. From being the one X-book you can read without reading any of the others to taking blind corners one after the other to being a great character driven story, this book has it all!