Wednesday, December 25, 2013

12 Days of X-Mas 1: X-Factor #1 (1985)

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope everyone is having a wonderful time during our X-Mas season!

Are you ready for the Twelve Days of
X-Mas! This year is all X-Factor, all the time! 

Oh my goodness. How the heck did I ever love Cyclops so much when I was ten years old? Scott Summers is living in Alaska with his wife, Madelyne Pryor and his unnamed son, and he’s the definition of a deadbeat dad. He’s never around, and when he is finally forced to go home after Storm beats him for leadership of the X-Men, he sulks around and moodily fantasizes about his dead girlfriend Jean Grey.

No, the clear favorite for my childhood should have been Angel. The guy LOVES being a mutant, is filthy rich, has a smoking hot girlfriend, and basically pays for his two loser buddies to travel from super team to super team. Warren Worthington is awesome! Plus, he gets in on the romance-angst that is to prevalent in this comic just after the return of Jean Grey.

Jean’s return was handled in some Avengers and FF issues, so her appearance here is sort of odd. She just kind of… appears. No huge dramatic moment for Angel or Cyclops when they finally meet up. I really liked how Bob Layton wrote Angel as being sort of protective of Jean after her return. He wants Jean for himself, so he really struggles with calling the other X-Men back on the scene.

And poor Jean. Half of her teammates are in love with her. Plus, no one will actually tell her that her ex-boyfriend, the guy she is throwing herself at, is now married and a father. Yowch. I’m also puzzled why Marvel wanted to remove her telepathy and stick with telekinetics. It weakens her a bit, although her powers are certainly more visual.

One thing that impressed the heck out of me was the introduction of Cameron Hodge, Angel’s old roommate and the head of X-Factor. Longtime X-readers know that Hodge is secretly the founder of The Right, an anti-mutant organization bent on genocide. Hodge’s plan is clearly whacko, and will just add to the mutant panic that is present on every page. But since Hodge was actually working undermine the mutant cause, it all makes sense.

The art is fantastic. Too much of Jackson (Butch) Guice’s pencils are covered up the 80’s era purple prose, but what is there shines through. The X-Factor uniforms are dynamic and striking. They might remain my favorite X-costumes for these characters. Angel’s red and white x-suit in particular is just tremendous. It is interesting that Guice gives new mutant Rusty the Quicksilver/Tyrannus hair cowlick, but that must just be a Marvel thing.

So basically, this Energy Analyzer review proves that ten-year-old Timbotron had good taste. This is a GOOD comic!

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