Look how far we have fallen since yesterday!
This is still the mutant misadventures of the government super-team X-Factor, but now they are joined by 90’s paragon Random. Random is a bandana and sunglasses wearing tough guy who can shoot out of his shape-shifting arms. I don’t remember disliking him when this comic came out in 1994, but man, he’s just such a product of his time. It almost hurts!
The villain is no better. The ridiculously named “Haven” is a messianic figure out to decimate the world’s population in order to usher in a new golden age. She’s already got Wolfesbane and Val Cooper in her corner when the story begins, and the Legacy Virus-suffering Jamie Madrox throws in by the end of the issue. Now, not all three of them truly turn; one of those characters is too smart for that. I’ll leave it to you to guess who. (Here's a clue, it is not permanent dim bulb Wolfesbane.)
J.M. DeMatteis and Jan Duursema have taken over writing and penciling, but not for the better. DeMatteis doesn’t indulge his penchant for self-searching lead characters OR his gift for team dialogue, making this a pretty generic read. Duursema’s work has looked better in almost every book she’s worked on. Admittedly, she’s horribly handicapped by the awful, awful costumes and hair on these 90’s characters. Everyone has long terrible hair flowing out of each panel.
Jamie Madrox dies AGAIN at the close of this issue. The Kenny of the Marvel U can’t win. If you can make dupes of yourself, how can a death ever really stick? Especially when each duplicate can then make doubles of his own? It’s a literally never ending supply of cannon fodder!
As I flip through, the more certain I am that neither of the creators were too invested in this book. The story is too generic, there are too many wasted pages with go-nowhere plotting, and the resolution is pretty ridiculous too. (Havok blasts a satellite out of orbit. Just shoots straight up and hits it.)
This is an EVIL comic and an EVIL era of X-Factor.