Peter David’s new direction for X-Factor shows promise, but unfortunately fails to deliver upon its central premise.
In this first issue, Gambit, Polaris and Quicksilver, after some personal strife and misgivings, join an all-new, corporately owned X-Factor team. As quickly as they join, the team is despatched to deal with Doctor Terrance Hoffman, an AIM scientist responsible for the kidnapping of, and brutal experimentation on mutants to further his scientific ends. Among his current victims, to X-Men fans, includes a familiar face.
X-Factor is a title that has hosted several incarnations of itself since its inception: reuniting the original X-Men; a government sponsored X-Men team; a noir detective agency; and now, a corporate run superhero team. In this latest iteration, Peter David uses Gambit as our entry character into this world, initially finding him in the midst of a heist gone wrong, which serves as a quick reintroduction to the character and establishing his credentials as an expert thief. The cast selection alone makes for an interesting read, and Peter David certainly has some fun playing with a humiliated Gambit; a Polaris embracing her new role and power, blowing missiles out of the sky with a dismissive click of her fingers; and the group’s collective mistrust of Quicksilver, who still can’t overcome his damaged reputation. David also includes a humorous cameo by Wolverine, playing him against his character-type, appearing here as the strict, rule-orientated Headmaster of the Jean Grey School and having him browbeat Gambit for his methods. The scene also slyly sets up this new team outside of the mainstream, an area in which Peter David has always been most comfortable operating.
The art style of Carmine Di Giandomenico serves the book, and its high-concept, well with his crisp line work complimented by the vibrant colours of the slick, modern uniforms he’s designed, and his new renditions of long-established characters are visually compelling. Likewise the cover, with art by Kris Anka & Jared Fletcher, has a minimalist approach set upon a bright yellow background, complete with a quotation located under the issue number and title, which successfully modernizes the look and feel of the book, just like its heroes inside.
In All-New X-Factor #1 we’re given an interesting idea, albeit a poorly-fleshed out one, which in itself raises questions about what exactly is in store for this book. Will we get answers? Will we like them? From an experienced hand like Peter David, the answer is most likely. Though, as an All-New #1, as a jumping on point for new readers, those answers really needed to be here.