Monday, 25 August 2014

All-New X-Factor, Volume 1: Not Brand X Review (Peter David, Carmine Di Giandomenico)


Nope, this isn’t a comic book version of that shite TV show fronted by the most punchable face on television, Simon Cowell, but a return of that ‘90s favourite, Peter David’s X-Factor. And I should say right off the bat that I was never a fan of that series - I was barely a fan of the X-Men, then and now! - so I wasn’t fanboying out over X-Factor coming back. 

It’s also not the best place for completely green readers to start with this series. David basically assumes that everyone reading this will know all about the team members so there’s hardly any intro for any of them with description of their backgrounds or powers; you’re just thrown in at the deep end and asked to swim. You’re bound to know a couple of them though - Gambit, for instance, is relatively well-known, as is Quicksilver, if only for his recent appearance in Bryan Singer’s Days of Future Past and the forthcoming Avengers sequel, Age of Ultron. 

Serval Industries is the Marvel Universe’s version of Google. A massive conglomerate that built its fortune off the back of a search engine, it’s decided that it needs a corporate super-team in its quest to do good, and that team will be X-Factor. Gambit, Quicksilver, and Polaris immediately join up and get sent out on a variety of missions, none of which are particularly interesting or well-written. 

Their first adventure puts them in the path of a mad scientist who’s found a way of giving himself mutant superpowers. They stop him. Nothing much else to say except it’s super-yawn-worthy. There are also a few other Marvel superheroes making cameos but I have no clue who they are (Fatale?). 

Their second adventure introduces them to Danger, the robotic version of the X-Men’s Danger Room who appeared in Joss Whedon/John Cassady’s (rightly) celebrated Astonishing X-Men series. Someone from the Thieves’ Guild (of which Gambit is the head) has hacked into Serval’s servers, so Gambit goes to stop him and finds out Danger’s being used unwittingly to assist major hacking operations. Danger goes a bit loopy and she’s stopped in possibly the stupidest way ever: Gambit frenching her. Ooh la la, what a retarded way to defeat a killer ROBOT! Seriously! 

The third and final adventure sees X-Factor crossing the paths of Warlock and Magus. Don’t know who they are, but they’re also sentient robots. Again, if you don’t know the characters of this series, there’s nothing in this that’ll enlighten you but I assume fans of X-Factor were loving that Warlock and Magus were back (if they were in X-Factor at all). 

That said, David does give characters who we see only once, all the exposition for some reason. So Gambit’s “dad” introduces himself while informing you of his background and recent history at the same time, when that kinda info dump would’ve been more useful for Polaris, who’s in the book throughout. All we find out about Polaris is that she had some kind of freakout in another comic, and that’s it (and I refuse to use a Marvel wiki to read one of their comics!). 

I suppose if you’re a fan of Peter David’s X-Factor you’ll get more out of this comic than I did but what this first book doesn’t do is make me want to go back and read more of this team’s backstory. The characters themselves aren’t interesting and when Gambit comes off as the best one in the group, you know it’s a shit group. 

The covers are stylish though, I’ll give it that!

All-New X-Factor Volume 1: Not Brand X

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