Last issue was a delight if for no other reason than it reinvented one of my favorite teams of the last decade with their original writer bringing his trademark voice to the proceedings. Peter David has taken a very different look at X-Factor and re-imagined them as a corporately sponsored team of do-gooders righting the wrongs of science. This issue brings back some characters we last saw when Quicksilver was on his Terrigen Crystals Repowering Mutants tour (that usually ended with various unfortunate explosions), but as someone who barely knew them before their brief appearance there, David does a great job of instantly contextualizing what they’re all about AND how they wound up there while planting plenty of seeds for future interactions between the groups. He also does a great job keeping the tone light and breezy, having Gambit be the main focus and voice of the issue to give it some grounding and working with an absolutely amazing economy. The banter between Quicksilver and Gambit is absolutely top-notch.
SPEAKING of top-notch, Carmine Di Giandomenico turns it ALL the way up in this issue, which is absolutely wall-to-wall action. Especially worth noting are the panels featuring Quicksilver because, and I can’t believe I didn’t notice it sooner, the glowing spots on his costume leave trails to illustrate his path. This saves on having to draw him multiple times, but still creates an absolutely incredible sense of speed that allows for the panels to still prominently feature other characters. The effect is quite striking and beautiful, but that’s also due to Lee Loughridge’s searing colors. This book trades in a lot of very extreme, incredibly bright colors but is never overwhelming and the contrasts between light and dark are beautifully pronounced.
This issue ends very, VERY abruptly. Practically mid-sentence. It feels like, and last time I had this instinct I was correct, so it’s quite possible, that there was a page excised to meet a count after the fact. Whether or not that’s the case, there’s a very real feeling of ANDNOWTHEISSUE’SOVER by the last page.
It’s interesting and rare to see a story arc, especially an introductory one, wrap in two issues. Last page aside, we were introduced to an all-new villain with a very interesting plan, we got to know the team, became reacquainted with some old friends, fin. It’s a great, low-risk barrier to entry for a title that I think has all the potential in the world to continue the fine legacy of previous X-Factor stories. More importantly, it places just enough pressure on the creative team to keep the pace going at a brisk rate, but to not scrimp on little character moments that will help define the future relationships both in and out of the team. It's a great start to what will hopefully be a great series.