Review by Ian Keogh
X-Factor is a late addition to 2019’s mutant title reboot. As with all the other titles, it’s a superhero story, but with additional genre trappings, which in this case is drawing on the legacy of X-Factor’s history of investigation. So, part bickering, bored mismatched superhero mutants, and part procedural investigation. This is thoroughly established in an opening chapter that has Northstar feel his twin sister has died, but having to go through the process of proving that before she can be resurrected in Krakoa. Polaris, who has considerable history with X-Factor in several incarnations, offers to help, and a call for further help recruits Daken, Prestige (Rachel Summers), Prodigy and, um, Eye Boy, a mutant with excess eyes all over his body.
It seems a mismatched group just designed to have the necessary talents for Leah Williams’ first team mission, and to some extent that’s true, especially when it comes to the revelations, but that first mission is also a bonding exercise, establishing how the cast rub along with each other. The eventual purpose of having an investigative team is nicely slotted in, though, looking into mutants who’ve been missing for more than a month, and these are broadly interesting people. Fans of the old dark Daken may not like the new mellow libertine version, but that’s at least novel, whereas originality was previously lacking.
Perhaps it won’t be appreciated how good David Baldeón’s art is because the peculiar pinched expressions and wide eyes draw the attention too often. However, the storytelling is solid and he’s phenomenal when it comes to design and mechanics.
After the first investigation Williams and Baldeón supply a two-part visit to Mojoworld, which is a less frenetic adventure than the location usually prompts, while still providing a satire on television entitlement and excess. That’s appropriate for a vehicle that first used the X-Factor title. The mood’s all over the shop for this story, very funny in places, tragic in others, and while those moments hit the spot, any visit to Mojoworld is an acquired taste.
A final chapter explores the idea that any mutant who dies can be resurrected, and explains more about the cast as they interact with others on Krakoa. It’s more satisfying, with Israel Silva’s spectacular colour effect toward the end worth noting.
The ending is the cliffhanger pulling us toward Vol. 2, and there’s no reason to resist. Williams deals in likeable characters with greater purpose than most mutant teams, and the rapidly varying emotional moods resonate.