Review by Frank Plowright
Many Lives of Madrox ended with a group of former mutants acting as a terrorist cell with a belief their abilities were somehow wiped out by the authorities, the events of House of M not being widely known.
In setting up X-Factor’s detective agency in an area of New York colloquially referred to as Mutant Town, Peter David opened his plot to chance encounters with other mutants (and former mutants) that may have appeared contrived elsewhere. This, though, is the only volume where that occurs, when an alliance of familiar characters lacking powers appear, literally on the doorstep. Their introduction is another finely plotted set of coincidences based around the ability to know the future possessed by Layla Miller.
This opening story overall, though, is the weakest to date, although the resolution is fine. Khoi Pham’s scratchy art attempting to avoid backgrounds doesn’t help, but the problem is David’s. He’s brilliant at plotting out the assorted character interactions and supplying witty dialogue, but when it comes to having to deliver a straightforward superhero battle, he falls down somewhat. The suspicion is that he’s not particularly interested, so when such scenes extend beyond a page or two they tend to drag. Or it could be they merely contrast so much with what makes X-Factor an interesting read.
Pablo Raimondi is welcomed back for the second arc, ‘The Isolationist’. A man named Josef Huber arrives to suggest that as mutant numbers are severely restricted they’re classified as an endangered species with all the protection that would accord. Monet and Siryn are simultaneously dealing with what’s in effect child exploitation, but with a religious angle, and a well-planted plot device comes to fruition. So, back to business as usual, and all the better for it. The fun continues in The Only Game in Town.