Pick of the Week

11.22.2006 – X-Factor #13

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Writer – Peter David
Artist – Pablo Raimondi
Colorist – Brian Reber
Letterist – VC’s Cory Petit
Cover Artist – Joe Quesada

Marvel Comics – $2.99

I have to admit that out of all the books in my stack this week, nothing blew me away. Nothing caused me to put it down and exclaim, “now that’s good comic bookin’!” In fact, when it came time to choose the Pick of the Week, I laid all of my books out on the floor to survey them… yet nothing jumped out at me. Every book had some kind of fatal flaw that kept me from loving it.

X-Factor #18 wasn’t perfect. It has its flaw just like all of the others. I can’t stand the way that Pablo Raimondi draws noses. They were a distraction the entire time.

Oh, did I forget to mention that oftentimes the flaws that bother me are not altogether rational?

Look, they bothered me. I couldn’t get past them.

Other than the malformed nozzles, this book was great! I can’t say enough about what an amazing job Peter David has done on this book. I tried X-Men and Uncanny X-Men and I… didn’t like them. Yeah, let’s say that. I love, love, love Astonishing X-Men. But for my money the best X-book on the market is X-Factor. It’s got everything you want in a book – action, drama, laughs, and characters you really connect to and who you find yourself really caring about. And I’ll admit that I don’t know much about Monet or Rictor or Rahne, but in this book Peter David has made them well-formed and relatable.

There’s not much to say about the plot of this issue. It’s the protoypical decompression issue. The characters get to lay out their feelings so we can learn what they’re really thinking or how recent traumatic events way on their minds. It’s a standard storytelling device in comic books and in episodic television and, if the writer really knows the characters, it often leads to character development gold.

And Peter David certainly knows these characters. As I said before, I don’t really know Monet but now I feel like I have a much better understanding of what makes her tick. She’s not just “the bitch”, there are reasons behind how she acts, and quite frankly those reasons come from a pretty disturbing place.

Oh! I just remembered what else bothered me about this issue besides the badly drawn noses. A three ton safe didn’t fall on Guido and kill him.

So when did Jamie Madrox become a dick? Just thought I’d throw that out there. And I really have to wonder if the greatest idea in comic books in the last year is Quicksilver adding the white lab coat to his ensemble. I mean, it really is genius. I feel like the white labcoat needs to catch on.

X-Factor is such a great grouping of characters. Their personalities mesh in such a way that leads to delightfully entertaining interpersonal conflicts. And when I think about the book the scenes that most often come to mind are not the fighting or the danger, but when the characters are just yelling at each other in their offices. Those are the best parts of the book. X-Factor truly are like a real family, whether they want to admit it or not.

X-Factor is one of the biggest and best surprises of this last year in comics and I hope that it’s got a long life yet to come.

I don’t know who this Joe Quesada kid is on the cover art, but he’s got talent. He’s going to go places in this business. He can certainly draw a nose.

Conor Kilpatrick
You know my name
conor@ifanboy.com

Did you read X-Factor #13?
Add a comment and tell everyone what you think about this week’s comics!
I have to admit that out of all the books in my stack this week, nothing blew me away. Nothing caused me to put it down and exclaim, “now that’s good comic bookin’!”

Comments

  1. You DON’T like the way Pablo Raimondi draws noses.

    I DO like how Frank Cho draws asses.

    Same thing…

    really…

  2. This would have been my pick of the week too.
    Great choice.
    I love Guido though. You not liking Guido is wrong. Where is your integrity?!
    Who was the doctor though? I didn’t recognize him.
    And yeah, I’m with you on the M thing. She was behaving a little too much like Emma Frost for my liking, it’s good to have a little background on her. I’m completely unfamiliar with her.

  3. I haven’t gotten through all of my books yet but everything that I’ve read so far has been pretty good with some major positive exceptions.

    X-Factor was awesome. For me, it was almost perfect. They had exposition, great dialogue, funny things, and madrox getting thrown through a window. Pretty much the perfect storm

    Wolverine was really great, despite the art. I really like those type of Wolverine stories. You know the ones where he actually has time to talk and be wolverine and stuff rather than just a 22 page fight sequence. Guggenheim said that he was doing a one shot that was reminiscent of millar’s holocaust issue and I think that in ways it was.

    Amazing Spider-man was the shit. It was so good. Crazy hobo propositioning Aunt May and MJ was funny and the nj/negative zone thing: classic. Also liked the suit failsafe double-cross explanation. That was needed. It answers a lot of questions that were raised in civil war 5 with him showing up in costume still.

    Daredevil was good but not great. It was eh.

    Front Line was ok. It’s been better, it’s been worse.

    Runaways was great. I loved the ending. Great cliffhanger that the trade people won’t get to appreciate. I was like oh shit what’s going to happen. Damn you vaughn

    Sidekick #4 was really good too. This is a book that is consistently amazing and consistently ignored. I know that I’ve mentioned it a few times here already but check it out if you get a chance. It’s an Image book, imagine me shilling for one of those, written by Paul Jenkins. It’s very fun and funny. It kind of, for me anyway, has the tone of one of his flogging columns from Newsarama but set to a continuous superhero spoof story. very enjoyable.

  4. Did anyone get that McCarthyism book? I wanna know how that was.

    Yesterday when I got home I looked at the cover of Amazing Spiderman and thought “Why am I still buying this?” Then I read it and realized why. It was really good. I loved Wolverine, and I loved the art in it. What’s the deal with the last page/panel, though? I didn’t know what was going on in the background. is that a ‘remains to be seen’ type thing or just something actual Wolverine fans already know about?

    Daredevil was fine.
    The best book I read yesterday was Escapist #5 because I was playing catch up. Checkmate must have been fucking AMAZING for Escapist not to have been the pick of the week.

    I still have the last issues of ExMachina and Eternals to read through.

    I told my shop owner about Ifanboy a few months ago, and we run into each other there maybe once a month or so. He always asks me what “those guys you listen to” are into.

    Yesterday one of the (really young) employees there said he listened to an episode of Ifanboy because of me.

    “What’d you think?”
    “Those guys are goofy.”

  5. X-Factor was really good this week. I’m almost 30 now and I remember when Peter David did this on his last X-Factor run (#87, I think), and it was the defining moment in that great run. This wasn’t that great, but it was still good. I really like Raimondi’s art, noses notwithstanding, and think it is a great fit on this book.

    I enjoyed Daredevil this week, but it was a little underwhelming. I think we have such high expectations at this point that an issue that’s just good sort of disappoints. I’m still enjoying DD in Paris and Lark’s art is at a whole new level. Normally, I don’t pay that close of attention to the art, but this stuff is amazing. He’s my favorite artist right now.

    Also, I take back what I said about the Civil War cross-overs. I was wrong. ASM did add some flavor this week, some much needed flavor. It was really good. Wolverine was a let-down for me. I felt like I already read half that issue. I hated the Millar coda issue as well.

    52 and Runaways were both solid, in different ways. I liked the JSA stuff, but I’m missing the concentration on the heroes like Question and Animal Man. And here’s my Runaways question to elicit massive thread drift: what book do you see Alphona on after he leaves Runaways? I associate him so much with this book, I don’t know what else I can see him doing.

    My POW would have been Action Comics. I was shocked that Conor didn’t pick it. Now that’s a Superman comic. I don’t really care that Ma and Pa Kent look a bit different or that Clark looks like Brandon Routh or that Bizarro was kind of messing up the backwards speak. The story is fun, the art is dynamic. And the Christopher thing was a really nice touch. I can’t remember when a reveal left me so excited for the next issue of a Superman book. I feel that between this book, the fantastic All-Star Superman, and Busiek/Pacheco’s strong start, we’re in the middle of a Superman renaissance.

  6. Guggenheim said:
    http://forum.newsarama.com/showthread.php?t=91769

    Dude said:
    What’s the deal with the last page/panel, though? I didn’t know what was going on in the background. is that a ‘remains to be seen’ type thing or just something actual Wolverine fans already know about?

    This issue, from what I understand, is like a launching point for an arc that Guggenheim is coming back to do after Loeb leaves the book.

    dustin said:
    Wolverine was a let-down for me. I felt like I already read half that issue.

    You should feel like you’ve read half of it before primarily because you have. The issue wasn’t about that though it was about filling in the gaps in the injuries he sustained in Vendetta. Guggenheim wanted to show what happens with the healing factor.

    dustin said:
    I hated the Millar coda issue as well.

    That I just don’t understand at all. How? Why?

  7. So… it was a pretty good week for me in comics.
    52 was ok… I liked the conversation between Infinity Inc. and the JSA guys was pretty good, but nothing really blew me away.

    I bought Red Menace (or whatever the book about the McCarthy trials is called) and I liked it a lot. Now, it could just be that I’m an American History nut and had to write a paper on McCarthy last year for history class, but whatever. I liked it, it was good, etc., etc., etc.

    And then came the Civil War tie-ins:
    ASM, as has been said so much already, was really good. I liked Spiderman’s speech in front of the news cameras.
    Wolverine was also very good, probably my POW.
    And I have no idea why I’m still buying Front Line… (or right, my stupid completeist genes… right) although, I guess it wasn’t all bad.
    So did anyone buy the Connor Hawke book? I was going to and then decided to wait to hear how it was before I spent 3 bucks on it

  8. “dustin said:
    I hated the Millar coda issue as well.

    That I just don’t understand at all. How? Why?”

    Dustin repsonds:

    Well, I’d have to dig it out to pull out the actual quotes, but I remember at the time I thought that Millar’s script was absolutely worthy of being called hackish. I recall the dialogue was so on-the-nose in terms of illustrating his stance on current politics that it takes away from the story; it just lacked any kind of artistry. And my politics are actually close to Millar’s, but just because I like the ideas he’s trying to present doesn’t mean I always appreciate the way he presents them.

    Furthermore, I read that Guggenheim article on Newsarama, too, but

    A) I shouldn’t have to read what the author of a book intended me to get out of a book to get anything out of it. I should simply get something out of the actual work. And, if the work is good, I can pull a lot of things out of it that maybe the author didn’t even intend. See Pride of Baghdad. And,

    B) I think Guggenheim could have done that without re-using complete pages of dialogue I already read. Frankly, when I pay as much as I do for comics, I expect the stories to be both good and complete. In other words, I like to feel like I got my money’s worth. If not, I don’t pay the money next week.

  9. That post makes it sound like I don’t like those writers, so I just wanted to add I loved the rest of both Millar and Guggenheim’s runs on Wolverine. I just didn’t like the endings, but I’ll follow Guggenheim happily to the Flash (Hopefully DC will treat him better than the guys on it now and give him a good, steady artist).

  10. I think I get what you’re saying, I just don’t agree. I was actually kind of mixed on Guggenheim’s Wolverine until this issue. I liked some of Vendetta, the last issue especially, but most of it wasn’t really good enough to get me past the “art”.

    I find myself politically far from Millar but at the same time usually respect how he tells his stories and can look past it because it’s entertaining. His Ultimates was great and I think that it’s one of the most overtly political superhero books ever written.

    A) I shouldn’t have to read what the author of a book intended me to get out of a book to get anything out of it. I should simply get something out of the actual work. And, if the work is good, I can pull a lot of things out of it that maybe the author didn’t even intend. See Pride of Baghdad. And,

    I think that it is there in the story. I just threw that in there for the overall interview and background for people that didn’t take it from the story. And btw, Pride of Baghdad wasn’t so clear. There is a lot of room for interpretation.

  11. No one has even mentioned Punisher: War Journal. This is the first Punisher comic I’ve ever read (from a writer I’m not at all familiar with, no less), and I gotta say, I was genuinly pleased. It was full of action (you’d hope so in a Punisher book), and much funnier than I has expected. I wasn’t 100% positive on who a couple of the characters were, but all-in-all, I really think it kicked-ass.

    Otherwise, my POW was a toss up between DD (I really love that Tombstone was used) and ASM. Which I have to admit to being in love with during Civil War. Dunno why.

    Is it just me, or is Frontline starting to take a dive? When it started, for my money, it was just as important to grab Frontline as Civil War. Now…ugh. I think I’m just ired of this endless war.

  12. Darron, I’m with you – Punisher War Journal was a lotta fun. I’m not well-versed in Punisher either, so not sure if it’s consistent with character, but the writing was punchier than I expected. I hadn’t read anything by Fraction before, but I was digging his kinda wacky take on a hard-boiled vigilante. And the writing had to be interesting, as the art was just awkward in too many places, not sure it fits the vibe of the writing that well. But I think it earned another issue or two from me, at least.

  13. Did I miss Wonder Woman? I had it on my list, but I guess I forgot about it.

    Fred – totally agree with the Ultimates. I love the way that story is written. I can’t wait for the last trade. The Wolvie one didn’t work for me. To each their own.

  14. So when does Daredevil’s blindness become an actual hindrance? as far as I can tell he can see as well if not better than any other hero. Am I to believe that he heard her turn her head and look his way from a rooftop? Maybe her turning her head sent wind his way like a butterfly’s wing causes a tornado in china or whatever?
    Yeah.

  15. PV, you described how I felt about Punisher better than I did. Thanks, haha.

    Abiding Dude…I never even thought TWICE about that. What a great point.

  16. Hey DarrOn
    I didn’t get to the store Wednesday because I was busy so I didn’t get to read War Journal until this afternoon when it was first er ‘available’

    It was really great. I don’t want to ruin the joke for people that haven’t read it yet but that line about Scenes From An Italian Restaurant and the tank weapon he used to take out StiltMan pretty much sum up why the Punisher kicks ass. I’m a pretty big relatively new fan. I’ve read all of the Ennis stuff and some other random stuff as well. I’d recommend all of the Max trades as well as Born and Welcome Back Frank. All of the arcs are fairly self contained too so if you can’t find trade 1 and have to start on 2 or something it’s not a big deal. Fraction’s characterization is fairly loyal to Ennis’ Castle so if you like this you should only like the Ennis stuff even more because it’s fucking Ennis come on!

    the one thing that I can say about the Max series though is that it reads much better in trade. I can’t get enough of it so I still read it monthly but when the trades come out I buy them too and reread them.

    Anybody that hasn’t should check this and the Ennis stuff out.

  17. Boy, I really liked that goofy-assed Punisher War Journal. Frank Castle as the star of his own book has traditionally been one of my least favorite things; it’s like raindrops on kittens and whiskers on roses.

    (Man… before I knew Garth Ennis hated all the books I read and thought I was stupid, I bought this run of the Punisher a few years back guest-starring Wolverine, Daredevil, Spider-Man and the Hulk because the premise sounded interesting, only to spend the whole thing having Garth Ennis kick me in the beanbag and shout, “Comics are stupid, and so are you!” That certainly didn’t help.)

    Anyway, I’ve always thought the Punisher was better as a spice than as the main ingredient, but Matt Fraction seems to know his way around the tone of the book. I think it helps that they’ve set up this fellow who’s hunting the Punisher as a somewhat sympathetic counterpoint.

    I don’t know that he necessarily had to bisect Stilt-Man, but I’m not up in arms about it. But… the Tinkerer?…

  18. I haven’t gotten to read War Journal yet (picking it up later today) but Fraction has done some pretty cool stuff. The Last of the Independents, a graphic novel put out by AIT/Planet Lair is a heist gone bad, The Five Fists of Science has Mark Twain and Nikolai Tesla teaming up against Thomas Edison, and Casanova running from Image is probably my favorite book right now, unfortunately the next issue is it for volume 1. They’ve all got that manic energy you guys seem to be going for.

  19. Punisher War Journal all the way. Stiltsman’s death and Frank’s backhanded reaction were classic and gave me hope as to the direction of the title. The tinkerer getting some steel slid between his ribs was a bit brutal, but i suppose it’s to be expeted from the Punisher after all.

  20. My shop didn’t get either Action Comics or Wolverine, two of my favorite books! I did get Amazing and Punisher, along with some catch-up with Bullet Points and The Nightly News.

  21. Action Comics and Wolverine were both really good. If they don’t get them next week you should try online

    I’ve never really read Superman until Allstar and now the donner issues of action and I love them both

  22. While this may have not been a super-dooper “comic bookin'” week, it was still one hell of an enjoyable one. The art and writing were more than above average in most of what I read. For me, it’s one of those weeks that I’m glad that I’m still a fanboy.

    I agree with Conor, et. al., about the X-Factor. Both the writing and the art are superior. I love the characters. Can’t get enough of that Layla Miller! The humor of the series is pitch-perfect.

    Despite the flaws that Dustin has already pointed out, Action Comics rocked. Loved the interaction between Lois and the boy – especially the scene when he’s floating in the air wanting to know why she and Clark can’t be his parents. I also liked the fight scenes between Supes and Bizarro. After all, isn’t that why we buy comics – to see a good knock down and drag out? And the nod to Christopher Reeves was touching. Now that’s what I call “good comic booking!”

    I’ve never read the Punisher before but enjoyed the War Journal very much. Great dark humor. If the Punisher is like this on a regular basis, I could see adding it to my weekly pile.

    Amazing Spider-Man gets a thumbs up, also. Like others on the page, I liked the interaction between Aunt May and the john. Also, we finally got to see (as predicted on iFanboy) Iron Man throw the switch on the new Spidy suit, as well as the back-at-cha that follows.

    I know that it may not make sense to others, but for some reason I am still buying Heroes For Hire and liking it. It’s still one fun read.

    My second-tier of the pile this week would include: Wolverine, Wonder Woman, Uncle Sam & the Freedom Fighters, and 52. Each of these was entertaining and interesting enough that I will pick up the next issue.

    The only comic on the bottom of my pile this week is Hawkgirl (should be Hawkwoman!). This is one of my titles that I really want to like, but it ain’t giving me enough for me to care enough.

  23. I read 4 more books today.

    Impaler #2 was ok, starting to develop more

    Red Menace #1 wasn’t really all that good. It was a little too formulaic and heavy-handed for me. I know people were talking about this in the pull list thread earlier in the week, I’d be interested to see what anyone else thought.

    Boys #5 was good. The story is starting to form well but if you hadn’t liked it before this probably wouldn’t change anything. I’ve liked it all along and continue to.

    White Tiger #1, which was from last week, I really liked. I’m going to keep picking it up. It’s kind of a natural choice for me though because of the ties to Iron Fist, Daredevil, Luke Cage, etc. I think it’s a 6 part mini. Did anyone else read it?

    I’ve never read the Punisher before but enjoyed the War Journal very much. Great dark humor. If the Punisher is like this on a regular basis, I could see adding it to my weekly pile

    I think that this is like the 3rd or 4th person so far in this thread to say this or something like it. (Yes i know i could verify it if i reread everything but I’m a lazyass what do you want from me?) I never read any of the Punisher from the 70s or 80s so I don’t know what it’s like and can’t vouch for it, but the Fraction book so far in 1 issue and all the stuff Ennis has written is great and I recommend them to anyone.

  24. A couple of other thoughts…

    I know several people on this page were not terribly excited about Daredevil, but I really enjoyed it. I especially liked the first few pages that illustrate how DD’s heightened senses allow him to experience the world around him in ways that other people do not. I thought it was touching when it mentioned his father’s distinctive smell.

    I also read the first two issues of Anita Blake Vampire Hunter/Guilty Pleasures. I’ve read some of Laurell K. Hamilton’s books and found that this title is true to the spirit of her work. But even if you have never read Hamilton, the comics work as straight vampire horror.

    I also read the last two issues of Conan from Dark Horse. Conan is a great title. Wicked humor and tremendous art. The books remind me of Frank Frazetta’s art of the 70s. For anyone who has fond memories of reading Conan when it was published by Marvel, I can guarantee that if you try it now, you won’t be disappointed. (Any other Conan fans on the forum?)

    Though not from this week’s list, I also read the first two issues of the Lone Ranger by Dynamite. One word – awesome! If you like western comics in general or Jonah Hex specifically, then this title is worth your time. It’s a major upgrade to a familiar icon.

    One of the titles I have finally given up on is Wolverine Origins. I wanted to like this book. I kept waiting for it to improve, but it didn’t. I thought that the stories were lame and the art sucked. It’s a shame. There was potential.

  25. So I just read the first 11 issues of Invincible and it is really really good. Amazing really. Thanks for the recommendations

  26. just another thing…
    I finally got one of the two Astro City Trades I ordered (Confession), and it’s probably one of if not the best comics I’ve ever read. iFanboy, thanks for another good recommendation.
    Also, I take back what I said about Red Menace… I’ll buy issue 2 to see if it gets better, but then may drop it

  27. Oh man…if you don’t know what’s happening in Confession, that’s a damn near perfect story. Astro City was the last book I ever spent time or money going out and getting all the original issues of the first run. So good, and I’m very glad to hear that you liked it so much.

    Same with Fred on the Invincible bandwagon.

  28. I’m up to 27 on invincible now and it still hasn’t lost anything. Do the trades have the backup stories? It would suck if they don’t

  29. Hey Fred, I found out about Invincible and The Walking Dead on this site last year. I sampled them and then had to go out and get everything that was available at the time. What a bummer when I got caught up, because then I had to wait. Now I can’t wait for trades so I do the single issues and I haven’t been disappointed.

  30. I just read the solicit for the next what if. Wolverine Enemy of the state. What if he was not reprogrammed and continued to kill super heroes. Cool. I’m getting it. That wolverine story is the best IMHO. I also liked the antman angle on that story in #2. Kirkman must have liked that story too.

  31. I don�t know if it was the thanksgiving spirit or the turkey, but your discussion today, on the pick specially, was really it stood out from the previous ones. Great, insightful and detailed. It was kind of serious without losing the humor. Very “ethical”, just to put it in terms of a previous commenter.

    Good Job,

  32. I was compelled to defend Civil War #5, because I enjoyed that issue. Last week’s Amazing Spider-man, was disappointing. I have no defense for that issue. The fact that the story takes place between and after Civil War #5 and #6 was terrible. It started out well enough with Tony shutting down the armor and Peter getting around it. That was cool. When the story went to Peter, Mary Jane, and Aunt May on the run I lost all interest. I thought Spidey was joining the resistance. What did he do? Show up use up their medical supplies and leave them? What a jerk. Aunt May’s “what life is all about” speech left me confounded (I so much enjoyed her convincing Peter to register, but another speech was redundant). The old Pete sitting down young Pete was again confounding. I didn’t see how it contributed to the story. The whole issue was very disappointing.

    Did anyone reading Avengers Earth’s Mightiest Heroes II? Good old fashion Avengers story telling. Hawkeye. Hank Pym as chairman of the Avenger is pretty cool, and then you remember he smacks his wife around and you becoming disappointed in him. Interesting dynamic to a character. You cheer for him then you remember he is a creep.

  33. Did anyone reading Avengers Earth’s Mightiest Heroes II?

    I read the first issue, and the art was so horrid, I didn’t continue. But the good old fashioned avengers story was exactly why I bought it. And I wasn’t disappointed by the story, but that art caused me not to buy the second.

  34. Yeah, the art does suck. So far I have enjoyed the story enough to be able to over look the bad art. Hank Pym getting into a shouting match with Nick Fury is awesome to me.

  35. Maybe I’ll pick up #2 now. Thanks Dave.

  36. I’m glad to learn after reading Dave’s comment and listening to the podcast that I wasn’t the only person who disliked Amazing Spider-man. I’m all for writing humorous comics, but there’s a difference between injecting humor into a comic and just not taking the characters seriously. I feel like a lot of times JMS’s Spidey doesn’t respect the characters he’s writing and that frustrates me.

    Also, I don’t think JMS understands what “technocrat” means.

  37. Just a note, guys. For the past 2 weeks, iTunes has not had teh entire podcast. Last week’s episode available on iTunes was 13 (!) minutes, and this week’s wast just 30 minutes. It just ends in midsentence. I’ve had to come here to download the entire version. If there is anything that can be done about this, you might want to check on it.

    Enjoy the show! Thanks guys!

  38. If anyone else has a similar problem, let us know. We wrote back to Burrell, but we think it’s an isolated problem at the moment. I just did a test download, and it worked fine.

    But god knows, I love listening to myself. So much…

  39. I subscribe through iTunes and I’ve had no problems.

  40. I will be so glad when this ugly X-factor cover is off this site.

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