Review by: RaceMcCloud

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Avg Rating: 2.9
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Size: pages
Price: 2.99

Back in the day, when X-Men ruled the world, Marvel decided it wanted to put together a team that consisted of the original five. A few (minor) problems, such as Jean Grey being dead and Cyclops being married off and the Beast being an Avenger weren’t going to stand in their way! The MAJOR problem was, how do you take Wolverine off the X-Men to make way for Iceman? Well, you don’t. You start a whole new book called “X-Factor”. Well, when the mid-90’s hit, Marvel editorial decided to incorporate Angel, Marvel Girl, Cyclops, Beast and Iceman into the the X-Men “Blue” and “Gold” teams, and it seemed that X-Factor had seen its best days, headed for the cancellation pile. I mean, none of the members were left.

Not a problem, said Marvel!

Enter Peter David and Larry Stroman, who were given a roster of offbeat D-Level characters and cast-offs to form a completely and truly “All Different” X-Factor with. Havok? Sure. Polaris and Wolfsbane? Okay. Ummmm…. Multiple Man? STRONG GUY?! Who’s going to READ this book?!

What happened, oddly enough, is that PAD started writing a book that was ahead of its time. X-Factor became a government strike force before government strike forces were popular in comics, and the writing was sharp, witty, genuinely laugh out loud funny, and truly unique for an “X” book while still developing storylines that were identifiable as “mutant” stories and giving some of the strongest characterizations ever seen from a Marvel title. And to have Larry Stroman on art in the Jim Lee/Rob Leifeld heyday… look, it takes awhile for him to grow on you. But when PAD relaunched X-Factor without him, it just didn’t seem right. The man was BORN to draw Strong Guy, and the rest of the team. His angles are funky, his figures are borderline abstract, and in the mid-nineties, his style should never have hit.

But it did. The David/Stroman years on X-Factor were minor modern Marvel classics. And having them back together is a little like coming home again.

That said, I’m giving the art in this issue a 5 for sentimentality (and because, hey, I love this art on these characters and I think Stroman “brings it”), and the story a 4. This is nothing ground-breaking or earth-shattering, but it’s good old-fashioned, well-paced comic book storytelling with the usual uber-strong characterizations.

And hey, if you put Darwin on X-Factor… well, PAD certainly has a talent for cherry-picking the really interesting underutilized character gems among Marvel’s merry mutants.

Good times!

Story: 4 - Very Good
Art: 5 - Excellent


  1. Good review Race!  It makes me extra sad that I forgot to pick it up this week.  Too many Skrull covers confused me.

  2. I couldn’t agree with you more Race. I have just read some of the other reviews and I can almost understand the dislike of Stromans art. It seems to be a very acquired taste. His figures are abstract and I am so glad that he has kept to this style and in ways expanded on it.

  3. Thanks for bringing the context, Race —

    I’m not sure Stroman’s work really holds up, though, particularly with modern coloring.  Will see if it evens out as the series goes on, but I found this really hard to follow, with character’s faces changing from panel to panel (I don’t mean the skrulls).  

  4. Stroman certainly draws Guido (Strong Guy) well. But that may be it. His Longshot was quite silly-looking, and his Madrox is nondescript.


    I congratulate you for providing context for the development of X-Factor. The X-Factor of the early ’90’s was my favorite book (not just X-book) of its time. However, I am not sure that the current X-Factor compares favorably to that run. Each time I try to get into this book, I get bored within a few issues. Maybe I find Val Cooper tedious, and maybe I prefer Madrox as a supporting character, but I just have no love for today’s X-Factor.

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