Collecting: X-Factor #241-245
Bonus: Leonard Kirk character sketches
This review will hardly be unbiased: X-Factor has steadily grown on me to the point that is probably the most anticipated X-book that I read each month. Peter David's phenomenal writing brings a range of emotions and a depth of wit and intelligence to the table in this book that is hard to find in many comics. And it isn't simply lowbrow PMS jokes or thoughtfully placed sexual innuendo (though you'll find that too); rather, it can be a sophisticated wit. For instance, Strong Guy (who currently has no soul) is curled up on his favorite chair reading Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders . David's script lets fly a few referential barbs for the recent Avengers vs. X-Men that has engulfed much of the Marvelverse, but fortunately has passed right on by X-Factor.
Breaking Points follows up on the stories begun in X-Factor - Volume 17: The Road to Redemption (X-Factor (Graphic Novels)) . In the Road to Redemption, many of X-Factor's members peeled off from the team to take care of loose ends. In Breaking Points, Rahne's search for her son is concluded. And more permanently Banshee's search for her father is also concluded. In a final parental-themed arc Lorna finally learns the truth about her parents and the true cause behind her traumatic childhood (this was a great story within the book--not to be missed). All of these character developments take a toll on X-Factor's roster.
Artist Leonard Kirk (with inks by Jay Leisten) renders many brilliant panels, and readers are rewarded with the unveiling of a new costume for Polaris (and a new look for Banshee to be certain!). Kirk delivers an emotional range to the characters: the shadow on Banshee's face as she contemplates turning to alcohol perfectly coveys more sentiment in that panel than any text or thought bubbles could possibly contain. Similarly, Kirk's cracked Polaris in the center of Longshot's swirling blades made for memorable artwork.
X-Factor has always been a character driven book, and this is one of the best episodes. One couple takes a break, while another couple gets a whole lot more serious. Oh and while of this character and plot and humor is happening: yes there is superheroics: Deathlok, Dread Dormammu, Darwin, and more battle our mutant detectives.
X-Factor continues with X-Factor - Volume 19: Short Stories (X-Factor (Graphic Novels))