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X-Factor #12 (1987, January)

October 31, 2015

So if you haven’t heard, it’s Halloween. I work at 7, but I still have time for a review, so here you go. This comic has no bearing on Halloween. And you can now follow me on Twitter, @XMenXPert. By Simonson and Silvestri, “Boom Boom Boom!”

Boom Boom Boom!

Boom-Boom! Before she got any fashion sense, unfortunately.

Angel doesn’t want to have his wings amputated. The doctor tells Jean and Scott that he understands why they’re upset, but that none of the doctors have any clue how to treat a mutant, or wings, and that the bones are in the wings are splintered in a thousand pieces and Angel would never fly again anyway. Angel says he’d rather die than lose his wings.

At X-Factor HQ, there’s some discussion over the whole X-Factor scheme. (Also, Skids gets to be pretty cute when eating toast.) The phone rings, and it’s Boom-Boom, calling from an arcade to report an evil mutant. Now that she’s got X-Factor on Vanisher’s trail, she blows up the pay phone she called from to get some quarters for the arcade.

Back at the hospital, there’s a news report on an apartment that was firebombed. Karma’s apartment, of course. Synergy! Jean’s sister, now a pro-mutant spokeswoman, gives a statement on it. Jean’s shocked and touched by it. Scott suggests Jean give her a call. She can’t reach her family, so she and Scott head out to check on them in person.

Back at the arcade, Vanisher is trying to get Boom-Boom to rejoin his Girl Gang. He’s very charming. Beast and Iceman walk in in their X-Factor outfits, and Boom-Boom feels guilty for calling them, so she helps Vanisher hide. She tells the pair that the guy she called about wasn’t actually a mutant, and that he’s gone. Then she slips a timebomb down the back of Iceman’s shirt. They chase after her, and catch her after the Vanisher disappears. But the people in the arcade are actually on Boom-Boom’s side. They don’t care that she’s a mutant, she’s still their friend. That’s really nice, actually. Boom-Boom escapes, and Beast and Iceman head to a roof to change into their mutant costumes. Iceman really wants to catch her.

In Cleveland, a teen girl is refusing to eat. She’s anorexic, and she’s also a mutant, able to turn food to dust. She’s sent to her room, where Apocalypse is waiting for her, to make her his third Horseman, Famine.

Jean and Scott arrive at Sara’s house. Jean seems upset about Maddie, still, but drops it when she pops the lock on Sara’s door and finds all the books, clothes and toys gone. The phone rings, and Jean answers it, and it’s some guy making a threat right before the house explodes. Jean wonders where Sara is, and worries about her.

Beast and Iceman catch up with Boom-Boom, and chase her through a restaurant. She gets cornered outside. She makes a big bomb, but it turns out to be a dud. She doesn’t want to kill anyone. She starts talking about how everyone hates her, and she starts crying, so Iceman feels guilty about his comments about wanting to kill her. He invites her to stay with them.

Back at the hospital, Scott tells Jean he’s going back to Alaska, to look for Maddie.

One of the letters talks about wanting to see more pro-mutant humans shown, and suggests having the ACLU fighting anti-mutant laws. I agree with that guy. I really, really want to see more real-world-style political content in X-Men comics.

This was a solid issue. Probably the best issue of X-Factor so far. There was a nice balance of humour and drama between the two main plots of the story. The Boom-Boom stuff was really fun. She’s such a fun character. It was a bit weird seeing her crying near the end of the issue, though. I’ve gotten used to Boom-Boom as someone who doesn’t really show emotion, so it’s weird seeing her show some here. Also, her outfit wasn’t very stylish, which feels totally wrong, though maybe it was stylish for the ’80s. Plus, she was living in poverty, so she probably couldn’t afford better clothes. But she’s great here. She’s impulsive, and she has this bizarre mix of spite and compassion that’s just fascinating to watch. I love me some Boom-Boom, and she made a really nice addition to this book.

Then there’s the other plot, with Jean worrying about her family. It also involves worries about Maddie. Jean seems to still be unsure how she should feel about Maddie. She shows some resentment towards her for not talking to Scott, but also keeps insisting that Scott needs to talk to her, since she’s his wife. It’s some good work. There is one problem with the Sara plot – it goes nowhere. We don’t actually find out what happened until years later. It is, in fact, the Phalanx Covenant story of 1994 where we finally get an answer. That’s way too long, to be honest. It’s a plot that should’ve been resolved in X-Factor itself. This is made even more frustrating by the fact that Claremont did the same thing in New Mutants, having Karma’s siblings disappear and then never getting around to saying where they went. Two books that brought up similar plots without either of them resolving them? That’s annoying.

Th art’s good. Silvestri is a talented artist. This wasn’t his best work, but it was still good. He did especially nice work with Boom-Boom. He gave her some great facial expressions, and a cartoonish run. Also, there’s a hilarious sequence of her, Beast and Iceman laying on the round when Iceman and Beast expected the big bomb to go off. Their expressions when they find out it was a dud are priceless.

This is the issue where the book finally found its footing. The last few issues had it getting there, but this is the issue where the series finally clicked.

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