X-Factor #14 (1987, March)
We start with Master Mold thinking about The Twelve. The list here includes Scott, of course, along with Franklin, Jean, Storm and Apocalypse. Then he shoots and oil tanker truck.
Now we go to Scott, in the wreckage of his old house. And this . . . this is where things get weird. He sees a hallucination of Xavier, yelling at him for destroying the house. Scott tells Xavier off for turning him into a soldier. It’s a great moment. Here:
Some cops show up to arrest Scott, who’s babbling a little. It’s actually kinda unsettling. He tells the cops it’s nice to talk to someone real for a change. He also almost gets shot when one of the cops mistakes the rattle in his hand for a gun. Scott’s lucky he’s white, or this story would’ve ended differently. He gets cuffed, and Xavier tells him not to blow his cover by blasting them off. Scott tells him off. They check his wallet, and find photos off Jean and Maddie. One of them says he heard about a guy looking for his wife, and a redhead being fished out of the water.
Back at X-Factor HQ, Rusty and Skids remind Boom-Boom that it’s time for her training session. They see Jean heading off, and deliver some really awkward exposition for the reader. See, this is why I think recap pages were a great thing to bring in. A lot of expository dialogue was really clumsy, because it’s characters saying things they already know and which don’t actually need to be brought up in the context of the story, even if it’s necessary for possible new readers. Anyway, we also get Hank talking a little about Xavier, which bugs Rusty and Skids. Rightly so, kids. Xavier was a dick.
Back in Alaska, Master Mold attack! One of the cops gets killed. During the ensuing fight, Scott continues to wax angst-filled philosophical. He is really messed up in this issue.
At the hospital, Trish Tilby breaks into Angel’s room. OK, Trish, that’s going too far. I’ve been on your side since you showed up, but busting into someone’s hospital room is just not cool. Make an appointment. Seriously, this is a scene that makes me kinda hate Trish. I don’t want to hate Trish. She was always awesome. But this was just a reprehensible thing for her to do.
More fight! Scott blasts off Master Mold’s leg, causing Master Mold to shout “Leg!” There’s something weirdly hilarious about it. “Leg!”
Scott lures Master Mold – or its head, anyway – into an oil refinery, where a stray blast ignites an oil tank and causes a big explosion.
In New York, the doctors begin the operation to amputate Angel’s wings, as per a court order declaring him incompetent.
This is a weird issue. The focus is on Scott having a nervous breakdown. He keeps hallucinating, yelling at Xavier who isn’t even there. He babbles on. He sounds genuinely insane. He’s completely unhinged in this issue. And then he has to fight a giant robot. Because reasons. The fight against Master Mold is cool. Simonson, Wiacek and Scotese do a solid job on it. They make it exciting. But it’s probably the least interesting part of Scott’s arc here. Seeing him go through this breakdown is just so damn fascinating to watch.
The rest of the issue’s fine. Trish came across poorly. The kids didn’t get much to do. None of it’s particularly strong, but we get slight advancement on a couple plots. Next issue’s a very big one, though. And this is a solid issue.
I should also mention Thor #377, written by Walter Simonson. Loki kidnaps Iceman out of X-Factor HQ, then forces him to ice up, and starts overclocking his power, in order to give the Frost Giants back their strength.