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X-Factor #20 (1987, September)

February 29, 2016

Happy Leap Day. Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Today, by Simonson, Brigman, Emberlin, Scotese and Rosen, “Children’s Crusade.”

Children's Crusade

Rusty looks bored with the whole thing.

The kids are watching last issue’s fight on TV, while making food for X-Factor’s return. They talk a bit about X-Factor and the X-Terminators, with Rictor making the point that people think X-Factor are good guys for hunting mutants, while the X-Terminators are bad guys for doing things like creating a giant glacier in Central Park. Rictor gets really worked up, and starts to make the whole building shake, until Leech turns him off. Then Rictor runs off. X-Factor gets back, and once Bobby’s thawed out, he feels really bad about what he did to the park. He’s still trembling with cold, so he’s taken to the infirmary, where Beast is burning up with fever and delirium. Scott and Jean send the kids away while they try to help Hank and Bobby. Rusty gets a little indignant about it, because Rusty’s an idiot. It’s a hospital room, you idiot. Having a bunch of people with no medical training getting in the way is just going to make it harder to treat the sick people.

Rusty does get the bright idea of melting the glacier, to prove that mutants aren’t bad. Skids and Rictor try to talk him out of it, with Rictor saying he’s living in a dream if he thinks melting the ice will help Bobby. Rusty calls him a coward, and then, they fight! For about three seconds, and then Jean sends them to bed.

That night, Rusty sneaks out of bed and down to the park. There’s a lot of ice. Even aside from the glacier, the trees are just covered in ice. He starts with one tree, and then he hears something. Some hoodlums are beating up an old dude. They see a light, and one fires a gun, which causes the loose ice and snow to fall down on Rusty. Artie’s woken up Skids and Rictor, and they head to the park to find him. (On their way, they also tear the X-Factor heads in each car of the subway train they ride.)

In the park, one of the punks says he heard a light and heard a rumble, and another punk asks if he’s Peter Pan. Well, someone had clearly watched a Pan movie before writing this issue, given we’ve gotten two references to Peter Pan.) Anyway, Skids and Rictor rescue Rusty. Then Rusty sets the (still-frozen) park on fire. Rusty, you idiot. Rictor puts it out with controlled vibrations. Then we get his backstory: Back in Mexico, he destroyed a city. That was what brought him to the Right’s attention.

And then the group gets to work on clearing more of the trees of their snow. And Rusty says they’re the Team Supreme. Because it was the ’80s and every comic teenager had to use that phrase about their friendships. Ugh.

The next morning, everyone watches a TV report about Central Park. The ice has all been melted, except for ice shaped in a message.

X-Factor #20

Convenient the ice lasted long enough for cameras to arrive.

And Bobby feels much better. Aw, how sweet.

This issue’s pretty meh. Honestly, these kids just aren’t all that interesting. Rusty is the dullest person ever. Skids isn’t much better. Rictor is kind of annoyingly emo in this era. It’s understandable, given what he’s been through. But even then, he doesn’t come across as someone with a huge weight of guilt on his shoulders. He just comes across as kinda emo. There’s no sense that he’s haunted by the things he’s been through. He just seems like a teenager. None of the kids have strong personalities, so none of them make for very compelling reading. So when an issue focuses on the kids, it’s inevitably one of the duller issues of the series. At least until Boom-Boom comes back. Boom-Boom makes everything interesting. But for now, we’ve got issues like this, where you forget it three seconds after you finish reading it.

It also ends up being really heavy handed with the “know them by their deeds” thing. It’s trying to give weight to the phrase, but it pushes too hard and instead, it makes the phrase cheesy. Also, I want to point out that the message was Rictor’s idea. Which means Rusty’s plan was to melt the ice, and then just hope people assumed a mutant did it. Rusty is an idiot.

Brigman’s art is always a nice treat, though. It’s such a pleasant art style. The inks and colours really complement her lines, too. It’s never a bad experience, reading a comic drawn by Brigman, because at the very least, it looks pretty. Characters are expressive, and it all just looks nice.

Still, not a great issue.

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