X-Factor # (1987, November)
Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Today, by Simonson, Buscema, Wiacek, Scotese and Rosen, “If I Should Die. . . .”
The Smileys are attacking the kids at X-Factor HQ. Rictor recognizes them as being from the Right, and starts trying to shake the whole building down. But the Smileys take all the kids out. Using tranquilizers, luckily. They slap some power dampers on them, and also pump Caliban full of enough tranks to kill him. X-Factor is heading through the sewers, back to their HQ. Meanwhile, Boom-Boom returns through the front doors, and sees the kids being taken away. She decides to follow. She sneaks onto their plane and hides.
Once the plane lands, the kids are moved to school buses. She follows to a science museum. She blends in until she can find a phone, but she gets discovered. She runs, and ends up in a ventilation shaft in the secret base.
Over New York, Apocalypse’s fourth Horseman, Death, has had his wings finished, and is ready for a test. An obstacle course, like the ones he did in his youth. Gee I wonder who he could be? The other Horsemen figure they don’t need him, since all he can do is fly. You know, going by history, they’re not wrong. Death makes his way through the course by just slicing it all to shreds. He’s finally not useless!
Back in Arlington, Boom-Boom sees Rictor being tortured, and decides to rescue him. They start running, and end up on catwalks, which Rictor shakes apart. While he and Boom-Boom hang on, the Right’s leader starts talking to them. And it turns out it’s Cameron Hodge. To the shock of no one.
This is a pretty good issue. It does suffer a little from being a middle issue. It’s moving plot along, but can’t do much else. Boom-Boom is awesome in this issue, though. She’s clever and brave, but still has a distinct brattiness to her that makes her fun. It’s always nice seeing her care about other people, while trying not to. She wants to look out for herself, but she can’t overcome her own compassion. It makes for a really interesting inner conflict.
Aside from Boom-Boom, there unfortunately isn’t much to this issue. More melodramatic dialogue. I’m not a fan of Sal Buscema’s art. It’s always felt really weird to me. It’s not a style I’ve ever enjoyed. I think part of it is how much he uses the “mouth open, eyes shut” facial expression. There’s a lot of that in anything he draws, including this issue, and it kinda distracts me. Beyond that, though, I’m just not a fan of his linework. It’s just a style I find off-putting.
So, X-Factor remains a series I don’t particularly enjoy.
There’s also Incredible Hulk #337, by Peter David, Todd McFarlane, Jim Sanders III, Petra Scotese and Rick Parker. It picks up where the previous issue left off, with the Hulk frozen in a big block of ice. Scott blasts him an air hole. They’re waiting for SHIELD to arrive and take the Hulk into custody, and Jean’s worried about being around when SHIELD arrives, since they’re wanted as the X-Terminators. She also telekinetically gets Twinkies out of a vending machine, which I find cool. I always like mundane uses of superpowers. When SHIELD does get there, one of the agents mentions killing the Hulk. That gets X-Factor suspicious, especially Iceman.
When they get the Hulk back to Gamma Base, he finally manages to break out of the ice. Some teamwork between X-Factor, SHIELD and Doc Samson takes him out. When he wakes up, he tells everyone that SHIELD is corrupt and is going to kill Banner in order to kill the Hulk. Samson and X-Factor demand to speak with someone in authority, and find out, yep, SHIELD’s corrupt. So, fight! In the end, Clay Quartermain gets everyone out. It’s a good comic. Not much from X-Factor here, but they’re still represented well. It’s funny to think that PAD would eventually end up writing X-Factor . . . but a different version from this line-up. Regardless, his Incredible Hulk run was fantastic stuff that you should totally read.