X-Factor #28 (1988, May)
A tug boat runs into Ship, as a result of Ship moving. The kids are on deck, and they get swallowed. Ship shaking around leads to Jean and Iceman heading topside and helping the damaged barge. Then the Ship starts attacking them. Meanwhile, Scott is stuck at the airport, waiting for a plane for Dallas so he can ask Freedom Force if they know anything about his missing son. He hears about the battle on Ship, and decides to head over to help. Inside, the kids are dumped in tubes, except Artie, who bounces off the lid. Boom-Boom frees herself and the others, and they follow signs left by Artie. Hank breaks free of some ice Bobby left him in, and busts through the hull just in time to Save Bobby. And then Iceman arrives in time to save them both.
Then we cut to Archangel, who hasn’t taken that name yet but whatever. He stops at Candy Southern’s apartment, but she’s gone. He finds a dart, indicating someone’s abducted her. Back to X-Factor, who fights and talks. Iceman makes jokes, while Jean says that since Scott’s going to leave to look for his son, the team needs to learn to handle themselves without him.
I mean, on the one hand, I can understand her resenting him for wanting to run off on his own to handle his problems himself. On the other hand, we know Scott’s never been great with feelings, and he’s been especially bad at it throughout X-Factor, and he’s dealing with some really heavy stuff and it’s not left him in the best frame of mind. So I feel like a better response is, “OK, I understand why you want to handle this yourself. So let’s go find your son.” Just calmly, happily refusing to let him go alone. “I bought us two plane tickets to Dallas.” “But I’m going alone.” “Yes, I know, and I bought us two tickets.” That would work better.
Inside, the kids find Artie, who’s at the Ship’s brain. There’s some kind of shackle on it. Rusty blows up the shackle, freeing the Ship’s external logic functions. And now it can talk! And it says there’s a bomb in its hull that will kill everyone! X-Factor manages to dislodge it and throw it into the sky in time. With all done, Jean apologizes for snapping at Scott, and says he has the right to look for his son alone, if he wants. And Scott’s response is very wrong.
Though I am amused at is admission that he’s never been good at families. That, I will agree with. Scott, you are absolutely right about being bad at family. Anyway, with all the excitement over, X-Factor gives an impromptu press conference to let people know what’s going on with Ship. And in a nice bar in the West Village, an attractive woman watches the press conference and says she needs that Ship.
This is an OK issue. Ship is cool. I like it. X-Factor all get some good moments. The kids also get to do stuff, though most of them remain flat characters, aside from Boom-Boom, who’s always been The Best. Rusty is one of the flattest, dullest characters I’ve ever come across. Skids likewise has little personality in these issues. Boom-Boom aside, I dislike how Simonson writes the kids. Their dialogue is really bad. Most of it is just exposition with exclamation marks. The X-Factor stuff is better. Bobby and Hank are really good, and Scott and Jean play off each other well.
I remain not a fan of Walt’s art. It’s personal taste. He does a fine job. It’s high-quality work from him, along with Wiacek and Scotese. Just not my style.
So, yeah, this remains a series where I like the ideas more than the execution.