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X-Factor #31 (1988, August)

July 19, 2016

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). You can go back a post for my pull list for tomorrow, if you like. But now, by the Simonsons, Wiacek, Wright and Rosen, “Kiss Off!”

Kiss Off!

I’m not sure if this cover is supposed to be subversive or not.

Bobby and Infectia are about to kiss. And for some reason, Bobby is still iced up, rather than reverting to normal. Is he hoping Infectia’s lips will get stuck to him? Come on, Bobby, turn yourself back to normal when you’re about to get lucky. Anyway, the moment is spoiled by a bomb. When Bobby goes chasing after Boom-Boom, he passes Leech, who cuts off his powers. Hank tells the kids he saw something in the city, and they have to stop Infectia from kissing Bobby.

Down in Dallas, Jean dares Crimson Commando to shoot her.

X-Factor #31

Jean being casually badass is always great.

She then tosses Stonewall – you know, the guy who can’t be moved – at Super Sabre. Then Spiral takes her on.

X-Factor #31

Jean kicks all sorts of ass here.

Back on Ship, it’s Rictor’s turn to stop a kiss, by shaking Ship. Then Skids, by extending her force field around Bobby so Infectia slides off and falls on her face. Then Rusty, with a random fire burst. And then . . .

X-Factor #31

Poor Bobby.

Finally, as she goes into a room to sleep, Ship slams the door in Bobby’s face. Infectia does threaten Ship a little.

Then, an interlude, with someone in a suit of armour rising from a pit of water, going down to a house in Omaha, and killing a couple. It is weird and creepy and it excites me. Because I really do love Nanny and the Orphan-Maker.

In the morning, Infectia tells Ship to make her and Bobby a plane so they can go to her townhouse. And then, back to Dallas! Scott blasts Blob off a wave of cement. And then this happens:

X-Factor #31

Scott is awesome.

He punched a hole through the Blob. The Blob is supposed to be invincible, and Scott just punched a hole right through him. It’s weird that there’s no blood, but still. Damn. Again, just a totally casual display of how badass and dangerous he really is. Still, Destiny calls an end to the fight, and tells Scott she does see a vision of his son, still alive, his future tangled up in Scott’s past. It’s actually a pretty cool speech.

A quick stop-off in Chicago, for a secret cabal to talk about Warren gunning for them, and to talk about the mutant menace. Then back to Ship, where Hank angsts about his dumbening, and Ship tells him about Infectia’s power and sends Hank to rescue Bobby. She’s got Bobby manacled with power dampers. She demonstrates her power on a postman, which is kinda weird.

X-Factor #31

Everyone should keep a postman in their pantry, for special occasions.

Before she can kiss Bobby, she’s interrupted again, this time by Hank smashing through the skylight. He jumps in front of her kiss just in time. He turns blue and furry for a moment before turning back to flesh as he passes out.

This was good. It was a lot of fun. The first half of the issue is fun antics as everyone cock-blocks Bobby. It’s good times. It’s just so goofy and silly and it’s just a lot of fun. Bobby and Infectia getting more annoyed at the whole thing is great. And then the end of the issue is a pretty big deal, as Hank once again gets subjected to something that changes him. Seriously, that happens to him a lot. It’s his thing. Of course, the repercussions of this kiss will be a pretty big deal, as it changes him back to the furry blue genius everyone knows and loves.

The other part of the story, the part with Scott and Jean fighting Freedom Force, is awesome. They’re both utter badasses who are not in the mood for games. They’re not interested in a fight, and they have no patience for Freedom Force’s attempts to start one. Jean punching Spiral is very satisfying, and Scott punching a hole through Blob’s arm is one of those “holy shit” moments that show just how serious he is. Which makes it really satisfying.

The art, I find less satisfying. I don’t find Walter Simonson great at facial expressions that convey the emotions characters feel. Irritation, he actually does pretty well. And there is a certain effectiveness to the stony faces Scott and Jean have during the fight. But there are other moments where Walt’s limited range of expressions hurt the story. And there are panels where he does a good job, but which I feel another artist would have really elevated it. Infectia falling on her face, for example. Walt draws it well, and it’s funny. But not as funny as it could have been.

Sadly, this is virtually the last we see of Infectia. She’ll appear twice more. Once in a couple years, in a story that goes nowhere. And then in the ’90s, when she dies of the Legacy Virus. (That’s actually a good issue, too.) I say “sadly,” but in fairness, she wasn’t that great a character. I like her. I enjoy her. And I actually would’ve been happy if she’d survived and shown up again. But she didn’t have much potential. She could be used to explore the treatment of women in society, and that could’ve been an interesting angle. But she was mostly a plot device to get Beast back to his blue furry look.

Still. This is a good issue.

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