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X-Factor #41 (1989, June)

May 5, 2017

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Don’t forget that tomorrow is Free Comic Book Day. But today, by Simonson, Adams, Milgrom, Vincent and Rosen, “Golden Boy!”

Golden Boy!

Yay for contest winners!

Oh, yeah, the contest. So, Marvel at one point ran a contest where readers would send in their ideas for new mutants, with the winning entry debuting in, um, New Mutants. Alchemy was the brainchild of Paul Betsow, though rather than New Mutants, his creation appeared in X-Factor. I wonder if Betsow is still reading comics. And how he feels about his character being sacrificed in Death of X. But, on with the issue!

A troll comes out of a tunnel and smells gold, so goes to check it out, while musing about how he misses the days of Vikings and Celts. He finds a young man studying chemistry. As he tries to remember the details of each element, the pen in his hand changes. From a regular pen, then to platinum, then to gold. I’m not sure why he’d have to remember the details of each element. What school would make you memorize atomic weight? I’m pretty sure labs have Periodic Tables of Elements on their walls. Any halfway-decent lab probably has books with loads of details about each element. But some schools are weird like that. Anyway, he goes down to supper, and the troll checks the pen to confirm it’s real gold, and decides to steal the kid. Whose name is Thomas Jones, by the way.

Now, to Ship! Sam’s running an obstacle course through Warlock, Dani’s head is still aching, Boom-Boom’s annoyed that Sam isn’t hitting on her. So she deals with her disappointment the only way she knows how.

X-Factor #41

Yes. Yes, she is nuts.

The only person not annoyed at her for this? Sam. Sam’s a good dude.

X-Factor #41

Well, the suspenders are kinda tacky.

Jean and Warren are talking, with Jean saying she’s absorbed Maddie and the Phoenix, and she feels a darkness inside her. Warren says she’ll always stand in the light, and I don’t know, I don’t like the way he’s putting her on a pedestal here. Back in London, the troll grabs Thomas, and says he’s going to make gold for him. As the troll’s dragging Thomas away, his mom comes in, and is pretty awesome.

X-Factor #41

Go, mom.

Back to Ship! Scott’s happy to have his son in his arms, Rictor trolls Bomm-Boom by vibrating her soda can so it explodes in her face when she opens it, and Jean checks how Dani’s feeling. Ship lets X-Factor know they’ve gotten a call from London, and the Mutants tell them to go save the kid, and promise to be good and not do anything dangerous. Jean notes the kids have always behaved responsibly. Uh, Jean? Do you know which kids you’re talking about? The Mutants ran away from their school on the regular to fight aliens and demons. And your own bunch of kids includes Boom-Boom. Do you honestly believe you can leave these kids alone for 10 minutes without something happening? So X-Factor rushes out to a plane Ship makes them, and decides to bring the baby along. To investigate a mutant giant. Um.

X-Factor #41

I share the kids’ expressions.

I don’t think diapers are the concern here, Jean. She justifies it by saying they’re only facing “one tiny, little giant.” But, like, that’s still wildly irresponsible. When they meet Mrs. Jones, she’s surprised by how tall they are, and at the fact that they have a baby with them. Because she’s a reasonable person.

X-Factor #41

Beast’s joke is still more reasonable than the truth.

Mrs. Jones actually believes he’s serious, but in her defence, she’s pretty clearly still in shock about her son being kidnapped. X-Factor finds a trail of gold leading beneath a bridge at the River Thames. They find a hidden door, and inside, tons of treasure. And five trolls. Named Phough, Phumm, Phay, Phee and Phy. One’s a shapeshifter (who quotes Ibsen), one’s a master of martial arts, one’s an Abominable Snowman from Mt. McKinley, one has wings. The trolls are very educated and eloquent. They’re an international association who plan to use economics to destroy human civilization. They’re going to have Tom Jones create more gold, causing inflation that ruins the English economy and causes people to flee the country. It’s not a great plan, but Beast explains why at the end of the next issue.

But this issue’s great. Tom Jones is a neat new character. The trolls are fun, and I love how it subverts expectations by making them educated. They’re ancient, why wouldn’t they have learned a lot over the centuries? So I like that. I also really love the early part of the issue, with the teams all together. X-Factor, X-Terminators and New Mutants. I always appreciate that sort of inter-connectedness. It makes it all feel more authentic. It’s a shame X-Factor never really got to spend time with the New Mutants, on-panel. Even since then, the original X-Men and New Mutants have had relatively few interactions. Sam joined the X-Men, and got to spend time with them that way. But the other New Mutants were largely kept on ancillary teams, and seldom worked with the original X-Men. Still, the couple scenes in this issue were really nice to see.

The writing in the issue is great. None of the problems that made it difficult for me to fully enjoy Simonson’s earlier issues are present here. The dialogue feels less melodramatic, and that makes it easier to read. The most melodramatic it gets is Jean and Warren talking about how things have changed, and about darkness and junk, but even that’s subdued, by Weezie’s standards. There’s some nice character moments. Scott’s love of his son is really nice. Jean thinking that bringing a baby along to investigate a dangerous mutant is, um, odd.

Arthur Adams on art. It looks great. I don’t like Adams’ more recent work. I think his style has evolved in some ways that I just find weird. But this was 1989, and he was still one of the best in the business back then. So the issue looks great. There’s some really good facial expressions, and some really good action bits.

So this is a really good issue, and sets up an even better one.

Unrelated to anything, but: Earlier, someone named Rocky let me know that apparently I have an impersonator on, trashing Ultimates 2. Check it out. I’m not even mad, honestly. That’s pretty cool. (Oh, right, I should mention that Tiamatty is a screen name I use on a couple forums. I’d never even heard of Comic Boards before this.) Does this mean I’m starting to make it?

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