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X-Factor #44 (1989, September)

August 13, 2017

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Nazis, the KKK, and assorted other white supremacists are awful and need to shut the hell up. But today, by Simonson, Smith, Milgrom, Vincent, and Rosen, “Judgment War Part 2: Another World!”

Another World

Another world where everyone just happens to be white.

Scott’s where we left him, about to be stepped on. He decides to turn his beams on the ground, instead. Beast is fleeing with the Rejects, explaining that he and his friends came from “far away,” and don’t know anything about what’s going on. A cool big cyclops woman explains about the war between the Chosen and the Rejects, and about the Space Gods. She also figures Beast was hit by a telepathic whammy during the battle. Which works for him, since it lets him get away with knowing nothing. We do see that the Rejects aren’t very technologically advanced, especially compared to the Chosen.

Which is a good time to check on Archangel, who is a prisoner of the Chosen. The dude who captured him, Rask, is talking to The Most Perfect, some weak-looking old dude. And hey, I’m gonna go on a tangent here. So, I made the comment above that X-Factor landed on another planet that’s full of white people. And, you know, normally, that would kinda bother me. The population can look like anything, and they go with white people? But this arc is about how the Chosen feel like they’re better than the Rejects. And given white supremacy’s current return to the spotlight, the fact that the KKK and Neo-Nazis and other white supremacist scumbags actually feel emboldened to take their bullshit out into the streets in broad daylight . . . yeah, this arc feels more timely right now. The fact that The Most Perfect actually looks bad ties into that, too, as the people who preach about white supremacy are never the best examples of it. (A point that’s been made many, many times.) Anyway, the point is that people who talk about white supremacy are assholes and every single one of them deserves to be punched.

Back to the comic! Archangel breaks free of the plastic block he’s in, but Rask blasts him unconscious. Seera is impressed by Archangel, and disgusted by Rask. She talks to her robot assistant, ZZ-105, about him. She also learns of another stranger, being examined in a lab. Bobby, of course. Seera checks it out, and bickers with Lev, the fire-lady who beat Bobby.

X-Factor #44

Lev can turn to fire, but Seera delivers the harsher burn.

Bobby wakes up, with no memories of who he is, so he’s left in Lev’s care until they can figure out where he came from. The scientist also mentions “creating” Seera, which is a clue about Chosen society.

Back to Scott, who blasts free of the hole he made for himself to avoid being stepped on. He’s clever. He’s also been found by another dude, a telepath, who leads him off. Back to Seera, who’s looking at vats where babies are created. She’s uncomfortable with the process, and thinks maybe the Reject method is better, though the sci-bot she’s talking to is disgusted by the idea, and threatens to report her for wrong-thinking, while she threatens to report it as needing repair. Its response is, um, interesting?

X-Factor #44

“By way of apology, here’s a bunch of drugs.”

I can get behind a society that uses drugs as a form of apology. ZZ-105 is actually offended, though, which likewise amuses me.

X-Factor #44

“Step off! My drugs are way better!”

Is it maybe just a robot thing? Can we make it a robot thing here on Earth? Give all the robots drugs that they give out to people when appropriate? That seems like an idea that couldn’t possibly go wrong. Anyway, a guy comes by with Christopher, and Seera asks him to hand the baby over, bribing him with more drugs.

X-Factor #44

What is with all these drugs?!

Also, I’m pretty sure that’s absolutely not how you’re supposed to handle a baby. She also telepathically wipes the guy’s memory of the whole situation. Back at the Reject camp, Beast tells Zharkah about his friends, and Zharkah is pretty sure Jean is their captive, but she doesn’t tell him that. She suspects they may be Beginagains.In space, Ship is still in the possession of a Celestial. But back to Scott, who’s been brought to a secret camp of the Beginagains. They want peace between the Chosen and Rejects. Cooperation. They’re like this planet’s version of the X-Men, but mostly pacifists. Not all of them are pacifists, and the leader’s own son seems to think a more aggressive path is needed, though he’s still a nice, pleasant fellow. I actually like that. It would’ve been easy to make him an angry jerk, but he’s not, he simply think pacifism won’t change things. Truth: He’s probably right. The simple reality is that progress is rarely made without violence. The Civil Rights Movement required riots. Gay rights required riots. Non-violence works only if the threat of violence is still there in the background.

But back to the story! The Beginagains have a prophecy about “saviours from the stars,” but the Space Gods don’t seem to care about them. They’ve also learned the Space Gods have visited four times before, making this the Fifth Host. And if they don’t like how the people have developed, they’ll kill everyone. Dun-dun-duuuun!

This is a weird but fun issue. So many drugs! We actually learn about Chosen and Reject culture. The Chosen are perfectionists who create babies in test tubes, while the Rejects prefer the natural approach. The issue focuses primarily on Seera, and her questioning of whether the Chosen approach is really right. ZZ-105 told her all sorts of stories when she was young, and it’s led to her growing up to be someone who asks questions. So good on her for that. She is still pretty naive, though, as when she takes the baby and decides she wants to raise it herself. Still, her heart’s in the right place, and she is easy to like, simply because she’s able, despite her privilege (maybe because of her privilege), to look beyond what her society tells her. That means she’s even willing to admire someone she thinks is a Reject, though of course, the fact that Archangel’s still pretty sexy despite the blue skin probably doesn’t hurt with that. Her arc in this issue is definitely about white people learning not to be awful to marginalized communities.

The art’s good. It’s Paul Smith. No complaints. He’s a great visual storyteller, very dynamic and with good expressions and body language. You can tell what characters feel even without dialogue. The moment where Seera catches the tossed baby (and what kind of person tosses a baby?!) was especially strong for that, as Simonson leaves it entirely in Smith’s hands to show her reaction, and he nails it. Simonson and Smith work well together. I might have preferred a slightly more abstract artist, given the arc’s weird premise, but Paul Smith is such a strong artist that he does kinda define the arc. This would have been a different story with a different artist.

So I like this issue. And now I could really go for some drugs. Anyone got a friendly robot handy?

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