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X-Factor #45 (1989, October)

September 24, 2017

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). I was supposed to hang out with a friend today, but it didn’t happen. So, by Simonson, Smith, Milgrom, Vincent, and Rosen, “Arena!”

Judgment War Part 3: Arena!

Iceman’s gonna kick some bearded ass.

Archangel is in the arena, yelling at the Chosen and saying he won’t fight for them. A super-strong Teject is sent out to fight him, but he still refuses to fight, so “goads” are sent out. Little balls with drugged barbs on them. The Chosen are pretty excited by the ensuing fight, making lots of wagers, which benefits Rask. Archangel wins the fight, and the giant Reject gets some really good last words.

X-Factor #45

I like the ritualism of this speech.

But Archangel refuses to kill Agrom, and instead launches a futile attack on the Most Perfect. On the way out of the arena, Rask insults the Dualers, and Iceman’s ready to kick his ass until Lev stops him. She touches his chest in the process, and she seems to kinda like it. He doesn’t notice. We also check in on Jean, in the Reject camp, unconscious. Elsewhere in the camp, Zharkah is told that one of the women is giving birth, and we learn that few children survive birth on this world, which makes sense. And, indeed, this child dies moments after being born, too. Beast offers to help stabilize the genetics of the Rejects, but Zharkah refuses, declaring it unnatural, and noting that Beast thinks like a Chosen.

Back in the Chosen city, a young scientist debates an old one about their diminishing numbers. The young one wonders if the genetic samples are breaking down over time, just as the robots are. Maybe that’s why the robots are always offering people drugs? A bug in their software? Anyway, Seera steals baby formula for Christopher. She really loves that baby already. It’s really sweet.

Elsewhere, Scott and Dykon, one of the Begin-agains discuss the situation. Dykon is shown as very insightful, neatly summing up the weaknesses of all three factions on the planet. And Scott develops an inkling of a plan.

X-Factor #45

I like Dykon’s descriptions of the factions.

In the Reject camp, Beast hears talk about Archangel being in the Chosen arena, and says he’s going to free him. The other Rejects decide to help. In the city, Iceman and Lev train, with Iceman beating her. She doesn’t seem to mind. She really seems to have a crush on him. Then, he challenges Rask to a fight. Lev decides to use the chance to make some bets. Which was a good idea, because he destroys Rask. Not even a fight, really. Everyone is impressed, so Rask challenges Iceman to face Archangel. And Seera decides she has to free Archangel before the fight can happen.

Good issue. It moves the plot along nicely. There’s some good character stuff, as well, with Archangel fighting to maintain control of himself, and Iceman getting to show that he’s really quite good at what he does. It’s an impressive demonstration of his skills. He may not know who he is, but his training is still there, and he knows how good he is, and it makes him confident without really being cocky. Good on you, Bobby. Simonson writes Bobby really well in general. It’s also interesting getting to learn more about the two societies, and their declines. The degradation of the genetic material the Chosen create children with, and the unstable genetics of the Rejects that give them a high infant mortality rate. One of those makes sense. I’m not sure the Reject problem does, though. I know nothing about genetics, of course, but it seems to me like their problem doesn’t sound right. But whatever, it’s not important.

Smith’s art remains good. The action is done really well. It’s exciting, and even as a series of still images, there’s still some sense of motion, especially when Iceman fights Rask.

A lot of the time, middle issues like this drag a bit, as everyone is moved into place for the climax. But there’s no drag here. It feels natural, not like pieces being moved. More, it makes you kinda want to know more about the world and the societies. It’s easy to be drawn in and to be excited for where the story’s going.

So, good issue.

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