X-Factor #256 (Marvel)

X-Factor Resized

Rating: 5/5 – Issue of the Year (so far)

If you haven’t read X-Factor over the last few months, I’d advise you to go back and grab the trades before reading this issue. The 5/5 rating is reflecting the brilliance of this comic and how it brought the arc to a wonderful close. This is not an issue you could simply pick up and read.

It is rare when something shocks me, especially in comics. Most story lines you have an idea where things are going give or take a plot twist. This issue literally had me gasp at the reveal. Unfortunately, in order to probably review this masterpiece, I must spoil it. SPOILERS AHEAD FOR PETER DAVID’S RUN ON X-FACTOR !!!

X-Factor as a series has been overall one of my favorites to read from month to month. While there is a clunker here or there, The book truly shines when Peter David can tell HIS story free of editorial mandate. He has taken what, in effect, are X-Men B, C, and even D list characters and turned them into an amazing and intriguing characters.

SPOILERS AHEAD FOR PREVIOUS ISSUES!!! LAST CHANCE!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This issue concludes the Hell on Earth War. Essentially, all the lords of hell are fighting to kill Tier, Rahne’s son with Wolf Prince Hrimhari in order to rule hell. X-Factor has been working to convince Tier to ‘kill’ the Hell lords and save earth.

At the end of the previous issue, Monet St. Croix has died fighting a soulless Strong Guy. As the climactic battle wages Tier makes his way to engage the last standing Hell lord Mephisto.

It is at this point, Peter David shows he is the master of the craft. He has wonderfully ramped up the tension. At the battles capsheaf, Tier Lunges for Mephisto’s throat and then suddenly slumps over.

After turning the page to the reveal, I sat stunned. It took me a moment to process what had happened and it made total sense. David placed enough hints and logic throughout his run (especially the last year or so) to make this moment really pay off emotionally.

If you told me twenty years ago I’d suddenly become fascinated by a character named Guido Carosella I would have laughed. David brilliantly turned “Strong Guy” from a relative joke, to an amazingly fascinating character, one who I can’t wait to read about in the coming months.

While David’s is great, Leonard Kirk’s art really takes it to a special place. His pencil work adds depth; especially the facial acting. These characters live and breathe and never seem to be posing for a virtual camera.

This was the best comic I have read so far this year. It is going to take something really special to knock it off the top spot. I hope that young writers take a look at the craft of this book and learn you can have a climax / reveal before the last page and still make the issue compelling.

David’s run on X-Factor is coming to an end with issue #262. His run lasted around 10 years. That is quite an accomplishment in today’s marketplace. I am on board to the end.

Reviewed by: Hank Johnson – hank@comicspectrum.com
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