108: X-Factor 93 - 100 (Haven)

What’s Covered?

X-Factor Volume 1, # 93 - 100


X-Factor Volume 1 # 93 - 100, published between Aug' 93 and March '94 gives us the introduction of J.M. DeMatteis as the primary writer, Random's profile in the comic increases, the introduction of a new villain(ness) named Haven, a long awaited transformation for Rahne, a transition to Forge as the team's handler, and the apparent death of Jamie Madrox, the Multiple Man.


Roster Watch


Synopsis


# 93 - 100: Haven and a sad goodbye

Plotter - Scott Lobdell

Script - J.M. DeMatteis

Pencils - Terry Shoemaker

# 93 is primarily a table setting issue. We start off with Alex and Rahne at the X Mansion, interacting with a stoic Collossus following the death of Illyana and prior to him defecting to the Marauders, and it's clear that he's just about dead inside.


Rahne is appealing to Professor X to cure her once and for all, but he claims there is only a 50% chance he can cure her, but there is a chance she will die. This sets up a big character inflection point for Rahne over the next few issues, ending with her declaration that she wants to do it and needs a leave of absence (which doesn't last long).


Meanwhile, Lila Cheney shows up and offers Guido an opportunity to work for her, which he passes on in favor of sticking it out with X-Factor. Maybe if she had her own comic, but he gets more media exposure with this group.


Quicksilver and Lorna find out that they need to wear government sanctioned outfits. Lorna's shortlived outfit (which debuted in the amazing psychiatrist story in XF # 87) is deemed too sexy and it was just time for QS to fall in line. In a funny little bit, QS's original costume has a bunch of gear and pockets, which he quickly discard and is left with a generic blue and yellow X like the others. While it's cool that he eventually gave up his own costume, it was short lived because this is also the arc where he departs. I actually thought he departed during Fatal Attractions, but apparently it's for real now?


Jamie continues to hide out, acting morose.


After Val Cooper fell out of favor with the team, we find out that the new government liason will be none other than Forge.


Plotter - Scott Lobdell

Script - J.M. DeMatteis

Pencils - Paul Martin

# 94 primarily focuses on Alex and Lorna being on a date where they run into a mutant racist and a fight breaks out. In addition, Guido joins Rahne on their way to Muir Island for her to risk her life trying to reverse her condition. I feel like there is a missed opportunity here with Moira being her legal guardian and perhaps not being thrilled with potentially killing her daughter.


Jamie's dupes seem to be off on their own, and we are shown them going to tell QS that they are worried about Prime Jamie's mental state.


Plotter - Scott Lobdell

Script - J.M. DeMatteis

Pencils - Greg Luzniak

The primary story in # 95 is a battle between Polaris and Random. We learn that someone at the government hired him to kill her and while he believes he killed her right at the beginning of the fight, we are led to believe that he was actually holding back because he wanted to fail in this mission.


Meanwhile, Forge interviews Havok about the team. This is another attempt, similar to XF # 87), to get us to reflect on who everyone is on the team. I feel like we just went through this and most of the content was a recap of things we already knew, so this seemed like a waste of time.


At the end of the issue, Rahne comes back rabid, in her wolf form, and seemingly even more attached to Alex than ever before. It appears as though she changed her mind, fled Muir Island and is now in even worse shape. To be honest, this plotline is a bit tired.


Writer - J.M. DeMatteis

Pencils - Greg Luzniak

In another mini setup issue, # 96 gives us a drawn out argument between Alex and Forge where Alex eventually realizes Forge has their best interest in mind, he just had a poor way of showing it. The issue ends up with the new villain, Haven, seemingly attacking Lorna.


Writer - J.M. DeMatteis

Pencils - Jan Duursema

#97 starts with Lorna in another dimension with Haven where we learn that she did not harm Lorna, in fact she saved her. It turns out that Haven is actually a rich philanthropist mutant who wrote a book about bringing a new age philosophy to the human vs. mutant problem, something that we'll explore further in the upcoming issues. Throughout the issue we see that the rest of the team, including Val Cooper, is reading her book.


We check in on Random again and see his curious living situation where he appears to live with an older housekeeper...or maybe his mom...or maybe Random is a lot older than he looks and she's his wife. It's very unclear. Regardless, the government ends up turning on him and tries to assasinate him in his house.


We see that Jamie's dupes are not being re-absorbed and therefore are becoming more and more independent. There's one that's a party animal (clubbing it with Guido every night), another obsessed with Haven's book, and another one highly negative about everything (including Haven and the rest of the team). This is also the issue where Lorna puts two and two together and deduces that Jamie has the Legacy Virus, finally officially putting a name to what's happening and speaking to him directly about it.


While I'm pretty interesting in what's happening with the dupes, it seems like we're leaving a lot of red meat on the bone with Jamie dying. I mean, I guess we've seen the whole "everyone sits around and gets sad" thing with Illyana, but this just seems like a side story for a very important character, who is arguably more important than Illyana to the current meta.


The issue ends with some members of the team attending a lecture being given by Haven when Forge and Alex burst in and announce that X-Factor needs to arrest her on account of being a terrorist. This is where the plot really picks up.


Writer - J.M. DeMatteis

Pencils - Greg Luzniak

While most of the team joins Alex, Lorna and one of the MM dupes defends her long enough for her to disappear.


Forge instructs the team that Haven teaches in her book about humanity being 700 years away from a golden age where man and mutant live together. However, Forge believes that Haven has been behind numerous terrorist attacks and environmental disasters, trying to speed up the end of the world so the golden age gets here faster.


Jamie ends up re-absorbing most of his dupes, however he leaves a few out (the partier, Haven obsessed, and negative nancy).


At the end of the issue, we see Val giving herself to Haven agreeing to be a devoted follower.


Writer - J.M. DeMatteis

Pencils - Greg Luzniak

Lorna finally agrees with Alex that Haven has bad intentions. Forge pays Random to join the team to confront Haven at her headquarters. Here the team fights her brother, a mutant Monsoon with Storm powers.


The gigantic development from this issue is when Haven uses her power to cure Rahne! From this point forward, she's able to change back into her human form. This also leads her to believe Haven is the savior. There's also some sort of larger story being dropped here as Haven mentions that "He" is speaking to her and making prophecies. I'm very curious to see who the "he" is.


Writer - J.M. DeMatteis

Pencils - Jan Duursema

It all comes to a head with XF # 100. After Rahne and the zealous MM dupe side with Haven, the rest of the team is sent to another dimension where they spend some time being somewhat tortured (mentally). When they return, they find that Haven's brother Monsoon believes his sister has gone too far and has been working secretly with the US Gov (Val Cooper) to stop her. This combined group is able to destroy a satellite that was going to do something catastrophic. Haven surrenders, but first puts a big decision to Alex asking if she should save Jamie. He thinks about it and tells her to do it. She tries, but fails and Jamie dies. Haven claims that it must be fate that he stays dead, but everyone else is distraught.


Creators


After Peter David's departure, Scott Lobdell has been filling in. Here we see the soft transfer of the series over to J.M. DeMatteis. Lobdell stayed on as the plotter for # 93 - 95 and then JMD was the sole writer from # 96 - 100 when the Haven story really picked up.


We see some big lineup changes in this timeline as Multiple Man dies, Quicksilver leaves the team, Rahne re-gains the ability to change into her human form, and Forge takes over for Val Cooper as the primary Government liason. I'm very curious how many of these decisions were long running ideas JMD carried out or if he came in and started saying "Jamie Madrox is dumb! Quicksilver's a clown! Wolfsbane's animal form is ridiculous. Val Cooper is the worst. Random is the man. Let's change it all!" To be clear, that was not an exact quote, lol, I'm just curious if something like that was going on.


The art is "ok." Pretty standard 90's post-Image copycats. Man, I miss how excited I was back when Jim Lee and Rob Leifeld first came on the scene. That was fun. Will I ever be blown away by the art again? I wonder.


Character Beats


Havok and Polaris aren't the central characters in this arc, but I like how JMD is bringing them forward regardless. Havok is really settling into his position as the leader and we see him adjusting with a new boss and struggling to maintain his autonomy. To be honest, I find this quite relatable, as in the real world I've had a number of times when you have new management are trying to simultaneously make a good impression and draw a line around your territory.


Polaris doesn't have any gigantic character moments like some of her fellow teammates, but she still gets a lot and you can tell that JMD must really love this character. She struggles with her loyalty to Haven and also gets to really let her power out of the bag in her fight against Random. I've almost overlooked that she has the same power as Magneto and is a true powerhouse, often holding back.


I didn't realize how annoyed I was with Wolfsbane's story until I realized how relieved I felt when it ended. She gets a lot of strong moments as she struggles to make the life changing decision to risk her life and be cured on Muir Island. Unfortunately, there was a missed opportunity as she changed her mind off panel and we see her next when she's stark raving mad. I'm not sure if it was planned this way, but she got SUPER annoying for a few comics acting rabid and obsessed with Alex, just making it that much sweeter when she was cured.

It was very striking when Alex tried to tell her what to do after being cured and she snaps at him, telling him that she is going to make her own decisions now without his influence. I can really emphasize with Alex in this moment as he's probably thinking "I've really tried everything to get her cured, but have I taken advantage of her? Was I getting too comfortable with having her unwavering loyalty? I'm happy for her, but am I going to miss that dependability?"


Strong Guy is given the opportunity to go back and work with Lila, but he declines in favor of his new life with X-Factor. Once again, I really connected with this. It reminded me of how I was pushed out of my original job and forced to start a new career, but one day the opportunity fell in my lap to go back and it made me realize how I had changed and I couldn't ever go back. Good job, JMD.



Quicksilver finally gets an X-Factor costume, but then is apparently written out of the comic (for the second time as I thought he was a goner after spending so much time away during Fatal Attractions). This was a bit annoying, to be honest. I've actually never really connected with the character, his refusal to change his outfit kind of meshed with me never really accepting him with this team. I guess I have no problem with leaving. Will he be replaced!? By Random? Is that a good thing? Random is very 90's... Let's talk about Random.


I'm conflicted on my thoughts on Random. I like that he is trying to be redeemed, but he literally tried to kill Polaris, thought he succeeded, and then called his friend/girlfriend/housekeeper Vera to brag about it. I mean, I know she didn't really die, but he thought he killed her. It's hard to come back from that, even if she forgives you.


Forge is the new handler for the team. We haven't seen a lot of Forge, but so far he doesn't quite seem like the character I've gotten to know in recent years. Let's keep our eye on this.


Alright, I saved the best (or biggest) development for last with Multiple Man. So, he died. I also know he headlines the Peter David XF re-boot years later, so I doubt he's staying dead. I wish I didn't know that because it might have made this death more potent. Did I just ruin this for you!? Sorry. So anyway, he dies. I've really liked this character. In fact, he cracked my top ten favorite characters through 1990 before this re-launch even happened. I've loved his comedic relief and the exploration of his power is truly fascinating. There was a cool gimmick during this arc with his dupes taking on lives of their own while the Prime Madrox just sat there depressed, but I feel like we really missed an opportunity here. This guy was dying and no one knew. That in itself is brave because he didn't want the attention, but the due is dying and really didn't get anything out of it. It didn't even seem like the team was too upset about it and they should have been devastated. In a way this reminds me of when Cyper died because the team didn't even realize it happened right away, however that team fucking mourned the hell out of Cyper, still moping about him to this day. (Editor note, wow, he's really stayed dead.) I'll miss him, but I don't expect him to stay dead long. If he does, then I dropped the ball on letting this impact me.


My Rating and Review - 8/10


Even though Haven doesn't have much staying power, I really enjoyed her and all the crazy things that happened during this arc. It's well written with great focus on characters. They missed a few opportunities and it's certainly not perfect, but I appreciate strong character movement and can see this having strong re-read value (even though Marvel Unlimited disagrees and didn't bother to upload these issues).


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