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45: X-Factor 12 - 16 (The Fall of an Angel)

What’s Covered?

X-Factor # 12 - 17 (Jan - June '87)

Roster Watch

My Connections

I need to start out with a little blog editing note. As I've discussed previously, I am using Marvel Unlimited as I go through my X-Men reading journey. I am experiencing a problem I havdn't run into yet, but will continue to pop up over the next 10 years of publishing. Marvel Unlimited is not a complete collection and I found that all of the issues covered in this X-Factor blog are MIA. While the entire New Mutants and Uncanny X-Men line is included, it appears as though there are some issues missing of X-Factor, X-Men (90's), Excalibur, Wolverine, X-Force, and Cable. The good news is that I purchased a physical copy of these and will still be providing a synopsis, but the bad news is that this blog post will be far less visual.

There isn't a whole lot of story development here (which is probably why digitizing these issues wasn't prioritized), but we do get a lot of character development for the youngsters, more advancements with Scott and Maddie, and a conclusion to Angel's depressive arc.


Writer - Louise Simonson

Pencils - Marc Silvestri (12), Walter Simonson (13 - 15, 17), David Mazzucchelli (16)

Sub Plots

  • XF 12 - Sara Grey, Jean's sister, is a pro-mutant reporter. When Jean goes to check on her, she is missing? She is up and missing just like Maddie and Karma's siblings. Was it the Marauders (I genuinely don't know yet).

  • XF13 - Master Mold, the father of all Sentinels crashes to earth. He's only partially intact, but he re-builds himself physically and re-connects with humanity by connecting to all relevant technology (no internet in 1987).

  • XF13 - As Scott journey's to Alaska to find Maddie, no one (neighbors, city records, real estate, etc) has any memory of her or the baby. Scott starts to wonder if he's going insane, but he finds a toy rattle hidden in the house confirming that he's not going crazy. In the same issue, a red-headed corpse washes ashore, leading us readers to believe that it was Maddie (and possibly the Jane Doe that showed up in a hospital in the Uncanny X-Men series).

  • XF14 - Scott battles Master Mold and comes out victorious.

  • XF16 - Rusty, Masque, Skids, and Boom-Boom break into the hospital where the prostitute who Rusty burned in XF # 1 is, with the intention of having Masque fix her burned face. It turns out this experience turned her to religion and pushed her to devote her life to helping others and not worry about looks.

Character Beats


  • Some of the best human and bird doctors have been brought in to examine Angel, but the consensus is that his wings need to be amputated. This puts Angel in a fury and he is quite depressed.

  • Angel adjusts his will so that all of his money would go to X-Factor upon his death.

  • Angel fully admits to X-Factor being a bad idea and is beating himself up over it being his idea.

  • Angel is declared incompetent by a court order and the doctors move forward with amputating his wings.

  • Angel goes on a helicopter ride while angsting about Candy Southern, the loss of his wings, the X-Factor legal debacle, and more when his plane blows up. We are led to believe that he committed suicide by helicopter explosion (something rich guys do).

Scott and Jean

  • Scott tells Jean that he's going back to Alaska to find Maddie.

  • Scott sees Jean getting close with Angel as she comforts him, but then gives Scott a big kiss before he leaves to find Maddie. This is her way of saying "You may be choosing your wife, which is the right call, but you're still # 1 in my book over Warren." At least that's how I interpreted it.

  • Scott sees the red-headed corpse and comes to the conclusion (which I don't buy) that Maddie is dead.


  • Skids has a really hard time with her force field, but X-Factor is helping her work on it.

  • Caliban, Leach, Erg, Tar Baby, and Ape are living at the X-Factor facility now.

  • Artie and Leach are essentially besties now! Cute little guys.

  • Boom-Boom, first featured in Secret Wars Volume 2, decides to leave the Vanisher's petty crime group and join the X-Factor youngins.

  • Skids and Rusty are officially a couple, but they struggle with intimacy due to Rusty constantly setting things on fire when he gets horny (lol) and Skids not being able to take down her force field.

  • XF 15 - The Morlocks (Caliban, Masque, Tar-baby, Leach, Ape, and Erg) go back to the sewers, but some of them will be back. Skids stays with X-Factor and Rusty.

  • XF 16 - As Masque is attacking Rusty, Skids finds the motivation to drop her force field so she can strangle Masque to free Rusty. Masque takes off (dudes a creep). With her force field down, we're led to believe that the two of them can finally get down.


  • Apocalypse pops into the house of a teenage girl who can make matter (mostly food) disappear and collects her as Famine, his 3rd Horseman.

  • Master Mold identifies Scott as one of "The Twelve." Apparently there are 12 mutants in existence who have the power to lead mutankind to victory over the humans and it is his mission to eliminate them. We are shown Cyclops, Jean, Storm, Apocalypse, and Franklin Richards, but there are still 7 unidentified at this point. I wonder if this is a plot point that will be picked up and continued. I find it pretty captivating!


I want to point out that I see what Simonson is up to here with Cyclops. He made some shitty decisions. He was a poor husband and father before Jean came back. He stopped calling her, kept going on missions, and even missed the birth of his son. When he found out Jean was back and he couldn't get back in touch with Maddie, he didn't try very hard and she left him. All of that is a big black mark on Scott and the fact that he finally decided to go find her and make up for his failures is a big plot point.

What's happening here is that Maddie appears to be kidnapped or something and the focus is shifting from him making amends with his shitty acts and instead turning into the amazing super hero husband who is trying to save his wife and son. They are trying to shift the focus to him being apart from Maddie because she was kidnapped and not that she left him because he failed as a husband. While I think this cheapens his ability to truly make amends, I do think it will ultimately help to turn the Cyclops character around and get us back to liking him. I've never been a big Cyclops fan as I don't find him terribly relatable to me, but I've only recently started despising him due him being a bad provider (and I personally have a wife and 3 kids and find his acts unacceptable).

My Rating - 3/10

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