51: X-Factor 27 - 34 (Infectia and Ship)

What’s Covered?


X-Factor V1 # 27 - 34 (April - Nov '88)

Roster Watch


Synopsis



XF #27: X-mas one shot

In this issue, Jean decides to finally tell her folks that she's alive. She doesn't spend much time there as she's afraid her presence will put them in danger, much like her sister, but it is nice for her to FINALLY start living again.

This is a true filler issue. Hot on the heels of the good will X-Factor has received for saving the city, hundreds of presents are delivered to the ship (which is their new HQ). They decide to spend X-mas eve delivering presents to the orphans and kids who were injured in the battle for New York.


I also choose this image because I love when Jean picks up Leach and Artie and acts as a mother to them. So cute.


XF # 28 - 31: Infectia and Ship

The defenses are activated on Apocalypse's (which the team has been living on) and this entire issue is spent fighting off cannons, guns, and bombs deployed by the ship.

Eventually, with the help of the kids, they free the AI of the ship and it turns out it was held hostage by Apocalypse and is quite the benevolent entity. From this point forward it will be known only as "ship", will serve as the HQ of X-Factor, and the Ship AI will be an ally of the team. Quite convenient....

X-Factor is very public facing, unlike the X-Men ever were, so Cyclops explains to the city why the ship was firing off explosions but tries to calm them down now that they have it under control.

Here we are introduced to Infectia. She is a mutant who has the ability to kiss anyone (human or mutant) and transform them into a mindless beast who will do whatever she says. She decides that she wants to use this power to take over the ship (for some reason, never really explained).

Infectia's monsters, now called the Anti-bodies, are sent to attack the team on the ship. Cyclops had actually left to find his son, but then he came back to help his team-mates. Here we see Jean freaking out when the Anti-bodies were circling him and she ends up killing them all.


Checkin in with Jean and Scott

Following the Apocalypse story, Jean and Scott were back together and happy for a while. Rusty even says that Madelyn died a while ago and it's ok for Scott to move on, back to his old boo.

Rusty further reminds us that the only reason Scott married Maddie was because he thought Jean was dead. This was complicated for a while there, but now everything is back as it should be. Right? Wait, is there anything that can mess this up?

Ohhhhhhhhh shit. Well Fuck. So it turns out Maddie hasn't actually been dead for months. She was actually alive this whole time (while he was banging Jean again and gave up looking for Maddie). But now he finds out both that she was alive and he was cheating, that he technically gave us his search too early, and that she died again (which she actually didn't, but he doesn't know that, we'll save that reveal for Inferno). He also assumed that his son was with her the whole time and was presumed dead, but now he sees that Maddie is asking him to go find him. This is quite the soap opera! I love it though.

Scott rightfully questioning everything.

Cyclops goes back into solitude and self pity mode, of course. Let's also not forget that he just found out his brother, Havok, is dead too (He's not really, but he doesn't know that).

Let's not forget that this hits Jean hard too. Jean was a part of the X-Men and good friends with Storm, Wolverine, and Scott's brother Havok. I like that they mention Beast will have a hard time with this too, but he's "simple" right now so she decides not to over-stress him.

Ok, I put all of this together for a reason. I have a lot of...thoughts...about this. On one hand, I like that Jean puts her foot down and keeps the two of them together. I'm relieved we don't have to go through another cycle of "will they/won't they." What I don't like is that Jean is demonizing Maddie. Let me be clear, I don't fault Jean for this, I think it's logical from her perspective (a typical reaction for someone to mix facts with what they hope to be true), but I don't like how this distracts us from Scott's responsibility.


Scott left his wife for an old flame. He walked out on her. He walked out on his son. He did those things without any other influence. Yes, Maddie was eventually kidnapped and we are focusing on that, but that's not the reason they were estranged. He took a long time before he even tried to look for her. I also understand that we need to demonize (spoiler?) Maddie in this comic to make us feel better about him being with Jean, but Maddie was clearly in her right to be pissed at Scott who had consistently been a shitty husband and dad. Not to mention that she was kidnapped and in a coma for a long time, reducing the amount of time where she could have contacted Scott. Grrrrr.

 

Ok, let's get back X-Factor #30...

Scott and Jean head to Dallas to speak to Freedom Force, hoping they can answer questions about his son's whereabouts.

Of course, it turns into a battle. Luckily, a short lived one.

I added this here because I found it really entertaining. Most of Freedom Force are assholes, but Spiral is a real piece of work. She comments here on how Maddie was really speaking to Cyclops in her recording, rips on red heads, and asks Jean if it gets to her. What a villain!

Eventually the battle stops and Mystique shares that she doesn't know where his son is, but Destiny sees him "in a tiny coffin" and sends them back to New York. They'll find him soon enough during the next Inferno storyline.


What's up with Beast?

There is a romance a-brewing between Beast and Trish Tilby. She sees how gentle he is and has a soft spot for him. She also makes note that Artie and Leach are typical kids even though they look so different.

Trish travels with the team via telekinesis, holding hands. Awww. Cute couple.

In an interview, Trish told the public that Beast had deteriorating intelligence and Hank was pissed!

 

Alright, now back to # 31...

Infectia, who no one knew was behind the anti-bodies, decides to change her tactic and specifically woo Bobby. A few things to note here. First, Bobby is still shown as being immature and this is another example of him easily falling for her.


Second, Bobby has recently come out as gay so I mark this as the second time (Lorna Dane being the first time) when Iceman showed signs of being straight. It was an obvious retcon, but I still find it interesting to see HOW much cannon they are overwriting when the writers make a decision like that.

Infectia lures Bobby back to her base and is about to kiss him as the final step of her plan.

Beast, even with his lowered intellect, figured it all out and jumps in between them at the last moment, taking the kiss for himself.

Hank is turned into a Beast...but this is rather convenient. You see, Hank already has a Beast persona. And it turns out that his human persona was getting dumber, so this is actually the cure to all his problems, because now he's been transformed into his Beast persona, which also gives him back his intelligence. Like I said, convenient, but...comics.


XF # 32: One shot with the Carbon Copy Avengers

A bunch of Skrulls decide that they too (like Infectia) want to take over the ship. They take on the form of the Avengers and attack the team and ship.

Battle wages...

The kids join the battle and turn the tide.

Ok, so we see Cameron Hodge talking to a literal demon from Limbo. He agrees to give this demon the location of a bunch of mutant babies so they can be sacrificed. Ok, so Hodge is clearly evil with a capital E. Dude is literally selling his soul to demons and giving up infants to be eaten by monsters. This is another prelude to Inferno, but we'll see Hodge one more time before wrapping up this pre-Inferno arc.



My Connections

On the heels of Apocalypse and the Four Horseman, things slow way down. I know that's a hard act to follow, and the arc was large enough to warrant plenty of time to show after effects, but not a lot happened for about 7 issues straight. This run is still far more interesting than New Mutants at the moment.


We get a lot of setup for the upcoming Inferno crossover, we see what Warren's up to while he finds his new place in the world, the Alliance of Evil shows up again for no reason, Freedom Force says hello, the kids are developing more into heroes, Hodge is getting more evil, and we are introduced to our main Monster of the Week, Infectia.



Character Beats


What's Warren been up to?

We see Warren constantly lurking, but he never decides to help the team or to lift a finger to help his old team-mates. Will be re-join the team or stay evil?

Warren is on the hunt for Candy Southern. He knows she disappeared and he tracks down a lead that leads him to Trish.

We learn that Candy had tipped Trish off about X-Factor, however the path eventually leads back to Hodge, as we should have expected.


XF #34: Warren vs. Hodge

I'm not sure what to call him. His name is still Warren, so that's safe. To me, he is Archangel, but he hasn't been given that name yet in comic. He tells people his name is Death or the Angel of Death still, but I don't feel like calling him that. I'll stick with Warren. So Warren is plowing through some Smile-face creatures on his way to hodge. Interesting that Warren calls them "creatures." Up until this point I assumed they were humans in armor, but maybe they aren't. I wonder if we'll find out.

Hodge still talking to demons in Limbo.

Warren eventually finds his way to Hodge and an incapacitated Candy. Hodge explains that he was basically jealous and horrified of Warren as they were friends and he transformed. He admits that he was behind X-Factor, Warren's will, and the amputation of his wings. This is another cop out I don't like, where I think Warren made the decision to form X-Factor on his own, but oh well.

Unfortunately, Candy ends up dead when all is said and done. This is actually a huge revelation. While I've only covered Candy in small bites in this blog, she was a big player in the Defenders comic and had been with Warren for close to 20 years of publishing. I believe this is her true death and we won't be seeing her again in the future.


 

Human/Mutant Relations


We're going to be tracking what each super hero decides to do about the mutant registration act. Will they sign or will they not? Freedom Force is like the mutant census bureau, going around forcing people to sign up.

Beast signs, claiming that his true identity is already well known from his time as an Avenger. I like this piece of continuity. There really isn't much of a reason for him to resist, so he might as well sign it.

Cyclops speaks up for him, Jean, and Bobby. They will sign, but they won't use their real names.

Rusty refuses to sign the registration act, but he does agree to go with the authorities and face justice. This is way of speaking out against the act while also showing good will towards mutants and not living as a renegade.


My Rating - 6/10


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