X-Factor # 63 - 68
XF # 63 - 64: Opal Kidnapped by Cyborg Samurai's
While Bobby is out with his girlfriend, Opal Tanaka, a group of cyborg samurai's show up and kidnap her. Apparently Opal is the granddaughter of a major crimelord in Japan who employs this Cyburai soldiers.
Bobby and Jean head to Japan and enlist the help of Mariko Yashida to try to rescue her, but Bobby's impulsiveness unravel their plans.
Eventually Bobby faces the lead Cyberai, Hiro, in 1 on 1 combat and even though Bobby essentially loses, Hiro is shown to be a redeemable character and lets them leave.
The grandfather, palace, and remaining Cyberai are destroyed and Opal is returned home safely.
XF # 65 - 68: Apocalypse and Baby Nathan
Claremont's writing this? Might as well start with a danger room sequence! Beautiful too.
We're introduced to Apocalypse's next batch of Henchman, the Riders of the Storm. The 4 Horseman didn't work out, Caliban ditched him, the Alliance of Evil was always lame and I fear this group won't be much better. I've never heard of any of them so I'm guessing they won't have any staying power.
Regardless, their names are Foxbat, Gauntlet, Tusk, Barrage, Psynapse, and Hard-Drive.
Warren is officially dating officer Charlotte Jones. Glad to see they are still doing well. I can appreciate that she is a strong female character and this comic highlights diversity (A black and blue person dating), but it's hard to get terrible invested in Opal or Charlotte without them having powers and knowing they won't have staying power.
I love these slice of life conversations. Oh yea, Claremont is scripting. Of course it's good. It's good to see Scott being Scott, yet a bit vulnerable. In the danger room scene he was hard on Bobby's case and they got in a little argument. Here Scott is talking about how his leadership, or other's failed leadership, might have led to the death of various mutants. Jean reminds him that they are only human.
The Riders of the Storm attack the team and they battle for quite some time.
Speaking of clearing the table for the re-boot, Jean suddenly gets her full telepathy back during this arc.
While X-Factor thought they won due to beating several members of the Storm, Apocalypse and Hard-Drive were busy infecting Ship.
Much of this issue is spent showing the team protecting New York from Ship. As it's infected by a virus, it is lashing out at the city.
As Foxbat goes for baby Nathan, a portal opens up and a mysterious lady named Askani shows up claiming that she was sent from the future to protect "Lord Nathan."
Ship sends itself into space to protect the people of earth, but it is blown up. From this point forward, Ship will no longer function as the base of operations for the team. Ship will appear again in other incarnations, but the floating Ship is now dead.
The team finds itself on the moon with the Inhumans.
Apocalypse has turned much of the Inhuman population into his slaves. They are led into battle by numerous android versions of Apocalypse as they try to capture Nathan and destroy X-Factor.
X-Factor and the Inhumans band together to fight off Apocalypse.
Apocalypse begins conducting tests on Nathan.
Cyclops takes on big A to get his son back. More mentions of Professor Xavier to remind us he exists before he re-enters the series.
X-Factor needs to fight the Riders of the Storm one last time before they can free Nathan.
Jean is able to use her telepathy and senses something is wrong with Nathan.
Baby Nathan is infected by the same virus infecting Ship and he will certainly die. Askani explains that she is from a future that is ravaged by Apocalypse. Nathan grows up to be their lord and savior and she can take him with her to be saved in the future.
I actually don't know much about Askani. She keeps calling Nathan brother, calling Scott her kinsman, and she has red hair. Is this Rachel from the future!?
Cyclops agrees to send Nathan with her and Askani lets him know that he can't return.
The watcher looks on approvingly.
My Connections and Creators
Issues 63 - 64 signal the end of Louise Simonson on X-Factor. I'm going to do an entire blog soon providing a retrospective on this era of X-Factor, but I'll say now that she did an admirable job digging this comic out of the hole it was left in by Bob Layton and Jim Shooter. Not a great job, but an admirable job considering what was left to her. It's too bad she went out on such a lackluster story. #63 - 64 is a well written story and beautifully drawn by Whilce Portacio, but it just isn't a hugely impactful story considering that it centers around a satellite character, Opal Tanaka, and only features two X-Men (Jean and Bobby).
65 - 68 on the otherhand, is an amazing story. Jim Lee and Whilce Portacio provide the plot, Chris Claremont provides the scripting (I believe it's his first time on the comic), and Portacio brings the pencils as well. This is an epic story that involves Apocalypse, the end of Ship, the first appearance of the Askani, and ultimately leads to baby Nathan being sent into the future where he will become Cable. I wonder if this story was created simply to "clear the deck" for the upcoming re-boot, freeing Cyclops from needing to raise a baby or if this was done specifically because of Cable. Perhaps both. Regardless, this is a great story capping off the original era of X-Factor before Peter David will take over with the re-booted team.
It's good to get some time with Scott and Jean being in a normal relationship. In the original run they were playing will they/won't she. Then shortly after getting together, Jean became the Phoenix. Then she was dead for years. When she came back, there was the drama since Madelyn was still in the picture. This is a period of time where they can just be together and I think that's all we ever wanted.
My Rating - 8/10
Next up, we'll watch the New Mutants transform into X-Force. Do you like Deadpool? Do you like X-Force!? Check it out!
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