Issue(s): X-Factor #16
...and even with not fully examining the implications of these current events (i.e., not wondering what the Mutant Massacre was all about, not searching for Sara, not investigating who might have killed Madelyne or looking for the baby, accepting Angel's suicide at face value, etc.). It can't go on forever, but for now it makes sense that the team is just too shellshocked to act on anything. The upheaval is also reflected in the chaos that's depicted whenever X-Factor's young wards are shown; instead of the orderly training sessions run by Professor Xavier, we usually see the kids running amok, smashing furniture and fighting with each other.
This issue, with guest art by David Mazzucchelli, does take a break from all the chaos to focus on the kids, who are largely without adult supervision after an initial training session with Skids and Rusty.
We learn that Skids was the victim of child abuse...
...making her origins nearly identical to Boom Boom's, except that her forcefield power and the inability to turn it off work as a metaphor representing her subconscious desire to not let people get close.
Rusty's flame power, meanwhile, represents the fiery sexual passions of adolescents and all their inherent dangers.
This issue recalls that Rusty badly burnt a prostitute in his first appearance, and we learn from an unsympathetic Cameron Hodge that X-Factor has been paying for her treatment.
Rusty sees a path to redemption in the powers of Masque, and secretly makes a deal with the untrustworthy Morlock to restore the woman's face in return for letting him mess with his own. The X-Factor wards then engage in a covert operation...
...to bring the woman, whose full name we learn is Emma LaPorte, to the Morlock tunnels.
Emma, it turns out, has had a religious conversion and is now quite the zealot.
When the truth comes out about Rusty's deal, she declines to become a part of it and instead joins the Morlocks with the intent of converting them to Christianity.
This has an all's-well-that-ends-well feel to it, but it's hard to not see Emma's religious zealotry as anything other than a coping mechanism for the horrible trauma she's been put through.
Nonetheless, this is enough for Rusty to get past the guilt he was feeling, and Boom Boom and Artie leave Rusty and Skids alone in the tunnels so they can practice controlling their powers in a way wherein adult supervision wouldn't really be welcome.
It's said that Erg is now the leader of the Morlocks.
In and of itself, it's a decent issue that gets back to core mutant-as-adolescent themes, but every pause in the barrage of madness Simonson is inflicting on the adult team gives a moment to ask "Why aren't they doing anything about ______?".
X-Factor annual #3 shows a rejected cover for this issue by David Mazzuchelli that i think is better than the one that was used.
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: Iceman is in Asgard for the duration of this story, and no one notices that he's missing.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): showArtie Maddicks, Boom Boom, Cameron Hodge, Cyclops, Emma LaPorte, Jean Grey, Masque, Rusty Collins, Skids
Cyclops didn't notice Iceman missing because he's off on his own little pity-party. He really was a dirtbag for a long number of issues. IMO his attitude can't be explained away in any good context.
Posted by: clyde | March 9, 2014 6:54 PM
NO ONE realized Iceman was missing because Beast wasn't paying attention when Iceman was kidnapped right behind him. Wow, I'm really getting a hate-on for Cyclops vibe around here... lol!
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | March 10, 2014 12:35 AM
When X-Factor was previewed in Marvel Age's upcoming in 1987 issue, it was implied that both Angel and Iceman would die.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | March 13, 2014 3:40 PM
Because you demanded it, the original X-Men! But uh, we'll kill two of them? I'm glad they didn't.
As much as i like Simonson, that Mazzucchelli cover is way better, very iconic and eye-catching. Kind of a pity Rusty and Skids became cannon fodder.
Posted by: PeterA | April 17, 2016 2:07 AM
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