Characters Appearing: Angel, Beast, Bishop, Boom Boom, Caliban, Cannonball, Cyclops, Famine (Horseman of Apocalypse), Feral, Gambit, Havok, Jean Grey, Madrox the Multiple Man, Mr. Sinister, Pirouette, Polaris, Prodigal, Professor X, Psylocke, Quicksilver, Rictor, Shatterstar, Siryn, Storm, Strong Guy, Sunspot, Taylor (X-Patriot), Valerie Cooper, War (Horseman of Apocalypse), Warpath, Wolfsbane, Wolverine
Issue(s): X-Factor #84
Meanwhile, Wolfsbane is getting out of control over Professor Xavier's condition, so Havok sends her on what he thinks will be a busywork mission before someone at the hospital realizes that if all these mutants care so much about Xavier, he might be a mutant himself. So he sends her to sniff around for clues in the park where Xavier was shot. He sends Strong Guy along with her.
When Wolfsbane gets to the site, she can't detect Cable specifically but she says that "somethin' seems familar". Which, perhaps coincidentally, is similar to how she described Stryfe in X-Factor #77.
Wolfsbane and Strong Guy see X-Force approaching. Strong Guy contacts Havok, who tells them to hold back, but Wolfsbane rushes out to greet Cannonball and kiss/bite Rictor.
Strong Guy comes on a bit, er, strong, but Wolfsbane tries to convince Cannonball that X-Force should turn themselves in. They refuse, and get into a fight, and soon Quicksilver and then the rest of X-Factor show up.
X-Force don't have a good showing. Cannonball's line from Aliens feels really appropriate.
Normally i'd attribute that to home book advantage, but in this case throughout the crossover it seems like X-Force aren't quite the kick ass soldiers that i thought they've grown up to be. I don't mind them losing to the X-Men, but X-Factor are a fairly hodge-podge and uncoordinated bunch, so i would have liked to see X-Force's rigorous training beating out the raw power advantage that X-Factor have (thinking mainly of Havok, Polaris, and Quicksilver). But X-Force flee in their already damaged stolen SHIELD IPAC vehicle. Havok blasts it with his powers, succeeding in his effort to damage it so that it will leave a trail.
A group of X-Men then show up, intending to tag along.
What's a little weird is that they don't follow right away. They first head back to the hospital. I'm not sure how good a trail of smoke is if you let it dissipate.
It's established that Professor X has been shot with something that has given him a technovirus that is turning his living tissue into a mechanical organism.
Meanwhile, we find out that the Horsemen of Apocalypse have been duped. They're really working for Mr. Sinister.
In this issue, Archangel is upset about his wings and is vowing to go after Apocalypse.
I thought maybe this was a case of Peter David not being aware of what Jean Grey said to Angel in Uncanny X-Men #293, but this goes on throughout the crossover.
These issues were my first encounter with the X-Patriots, since i hadn't been reading X-Factor in realtime. I didn't think much of what i saw here.
In retrospect, i was probably weirded out a bit by Jae Lee's art. I also can't blame Peter David for not developing this situation out for new readers, since he's said that he was limited to a page or two of ongoing subplots during the crossover. It's actually a shame that Peter David's X-Patriot plot wasn't worked into the story somehow. Several times during this crossover there are lines reinforcing the "defending a world that hates and fears them" theme, but the truth is that the villain's motivation in this story is all about personal vengeance and has nothing to do with mutant rights. Which seems to be the case more often than not in X-Men comics. And there was a perfectly good example of actual mutant persecution just laying here, and no one was doing anything with it.
Still, a lot to like here. Peter David is great with characterization and dialogue, and he's good about using the connection between Wolfsbane and the other former New Mutants to create some tension (and it's fun to see Wolfsbane call Feral a "two-bit copycat"). I also like the way things have unfolded so that X-Force are on the run. They've always been the "outlaw" group, but sometimes it was hard to understand exactly why that was the case. With Cable being suspected of killing Professor X, there's a solid and immediate reason, and they work well in that role.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: This is part two of X-Cutioner's Song. Part three is in X-Men #14. See Uncanny X-Men #294's Considerations regarding the placement of this crossover for X-Factor, but here is the panel where i'm ignoring the word "yesterday".
Crossover: X-Cutioner's Song
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
It's too bad Peter David quit X-Factor over having to do crossovers. The X-line badly needed his writing talent and the early 90s were probably his creative peak. In addition to Hulk and X-Factor, this was also around when he wrote his most acclaimed Star Trek novels.
Posted by: Red Comet | May 6, 2016 2:41 PM
Re:Cannonball's death- Wolfsbane knew because Sauron told her in X-Factor 82.
Posted by: Michael | May 6, 2016 7:54 PM
Ah, thanks regarding Sauron telling Wolfsbane about Cannonball's death, Michael.
Posted by: fnord12 | May 6, 2016 10:01 PM
The lettering on that page with Mr. Sinister, I don't know when Marvel switched to computer lettering full-time, but that page just leaps out as being the wrong way to do computer lettering.
Posted by: ChrisW | May 7, 2016 2:24 AM
ChrisW, 1995 is pretty much when the X-books led the way for full-time lettering, although Generation X was the trendsetter in late 1994. It's still a few years out. Considering that, it's a pretty good attempt to sneak a page for a publishing experiment.
What I found annoying about the hand lettering in this crossover is the use of using sound effects like lettering for characters shouting. I assume it's supposed to be shouting, since other words are bolded as usual. This page has some tolerable uses of the technique, but the issues done by Oakley and Eliopoulos were awkward to my eye. It's an experiment that Harras will ditch in a few months, so someone must have changed their mind. I know Claremont and Orzechowski did a little of it, but every other page had characters shouting logos and "YOU!" and it was excessive.
Posted by: Brian C. Saunders | May 9, 2016 12:49 AM
The logos used in dialogue bubbles would certainly show up in comic books published by DC. I remember the Supergirl 90's run announcing Superman's arrival with his logo in the speech bubble, instead of the normal lettering.
As for the cross over this was probably one of the books that actively got me into X-Men, aside from my introduction in the long awaited Fatal Attractions/Dreams End cross over, cannot wait for that review. I remember specifically wanting more Wolverine and Cyclops and the comic shop guy recommended for my father, possibly because he had multiples of these beauties in hand, the X-Cutioners Song back issues. I have to say it was a good decision for him to make, then and now, because even though the art is inconsistent throughout all the titles, the story does make sense. Compare that to Traitor, or the Clone Saga.
Posted by: Darren Hood | May 10, 2016 1:20 PM
X-Factor was the only one of the four X-books that I didn't start getting regularly again after the crossover and the art was the reason. I hated it viciously. And it would have been one thing to just be art I didn't like, but the art was so vastly different than the other three books that it always made reading the three X-Factor chapters jarring. I did like the humor in the book, but it just wasn't enough.
Posted by: Erik Beck | May 13, 2016 7:23 AM
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