The Transparent Fox:
Characters Appearing: Forge, Havok, Madrox the Multiple Man, Polaris, Random, Strong Guy, Wolfsbane
Issue(s): X-Factor #95
Actually, she does that repeatedly.
It eventually comes out that Random was hired by a government agency to test her capabilities. He says he doesn't remember which agency (and he could be lying about the whole thing, ofc).
Anyway, that's the action for the issue. The majority of the issue is Forge challenging Havok about the composition of X-Factor, getting Havok to describe and defend his teammates. It's kind of like a poor man's imitation of issue #87.
Then, at the very end, Wolfsbane shows up.
The final splash panel feels like a cliffhanger, with Wolfsbane about to eat Havok. But that's just because of the overwrought 90s art. This is just Wolfsbane returning to the team, apparently with her Genoshan brainwashing problem not having been resolved.
This series is going to be a hard slog now that Peter David is gone, isn't it? Or will it get better once J.M. DeMatteis can write his own plots, starting with next issue? Stay tuned, if you can stay awake.
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: In the conversation with Forge, we learn that Val Cooper (who has been hanging around despite Forge coming on board) is now gone for real, destination classified. That seems to place this after X-Force #27-28, when Val seems to still be representing X-Factor (alongside Forge). But it's also in this conversation that it's said that Quicksilver is on an extended leave of absence (he'll be appearing with the Avengers for Bloodties). A problem with that is that next issue takes place during the Bloodties storyline, while X-Force #27-28 takes place after Bloodties. So it seems Val being unavailable to X-Factor doesn't yet mean that she's completely out of the picture (yet), and this can take place before X-Force #27-28.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
In 1996 (during Onslaught) Random is implied to have been working for Dark Beast here (and in all his appearances in X-Factor) but I think in between then and now we get a different explanation of his motives. I suppose he could be working for two groups. He's a complex guy.
Posted by: Greg T | February 20, 2017 8:31 PM
In X-Factor 102-105, we learn that Malice took control of a government official and hired Random to attack Polaris. I think the most likely explanation is that Dark Beast hired Random to get close to Alex and Malice hired him to attack Polaris, so he decided to kill two birds with one stone.
Posted by: Michael | February 20, 2017 10:16 PM
Random's powers also shift around: he started out with Random power that he needs" abilities but turns into a kind of organic T-1000 and nothing else starting around this time. PAD liked characters with "manifest any power set" abilities: the Wild Man in Hulk a few years down the line and the Isolationist in his second X-Factor run much later are variations on the themes. (I guess you could say Piecemeal is, too.)
DeMatteis does some ok issues. You'll think they're Alan Moore-quality once you get to the Mackie run after this!
Posted by: Walter Lawson | February 20, 2017 10:20 PM
This series is going to be a hard slog now that Peter David is gone, isn't it?
Pretty much, yeah. It basically gets progressively worse. DeMatteis is fine here (but no David), then John Francis Moore does some stuff that's...fine, but looks like high art next to Mackie, whose work is more or less atrocious, and then (after far too much time), it's all mercifully over.
But there is some nice Steve Epting art during at least some of that! And Peter David's return to the characters/series in the 00s is entertaining!
Posted by: Austin Gorton | March 1, 2017 9:51 AM
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