Characters Appearing: Beatrice Conners, Gorgeous George, Hairbag, Havok, Madrox the Multiple Man, Malice (Marauder), Mr. Sinister, Polaris, Quicksilver, Ramrod (Nasty Boy), Random, Ruckus, Slab, Strong Guy, Valerie Cooper, Wolfsbane
Issue(s): X-Factor #103, X-Factor #104, X-Factor #105
Issue #103 starts off with a fun bit: Strong Guy and Wolfsbane on a roadtrip with Random to go see Strong Guy's family.
Really love Jan Duursema art, and DeZago's scripting isn't bad.
Random pretends to not like family gatherings (although the story makes clear that isn't the case), and leaves after dropping them off. Strong Guy's cousin worries that he might become a mutant, but spending the day with Strong Guy and Wolfsbane convinces him to accept whatever may come. Strong Guy also meets an old girlfriend, Mary, who says that she *choke* isn't interested in rekindling anything.
The main plot, though, begins with Polaris seeking out Havok, who has gone to Hawaii to sulk after the death of Madrox. She manages to get him to lighten up. Unfortunately, Malice (still possessing Beatrice Conners, although it's spelled Connors here) has also tracked them.
Malice possesses Havok and attacks Polaris.
Wolfsbane, still at Strong Guy's family's house, senses that Havok is in trouble but she's not supposed to have a bond with him anymore, so Strong Guy convinces her that she's just experiencing some "leftover psychic debris or something".
Polaris fights the possessed Havok for an interminable period of time.
Valerie Cooper appears briefly in issue #103, reporting to a shadowy figure at the Pentagon about X-Factor's mission to Haven and the death of Madrox. The official is very concerned about the Legacy Virus, but Val, afraid of setting off a panic, doesn't admit that Madrox had contracted it. In issue #104, she learns about the fight in Hawaii and tries to call in the team's "reserve member", Quicksilver. But Quicksilver is busy with the Avengers.
So Val takes X-Factor's ship and picks up Strong Guy and Wolfsbane, and heads to Hawaii. And it's good timing because Malice seemingly has reinforcements as well.
But Malice is actually pursuing a personal vendetta against Polaris against Mr. Sinister's orders. He sends his Nasty Boys to capture Malice, with strict instructions to not hurt Havok. The art on issue #105 is by Bryan Hitch, and it looks pretty sloppy compared to Duursema's.
Eventually Polaris threatens to kill Havok, saying that she knows the horrors of being possessed all too well and she's not willing to let Havok suffer through it.
Mr. Sinister says that the only thing to do is to let Malice possess Polaris again. Polaris agrees, but Havok doesn't want to let Polaris get re-possessed, so they fight over who gets Malice, and Malice seemingly dies in the tug-of-war.
Mr. Sinister had better do something actually sinister soon or he runs the risk of losing his super-villain status.
Meanwhile, it seems that Madrox is back, but he's surprised to see himself in a picture with X-Factor.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Takes place concurrently with or maybe slightly before Avengers #375. Quicksilver says that the Avengers have an "extreme emergency of our own". Val is also unable to reach the X-Men at the Mansion, suggesting that the takeover by the Phalanx has already begun. Next issue is a middle chapter in the Phalanx Covenant crossover.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
"You're tearing me apart, Alex and Lorn!"
Is it me, or has Random evolved into a Hunter S. Thompson pastiche under DeMatteis' pen? Or is it just the gritted teeth, constant cigar-chomping, and driving around everywhere that evokes Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas to me?
Posted by: Morgan Wick | November 3, 2017 6:57 PM
"Beginning with these issues, Todd DeZago is scripting and co-plotting. Normally in a situation like this, i'd assume that J.M. DeMatteis was already "off" this book and DeZago was just working off his plot outlines (and these issues definitely continue the plot that was set up last issue). But there's a formal goodbye in the lettercol to DeMatteis in issue #106 which makes it sound like he had still been actively around." DeZago claimed in an interview that he was working from a bare-bones outline DeMatteis gave him- this was his first work as a comic book writer.
Posted by: Michael | November 3, 2017 7:54 PM
That art in 105 sure looks like Bryan Hitch, not Jan Duursema.
Descriptions of these issues in the checklists of Marvel Age, or maybe Bullpen Bulletins or CSN, made it sound like Malice was going to try to take out Sinister, from what I remember.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | November 3, 2017 8:53 PM
I’m lost. When Quicksilver left the X-Factor? Was it explicit? Did anyone care? Was he in Madrox’s funeral or showed any emotion?
Posted by: Lecen | November 3, 2017 11:22 PM
Whoops, you're right Walter. Thanks.
Lecen, Quicksilver kind of stuck with the X-Men during Fatal Attractions and then went over to the Avengers after kind of making amends with Crystal during Boodties. (At the moment, the post-Bloodties Avengers issues aren't covered on this site.)
Madrox's actual funeral wasn't shown on panel, but it's possible that Quicksilver could have attended.
Posted by: fnord12 | November 4, 2017 1:01 AM
We learned of it from Forge in X-Factor #95, Lecen. It happened behind the scenes at some point between #94 and #95. Almost immediately after he participated in the Bloodties crossover alongside the X-Men and, IIRC correctly, just hung around with the Avengers since then. It may become more clear once the entries for Avengers #370-375 are online.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | November 4, 2017 7:24 AM
"Havok wonders if Cyclops felt as bad when Thunderbird died in Uncanny X-Men #94. That would be a big No, honestly."
To be fair, Scott worked with Thunderbird for one issue and he died in combat when he could have relented and let Sean save him. Alex and Jamie were friends for 15 years in real time and used to live together on Muir Island and have been teammates in X-Factor for another 20 issues. Alex has a lot more reason to be upset.
I hope there's a scene in the fight where Lorna changes clothes. Otherwise, that's awfully odd to go from a negligee (you could claim it's a swimsuit, but it looks more like lingerie to me) from her uniform.
Posted by: Erik Beck | November 4, 2017 9:10 AM
There is a scene where Polaris goes back to the hotel and changes into her uniform and tries to contact Forge for help. That's also when she learns that Malice had been possessing Beatrice Conners.
Posted by: fnord12 | November 4, 2017 11:29 AM
In Avengers 372, Pietro is still recovering from Exodus's attack and walking with a cane and Cap tells Pietro that he's found a home with X-Factor but he's welcome to return to the Avengers. Then Avengers 372-375 take place and Pietro goes into action as an Avenger again. Which makes it odd that Val would ask him for help- maybe she didn't realize how badly Pietro was hurt or expected him to ask Crystal to do the actual fighting?
Posted by: Michael | November 4, 2017 11:29 AM
I think Bob Harras played a part in Quicksilver being folded back into the Avengers, considering at the time he was the writer of that book and the main editor of the X-Men books.
Posted by: Matthew | November 4, 2017 1:10 PM
Comments are now closed.
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