Issue(s): X-Factor #26
During the course of that, Scott and Jean work out their situation. Scott says that he never really loved Madelyne Pryor, and in any event, she's dead now, and so is Phoenix.
And Scott's bout with madness is a thing of the past.
So the two of them are free to have their own relationship.
Scott also says that he should now have time to investigate the murder of his wife and son.
It's not all smiles and rainbows, though. Angel is still showing signs of Apocalypse's influence and even talking in villain-speak.
And the Beast's intelligence continues to fade.
But the good news there is that Trish Tilby sees the hero in him. The Beast also shows a romantic interest in Tilby.
Tilby says that she was tipped off to the Warren/X-Factor relationship by Candy Southern.
The group decide to stay in Apocalypse's Ship, and even briefly wear Horseman costumes...
...until one of the people they rescued turns out to be a tailor that makes them new costumes (never been a fan of the brown & yellow color scheme for the Beast).
I talked in the entry for issues #24-25 about Apocalypse's motivations and how he's happy as long as the strong survive and therefore can never lose. But his goal was to help feed the anti-mutant sentiment by unleashing a pointless attack on America (mostly New York City, but Famine also attacked American farmlands in the Captain America tie-in). And he did approve of Cameron Hodge's actions in earlier issues. But if you look at what triggered him to start his plans with X-Factor, it was after Cyclops started talking about the futility of patching up relations with humans, and then Jean Grey strongly pushed back against that. And Apocalypse, monitoring them, sees danger in Jean Grey's argument because "peace is not part of my plan". So he teleports the team to his ship. But those actions ultimately result in X-Factor bridging the gap with humans, as we see in this issue. Apocalypse is left to hope that the fact that humans can't enter his ship will prove divisive.
(Note also he claims his ship is the "least" of his bases, something that sounds like sour grapes to me considering its Celestial origins.)
So it seems that Apocalypse really was defeated in this arc, although it's only the proverbial temporary setback. And like his other seeming defeats, he still seems quite pleased about X-Factor's win.
Notice also Caliban, wearing a Horsemen costume and having seemingly gone through a treatment to turn his skin gold.
Meanwhile, X-Factor have become heroes of the city. That's a really good premise for a mutant team, and in theory it's at a perfect time. With the Fantastic Four's membership having drastically changed, and the Avengers having withdrawn from the city thanks to their Mansion being destroyed, X-Factor really should have become the primary official heroes of the city, which would have allowed us to contrast a "mutant heroes as goodwill ambassadors" path vs. the X-Men's outlaw strikeforce. Things don't really go in that direction, though, and unfortunately the angst doesn't really go away, and these issues wind up being a high point for the series. In fact i'd venture that when people look back on this series and say (as i used to) that the book gets much better when Louise Simonson takes over from Bob Layton, it's these issues they have in mind. But it really took too long to get here and doesn't really remain at these heights going forward. Still, this is definitely a great period for the book.
Quality Rating: A-
Chronological Placement Considerations: I broke up the X-Factor Fall of the Mutant issues to fit in the Power Pack, Captain America, and Daredevil tie-ins, which take place concurrently with X-Factor #25. In this issue, the crisis is pretty much over and we're just dealing with the aftermath. The final tie-in is in Fantastic Four #312, which takes place after this issue, during the parade that begins at the end here.
Crossover: Fall of the Mutants
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (4): showAngel, Apocalypse, Beast, Caliban, Cyclops, Famine (Horseman of Apocalypse), Iceman, Jean Grey, Ship (Prosh), Trish Tilby, War (Horseman of Apocalypse)
Agreed, I've said it before (somewhere) that the Mutant Massacre storyline up until this issue were the highlights. Looking back, I agree, It might have taken a bit too long to get to this point. This issue should have been the start of X-Factor being the new FF, the guys that everyone looks to to save the city, instead...we got nothing interesting of note. I think it picks up slightly with Judgement Wars but the stories just seem to clamber along.
I still look back and see Louise as the definitive X-Factor writer, though. Better than PAD.
Posted by: JSfan | May 13, 2014 6:23 PM
The description of Scott's marriage to Maddie really isn't consistent with what we actually saw.
Posted by: Michael | May 13, 2014 9:58 PM
I don't think Caliban's skin is gold there, it's just one of Apocalypse's weird gold masks that all the Horsemen wear, that can move when the wearer speaks. His just happens to cover his entire head because he has no hair.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | May 13, 2014 11:00 PM
JSfan, I agree with you. I think issues 10-26 were really building something, and I was looking forward to X-Factor taking off in a new status quo, but Simonson really misfires with a lot of uninteresting stories.
Posted by: Chris | May 14, 2014 12:35 AM
He past six issues or so probably are X-Factor's peak. The problem is, Louise Simonson reached that peak by negating the series original, seriously flawed premise: these issues see the team fighting against that premise in a literal way, with the battles against Hodge and the right, and in a figurative way, by becoming heroes to New York after debating Apocalypse. Good stuff, but then what--what's the new premise?
Simonson never really establishes one: for the next year the book coasts by on the new Archangel's kewl factor and the overplot becomes resolving two subplots: tying up loose ends with the Right and getting to the bottom of the Marauders/Maddie/missing baby mystery. That too is pretty good, but doesn't provide a long-term theme, threat, or raison d'etre.
Ironically, what makes these issues a highlight is a (necessary) act of destruction that winds up depriving the series if a focus without supplying a new one.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | May 17, 2014 8:33 PM
Walter, you brought up a very good point I never thought of before. The reason is that I never viewed the "mutants disguised as mutant hunters" as the series premise. The premise in my mind was always "Xavier's students have grown up and decided to build the dream he left them." In which case, #26 should have been the launchpad for establishing the premise since the whole mutant hunter angle acted more as a detour and hazard than a roadmap.
I remember very clearly what I thought was going to happen.
1) X-Factor meets some of their original villains - particularly the old Brotherhood of Mutants, not the Freedom Force replacements. I think using some of the old villains (Mastermind, Unus) with some of the newer ones (the Alliance of Evil) would make a good team of antagonists. Of course, eventually they'd meet up with Magneto, whose presence as schoolmaster is more or less what brought them all together.
2) Bring back a better balance of mutant heroes as people society both values, but fears. The anti-mutant angle was being hit particularly hard, and really needed a softening. That X-Factor achieved a level of acceptance the X-Men never did was something the Marvel Universe really needed.
3) Re-establish the school somehow, and introduce supporting characters that could run it while X-Factor did their normal superhero work.
4) With normal society back in a somewhat "safe" mode, use the new villains introduced and others to juxtapose X-Factor - have them fight both extreme anti-mutant villains (Hodge and the Right) and extreme anti-human mutants (or at least mutants that represented a real threat to humanity). It was high time for the Hellfire Club to be exposed, and that would have introduced a lot of good tension in the book.
Of course, nothing like that ever turns out.
Posted by: Chris | June 12, 2014 9:54 PM
"He doesn't mention that he quit the team only after he failed to beat Storm in a contest for leadership."
I always thought he didn't win because subconsciously he wanted to go away from the X-Men and this gave him the perfect excuse.
Posted by: clyde | June 12, 2015 1:59 PM
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