Issue(s): X-Factor #34
The Right has help from demons sent by N'astirh, per the agreement made with Cameron Hodge last issue.
In return, Hodge is using the Right's resources to locate babies for N'astirh. And he's making crazy talk from the Bible to justify his actions.
Note that Hodge has sent N'astirh to an orphanage, but N'astirh's demons found only older mutant children there. Hodge says the infants are on the lower level. We'll see this orphanage next issue. N'astirh then withdraws his demons, but promises Hodge that he won't die and that the Right will prosper.
We'll see this conversation from N'astirh's point of view in X-Terminators #2.
With the demons gone, Angel is able to confront Hodge directly.
Hodge confirms that he went after Candy because she found out about Hodge's connection to the Right and was going to the press. But it's also because she loved Warren (and, weirdly, "You turned from me and loved her"). Hodge says that her mind is already gone and her body's on life support.
During the fight, Angel claims that he doesn't want to kill Hodge, but can't control his wings.
Hodge exacerbates the situation by pulling Candy's life-support, and Angel beheads him.
In the end, Angel reaffirms that he's really "Death, and also calls himself the "Dark Angel". Well, that's just one extra consonant away from the Archangel name he'll eventually settle on.
This is pretty much an Angel solo issue, but there is an interlude with Jean and Cyclops. Jean is just returning from having dropped off Artie and Leech in X-Terminators #1, and Iceman is still away with the older kids. And Beast is also out helping the Avengers.
And Cyclops is almost out the door, too. He's on his way to go to the orphanage that Ship helped Cyclops remember after Destiny's vision from the previous arc. Jean goes with him.
For all intents and purposes this is part of the Inferno storyline but the official crossover indicator won't be on the cover until two issues from now. It's a nice build up to that. It's also nice seeing Scott and Jean not angsting as much (or at least not hallucinating) and actually being a couple. Although if she has to remind him every issue that he's not alone anymore, i will personally go back in time and kick him. We'll of course have to expect a little regression as we go into Inferno and he encounters Madelyne again.
This is mostly an Angel issue. It's worth noting that he's not been a member of the team since circa issue #14. This issue gives Angel a confrontation with Hodge, the guy responsible for the loss of his wings, after Hodge's weird seeming death in New Mutants. It's interesting to see the inner conflict between Angel and his evil wings. It allows Angel to be a violent killer while still keeping Angel as a good guy. In that sense there's a lot of similarities between him and Wolverine trying to keep his inner savage in check, and Deathlok's man vs. killing computer theme, and Angel is definitely a prime example of the late 80s rise of the violent hero.
The death of Candy is a lame one. It's more or less off panel, since by the time we get here, she's already said to be brain dead. Not at all a fitting end for a longstanding supporting character and the onetime leader of the Defenders. It seems the goal was to clear the decks to allow Angel to become a Wolverine-style killer character with some tragedy but no actual support cast. It'll be Scott Lobdell of all people who brings her back so that he can kill her again with some dignity (that sounds awful, and i guess it is, but it really is better than what happened here).
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: For Angel, this continues directly from last issue, but X-Terminators #1 takes place prior to and concurrently with this issue for the rest of X-Factor. And Beast is gone because he's "away helping the Avengers", and he appears in Hulk #350 and Avengers annual #17 before next issue. X-Terminators #2 will show that this takes place concurrently with that issue as well, and also with Uncanny X-Men #238. See the Considerations and Comments on Power Pack #40 regarding N'astirh's chronology.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (7): show
I'm of two minds on Candy's death. On the one hand, she deserved some bad karma for her role in the X-Factor scam, which increased mutant prejudice and led to at least one death. OTOH, it's unfair that she has to pay for it when none of the original five, except Angel, do. At least she didn't go out trying to kill babies.
Posted by: Michael | August 9, 2014 1:22 PM
Hodge in the hood and mask looks like Grelber from the Broom Hilda comic strip.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 9, 2014 3:00 PM
Although the "evil gay" thing IS somewhat unfortunate given the overall lack of gay characters in comics at the time--and the questionable portrayals of many of the LGBT characters that were around--I don't think it was that bad of an issue here.
Hodge's implied love for Warren may have motivated *some* of his evil behaviour (and there is certainly enough real life examples of repressed homosexuality motivating evil behaviour--such as closet-case bullies), but it wasn't responsible for ALL of it. Hodge clearly had some other mental issues going on.
Posted by: Dermie | August 9, 2014 5:55 PM
And, for someone developed less than three years before as just a guy that Warren knew from school (not even established as that rich), we already have three "deaths", none of which stick.
Posted by: Erik Beck | August 11, 2015 7:10 AM
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