Issue(s): X-Factor #63, X-Factor #64
Storywise, it seems Iceman's romance with Opal was getting positive feedback so someone decided to make that relationship front and center. But instead of just letting it be a normal relationship, they have Opal find out that she's actually part of a Yakuza crime family or something, and of course they have ultra powerful cyborgs. This is ridiculous. Opal was the girl that worked at the record shop. Just a normal girl who could react to the world of Iceman, the mutants and the giant alien spaceship. Now (because she happened to be Asian?) she's tied in with a bunch of nonsense.
So this is essentially an Iceman solo story, with him going to rescue Opal, who has been kidnapped by the cyber Yakuza.. Jean Grey tags along, and they hook up Mariko Yashida when they get there.
The rest of X-Factor stay behind. Note that Cyclops, Iceman, and Jean are all wearing generic X-Costumes, like the X-Men at this point. I'd love to see Archangel in one of those (not really!).
As Iceman and Jean are leaving, there's a comment about Ship malfunctioning. That's a set-up for the next arc.
Opal eventually gets a little Stockholm Syndrome-y with one of the cyber gangsters, Tatsu'o, and he turns out to be Not Such A Bad Guy who lets Iceman beat him in a hand to hand, no powers fist fight for Opal.
At least one reader finds it implausible that all these new cyborg characters are coming out of nowhere; he asks in the lettercol for issue #66 if they are possibly connected to Spiral's Body Shoppe. The response promises to deal with the Cyber-Warriors' origins in a future issue.
The art is a hot mess of stray lines and awkward poses. Whilce Portacio did some clean storytelling while he was on Punisher but this is a disaster.
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (2): showAngel, Beast, Cyclops, Fu'se, Hiro, Iceman, Jean Grey, Mariko Yashida, Opal Tanaka, Ship (Prosh), Tatsu'o
Note that Bobby's power-controlling belt has disappeared mysteriously and yet Bobby doesn't seem to have any problem controlling his powers.
Posted by: Michael | September 15, 2015 6:30 PM
Crap as this story might be, I quite like the new X-Factor uniforms!
Posted by: Piotr W | September 15, 2015 6:59 PM
I liked Opal; she seemed like a cool enough "everyday" character to have around.
Posted by: Bill | September 15, 2015 7:13 PM
As much as people (rightfully) knock Liefeld, I always felt Portacio was the weakest of the Image artists. His faces are always grotesquely deformed, and usually have little to nothing to do with the emotions that should be conveyed by the speaker. And he has this weird habit of drawing people with ther eyes halfway rolled back for no reason.
And all those crazy lines in the background are just headache-inducing.
And that anatomy...ugh.
I always liked Opal as Bobby's love interest (before he was retconned to be gay) and she was one of the highlights of the post Inferno issues. Taking away her girl-next-door appeal was just asinine.
I wonder how much of this was Louise's idea, and how much of it was the Homage boys (Lee and Portacio) just wanting to drawl kewl ninja cyborgs. This plot seemed to go against everything Louise had put into the character to this point. Although her name is on the writing, I imagine pressure from Harras was already shaping things to the Image guys' wants.
Posted by: Bob | September 15, 2015 7:27 PM
Except it hasn't completely disappeared. We will see him wearing a new belt after the Muir Island Saga. I suspect Ship created this new uniform with the abilities of the belt built in. If not, then why does Iceman suddenly need a belt again when he rejoins the X-Men and gets a new uniform? He'll have that new belt until Colossus's brother messes with his powers.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | September 17, 2015 8:04 PM
Isn't this also the arc where we find out that Iceman's father is a bigot who hates people like Opal?
Posted by: Jon Dubya | September 18, 2015 1:02 AM
We don't hear from Iceman's side of the family in this story. It's possible i missed a stray line of dialogue from Iceman but I don't think there's anything like that.
Posted by: fnord12 | September 18, 2015 7:19 AM
The Iceman father being a bigot storyline was X-Men 319. Iceman brings Rogue to meet his Dad, his Dad says he's glad Rogue isn't Asian like the last one.
Posted by: jonathan | September 18, 2015 7:28 AM
There was an earlier storyline before X-Men 319 with Iceman's father being a bigot in X-Men 289-290- Bobby takes Opal to meet his parents, and Bobby's dad is racist towards Opal. When they get attacked by ninjas, he even remarks that this is the kind of ninjaness he'd associate with people like Opal. (Which sadly is true in the Marvel Universe- hang around any Asian person for a while, and sooner or later you'll get attacked by ninjas.)
Posted by: Michael | September 18, 2015 10:19 PM
Michael to your previous comment, Iceman here and when Portacio continues drawing him next year in "Uncanny" is wearing a slimmer power belt (maybe Forge redesigned it? There's not to my knowledge an in-story explanation). He'll wear that until Mikhail Rasputin turns him into living ice in "Uncanny" 291-ish and his power are permanently increased.
Posted by: Jeff | February 28, 2016 2:48 PM
He's wearing the belt in this issue. I believe he took it off the the one panel he's fighting Hiro without powers. As for how the belt was altered, well, I didn't see him have the belt in Uncanny X-Men 273 and Forge is there. It seems like a minor job for him to slim the thing down. Also, if Ship had done so, then it should have been noted that Ship's comprised Bobby's mission even more with a possibly unreliable tech. So, Forge rebuilds the belt, Ship gives X-Factor the generic X-Factor costumes, Portacio draws like Lee and Liefeld, only better in some respects and worse in others. And Louise Simonson leaves Marvel for several years and happier work experiences.
Posted by: Brian C. Saunders | April 9, 2016 1:59 PM
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