Characters Appearing: Ahab, Angel, Banshee, Beast, Boom Boom, Cable (Adult), Cable (Baby Nathan Christopher Summers), Cannonball, Cyclops, Forge, Human Torch, Iceman, Invisible Woman, Jean Grey, Mr. Fantastic, Ms. Marvel (Sharon Ventura), Rachel Summers, Ship (Prosh), Sunspot, Thing, Warlock
X-Factor annual #5
Issue(s): X-Factor annual #5
Suzanne Gaffney - Assistant Editor
You might actually be better off reading this without the other parts, especially since this one starts off with a scene similar to, but also different than, the one at the end of Fantastic Four annual #23, when Franklin Richards made the X-Factor building disappear. He does it again here, although this time he's floating by himself instead of riding in the FF's ship.
X-Factor are currently inside their building playing a game of jai alai as a training exercise. Except Cyclops is being a whiny brat about it.
Beast observes that Jean seems to be deliberately baiting him, which isn't "anything like her usual, understanding self". Beast attributes it to Jean losing her autonomy thanks to the additional memories (Madelyne Pryor and the Phoenix) in her head. Luckily, the building disappeared before i reached through the pages to strangle all of them.
Baby Christopher's forcefield cuts right through Jean's telekinesis, but luckily Angel is able to catch him.
Meanwhile, Ahab summons more hounds from the future, although one of them is resisting its programming.
Note that it's Ahab's harpoon that seemingly transforms the mutants into hounds. That will become even more explicit in the final part.
Ben Grimm, Ms. Marvel, the Human Torch, and Forge, who are flying out of Four Freedoms Plaza (as opposed to home from the Powers' apartment), notice that the X-Factor building is gone and they go to investigate.
The Iceman / Human Torch greeting is a cute little scene, but the implication that X-Factor hasn't met Sharon is absolutely wrong. They met in what you'd think everyone would consider a fairly important story, in Fantastic Four #312.
Louise Simonson does remember that Jean and Forge have met, and that Cyclops is (inexplicably) more angry about Forge's involvement in Storm's power loss than anyone else, as we also saw in X-Factor #56-58.
Another somewhat odd connection. The Beast immediately recognizes Rachel Summers when she comes flying in while everyone is trying to track Franklin.
The only time Beast and Rachel have been in a scene together was in the madness of Secret Wars II #9. Which isn't to say that another X-character couldn't have filled him in, and i guess there's no one else around to provide the exposition.
Rachel is here because adult Franklin is siphoning off her Phoenix power in an attempt to "correct" the things in this timeline. The fact that this is happening in front of Jean Grey makes this a significant encounter.
Beast correctly realizes that learning about her daughter from the future is going to further aggravate Jean's feeling that her life is predestined and she has no control over it.
It seems that Rachel, as a hound, is the one that led Ahab to future Franklin, which is what led to him getting killed.
Franklin cries and runs off again, and Jean approaches Rachel.
The scene cuts away after that to Franklin reappearing on the Empire State Building, where Ms. Marvel and the other half of X-Factor fight some Sentinels.
Then back to the Phoenixes.
Are they really the same age at this point? I thought Rachel was younger.
This isn't exactly the welcoming that Rachel was hoping for (but it is what she anticipated, which is why she's avoided it for so long). Cyclops finds out too.
But then Ahab shows up.
Zapping her with his harpoon turns her into even more of a hound (the Jon Bogdanove version).
But she resists, destroying the other hounds. And isn't happy when Jean runs up to ask what she did to them, and not vice versa.
Rachel flies away.
There's still a fight with Ahab and his endless horde of hounds to be had.
The characters that were in the New Mutants annual show up to help.
Cyclops and Mr. Fantastic each learn a part of the secret to defeating Ahab.
And despite Reed being a bit dickish (which i think is good characterization), they pool information and find a way to defeat him.
The secret is that Ahab is hiding his time displacement machinery in a tesseract pocket. So open the pocket (which i guess must require lukewarm water, since i imagine that's what Iceman and the Human Torch's powers combine to produce)...
...and destroy the machinery.
In the aftermath of the fight, Jean suggests that Rachel Summers was using her powers to prevent Cyclops from recognizing that Rachel was his (alternate timeline) daughter.
But Jean is still having problems accepting the idea of a future-daughter.
The issue ends with adult Franklin showing up again, this time because Scott having a boy baby is "wrong". So he teleports it away. Scott... doesn't take it well.
Ahab is a pretty corny villain. Even his name seems wrong. I admit i never read Moby Dick (i have it on good authority that it serves humanity better as a doorstop), but in my Classics Illustrated version, the character of Ahab is used a cautionary tale about a man driven to obsession by a desire for revenge. That doesn't seem to have anything to do with the character here, who is not vengeance-driven, merely an enforcer of humanity's bigotry of mutants in the future. So why is he Ahab? Well, he's got a harpoon! He feels like a Scooby Doo villain. And the "defeat him by finding his out of phase machinery" device feels cartoonish, too ("My machineries! No! It cannot be!"). And i really don't like such a cartoonish villain having anything to do with Days of Future Past. Ahab's intended origin was that he was a future version of Cable (and so the Ahab/harpoon trappings are really an Empire Strikes Back reference, right? Use your harpoons and tow cables!), but then why was it said in the New Mutants portion that he was "bred" to be a mutant hunter? In any event, the "hounds" of Days of Future Past should be mutants that were forced into service by ordinary humans (through torture and threats to their own lives, i assume), not magically transformed by harpoons.
One thing that i do like is the continued look at Jean Grey as a character that is basically rebelling against her own stock tropes. She doesn't want to be the girl that marries happily ever after just because the story says that she she should be. Confronting her with an alternate future daughter is a great way to play that out further. I wish that those scenes were a little more examined and not so hyper, but that's what you get for doing this sort of thing in a wild crossover with millions of characters and Jon Bogdanove art. The meeting between Jean (and Scott as well) and Rachel does make this portion of the story feel more important, though.
Speaking of Jean's problems, the back-up story is a really nice "Tribute" by Peter David. It has Jean visiting her own grave (only in comics!).
She's met by a woman that was in a Nazi concentration camp, and the story is about how that woman never let the circumstances of life define her.
It's actually a beautiful little story. Frankly, it deserves to be a key moment in the actual X-Factor book, the scene where Jean realizes that she can take control of her own life and make the decision that she wants to make, whatever it is, regardless of how many personalities she's been forced to absorb or how the plot contrives to push her in whatever direction. Instead, like so many annual back-ups and similar flotsam, it's just floating out here doing nothing.
The final feature in the book is Dale Keown's contribution to the brokeback pose genre.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Begins concurrently with New Mutants annual #6, but ends later. See the notes on that entry regarding the publishing order. We'll assume that Jean's visit to the cemetery happens prior to the main story, although that doesn't say much for impact of the character development done there.
Crossover: Days of Future Present
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
"...that's what you get for doing this sort of thing in a wild crossover with millions of characters and Bret Blevins art."
It's Jon Bogdanove on art, isn't it? Although at times it appears to be Bogdanove channeling Carmine Infantino.
Posted by: Robert | May 18, 2015 6:36 PM
Whoops, thanks again, Robert. Fixed it.
Posted by: fnord12 | May 18, 2015 6:47 PM
Ahab wasn't intended to be Cable. The comments that suggest a connection--such as the "see someone hou recognize" line in the X-Men annual--were added by Harras, as Claremont has confirmed. The whole storyline seems editorially driven to the max--it's a preview of some of the messiest '90s stories we'll get--and it seems like Claremont and the Simonsons just bashed out the story Harras demanded, complete with the corny and perfunctory Ahab. I doubt Harras really wanted him to be Cable, though: this was just pointless teasing of readers, which we'll get a lot more of in the post-Claremont years.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | May 18, 2015 7:49 PM
@Walter: See my comments on Uncanny X-Men Annual #14 re: Ahab:)
Posted by: Nathan Adler | May 18, 2015 8:00 PM
Does anyone have a link to the Fabian Nicieza interview that "proves" that Harras didn't intend for Ahab to be Cable? Harras putting in lines for two separate issues suggesting that they were the same, while also making Ahab a cyborg character at the time that they were playing up Cable as a cyborg, both with scars over their eye sure seems to outweigh the evidence i've seen that it isn't true. I think it's absolutely the case that there was no grand plan here, but it seems very likely that for the purposes of this story that was the intention.
Posted by: fnord12 | May 18, 2015 8:28 PM
This would've been a good moment to get Rachel out of that hound costume again.
I never knew about the "Ahab might be future Cable" teases. Cable will eventually get his own spear though.
Posted by: Berend | May 18, 2015 9:31 PM
@Berend: Cable actually acquires a Psimitar;)
Posted by: Nathan Adler | May 18, 2015 10:30 PM
I think that Jean deserves some of the blame for the fight between her and Scott. She doesn't stop when Scott asks him to and she escalates it by throwing iceballs at Scott. She could have hurt him or other members of X-Factor. This is the third time Jean has engaged in domestic violence with Scott- first in X-Factor 6 by throwing the mattress with him, and secondly in the big fight in X-Factor 18. It's disturbing.
Posted by: Michael | May 18, 2015 10:34 PM
The Ahab/Cable thing gets a mention in Comic Book Legends Revealed, http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2009/04/02/comic-book-legends-revealed-201/
It claims Nicieza as a source but doesn't give a citation. (Unless I missed it.)
Posted by: Walter Lawson | May 19, 2015 12:21 AM
Also, although the jokey design of Ahab is definitely a Moby Dick reference, with the pegleg and harpoon and whatnot, the name itself is a reference to the wicked biblical king Ahab. This in turn perpetuates the naming convention we got earlier with Nimrod, also a wicked biblical king (as well as a famed hunter). The name was probably Harras's idea: weirdly, when the Phalanx get introduced one of their leaders has the name of a biblical place, Shinar. You'll also see a lot of references to Canaan in connection with Apocalypse: his 30th century forces call themselves Canaanites. None if this means anything, it's just an attempt to make the X-books seem portentous.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | May 19, 2015 12:43 AM
Thanks for the CBR link, Walter. I did find that link when i was trying to get verification of Wikipedia's unsourced statement that Ahab was intended to be Cable. Which is what i've always understood, too. So i'm curious how FabNic figures into things, since he wasn't involved in the story. The CBR article was a bit weak on dispelling this rumor.
Posted by: fnord12 | May 19, 2015 7:29 AM
@Nathan: Potato, Psitato :P
Posted by: Berend | May 19, 2015 5:41 PM
Oddly, you've referred to Ship as "the X-Factor building" a few times here. lol!
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | May 21, 2015 7:48 PM
Is that really odd?
Posted by: fnord12 | May 21, 2015 9:17 PM
Man, that Jon Bogdanove art does not do it for me.
Posted by: Grom | August 14, 2015 1:16 PM
A C- is way too generous. They finally, after five friggin years, have Scott find out about Rachel and it's just completely botched. And to top it all, Bogdanove begins his incredibly bad channelling of Carmine Infantino. I can't believe it's the same guy who drew X-Men vs FF.
Posted by: Erik Beck | October 29, 2015 1:18 PM
There's a terribly drawn panel in Which sunspot have his eyes almost on his forehead...
Posted by: Bibs | December 29, 2017 8:00 AM
"In any event, the "hounds" of Days of Future Past should be mutants that were forced into service by ordinary humans"
This is sort of what is happening on "The Gifted". There is a "Hound" program. And it is led by Rory Campbell - AKA - Ahab.
Posted by: clyde | December 31, 2017 1:52 AM
Comments are now closed.
|SuperMegaMonkey home | Comics Chronology home|