X-Factor Volume 14: Super Unnatural Review

During a time in comics when it’s common for creative teams to get shuffled fairly frequently, it’s no small feat that Peter David has been writing X-Factor for over eighty issues now.  This new collection features X-Factor #224.1 and #225-228, and features more strange adventures with Madrox and crew, as they deal with Guido’s recent resurrection at the hands of Layla, an eerie sighting in Madrox’s hometown, and the mystery of Hangman and Bloodbath, which starts off a whole new adventure for Madrox, which will be shown in the next trade paperback, coming in a few months.

Peter David is an extremely skilled writer, particularly when it comes to writing team books, as he has a gift with dialogue and characterization, not to mention juggling large casts of characters and making it seem absolutely effortless.  His writing in X-Factor is extremely strong, as all of the characters within the book have distinct and unique voices.  For a lesser writer, this would be extremely challenging, to balance so many disparate personalities and story elements, and yet David excels at it.  That being said, although it’s always a treat to read the adventures of the members of X-Factor, the actual villains they face in this collection are a little on the lame side, as Hangman and Bloodbath aren’t the most engaging or thrilling antagonists.  Thankfully there are ongoing mysteries for David to dangle for readers, as well as a new mystery leading into the next arc, as well as the ever-complicated interpersonal relationships between the various members of X-Factor.  They’re certainly a dysfunctional crew, what with Layla and Madrox’s romantic bond, his past with both M and Banshee, Pip the Troll not looking like he’s having a good time working for X-Factor, Guido dealing with no longer having a soul, and Shatterstar thinking that now that Rictor has his powers back, he may not need him around anymore.  The complex nature of these relationships helps make this title consistently enjoyable and engaging even when the villains or antagonists might be a little lacking.

The artwork in this volume is handled by two artists, Leonard Kirk primarily, as he illustrates issues #225-228, and Valentine De Landro, who illustrates issue #224.1.  The visual tone of this book has changed a lot throughout the years, but I’m pretty happy with the visual consistency that the book has reached recently.  It feels like they’re done having the creative team switched up regularly, and finally settling into a groove artistically speaking.  That only can bode well for this book, as Peter David has been delivering consistently enjoyable scripts for so long now, the only downside to this book has been the at-times frequent shifts in artists, with some particular artists in this title’s history not being that good a fit for the book.  Thankfully both De Landro and Kirk are well-suited to this book, and make for a great sense of visual consistency in tone.

Fans of Peter David’s run on X-Factor will continue to enjoy this series with this new collection.  Peter David hasn’t disappointed yet, and I can’t wait to read more about Jamie’s adventures in the next volume of X-Factor,  entitled They Keep Killing Madrox, coming out in October.  Recommended!