ALL-NEW X-FACTOR #1
Written by Peter David
Art by Carmine Di Giandomenico, Lee Loughridge
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: January 8, 2014
2014 is already seeing Marvel getting to pace in releasing a fresh batch of All-New titles, with several releases in its early months and many more rumored and teased for the rest of the year. Among the former is All-New X-Factor, starring fan favorites like Polaris and Gambit. X-Factor is now a corporately-funded superhero team, looking out for Serval Industries’ interests – whatever the heck those turn out to be.
David opens on a sinister note, reminding readers it’s still not a friendly world for mutantkind. The quick switch-over to Gambit up to his old tricks is a smart move, letting the first page do its work as disconcerting without harping too hard on the point. Fans of Gambit’s voice will be disappointed by David’s version, which lacks not just representation of his accent but most of its charm, his inner monologue feeling too generic and lifeless for the Ragin’ Cajun. David uses Polaris to carry the issue, drawing Gambit into the story as clueless about Serval and its incarnation of X-Factor as readers are so that Polaris can fill in some of the blanks. He does an excellent job keeping his audience suspicious of X-Factor’s new employer, using missile-capable enemies and shady phrasing from Several Industries bigwigs to contrast characters assuring Gambit all is well. When the team sets out on their first mission, there’s still no certainty of where the reader can lend their trust.
Though there are some laughs and tidbits of characterization establishing in this issue (Polaris is a particular joy to read), there aren’t any substantial wows from Peter David’s contributions. This pretty-good-but-not-amazing presentation is followed suit by artist Di Giandomenico, whose unique work isn’t well-served by his own definitive inking; what could look whimsical and loose like the likes of Clay Mann’s work instead looks googly and stiff on the page, which succeeds only in exaggerating proportion and consistency issues. And while loose-fitting clothing looks superb, Di Giandomenico flounders with the form-clutching costumes of Polaris and Quicksilver. Quicksilver is further disserviced by Di Giandomenico’s inability to give the speedster the life his lightening-quick speed deserves, stuck flat with only a few lines to indicate movement. His backgrounds, however, are much better, with everything from coffee shops to Serval Industries itself drawn well.
Exacerbating the art’s problems in some places and enhancing its strengths in others, Loughridge’s colors are an odd partner to Di Giandomenico’s lines. The life he puts in glows seem painfully over-bright at times, and lighter shades on clothing to give it lift occasionally feel almost desperate in their attempts to give more texture; Loughridge’s problem is he’s too specific in his work, and he didn’t tone it down to keep pace with Di Giandomenico.
Despite its stumbles, this issue was still bursting with potential, as none of its contributors failed the book so much as just failed to meet their potential. With an intriguing premise, a great cast revealed thus far, and the advantage of a barely-touched slate, All-New X-Factor still has the ability to run strong. This issue might just have been the pre-run stretching.
The Verdict: 5.5/10