With “Second Coming” out of the way, “X-Factor” can return to its regularly scheduled plots and style without worrying about what’s going on in the rest of the X-universe. That means, of course, a new case for Madrox: a woman named Halja (who we all recognize with a different name) comes walking through the door, wanting a necklace to be retrieved from a man named Gofern. That seems simple enough, but, in this busy comic, it’s almost forgotten after the other ongoing plots of the title are addressed.
Even with the seeming focus on Madrox finding the necklace for Hela, most of the issue is spent between Monet, Guido, Darwin, and Layla in South America finishing up Monet’s business with Baron Mordo, and the relationship between Rictor and Shatterstar. While both of these stories are interesting, it’s a little disappointing to see a nice, simple ‘friendly to new readers’ plot shunted away until late in the issue to wrap up one plot and continue another. With the cast of the book spread out so much, there’s also a sense of the book pulling in too many directions.
Despite these flaws, the execution on each element of the issue is good. David’s writing is light and clever at times. The solution to Baron Mordo’s plan to siphon energy from Monet after releasing her father is a good one that may seem unlike a hero, but is also the right thing to do. David’s strength here is how the characters interact, often with a lot of conflict and disagreements. The conversation between Rictor and Shatterstar is not your typical superhero comic couple talk. David approaches their relationship from a perspective that draws heavily on the alien nature of Shatterstar. It’s very interesting in its frankness and how it works against ‘conventional’ thinking in our society when it comes to relationships.
Joining David here is Sebastian Fiumara, who has a clean, slick style. There are elements of photoreferences in his art, but he doesn’t rely upon them, clearly drawing upon his own cartooning talents as well. He can be a little over-the-top like in his depiction of Hela as the cliche noir dame, or later in the issue when Mordo acts especially villainously, but, for the most part, he has a natural quality to his character work, while maintaining strong expressions. While there’s a slickness to his art, it also has a subtle, rough edge to it that shows up in background shading a lot and looks great.
“X-Factor” #207 is a little too busy in the plots it’s juggling, but the execution is good nonetheless. Some of the moments between characters are a little too cute, like the use of Layla, and the reveal of the true identity of the man who took Hela’s necklace comes out of left field, this is an entertaining issue.