Three issues into Peter David, Leonard Kirk and Jay Leisten’s “Breaking Points: Five Days That Will Change X-Factor Forever,” and there’s a bit of a pattern emerging. “X-Factor” #243 chooses to focus on Polaris, and by now we all know what that means: some sort of revelation is lurking just around the corner that’s going to pull a number on her.
Sure enough, David’s script re-examines Polaris’s origin, which has been tweaked several times over the years. (She’s Magneto’s daughter! Wait, no she isn’t! Wait… now she is, again!) Here, David answers a question no one had really been asking — did Magneto actually destroy the plane that Lorna’s parents were on? — and gives us further details on what happened that day.
The plotting itself is a bit weak. Longshot’s power accidentally activates after Polaris conveniently drops a photo from that very day, and then the truth is dragged out of him. And by page 5 of the issue, most readers are already going to have guessed how this issue is going to end. There’s little mystery involved, even as it’s stretched out until the issue’s conclusion. Here’s the thing, though: that’s all right. In the case of “X-Factor” #243, the enjoyment isn’t in the actual plot itself, but rather its telling. The character interactions are ultimately the attraction here; considering that “Breaking Points” appears designed to whittle down the 12-person cast, in many ways it’s a last hurrah for some of the characters. For all of their bickering and fighting, “X-Factor” #243 is fun to read because of the personalities that butt heads with one another, and it’s there that the fun resides.
It doesn’t hurt that Kirk and Leisten’s art looks smooth and classy as ever. Little details like Polaris’s hair have a strong wave and feel real, and the scowl on Monet’s face for most of this issue is hard to avoid. There’s a lot of convenient blank panel backgrounds here (and roses with blooms the size of a person’s face), but it’s little hiccups in an otherwise good looking comic.
“X-Factor” #243’s overall story feels a little forced, both in terms of Polaris’s origin as well as so many members departing in such a short time period. But it’s still turning out fun to read, and nice to look at. I’m willing to put up with a bit of cliche if it means the end result is entertaining.