“X-Factor” #245 wraps up Peter David and Leonard Kirk’s five-part “Breaking Points,” which was billed as “five days that will change X-Factor forever.” While forever is a long time, it certainly sounds more dramatic than “four characters leave a book that at twelve characters was stuffed to the gills.” Now that the dust has settled, it’s turned into a story where the pieces have more or less come together in a satisfying way.
For a storyline that’s had plots involving repressed memories, lost souls and ancient gods, “Breaking Points” seemed to almost delight in its wide ranging ideas. “X-Factor” #245 attempts to pull all of that together as best it can, and for the most part I think it succeeds. Because the last member leaving X-Factor has already shown up as the team leader in a different title last week, that particular surprise has been blown so there needs to be something else for the reader to concentrate on.
The best part of the issue is probably the aftermath of Lorna’s breakdown and subsequent balancing; for a character that’s been all over the place mentally, David treats her with respect even as there’s a nod to the fact that she’s not fixed, just not in the bad state she was in before. David’s always been best when dealing with less-than-perfect characters, so while it’s not much of a surprise it is nice that he resisted the urge to completely wipe out all of her problems. As Lorna and Alex discuss their relationship, we end up with a resolution that feels more thoughtful than most of their previous relationship-changing events, so that’s an added bonus too.
Kirk’s pencils are up to their normal standard; very smooth and clean, a good depiction of the characters. Interestingly it’s his splashes (like the one that opens the issue) where I think he’s the weakest here. He’s much better dealing with small panels and several characters, focusing on them as they move around the room and react to one another. That’s his strength, and fortunately David writes to it.
So where does “X-Factor” go from here? With a suddenly reduced cast, the options are numerous; doubly so with the return of mutantkind courtesy “Avengers vs. X-Men” #12. Ditching part of the cast (even if it ends up only temporary for some) feels like it was a freeing process for David; with any luck, the stories to follow will show that to be true. Until then, though, it’s nice to see the book geared up for what’s next to come.