Ever since Shatterstar’s first appearance on the last page of “New Mutants” #99, there’s always been the assumption that he was not only from the same race as the character Longshot, but that he was also connected to him. There have been hints, suggestions, and rewrites that have thrown out all sorts of hints, without ever giving a definitive answer. At least, until now, thanks to “X-Factor” #259. Peter David and guest penciler Carmen Carnero finally lay out how the two characters are connected — and no one guessed this exact set-up.
Set on Mojoworld, “X-Factor” #259 integrates a lot of information that readers already knew, dating back to stories like Ann Nocenti and Arthur Adams’ original “Longshot” mini-series, and Jim Lee’s final story as writer/artist on “X-Men.” It would be easy to just throw out some or all of these hints from over the years, and credit to David that he not only keeps them, but then subverts expectations. A simple follow-through of Shatterstar being Longshot’s son (which co-creator Rob Liefeld has said was his original intention) would have felt a bit anti-climactic after all of this lead-up, and David takes “X-Factor” #259 down a much stranger path.
It’s odd and the sort of twist that even the characters involve admit makes little sense, but at the same time, it’s still funny and different. If there are any characters for whom this sort of thing could work, Longshot and Shatterstar are it. Perhaps more importantly, there’s as much attention paid to Rictor in this story as the other two characters, and David’s usage of Rictor here grounds the story in a way that makes it about more than just the big reveal.
Carnero steps in for regular artist Leonard Kirk, and they’ve got a similar art style; they both draw in a generally clean and open style, so it’s nice to have a sub that won’t create a jarring transition when this is eventually collected into a single volume. Some of the characters seem a little off-model, though; Rictor looks more like a homeless man than scruffy (perhaps to indicate the passage of time, but the strange hairdo is hard to ignore), and Longshot is similarly not quite right. On the other hand, Carnero draws a great Mojo and Arize, and the sad little building that is Arize’s base from the outside has a certain visual appeal to it. Otherwise it’s very standard art; easy to follow in a panel-by-panel progression, and a nice usage of backgrounds as well.
“X-Factor” #259 continues the series’ wrapping up of each of its main characters’ stories for now. While it’s sad to see them all scattered and going their separate ways, this is a group of stories with the umbrella title of, “The End of X-Factor,” after all. For long time readers, I’d say this works.