Peter David’s long tenure with the “X-Factor” franchise comes to a close with “All New X-Factor” #20 and, unfortunately, the final issue does not quite serve justice to his work with these characters or even the plans for the book itself.
David finally reveals the secrets of Harrison Snow, a refugee from 2099 immediately recognized by guest star Miguel O’Hara. O’Hara forces an expository info dump out of Snow, something no one in the book has been able to do up to this point. The story feels fractured and rushed, as if the team was informed this was the last issue in the midst of production. David seems to be making the most of the limited time he has within the pages, working to deliver some sort of resolution to a mystery he’s dangled the entirety of this book, even if it leaves a few holes in the logic. Snow’s motivation is part noble and part corrupt, lending complexity to his character and finally pushing some growth on this omnipresent mystery. While it’s certainly a surprise to see Miguel in this era, it’s also a bit out of character that Snow so easily and quickly turns over his cards when he’s held them so close to his vest this entire time. Miguel is also introduced under a fake name and as an employee of the company Snow seeks to shut down; it’s odd that he would give himself up while not knowing O’Hara’s own true motives.
It’s disappointing that the characters are not given a real chance to sign off or have one final mission statement to cap their time under David’s pen. Quicksilver is pushed out of the book via pre-recorded video to Polaris and has the only thing close to a goodbye. Most everyone else’s screen time is sparse, as if this portion of the comic was developed with the idea that the story could move at a slower pace than needed.
Series artist Carmine Di Giandomenico handles the art in the scenes with the team itself, a standard low key affair with everyone checking in with one another and Warlock and Danger finally making a robot sex ball. Will Sliney fills in the Harrison and Miguel exchanges and, as mentioned, the scene is a quick spilling of the character’s mission statement. Sliney and Di Giandomenico have very different approaches to art; Sliney’s layouts are a lot more straightforward and street-level, understandable given the script with which he is working. Di Giandomenico’s pages have a bit more flair, the characters slender and lithe, similar linework and panels that bleed over one another.
David’s work on this franchise has been consistently well done with some amazing character moments throughout. It’s a shame that he’s not given the time to wrap up the series in a more satisfying fashion. Much like what he’s done with this corner of the X universe, he does the best he can with what he’s given in “All-New X-Factor” #20.