“X-Factor” is a book that I like, in part because it tends to feel unlike a lot of the other X-titles. This issue, however, feels more like the other X-titles and less like “X-Factor.” As a result, it’s not that great.
“X-Factor” #228 picks up immediately after Jamie Madrox has been killed by Bloodbath while in the form of one of Madrox’s formerly dead dupes. The team tries to kill Bloodbath (without much success) until Layla works her magic and successfully exorcises him from Jamie’s body. Layla tries to bring Jamie back to life as she did with Guido earlier this year, but to no avail. There’s also some discussion about the fact that Guido, based on the events of last issue, clearly has no soul since Layla brought him back, which she confirms.
The most interesting thing Peter David does in this issue is some great character work as he exposes how different team members feel about Madrox’s death and, more importantly, their conflicting feelings about the idea of resurrecting him. The rest of the book reads as your basic superhero comic. It’s not a bad book, but we’ve so often seen our hero dying dramatically only to return later that it’s just hard to care. I love Jamie Madrox. If I thought he was really dead, I’d probably be devastated, and David does some good work in trying to convince me. But he’s working against everything I know of comics here, so I just can’t believe him or the story. As a result I feel a little jerked around emotionally. It’s hard not to hold that against the book.
The art by Leonard Kirk is lovely overall, though not as lovely as Emanuela Lupacchino’s. It suffers a bit by comparison. The characters are all nicely realized, but the backgrounds are a little sketchy. Some of the action leaves a bit to be desired, but the emotional moments, especially Layla’s toward the end of the book, are quite strong. I confess to wishing the interiors felt a bit more like David Yardin’s completely haunting cover. That cover can almost make me believe what I’m reading, rather than feeling this is more superhero comic book hi-jinx pulling my leg.
In the end, this is a decent comic book, but one that suffers from following just about every comic that has come before it. I can’t get on board with the plot because I don’t buy that it has lasting ramifications, and so the emotional impact is powerfully blunted. It’s unfortunate all around that this is the sandbox David has to play in, but it is what it is.