X-Factor: The Quick and the Dead #1

Story by
Art by
Pablo Raimondi
Colors by
Jeremy Cox
Letters by
Cory Petit
Marvel Comics

Over the course of his original and more recent “X-Factor” runs, Peter David has done more than anyone to bring the character of Quicksilver into focus, famously defining exactly why Pietro is so abrasive a character -- because he finds everyone else frustratingly slow.

Since the events of "House of M" and the mutant-decimating M-Day, Quicksilver has been in a fairly dark place, with little possibility for redemption. After kidnapping his child, Luna, and illegally using some of the Terrigen crystals in an attempt to restore his mutant powers, Quicksilver ended up as a pseudo-religious “savior” in mutant town and some-time antagonist of X-Factor Investigations. This special one-shot, featuring original “Madrox” artist Pablo Raimondi, opens with an imprisoned Pietro who’s finally hit rock bottom.

So, for Quicksilver, the only way is up -- and his ascent begins with that most common of dramatic devices -- a bunch of hallucinations. PAD uses this opportunity to have Quicksilver reassess his issues with various characters from his past that he has wronged or failed in some way, including his sister Wanda, his father Magneto, his daughter Luna, his wife Crystal and, the thread that ties X-Factor and Quicksilver together, Layla Miller of X-Factor.

The main point of the issue appears to be to establish Quicksilver’s new status and give him back some of his usefulness as a character. His woe-is-me, pseudo-savior status made for a good story, but it’s one that had largely run its course. PAD appears to agree, as he restores Quicksilver’s powers and drive for heroism. Quicksilver rediscovers his abilities, and after using them to break out of prison and save a girl’s life, he embarks on a brilliantly depicted round-the-world victory lap.

While it’s good to see that Quicksilver has finally pulled himself out of his rut, there are certain aspects of the narrative that aren’t entirely satisfying. Quicksilver’s change of heart doesn’t feel believable for a character that, as we are reminded, happily attempted to kill Layla Miller not that long ago. Likewise, the exact mechanics of Quicksilver’s returning powers are fairly vague -- they’re back, yes, but there’s no indication of how or why -- Quicksilver takes it as matter of faith, but as a fan it’s not overly satisfying an explanation, especially when he’s yet another mutant whose powers have returned post-Decimation, when the X-Office only recently spent a lot of time establishing in “Endangered Species” that it couldn’t be done.

Those things aside, it’s a perfectly serviceable issue, made enjoyable by Peter David’s flair for dialogue and Raimondi’s fantastic artwork. Whether it’s supposed to be a character reset because the X-Office is done using him, or the beginning of a new arc for Quicksilver is unclear, but either way, the issue is worth the money for anyone interested in mutants, or even Avengers continuity -- not just "X-Factor" buyers.

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