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The X-Factor Crossover Issue That X-Factor Was Barely In!

This is "Can't Cross Over," a feature where I look at instances when comic book writers had to adjust their stories to deal with crossovers.

Today, we look at how X-Factor took a backseat in their own comic book series during the X-Men crossover, X-Cutioner's Song!

In the early 1990s, it soon became evident that one of the easiest ways for comic book companies to increase sales on their already popular titles was to do crossover events. However, the X-Men crossover, X-Tinction Agenda, also demonstrated a new approach that was not present in the earliest X-Men crossovers (like "Mutant Massacre," "Fall of the Mutants" and "Inferno"). The earliest X-Men crossovers were all marked by the fact that the individual comics within the crossover could be read on their own or in conjunction with the other X-titles. That was first relaxed a bit with "Inferno," where Uncanny X-Men and X-Factor told one large story, but New Mutants was still doing its own thing.

X-Tinction Agenda, then, was the first X-Men crossover where the books were told in chapters of a larger narrative. And guess what? Sales were higher than ever! As it turned out, if you told Uncanny X-Men fans that they pretty much HAVE to read X-Factor get the full story of what happens in Uncanny X-Men, they will, in fact, buy X-Factor, even if otherwise X-Factor didn't sell nearly as much as Uncanny X-Men.

The issue after X-Tinction Agenda, however, is that New Mutants then ended and became X-Force and then a new X-Men series launched, so there were now four main X-Men titles, X-Men and Uncanny X-Men for the X-Men, X-Force for X-Force and X-Factor for a new government-sponsored mutant team (made up of characters who didn't make the other mutant teams).

This led to Marvel's ultra-ambitious 1992 X-Men crossover, with the extra title now making it a TWELVE-PART crossover over a three-month period. The basic plot of the series is that Stryfe, impersonating Cable, tries to assassinate Professor X. Meanwhile, he teams up with Mister Sinister to kidnap Cyclops and Jean Grey. So the X-Men team up with X-Factor to bring in X-Force (as they are looking for Cable) while also trying to save Scott and Jean.

Peter David has famously complained about how much of a negative impact crossovers had on his X-Factor run and this is one of the best examples. In X-Factor #83 (by David, Mark Pacella and Al Milgrom), David was in the middle of a story arc about a group of Genoshan mutants on the run in America (the "X-Patriots")...

The first X-Factor tie-in issue (with Jae Lee penciling all three issues) was normal enough, with X-Factor trying to bring in X-Force...

Then, however, you got the next two issues and things did not go as well...

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