Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Matt Signal Advent Calendar 2014 Day 23: X-Factor #87

X-Factor #87, February 1993

The X-Men had the heavy hitters, your Wolverines and Storms and Rogues. X-Force were the hip new extreme strike force led by a white-haired commando from the future who carried big guns and wore even bigger metal shoulder pads.

X-Factor had Cyclops‘s brother, Magneto’s son, and guys named Strong Guy and Multiple Man.

But that’s the magic of Peter David, who has spent the better part of 23 years collecting misfit mutants under the X-Factor banner and making people care about them. And perhaps the best early example of this is X-Factor #87, the “X-aminations” issue in which the team is checked out by Doc Samson, personal gamma-powered, green-ponytailed shrink to the Incredible Hulk, who was also written by David at the time.

It is in this issue we learn that Wolfsbane yearns for a kindly authority figure, Quicksilver sees everyone as slow and aggravating due to his super-speed, Polaris has body-image issues, Strong Guy is in constant pain due to his mutant power but doesn’t want anyone to see it, Jamie Madrox can’t stand to be alone, and Havok is constantly afraid he won’t measure up as a team leader, especially to his brother. Also, Val Cooper, their government handler, is completely oblivious to all of it.

Also, dig that crazy opening splash page, in which Wolfsbane and X-Force’s Feral are drawn as then-Nickelodeon sensations Ren and Stimpy. The penciler of this issue was some kid named Joe Quesada, whom I’m sure was never heard from again.

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