In the modern age of comics, it is not uncommon for a writer or creative team to change on a title once every year or two. For many books, this is because the creators can’t find the characters voice, can’t generate sales, or something, just because the course of events leads to the story ending sooner, rather than later. However, every so often, a creator emerges with such passion for a property that their run is allowed to develop and flourish, exceeding the expectations of both fans and sales executives. One such run, is Peter David on X-Factor. The little engine that could, X-Factor under Peter David’s talents lasted 114 issues, not including side-books, crossovers, and minis. Let me say that again. ONE HUNDRED AND FOURTEEN ISSUES. Of X-Factor. Yeah, I know. Now, with the series just ending, David is returning with the All-New X-Factor in January!
In their new series, the team shifts gears from a detective agency to a corporate super-squad, fighting crime for the almighty company Serval Industries. The team, featuring X-Factor alum Polaris and Quicksilver, is set to debut in January, with swanky new looks, courtesy of Serval, designed by series artist Carmine Di Giandomenico.
These new costumes are a bold choice in the modern age of superhero design. For one, all of the team is wearing a matching uniform, something that is not unknown to X-Factor. In fact, the team has a history of like-minded design since it’s inception in 1986, with the founding five members of Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, and Jean Grey. However, in the modern age of comics, even the X-Men have contrasting styles, as evident by titles like Wolverine and the X-men. In addition, the bright yellow of the costumes is very bold, harkening back to the classic designs of X-Factor while staying contemporary with color breaks and individual touches. Here’s a quick play by play of the cast and their designs.
Gambit: Gambit, as Peter David puts it, is our central figure, the reader’s identifying character. It makes sense, since Gambit is a character many know and love from the X-Men animated series and his ongoing series. His new design is very refreshing, as it changes one of Gambit’s most known costume elements, the jacket. Gone is the long trenchcoat, replaced by a sleek brown leather jacket. In addition, the yellow of the outfits is very different from the purples and pinks Gambit has grown to love. I think that these elements show how uncomfortable Gambit is with his role on the team, without compromising style.
Quicksilver: The teams speedster and the son of Magneto, Quicksilver is on the team to aid his estranged sister Polaris. His design is a radical change as well, as Quicksilver is best known for blues and greens. However, the grey of the costume keeps him in line with his past, as he often favors silver. The lit-elements of his costume are a neat touch, as they give him an electric energy that I’m sure will be incorporated into his speed abilities. Also, points for the Sayan style eye-piece, making him look particularly devious.
Polaris: The Mistress of Magnetism is in charge and her look screams it. Sticking with the yellow ensemble, Polaris adds a high collar to her suit to make it fresh. The collar is a great replacement for her dated headpiece of old, which made her look like she was trying too hard to be like her sister the Scarlet Witch. Unfortunately though, the yellow of the costume don’t gel as well with her hair as they do her teammates. Polaris doesn’t look bad per se, but since she has largely been defined by the color green, the change is stark.
Danger: Danger of the X-Men is potentially the boldest choice of team members. The Danger Room come to life, Danger has been a foe to the X-Men and for a time, a member. Her appearance here definitely has my interest piqued, but her design is pretty awful. Everything that worked in her original character design is covered up here, leaving only her face. While her face still looks great, her costume doesn’t look like it belongs on her, since no elements complement her robotic design.
Cypher and Warlock: Lastly, Doug Ramsey and Warlock of the New Mutants round out the team. I’m already excited to see the dynamic between Danger and Warlock, who as a sentient robot himself, will have a lot to say. Doug’s design is simple enough, reflective of his character. It’s to the point and unsensational, which works to his advantage. A suave hair cut help here too. But Warlock, clouded in darkness, has me curious. Will he emerge from his hooded form with a new design? I know he’s always looked the same, but could the time be right to make the robot cool for once? Only time will tell.
The new series debuts in January, and looks to pick up on Peter David’s previous X-Factor work. If his last run is any indication, this series will be tremendous, and hopefully will find the following it deserves.
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