Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Chronic Review: X-Factor # 39

OK. So Peter David warned us he was about to unveil his new non-event Event Book. Well, folks, PAD does not disappoint.

Where to start? I guess we start at the beginning with the recap page. Like most Marvel comics, X-Factor always begins with a title page catching readers up on the concept of the team and what's been happening recently. It's a way to ease new readers into the action, although are there such things as new readers in 2009?

At any rate, David does a couple of interesting things before we even get to page one of the actual story. The first thing he does is give a paragraph of "what happened between issues". He essentially burns what would ordinarily be issue # 39 with a paragraph of exposition.

This is a man so eager to get to the "good stuff" that he's discarding his set-up and getting straight to it. I don't think I've ever seen that before.

I'm not entirely sure how to feel about it, either. I would have certainly waited. I don't really feel cheated by what was "skipped". It was just so unprecedented that I wasn't sure how to process it. This is PAD saying "All right, here's all the boring crap you'd need to know before I start blowing your mind".

There's a kind of manic glee to the whole issue, and it's infectious.

The second unusual thing that David does on the opener is write a plea to the readers not to post issue spoilers on the internet. I know I've never seen that in a comic book before.

"Every reader deserves to be as stunned and shocked as you by the developments herein. I am asking you not to ruin it for them."

It was here that I turned up a People's Eyebrow and thought to myself, "PAD, I love you, buddy. But this had better be really good. If you're going to pronounce your own work here as being so supremely awesome that the sublime shock one feels after reading it should be preserved for better be really, really, really good."

Friends, the shocking events of X-Factor # 39 are indeed really, really, really,
really good.

I will not utter one spoilery note about what actually happens in the issue, out of respect for you the reader and deference to The Man, Peter David. I can tell you that what happens is not a cheap marketing stunt. This particular bombshell is horrifyingly logical, organic to the characters and preceding stories, and will wreak massive havoc on this book for the foreseeable future.

Hats off to Peter David for promising the world and then delivering it. This is what comics are supposed to be about, folks. I recommend you not miss it.

- Ryan

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