Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Visionary Volume

So much better than
After the debacles of the last couple posts, it's nice to be able to say only positive things about a book. Refreshing. Reinvigorating. Surprising, since the book is a collection of 1991 and 1992 X-Men related stories.
In any case, Volume One of the Peter David X-Factor Visionaries is a delight to read. The stories don't try to reach for instant classic, and they don't presume to be anything that they aren't. Larry Stroman's art, while not everyone's cup of tea, is highly stylised but at the same time clear as to who's who in the zoo, and what is going on. To think that I had to pay only $12 USD for this from Amazon is remarkable.

A basic rundown of events is that this is set in the aftermath of the X-Tinction Agenda (where the various X-teams overthrew the nasty Genoshan government) and the American Government are looking to replace Freedom Force (essentially the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants being sponsored as a federal mutant task force) and the original X-Factor (also the original X-Men) are looking to join the X-Men. The Government pick up the X-Factor name, and a roster of Havok, Polaris, Wolfsbane, Multiple Man, and Quicksilver. Oh, and Strong Guy. Mustn't forget Guido. Mr Sinister (still a relatively new character at this point) is lurking in the background, and puling the strings of a politician. A multiple Man dupe has been shot, and it's unclear who the real MM is. Some wacky scientist with a grudge against mutants is trying to build a machine for killing them - and failing. And at the same time that this is going on, we develop the core character traits of the team, and their relationships. You can absolutely pick this volume up without any of the lead-in I gave. You also don't need to know who any of the characters are. It helps if you know Havok and Polaris were an item. Or that Havok and Wolfsbane were bonded together by Genoshan scientists. But you don't need to know that.

I'd love to say that this was still relevant. It's not. It's great nostalgia value though. It's a great lead in if you plan to read any X-Men crossovers from X-Cutioner's Song onwards. It's great if you want to compare this version of X-Factor to Peter David's current X-Factor (which has a very... familiar... roster). It's great if you don't care about modern continuity. And it's good value.

The only let down with this is that it's only 144 pages. But they're all well used.

My recommendation for this is simple - if you liked the X-Men before everything went to pot in the mid 1990s, read this. If you like Peter David's work, read this. If you like a good team book, read this. You aren't committing to much (there's only another 3 volumes), so if you do want to keep reading, there's room to do so. The only person I don't recommend this to is someone who lives only in the modern continuity. And for them I have three words: Journey Into Mystery.

Next review, something I haven't read yet but that's recommended by my wife.
You recommendation has
been targeted for review, Honey.

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