Peter David, Pop Mhan, Scott Hanna & Lee Loughridge
All New X-Factor is probably the most underrated title on Marvel’s shelves right now, and Peter David’s book focusing on slightly lesser known mutants (Gambit aside, there’s a bunch of B, C and even D list characters here) is one of the best books on shelves, falling only behind Daredevil in terms of this reviewer’s favourite book from Marvel. The character work is just so awesome; it’s great to see the likes of Gambit, Polaris, Quicksilver, Danger, Cypher and Warlock being granted a good level of exposure over the course of the series.
This issue guest stars the Scarlet Witch, Wanda Maximoff, who stops by to have a “Girls day out” with her half sister, Polaris, and also Danger, allowing for a slightly slower issue that’s more focused on character development than action with some amusing sequences. For example, there’s a scene where a bunch of thugs burst into a bar only to find the aforementioned three mutants waiting there unexpectedly for them, and we also get to witness Wanda’s first attempt at drinking beer. This really works wonders for the characters and the guest appearance of Scarlet Witch was handled very well indeed.
One thing that’s perhaps worthy of mentioning is that although they are regular characters to this series, if you’re expecting Gambit, Quicksilver, Cypher and Warlock to show up then you’re going to be disappointed; this book purely features Polaris, Danger and Scarlet Witch. As a result, it allows for a more focused character-centric issue that does not have to deal with an overload of characters. However, even if you’ve been reading this comic purely for your Gambit or Quicksilver fix, the way that David writes this series won’t disappoint you, the attention on the characters here is just superb.
This issue is best suited to long term fans of the X-Men who are familiar with Scarlet Witch’s actions committed against mutants in the House of M event, but despite the ties people who have never read the series in question can comfortably devour All New X-Factor and still not be completely out of their depth. The reunion between Wanda and Polaris was handled very well, especially given their shared history and fans will not be disappointed with how this unfolded.
The artwork is as clean and consistent as always. Pop Mhan does the breakdowns for this issue whilst the finishing is provided by both Mhan and Scott Hanna, with Lee Loughridge on the colours. The ending result is pulled off very well indeed and all artists bring their A-Game to the table to make this book as much a positive visual experience as much it is a visual one, with the entire creative team working incredibly well indeed.
In conclusion, All New X-Factor #14 is a must read. It once again proves just how criminally under-read, and underrated this series is and deserves all the praise it can get. If you’re a fan of the X-Men or just superheroes in general, then you’ll get something out of this book with some excellent character development continuing to prove David’s worth as one of the best writers in Marvel’s camp right now.