Comics Anonymous

X-FACTOR #232 by gillianhastie
March 30, 2012, 7:30 am
Filed under: Comic Reviews, Marvel Comics | Tags: , ,

After queuing for several hours at London Super Comic Con in the hope of requesting an awesome (no doubt hipster-style) Supergirl sketch from McKelvie, only to discover a tweet MUCH later on saying he was just out his bed, I wandered down a couple of desks to watch Emanuela Lupacchino hard at work.

I had to peek round some leering lads, who pointed out, with some obvious hand gestures, that Ema draws big round boobies. Despite the cleavage, necessary I guess in superhero books, her artwork looked great and she clearly put time and effort into her commissions.

Later, oor Linsay introduced me to X-Factor.  But before I get to that, a little digression is necessary. You see, most comic fans I know are a little on the OCD side with their collections and reading habits.  Whether it’s alphabetising, digital-only, signature collecting or bagging & boarding, there are always rules.  The issue I have to work around is not being comfortable to simply jump into a series at issue 100-and-whatever.  I have done, but when there’s a manageable number of preceding issues it’s tempting to rewind a bit. Such are the deliberations of a nerdy mind.

I don’t read much Marvel and, while there are really only two teams to choose between – Avengers and X-Men – all of the books seem to be inter-related or steeped in continuity. I’ve mostly read linear or peripheral stories before, like Moon Knight and the main Cap series, but not much else. X-Factor seemed like a good way in to the mutant world.

Back to Linsay’s recommendation: I picked up X-Factor vol.3 #232 and just a few pages in I was excited. It’s evident that this comic’s not thrown together hurriedly. From the expressive faces, detailed backgrounds and imaginative use of space and panel divisions, to the sharp inks, bright colours and stylised lettering – it seems that nothing about the storytelling is left to chance and lazy artists don’t make the cut.  I didn’t really get what was going on – two dudes fought and it was pretty – but I’d dived in mid-arc and didn’t know the characters.  I reckoned swotting up would be worth it.

I was nearly done with a Walking Dead catch-up so decided to go back and read some older X-Factor, to get to know the characters. The Jamie Madrox mini-series, a prelude to X-Factor, is exciting, funny and a great introduction to the characters’ abilities and the world they live in.  Moving to X-Factor issue 1, the artwork took a while to get used to.  Gone was the shiny, neat and dare I say handsome Madrox. Now, in his place, was a skinny near-goth with guy-liner.  Tight lines, bright colours and lots of detail were shunned in favour of chunky blacks, dull colour washes and backgrounds with little more than the perpendicular lines of city buidlings and the odd car.  My initial disappointment was abated a little when I found that the Madrox in the main series to be a little edgier – perhaps the shiny-bright that I like doesn’t cut it then?  (I did say I was a McKelvie fan.)

Fifty or so X-Factor issues to go until I properly hit Lupacchino’s run on the comic, I just hope the earlier story arcs are worth a read in the meantime.

Gillian – @surelyshine

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