First comic to step in front of X's firing squad tonight? X-Factor, now with added Wolverine!! Yes, he's here too... Well, I have a ton of books to read still, so let's get to it.
What Happened: With Madrox trapped in yet another bizarre alternate dimension(this one with Iron Man robots the size of Sentinels stamping through the streets), X-Factor is falling to pieces as the topic of the day(Layla bringing Guido back from the dead without a soul) is severely dividing the team. While the majority of the team bickers as only X-Factor can, Wolverine meets with Layla in the morgue keeping Madrox's dead body frozen. Wolvie inquires as to why Layla was taking Jamie's death so personal, and she reveals that she had read the journal of her future self(when she was, you know, in the future) and had learned that Guido was supposed to be dead BEFORE the battle with Bloodbath. In other words, Guido not being dead during the Bloodbath battle was most likely what led to reality shifting and Madrox dying(as it were). So in Layla's mind, resurrecting Guido ended up getting Madrox killed. After that cheerful talk, Wolvie heads into X-Factor's offices and discovers the team still arguing amongst themselves. Wolvie tells the team that since he had moved back to the area he wanted to put X-Factor Investigations on retainer since they a) had contacts in the area and b) could deal with weird, off the beaten road type stuff. The team continues to bicker, so Wolvie tells them that they were obviously lacking leadership, what with Madrox being dead and all, and offers to send in some people to help fill the team's leadership void. Naturally, the team balks at the idea of an outsider running things, at least until Havok and Polaris walk in as the leadership Wolvie was talking about(!).
The Good: There was a lot of good here actually. Peter David showed, once again, why he will go down as one of the best comic book writers EVER. The dialogue here was absolutely inspired. Not only that, but he wrote one of the better Wolverine's in quite some time. Wolvie was the perfect mixture of tough-as-nails ass-kicker and respected leader here. The art was crisp and bright. Havok and Polaris returning, although spoiled by Marvel months ago, was still an awesome moment, especially for those of us who read and loved PAD's initial run on X-Factor. I love how PAD is slowly playing out the “Madrox in the other dimensions” stuff.
The Bad: There really wasn't any... I guess there could have been a bit more action. I also wasn't sure why Layla was refusing to leave the morgue.
The Verdict: This was an excellent comic book. Definitely the best one I've read thus far this year. It wasn't perfect, but it was damn close. I honestly don't know how PAD does it... He has a huge cast of characters(at the very least 10) and yet can manage to give every single one of them a bit of time to shine. Seriously, everybody on the team got themselves a little moment of character development! Compare that to Bendis and the Avengers titles, where the characters will either all talk(but say nothing of any importance) or half the team will stand silently in the background, basically as decorations. It's PAD's ability to tell great stories, dole out oftentimes hilarious dialogue AND develop characters, even for a massive team book like this one, that has him near that vaunted Stan Lee territory as the GOAT in my book.
Score: 9 out of 10.This should be great!