Let’s just get something out in the open first. I can be a bit of a continuity nerd. I know, I know, it’s one of those things that make Comic Book Guys unbearable, but in our serialized medium with such long and rich histories, it’s hard to not be, and I applaud anyone who can just let it go.

Cover of All-New X-Factor issue 07

The gang’s all together, so now the REAL work begins.

So All-New X-Factor follows Peter David’s newest X-Factor team (his third, by my count) this time run privately by Serval Industries, the Marvel Universe’s Google stand-in. Led by Polaris, with Gambit, Quicksilver, Danger and new team members Cypher and Warlock, the team is tasked with doing good, but doing it within Serval’s purview. The mission statement sits better with some members of the team than others, and from there, as well as various clashing personalities, we get that staple of Peter David’s writing: Drama!

This issue Polaris is having to deal with some fallout from a decision last issue, and the newest team members, Cypher and Warlock, are getting used to their new living arrangements. This is, in a way, the first “real” issue of X-Factor for the run. We’ve known we were going to have six members of the team since the start and we finally have them, meaning the introductions are over. On one hand this is great, because we all like meeting new characters but now we can get to the real stories. On the other hand, we should have hopefully gotten through our teething problems by now, everyone should be warmed up and ready to go, but that is sadly not the case.

On the good side is Peter David’s story. Straight away (if you can call issue 7 “straight away”) we find ourselves at a meaty dilemma. The team is trying to balance “doing good” with being the private strike force for an independent corporation. Each of the four main human/mutant characters have their own voice on where they stand and it feels like a real group of people all trying to do what they see as “right” (they are “heroes” as Polaris said some issues earlier) within the corporate framework they find themselves in. “No one owns me.” Gambit says, before he proceeds to fly across the country in a privately owned jet wearing a jacket emblazoned with his employer’s logo. The series’ entire set-up is evident in one of the earliest scenes in this issue, and Peter David is showing us right away that he has it under control.

Gambit and Polaris in All-New X-Factor issue 07

Gambit and his cats are owned by no man, not even the guy who pays for all his stuff and owns the place he lives.

Sadly, I’m going to have to have a negative point, and doubly sadly I’m going to be repeating myself. The art. I reviewed issue 3 and said much of what I’m feeling about it in this issue there. The linework is stellar, and while I’m no artist I can safely say this is pretty great. Clean lines, distinct faces, emotion, and pretty great design too. Except the uniforms, but that’s not an issue this… issue. Well, ok, I do have a complaint about the lines. On Danger and Warlock, both ostensibly robots, the pencils are FAR too busy, and loose. A lot of the time I can’t really tell what part of Warlock is what.

Now, to be fair, Carmine Di Giandomenico probably hasn’t spent much of his time practicing drawing techno/human hybrids, and really, I’m willing to give him a pass on making them look passable for the moment. But I will be watching, Carmine, so get practicing. Sometimes it’s hard to tell them apart, too. And while some small part of that is to put on Peter David for having the two of them together in one book, the dramatic potential is, of course, almost limitless, so here’s hoping that Mr Giandomenico can get his Danger/Warlock groove on.

So, no. The lines aren’t my problem, and as I said earlier, if you read my review of issue 3 you’ll know why. It’s the colours! It’s the lack of inks! It’s the lack of any depth on the page! Why oh why hasn’t anyone seen this? How does Marvel put this book out each month (well, every few weeks, anyway) and not see how destructive the no inks system is? I hope I’m not the only one who sees this.

Yellow is the dominant colour at Serval Industries.

We get it. Everything is yellow. Even Quicksilver’s face and the pages of the book.

Some panels have some dark shadows added this issue, which is nice, but they just seem to emphasise the whole thing. The lack of tone. We either have absolute blacks, some very minimal colour shading, or nothing, leaving the incredibly washed out pallet of the book making every page look almost the same. Seriously. The blanket yellow of everything at Serval Industries is somewhat understandable when yellow is their colour. Yellow being omnipresent reminds us, visually, that the company is everywhere and everything for this superteam. But later when they travel to a place wholly unconnected to Serval, everything is the same yellow? Isn’t something like that death, creatively, for a visual medium like a comic? Is no one at Marvel reading All-New X-Factor?

Now, obviously, I’m being somewhat melodramatic. Someone out there loves this art, I’m sure. It just isn’t me. And I’m saddened about that. When most titles from the Big Two publishers these days have rotating or non-static artistic teams, this one doesn’t, and I should be over the moon. But no. One of my favourite writers on a title he basically owns by now, with a team of mutants who I’ve actually begun to really like (despite one of them being Gambit!) with a great original setup. And as I said, the line work is mostly really good too! But these bland, washed out digital colours with no inks distance me from what would otherwise be my favourite title on the stands each month.

Despite the art, I would still recommend this book to mutant loving readers out there, though. And that comes down almost entirely on Peter David’s shoulders. His pacing can be a little off putting at times, with sparse dialogue to slow down the eye I sometimes find myself speeding through a scene I probably shouldn’t be, and I would hate to lay the blame for that on the artists too. It is something I’ve found inherent to David’s writing in the past. But his grasp on his characters and his ongoing arcs for each of them will bring me back, and hopefully they’ll grab you if you decide to pick this issue up.

Just… Yeah. The art. Fix it up, Marvel, and I’ll be on board 100%.

All-New X-Factor issue 7 is available at your Local Comic Book Shop, digitally from Marvel.com and Comixology

Overall Score
75 %

Reads well, brings back cool characters and promises more to come. Pretty much everything you want from a comic.

Story 80%
Writing 75%
Pencils 85%
Colours 60%

About The Author

Living in Australia, my life is probably quite like yours, except hotter and with more dangerous animals. I've had a love of comics for the last 20 years, which is almost exactly two thirds of my life, and very little else has been with me that long. I fancy myself as a writer, but I fancy myself as many things that I'm not all that good at, so go figure. I have strong opinions but I love to discuss things, so please comment, cos I'd love to hear what you think of what I think.

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