This title got a lot of publicity last month due to Rictor and Shatterstar snogging after many years or hints and fan speculation. They're still snogging as we join them this issue. That doesn't make them interesting, though. Layla Miller is interesting and happily she gets lots of play here, in a terrific scene with an elderly Marvel villain. Yes, we're still spending half of each issue 80 years in the future, in the type of dystopia that has me dropping the X-books every few years. I thought X-Factor was meant to be the X-book for people who don't like X-books, but for months it's been future Cyclops, future Cyclops's daughter, future Sentinels . . . and this issue ends with another X-Men character showing up, one of the dullest ever to see print.
Thankfully, the future storyline has at last started to be fun, even if that's mainly because I'm laughing at an old bad guy's infirmities. Also, it turns out to be connected to the present day assignment accepted by Monet, Theresa and chums, and it looks like things will be wrapping up soon. I do hope so, I like X-Factor when it's going its own way, a little Noir here, off-kilter superheroics the rest of the time.
As ever, Peter David's script is a witty wee thing, and thankfully not as self-conscious here as at odd moments in recent issues (such as when Jamie Madrox observed that nobody cries in Noir; to us it's Noir, to characters it should simply be crap weather, chiaroscuro lighting and French mood swings).
Despite the interior credits, the penciller here is Valentine De Landro, and with inker Pat Davidson he produces a great-looking comic. Their techno-organic Monet is a fine new take on an X-books staple, their aged villain is far scarier than the same chap at his peak and their Darwin is . . . squidgy.
Convoluted as this storyline is, David's recaps allow new readers to come on board, and the book is even gaining a lettercol soon, giving me a chance to write in and demand Siryn's name is changed to the terribly logical She-Banshee. Feel free to do the same.