X-Factor #71 (October, 1991)
“Cutting the Mustard”
Writer – Peter David
Pencils – Larry Stroman
Inks – Al Milgrom
Letters – Michael Heisler
Colors – Glynis Oliver
Editor – Bob Harras
Chief – Tom DeFalco
Cover Price: $1.00
Blogger’s still being precious… don’t worry though, Blogger support doesn’t care a bit, so it’s probably all in my head!
“Leave Feedback” they say (they being the “lookitme, lookitme” white-knights in the support forums – they really need that pat on the head from Daddy Google!)… I’d get further asking my dog for programming help. Hell, at least that way, I’d get a response of some sort.
If I wasn’t so scared of losing the million-plus words I’ve written here over the past four and a half years, I’d be jumping ship PDQ.
Anyhoo… let’s meet the all-new, all-different (as of 1991) X-Factor.
We open with Lila Cheney’s bodyguard, Guido Carosella asking Lorna Dane if she happens to have any Grey Poupon. Now, that’s kind of a dated reference… so, a teeny bit of context. Ya see, back in the early 90’s, there were these commercials for Grey Poupon Mustard… featuring very classy individuals in fancy cars eating, ya know, things that go well with mustard. One would pull up to another, roll down their window and inquire whether or not the other had any. The answer would always come back, “but of course”. Here, have a look for yourself:
Lorna too replies “of course”, because ya see… X-Factor has everything… including some of the tallest ceilings you’ll ever hope to find anywhere. Guido gets the mustard and positively slathers it all over a split loaf of Italian bread. At the end of the table, Jamie Madrox struggles getting the lid off a jar of mayonnaise… lotsa condiment humor here.
Lorna and Guido discuss the possibility of Alex Summers joining up with this All-New, All-Different X-Factor… with the former having a bit of dilemma considering her personal history with Havok. Meanwhile, Madrox continues to fiddle with the mayo jar. He can’t open the thing… even with the help of a dupe. Guido and Lorna are also unsuccessful in their attempts.
We shift scenes over to Genosha, where Alex is acting as a sort of foreman for the post-X-Tinction Agenda rebuild. Government liaison, Val Cooper is trying to convince him to sign on with X-Factor… but, Al ain’t feelin’ it.
Suddenly an I-Beam snaps from its supports and plummets toward Val and Al. Alex plows the thing with an energy blast, just as Rahne Sinclair leaps onto the scene pushing the other Summers out of the way. Val doesn’t even flinch… she wasn’t scared in the slightest, knowing Alex would protect her.
Back in Washington, D.C. Quicksilver arrives, with the only Inhuman anyone ever cared about, Lockjaw in tow. He’s there to meet with X-Factor, but finds himself in the middle of an anti-Roxxon demonstration. One of the protesters proclaims that Roxxon is “raping the environment”. Not used to seeing that word in an early-90’s superhero comic!
Quicksilver is informed that there’s a bomb about to go off… and so, he rushes into action to take care of it. He uses his speed to find and deactivate the boom-box.
Back in Genosha, Alex, Rahne, and Val are chatting about what X-Factor can offer. Alex is steadfast in his refusal… which prompts the arrival of Professor X and Cyclops to try and convince him. Wonder if Charlie’s gonna use the ol’ Mind-Wipe? Nah, they’re just going to tell him that Lorna’s already signed on.
Speaking of Lorna, back in D.C. she answers a knock at the door. It’s Quicksilver, who’s finally found his way over… looking much worse for wear. Once inside the high-ceilinged room, he faints straight away. Guido carries him over to the couch.
Some time passes, and we get a gag about the Inhumans convincing Ben Grimm that Lockjaw was a humanoid that became a dog instead’ve just being a dog. Ehh, even with their jokes, the Inhumans are a complete bore. We also learn here that something has happened to Pietro’s powers… every time he uses them, his metabolism accelerates his aging. So, in essence, his powers are killing him.
We rejoin the Genoshan contingent as they’re flying back toward the States. On board, we learn that Val Cooper has a brother who’s in the F.B.I. At present, he’s working on a case regarding a girl who was found… dead, wrapped in plastic. Hmm… I’m sure the first time I read this, I totally missed the Twin Peaks reference.
Quicksilver continues his tale of woe… he learned via a postcard that somebody in the Washington, D.C. area is responsible for his accelerated aging. Just then, Havok and Wolfsbane arrive and announce that they’re joining the team. Alex and Lorna have a nice little reunion… much to Rahne’s dismay. Ya see, Rahne’s recently gone through some stuff… and found herself emotionally attached to Alex. We’ll be dealing with that until issue #100.
Alex also gives opening the mayo jar a shot… and is just as unsuccessful as the rest. Finally, Val gives it a wap on the edge of the table and easily unscrews the lid. The mayo, it’s worth noting, looks pretty disgusting.
That night, we learn that Jamie Madrox’s mayo jar was a gimmick he invented back on Muir Island. Why? Who knows. Anyhoo, as he’s in the middle of congratulating himself, there’s a knocking at his door. He answers it… and is positively riddled with bullets!
Jamie is blown back by the shots… and crashes through a window! He falls a few floors, and our issue ends with him laying lifeless and smoking.
It’s weird… X-Factor was definitely something of an outlier back in the long ago. It didn’t feel like the other (three main) X-Books… it also didn’t look much like ’em! I remember thinking there was “too much talking” in this issue… as well as hating the art back in the day. Strange that, near thirty-years later, it feels like this one might’ve “aged” the best!
I’d come around to Peter David pretty quick… in fact, by the time X-Cutioner’s Song was over, he was one of my favorite writers. Heck, he was one of the first writers (not named Pini) I bothered to actually make a mental note of. After that switch flipped, returning to these early new-look X-Factor issues was a treat.
Stroman, however, took me a bit longer to really glom onto. I compare his place in the X-Books to Jon Bogdanove on the Superman books. It’s a bit abstract, looks nothing like it’s cohort-books, and might initially stand out as being, I dunno, maybe “off-putting”? But… all these years removed, it stands out as being more timeless, than anything… ya know? This doesn’t “scream” 1991 like a Lee, Liefeld, or Portacio… at least it doesn’t to me. I think that really helped this run feel “fresher” than the rest. Not that I don’t love the contemporary X-Books… because, I do. But, this one’s… just a little bit different. It’s that one main-line X-Book from the 90’s that folks online won’t give you a judgy eyebrow-raise for reading.
As far as this issue is concerned… it was pretty good. I don’t think it hits its stride for a few issues, but we gotta start somewhere. The mayonnaise jar running gag… ehhh. Probably not my favorite thing in the world. I enjoyed seeing Alex and Lorna reconnect… though, that’ll become more of a “thing” as we move along.
Reading this again after many, many years… I was delighted to catch the Twin Peaks reference. Asamattafact, as I’m writing this… we were supposed to be taking our annual trip up to the Salish (Great Northern) Lodge in Snoqualmie, Washington for our Anniversary. If the world hadn’t come screeching to a halt a few months back, I’d be having my annual “girly drink” by the waterfall tonight. Oh well. We’ll get back up there eventually.
Think that’s all for today. Sorry if my analysis was less “on-point”… just alt-tabbing between windows wrestling with damned (non-existent) Blogger support… and these ridiculous “Notice Me, Senpai” Google fanatics, relentlessly trying to shift the blame to the user.