By: Peter David (Writer), Carmine Di Giandomenico (Penciller), Lee Loughridge (Color Artist), VC’s Cory Petit (Letterer), Kris Anko & Jared Fletcher (Cover Artists)

The Story:
Georgia has trouble leaving the mall.

The Review:
There’s more plot than subplot here, but what subplot does show up is pretty significant, as it creates the cliffhanger for next issue.

The main plot continues to ceneter on Little Miss MacGuffin, a.k.a. Georgia, who’s been captured by Momento Mori, her flight attempt, and X-Factor’s eventual rescue. It provides some needed exposition to clarify the characters’ relationships, and it also provides some pretty hilarious moments, such as a chase through a mall on Segway scooters. Which transform into laser-firing flying jets. Some characters get some good one-liners, too, such as Polaris’ “How about YOU don’t move?” that placed on the cover, and even Georgia’s “Sorry! Sorry! Hope I didn’t kill you!”

Otherwise, however, Georgia continues to be the weakest element of the book, which continues to be my main complaint of this story arc. Yes, she does take some agency in trying to escape, but it’s also simply a plot point and a logical move. She remains a complete cypher (no offense to Doug Ramsey) and doesn’t really serve any purpose but to draw out a months-long serial from what should be a very simple and really kind-of-cliché story premise.

Momento promises to be less cliché as villain, as he quite explicitly points out why he doesn’t chose, say, a volcano lair as a headquarters. (Moment of Meta– Unless going out of the way to point out why you are not cliché has become cliché in itself.) There’s also something funny about having a villain headquarters in a shopping mall, which includes the Mori Hotel (that translates into Death Hotel?) Interestingly, this positions him to be a natural antagonist to Serval Industries/X-Factor’s patron, with potential to comment on the commercial nature of villainy in the same way X-Factor might comment on the like for heroics. This potential isn’t realized, of course, but the possibility is there, perhaps as a set-up for future issues.

Visually, I appreciate that there’s a villain who will actually wear a cape these days (tick another in the Cliché column, if we’re counting), although the color choice is a bit drab. The rest of the Momento Mori’s costume has a skeleton motif, which is visually striking, especially in the mask, hands, and upper body. The white g-string look and lower body continues the motif but is a little more silly than striking, and looks unbalanced with the more intricate designs in the top.

Similarly, the coloring of the book overall remains strong in some places, while drab and too similar in others. The scenes seem to be broken down into key color palettes, such as Serval Industries being bright and blue and Mori’s headquarters/mall being drab and brown and dull green. The way the palette is used, however, tinges all elements in that scene to be the same. This deflates what could be an exciting scene, for example, when Warlock covers Cypher and Georgia and becomes a motorcycle– all in a dull brown wash.

The issue ends with Gambit’s romantic adventure from last issue serving as the cliffhanger, as Serval learns that his wife slept with him, which allows him to be left behind during a “transporter malfunction.” However, the issue doesn’t really allow any of the other subplots or character interactions come to be present at all, which is disappointing. If it allows us to burn through Georgia’s story more quickly, though, I might be persuaded to think of it as fortunate.

The Bottom Line: Stylish in writing and art, as always, All-New X-Factor provides some genuine fun moments here. Even if Georgia’s plight is wearing a bit thin, it provides the introduction of what could be X-Factor’s chief antagonist in Momento Mori.

The Grade: B

by Danny Wall

Two Other Tidbits:
— If his people all call him Mr. Mori, does that mean our supervillain’s real name is actually Momento Mori?
— There’s gotta be some metacommentary going on when the characters talk about Star Trek, a universe that Peter David has played around with a lot. I’m not a Trek guy, so I’ll leave it to others to confirm.