By: Peter David (Writer), Pop Mhan (Breakdowns), Pop Mhan and Scott Hanna (Finishes), Lee Loughridge (Color Artist), VC’s Cory Petit (Letterer), Kris Anka & Jared Fletcher (Cover Artist)
The Story: Bonds of sisterhood can be fixed with copious amounts of beer and beating up on others’ abusive boyfriends.
The Review: Last issue was a trip to Colonial Williamsburg, and now it’s to a Renaissance Faire. If next issue becomes a trip to a Civil War Re-enactment, I’m not sure if I’ll laugh or cry. It does make an interesting balance, though, in that last issue was all about Quicksilver using the setting as a way to make family time with his daughter, and this time it’s all about Polaris and Scarlet Witch’s attempt at sisterhood. In this case, Danger is brought along as well, to complete our girl’s day out and pass the Bechel Test. (Actually, it’s a quite natural development of ongoing storylines, meaning that X-Factor consistently has, as its strength, distinct characters and intriguing relationships of all kinds.)
The characteristic humorous quirks and quick-witted quips are all on display here, too, with Danger’s curious ideas about exploring her humanity getting the first laugh from the first page (thanks to the timing that comes from a series of panels exploiting the comicbook medium’s ability to be deliberately paced) as well as becoming a running gag. Other touches are quite subtle, such as Polaris dealing with people asking about her hair or Danger “know[ing] a bar.” Not quite so obvious, but perhaps natural, would be Scarlet Witch reacting to the scene of a witch burning at the Faire, which seems a bit historically inaccurate for a writer usually concerned with authenticity but is perhaps resorting to more broad or simple plot gimmicks to tell the story he needs.
Interestingly, for a story that is arguably mostly about Polaris, she doesn’t take charge all that much. It’s not directly an indictment on her leadership skills, which is an ongoing subplot for the title, but it does fall in line with that. For example, Polaris doesn’t suggest the outing nor recommend the place for it; she doesn’t investigate the witch burning; she even allows the victim to dictate when to turn her powers off, to tell her to stop the punishment of the villain. (Although, to be fair, do we honestly think Polaris would have murdered someone in cold blood?) She does buy the Scarlet Witch a turkey leg and a beer and take some petty thieves’ gun clips, but overall she’s pretty passive to the events around her. Judging from her anger at the realization that Quicksilver was originally a plant on the team, we’re led to believe that passivity won’t be a problem for very long.