Excellent jumping on point
X-Factor (Investigations) is heading in a new direction with this new numbering and new artist.
I'm usually hesitant about any change in creative teams, especially when we had such a winning combination with Peter David and Valentine De Landro (who's style complimented his predecessor, Pablo Raimondi), but with Marvel giving the go ahead for a brand new look for the characters, it was the perfect time to change gears and give us something fresh.
The "noir" feel is no longer evident, especially with Jamie Madrox's flashy new outfit (an all leather jumpsuit, with neon green absorption discs). After just one issue, I foresee much more action based stories coming from these guys.
In this issue's main story, Multiple Man has an encounter with Valeria and Franklin Richards, who suspect that their mother, The Invisible Woman, has vanished. The team investigates and end up at the Baxter Building where they question Mr. Fantastic himself, Reed Richards.
The new X-Factor artist, Bing Cansino, presents us a very dynamic sequence of panels where Strong Guy squares off against The Thing. The outcome of the fight left me a little disappointed, but I'll let you judge that for yourself.
Guido also sports a new look. He sports new goggles, which completely eliminates the "Morpheous" or "Batou" look. Also having made away with his signature white haired curl, Guido is far more intimidating. He seems to have visited a tanning salon as well.
I have my reservations about this new look for Strong Guy, but I will reserve judgment until I've been exposed to a few more pages with him at the forefront.
The rest of the team looks ready for action with their new duds as well. I'm looking forward to PAD exploring the Darwin character.
This issue also has a side story where Syrin has an encounter with Reverend John Maddox. Peter Delivers some very touching pages about how Theresa is dealing with the acceptance of her father's death as well as her anger towards Jamie Madrox. I always enjoy it when Peter David utilises John Maddox. The character offers a credibility to his words that Jamie Madrox can't, while employing the same sense of humor.
Marvel also stuffed this issue with Marvel Handbook entries for the X-Factor team roster as well as a reprint of Madrox #1 by Peter David and Pablo Raimondi. The mini-series that redefined The Multiple Man character.
Being a big fan of Multiple Man, I could have done without the reprint and a lower cover price, but it does offer great background to anyone jumping onto this series at this point.
Bottom Line: Peter David does it again. Great writing. Masterful blend of humor, satire and drama. The new artist is a perfect fit for this more action oriented team. X-Factor is shifting gears and racing on to remaining one of Marvel's more consistently excellent books. A Must Read.