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X-Factor Visionaries - Peter David, Vol. 1 (X-Men) (v. 1) Paperback – November 23, 2005
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Top Customer Reviews
Larry Stroman’s art holds up better than anything else being published back in 1991, and it even holds up far better than the work he did on X-Factor just a couple years ago. I cite Al Milgrom’s tight inking job, which reigns in the rampant geometric eccentricity that is Stroman’s pencils and makes them serviceable for a superhero story while being completely individual. This is the only way this book could have looked. It’s perfect.
This is so smart, so well done, and so all around revolutionary for a Marvel Comics superhero book in 1991. There is barely any action. The premise is more politics than punching. The art is frustratingly gorgeous. The characters are B and C-list at best. This was such a risk and it pays off in every way.
David's humor is top notch. Every issue is funny, and every character is funny in his or her own way. The breadth of David's humor is incredible: wordplay, throwaway references to pop culture, running gags, physical humor, funny dialogue ... he even uses puns in a way that won't make you want to strangle him. I could lists a dozen or so of my favorite X-Factor jokes, but it's better that you find your own favorites.
It's not all laughs, though. David makes you care about a lineup of second stringers: a pair of B-list X-Men (Havok and Polaris), a former New Mutant (Wolfsbane), a B-list Avenger (Quicksilver), a guy who had been hanging around the fringes of the X-books for almost two decades (Madrox the Multiple Man), and a guy who was a bodyguard to C-lister Lila Cheney (Guido, who gets his "Strong Guy" name here). David makes these characters face their own traumas and hang-ups, overcome their crises. David gives warning that he is willing to put his character though the wringer and examine their heads afterwards -- all while maintaining that sense of humor.
X-Factor's pencils are by Larry Stroman, and he's ... he's not my favorite artist, to say the least. I had hoped Stroman's art would grow on me like Bill Sienkiewicz's New Mutants work did, but it was not to be. I can't stand his exaggerated style with lumpy heads and Muppet mouths and bulbous bodies. His fight scenes -- which David gives him few of, admittedly -- are weak, at best. At times I find it tough to look at his pencils.
Peter David, v. 1, isn't perfect; no book is. The villains are forgettable, at best, and for a government superhero team, X-Factor does very little work for the government. And oh, that art ... But despite its flaws, it should be part of every X-fan's library.
This arch has several subplots, but the main plot featuring Multiple Man's powers spinning out of control is the most amusing. Several other subplots are not wrapped up before the end of the graphic. The writing itself is not David's strongest work. In the first half of the graphic, you get the feeling he's still trying to find the character's voices and mannerisms, with nothing really gelling until much later in the book. There's humor, but most times it feels forced, and the villains are either overused or asinine.
The art work is staggering, and I think Mr. David would have been better served had this been called X-Factor Visionaries (Larry Stroman, Vol. 1) Mr. Stroman's art, sense of style, and composition make even the most mundane instances appealing and his art alone saves the book from a rating of 3 stars.
So if you get this book, just know that it's nothing amazing that will change your life or the way you see comics. But, the art is staggering, and worth the price of admission alone.
This could be read by a newcomer to comic books, but they might think `Is this all there is to comics?' Buy them Watchmen instead.