Saturday, 6 December 2014

Advent 2014: Favourite Characters – Day #6: The All New X-Factor

The team from Peter David’s fantastic All New X-Factor comic, Gambit, Polaris, Quicksilver, Danger, Cypher and Warlock make Day #6 of my Advent column.

Just to get you clear on the rules for this column...

"As you’ve probably noticed from above, this is a new blog series dedicated to showcasing my favourite characters from 2014. I will draw from a wide variety of sources but the conditions are simple – I have to have either first encountered that character in 2014, (or a different iteration of that character in 2014, for example, If I were to use, Steven Moffat’s Sherlock Holmes, I would be allowed to as even though I discovered the character before the year of me writing the Advent list, I did not discover Moffat’s take on the character until 2014. Of course, I watched BBC’s Sherlock before 2014, but that’s just a standard example). I can also refer to groups of characters, for example, on a variation of a list last year, I used the Clone Club from Orphan Black, and the main cast from Stargate Atlantis. This will be used multiple times this year when talking about TV show characters – as they are generally better as an ensemble piece as opposed to an individual group.

And also, as is evident from the first character that I have used this year, Raylan Givens, I am allowed to pick characters from previous years as long as I have discovered them in this year. By discovered, that obviously means I have to have watched the first episode of the TV series in 2014, or alternatively, I am also allowed to include characters who I have become more attached to in this year that I weren’t necessarily so keen on before, for example, If a character did something awesome this year to raise their game and turn him or her into a new fan favourite than these characters would be allowed to be included."

The first comics characters of the column goes to The All New X-Factor. Over the course of the seventeen issues that Peter David has given us so far in the series, they’ve been fleshed out, developed and been some of the most well rounded characters that Marvel have given us. Even though I didn’t know that much about all the characters involved apart from maybe Gambit and Quicksilver before reading this book, I quickly became attached to them over the course of the series run and it really makes me as a reader sad that there are only three issues left of this comic and a relaunch likely isn’t happening due to poor sales. Which really sucks, because if you didn’t read this book then chances are high that you’re missing out on the best Marvel comic short of Mark Waid’s Daredevil.

X-Men fans will probably be familiar with Gambit. The thief at the heart of the team is an excellent character and when you add him into the mix with a great bunch of characters, namely Polaris, Quicksilver, Danger, Cypher and Warlock, each with their own advantages and skill sets – for example, if you’ve seen X-Men: Days of Future Past then no doubt you’ll be familiar with the awesomeness that is Quicksilver by now. He’s super-fast, and really adds a fantastic element to the team that allow for some great scenes that allow Carmine Di Giandomenico to really show off his artwork. Polaris is also one of my favourite characters on the All New X-Factor, and has the ability to control magnetism. It also makes things interesting given that she’s effectively the half sister of Quicksilver, and the effective leader of the team.

The team itself is heavily mixed and each has their own dilemmas and prospects. Quicksilver is a double agent for Havoc’s Avengers, spying on the team in secret. And to make matters more interesting, This All New X-Factor has become a corporate team designed to protect the interests of Serval Industries, and their CEO Harrison Snow. However, Serval aren’t all squeaky clean.

So there’s plenty of plot threads going on throughout this comic and what makes David’s (as well as the assistant artists, Di Giandomenico and Lee Loughridge) work great is that they can keep everything engaging and unpredictable, whether it’s simple character interactions or an all out war. The series itself stays largely clear of Marvel events apart from the recent crossover with AXIS, but don’t let that put you off, because the events portrayed in this book are far more entertaining than those going down in AXIS itself.

If you’re a comic fan who’s not reading All New X-Factor already, then I strongly urge you to go back and catch up ASAP. It’s my favourite X-Book on shelves right now and it’s going to be really gutting to see it go. Peter David is an excellent writer as well so hopefully we can see more of these characters in the future, ideally in a newly reformed X-Factor book. One can always hope, I guess.

·         Day 1: Raylan Givens (Justified)
·         Day 2: The Mikealson Family (The Originals)
·         Day 3: Nolan and Irisa (Defiance)
·         Day 4: Godzilla (Gareth Edwards' Godzilla)
·         Day 5: The 99th Precinct (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)
·         Day 6: The All New X-Factor (Peter David’s All New X-Factor)

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