4.5 out of 5
We get some answers in this issue, and as usual the answers only fuel more questions. Spoilers on.
The issue starts with Madrox and his companions in the future (Ruby & Layla) seeking out the advice of Victor Von Doom himself. How are these people still alive? First Scott Summers and now Doom still alive 80 years in the future! They must’ve been taking their vitamins or something. Anyway, even though Doom is still alive he is completely delusional. He is confined to a wheel chair and full of tubes and we are told his brain is virtually mush, believing he is still the great monarch he once was. Having said that, as we are told, a very insane Doom is till smarter than your average muppet like you, me or Madrox. So the three are there to seek his advice on the recent disappearance & re-appearance of members of the Summers Rebellion.
The main action is back in the present where the cliffhanger ending from issue 43 (the return of Shatterstar) is continued. He is basically in full on attack mode against Rictor & Strong Guy as he is possessed by the strange and villainous Cortex, who is watching from the distance. Now here is where the questions are raised as Cortex seems to be from the future that Madrox is currently located in as he is in communication with some sneaky looking dudes who are also spying on Madrox & Doom in the future. Confused? I know I am. Man.... time travel can be a bitch. What’s the connection with X-Factor & Cortex? Why was he in possession of Shatterstar? So many questions.
The ending Shows Cortex being told to return to the future buy the sneaky dudes which means he must release his grip on Shatterstar just as he is about to deliver a kill blow to Strong Guy. Shatterstar is stopped in his path and comes around, sees Rictor, they both pucker up and they embrace. Now a lot of people on boards were either ‘Yay! Go Marvel!’ or, ‘it was so over the top!’ I personally didn’t even really register it, when I saw people posting on boards about this ‘shock ending’, I had to go back and check the issue because I couldn’t work out what people were talking about. This is not the first time gay characters have been used in comics, is it the first gay kiss? I don’t know, probably not, but really who cares either way, this is 2009, some people being gay is not exactly new news.
Overall another solid issue as usual, I expect nothing more from this title now. The dialogue from Peter David is smart and funny and he gives us enough of an interesting story to keep this reader happy. The art by Valentine De Landro & Marco Santucci is nice and clean and the action is portrayed well. Plus the full page shot of an old and decrepit Doom was killer. Every month this book is at the top of my read pile. The only thing I will say is that this is not the ideal jumping on point for this book. You really need to start from issue 39 onwards to understand the whole story, but if you are a X-Factor reader every month, this is another great chapter.