Peter David’s X-Factor, like a lot of ensemble superhero books (particularly books relating to the X-Men franchise), is half insane sci-fi action storytelling and half soap opera. But very, very few writers can blend those two tones as well as David, or with as much humor and heart. Like any good soap opera, David’s book is filled with sex, rejection, betrayal, brain-washing, sex, kidnapping and dopplegangers. Unlike many soap operas, though, David occasionally took the time to stop and catch his breath, lest we forget that these are characters rather than interchangeable plot-driving devices.
Look, for example, at “Re-X-Aminations”, the thirteenth issue of his X-Factor relaunch. After two solid arcs introducing us to many of the core conflicts that would drive the series, X-Factor #13 steps back a bit and asks us this: how has this affected the characters and their relationships to one another? The answer, gleaned from a series of interviews with superheroic shrink Doc Samson, is illuminating.