X-Factor #21-26 (1987): Fall of the Mutants

Although not all of these issues have a “Fall of the Mutants” banner, they’re all related.

Cameron Hodge and Cyclops have a heated argument, but Hodge has no remorse that his actions led to the increased anti-mutant hysteria that led to the passage of the Mutant Registration Act. 

X-Factor still fires him, but he’s installed cameras all around their headquarters, including in the private living areas, so he can see and hear everything they’re doing.

To counter the negative impact Hodge has had, the X-Factor guys decide to go public and reveal that they are, in fact, mutants themselves.  This has been the core conflict of this book from the beginning, so it’s nice to see it coming to a head. 

Unfortunately, that doesn’t suit Hodge’s needs, so he runs interference.

He sends machine-gunning troops, who work for “The Right” (his militant terrorist group that pretend to be pro-mutant but really are intended to scare the public further against mutants), to gun down X-Factor during the press conference—before they have a chance to out themselves as mutants.

All of this is being orchestrated by Apocalypse.

And the connection seems to be revealed when Apocalypse kidnaps all the grown-ups and the kids can see that the teleportation signature is the same as the one used by Apocalypse’s three horsemen.  That’s the set up for X-Factor’s role in The Fall of the Mutants.

For the first time, the full X-Factor team faces Apocalypse, and he rolls out his big plan, origin, and motivations….

Then, it’s lots of fighting against the Horsemen…

…and the revelation that Angel is now Archangel…

And he’s a volunteer, not a victim. Also, it’s not all bad. Angel has not had a good costume pretty much since he was created, but Apocalypse turns him blue and gets him a great tailor.

With X-Factor captured, Apocalypse sends his Horsemen to New York City.  This leads to the tie-ins in Power Pack and Captain America.  The rest of the team fights Apocalypse aboard his space ship and succeed in forcing it to crash land in New York.

Terrific fights, carnage and battle.  Really great stuff, with some wonderful Walt Simonson design and art.

Ultimately, all the members of X-Factor reunite and the Horsemen all unite around Apocalypse, Angel gets his senses back and joins up with his old friends, and turns on Apocalypse.

X-Factor save the day and are hailed as heroes.

I like that Maddie is in the background, trying to remind Scott that he’s got a son.

Thus, they’re now “out” as mutants and are actually viewed as a positive force for good—so the very premise of X-Factor will now need to change.

In fact, this really should be called the “rise” of the mutants—not the fall. Although Beast cries.

So that’s sad.

Apocalypse escapes with one horseman and Caliban, who he gives a power-up to.  He’ll be back.

Sal Buscema does art just on #22–the rest is Walt.

Leave a Comment