For once when Marvel says “all-new, all-different,” it’s true. Nearly everything about X-Factor–including the main characters–changes with #71. Look at the cornerbox–there’s no heads in it!
(We get a proper cornerbox next issue.)
Peter David will take this team to dizzying heights over the course of his very, very long run. And his attention to character and, specifically, damaged characters, will create some of the finest books of the 1990s. And a lot of that is foreshadowed in these issues.
Agent Valerie Cooper has realized that the Freedom Force didn’t really serve the government’s interests, so, in light of X-Factor’s reputation with the public now being at an all-time high, she adopts the name, kicks out everyone except Wolfsbane, slaps some familiar-looking uniforms on Polaris, Guido, Madrox and Havok, and we’ve got a new Federal action team.
So Polaris has to find a new place to live.
She and Havok are arguing a bit when Lockjaw shows up.
Quicksilver, via Lockjaw, has been hunting the source of an unknown villain who has turned his powers against him, causing him to age. This is a great opportunity to say “f-you” to John Byrne, who (way back in Thing #3) had retconned Lockjaw’s origin to make him a person-turned-into-dog-form by the Terrigen Mists…
So Peter David retcons Byrne’s retcon by saying Lockjaw is a dog and what Thing was told was a practical joke played on him by Madrox.
Soon after, Madrox is “killed…”
…and we have a murder mystery, which is another aspect of the Peter David run–he will ultimately turn X-Factor into a band of private detectives.
Of course, it was a duplicate, and the “real” Madrox can’t absorb the body.
And then another dupe starts running around accusing the original Madrox of being a duplicate. This will be yet another theme for David–Madrox’s relationships with his duplicates.
This leads to a massive fight between Madrox and his duplicates–because every time he gets punched, he spawns another one, and another, and another. It’s hilarious. It extends across New York City and Kermit makes an appearance.
That’s a joke from The Muppet Movie. Nice.
Ultimately, just the two Madroxes are left: The real one, and the second fake who Madrox cannot reabsorb.
Guido runs a press conference where he coins a new politically correct term for mutants.
And we’re left with a cliffhanger, showing us a villain named “Vic Chalker” who is determined to disrupt and destroy mutants–and he says he’s going after Strong Guy (aka Guido) next.