Layla Miller is suffering with depression after the death of X-Factor’s team leader Jamie Maddrox and won’t step away from the chamber in which his body is cryogenically frozen.  Of all people, Wolverine arrives to give her a pep talk.  Meanwhile, everyone else seems to be disturbed by the revelation that Layla was responsible for returning Guido (Strong Guy) to life, but at the expense of his soul.  M seems most upset, while Banshee defends him.  Pip the Troll then jumps in, pointing out that he has been killed and revived numerous times.  He then throws in one last barb, “And zip up yer damn uniform!  Even I’m sicka lookin’ at’cher rack!”  Longshot responds, “Wow.  You just got trolled.”

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to the team, Maddrox is still alive, just displaced in another reality.  He starts to ponder the nature of his abilities.  Are the duplicate versions of himself that he conjures up actually parallel universe doppelgangers?  He comes across a corpse of himself, when suddenly the ground begins to quake and he must flee.  He later discovers that the rumbling was caused by what appears to be two giant Iron Men.

The X-Factor team continues bickering among themselves, over Guido and Layla.  Finally, Logan interrupts and reveals why he stopped by to begin with.  He urges them to side with him over Cyclops and that he’s brought them two new leaders.  At first they bristle, until the new leaders enter… veterans Havok and Polaris!

The cast in the book is pretty massive, but each character fulfills a unique role.  This book is more about the interpersonal drama than the super adventuring, like a soap opera.  Adding Havok and Polaris back into the mix after a several-years absence should bring some new developments.  However once Jamie returns, it’ll be interesting to see how his role or that of Havok changes.  Also, I find it a tad strange that Havok, Alex Summers, took Logan’s side over his own brother’s!  I’m sure that will be explained next issue.

Emanuela Lupacchino’s crisp clean artwork is quite nice!  This was a talking heads book, but the artwork is nice and keeps it lively and interesting.  The facial expressions truly stand out!

There is plenty of humor in this issue.  A Justin Bieber joke feels dated, but Longshot’s reveal of how he and Allison Blaire/Dazzler keep in touch redeems it.  And the continued tension between strained boyfriends Shatterstar and Richter is amusing.

This is a fun book, with a great cast.  If you like your comics on the soapy side, this is the book for you!  There’s very little action this issue, but this particular series doesn’t revolve around action like other titles.  The art work is exceptional!  Despite the lack of action, I think if you’re interested in trying this book out, this would be a great place to start, since it’s between major storylines.

Verdict: Buy

Written by Peter David
Art by Emanuela Lupacchino
Cover by David Yardin