X-Factor #1 & Captain Marvel #18 Put The Emphasis On Character And Deliver

Captain Marvel is one of the most high-profile characters that Marvel has right, and she’s playing a big part in the large Empyre crossover that happening right now. In Empyre #2, Carol Danvers becomes a Kree Acuusser, complete with the legendary Ronan’s hammer to wield. This leads into…

Captain Marvel 18Captain Marvel #18
Writer: Kelly Thompson
Artist: Cory Smith

This Empyre tie-in issue finds Carol dealing with her new position as an accuser, and I have to say, I really enjoyed it. I haven’t been reading the monthly series, but this was a solid place to come in. That’s one thing I’m enjoying about Empyre – the tie-ins read as though they’ve been smartly coordinated between the various creative teams. Sure, you can skip them if you simply want the core event, but reading Captain Marvel #18 gives us greater insight into the character at this moment in time, which is what you want in a comic book. Plus, stuff happens here.

Here, Carol is sent to a planet to take down a rogue Kree soldier that has allegedly destroyed a city that was to be the first shared home of Kree and Skrull. Once Captain Marvel encounters the soldier and is about to pass permanent judgement, she discovers something unexpected that will play into both Empyre and the Captain Marvel series going forward. The entire issue worked extremely well for me, from Kelly Thompson’s thoughtful writing and Cory Smith’s artwork. Thompson in particular has the great ability to get into Carol’s head, and whenever a writer can do that, the reader, at least me, can connect to the story that much more. On that note, I’m in for the next issue.

X-Factor-1X-Factor #1
Writer: Leah Williams
Artist: David Baldeon

One book that just debut that doesn’t tie-in with Empyre is X-Factor, which carries on the great tradition of a mutant investigation team. This time, it’s led by Northstar, whose first case involved the disappearance and apparent death of his sister, Aurora. While death may not be the end of mutants any longer, there needs to be solid proof that they are indeed gone before they can be resurrected. That often takes time and effort to prove – hence, the job of the new team, which also includes Polaris, Prodigy, Eye-boy, Daken and Prestige.

Leah Williams is a writer whose work had yet to connect with me, but she absolutely knocks this issue out of the park and then some. The story is compelling and she deftly handles the multiple characters and voices. The X-Factor team features what I would consider tier two characters in Polaris, Prestige and Northstar, alongside a few who fall just below that. A writer’s challenge then is to make you care about all of them equally, and Williams delivers.

Along with Williams’ work is just outstanding art from David Baldean, who has a unique style that recalls one of my favourite comic artists, Humberto Ramos. X-Factor #1 is worth picking up just to look at the illustrations alone, but make sure you actually read the issue too. It’s a great start to another mutant series, and one that I think will stand out in a very crowded arena.

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