Top and Bottom of the Pile 7-11-2007

TOP: X-Factor #21
X-Factor continues to be one of the best books of my 20+ monthly titles, and this issue is a good reason why. Unlike other X-Books that are focused on missions and fights, this title is strictly about the characters, and it’s a premise that allows Peter David’s talents to shine. This issue sees the still-thick tension between Madrox, Siryn and Monet ever since Madrox accidentally slept with both of them in one night. It also rehashes the long-forgotten relationship between Wolfsbane and Rictor, and sets up a future storyline – looks like someone’s pregnant! With three characters (that we know of) eligible for the spot, who’s it going to be?

BOTTOM: Ultimate X-Men #84
This is an example of a decent book getting outweighed in an excellent week. Ultimate X-Men wasn’t bad, but it just couldn’t match up with X-Factor, New Avengers, and JSA. The problem this book has had since Mark Millar left has been a lack of identity. Brian Bendis didn’t really get the characters and left a lot of them in the background. Brian Vaughan left as he was hitting his stride on the book. Robert Kirkman has been stepping it up and has even rebuilt the team to get his own direction set in stone. I’m not completely sold on the new lineup (Bishop, Storm, Pyro, Wolverine, Dazzler, Angel, Psylocke), but at least the book is moving away from the generic hole it’s been sitting in for years now.

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