It's official: Peter David is bringing X-Factor to a close with issue #262 in September.
Announced Sunday afternoon during Marvel's X-Men panel at C2E2 in Chicago, the news isn't completely unexpected. In March, the publisher solicited a six-part arc titled "The End of X-Factor" starting with June's X-Factor #257, but observers wondered if that might not be meant entirely literally, or possibly was a prelude to a relaunch with a new #1. But it is indeed the end of X-Factor for at least the foreseeable future, and the conclusion to David's run that started with 2004's Madrox miniseries.
David told Newsarama that following the current "Hell on Earth War" storyline, which brings several long-building plotlines to a head and ends in May with issue #256, the story had approached a natural conclusion.
"It was basically decided that the 'Hell on Earth War' was as major a storyline as we were going to do," David said. "I'd been building toward it for so long that it simply seemed a logical culmination to the entire series. So we decided to wrap it up. It's been going for 10 years, after all."
And David is making it clear that while his recovery is ongoing, the decision to end X-Factor wasn't affected by the stroke he suffered in late December,
"My stroke has absolutely nothing to do with it," the writer said. "It was something we'd been discussing long before the end of December."
Following "Hell on Earth War," which was first teased by David back in 1998's Incredible Hulk #467, the writer said there will be a few remaining threads that he'll be giving closure to in his final arc.]
"I've been teasing the Longshot/Shatterstar connection for a while and it seems time to wrap that up," David said. "And I want to leave all the characters in good places. They deserve that."
In contrast to "Hell on Earth War" — a large-scale event featuring battling Hell Lords and the inevitable cataclysm that ensues from such a thing — "The End of X-Factor" will be a quieter affair, illustrated by Neil Edwards, returning to the series, and Marvel newcomer Carmen Carnero.
"It's a series of small stories focusing on the individual characters and crises going on in their lives," David said. "Each issue focuses on one (or two) of them at a time."
Current X-Factor series editor Jordan D. White praised the unique place the book has had within the X-titles, and Marvel's larger publishing line.
"Peter has really worked wonders with this book," White said to Newsarama. "He's made a little piece of the X-Universe all his own, from the beginnings as a noir/detective story, to the more recent supernatural bent. The book has always felt distinct and unique."
X-Factor has featured both characters from David's original run on the series in the '90s — like Multiple Man, Strong Guy, Wolfsbane, Polaris and Quicksilver — plus various X-folks like Longshot, Monet, former X-Forcers Shatterstar, Rictor and Siryn; along with more surprising choices like Layla Miller (introduced during House of M), Darwin (first seen in X-Men: Deadly Genesis) and Jim Starlin cosmic creation Pip the Troll; with the ensemble functioning as a detective agency rather than a traditional superhero team.
"He's breathed new life into characters that had been, in some cases, abandoned or forgotten... or even a few who never really felt quite real to me until Peter got his hands on them," White said.
"It's such a rich assortment of characters to have been exploring," David said, adding that he'll miss spending time in their heads. "I wouldn't have been on it for so long if it wasn't special."
"The End of X-Factor" doesn't mean the end of David's storied time at Marvel, as he's got an as-yet unrevealed new project at the publisher in the works.
"I hope everyone will turn out for it," David said.