Dun, dun, DUNNNNNNNNNN:
Though the final issue of Marvel Comics' "X-Factor" recently landed in stores, the ending was one which was so open-ended, it's no surprise that acclaimed writer Peter David is set for another turn with the team that he's helmed in a number of incarnations.
With "X-Factor" #262, David brought his saga of X-Factor Investigations -- Jamie Madrox's motley crew of mutant detectives -- to a close, with Madrox and his wife Layla Miller set for a happy ending and wedded bliss after going through a Hell on Earth war, surviving futuristic mutant concentration camps, demonic possession and strange private investigator cases. Although Monet, Guido Carosella (previously Strong Guy, presently the new lord of Hell), Darwin, Banshee, Longshot and Rictor all got a chance to have their "X-Factor" arcs come to a close in the issue's leading up to the finale, it was Polaris' spotlight -- "X-Factor" #260 -- that left the series open to a continuation. And now, David, along with artist Carmine Di Giandomenico, is set to pick things up from that thread with "All-New X-Factor," a new series launching as a part of All-New Marvel NOW! announced at New York Comic Con 2013.
"It picks up sort of directly after X-Factor #260," Peter David told CBR about the series. "I dropped some reasonably obvious hints in that one as to what direction we were going."
So far, the corporate-sponsored team consists of Polaris and her half-brother Quicksilver, plus an intriguing wildcard who just saw his own solo series come to a close: The kinetically-charged Cajun, Gambit.
"I see him as something of a cynic, particularly in so far as Pietro is concerned," David said of the mutant thief. "He doesn't trust anything Pietro says or does, which is either completely unfair or else totally reasonable, depending on your point of view."
However, just because Polaris, Quicksilver and Gambit are the only confirmed members of the team so far doesn't mean the team's roster will be limited to them.
"Just because we've only announced three members doesn't mean the team is staying at that number," said David. "Over the first six issues, we will be bringing on three more members of the team."
That said, the writer was quick to mention that the newer members will be "no one you'd expect." One thing is for certain, though -- certain previous X-Factor members are off the table for now. During the writer's appearance in a recent X-POSITION to discuss the end of "X-Factor," he mentioned that some of the team's roster have been spoken for.
"Someone is already making plans with Guido," David said in September. "And I read somewhere that someone's already snapped up Monet."
The writer also noted that it's unlikely that he'll bring back Madrox or Layla in his next project. "At the moment, I'm happy to leave them as they are," he said during X-POSITION. "I mean, I could easily write a book about their adventures on the farm, but it would likely bore the hell out of everyone except me."
Previous incarnations of David's X-Factor have had varying mission statements and settings -- his first was the government-sponsored mutant team with a roster that included Havok, Strong Guy, Madrox, Wolfsbane, Polaris and Quicksilver; the second centered on Madrox building X-Factor Investigations, a privately-run P.I. firm -- and "All-New X-Factor" once again puts a different spin on the constantly changing mutant team. Polaris' X-Factor has a corporate sponsorship, as company Serval Industries is backing the team and providing them with whatever they might need. It's a superhero team on retainer, if you will, which gives the team a fair amount of autonomy from the rest of the mutant groups populating the X-Universe. Although readers hadn't have heard of Serval until the company's mention in "X-Factor" #260, David made it clear that the trusted electronics, internet and weapons technology company has a large place in the Marvel U.
"They're a bit more of a modern take [on a company] in that they're into a vast variety of things," David explained. "I'm sort of making them a cross between Stark Industries and Google in that they are a weapons maker, but also run an Internet search engine that's made them a ton of money. So they are heavily into corporate expansion, and X-Factor is one of the things they expand into.
"Let's be honest: most teams exist for the purpose of fighting bad guys," he continued. "X-Factor, on the other hand, exists to serve the needs and requirements of Serval Industries. So that can wind up propelling them into some very unusual situations -- situations that they're not always comfortable with."
Polaris is stepping into a leadership role for "All-New X-Factor," and while it's not the first time she's had to take the helm of a group, recent character developments have left her slightly unbalanced -- specifically her attempt at suicide by cop in "X-Factor" #260 which resulted in her fighting with Quicksilver and landing in jail, where Serval made her an offer to get the band back together, so to speak. David said Polaris' fragile mental state might end up being an issue, and will certainly lead readers to question her qualifications.
"Well, she's kind of nuts, so that can serve as a problem," he said. "You will find yourself wondering whether she was chosen as the leader because they genuinely believe she's qualified, or because Serval was convinced that her delicate psychological nature would make it easier to control her."
Regardless, David is certainly set to extend his legacy with X-Factor. Asked about if "All-New X-Factor" is an evolution of the work he's done with the book so far rather than just a continuation, the writer had only one response:
"Can't it be both?"
"All-New X-Factor" #1 hits stores in January as a part of All-New Marvel NOW!