RSS Feed
Aug 27

X-Factor #2 annotations

Posted on Thursday, August 27, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

X-FACTOR vol 4 #2
“Suite No. 2: Mojoverse Sonata Xf. 3 Op. 45, Danse Macabre”
by Leah Williams & David Baldeon

PAGE 1 / COVER: Um… well, it’s a shot of the team in their new costumes, presumably with Aurora in red behind them, and a display of skulls with X marks on their foreheads. It doesn’t really seem to have very much to do with the issue.

PAGES 2-3. A mysterious person teleports onto Krakoa and leaves a parcel for X-Factor.

As we’ll see, this person is delivering evidence designed to prompt X-Factor into investigating the Mojoverse.

The Pod is the home of the Five, the mutants who are responsible for growing the new bodies used to resurrect dead mutants (Hope, Egg, Tempo, Elixir and Proteus). They’re discussing Proteus’ need for periodic new bodies; originally, he used to burn through bodies quite quickly. Proteus’ Scottish accent is frankly abysmal.

Transit is the location responsible for monitoring the comings and goings from Krakoa; uncharacteristically, Sage is asleep on the job.

PAGES 4-5. Recap and credits.

The story title continues the musical theme from the previous issue, which was billed as “Suite No. 1: Prelude: Aurora Moratorium.” There’s no obvious significance to Opus 45. A Danse Macabre was an allegory about the universality of death – death depicted as the great leveller, basically.

Mojoverse is the home dimension of the lunatic dictator Mojo, and the X-Man Longshot. Once it was brought into the X-books’ orbit in the late 80s, it started to be depicted as a TV-obsessed world (something that wasn’t quite so prominent in the Longshot miniseries), with Mojo as an idiot ruler obsessed with dubious ideas for new film and TV products. This all started during the window when Marvel was owned by New World Entertainment, at which point Mojo was serving as an allegory for management. (This is very obvious in the first Excalibur special, where Mojo’s studio has a version of New World’s logo.)

As we’ll see later in the issue, Mojoworld has been updated to make it less about cable TV and more about YouTube. A side effect is that the normally-invisible passive audience of Mojoworld has become rather more visible and active. This is basically a case of keeping the joke up to date. I think this is the first time we’ve seen it mentioned that Mojoworld has news services, though you suspect they’re only interested in entertainment news – though in fairness, the particular story they’re reporting here is genuinely newsworthy.

The main connection between Mojoworld and the regular cast is Rachel Summers, who spent some time as a prisoner there before escaping back to Earth and joining Excalibur. Her Warwolf puppy, Amazing Baby, is also from a Mojoworld species.

PAGES 6-10. The package reveals that there’s been a murder in the Mojoverse.

“Kyle already left for work.” Kyle is Northstar’s husband. Arguably we were meant to infer this from the greenery in his kitchen last issue, but this confirms that Kyle is living on Krakoa despite being a human. This feels like it ought to be more of an issue – nobody else has suggested that they were allowed to bring their families and dependents with them, and if they did, it would rather change the character of Krakoa.

Eye-Boy’s T-shirt. The Krakoan reads KRAKOA QUE HERMOSA ERES (“Krakoa, you’re so beautiful”). Don’t think too hard about how Krakoan Spanish is meant to work.

“I don’t recognise any of these brands.” One of these logos really ought to mean something to them – the symbol that has a picture of Spiral and the words “Spiral’s Body Mod Shoppe.” As becomes more obvious later, the logo itself is a parody of the Starbucks logo, but Spiral and her Body Shoppe should be well known to the X-Men and their satellite teams. Spiral is a sorceress with six arms from the Mojoverse (originally a stuntwoman from Earth) who started as a Longshot villain, but got brought into the X-Men’s orbit in the 80s. Her Body Shoppe, selling cyborg body modifications, goes back a long way; it was responsible for turning Lady Deathstrike into a cyborg.

“You guys know how I have some Multiverse experience?” Prodigy is presumably referring to his time as a supporting character for America Chavez.

Prodigy’s display. The Krakoan across the top reads KRAKOAN SEARCH ENGINE. The three windows are headed “MOJOWORLD NEWS”, “HEADSHOT TV NEWS” and “TRASHTALK”.

PAGE 11. X-Factor arrive on MOJOVERSE.

Um… how? They go through a gate, but they can’t do that unless somebody’s been there already to plant one. Did Longshot do that?

“It did unlock 500 Mojoverse cable channels at the Boneyard…” So if you were really hoping to canonise the “Death to Basic Cable” short from Crazy vol 2 #1 – where people on Krakoa are watching Mojoworld broadcasts – well, happy days.

PAGE 12. Aurora looks after the puppy.

“The crazy Beaubier twin.” Jeanne-Marie’s multiple personalities were pushed heavily back in the day.

PAGE 13. Data page. I love the idea of Mojoverse being the sort of place that would crowdsource immigration policy.

PAGES 14-20. X-Factor get voted in, and meet Mojo.

Mojo was apparently last seen in Spider-Ham #4-5, but they aren’t on Unlimited yet, and I haven’t read them. In the X-books, we last saw him in Mr & Mrs X #7-10. This is his first appearance of the Krakoan era. So far as it goes, he’s telling the truth about Mojoworld loving mutants; many of his stories involve him trying to rope the X-Men into participating in his shows or unknowingly providing him with footage, due to their apparently huge popularity with the audience.

“The Five”. The five most popular streamers on Mojoverse’s YouTube equivalent. Obviously, the re-use of the Five’s name is not a coincidence.

PAGE 21. Data page. These are the Five brands of Mojoverse, and the black star symbol seems to have come from nowhere. Until that happened, Spiral was the comfortable leading brand (which might be why she’s being equated to Starbucks). The other three symbols don’t mean anything to me, and I assume they’re new.

PAGES 22-23. X-Factor get into a fight.

PAGES 24-25. Kyle and Aurora watch the feed.

PAGES 26-27. Trailers. The Krakoan reads NEXT: SPINAL. (Mojo and his race have no spines; they either get carried around in spider-like carts like Mojo, or they wear some other sort of equipment. The humanoid inhabitants of Mojoworld are mostly lab-grown, like Longshot.)

Bring on the comments

  1. DaveB says:

    Presumably it was meant to say “NEXT: SPIRAL”

    And as for human dependants – Jubilee has her adopted infant son Shogo over on Excalibur.

  2. David White says:

    I want to say that MojoVerse having news services (as well as the shift to more YouTube-y content) was originally introduced the most recent DOMINO series, in the two-parter that featured Domino vs. Longshot. Or am I misremembering?

  3. Anthony says:

    The idea of Krakoa getting cable from Mojoverse was also set up in Incoming!

  4. Anthony says:

    Just looked back on Incoming. Apparently, Mr. Sinister gave Mojo Longshot in a deal to bring Mojoverse cable to Krakoa.

  5. Team Zissou says:

    Is Northstar the only mutant married to a human? Or at this point, the only mutant in any sort of romantic relationship with a human?

  6. Thom H. says:

    In terms of the title, they could have gotten the number wrong. Saint-Saens’ Danse Macabre was Opus 40, not 45.

    Or Leah Williams could have changed the number on purpose to comment on the 45th president of the United States. He is widely known for being a reality TV star, and we’re in the Mojoverse.

    The woman in red on the cover is presumably the victim of the murder in Mojoworld. The first clue we saw was a pair of ballet slippers, so she’s a dancer. Probably not Aurora, although they look a lot alike.

  7. Taibak says:

    Anyone have a link to the logos on page 21?

  8. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    @Team Zissou
    Not only that, but basically human supporting casts are a thing of the past in x-books. I think the San Francisco / Utopia era was the last time they were a thing (and even then it was Kavita Rao, Melita Garner, the mayor and… that was that?).

    Though Iceman did have a human boyfriend for a couple of issues in the Sina Grace ongoing.

    On the other hand, with about a hundred characters who are either active X-Men, former X-Men or active/former members of spin-off teams to choose from, I kinda get why writers prefer to focus on the mutants.

    On the other other hand human supporting casts helped anchor the X-Men in the ‘real-ish’ world… and, again, I’m not sure when was the last time that was true. In original X-Factor Investigations or that time when the New Mutants moved out of Utopia into San Francisco proper, maybe.

  9. Luis Dantas says:

    I hear you. For good or worse, the X-books are their own thing now, and don’t really influence or suffer influence from other books in the Marvel Universe to any great extent.

    Nor, as pointed out above, with their own human acquaintances and families. Which is a bit of a self-defeating situation, since it empties them of any major need of being accepted by humans.

    Somehow the explicit crossovers with the Fantastic Four and Avengers only seem to emphasize how the formerly shared universe is now a superficial appearance without much substance left.

    All of a sudden I want to read a twelve issue miniseries about the Road to Krakoa, showing the drama and pathos of major challenge of convincing thousands and thousands of mutants that they totally want to leave their lives behind and go live in Krakoa.

    Except that however such a story might end up, it would not be with such a massive degree of immigration success.

    Hmm, do we have any Jewish Mutants who might feature into a shared loyalties plot? Kate Pryde, Vance Astro (Justice), Wiccan, Iceman, perhaps Magneto and Polaris?

    No, I don’t think any of them has ever been shown as particularly attached to Israel. But introducing a few new characters for that purpose would be very easy, if writers so desired.

  10. Chris V says:

    Sabra would be an interesting character.
    Would she ever agree to leave Israel?

    She’s a minor character though.

  11. K says:

    Comics nowadays are more in media res than ever – it’s how you make your story feel modern, by skipping as much of the lead-up as humanly possible.

    Because, frankly, most of the lead-ups you can come up with for a story probably aren’t that interesting, will probably introduce plot threads that get forgotten, and will probably contradict some other part of the story.

  12. Luis Dantas says:

    True enough, K.

    Still, that is so because there is so much emphasis on sound and shock and fury over long term plotting and good characterization.

    Events require such an emphasis, but for sustained sales there is certainly a place for the alternative.

  13. wwk5d says:

    Iceman is Jewish?

  14. Chris V says:

    I’m pretty sure, no. Kitty Pryde was supposed to be the first Jewish X-Men character.
    The way that Bobby’s father was portrayed in the 1990s makes you think he’d be an Archie Bunker type, not too fond of homosexuals, mutants, or Jews.

    I wasn’t aware that Vance Astro was ever portrayed as Jewish either, but I don’t know about him.

  15. MasterMahan says:

    Mutant/human relationships used to be quite common. Cyclops married the human-at-the-time Madeline. Logan was engaged to Mariko. Storm was with T’challa and Yukio. Xavier and Banshee were both with the human-at-the-time Moira. Bobby dated Opal, Warren dated Charlotte Jone, and Beast dated Trish Tilby.

    Now, though, the only known, public* mutant/human relationship is Jean-Paul and Kyle. How is it for Kyle living on Krakoa? He can’t use the gates on his own. Can he read the language? Would he be as accepted if he was keeping Jean-Paul from straight relationship capable of producing mutant babies? How about if his husband wasn’t wealthy, famous, and politically connected?

    *Aurora was clearly sleeping with a human, and she felt the need to do it in secret.

    Iceman’s mother is Jewish, and his dad is Irish Catholic, as of his miniseries in the ’80s.

  16. Thom H. says:

    Just reread this, and: how is that green halo effect staying on Polaris’ head? I thought it was a manifestation of her power, but it’s there even when she’s hit with the power nullifying ray. Is it stuck in her hair with a wire? Is it Krakoan “tech”? Weird.

    Also, is that sexual tension I sense between Prodigy and Daken? That would be a strange couple.

    Finally, I love this team. I can’t wait to see the relationship between Northstar and Aurora explored more fully. How long has it been since they’ve been in the same book for any period of time?

  17. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    Well, if ‘one issue’ falls under ‘any period of time’ then I’m pretty sure Mike Carey used them in his run… once? And they were both out of their minds, I seem to recall?

    Anyway. I’m not a fan of Mojo and Mojo-centric stories – they too often rely too much on ‘TV, huh?’, without any actual thought put into them. But that switch to social media might be just enough of a new take to make this worthwhile, I’ll wait and see.

    (Still, Mojoverse in issue two of a new series? Bold choice).

    Also I loved that panel with Aurora under pillows on the couch. I had issues with Baldeon’s art in the past – still have some – but he’s doing amazing character work here.

    See also that panel with the team looking forward to a fight, with Trevor with his back to the camera. That got a genuine laugh out of me.

  18. Thom H. says:

    Yeah, I did a little digging in regard to the twins. They did appear in Mike Carey’s X-Men run (2-3 issues + Annual), where he de-crazied them, reconnected their powers, and powered them up.

    As far as Wikipedia is concerned, those changes still hold. Which means that they not only create light when they touch but also concussive force.

    And apparently, there are clones of them (and most of Alpha Flight) running around somewhere? Doesn’t that mess with the whole “don’t resurrect someone in more than one body” rule? Maybe?

  19. Chris V says:

    Not really, no.
    The idea is that Xavier is downloading the “souls” of the character from Cerebro back in to their cloned bodies.

    This would create an issue if the original version of said character were still alive in the world.
    There’d be two exact versions of the same individual alive.

    If a clone of a character were to be created through technology, ala Madelyne Pryor or Sinister’s clones of the Marauders, the idea is that they’re not the exact same as the original version (Cerebro hasn’t downloaded their character or essence in to the body), unlike by using the resurrection protocols.

    Also, they’ve pointed out that Krakoa has been cloning Xavier’s body and leaving it an empty husk so that Proteus can take over the body.
    There’s no problem with the idea of cloning Xavier’s body on Krakoa. There’s just no downloading of a “soul” in to the body using Cerebro.

    Why are there clones of Alpha Flight? I don’t remember ever reading a story about Alpha Flight clones.
    I have read Alpha Flight comics up to the end of the Steven Seagal run from the late-1990s.

  20. Thom H. says:

    Sorry, not clones but “termporal copies” whatever that means:

    “A temporal copy of Northstar—from a period of time shortly before the apparent death of Guardian at the hands of Jerry Jaxon—was introduced near the end of the third Alpha Flight series, along with an entire team of early Alpha Flight members.[volume & issue needed] This Northstar is last seen with a similarly time-displaced Aurora, still operating in the Earth-616 present.[volume & issue needed]”

    That’s all I know (from Wikipedia). Probably best left forgotten.

  21. Karl_H says:

    Maybe the forgotten temporal Alpha Flight clones can team up with that forgotten extra team of X-Men that’s out somewhere in deep space.

Leave a Reply