X-Factor started as an X-Men spinoff in the 1980s, starting specifically in early 1986. Around that time, Xavier was heading into space to be with his love Lilandra, who just happened to be the Empress of the galactic Shi'ar Empire. They and the X-Men were on pretty good terms, particularly after they saved both the Empire and the Universe from the previous Shi'ar Emperor.And, in addition to all that, it just so happened that Magneto was recently trying to turn a new leaf. Oh, and it also just so happened... that Jean Grey had not died a few years before. And finally, Beast, Angel, and Iceman had recently joined a a brand-spankin' new version of The Defenders. This didn't last long, and it ended with everyone except for the aforementioned three being killed off. Don't worry, theygot better. So now, those three characters were free game for other projects.So... here's what all of this resulted in; Charles Xavier decided to go into space to be with Lilandra, and put the recently reformed Magneto in charge, in his stead. However, Cyclops had a problem with that, what with, you know... Magneto previously being the X-Men's deadly Archenemy and all. So, Cyclops reunited with Iceman, Angel, The Beast, and Jean Grey (notice it's the original X-Men lineup), after learning of how she was now alive again. The group dedicated themselves to continuing Charles Xavier's dream.... And if you want even more details, just go to The Other Wiki.After they rejoined the expanded team of X-Men, the title shifted to a new, government-sanctioned team of mutants, most notable turning for C-List Fodder like Jamie Madrox into ascended extras. That series was cancelled in 1998, and seven years later Marvel launched a new series with Madrox as the lead character of a new X-Factor series, where most of the old team and some new members become private investigators.Technically, there have been three X-Factor series so far: one about the mutant superhero team, which started in 1986; a mostly unrelated series about FBI agents in the same universe, and one about the mutant detective team, which started in 2006. However, after Peter David took over the original series, the roster and style of the series was so different from what came before it that it was basically a separate series. So this page refers to three separate X-Factor series, meaning the original, starring the five original X-Men as mutants pretending to be Cape Busters; the second era of that same title, which began with PAD taking over and continued with several other writers, starring C-List Fodder as mutants openly working for the government; and the new series, also written by PAD but with an adversarial relationship with the government and more Film Noir elements than most superhero comics. (And then the new series resumed the numbering of the old series, meaning that the series is considered to go 1-70 (original X-Men), 71-149 (government team), 1-50 (detectives), then 200-the present (still detectives).) The series concluded in late 2013.In January 2014, Marvel launched All New X-Factor. They're a corporate superteam now, with Polaris as their leader. Gambit and Quicksilver joined in the first issue. Their bankroller is Harrison Snow of Serval Industries.Has nothing to do with the reality series.
The first series provides examples of the following tropes:
Same old X-Men, fresh new flavor.
Animal-Themed Superbeing: Wolfsbane when she was a member. It should be noted that, while Beast was also one of the founding members, he is more of a Beast Man than an ATS since he doesn't take after one particular animal or another.
Bat Family Crossover: "Inferno", "The Xtinction Agenda", and "The Muir Island Saga", the last of which led directly to the major lineup changes.
Brainwashed: Even though Warren had willingly agreed to serve Apocalypse in exchange for new wings (bear in mind he was borderline suicidal at the time, and everyone thought he was dead), Apocalypse still programmed him to be loyal. It wasn't thorough enough, though, and Warren rejoined X-Factor.
The Little Black Dress: Jean wears one in the first issue, and in the three issue arc where she buys her fur coat.
Losing Your Head: Memo to Cameron Hodge: don't kill the girlfriend of the guy with brand-new razor-sharp wings after you've already betrayed his team and ruined his life. Though, to Hodge's credit, he did plan ahead...
The Men in Black: The team's cover story at first was as an organization like this.
Pretty in Mink: Jean wears a white fur coat in issue #53, and some background ladies would occasionally wear fur.
Putting the Band Back Together: Jean gets the original team together to find a way to help mutants again (unfortunately Cameron Hodge takes advantage of that, among other things).
Retcon: How Jean was brought back. But unlike Dallas, this didn't actually contradict any of the past events in the stories (although the later rehash "Endsong" would contradict events from the "Dark Phoenix Saga").
The second series provides examples of the following tropes:
Welcome to the Nineties...
Ascended Extra: On the second team, Multiple Man and especially Strong Guy, who had little personality and neither a codename nor a last name before joining.
Bat Family Crossover: Often lampshaded, as the cast usually doesn't fit in with the X-Men's tendencies toward Darker and Edgier and Wangst. Doc Samson comments that they're "refreshingly normal" for a mutant team, and Strong Guy's wisecracking during the otherwise grim X-Cutioner's Song crossover leads Havok to say, "stop it, you're embarrassing me." During the Phalanx Covenant crossover, Strong Guy comments on how he hasn't even met most of the roster of the other X-Books.
Catch Phrase: The initial government lineup tended to say "cripes" a lot. Then there's Strong Guy's made-up insult, "blork", his politically correct term for mutants "geecees" (short for "genetically challenged"), frequently threatening "I'll defenestrate 'em" when a villain does something offensive, and several instances where someone responds to "nobody move!" with, "mind if I scratch my nose?"
Deadpan Snarker: Everyone on the initial government lineup cracks wise, and three characters served as Designated Joker: Madrox, Strong Guy and Quicksilver. When their government liaison is unexpectedly teleported in, Strong Guy quips, "oh, good, the comic relief is here."
Fun Personified: Madrox got a little more serious after discovering his duplicates are alive, and Strong Guy got a little Darker and Edgier after revealing a Dark and Troubled Past and suffering a massive heart attack, but both of them actually cope with their pain through humor.
Genius Bruiser: Strong Guy was a nerdy, grade A-student at junior high.
Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: more of a reference really, but one issue revealed that the team's government liaison, Val Cooper, really envied her brother the FBI agent, who gets really cool cases:
Jamie constantly uses his dupes like this, sending them out to learn and explore the world, creating them on the other side of locked doors, playing duets on piano (pity the only song he knows is "Chopsticks") and the above super-babysitting example.
Quicksilver is shown reading books at super-speed, and everyone takes a crack at prying a stubborn lid off a jar of mayo, but even Polaris's magnetic powers and Havok's plasma blasts are useless.
Punch Clock Villain: Random, a bounty hunter, is wreaking havoc in downtown Washington, D.C. because he's chasing a bounty. X-Factor arrives and defeats him, by paying him *more* than the bounty was worth.
Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The 3 Chalker brothers' individual attempts to avenge each other's deaths as well as their combined vendetta once they were resurrected by a demon.
Strange Minds Think Alike: Valerie Cooper, X-Factor's human government liaison, is buried in a ton of paperwork. Baldrick, her assistant says to deal with the paperwork, "I have a cunning plan." After Valerie goes on about how Balrick wouldn't know a cunning plan if it bit him in the arse says, "You don't suppose they'd know it if we burned it all." Baldrick admits this was his cunning plan.
Layla's mutant power. She can bring people back from the dead!... unfortunately, they no longer have a soul and as such, always Came Back Wrong.
Shatterstar's powers would be this ANYWHERE but X-Factor, since he requires one of three teammates as a psychic anchor to teleport and both the teleporting and his "sword energy blast things" need about as much recovery time as a Super Saiyan.
Shatterstar wore one when he first showed back up, but has since switched to a shorter jacket.
Badass Normal: Rictor, who lost his powers in the Decimation. Peter David describes him as the "moody former mutant who believes he's useless and yet keeps happening to save the day." As of Avengers: Children's Crusade #6, he officially has been repowered by the Scarlet Witch herself. Peter David has stated on his blog that he will not be reversing it.
Trying to hurt anyone who Shatterstar sees as a teammate is a very bad idea, unless you fancy having two feet of sharp metal shoved through your abdomen. Double this if you're threatening his boyfriend.
Lately, it's become a bad idea to threaten Monet whenever Darwin's around, even if she's very capable of taking care of herself.
Bury Your Gays: Averted. Word of God has explicitly stated that killing either Rictor or Shatterstar would be too obvious, and he'd rather find more interesting ways of creating angst.
Came Back Wrong: Layla's mutant power does this. Trevor Fitzroy was originally a hero and prominent member of the Summer's Rebellion before Layla was forced to raise him from the dead. The resurrection transformed him into a soulless monster who would go on to murder Bishop's sister and travel back in time to murder the Hellions. As of issue #218, Guido. Again, thanks to Layla.
C-List Fodder: Somewhere between this and Ascended Extra for almost all the team. Best demonstrated in World War Hulk: X-men, where Hulk comments that the battle was becoming ridiculous as he didn't even know who the members of X-Factor were.
Monet's skin colour. (Though this might be more of a Race Lift.)
Also true for Darwin.
Drives Like Crazy: Shatterstar, teaching himself to drive in a stolen vehicle. He isn't BAD, per se, but he drives in the middle of the road and thinks the brake is "useless" because it makes them slow down. No-one is surprised when he crashes several pages later. Terry's reaction causes this to double as a Crowning Moment of Funny.
Guido: Came Back Wrong thanks to Layla. Murdered Rahne's son. Is now a lord of Hell.
Darwin: Gone walkabout after having to evolve to survive an attack from Hela made him sort of a death god wannabe.
Darkhorse Victory: Guido in the penultimate arc, The Hell On Earth War. While everyone else is busy fighting everyone else, and thus aren't paying much to attention to him, Guido stabs Tyre — Wolfsbane's son — and in doing so, becomes the new Lord of all the Hells. All the hells. And as of this writing and the now-current Thunderbolts run, this victory seems to have stuck.
Rahne: Son murdered by Guido. Has left the hero game to become a minister.
Monet: Brought back from the dead by Guido thanks to his Hell lord powers. Having a little trouble coping with it.
Rictor and Shatterstar: Last seen on Mojoworld, working to ensure that Shatterstar's past plays out correctly.
Lorna: Dumped by her boyfriend. Team scattered to the four winds after the Hell war. Got drunk. Tried to shoot her brother. Bailed out of jail by Harrison Snow and became leader of the new corporate-sponsored X-Factor.
Jamie and Layla: Living happily ever after on Jamie's farm after The Morrigan (formerly Terry), cured Jamie's having been transformed into a demon. They're expecting their first child.
Large Ham: Jamie Madrox, especially early in the series when he hasn't grown up as much. Shatterstar. Rictor, when he's undercover. In fact, everyone on the team has probably had a Large Ham moment at one point or another.
Laser-Guided Karma: Dr. Anthony Falcone's parents were supposedly killed in a "mutant-related incident" when he was a child. This left him with a fanatical (even by the standards of his timeline) hatred of mutants. He would eventually institute an elaborate and convoluted plot (involving Time Travel) to wipe out mutantkind. But in attempting to suck all the mutants into the time vortex, it turns out that he and his giant sentinel robots get sucked into his own past, crashing into his childhood home and killing his parents. He was really the one responsible for their deaths all along.
New Powers as the Plot Demands: In the third series and the miniseries preceding it, Jamie explained that for the past several years (after the end of the previous series, apparently) Jamie has been sending out dupes to lead independent lives. When they return to him and he reabsorbs them, he gets all their knowledge and skills, such as martial arts, lockpicking and lawyering. Additionally, both the Madrox mini and some early X-Factor issues make a big deal out of how Jamie has to absorb his dupes before they die, or else lose their memories. Dead dupes get the ability to be absorbed automatically right around the time Jamie needs to send some into potential future time-lines.
Precocious Crush: In a way. Layla didn't act like she had a crush on Jamie Madrox, but several times told him, that they eventually going to get married. After she got a Plot-Relevant Age-Up, this indeed happened.
Pregnant Badass: Terry. And Rahne. Don't count on what you think a hormonal WMD will do, indeed.
Red Herring: Early in the series (Prior to Civil War) we see that Wolfsbane will kill Madrox & Layla on their wedding night. Fast forward to 2011, and it turns out that it's actually Rahne's daughter who can morph into any wolf form, including her mother's. Oh, and that it doesn't take place on Earth-616, either.
Relationship Reveal: Rictor and Shatterstar, after years of subtext, finally got that on-panel kiss. After issues of dealing with an unrelated crossover, they finally score their second on panel kiss, and eventually their first on panel love scene. Well, almost anyway. A certain wolf had to just show up and accidentally ruin it for the poor guys.
Jamie and Layla get caught up in this, Layla in particular.
Doctor Anthony Falcone attempts to overcome the normal laws of The Multiverse in order to achieve this in his goal of exterminating mutankind. The one he ends up creating is one that that will make his entire life suck.
Shatterstar's finally-revealed origin story.
Suddenly Sexuality: Rictor asserts that he is gay, not bisexual (the latter having been implied, but not canon, for some time). Likewise, Shatterstar, formerly asexual, is now bisexual and into Anything That Moves.
What the Hell, Hero?: After Pip is forced from his body into that of the nearest psychic, which happened to be Monet, Polaris & Rictor start laughing about Monet being forced to share her body the perverted troll. Shatterstar doesn't see what's so funny and call them out over it. Later, when Monet regains control, she promptly attacks Polaris over it.
Technicolor Ninja: Gambit plays with the trope. In the first part of the book, he's wearing all black like a stealthy person ought. But the X-Factor uniforms are all bright yellow (not much of a step up from his bright magenta outfit).