Comic Book / X-Factor

X-Factor debuted as an X-Men spinoff 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 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, they got 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 Arch-Enemy 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 Wikipedia.

After they rejoined the expanded team of X-Men, the title now switched to detailing the exploits of a new, government-sanctioned team of mutants, most notable for turning 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 had 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 four 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; the newer series, also written by PAD but with an adversarial relationship with the government and more Film Noir elements than most superhero comics, and finally the All-New era. The detective-era book eventually resumed the numbering of the old series, so the series breaks down into: vol. 1 #1-#70 (original X-Men), #71-#149 (government team), vol. 2 #1-#50 (detectives), then #200-the present (still detectives). The series concluded in late 2013.

In 2014, Marvel launched All-New X-Factor, still with Peter David and renumbered again. They're a corporate superteam now, with Polaris as their leader. Gambit and Quicksilver joined in the first issue. Their bankroller is the mysterious Harrison Snow of Serval Industries. The series concluded with issue #20.

Has nothing to do with the reality series.

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    Original X-Factor 

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.
  • Big Bad: Apocalypse
  • 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.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Havok during part of the "Inferno" storyline.
  • Cape Busters: When they first started using the name X-Factor, the team pretended to be normal humans who captured mutants as an excuse to recruit young mutants to train.
  • The Chessmaster: Cameron Hodge
  • Cloning Blues: Jean learns to deal with two beings copying her body. Madelyne, meanwhile, couldn't cope with the revelation of being a clone.
  • Evil Costume Switch:
    • Havok when he becomes the Goblin Prince to Madelyne Pryor (although the switch in question is really just his old suit reduced to tatters to match Madelyne's outfit).
    • Angel, as Death of the Four Horsemen (he kept his costume after returning to X-Factor and becoming Archangel).
    • Caliban, as a willing servant of Apocalypse.
  • Face–Heel Turn:
  • Five-Man Band: The same dynamic as the group was when they were the first X-Men team.
  • Flashback: How Jean came back was summarized by Warren, although the As You Know aspect for the first part was getting on Scott's nerves.
  • Invasion of the Baby Snatchers: Nanny and Orphan-Maker
  • Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: Jean plays with this when she wears an evening dress and fur coat, and then acts like a snowball fight with Scott is an epic battle.
  • Little Black Dress: Jean wears one in the first issue, and another in the three issue arc where she loses her winter coat and then replaces it with a 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 Hodge did plan ahead.
  • The Men in Black: The team's cover story at first was as an organization like this.
  • Pretty in Mink: Jean buys a white fur coat in issue #53, and some background ladies would occasionally wear fur.
    • In issue #55, Hanks saves the life of a Streetwalker who is wearing a full length white fur coat.
  • 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").
  • Spin-Off: Of The Uncanny X-Men
  • Snowball Fight: #53: Superpowers style, with Jean even calling herself "The Queen of the Icy North!"
  • Tonight Someone Proposes: Scott proposes to Jean in issue #53. She turns him down (but after some Character Development, she successfully proposes to him a few years later).

    X-Factor 1990s 

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?"
  • Deadly Rotary Fan: Rick Chalker attempts to use rotors grafted in place of his hands as weapons, extremely incompetently.
  • 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:
    Cooper: one time, they found this girl. She was dead, wrapped in plastic...
  • Me's a Crowd: Madrox's mutant power.
  • Mundane Utility:
    • 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.
  • Pretty in Mink: Lorna wore a fur-trimmed coat or two.
  • 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.
  • Shout-Out: This book was written by Peter David. In the early nineties. An abundance of pop cultural references were inevitable. See right below for one of many examples.
  • 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 Baldrick 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.
    "You ask me, I blame society."
  • Tonight, Someone Dies: Madrox, although he obviously got better.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: The "power" of Vague from the aforementioned Hell's Belles was that she was transparent. Not even invisible. Just transparent.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Lorna's green hair.