Monday, July 30, 2018

Factor-X Issue #4 (Age of Apocalypse Part 34)

Age of Apocalypse Part 34
Factor-X Issue #4
Written by John Francis Moore   
Art by Steve Epting
Inks by  Al Milgrom
Lettered by  Richard Starkings and Comicraft

Open With:
Splash Page of Alex Summers standing on point of his Mutant Police.  Alex has taken control of the group after learning that his brother Scott has betrayed them and Apocalypse. Alex’s first order is to kill all the humans in the Gene pens.  

The Beast, is the first to protest for he uses the humans for his own testing. However, Alex tells the Beast that he is in no position to protest, due to his previous actions (see last issue). On another front, the Bedlam Brother’s object to the order as well.  
The two brother’s are countered by another set of siblings, the Guthrie’s.  This in turn causes a small altercation between the two families and Alex squashes it and tells the four he will have no distention in his ranks. The four mutants mutter their compliance.

Suddenly a soldier comes running into the room with news about Scott and Jean teaming up with a rebel and took out a squad of Guards.  This enrages Alex and he lashes out at the Soldier and kills the soldier with his mutant power. He then turns to his team and orders them to find Scott and bring back his head.
Cut To:
The Kennel, an area where animals have been genetically altered.  A couple of guards are escorting a series of gene manipulated experiments to their deaths.  Hiding just out of sight of the guards is Jean Grey and Scott Summers. Their hope is to sneak into the brain trust and destroy its influence on the subjectated people. While the two mutants make their way to the Black Tower that holds the brain trust  we get a little dialogue about the events that took place in X-man issue 4.

Our two heroes  turn the corner and literally run right into Scott’s former teammates the Bedlam Brothers.  The four mutants talk and we learn the Bedlam Brother’s really aren’t thrilled with this world and decide to flip sides and help out Jean and Scott.  Just as they are all about to make their way to the Black Tower another set of Sibling are spotted around the corner; the Guthrie’s.
To cover Scott and Jean’s journey the two brother’s decide to stay behind to take out the Guthrie brother and sister.
Cut To:
Heaven, the bar and nightclub run by the illustrious Warren Worthington the III a.k.a. the Angel. The front door to the club is blown open, and three Infinite Guards clamor into the Club.  They inform Angel they are here to shutdown the bar and give some accusations to Warren about being a traitor. Warren sees the writing on the wall and attacks the three infinite’s with a flame thrower he apparently had stashed behind the bar.  Warren then makes his escape by gliding down an open elevator shaft he apparently had available.

Within Apocalypse’s stronghold the Guthries’ and the Bedlam brothers are duking it out . The Bedlam’s manage to win one over on the two Guthries .  Then they high tail it out of there to find greener pastures as they both have had enough of this world of Apocalypse.
Over at the Black Tower:
Scott and Jean make their way into the tower and come across what is known a the brain trust. A series of Mutant Psychic brains stuck into futuristic jars that are linked together by sometime of machine.  One can surmise that it is used to keep the brains alive as well as to combine their psychic power to quell any thoughts of rebellion.
Jean attempts to use her own powers to shut them down; but is meet with significant resistance. She then uses the now classic trope of trying harder and focusing her power even more and ramping it up to “11”. The feedback causes the brain trust to breakdown and squishes the mutant brains to goo.

Once the smoke clears, the Bedlam Brothers show up.  Scott asks them to create a blackout in the building to free all the humans in their pens.

Elsewhere in the facility:
Alex is alone with Scarlet, the human that was working with the resistance in the Nightclub called Heaven.  Alex threatens to kil her, but Scarlet reveals that she is actually pregnant and the child is Alex’s. Alex denies it and calls her a liar; as she is about to explain the lights to the building go out.  Alex believes that it is Scott’s doing, and heads off to find his traitorous brother.
Cut To:
In the breeding pens, Scott and Jean are in the process of freeing all the humans and mutants imprisoned by his very team of mutant police. Due to the destruction of the Brain Trust, the prisoners are no longer complacent and are willing helps in the mass escape.
Elsewhere in the facility:
Henry McCoy is in his lab when an Infinite Guard brings in a line of mutated creatures for the culling that Apocalypse had ordered.  The mutated creatures suddenly become aware of their surroundings as the effects of the brain trust begin to wear off. There creatures attack the guard and  chase McCoy through the lab. McCoy is no match for them as he uses his skills to escape his mutated pursuers. McCoy says to himself that it is time to find greener pastures.  

Back in the breeding pens:
Scott and Jean are freeing the humans and attempting to lead them to safety, when Scott is hit from behind by an energy blast; enter Alex Summers. Jean sees Scott fall and attempts to hurl a ladder at Alex with her mutant powers, but it is batted away by Alex.  Alex goes on the attack towards Jean, when an optic blast slams down between the two mutants. Scott yells for Alex to leave Jean alone.

The two brothers then fight with there energy blasts.  Due to their powers being of the same polarity the windup causing a feedback wave and knock each other down.  When they both recovered, Scott manages to cold cock Alex and knocks him out. Scott and Jean take advantage of the moment and tells the gathered humans to follow them to safer grounds and leads them all away.

Alex wakes up and finds himself alone with a mutated wolf. He scares off the wolf and with anger in his heart he vows to find Scott and kill him once and for all.

To be continued in  X-Men Omega.

Some story threads are tied to the greater overarching storyline with apocalypse and the final battle to be in X-men Omega.  However the individual conflicts with Scott and Alex aren’t finished, this was definitely a story that destroys the status quo of our main characters and sets them up for there next big conflict. Hopefully we will see a good resolution to this arm of the Age of Apocalypse.    
Steve eptings art is a perfect match for the grittiness of the world that has been created.  The characters are sharper lines. The only thing that i find conflicting with the art in this story is the few pages that Terry Dodson added. His style is more organic and rounded, curvy in a more squared book.  It pulled me out more with story. I am curious to find out why the two artist where teamed up for this particular issue.
All in all I give this book a:
Score 7.5 out of 10

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