X-Factor by Leah Williams’ is a must-read if you’re a fan of the X-Men or reading in general.
Some comic books come out and give you everything you asked for. Others leave you wanting. Then there’s X-Factor by Leah Williams. A comic book series that exceeds my expectations with every new issue. For the last several months, I’ve seen X-Factor under the new section and get excited. It’s been a while since I’ve felt this kind of emotion for a series the way I have here. It isn’t just the amazing artwork by David Baldeon (though it helps and will be discussed later). There’s so much to love here that I felt compelled to sing the praises of what may be the best ongoing X-Title out right now.
The X-Factor roster
Northstar being the leader was shocking, but It’s about time he was put in a leadership position. Prodigy is an underrated character who had a good run during New Mutants and Young Avengers. So far he’s continuing to be important to the team and showing more personality than we’ve seen. Making Polaris her snarky, angry, and sometimes awkward has been different in a good way. She’s not the Polaris we’re used to seeing. Rachel has been somewhat guarded and powerful like always, but more humorous than normal. It’s fantastic And then we have Eye-Boy. There’s no reason he should be the joy that he is. He’s just the sweetest and most innocent character. He fits in perfectly. Then there are two other characters. Daken and Aurora. A relationship that I never knew I needed.
At first, the roster was announced and I was confused. This was a random group of mutants to put together. Then again, that’s X-Factor. With the exception of the original team (which was the original X-Men), the team always has a character or two that seems to not fit on paper. However, it ends up working out. Darwin, Layla Miller, and Longshot are a few names that immediately come to mind. With the exception of Polaris, none of the members have previously been on an X-Factor roster. What’s funny is that it’s not shocking that the team works out.
Daken and Aurora
Daken was an @$$-hole for most of his time in comic books. He spent the majority of his life training to kill his father (Wolverine). After joining the mutants on Krakoa, he changed. He has a healthy relationship with his father and his siblings (Laura and Gabby). Leah Williams has made him softer around the edges too. Daken still has all of the sarcasm and cynicism that you’d expect, but she humanized him a bit. That humanity is amplified when Aurora is near.
We know Daken to be a love machine. He likes to have sex, flirt, and do it with whoever he finds attractive whether it be man or woman. But there’s something about Aurora. Maybe it’s her refined taste in fashion, culture, on top of her beauty. Whatever it is, he acts differently when she’s with him. He flirts, makes jokes, and, more importantly, he allows himself to be vulnerable around her. It was sweet watching him say he wasn’t flirting with Polaris. All of the Daken cool just washed away. It normalized him.
At first, Aurora was apprehensive. Considering Daken’s track record, it’s not shocking. But she seemed to be attracted to him nonetheless. The way they showed attraction for each other is like watching a romantic comedy. Little things like Daken making bad jokes or Aurora calling him a coward for not kissing are moments that make you smile.
X-Factor’s LGBTQ representation and Love
X-Factor does an amazing job of showing love on multiple levels. Jean-Paul (Northstar )and Kyle Jinadu have a healthy and loving relationship. They do disagree, but it’s done in a loving way. Jean-Paul is so stubborn, but Kyle seems to love it even when Northstar’s being his normal arrogant or overprotective self. There’s also Prodigy. He came out as bisexual years ago and has continued to be so. His relationship with Speed is cute. They’re both young and very much in love.
As it was mentioned above, Daken and Aurora’s love is beautiful as well. In X-Factor No. 10, they officially announce that they’re dating. Daken mentions that he knows about her mental health issues. Daken said, “I already know about your dissociative identity disorder. And that you–all of you–are managing it beautifully.” It isn’t just that he wants to be with her. He sees her for the person that she is. Daken went as far as to kill some of the witnesses that may have seen Aurora kill their mutant hating colleague. He said, “So, if you go down, I go down.”
There’s another love that must be mentioned. That of friendship. The media would have you believe that loving a friend isn’t true love. However, friendship love is a bond that’s difficult to break. That’s highlighted with Eye-Boy and Prodigy. Eye-Boy looks at him like a big brother. Constantly being around him and being enamored by everything Prodigy is. At one point, Eye-Boy wanted Prodigy to read to him. It was an adorable moment. Eye-Boy repaid Prodigy’s kindness by making sure that Prodigy’s boyfriend Speed was at the Hellfire Gala.
X-Factor is Funny
Lastly, X-Factor is funny. Everyone who’s been in this series has humor in their own way. Daken’s overly sexual nature is comical. Especially since he isn’t problematic with it. Northstar’s overprotectiveness towards Aurora is funny in a sweet, but-not-toxic way. And then there’s Lorna and Rachel. Both of them have these random moments of awkward or passive-aggressiveness that you can’t help but laugh at. So, on top of a fantastic story with re-read value and deep, emotional character development, you get a ton of comedy as well. All of this proves that Leah Williams’ X-Factor is a Marvel Comic that’s a monthly must-read.
Leah Williams deserves praise for everything she’s doing. Make sure you check out X-Factor every month. Let us know what you think of this comic book and more in the comments below.