10 Best X-Factor Comic Issues, Ranked | ScreenRant – Screen Rant

With mutants possibly coming to the MCU soon, there are some fantastic issues of the X-Factor comics that fans should check out if it happens.
X-Factor hasn’t been a part of the Fox X-Men movies, but given how broad the MCU has become in movies and streaming series, there’s a chance some form of the team could show up in live-action. There are many different iterations of X-Factor in the comics to draw from, highlighted in some of the team’s best single issues.
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A complete understanding of the X-Factor story goes back before the launch of the first volume of the series, and continues into the present, despite the 2020 volume’s recent cancelation. The team remains at the forefront of the mutant world, playing a key role in some of the biggest events in X-Men and Marvel Comics history.
A key issue for fans of X-Factor and Marvel, in general, is Fantastic Four #286, written and drawn by John Byrne. This essential issue brings back Jean Grey from the dead after her iconic death at the end of The Dark Phoenix Saga several years earlier.
Not only is the art and story fantastic, but the tale is critical to bringing back together the original five X-Men members to form X-Factor in their own series. The story establishes one of the biggest comic book retcons of all time – Jean Grey was never actually the Phoenix, but in hibernation the whole time.
The original X-Men team of Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Iceman, Archangel, and Beast is one of the best X-Men rosters ever. X-Factor #1 is a great issue for bringing back the classic team after several years out of the spotlight thanks to the advent of the new team of Storm, Wolverine, and others.
Writer Bob Layton and artist Jackson Guice craft an intriguing story that establishes this reorganized team as a government-based unit, a concept that would prove key in the future of the title but also the Marvel Universe as a whole, as seen in epics like the Civil War crossover event.
X-Factor #6 is a major issue in the entire run of the series and in Marvel Comics as it introduces one of the best X-Men villains ever, Apocalypse. Written by Louise Simonson, who would be the storyteller for much of the early era of the team, this issue establishes the ancient villain as a major threat after the team inadvertently encounters him through battling the Alliance of Evil.
The issue is also great for being an example of the brief and ultimately abandoned love triangle between Cyclops, Jean Grey, and Angel.
X-Factor #10 is a major issue for the series as this is where Warren Worthington loses his original wings. This event, depicted in grim detail by artist Walt Simonson (husband of Louise and creator of one of the best Thor variants ever, Throg) was integral in transforming Angel into the dark form of Archangel.
X-Factor #10 helps expand the X-Men universe by participating in one of the franchise’s early major crossovers, The Mutant Massacre, which would have consequences for the entire world of mutants for years to come.
X-Factor #24 is a great and key issue for fans of the series and Angel as this is where Warren Worthington is revealed as Death, one of the Four Horsemen of Apocalypse. With his body completely transformed and natural wings replaced by razor-sharp metal ones, his descent into darkness is nearly complete.
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The issue features a great story again by the Simonsons, tying into the larger The Fall Of The Mutants crossover, and crafting a great dilemma between the longtime friends and colleagues of X-Factor. Archangel fights his new duty, as the X-Men try to hold out against Apocalypse to save him.
The story of Jean Grey’s return dominated the early years of the X-Factor run, and X-Factor #39 is an important issue as it brings it all to a close. This cataclysmic issue, part of the Inferno crossover in 1989, features the final battle between Jean Grey and Madelyne Pryor, the Goblin Queen.
Pryor is revealed to be a clone of Jean created by Mr. Sinister, a plot development that has had repercussions into the present day. The rest of the X-Men finally learn Jean is still alive and the ordeal of the Phoenix Saga is seemingly behind the team.
The original five X-Men would reintegrate with the larger team in 1991, leading to a new era and roster for X-Factor. X-Factor #71 is a key issue in introducing fans to the new status quo, with the squad once again a government unit.
Havok, Polaris, Strong Guy, Multiple Man, and Wolfsbane comprise the new team, who have a slightly more irreverent tone thanks to new writer Peter David. The issue is also notable for the excellent art by Larry Stroman, unique in its use of heavy inks and a big contrast to many of the other superhero titles at the time.
The concept of X-Factor would evolve with the third volume of the series, which began in 1996. Peter David returned as writer after a long time away to reestablish the team as a private investigations unit, a concept that would dramatically shift the purpose of the team in the 21st century.
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The issue is also great for introducing new powers for some of its members. Rictor first uses his unique power of geo-connectivity here, and Syrin, who has remained a member into the present, uses her sonic powers to put people into a trance.
Issue #45 of the third volume is one of the best in a number of ways. It’s a major issue for LGBTQ+ representation in comics and features the first kiss between members Rictor and Shatterstar. After years of hints, their relationship is finally made canon. This is in fact the first on-panel kiss between two male characters in a romantic relationship depicted in comic books.
The story is great too, especially for fans of the multiverse, as the team follows Doctor Doom to Earth-1191, the dark dystopian future timeline in Marvel Comics that Bishop and others come from.
The final issue of the 2020 run of X-Factor is notable in a lot of ways. It also contains a good deal of LGBTQ+ representation among its characters, as this volume under writer Leah Williams and artist David Baldeón generally did. The book ends on a true cliffhanger, with the discovery of the body of the Scarlet Witch after the Hellfire Gala.
There are many suspects in the murder of the Scarlet Witch, including Magneto. X-Factor, as the principal investigative unit on Krakoa, continues to explore the mystery in The Trial Of Magneto mini-series.
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DARBY HARN is the author of the novels Ever The Hero, The Judgment Of Valene, and A Country Of Eternal Light. His short fiction appears in Strange Horizons, Interzone, Shimmer, and other venues.


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