Odyssey X, Week 9: X-23 #14, X-Men #17, X-Factor #224.1

(For those joining late, please see the introductory post on Odyssey X, where I explain my attempt to read every X-Men title during X-Men: Schism)

X-23 #14
Writer: Marjorie Liu
Artist: Phil Noto
Cover Price: $2.99

The Future Foundation are a greater focus than the usual cast of X-23, making Lara feel like a bit of a guest in her own series; still, it's a well written continuation of the "fish out of water" concept. Marjorie Liu effectively shows Lara's struggle to come to terms with her past by having her work with well adjusted super-heros and their precocious children. The recent earthquake in New York brought together X-23 and the FF and they quickly realized they had more in common than saving lives. While trying to pinpoint the source of the selective destruction, Valeria Richards solves the mystery but inadvertently causes Spidey, Sue, and Laura to be transported to another dimension. Their selection for this unexpected transportation has something to do with the three heroes being "hosts" for a galactic being. This story line doesn't particularly hold my interest; I enjoyed seeing Lara help people she doesn't understand or empathize with, and this space adventure feels like a detour from what has previously worked. It is a testament to Liu's writing and Noto's artwork that I still enjoyed this issue despite things taking a different direction than expected.

Verdict: X-23 continues to be an interesting character study, but I look forward to the book eventually returning to a more grounded setting. Also, (never thought I'd say this) more Gambit, please.

X-Men #17
Writer: Victor Gischler
Artist: Jorge Molina
Cover Price: $3.99

X-Men is the other title this week featuring the Future Foundation, and as previously stated, I can't understand why the editors found the need to release this at the same time as an X-23 storyline featuring the FF. They both prominently feature the guest stars on the covers with the regular characters as well (I would definitely put X-23 above X-Men as far as quality is concerned, both in cover and content). After experiencing equipment failure, the X-Men and FF still struggle to find a way home from this (not quite Savage Land) alternate dinosaur dimension. While Wolverine and the rest of the X-Men search for the the ex-girlfriend of Cyclops (who ends up looking a lot like a Sheena knockoff), Cyclops and Emma are captured by a local warlord that is in league with Dr. Doom. I don't consider this revelation a spoiler since Doom turning evil is about as predictable as Wolverine popping his claws at the slightest sign of danger. If anything, I'm sure this is a ruse on Doom's part to gain the enemies trust and save the day by the end of the story arc. Lucky for us readers, this issue also delivers more borderline-offensively-sexist versions of Emma Frost and Sue Richards. With additional gripes about ex-girlfriends, new complaints are made about the ravages of jungle atmosphere on a delicate lady's hairstyle. Gischler's characterization of Emma isn't the only thing lacking; Molina displays some truly baffling anatomy in this issue, including some impressive wonk-eye from Emma (note: facial expressions can change, but eye location should remain the same). I suspect Marvel is rushing their artists, and it shows.

Verdict: On top of being a very "by the numbers" story, this book is $3.99. Really? Pass.

X-Factor #224.1
Writer: Peter David
Artist: Valentine De Landro
Cover Price: $2.99

Throughout Odyssey X, I've read one other "Point One" issue, a gimmick Marvel is using to entice readers to a series by releasing "new reader friendly" issues. X-Men #15.1 was a dismal attempt at introducing an already mediocre book to new readers and I had expected this issue to be equally distracting. But with Peter David and X-Factor regular artist Valentine De Landro on board, #224.1 proves that when done well, this promotional tool can effectively show off a title's goods while still holding the interest of old and future fans. I was not impressed with the last story arc of X-Factor, one that focused on the birth of Rahne's supposedly evil offspring. David has wisely chosen to move quickly beyond that arc to the next case, the next mystery. Jumping right into the story, Jamie Madrox and Layla Miller pay a visit to Jamie's childhood home where he explains the inner workings of X-Factor to the single mother and young boy now living there. This framing device is perfect for introducing the characters to new readers while still offering plenty of comedic moments to keep regular readers interested. If hearing about the beloved characters of X-Factor doesn't hook new readers, seeing them in action will as they fight a demonically possessed pensioner in the nearby town. After assuming the day is saved, X-Factor return to New York unknowingly leaving the real villain behind. Since this is a series heavy on payoffs, I'm guessing the final reveal will lead to the next story arc, or another one down the road. Either way, I will still be reading this series! Hopefully De Landro stays on for art duties; Emanuela  Lupacchino has done a fine job as of late, but De Landro is a frequent artist of the series and I'm always glad to see him back.

Verdict: I was expecting a pointless issue from Point 1, but this book does the series justice!

Week 9 Summary:
Potential Cost: $9.97
1 Book Purchased, 2 Books Shelved

I'm getting closer and closer to finishing Odyssey X, and I find myself looking forward to the end with each passing week. You could even say I'm exhausted by the x-books. Or exasperated. Surprisingly, Emma and Cyclops only appear in one book this week. Following the end of Odyssey X, I will talk about the new books on post-Schism. For better or worse, it doesn't look like there will be less books on the shelves for readers.