[One Man’s Worth] Factor X #3 & 4

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Havok still hates his brother and plans to get rid of him, and even having Cyclops save his life from a rebelling mutant grizzly bear – bengal tiger hybrid that Beast created isn’t changing that fact.  At the same time Jean is sneaking back into the facility to find Sinister, because she doesn’t know he’s gone.  When Cyclops sees her we get a flashback sequence that shows us what happened when she was captured many years ago.  She strongly refused to join Apocalypse’s side no matter what they offered her, and it was that strong spirit of hers that made Scott question what he was doing and whether he should be following orders so blindly.  He was set to help her escape the complex when Logan showed up to rescue her, and it was Logan attacking first that resulted in the fight that made Cyclops lose an eye and Logan lose a hand.

Back in the present both Jean and Cyclops are now tied up by Beast who is of course trying to run experiments.  Jean is powerful enough to fight against the constraints he put on her, and she also flings off Cyclops’ visor to help finish the deal and get them both free.  She tells him of the Human High Council’s plan to nuke New York, and they both agree to set about freeing as many prisoners from the pens they can before that happens.  To do so, they need to take out the six telepathic brains that are lulling the prisoners.  On the way they run into the Bedlam Brothers, who decide this evil stuff is for the birds and they might as well help them out.

Their plan is successful, though Jean is largely exhausted from knocking out the brains, they are at least able to get the prisoners moving.  Beast is almost taken out by the creatures he’s made in his experiments, but he’s still quick and agile and even throws in a “Oh my stars and garters” before throwing them into his primordial soup and making an escape.  Havok tracks down his brother and Jean, and the two brothers fight, resorting to physical violence after it is once again pointed out that their powers don’t hurt each other.  Cyclops knocks his brother out and decides not to kill him even if it means he’ll track them down later, because he’s tired of killing.  Havok eventually wakes up and vows to finish this once and for all.

Elsewhere, after both Karma and Scarlett (who is now pregnant with Havok’s baby) are exposed as spies, Apocalypse sends some of his men after Angel to shut down his club and take him in.  While the club is shut down, Angel makes a quick getaway thanks to a flamethrower and an empty elevator shaft.

I was genuinely surprised to find that the relationship between Scott and Jean here is actually pretty heartfelt and touching.  Their reasons for getting together feel more true and romantic than I’ve seen a lot of other places.  They’re not necessarily in love, per se, but Jean has inspired Scott to be a better man, and she is able to recognize the good in him despite where he is in life.  It’s downright sweet.

Beyond that story development there’s also a ton of action here, and it helps keep the story moving.  The constant battles feel a lot like the final climax of an action film, where the stakes are high and people reveal what side they are really on.  For a series that started off boring me to death, this one ended strong.

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