April 22nd can’t come soon enough for X-Factor’s writer Leah Williams and artist David Baldeon. A couple of weeks ago we learned of the existence of the new title as well as its cast which will include Daken, Northstar, Polaris, Rachel Summers, Eye Boy, and Protégé!
Although it wasn’t mentioned before, the book will also include Northstar’s twin-sister, Aurora, bringing the roster up to a robust 7-characters. Williams had a bit to say on Marvel.com about Aurora’s usage in the upcoming book;
“I hadn’t originally planned on having Aurora be a part of the field team. She was destined to have a role more along the lines of operations and intel around the Boneyard, which is the name for X-factor’s Krakoan headquarters…”
“Like Polaris, I need Aurora to have a lot of additional bandwidth to do individual character work with her—so keeping her untethered to explore her growth without Northstar overshadowing her was my goal. But then…I saw David’s design for her X-factor uniform and changed my mind.”
Speaking of uniforms – the initial reveal cover displayed the first six announced characters in more recognizable garb, however, Marvel has since dropped newer images with updated character designs. Each character received slight tweaks to their look and then assigned coordinating uniforms.
That’s something that happens only so often in the X-Men universe – but historically more frequent in X-Factor, funny enough. With only a couple of exceptions, since the 1970s X-Men members have had costumes with colors, styles, and textures unique to each character.
Adversely, X-Factor has kind of been known for being color-coordinated since its inception with the original 5 X-Men. Though different colors, they all had single-piece outfits with a large “X” stretching outward from the center. The 90s saw a new team adorned in gold and dark blue leathers. From the ’00s the team rocked street clothes for a long stretch but returned to color-coordinated grey, gold and black get-ups in 2014’s relaunched series.
Similar to past series writer Peter David’s take on the series starring Jamie Madrox (Multiple Man), Leah’s version of X-Factor will be doing some investigating. Baldeon elaborated on how he included the storytelling formula into his designs of the logo and uniforms while respecting the exaggerated X’s from the original title;
“I love those big bold X decals all aver the suits! While trying to integrate the X motif into the new suits, this little idea went into my head: these guys are not so much Super Heroes as investigators looking for missing mutants. “Missing mutants”, or “missing X’s”, perhaps?”
Similar to what we saw in the Morrison-era X-Men books, the new X-Factor designs are more akin to street clothes, than your typical superhero rags. Something that Baldeon did intentionally.
“One of the ingredients in this book, and therefore these designs, is that these guys are not so much Super Heroes as detectives, and these are not so much of costumes as they are suits. That gave them a bit of a grounded quality. And as much as I love Super Hero tights and their designs, our X-Factor needed another flavor. And I like that.”
From a design and story standpoint – the book is looking solid. Hopefully, the team can stick the landing. X-Factor #1 debuts April 22.