Today in Toronto at Fan Expo Canada 2009, Marvel revealed the answer to the “Where’s X-Factor?” mystery with the announcement that X-Factor would be the next Marvel title to receive a numeral facelift. A number of fans and retailers were shocked when Marvel released solicitations for November 2009 and X-Factor was not listed. Now, a number of new questions are probably on the minds of fans of the X-lines quirkiest book: Is the cast changing? Will Peter David still be writing the book? Where is X-Factor Investigations going? Well, from the looks of things, things will be remaining unchanged…for the most part. X-Factor is moving back into New York City and their new client is none other than Franklin Richards!
Newsarama spoke with Peter David about the upcoming re-numeration of X-Factor and about the winds of changes which seem to be blowing slightly in the direction of Marvel’s mutant detective agency.
Newsarama: X-Factor has been kind of listening to the beat of their own drummer on the fringe of the X-line for a vast majority of the series; in December, with the series being re-numerated back to its original sequence with #200, how are things going to change? Or are things going to be staying the same?
Peter David: Mostly I'm going to be mindful that new people may be coming on board to check out the series and will be making sure that it's as reader-friendly as humanly—or even superhumanly—possible.
Also, I'm going to be endeavoring to make sure that the series has its finger more on the pulse of what's going on in the Marvel Universe; which isn't to say we're suddenly going to turn into crossover central. I just don't want people to feel as if the events are happening in a vacuum.
Nrama: Are you pleased with Marvel's choice to return the series to its original sequence? Or do you feel that taking the book and changing it detracts from your run on a wholly separate set of stories that aren't necessarily in line with the old X-Factor title?
David: Honestly? I don't have any strong feelings about it. If I had my way, comics would do away with ongoing numbering entirely. I think the model has changed so significantly that the practice has outlived its usefulness. I would just start every "season" over with a #1, have it run through #12 of that year, and then next year begin again. In the case of X-Factor, I don't think it detracts from anything. I think the main advantage of it is that it prompts guys from Newsarama to say, "Hey! Marvel's bumping X-Factor to #200! Let's do some interviews about that because it's a newsworthy event!" How's that working out so far?
Nrama: (laugh) Well, I guess you’ve kind of got me there…
Now that Madrox and crew have moved back into the thick of in New York City, will X-Factor be interacting with more of the Marvel Universe?
David: Form follows function. The notion was that we wanted to have X-Factor interacting more with the MU, and that was hard to do with them being off in Detroit. It's not like they have airplanes at their disposal. So we relocated them back to NY because that's where the action is.
Nrama: What can you tell readers about the upcoming arc that starts in X-Factor #200?
David: We're starting with most of the team already back in NY, because I can't think of anything more boring than charting every dramatic beat of them relocating. Most of the team is there, but there are a couple of significant exceptions. And over the first few issues, story developments will occur that will pull them together.
The initial storyline is called "The Invisible Woman has Vanished." Ever see the classic detective thing where a kid shows up to hire the PI? That's what we're doing: The Richards kids show up to hire the team to find their mom, even though their dad is insisting that there's no problem and it's nothing they should concern themselves about. And things just roll from there.
Nrama: Has the cast of X-Factor finally stabilized for the time being or will their be any more new additions to the team with their return to the Big Apple?
David: If we add any more members, we're going to have to split it into X-Factor Red and X-Factor Blue, so no.
Nrama: What are some of the perks of being able to include characters like the Fantastic Four into one of X-Factor's investigations?
David: The FF were the very first Marvel characters whose adventures I ever read, so it's a kick to get to play with these characters in the pages of X-Factor. Plus there's the obvious marketing advantage of guest starring characters who come with their own readership; obviously I hope FF fans will be intrigued by what they see in X-Factor and want to keep with the book even after the guest appearances.
Nrama: What other sorts of struggles and conflicts can readers look forward to seeing as the new status quo for the team unfolds?
David: The team has some internal personality conflicts that are going to have to be worked out. Madrox and Siryn still have some trust issues, Monet is uncertain as to whose side she should be on, and Guido feels threatened by Shatterstar's presence since he feels as if hand to hand combat should be his schtick, plus he's still annoyed because he feels blindsided by the Shatterstar/Rictor pairing.
Nrama: Will X-Factor have any artistic changes starting with issue #200? Are you aware of any fresh young artists that you'd like to work with on the book that you haven't had the opportunity to work with yet?
David: Yes, we will have a new artist for #200. I'll let Marvel get into the specifics of who it's going to be. As for fresh young artists, I can’t think of anyone in specifically. I think there's a lot of talent out there and I'm happy to work with anyone who can nail their deadlines and tell the story in an exciting manner.
Nrama: What is it about this assemblage of characters that makes writing this book so much fun?
David: They're an eclectic group with a lot of potential drama.
Nrama: There is still lots of unfinished business going on in the current X-Factor storyline with issue #48 hitting shelves very soon; will all the current mysteries be solved by #200?
David: A number of them will be. But the resolution of #50 is designed to provoke even more discussion of, "Okay, we know what happened, but WHY did that happen?" I like to introduce another question for every answer that I present.