I'll admit that I'm a bit critical of PAD's current run on X-Factor. It has been dull and slow in my opinion, and I've commented that I've felt like dropping it at times. That's not to say that I don't like PAD's work, it just doesn't speak to me normally. But PAD once again shows that he is a diverse writer, who has a wicked sense of humor. If only he showed it more often in X-Factor, but the book has a very different tone. And maybe it's the lack of characters I really care about, as X-Factor for me is the 05 team. While I'll carry on with X-Factor to see where it's all going, I'm actually eagerly anticipating the next issue of Wonder Man. And no, not just for the Beast cameos. Though they do help. But don't just take my word for it, go out and get it yourself.
That said, there is a downside to the writing of the book. The art is very... well, odd would be the best word to describe it. All the men look like mongoloids, with their odd shaped faces and huge bulky oddly shaped bodies. Oddly enough Andrew Currie's one decent looking guy is the guy who should be the oddest looking of the bunch. His Beast is very well drawn, even though it's a mix of both the feline and apeman look. It's certainly better than a lot of the artists have been drawing him lately. As for his women, the only half-way attractive looking one in the whole book is the baddy. This is California, where are the pretty people. At least he draws a nice Beast.
But let's get to a brief synopsis of the issue for those on the fence. The issue picks up an unspoken number of years in the future. Where Simon after an encounter with a homeless man begging for money, flies off and sits alone atop a building to reflect upon his life. Due to his Ionic form he doesn't age, or at least ages very slowly. So all his friends and even his enemies are long gone, and he's dealing with a very serious crisis. He doesn't have anything more to believe in, and thinks back to the last thing he did believe in.
The storyline then flashes back many many years to the current timeline (Civil War isn't mentioned, so no clue if it's before or after) and Simon is having lunch with a documentarian in a fancy resteraunt. The guy wants to do a documentary featuring Simon, but doesn't have a good angle for it as of yet. The subject of Wanda comes up, and Simon explains what happened with her and with the Avengers. Said documentarian notes that it was bound to happen, after all it's the whole 'Nature vs. Nurture' argument... and Magneto was her dad. Simon argues that it's not true, that everyone has a capacity for both good and evil. And that anyone can change.
The debate continues outside where Neal has the valet bring his car around. A woman dressed all in black with a black trenchcoat steps into the path of the car and using a scythe type weapon (called a kama) destroys the car. Simon goes after her and the two get into a knock-down drag out fight. It seems the woman is able to charge the weapons she's using with Anionic Energy, which against Simon's Ionic form is actually doing damage to him. She shows herself willing to fight dirty even, faking a strike to his groin with one kama, while she stabs him in the chest with the other. Simon gets his ass kicked, and she curbstomps him quite welll.
As Simon's recovering, the woman swiftly runs over to the resteraunt that he was just in and crashes through the front window. Shehe declares she's come to kill an agent named Ken, and that her name is Ladykiller. She goes to attack him, but Simon arrives just in time to grab her other weapon (a chain whip) before it can strike home. She seems to go into a berserker rage at this point, howling in primal fury and rage as Simon wraps her up in her own chain whip. She threatens to kill Simon, getting ready to call him a "Son of a bitch." But before she can get the naughty naughty B-Word out of her mouth, Simon decks her and knocks her out saying that this is Hollywood and their fight's been rated PG. Seems like a cute wink wink at the comic audience by doing that, instead of the usual Q-Bert swearing so prevelent in comics today.
Ken the agent now shows a backbone, kicking Ladykiller now that she's down. Simon grabs him and tells him to knock it off. As the pair argue, Neal gets the brilliant idea that this is the angle for the documentary. Plus they can see which one of them is right. Is Simon right that everyone has the potential for good, or is Neal right that evil is hardwired. Simon's annoyed at the very idea, but Neal manages to catch him with his back to the wall and he reluctantly agrees. "My Fair Superhero" is a go, where Simon will have to take charge of this wild supervillain, and rehabilitate her from an insane assassin into a respectable member of society.
Hours later back at Simon's apartment in the city, Ladykiller is laying on the floor in the livingroom. Simon notices her change in breathing, and tells her that who he is. Before he can get to why she's here and the deal, she leaps up and attacks him. Or attempts to, as a shock collar attached to her neck goes off, channeling her powers back into her nervous system and giving her a nasty shock in the process. Simon tells her that as long as she's going to act like an animal, she'll be treated like one. He tells her that she's got a choice, that she can take his offer or be turned over to the cops and rot in prison. Finally Simon introduces her to two of his friends who are going to help with this experiment if she accepts his offer. Carol 'Ms. Marvel' Danvers and Henry 'Beast' McCoy. Ladykiller leaps to attack again, and once again gets taken down by the collar, which has obviously been created by Beast. Hank winces at her howling in pain at the shock, and then offers some of that trademark Hank McCoy wit. "Sweet Girl. By all means, Simon: Let the healing begin." And with that, To Be Continued.