Being Monet St. Croix
Pip finds himself in the White Hot Room, confronted by Thanos and Death. Refusing to follow them into the after-life, he does the un-Jean-able and escapes, re-emerging at X-Factor HQ. However, all is not well: he's taller, and his voice is different. Faced with a mirror, Pip realises exactly where he's landed: within the psyche of Monet. A foiled attempt to sneak a peek at the girls reveals that M is still very much present, though not in complete control. The two of them venture down to the morgue, to find Lorna, Longshot, Rictor and Shattybuns with Pip's braindead, but still breathing body.
Pipet explains how the unique physiology of Laxidazian anatomy means he has been left physically unscathed, but that in order to leave Monet's body (where he landed because of a combination of his teleportation, and her telepathy), they must first track down Vera. Unable to access his own psychometric localisation powers away from his Trollish body, Pipet has Longshot trace Vera's position to the New York Botanical Gardens, where Shatterstar immediately teleports the team. Meanwhile, a demonic cab driver has collected the Madroxes from the airport, and driven them to the same place, so that X-Factor might at least fall together. Layla detonates her forcefield offensively, while Jamie learns that the Warders, satanic harbingers of the apocalypse, have been gunning for X-Factor ever since they murdered one of their kind back in Kansas (this creature from #224.1).
At the centre of the park, the rest of the team find Vera by a pool of water, which erupts into a volcanic geyser as she warns that the Hell on Earth War is beginning, and X-Factor will suffer.
This issue was honestly a little lacklustre for me. The story was essential to bridge the gap from Breaking Points to the Hell on Earth War, but somehow I feel like not much happened. Although I really enjoyed Popo's slapping fight with Pipet, and her hand to Shatterstar's face, much of the humour fell a little flat. The art however, was great. I often find Davidson to be a little hit or miss, but he handled the different environments and variety of characters well. The gardens and the explosion on the last page looked especially great.
I'm not sure how I feel about this development for Monet. Everything seems to indicate that she'll be checked out for the next few issues, which is kind of disappointing. I'd hoped this story would have centred on her, but instead she's become something of a lurking presence. Some time out might help her regain some the quintessential character traits she's been somewhat lacking lately, but it could go either way. Her rage at having to share a body again might send her spiralling ever further into fury.