X-Factor (1st series) #74

Issue Date: 
January 1992
Story Title: 
Politically Incorrect

Peter David (writer), Larry Stroman (penciler), Al Milgrom (inker), Glynis Oliver (colorist), Michael Heisler (letterer), Bob Harras (editors), Tom DeFalco (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

During the night, Wolfsbane visits Havok’s room, much to his confusion. Later, a mysterious mutant named Slab calls out Strong Guy to fight him, threatening to detonate the Washington Monument with hostages. Strong Guy agrees and does battle with him, while X-Factor search for the bomb. However, due to his suddenly heightened strength, Guido demolishes the Washington Monument, causing Senator Shaffran (who secretly works with Mr. Sinister) to openly threaten that he will destroy X-Factor for that. The Madroxes, in the meantime, learn that X-Factor’s Madrox is the dupe and the other the real Multiple Man, meaning he is set free.

Full Summary: 

In the night, a hulking silhouette waits for his enemy Strong Guy. But Strong Guy, like all members of X-Factor, is asleep. And there they fight battles no less difficult.

Hanging downwards like a bat, Guido dreams of being seduced by Kim Basinger. In another room, Lorna Dane, her dreams haunted by a white-haired figure clad in purple and red, merely moans softly.

In the room next door, Alex Summer has his own nocturnal fancies. “Oooh Lorna”, he mutters. “Lorna?” someone exclaims and he awakes to see Rahne Sinclair crouching next to him. Is that all he thinks about? she complains. He hopes he’s not being out of line or anything, he asks, but what the blazes is she doing in his bedroom? Rahne replies that she heard him cry out. She hears about everything. She thought he was in trouble, but obviously he was just having a bad dream about… she doesn’t know… Lorna? Is everything okay? he asks. Rahne flees.

Elsewhere in X-Factor’s townhouse, sharing his bed with a teddy bear, Quicksilver dreams about being reunited with his estranged wife, Crystal. And in their power-negating chairs, the two Madroxes tell each other to turn over, they are snoring.

The next morning, Alex and Lorna are playing squash. What does she think about Rahne? Alex asks her. It makes the grass grow, she quips. He clarifies that he is talking about Wolfsbane. Good kid, little repressed, Lorna decides. Edgy about sexuality. Alex reveals he thinks she has a serious crush on him. When’s the wedding? Lorna quips. He isn’t kidding, he insists. He woke up last night and found her in his bed. What?! Lorna exclaims, not paying attention to the ball which hits her head. Didn’t come anywhere near her brains, she jokes feebly. Maybe she better have a chat with Rahne, after all. Some girl talk…

Guido joins them and informs the others Val wants them over at the townhouse. The lie detector guy’s arrived. While Alex and Lorna head for the shower, Guido muses he hasn’t played in ages. He tosses the ball right through the wall and remembers why he doesn’t play anymore. Sometimes he thinks he doesn’t know his own strength…

Elsewhere, a mystery man is visited by Mr. Sinister and tells him things go quite well actually, thanks to his guidance. By making Quicksilver the first target of his ricochet power, he was able to hide the fact that his real objective was to discredit X-Factor. And Sinister knew without a doubt that Quicksilver would seek out their help, even though they were only in the formative stages. It’s as if the future is an open book to him. Let’s just say it is on a permanent loan, Sinister replies.

From upstairs, a woman calls him to breakfast and “Ricochet” or Senator Shaffran heads up, promising Sinister he will call later. Sinister replies he has an appointment across town anyway. The Senator joins his wife, daughter and servant.

In the X-Factor townhouse, Wolfsbane is trying not to listen to the dream Guido had about Kim Basinger. He agrees, as he would probably have to give her the PG version which would lack some of the pizzaz. He refers to her constantly changing appearance and she explains that she’s been experimenting to try to get as close to human as she can without reverting to a docile feather brain. That describes some of the best dates he’s ever had, Guido points out.

Lorna and Alex are surprised that Val is only now bringing the polygraph expert. They thought he had already arrived. Val called Guido a good hour before she expected Edmond to get here so they’d be on time for once. She introduces the handsome African-American man, Edmond Atkinson, bona fide polygraph expert. And Val’s ex husband, he adds. X-husband to X-Factor, Quicksilver observes, Val’s life is just one big mutation, isn’t it? Somebody hit him for her, Val sighs, then introduces the team as Alex Summers, Lorna Dane, Rahne Sinclair, Guido who never told them his last name and they are afraid to ask and Pietro, who showed up and didn’t go home when his dog did.

She leads Edmond to the Madroxes. Seeing that they are completely the same, he agrees this should be fairly interesting.

Pietro protests that Alex suddenly hit him. “Well, Val asked,” Havok explains, “and she’s the boss…”

Edmond begins to set up his equipment. She’s looking good, he tells Val. So is he, she retorts. She ever think about the old days? he asks. Nope. Him neither, he assures her.

Val’s assistant Baldrick comes running, informing her there’s a communiqué for her. She asks him to assist Edmont, then tells the team they have a problem at the Washington Monument. A lunatic has some people trapped at the top and he’s threatened to kill them all, unless he gets what he wants. And what does he want? Strong Guy inquires.

Strong Guy! said lunatic atop the Washington Monument shouts. He’s calling him out! He wants him or this meat dies very soon! The giant refers to the hostages he’s kidnapped.

Cops point to the air at what looks like Speed Racer’s car, (namely X-Factor’s vehicle). The team exits. Havok introduces himself. They have been authorized to take charge of the situation. With a leader named Havok, you just know there’s going to be trouble, Quicksilver quips.

Guido asks a cop for the bullhorn and calls up to “King Kong” that he’s here. He’s Strong Guy! Lord, he hates that name, Alex exclaims. At last! the giant announces and leaves his hostages – literally – hanging. He jumps down.

“So, what’s the deal with you, cupcake?” Guido asks the ugly bald giant who informs him that he is Slab. He is a Nasty Boy and he is here to kill him! Any special reasons? Guido wonders. Why does a man climb a mountain? the other man suggests. Masochism? Guido guesses. No, because it’s there! Slab shouts. This is between the two of them and no one must interfere!

And who is he to dictate terms to them? Havok shouts. He’s the one who planted the bomb in the monument, Slab warns him. The bomb that he will detonate by remote control unless Strong Guy battle him. Guido agrees. He hasn’t had any serious exercise since he joined this chicken outfit. By the way, “Slap,” did he take a double dose of ugly pills this morning? Slab, the other man angrily corrects him. Yeah, whatever, Guido shrugs as the other man comes storming at him. His shoe’s untied. He trips him. “Have a nice trip. See ya next fall.

Angrily, Slab asks if he thinks he can beat him with that pathetic trick. Guido replies he has a lot more pathetic tricks he can fall back on. Slab slams him into a car, telling him he is not funny, just a pale pitiful retread. A cheap smart in gaudy blue and yellow tights. He’s amazed he’s gotten this far. He smashes a car into Strong Guy. It’s appropriate that they are battling here at the Washington Monument, because his defeat will be monumental! Guido slams him back, muttering he hates puns.

While the two fight, Havok asks Quicksilver to do a high speed search. Check the monument and find the bomb. Quicksilver begins running, expecting the pain to start any moment, and it does.

Elsewhere, X-Factor’s Madrox learns the bad news that he is the impostor. The other civilian Madrox is set free. Atkinson explains that, on a surface level, he may even believe that he’s the original article but, deep down, he knows the truth and is denying it to himself. Madrox pleads with Val. The released Jamie tells her he can understand how confusing all of this is. Dupes can become rather vehement. He remembers this one who mutated off him during the business with Unipar and the Coconut Grove. Coconut what? captured Madrox asks. What’s he talking about? Free Madrox smoothly adds that proves the other is a dupe. He doesn’t even have full memories.

Can Dr. MacTaggert confirm this Coconut Grove thing? Val asks and decides to give her a buzz. Moira is currently staying at Xavier’s School. She apologizes for the confusion. She and Edmond Atkinson walk away, leaving a devastated tied Madrox.

Nearby the Washington Monument, Rahne finds Quicksilver unconscious and barely breathing. Slowly his breathing gets regular, though. Alex asks Lorna to get a feel for the bomb, which she can’t. Maybe it’s all plastic, she suggests.

In the battle, Guido bites Slab, who can’t believe he just did that. Slab crashes him against the moment. Guido snarls he has seen tons of bullies like him. They all kicked him around when he was a kid ‘cause he was nerdy-looking. Till he hit puberty and mutants just love puberty ‘cause he started growing and then they’d leave him alone or he’d leave them in traction!

He keeps on hitting, explaining that every time he s hit he absorbs the energy from the punch, so slugging him just adds the strength level. In other words: “The madder you get, the stronger I get!” But he has to expend strength as fast as he absorbs it or things get ugly. He tries to hit Slab, who dodges the blow and Guido accidentally hits the monument instead.

The hostages fall down and Lorna magnetically catches them, but cannot prevent the destruction of the monument. Havok orders the team to make sure that nobody got trapped under the rubble, while thinking to himself that Val will be steamed. Quicksilver chooses that point to awake and ask if he missed anything.

Guido stands amidst the rubble, figuring he is stronger than he thought. He didn’t hear any explosion when the thing fell over, so apparently Slab was lying about the bomb. And he escaped in the confusion. You can’t trust a villain! Belatedly, he realizes this isn’t going to look good on the evening news.

A man in a suit runs towards him, followed by cops. He shouts he wants Strong Guy arrested. He wants them all arrested. They’ve destroyed a national monument! They should be locked up like animals! Even the most knee-jerk, flag-burning liberal wouldn’t put up with this!

And who the blazes is he? Havok asks annoyed. He is Senator Steven Shaffran, comes the reply, “and you, my genetically challenged friends, are about to choke down a three course helping of trouble!

Characters Involved: 

Havok, Multiple Man, Polaris, Quicksilver, Strong Guy, Wolfsbane (all X-Factor)

Val Cooper, X-Factor’s governmental liaison

Baldrick, Val’s assistant

“Other Madrox“, independent dupe of Multiple Man

Slab (Nasty Boy)

Senator Steven Shaffran / Ricochet

Mr. Sinister

Shaffran’s wife and daughter

Their servant

Story Notes: 

Guido’s way of sleeping upside down is a reference to the first Batman film with Michael Keaton. In that movie, Kim Basinger, who also starred in the risqué 9 ½ Weeks, plays Batman’s love interest.

Polaris is clearly dreaming of Magneto.

“Speed Racer” is a Japanese anime series.

The story of Multiple Man’s adventures in the Coconut Grove is told in the Fallen Angels limited series.

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