The premise requires a great writer to pull it off—the members of X-Factor individually meet with a psychiatrist, and each character’s vignette spells out what makes him or her tick.
It shouldn’t work. It could easily have become 22 pages of dry, on-the-nose descriptions. But David builds clever conversations that illustrate each character in an engaging way. And in this manner, Quicksilver explains his arrogance, Strong Guy explains how he hides his pain behind jokes, the Multiple Man explains his fear of loneliness, and so on.
All this telling is what any writing class would tell you never to do, but X-Factor #87 proves to be the exception due to the exceptional execution. It’s about how the characters go about explaining themselves, not just the explanations themselves.
David’s original run on X-Factor ended much too soon. Thank goodness he got another shot years later.
Writer: Peter David
Penciler: Joe Quesada
Inker: Al Milgrom
Publisher: Marvel Comics
How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; included in X-Factor Visionaries – Peter David, vol. 4 (TPB)
Appropriate For: ages 11 and up