X-Factor is one the titles that people recommend us the most during our weekly Post Crisis Previews. It seems like every week that does come out, we have a couple of comments along the lines of "Why aren't you reading X-Factor?" or "No love for X-Factor?". Neither Kirk nor Ryan follow the title anymore, so that's why it doesn't show up on the Previews or in the Reviews. I do, but because I hardly ever do single issue reviews, X-Factor is underrepresented compared to the other titles. I missed the opportunity to review the renumbering with the 200th issue of X-Factor, but I figure I'd take a shot at reviewing this one shot, which ties into the bigger events of the X-Men. Hit the jump to read my review, which will include heavy spoilers.
It's 1943 in Warsaw, Poland, as soldiers are rounding up the denizens of the city, and we are introduced to an old lady writing in a book about the nature of war and ghettos, about how they never really end, it's just the faces and places that change (this works as a transition to the X-Men's current situation, obviously). The old lady is more than what she seems, although it's never explicitly said what exactly. There are hints that she is some kind of avatar or witness of segregation and bigotry, as well as a scribe of history, something like the Endless. Now that I think about it, she resembles Rosa Parks, but I'm not sure if this was intentional or not.
De Landro's art is incredibly uneven, more so than it was in the latest X-Factor arc. Some panels look great, such as the scenes with Cyclops: it's a Scott Summers that looks slightly disheveled and unshaven (he's a leader of a nation, he doesn't have time to care about his physical appearance). Other panels don't have as much detail into them, and sometimes facial features are completely missing. A good portion of the backgrounds (especially outside scenes) are just solid colors that were probably added by the colorist. There was one particular scene where Madrox, Layla and Cyclops are supposed to be holding back a laugh and then letting it out, but instead it looks like they are choking. However, the opening scene (the one set in 1943) is done only in pencils, no inks or colors, and it looks much better. It makes me wonder if the whole book looked like that before the colorist and inker got to it.
In short, to old X-Factor readers, this is probably not a surprise, as the X-Factor title has always struggled to maintain a good and consistent art team for long periods of time. X-Factor goes through artists faster than Spinal Tap goes through drummers.