I'd been reading assorted issues of X-Factor Vol.1 found in the dollar bins for some time now, up through where Havok, Polaris, Multiple Man, Wolfsbane, Strong Guy, and Quicksilver took over for Beast, Iceman, Cyclops, Marvel Girl, and Archangel in issue #71. This new X-team wasn't as popular as X-Force or the X-Men, but has some good writing, popular culture references, and interestingly conflicted members. In X-Factor #87, "X-aminations", the team is required by government agent Val Cooper to submit to a counseling after any mission the government deems "traumatic"- part of their occupational obligations to their employer. This made for a fascinating little issue...
Rhane (Wolfsbane) is the first to be analyzed, telling of her strange dreams, the doctor offering her sense of self seems absent in them, such as in her "Ren & Stimpy" dream where she and Feral are morphed into the 90's cartoon characters. Joe Quesada did a fun job aping the Spumco style on the penciling here! They go on to discuss her attraction to her authority figures, including Havok, and Rhane turns ugly when Reverend Craig is mentioned- the abusive pastor who tried to kill her, later revealed to be her biological father. Talk about issues!
Polaris tries to be cold, but can hardly contain her self esteem issues that seem to repel those who try to get inside, ironically contrary to her mutant power of magnetism. The appointment ends in tears, her broken relationship with Havok remained unresolved.
Guido (Strong Guy) tells of the horrific moment as a nerdy teen when he discovered his mutant ability to channel kinetic engergy into mass and power. He then confesses that his wise-cracking ways are to mask the constant agony suffered due to his mutation.
Jaimie Madrox attributes his need for attention to a fear of being alone- an odd phobia for the duplicitous nature of someone called Multiple Man, who creates a duplicate before the doctor to illustrate sarcastically.
Alex Summers' inability to let down his guard are compounded by the struggle to maintain control over his team are rooted in self comparison to his brother Cyclops. Havok shares many characteristics with Cyclops, most noticeably his sometimes overly serious and/or moody nature.
Lorna returns later to defiantly proclaim herself free of repression, dressed in a sexy new outfit underneath the overcoat she wore, taking her counselor by surprise...
Anxious to be validated, the antagonistic Val Cooper demands their counselor reveal their psycholigical flaws...
Confounded by the couselor's answer, that the group is refreshingly human, Valerie stroms out his office. As she laments his prognosis, the indignant agent ponders resignation from her post before being captured by some tentacled monster, and the identity of the counselor is revealed to be Doc Samson! I was delighted by this surprise! I also liked how the story title was on this last page, the credits listed on the windows down the hallway of the facility- nice touch!
More Later- Make It FUN!