I got the second volume (Volume #2.) of the Essential X-Factor (The Black and White.), the middle of the Louise Simonson run on X-Factor (With art by her ultra-talented husband-to-be Walter.), and I have to say, I was really disappointed. I grew up reading some of her run on the book (I believe I started with #31, the one with Infecta. Did she ever come back to life yet? Please say no!), and I enjoyed it. I especially remember #32, as it had a cool fight with the Avengers. I got a few issues here and there, but not really the majority of her run. So, re-reading this, and reading the older issues for the first time, I have to say that I felt- I just didn't really care for these issues. Which is a shame, because I heard/read a lot of good things about her run. It seems that it was very divisive amongst fans, some really dug it, some despised it. I just found these to be EXTREMELY (!)depressing. I like drama, and I enjoy dark stories, but it just felt like there was almost no humor at all (A few quips from Boom Boom aside.). Bleak to the extreme. Cyclops was pretty much miserable, Angel was suicidal (He killed himself in issue #15. I have that issue as well.), and while I enjoy and appreciate melodrama in superhero comics (It's pretty much the foundation and stable that they were built upon.), there was just TOO much. Scott and Jean, oh my god! The deal that Cameron Hodge made with that demon (Begins with an N and ends in an H.) during that whole Inferno event where he sells out a bunch of BABY mutants to gain immortality and power was just beyond sickening, and, well, more on Hodge later.
From what I understand, Bob Layton (Who proceeded Siminson.) had Cyclops act like a jerk and he had her leave his wife and newborn son (Did that REALLY happen like that?), so Simonson had to work with that and try to rehabilitate him, and she does some good stuff, but, god was he mopey and depressing. I don't think that there was a single radiant character throughout. Really, the only positives aside from the art were Apocalypse (Who was really cool in these issues.), and Archangel. To tell you the truth, I prefer THIS version of Warren to the classic. Warren just doesn't really do it for me. He just comes off as dull and wooden to me, and his powers just-well, you know! So I'm used to the Archangel version of the character. I like him like that, only WITHOUT the killing. Him killing Hodge was justifiable, however. Apocalypse was overused in this volume, but I think that Siminson wrote the best version of him (Not surprisingly, as she was his creator.). I also really like the Horsemen. Are any of them still alive? War might be my favorite.
Anyhow, back to Hodge! I wonder why Siminson made him into a villain. Did Layton have this planned for him? I liked him right UP UNTIL his final appearance. Up until his reveal as the commander of the Right, he was a smart, sane villain. When he came back, he was just TOO cartoonish to take seriously, and I remember him getting even WORSE during his return from the dead in the X-Tinction Agenda crossover (I read the majority of that.). His dialogue and evilness, it was just so over-the-top, and what he did to Candy was just terrible. If you ask me, issue #34 should have been his FINAL appearance, as it felt like a conclusion to his storyline, and to his feud with Warren. But of course he came back again and again. But Hodge was just bat---- crazy, and his motives were kind of- vague, I think. I think that Siminson could have done a better job with his motive. If I were writing him, I would expand upon his reasons for hating mutants. Maybe say that he started hating mutants when Warren left him, and THEN when he say through some of X-Factor's actions that mutants and humans maybe can't co-exist together in peace, make him a radical mutant-hunter (Come to think of it, he was basically written as Apocalypse. As Apocalypse was sort of like the villainous version of Claremont's Magneto, when he wrote him as a villain. There seemed to be a bit of overlap there.). He just seems to hate mutants for no reason. Maybe if he saw the damage that X-Factor was doing, I would buy it.
Also, was he gay? Because issue #34 seems to imply that he was. I don't want to get into a long thing about it, as this alone should cover it:
Maybe I just read too much into it, as I do have a tendency to overanalyze things, but I wonder if Siminson was hinting that he might have had some sexual feelings for Warren. But reading the issue, as I said, I feel like it was the final Cameron Hodge story, and that his character ran it's course.
Also, a lot of the dialogue came off as unnatural, and the characterizations were just mostly poor, I think (Other than maybe Jean and Bobby.). I was expecting more. I don't know, what did you guys think? There was SOME good stuff in there. I wonder how the Judgment War arc holds up. Thanks for reading, and for the help.