Quote: 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.
I think your criticisms are valid on the series but while Louise Simonson's first year on the book was excessively grim things turn around dramatically come Fall of the Mutants.
I haven't read this series since it came out, I still have it in a box deep in the corners of the loft, but I liked the Simonson's work on the series as it was running to a plan. The first years worth of stories are aimed at setting the cast into the darkest corners of personal tragedy and angst, it does go too far to a degree as everyone is given a massive personal challenge to overcome and the world they are living in is increasingly bleak. I don't think Scott Summers in particular benefitted from this series but on the other hand Warren Worthington was overhauled into something a good deal more interesting and dangerous, and Jean while vulnerable is the force that ultimately holds everyone together.
The Master plan the Simonson's are working to is long range, a lot of what we are reading in the first year won't be resolved until Inferno and Mr Sinister's arrival into Scott Summers' life. But we gradually learn that a major reason the teams lives are so difficult and fraught is down to the manipulations of their trusted PA Hodge, which is an important point. His marketing of X-Factor, the trajectory of The Right, and the broader scheming of Apocalypse and Mr Sinister are all important reasons as to why the book is initially so bleak.
By Fall of the Mutants things come to a head as Hodge plays his cards and Apocalypse makes his grand move. After Fall of the Mutants though the transformation that comes to the books tone and the relief on the main cast is not only natural but welcome. This is where X-Factor reinvents itself and the team take stock. I have fond memories of this era as it all felt quite a natural progression and the characters had come out of at least a years worth of misery stronger for the experience...
Where did X-Factor go wrong though? For me it would have to be with the conclusion of Inferno and the closure of the Mr Sinister gambit. This is the point where not only does Walt Simonson leave on the art side but Louise has said all she has to say with it, what follows is a lot of filler and the incredibly boring 'sent into space to fight celestials' storyline. I recall buying those issues and just not reading them, they were virtually unreadable.
But still, I do enjoy the Simonson's work on the series, the original X-Men have never been favorites of mine and yet good storytelling made this a book worth following. For awhile at least.
Was he always meant to be a villain, or did Siminson just make him one? As I said, he was okay up until about issue #23, but once he sold out babies to demons and started talking like a cartoon villain, that was pretty much the end for the character. Since then he's just been tooooooooo evil and he talks like too much of a villain to even take seriously. Issue #34, reading it again, it seemed like the appropriate ending for him. Him dying all the time and coming back is just getting old.
As for Apocalypse, I do think that she overused him, but this was the classic version of the character, and she wrote him the best, it seems.