As we saw last post, it's been revealed that what emerged from Jamaica Bay in X-Men #101, and died on the moon in #138 was not in fact Jean Grey, but a copy. Reed Richards has put her back in contact with Warren (Angel). Scott (Cyclops) isn't in the X-Men any more - he's just retired, in Alaska, with his wife (Madelyne Pryor) and his newborn child (as yet unnamed). He gets a phone call from Warren telling him that Jean is alive and he should come... and he walks out on wife, just like that.
The terrifying thing about this is not that it's an arbitrary editorially-mandated act that we're supposed to pretend is acceptable, as is generally contended, but that it's completely in character for Scott, and is treated as a despicable thing right there in the issue. Scott and Madelyne's story was simply not leading towards a happy ending, and I do not buy for a moment Claremont's line. More seriously, we need to consider the lead teams. There was the opportunity for some of this to have not been written - little Nathan was only born just last month - Claremont by his own account found they were going to be using Jean for X-Factor when he was doing the plot for #198. Given how long X-Men/Alpha Flight was (it was several months pencilling no doubt), I can believe that the baby had been planned for a while, but they could have changed the dialogue, no? Is the baby basically just brinkmanship - Claremont making a last throw of the dice to make Cyclops unusable in X-Factor, and them doing it anyway?
So, the three of them are together in a room. Scott has regressed to his state, 20 years ago, of being unable to tell Jean important information about who he loves. Nobody else has told her the news, either, even though who one is married to is a matter of public record. Sigh. Jean appears to have acquired a personality from somewhere while she was in the cocoon, at least. She's taken a good hard look at the state of the world (Xavier gone, Magneto working with the X-Men, and mutants more hated than ever) and wants to do something. She suggests forming a new team.
Two weeks later, and Hank is failing to get hired due to employment discrimination (it's not that the dean is prejudiced against mutants himself, you understand, it's just that he's concerned about what people might think!) Bobby has got a job as an accountant (is this where we find that out? Maybe his accountancy course was a long-running subplot in Defenders) Both of them are happy to accept the opportunity of work with Angel's new corporation, X-Factor. But first, they have to find Scott, who has skipped out on the people he skipped out on his wife to be with. Bit of a pattern there.
He's found soon enough, overlooking Jamaica Bay (I suppose he must have been there the whole two weeks?). So, the original five, together again at last! Cameron Hodge, Angel's old roommate, and now a PR person, outlines the business plan to them.
They will set up as "X-Factor" (named for the "X-Factor mutation", a term coined here and which justifies the name, but also is an example of the more details-oriented approach to the actual mechanics of mutation that Layton Guice will bring in this short run), a sort of mutant Ghostbusters, using their civilian identities. This will give them leads on new mutants facing problems, who they will then rescue and train. They retain the option of using their costumes and powers if necessary, but will keep that separate from X-Factor.
The plan has one glaring flaw which ought to make it impossible: Angel is out. He doesn't have a secret identity to hide behind. He can't pretend to be Warren Worthington III, backer and employee of X-Factor one the one hand and Angel, mutant renegade on the other. I can only assume that Layton and the others overlooked this, as it doesn't make the slightest bit of sense otherwise. The fact that the X-Factor costumes look awfully like the X-Men costumes (they have the same X-in-a-circle design) is a minor problem in comparison. One nice touch here is that in their X-Factor guise, the others also wear sunglasses, even indoors, making Scott stick out less like a sore thumb. The outfits also include great big backpacks, which Warren apparently uses to hide his wings in.
So, anyway, first call comes in, and it's about a chap named Rusty Collins, a young US Navy recruit, who has manifested uncontrollable fire powers. They rescue him, and take him back to New York for training (managing to extort $42,000 out of Chief Fisher in the process.) That's all right, then. Except that the place they'd rescued him from was prison, where he was legitimately being held after an incident where he had given severe burns to a local prostitute (Emma La Porte). Sure, he says it was an accident, but that's for a court to decide. So X-Factor have transported a fugitive across state lines. They really haven't thought this through, have they?
So, that's X-Factor for you. Everything back, as it was - Jean's been rolled back before the #30s even, as she's missing her telepathy. Beast still looks weird, mind. I can't imagine that this #1 would have been accessible to anyone who hadn't read X-Men before. The rot of giving fans what they say they want set in here.