Wednesday, 28 August 2013

X-Factor #55: Vera

X-Factor #55 is the first issue to be written by Peter David! But other than that it is not a forward-looking issue in any sense: it features another couple of blasts from the pasts in the persons of Mesmero and Vera. Mesmero hasn't been seen in an X-book since he made all the X-Men work at a carnival, although he has made other appearances, most recently in Alpha Flight #43, and Vera Cantor was last seen in X-Factor #8.

Unsurprisingly given that Mesmero and Vera are in this, the plot is that Mesmero has brainwashed Vera, to mess with Hank. This was apparently commissioned by Infectia, for reasons which I am sure are to be made clear in a couple of issues' time. It's a fairly light story, and is presumably a fill-in.

According to the Chronology Project, Vera Cantor hasn't been seen since this issue, which is a shocking oversight. Because of this I was half-expecting her to be killed in this issue (just as Candy was gotten rid of as a plot point), but no, she survives and returns to her life as a school teacher. That was a bit surprising. But in fact, it shouldn't be: the X-Men's original non-mutant supporting cast has been gradually phased out over the years: Candy is dead, Zelda has already made her last appearance, Stevie Hunter made no appearances between early 1987 and late 1990.

This is a general ongoing heroification or dropping of non-superhero characters on superhero books (as James Hunt pointed out). This is perhaps clearest in what has happened to the Hulk supporting cast over the years: the Rosses are now Hulks too, and Rick Jones is A-Bomb. But it's also a bit political: by 2013 X-Men is no longer interested with non-mutant allies: it's about mutants doing it for themselves. It would have been incongruous to have Vera pop up during, say, the latter part of Gillen's run. But now, an opportunity has presented itself: Bendis's All New X-Men seems the perfect opportunity to revisit Vera (and Zelda, for that matter - who inexplicably failed to appear in a storyline about All Iceman's Exes in Astonishing recently). What say you, Bendis?


  1. Man, I would love to see Vera and Zelda come back in some capacity, as well as Stevie Hunter. And I think Tom Corsi or Sharon Friedlander are still alive. Or Ted Roberts. Especially Ted Roberts.

    Basically, I'm a big fan of supporting casts, and that's something the X-Men haven't had for awhile (at least in terms of non-mutant ones).

  2. I agree entirely with Teebore's Take. More hunams, please! Vera, Zelda and Ted I'm not sure would have much desire to hang around the X-Men these days, and a "you must come help me!" style plot is probably more effort than it's worth. Corsi and Friedlander, though? That'd be cool.

    There was flatscan Kate Kildare during Gillen's run, of course. Naturally, she was killed off.