by Eric Drumm
When a man comes calling saying that he has the key to preserving mutant life, usually it's a bad thing. Over the years, quite a few idealists have come up with schemes to set mutants aside from the rest of the populace, and more often than not it results in failure and a whole lotta death. One such man has dropped by the offices of X-Factor investigations, and Madrox and crew are hearing what he has to say.
This man would be the stranger named Huber. A smooth operator with a prolific tongue and imposing frame, he is seemingly offering insight and assistance to X-Factor but clearly has a dark side. What does this man in black have up his sleeve?
"Huber is one bad man," says X-FACTOR Assistant Editor Will Panzo. "But more than that, he's quite calculating and much more powerful than has been revealed at this point. He's been working toward a goal for some time now and he's finally in a place where he feels that goal is within reach, which is trouble for mutants everywhere."
To add a layer of mystery to Huber, a hazy revelation may have been just the warning they needed. Previously, Madrox a.k.a. Multiple Man had received a strange message from one of his "dupes," warning him about a dangerous man named "Uber." Hmmm. "Uber" and "Huber" sound quite a bit alike don't they? That thought crossed Madrox's mind too, but took it as nothing more than the ramblings of a drunken duplicate of himself. Should he have listened more carefully before throwing in with a man like Huber?
"No one looks out for a man like his exact duplicate," explains Panzo. "Madrox knows this. But after his dupe's warning, things in his life grew a bit hectic and there were more pressing issues that demanded his attention. It's an oversight that may cost him."
It appears that perhaps Madrox should be listening to that little voice in his head. However, in this case it's a living, breathing exact double.
Huber may want to lead mutants into a new era by having them declared an endangered species, however it looks like he doesn't mean all mutants. While on a walk in Central Park, Layla Miller stopped on a bridge to collect her thoughts. Before normally nice French mutant Nicole whacked her on the dome with a rock, Nicole mentioned that Huber wants Layla dead with Nicole seemingly acting as his minion. How he is controlling X-Factor? Are they just pawns in his bigger game of X-chess? If mutants truly are an endangered species, the world would be a dangerous place if Huber were in charge.
"Huber's powers in general and his powers of manipulation in particular will surprise a lot of people, X-Factor most of all," says Panzo.
With Layla taking a nose dive into the river and the rest of X-Factor eating up Huber's spiel, it looks like the team is in a spot of trouble. Just what can we expect to see coming up, Will Panzo? Any more drunk dupes coming to save the day?
"The return of...you didn't think I was really going to say it, did you?" says Panzo as he splits into two pointing and laughing versions of himself.
Who is this Huber and why do we get the feeling that he might kill all of us? Find out in X-FACTOR #23 by Peter David and Pablo Raimondi.
X-FACTOR #23 (JUL072196)
Written by Peter David
Pencils & Cover by Pablo Raimondi
Rated T+ ...$2.99
FOC-8/23/07, On-Sale 9/12/-7
To find a comic shop near you, call 1-888-comicbook