By Ben Morse
The ranks of X-Factor Investigations swell by two this July in X-FACTOR #33, and as befits the Marvel Universe's most eclectic collection of mutants, this duo of additions will be anything but ordinary.
As the summer heats up, former X-Men stalwarts Longshot and Darwin come calling to join the likes of Madrox, Strong Guy, Siryn, Monet and Rictor. X-FACTOR writer Peter David hopes that these newcomers will help fill the void left by the recent departures of team veterans Layla Miller and Rahne Sinclair.
"It will introduce new sets of dynamics, as such additions always do," promises the scribe.
An extra-dimensional warrior with "good luck" powers from the Mojoverse, a sadistic world ruled by television ratings, Longshot debuted in a 1985 mini-series of the same name by writer Ann Nocenti and artist Art Adams. Subsequently seeking asylum with the X-Men, the innocent and carefree Longshot became a fan favorite during his stint with the mutant team, but disappeared to limbo for many years before a recent tour of duty with the Exiles.
"I've always liked [Longshot] and wanted someone who was basically upbeat by nature to replace the sort of zest that Layla provided," explains David. "Plus he has remarkable faith that everything is going to work out; it's his power. So that seemed like a nice replacement for Rahne."
In comparison to Longshot, Darwin remains a relatively unexplored canvas, having only first appeared in the X-MEN: DEADLY GENESIS mini-series two years ago. However, the mutant known in his civilian identity as Armando Muñoz actually served on a secret team of X-Men formed by Professor Xavier to save his original students from Krakoa the Living Island. While most of his teammates died in the rescue attempt, Darwin's mutant ability to evolve in response to immediate threats saved him and Vulcan, throwing them into a state of suspended animation. Since being awakened, Darwin has helped the X-Men oppose his mad former comrade.
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David has plans to flesh out Darwin's character and start filling in the blanks of his past.
"We introduce his long-lost father in his first issue and explain why he's gone from being dark-skinned to albino," promises the writer. "How's that for a start?"
Throw Longshot, returning artist Larry Stroman, She-Hulk and Secret Invasion into the mix, and we'd say that's a pretty damn impressive start to say the least.
We hope you've enjoyed X-Factor Week here on Marvel.com and recommend you visit Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited to learn more about Longshot and Darwin as well as to catch up on X-FACTOR!