A few weeks ago I updated the Guide to X-Factor to present day, which means now it’s time for mathing and mapping X-Factor! How much of X-Factor been collected from its start in February 1986 to the team’s most-recent appearance Dec 2021? How many issues have been collected in color, Epic Collection, or Omnibus formats? And, what’s the perfect X-Factor mapping to collect the remaining issues into an impressive shelf of omnibus volumes
Get ready for the deepest possible dive into the data behind the physical collections of X-Factor!
This is a pilot of a new post format that acts as a companion to major guide updates. It’s a way to bring back my popular series of omnibus-focused posts from 2017, where I looked at dozens of likely entries on Tigereyes’ annual Marvel Omnibus straw poll and then mapped the results.
Those posts were major favorites for many readers, but each one could take as long as a brand new comic guide – and, back in 2017 I still had many guides still to build. Oh, and there was also the brief interruption where I found out we would be moving to New Zealand in the middle of the 50-post series!
To get started with our X-Factor Math & Maps, let’s look at the current collection standings for X-Factor:
|Series||Total Issues||in Color*||in Epic||in Oversize|
|as a percentage:||82.46%||22.77%||54.15%|
* I am no longer including Essentials in my tally of collected issues now that they are long out of print and Marvel has retired the black-and-white reprint format.
How does that break down across every X-Factor series? What am I even counting? Read on to find out! And, when you’re done, be sure to leave a comment to let me know if you’d like to see more posts like this in the future.
X-Factor Math: How much of X-Factor has been collected?
First, let’s establish the ground rules. Here are all of the series included in this analysis and mapping, and their current collection standings as reflected in the recent update to my Guide to X-Factor.
|X-Factor (1986) Series & One-Shots|
|X-Factor (1986) #1-149, -1, Annual 1-9||67.92%||44.65%||52.20%|
|X-Factor: Prisoner of Love (1990) OGN||0%||0%||0%|
|Spider-Man and X-Factor: Shadowgames (1994) #1-3||100%||100%||0%|
|Strong Guy Reborn (1997) #1||0%||0%||0%|
|X-Factor (2002) #1-4||0%||0%||0%|
|X-Factor (2005) Series & One-Shots|
|Madrox (2004) #1-5 *||100%||0%||100%|
|X-Factor (2005) #1-50, 200-262, & 224.1||100%||0%||73.68%|
|X-Factor: The Quick and the Dead (2008) #1||100%||0%||100%|
|X-Factor Special: Layla Miller (2008) #1||100%||0%||100%|
|Nation X: X-Factor (2010) #1||100%||0%||100%|
|All-New X-Factor (2014) #1-20||100%||0%||0%|
|X-Factor (2020) Series|
|X-Factor (2020) #1-10||100%||0%||10%|
|X-Men: The Trial of Magneto (2020) #1-5 †||100%||0%||0%|
* This is commonly collected as a “Vol. 0” of X-Factor (2005)
† This was adapted from being a potential later arc of X-Factor (2020) by author Leah Williams, and the team appears throughout.
That’s amazing coverage! Almost all of X-Factor has been collected in color at least once. The exceptions are two runs in the original 1986 series #43-59 (except #55) and everything from #112-149 except for a pair of issues collected with Onslaught. (Part of that first run has been announced for an Epic later this year, but not yet solicited – so, we’re not counting it quite yet.)
Also, the Prisoner of Love OGN is technically it’s own collection, but it has never been recollected or reprinted.
And, finally the four-issue 2002 mini-series may or may not have been collected – it has an ISBN, but I’ve never been able to locate a physical copy!
This breakdown makes clear where there are remaining gaps in collecting X-Factor. There’s still a lot of X-Fact0r (1986) to cover in every format and the oversize collections of X-Factor trail off 2/3rds into its 2005 series.
X-Factor Maps: Mapping X-Factor in Omnibus Collections
When it comes to mapping X-Factor into omnibuses, we finally got a hint of how to proceed from Marvel a few months ago. Their announcement that Uncanny X-Men Volumes 5-6 won’t incorporate X-Factor issues (and will blaze forward into duplicating the content of the Mutant Massacre omnibus and onward) means that after a decade of hoping for an integrated line it’s time to map X-Factor entirely on its own.
Luckily, we have three existing Peter David X-Factor omnibuses as signposts for our map.
Mapping X-Factor (1986) #1-70 & Annual 1-6 in Omnibus
First, let’s tackle X-Factor (1986). Peter David Omnibus Vol. 1 splits this long-running series in the middle, which means we need to map at least two omnibuses on either side. [Guide to X-Factor – X-Factor (1986)]
While the Claremont/Lee Vol. 2 omnibus collects the X-Factor issues beyond X-Tinction Agenda, Marvel seems to be trending in the direction of double-dipping across omnibuses so that invidual lines feel complete. That means we need to go right up to issue #70 in the first half of this mapping. (And let’s just forget that issue #70 is in the PAD omnibus – it’s the end of the prior run, not the start of a new one!)
Thanks to the first two New Mutants omnibuses, we know Marvel is willing to hit the 50-issue mark in an 80s omnibus that isn’t based on the break-points in Marvel Masterworks.
At first, I thought we could split up the first part of the run with Inferno as the climax of the first volume. However, no matter how I slice it, the book is just too big.
X-Factor, Vol. 1 AKA by Louise Simonson – 57 issues, or 63 effective issues
Collects Avengers (1963) #263, Fantastic Four (1961) #286, X-Factor (1986) #1-40 & Annual 1-3, Thor (1966) #373-374 & 378, Power Pack (1984) #27 & 35, Uncanny X-Men (1963) #239-243, and material from Classic X-Men (1986) #8 & 43.
X-Factor, Vol. 2 – 37 issues + 23 MCP issues, or 55 effective issues
Collects X-Factor (1986) #41-59 & 63-70, Annual 4-6, X-Factor: Prisoner of Love (1990) OGN, Uncanny X-Men (1963) #278-280, and material from Uncanny X-Men (1963) Annual 14 (to complete Annual 5), Marvel Fanfare (1986) #50, and Marvel Comics Presents (1988) #17-24 (Cyclops), 39-44 (Beast), 74 (Iceman), & 84-92 (Beast).
Well, darn. While that second book might work, the first one feels a little too big for Marvel’s tastes in classic omnibuses that aren’t a one-in-done, like Man-Thing. Granted, we might not need all of those Uncanny X-Men Inferno issues, but even cutting three of them means the book is unreasonably large.
However, there is some wiggle room in there. What if we skip the 23 MCP issues, which are about 10 effective issues, and move Inferno into the second omnibus?
X-Factor, Vol. 1 – 48 issues, or 52 effective issues
Collects Avengers (1963) #263, Fantastic Four (1961) #286, X-Factor (1986) #1-36 & Annual 1-3, Thor (1966) #373-374 & 378, Power Pack (1984) #27 & 35, and material from Classic X-Men (1986) #8 & 43.
X-Factor, Vol. 2 – 45 issues, or 53 effective issues
Collects X-Factor (1986) #37-59 & 63-70, Annual 4-6, X-Factor: Prisoner of Love (1990) OGN, Uncanny X-Men (1963) #239-243 & 278-280, and material from Uncanny X-Men (1963) Annual 14 (to complete Annual 5), Marvel Fanfare (1986) #50.
That’s perfect! I could also imagine a three-book version that includes the MCP issues as well as all of X-Tinction Agenda, but I just don’t see X-Factor as a big enough seller to support three volumes of this initial period.
In fact, if Marvel really wanted to they could include all of X-Tinction Agenda in that second omnibus. It would be unorthodox, but I think they’ve finally come around to duplicating whole crossovers in multiple books so that they can include unbroken runs of issues.
Mapping X-Factor (1986) #71-149, -1, & Annual 7-9 in Omnibus
Now we can map the back half of the 1986 series, which was lead entirely by Havok. [Guide to X-Factor – X-Factor (1986) #71-149]
First, let’s look at the contents of the slim Peter David, Vol. 1 omnibus:
Peter David Omnibus, Vol. 1 – 31 issues, or 36 effective issues
(2021 oversize hardcover, ISBN 978-1302930653 / digital)
Collects X-Factor (1986) #55, 70-92, & Annual 7-8, a crossover with Incredible Hulk (1968) #390-392, and material from X-Factor (1986) Annual 5-6 and New Mutants (1983) Annual 6.
Will Marvel really collect around that book, given its brief length and abrupt end? Let’s try to figure it out both ways.
If we pick up from there, we get:
X-Factor: Havok’s Reign, Vol. 1 – 40 issues, or 32 effective issues
Collects X-Factor (1986) #93-111, Annual 9/1994, Spider-Man & X-Factor: Shadowgames (1994) #1-3, Phalanx Covenant crossover issues X-Force (1991) #38 & Excalibur (1988) #82, and LegionQuest crossover issues Uncanny X-Men (1963) #320-321, X-Men (1991) #40-41, and Cable (1993) #20
X-Factor: Havok’s Reign, Vol. 2 – 48 issues, or 50 effective issues
Collects X-Factor (1986) #112-149 & -1, Uncanny X-Men (1963) #339, Sabretooth & Mystique (1996) #1-4, Strong Guy Reborn (1997) #1, and material from X-Men Prime (1995) #1 and X-Men Unlimited (1993) #6 – plus, possibly Sabretooth (1998) #1 (AKA “Back to Nature”).
Those books work perfectly, but the second volume is slightly overlarge compared to the first. If we instead set the breakpoint at X-Factor #121, the second book trades 10 total & effective issues to the first book, which balances them both without changing any other issues collected in either.
Could we manage to incorporate all of the PAD era and still make it out in two volumes if we leave out the X-Cutioner’s Song issues? We’d need to include #71-83, 87-92, Annual 7-8, and Incredible Hulk (1968) #390-392 – 20 more issues, but more like 23 effective issues if we include the full length of the annuals. That would mean we’re looking at collecting a total of 105 effective issues across two books – which is totally doable!
In that event, we’d likely move up the break between the two books slightly to begin before Legion Quest (or omit the LegionQuest crossover issues entirely):
X-Factor: Havok’s Reign, Vol. 1 – 55 issues, or 59 effective issues
Collects X-Factor (1986) #71-83 & 87108, Annual 7-9/1992-1994, Incredible Hulk (1968) #390-392, Spider-Man & X-Factor: Shadowgames (1994) #1-3, Phalanx Covenant crossover issues X-Force (1991) #38 & Excalibur (1988) #82.
X-Factor: Havok’s Reign, Vol. 2 – 51-56 issues & effective issues
Collects X-Factor (1986) #109-149 & -1, Uncanny X-Men (1963) #339, Sabretooth & Mystique (1996) #1-4, Strong Guy Reborn (1997) #1, and material from X-Men Prime (1995) #1 and X-Men Unlimited (1993) #6 – plus, possibly Sabretooth (1998) #1 (AKA “Back to Nature”). And, optionally, LegionQuest crossover issues Uncanny X-Men (1963) #320-321, X-Men (1991) #40-41, and Cable (1993) #20
These are slightly overlarge, but still within the realm of possible sizes of a modern Marvel omnibus. And, they allow the first book to be marketed heavily on its early-90s cast and art, and the second book to be marketed with Sabretooth and Mystique making the team slightly more villainous.
Either way, I think it’s obvious that we can wrap up the end of X-Factor in just two volumes.
Mapping X-Factor (2002) #1-4 in Omnibus
This brief mini-series presents a conundrum. It has nothing to do with a superheroic X-Factor, so… where do we put it? [Guide to X-Factor – X-Factor (2002)]
I think our best hope is something like this:
New X-Men Companion Omnibus – 63 issues
Collects X-Men Unlimited (1993) #35, 37-39, 46-47, 49-50 and material from 34, 36, 40-43, & 48, X-Men: The Hellfire Club (2000) #1-4, Cyclops (2001) #1-4, Iceman (2001) #1-4, Rogue (2001) #1-4, Brotherhood (2001) #1-9, Chamber (2002) #1-4, Morlocks (2002) #1-4, Muties (2002) #1-6, Nightcrawler (2002) #1-4, X-Factor (2002) #1-4
This combines the contents of an existing New X-Men Companion 2019 paperback with the series of more sombre, adult-oriented mini-series that ran from 2000 – 2003.
Yes, I’ve overstuffed it a bit – and some of those Unlimited issues are extra long. However, I don’t think all of these series would have to fit into this book. Some of them would fit into a post-Claremont, pre-Austen Uncanny X-Men omnibus (particularly, the Iceman and Chamber minis). With just a handful of these series moved into that other speculative book, this one becomes even more plausible.
Mapping X-Factor (2005) #1-50, 200-262, & 224.1 & All-New X-Factor (2014) #1-20 in Omnibus
Mapping the remainder of Peter David’s return to writing X-Factor is incredibly simple, but it does include a surprise! [Guide to X-Factor – X-Factor (2005)]
Peter David Omnibus, Vol. 2 – 47 issues
(2022 oversize hardcover, IBSN 978-1302945220)
Collects Madrox (2004) #1-5; X-Factor (2005) #1-20, #21-24 (A-Stories), & #25-39; X-Factor: The Quick and the Dead One-Shot (2008); X-Factor Special: Layla Miller One-Shot (2008); and She-Hulk (2005) #31
by Peter David Omnibus, Vol. 3 – 46 issues
(2023 oversize hardcover, ISBN 978-1302953300)
Collects X-Factor (2005) #40-50, (1986 / 2005) #200-232, & #224.1; and Nation X: X-Factor (2010).
by Peter David Omnibus, Vol. 4 -50 issues
Collects X-Factor (2005) #233-262 and All-New X-Factor (2014) #1-20
Wow, that was almost too easy!
There’s every reason that the final omnibus would include all the All-New X-Factor run. Marvel’s current mapping has left enough room to make Volume 3 almost the exact same size of the prior two volumes if we include it. That’s a clear mapping message, I’ve ever seen one!
Mapping X-Factor (2020) #1-10 & X-Men: The Trial of Magneto (2021) #1-5 in Omnibus
This is incredibly straight-forward. Many of the Age of Krakoa series got their own oversize hardcover lines, but X-Factor never received one. That turns out to be a good thing: Leah Williams wrote both of these series and the Magneto mini co-stars X-Factor, so it’s an obvious choice to put them into a single book. [Guide to X-Factor – X-Factor (2020)]
X-Factor by Leah Williams
Collects X-Factor (2020) #1-10 and X-Men: The Trial of Magneto (2021) #1-5
Ta-da! We’re done mapping all of X-Factor.
Which of these books would be a must-buy for you? And, do you want to see more “Math & Maps” posts like this one in the future? Sound off in the comments below.
I love thoughtful mapping for future books! If you enjoy doing them I’d be more than happy to read them.
I really don’t think Marvel will map around X-Factor by David vol.1 and instead make it completely redundant, with the material within being folded into a possible X-Factor vol.3.
You reckon it would be too greedy to have some of the later issues of the Defenders in a X-Factor vol.1 to show where Beast, Angel, and Ice Man were up to before the formation of X-Factor?
Thanks for commenting, Dylan! It’s good to know some folks are into posts like this one.
A few years ago I might have said there would be NO WAY Marvel would double-dip the PAD Vol. 1 material for an all-in X-Factor line. Now I’m not so sure. The collections department seems to have really caught on that folks want complete oversize bookshelves without puzzling them together.
I come and go as to whether any New Defenders material should be included with X-Factor. Honestly, I think it just drags the debut of the team down to have to meet a totally other team in the same omnibus. I could see them excerpting some of Beast and Iceman’s final scenes from #150-152, but I think the proper place for that run is in the Defenders omnibus line.
I agree, including those Defenders issues would probably feel out of place and disorienting to start off a collection like that.
I understand the thought process of Marvels collection team essentially having a “Series” omnibus line as well as a separate “Event/Creator” omnibus line, it makes sense if Marvel believes the market is there for it. I have come to terms with the fact that a number of books in my collection will be made superfluous, chalk it up to being an early adopter to the format and the market evolving/growing to accommodate multiple ways for readers to collect their favorite stories.
Back to X-Factor, I hope we do get some nice big collections of this series and we don’t have to wait too long in between collections or that poor sales don’t out right prematurely cancel it!! I need Judgement War collected c’mon Marvel!
Have a great day!
They missed their chance to get that Judgment War omnibus out in 2022 to pretend it had to do with the Judgment Day event!
(I mean… they ARE tangentially related.)