With so many sticks of dynamite waiting to explode, Volume 3 kicks off in the best way possible: a sequel to the "X-Aminations" issue from the early 90's. Doc Samson returns to perform psychiatric evaluations of each member of the team (and Quicksilver as a bonus.) The sequel is almost as good as its predecessor, with a hiccup or two. For instance, Monet breaks down saying her bitchy disposition is a cover for her emotional problems after being tortured and imprisoned by her brother Emplate. Her crying about it seems a little out-of-character, and David himself may have realized it later as - while she has brought it up since - she's been more angry than sad. Still, this is really strong and Samson's interview with Quicksilver is an excellent callback to their first encounter, which I addressed briefly in my review of Fatal Attractions.
Madrox's interview with Samson sets up the rest of the book, as he tells M and Siryn the truth and - upon surviving - sets out to reabsorb his wayward dupes as a means of becoming whole. His path takes him in some weird and surprising directions, including trying to infiltrate SHIELD (with the return of a former X-Factor power-player) and being abducted by HYDRA. From there, he travels to a rural church where we meet one of my favourite characters in the series, John Madrox, one of Jamie's dupes who has become a man of God and has a family of his own. I don't think there's been a scene with Jamie and John that hasn't been powerful and it begins here.
What you DON'T expect is how Volume 4 wraps up, as a new villain makes his presence known. As what would become the norm with this book, many past events tie into his scheme with a few left turns along the way. In the end, there are major resolutions (including for a heated-yet-unlikely rivalry,) a lot of plot threads still hanging and a lot of unanswered questions. Welcome, once again, to the trap that is Peter David's X-Factor.
Volumes 5 and 6 are next!
Rating(s): 8.5/10 ("The Many Lives of Madrox"), 8/10 ("Heart of Ice")