Changes are coming down the pipe for Jamie Madrox and the intrepid crew of "X-Factor" investigations. With the team's climactic battle against their arch-rivals, Singularity Investigations - occurring in the pages of October's "X-Factor" #12 - it's still too early to tell what story changes await the book's cast, but CBR News spoke with artist Pablo Raimondi, who begins his run as regular "X-Factor" artist with issue #13, to find out what he has in store for book's visuals.
Raimondi's open schedule and his past association with the characters lead to his assignment on "X-Factor." "My editor Andy Schmidt and I were looking for a project to follow 'Books of Doom.' Around the same time Ryan [Sook] announced his departure from 'X-Factor,'" Raimondi told CBR News. "Having already worked with Peter on the 'Madrox' mini-series, which had helped set 'X-Factor' up to begin with, the book seemed like a logical fit for me."
Raimondi wants the style he's using for "X-Factor" to be a perfect fit with the mood and tone of the book. "It's a crime noir book with a super-hero twist, so I'm trying to keep the overall look as moody as I can," he explained. "I can't really say my style has changed much compared to my previous projects, because they were also a bit on the dark side. Having said that, my work is not as dark as the work previous artists have done on the book, so I've worked with Brian [Reber, the colorist] on setting a tone that carries the feel of what came before while also making it look distinctively different. This is the third project Brian and I worked on together, and I couldn't be happier that he's part of the team. He brings an invaluable amount of talent to the table, and much of the credit for the final look of the book should go to him. On the other hand, let me be very clear and say that if you guys happen not to like it, then it's entirely Brian's fault. All hate email should be addressed to him!"
In addition to working closely with Brian Reber to insure that the art on "X-Factor" perfectly compliments the mood and feel of the book, Raimondi will also be redesigning the looks of some of the characters to reflect the book's more realistic tone. "I've re-worked some of the characters - Rictor, Siryn and Monet," Raimondi said. "I wanted to get away from the super-hero costumes they were using and give them all more of a 'regular clothes' look. My approach is that we are trying to have the characters look grounded and realistic, but I don't feel I can pull that off if they are walking around New York in full leather outfits with capes. Siryn was tricky, though, because she actually needs a cape to glide. I came up with a very simple, low-key solution for her, which you'll see a bit of in the first cover, but you won't get a good look at until our second issue. I also tried to make sure all their personalities come through in their appearance, so each one of them looks distinctive and different."
Those who are aware of Raimondi's past ties to the characters should be able to guess which member of the "X-Factor" cast is his favorite to draw. "Madrox, hands down," Raimondi said. "Because of the nature of the character it's just easy to relate to him. Plus, his mini-series gave my career a shot in the arm, so I'll probably always feel attached to the character."
"Madrox" marked Raimondi's first collaboration with writer Peter David and the artist is excited to be working with him again on "X-Factor." "I've been a fan of his work since his very first 'Incredible Hulk' issue, so whenever I take a step back and realize that now I'm actually working with him it tends to paralyze me with excitement," Raimondi stated. "Fortunately, I have Andy to remind me to snap out of it and keep on drawing. Fanboy aside, as an artist I find Peter's scripts a pleasure to work with. He has a great visual sense and the story always flows very clearly, which makes my work much, much easier."
In addition to his visual sense and his ability with story flow, there is another element of David's scripts that Raimondi finds highly enjoyable and he's working really hard to capture that element in his art. "It's the humor, of course," he explained. "I've been putting a lot of work on facial expressions and body language to deliver the jokes in the script the best way I can. There are usually at least a couple of jokes that make me laugh out loud whenever I read a new script from Peter and I'm very consciously trying to make sure that the humor comes through in the artwork as well."
The most difficult aspect of providing the artwork on "X-Factor" for Raimondi is the ever present deadlines. But the chance to collaborate with a great bunch of guys has made "X-Factor" a rewarding and fun assignment. "It's Working with Andy, Peter and Brian," Raimondi explained. "At the end of the day I'll have a book I'm proud of being a part of, and that's just incredibly satisfying."
Raimondi hopes that readers will find "X-Factor" #13, his debut on the book, satisfying. "It's a stand alone issue that pays homage to the now classic 'X-Factor' #87. It's a great, fun read that's the perfect introduction to the book if you haven't been following it. Whoever hasn't picked it up yet, give it a shot!"