X-Factor #224.1: Approached simply, just taking this story on its merits, the plot twists are a little...convenient. X-Factor is in Madrox's hometown because some kid called them about an old lady who just stares out her window. The old lady, of course, winds up being some sort of monster who was "waiting for something." X-Factor engages the monster, while Madrox and Layla visit his old home, a farm now occupied by a single mom and her precocious son. At some point during the story, the kid asks what Layla's power is, she tells him that she knows stuff, he says that's lame, she says, "You should've hid better." The meaning of that comment becomes clear at the end, after X-Factor has returned to New York, when we see the mom's body lying on the kitchen floor with Layla's words inscribed in blood on the wall. These .1 issues are mainly supposed to introduce the characters to new readers, which David does more ably that some of the other authors have by having Madrox describe his team to the boy and his mom. But, for longtime readers, they're also supposed to sketch out the arc of the comic for the next year or so. Going into the story knowing that makes you realize these twists aren't convenient. The boy is probably, I'm guessing, connected to the monster somehow, though it's unclear whether he, or the person who took him, is the person for whom the monster was waiting. Moreover, whoever took him clearly is connected with Layla (if not Layla herself). As usual, David gives us a lot to ponder with just one issue, somehow continuing to make the mystery of Layla intriguing and not annoying, using this issue to also remind us of the "Guido has no soul" issue. All in all, David delivers the best .1 issue I think I've read, which I think we all expected him to do.
X-Men #17: This issue, for the most part, is fine. Like Scott, I totally forgot about Doom, so I was just as surprised as he was when it's revealed that Doom is behind the aliens' ability to neutralize Cyclops, Emma, and Sue in short order. Gischler does a good job of presenting us the complex political realities of this dimension -- and how the FF and X-Men fit into those realities -- without bogging down the story. However, something still felt...off a bit in this issue. I felt like I was clearly reading a plot, not a story that developed of its own accord. The revelation that the situation created itself when a mysterious millionaire just happened to hire two people who each happened to be an old ally of one of Earth's superhero teams was a bit of a stretch of my willful suspension of disbelief. This arc still has potential, so hopefully this issue just had to present some necessary exposition before we start getting to the good stuff.
X-Men Legacy #255: Carey does a great job here hiding his quasi-reveal, that Havok and Polaris are under the control of the powerful Grad Nan Holt telepath. I was actually annoyed for part of the issue, not quite believing that Havok and Polaris would be so callous about the Grad Nan Holt's execution of its Shi'ar prisoners. But, when Polaris screamed "You'll do nothing, murderer!" at Magneto, it became pretty clear that the telepath who knocked out Marvel Girl was controlling the two X-Men. I still wish that Carey didn't write such joyless stories, but this one is pretty evenly paced and tightly scripted, so I can't complain too much. It'll be interesting to see if the Grad Nan Holt tribunal controls the telepath, as it seems, or if it's actually the reverse that's true.