Uncanny X-Men #21

There’s so much that’s immediately good about this issue. Cyclops isn’t in control of his powers and he’s attacking the Jean Grey School, Magik tries to mitigate and turns into a demonfaced monster raiser. Storm keeps collected.

And fans are treated to a full page spread of Storm showcasing her badass powers. Stellar.

Image

Then Dazzler (not really Dazzler, really Mystique) shows up to collect Cyclops. 

In Madripoor: the Blob fiends for mutant growth hormone (that they are harvesting from the real Dazzler). Magneto finds him and sees what has been done to Dazzler. Magneto almost scalpels the Blobs face off, but he relents, remembering long past events he lets the Blob run off and he tends to Dazzler.

The phony Dazzler is pushing the X-Men to hand over Scott Summers to SHIELD. It’s Maria Hill who tells Beast that he has an hour to straighten out what has gone wrong with Cyclops. The helicarrier is poised to attack as back up… but it suddenly starts firing. Beast takes Cyclops and Magik to his lab in hope to find what is seeking to destroy them. Quentin Quire (who I have some affection for because he reminds me of my gawky and grungy punkrock nerd boy high school friends) grabs Maria Hill by the head and asks her what’s up. 

And at the end of the issue: Beast has found who is behind the attacks, but it isn’t revealed to the reader. The villain is hidden in a spacesuit.

Chris Bachalo’s art is a little weird, there’s 4 inkers which I think adds to the weirdness. Hank McCoy looks more bizarre than usual. The facial expressions are on point, the action scenes are legit: easy to follow but very detailed. Cyclops shut the heck up this issue. That’s weird. The focus was mainly on the action (with one brief emo hiatus to see Emma Frost pensively fretting for Scott Summers).

Predictions for next issue: Who is in the spacesuit?

Nightcrawler #1

I don’t much care about Nightcrawler. Never did. But… Chris Claremont. 

Chris Claremont has written huge X-Men storylines. The source material that inspired both The Wolverine and the upcoming Days of Future Past. He’s a ridiculously big deal in the comic book world. He co-created pretty much all my faves (most of the major players in Brian Woods “all girl” X-Men) Kitty Pryde, Psylocke, Rogue, Rachel Summers, Madelyne Pryor (not my fave, but she notably recently resurfaced as a villain), and Jubilee. 

So I figured I would overlook the fact that Nightcrawler is “not my favorite” (and I know Dr. Chris is going to come over here and tell me about the time Nightcrawler fought Dracula, and how he was better at it than Wolverine because Nightcrawler is a man of faith even though he’s a weird looking dude. I know. Still not my fave.) Nightcrawler is not a Claremont creation, he’s the brainchild of Dave Cockrum who conceived the blue teleporting mutant while he was on a Navy ship in Guam.

Image

The start of the story really drew me in. The recently resurrected Nightcrawler is fighting Wolverine. Wolverine has recently lost his healing power and they’re testing out a new armor suit. Logan’s as fast as ever, Nightcrawler has trouble teleporting away, in fact. So Nightcrawler ramps up. And Wolverine busts out the claws. Without his healing factor this is especially painful and dangerous and Nightcrawler backs off, but Storm has to break up the fight. She then has a heart to heart with Nightcrawler about how things change and people have to decide what they are made of. Face who they are and deal with the consequences. 

Nightcrawler walks around the halls of the Jean Grey School, remembering how they lost Jean Grey and Thunderbird. And some X-kids and Professors wave “hello” (Quentin Quire, Cessily, a flirty? Rachel Grey …that might just be the art style).But then he goes to see Amanda and mini-Nightcrawler Bamfs. They are interrupted by an unknown assailant in a robot suit. Curiously, it becomes clear that he is after Amanda (who has magic powers, not mutant powers) the adorable Bamfs help save the day and Nightcrawler throws the attacker through a wall. And he vanishes. 

And Amanda decides that the creep might be after her fam. She declines calling in the X-Men and they go in pursuit at the close of the issue. 

Image

Amanda = Magik II/Daytripper (not art from this comic)

Regardless of the fact that the second half of the book was a random mystery to me, I enjoyed this. It was very apparent that Claremont was nostalgically writing Wolverine and it was somewhat overpowering Nightcrawler. Which I was okay with. Write what you know, and all that. But the end of the issue takes Nightcrawler out of his (and my) X-Men comfort zone. 

Todd Nauck’s art is very crisp, the fight scenes were dramatic and easy to follow, the Bamfs were adorbz, all the ladies have big eyes, long lashes and pouty lips. It’s very playful and certainly added to the somewhat surreal vision that Nightcrawler is walking around with while he’s just getting back to his life.

I will be reading.