Archive for the ‘Nightcrawler’ Category

X-Statix #26

April 17, 2015

X-Statix 26Peter Milligan // Mike Allred
October 2004
***

A fairly blatant ripoff of Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid, as the team gets KIA with Mr. S & Tike A. gunned down in a suicide charge. It would’ve worked better if they hadn’t held each other at arm’s length since the retitling. Or if the run’s last two years had been compressed into one. Ah well.

last issue: X-Statix #25
continued in X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #1 of 5

also indexed for Oct. ’04
Astonishing X-Men #4
Daredevil #63
Fantastic Four #517
Secret War #3 of 5

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The Sentry #4 of 5

February 28, 2015

Sentry 4 of 5Paul Jenkins // Jae Lee
December 2000
****

Core Marvel heroes recall the Sentry, whose previous face-off w/ his (literal?) nemesis the Void ended in self-exile & a rewrite of reality. This mini maintains its weird sensibility partly thru a pacing akin to Grant Morrison’s: scenes begin in medias res w/ no exposition to orient the reader.

last issue: The Sentry #3 of 5
next issue: The Sentry #5 of 5

also indexed for Dec. ’00
Avengers #35
Maximum Security #2 of 3

X-Men: Omega #1 of 1

February 18, 2015

X-Men Omega 1 of 1Scott Lobdell & Mark Waid // Roger Cruz
June 1995
****

Magneto sends a time-tossed hero into a cosmic crystal to restore the true X-universe. Waid’s tense, dramatic script masks Cruz’s errors (an unoriginal Ameri-manga artist, he’s the weak link here). Lobdell, the crossover’s mastermind, has done commendable work. Tho’ individual minis may’ve faltered, his cumulative plot & vision makes AoA  the pinnacle of mutant mags between Claremont and Morrison.

continued from The Amazing X-Men #4 of 4
continued from The Astonishing X-Men #4 of 4
continued from Factor X #4 of 4
continued from Gambit and the X-Ternals #4 of 4
continued from Generation Next #4 of 4
continued from Weapon X #4 of 4
continued from X-Calibre #4 of 4
continued from X-Man #4 of 4
continued from X-Universe #4 of 4
continued in X-Men Prime #1 of 1

X-Calibre #4 of 4

February 5, 2015

X-Calibre 4 of 4Warren Ellis // Ken Lashley
June 1995
***

AoA‘s writers mostly steal Claremont’s X-cast & the Byronic moping, but Ellis pilfers CC’s collaborative teamwork! The mini’s trio of heroes use their superpowers in tandem to defeat the baddie. Despite the atrocious art, his writerly craft makes X-Cal more compelling than most of AoA.

continued in X-Men: Omega #1 of 1
last issue: X-Calibre #3 of 4

also indexed for Jun. ’95
The Amazing X-Men #4 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #4 of 4
Factor X #4 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #4 of 4
Generation Next #4 of 4
Weapon X #4 of 4
X-Man #4
X-Men: Chronicles #2 of 2
X-Men: Omega #1 of 1
X-Universe #2 of 2

X-Calibre #3 of 4

February 4, 2015

X-Calibre 3 of 4Warren Ellis // Ken Lashley
May 1995
**

Doing his best to write a recognizable person, Ellis brings depth to Mystique. Her conscience has warred with her survival instinct, exiling her from salvation & her son till now. But this mini is drawn by Lashley, who has no eye for normal human behavior—it’s all grimaces, screams, & posturing.

last issue: X-Calibre #2 of 4
next issue: X-Calibre #4 of 4

also indexed for May ’95
The Amazing X-Men #3 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #3 of 4
Factor X #3 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #3 of 4
Generation Next #3 of 4
Weapon X #3 of 4
X-Man #3
X-Universe #1 of 2

X-Calibre #2 of 4

February 3, 2015

X-Calibre 2 of 4Warren Ellis // Roger Cruz, Renato Arlem, Carlos Mota, & Eddie Wagner
April 1995
**

The ultra-’90s AoA gives Ellis the chance to write a truly dark plot. Demonoid Nightcrawler, tracking a smuggler’s route to an Antarctic X-haven, avenges himself upon human traffickers who dump refugees into the ocean. The many hands of this issue’s artists blend into something nearly readable.

last issue: X-Calibre #1 of 4
next issue: X-Calibre #3 of 4

also indexed for Apr. ’95
The Amazing X-Men #2 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #2 of 4
Factor X #2 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #2 of 4
Generation Next #2 of 4
Weapon X #2 of 4
X-Man #2

X-Calibre #1 of 4

February 2, 2015

X-Calibre 1 of 4Warren Ellis // Ken Lashley
March 1995
*

Editorial revamps the mutant line, pitching readers into the grimmest comics they could imagine. For Excaliber, that means Nightcrawler follows a refugee pipeline to the Savage Land. Awful Jim Lee-style art has distended anatomies & weightless bodies; Ellis entertains himself w/ a religious theme.

continued from X-Men: Alpha #1 of 1
next issue: X-Calibre #2 of 4

also indexed for Mar. ’95
The Amazing X-Men #1 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #1 of 4
Factor X #1 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #1 of 4
Generation Next #1 of 4
Weapon X #1 of 4
X-Man #1
X-Men: Chronicles #1 of 2

The Astonishing X-Men #1 of 4

January 13, 2015

Astonishing X-Men 1 of 4Scott Lobdell // Joe Maduriera
March 1995
***

In a clever editorial fillip, this mini replaces Uncanny for a few months. A mutant has altered history; now Prof Xavier’s premat death sparked a eugenics war, w/ the X-Men as an underdog guerrilla force led by Magneto. Lobdell adroitly implies a rich backstory for his revised characters.

continued from X-Men: Alpha #1 of 1
next issue: The Astonishing X-Men #2 of 4

also indexed for Mar. ’95
The Amazing X-Men #1 of 4
Factor X #1 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #1 of 4
Generation Next #1 of 4
Weapon X #1 of 4
X-Calibre #1 of 4
X-Man #1
X-Men: Chronicles #1 of 2

X-Men: Alpha #1 of 1

January 12, 2015

X-Men Alpha 1 of 1Scott Lobdell & Mark Waid // Roger Cruz & Steve Epting
February 1995
****

Think What If… Magneto formed the X-Men? The dystopian alt timeline is fun, & the era’s portentous prose & posturing panels lend themselves well to the sturm und drang (even if the project labors in Claremont’s shadow). Magneto, a glowering man of action, looks unhappy to be stuck into the Rogue/Gambit soap opera; Cyclops is a mutant princeling who awakens to the genocide & misery under Apocalypse.

continued from X-Men #41
continued from Cable #20
continued in The Amazing X-Men #1 of 4
continued in The Astonishing X-Men #1 of 4
continued in Factor X #1 of 4
continued in Gambit and the X-Ternals #1 of 4
continued in Generation Next #1 of 4
continued in Weapon X #1 of 4
continued in X-Calibre #1 of 4
continued in X-Man #1 of 4
continued in X-Men: Chronicles #1 of 2

also indexed for Feb. ’95
Cable #20
The Uncanny X-Men #321
X-Men #41

X-Factor #108

January 4, 2015

X-Factor 108John Francis Moore & Todd DeZago // Jan Duursema
November 1994
*

Nick Fury & Forge send the US govt. team to Israel in pursuit of Mystique, who aims to murder her late lover’s killer: the comatose, schizoid son of Prof Xavier. Sadly, Duursema (a woman) follows sexist ’90s conventions, drawing conical breasts & disproportionately long legs in the period Jim Lee style.

last issue: X-Factor #107
next issue: X-Factor #109

Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #4 of 5

May 11, 2014

Realm of Kings - Imperial Guard 4 of 5Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Kev Walker
April 2010
***

The Realm of Kings maxiseries pays off, pitting the superteam of space voyageurs (clearly analogs for the Legion of Super-Heroes) against the pestiferous anti-universe’s X-Men as the Darkhawk conspiracy resurfaces. Kev Walker’s style, a mod sort of 2000AD look, gets a boost from colorist Fairbairn.

last issue: Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #3 of 5
next issue: Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #5 of 5

also indexed for Apr. ’10
The Fantastic Four #576
Guardians of the Galaxy #23
Nova #34
Realm of Kings: Inhumans #4 of 5

The Fantastic Four #605.1

December 23, 2013

Fantastic Four 605.1Jonathan Hickman // Mike Choi
July 2012
****

The “bonus” ish is less a jump-in point than another JH done-in-one w/ set-up for a later payoff. It flashes back to sketch a member of the Council of Reeds, who destroyed his alt-‘verse where the FF were Nazis! Choi’s work is better than his covers suggest, w/ lovely colors from C. Peter.

last issue: The Fantastic Four #605
next issue: The Fantastic Four #606

also indexed for Jul. ’12
The Fantastic Four #606
FF #18

Maximum Security #3 of 3

September 10, 2013

Maximum Security 3Kurt Busiek // Jerry Ordway
January 2001
**

Superheroes stop an alien intelligence from turning Earth into an interstellar bio-electrical WMD. A confusing climax to a conventional crossover, whose potential rarely came into focus. Ordway’s flat art lends the feeling that Max Sec is a ’80s DC tale bloated by minor plots & lapsed characters.

continued from Avengers #35
last issue: Maximum Security #2 of 3

also indexed for Jan. ’01
Avengers #36

Avengers #10

July 25, 2013

Avengers 10Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
November 1998
***

Wanda gets in touch w/ her magic. More importantly, a parade for the team. It’s for 35 years of issues (& for the Heroes Return concept), yet it’s a throwback to Roy Thomas’ naïve adulation of superhero comics. Still, Busiek lurves them too, & his nuts-n-bolts approach is what The Avengers needs.

last issue: Avengers #9
next issue: Avengers #11

Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men #1 of 1

January 4, 2013

Astonishing X-Men Giant SizeJoss Whedon // John Cassaday
July 2008
***
A double-sized ish caps the space adventure, but the extra pages merely add scope, not clarity. While a guest cast of Marvelites gets mind-zapped, Kitty Pryde sacrifices her life by somehow bonding herself to a space bullet fired at the Earth. With that, Joss & Cass wrap their X-run, a solid set of comics. But in this arc as in the previous ones, poor pacing drags on the snazzy art & peppy script.
[continued from Astonishing X-Men #24]
[continued in Astonishing X-Men #25]

New X-Men #140

November 25, 2012

Grant Morrison // Phil Jimenez
late June 2003
***
This issue, I think, is where the wheels come off Morrison’s run. X-Treme lends its cop protags to investigate the murder of Emma Frost. After her psyche was blasted by Jean Grey, Emma literally fell to pieces—a thousand diamond shards! Phoenix, however, easily proves her innocence via cosmic gaze.
[last issue: New X-Men #139]
[next issue: New X-Men #141]

Secret Wars II #9 of 9

February 22, 2012

Jim Shooter // Al Milgrom
March 1986
*
The series takes a truly weird twist as its protag invents a Kirbytech “birthing module” that allows him to be reborn as an omnipotent mortal (the turn echoes Shooter’s similar, infamous “Rape of Ms. Marvel” plotline). Every superhero in Marvel Comics wants to stop the cosmic being, leading some to propose infanticide! Instead, the nebbishy Molecule Man & his homely g’friend save the universe.
[continued from The Fantastic Four #288]
[continued in The Avengers #266]
[last issue: Secret Wars II #8 of 9]

Secret Wars II #7 of 9

February 20, 2012

Jim Shooter // Al Milgrom
January 1986
*
The Marvel U’s version of Satan aims to destroy the Beyonder w/ Kirbytech & a battalion of supervillains. Luckily, the Thing has Big B’s back. Since last ish, the godling has gotten lost in meditation. His passivity & fiendish temptation could be holy, but in Shooter’s hands it’s just dull & inert.
[continued from Power Man & Iron Fist #121]
[continued in The New Mutants #36]
[last issue: Secret Wars II #6 of 9]
[next issue: Secret Wars II #8 of 9]

Secret Wars II #5 of 9

February 18, 2012

Jim Shooter // Al Milgrom
November 1985
**
The Beyonder picks a fight w/ Kirby space-gods, a good concept wasted by dull fight choreography. The protag does have an emotional arc—unable to return to his home dimension, he’s now sulking w/ a mutant teen runaway—but his moods are impossible to follow if you don’t get every crossover issue.
[continued from The Avengers #261]
[continued in The Thing #30]
[last issue: Secret Wars II #4 of 9]
[next issue: Secret Wars II #6 of 9]

Secret Wars II #1 of 9

February 14, 2012

Jim Shooter // Al Milgrom
July 1985
**
Despite its plodding pace, bad characterization, & awful action, Secret Wars sold comics so it earns a sequel. Luckily, SW2 seems to have a smarter concept than  “good v. bad”. Its blank-slate protagonist, a godlike entity called the Beyonder, seeks experience & wisdom on Earth—& finds superhero violence.
[continued in The New Mutants #30]
[continued in Captain America #308]
[continued in Iron Man #197]
[next issue: Secret Wars II #2 of 9]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #12 of 12

February 13, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
April 1985
**
An anonymous roster of artists, betrayed by a diversity of styles, help Zeck complete issue #12 on time. The motives of the Beyonder (such a terrible name!) again get teased but remain obscure. Doom’s final battle w/ the entity is a sound-&-light show, while the heroes get resurrected offstage then return home via Kirbytech. And so the Wars wrap up patly, tying up ends left dangling since #1.
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #11 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #11 of 12

February 13, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
March 1985
**
Rule #1: never show Doom’s face! Tho’ the now divine Doc has removed his mask, he hasn’t quite left behind his human desires. Presumably that’s why the heroes, chatting at a conference table <yawn>, get zapped by lightning. Plus, Colossus gets busy w/ an alien chick, to the fury of Pryde fans.
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #10 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #12 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #10 of 12

February 12, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
February 1985
***
Shooter’s flaws (bad dialogue, brute combat) haven’t vanished, but he pulls a twist! While the heroes cower, Dr. Doom wins the Secret War! With Miltonic self-regard, he syphons off the cosmic power of Galactus then challenges the godlike “Beyonder”. Finally, the series’ scope equals its remit.
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #9 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #11 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #9 of 12

February 11, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
January 1985
**
Mr F asks what a godlike entity could hope to gain from arena sport. Shooter almost breaks thru the banality, but <sigh> having no answer, he falls back on his plot of Galactus Rising. Anyway, Zeck submits his best work of the series: his panels smooth & unfussy, his pacing tight but not hurried.
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #8 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #10 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #8 of 12

February 10, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
December 1984
*
Finally, something happens! The good guys storm the citadel of the bad guys. It’s a bash-’em-up battle, which is ironic as Shooter made his youthful rep on DC’s Legion by inventing non-strength & -energy superpowers. The cover tells the real story of this ish: Spidey gets a new black costume.
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #7 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #9 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #7 of 12

February 9, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
November 1984
*
A new Spider-Woman in a black leotard walks out of the shadows. “I’m Spider-Woman!” she announces. The next panel: “Hello everyone! I’m Spider-Woman!” Then she wanders off for the rest of the issue. To think, Shooter is Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer! Another low point: She-Hulk gets a beatdown.
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #6 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #8 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #6 of 12

February 8, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
October 1984
*
Colossus moons over an alien chick; the Wasp gets killed; Galactus constructs his enigmatic Kirbytech; combat resembles schoolyard tussling. Thankfully, Zeck has returned with his delicate line. His long shots of tiny figures, each carefully rendered & colored, are the only entertainment on view.
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #5 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #7 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #5 of 12

February 7, 2012

Jim Shooter // Bob Layton
September 1984
*
In the latest wrinkle to this slow-moving mag, Galactus plans to eat the artificial world out from under the superhumans. But it’s a case of telling, not showing. Layton’s fill-in work shows him to be a fine match for Shooter, w/ dull pencils & conventional layouts contributing a lack of urgency.
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #4 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #6 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #4 of 12

February 4, 2012

Jim Shooter // Bob Layton
August 1984
**
Despite being fill-in work, the cover to #4 is the series’ best: not a pin-up pose but a claustrophobic shot of the Hulk propping up a mountain. Finally, something happens! The rest, however, is down to MSHSW‘s usual level. Check that last page, meant to be a cliffhanger: Galactus raises his arms!
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #3 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #5 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #3 of 12

February 3, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
July 1984
*
A hurricane pounds the Kirbytech bases on the patchwork world, establishing—surprise!—a romantic mood! In a twist, the Wasp hooks up with Magneto! But Shooter has a tin ear even for strongly voiced characters like Spidey & Dr. Doom. His own creations, a pair of superwomen, have woefully generic powers.
[last issue: Marvel Super Hero Secret Wars #2 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #4 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #2 of 12

February 2, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
June 1984
*
Zeck’s landscapes give this maxiseries a weird sense of place, and his trad three-tier grid keeps the action clear. But Shooter—Marvel’s creative chief!—writes such flat characters & brute superpowers! Only Dr. Doom is on model, as he audaciously aims above the series’ good v. evil battle royale.
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #1 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #3 of 12]

Marvel Super Hero Secret Wars #1 of 12

February 1, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
May 1984
**
The original event-comic maxiseries! A godlike entity kidnaps superheroes & -villains & demands they battle on an alien world. The hoary plot is as childish as the ’40s JSA formula, & lifted only a little by the moral ambiguities of Doom & Magneto, by the cosmic grandeur, & by Zeck’s rubber faces.
[next issue: Marvel Super Hero Secret Wars #2 of 12]

The Pulse #10

May 13, 2011

Brian Michael Bendis // Michael Lark
September 2005
***

Lark’s etched style is perfect for a journalist’s perspective on the alt-verse of House of M, in which Magneto has instituted apartheid against humanity. Or it would be, except that the late Hawkeye detours thru this ish on his way from #5 of the HoM mini to #7, angsting about his resurrection.

last issue: The Pulse #9
next issue: The Pulse #11

also indexed for Sept. ’05
Young Avengers #6