Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sometimes, I post things here because they're favorites I want to remember later. And sometimes, I post things for reference, usually for homemade strips down the line. Today, I'm posting reference after I finished the work, but what the hell; here's Nth Man using his reverse-gravity trick:
I don't think Claremont nailed much of John's dialog.
This is definitely an odd duck: Excalibur #27, "Reel People" Written by Chris Claremont, art by Barry Windsor-Smith and Bill Sienkiewicz. Guest starring Larry Hama and Ron Wagner's Nth Man, the Ultimate Ninja. Disturbingly, I don't think they're credited in this one...

Captain Britain and Psylocke's brother Jaime, a lunatic with reality-warping powers, opens a portal in his TV to the reality of the Nth Man, which is currently in "the midst of a non-nuclear World War III, courtesy of a self-styled 'all-powerful, all-compassionate' super-being named Alfie O'Meagan." Rachel explains all that, when she telepathically scans Alfie's psychologist Dr. Goodstroke, who just appeared out of nowhere.
Later panels fix this: there's more to Kurt's costume than just the red...
Rachel's still a bit down, since Excalibur recently returned to their world, but without Kitty Pryde. (Who's actually already there on earth, and thinks they're lost as well...this is well before Twitter, or they would've figured it out sooner.) Nightcrawler borrows a costume from a movie set's wardrobe, to try and cheer her up, then turns into Spiral, who had tricked Rachel before...maybe. Kurt and Rachel are then sent to the Nth Man's world, while Nth Man John Doe and KGB Colonel Novikova have to fight the rest of Excalibur.

In the Nth Man's world, Excalibur is a comic book, so he recognizes the characters, but figures this isn't Alfie's doing. Meanwhile, while Rachel brutalizes Alfie, Kurt tries to get Jaime to stop this, but he doesn't really have a better nature to appeal to. In fact, Jaime doesn't believe anything, anywhere, is real except for him; so he has no problem with killing Nightcrawler for the sake of drama. (Just like Marvel, apparently...) Kurt 'ports away, but Jaime's hand hits the remote control and rewinds himself back.

On the movie set (for "the 'Nam" movie, and the director may have been a nod to Hama) everyone involved is sternly lectured by the director for wrecking up his set. Meanwhile, Kurt realizes the remote has control over time, which was a bit old even then, but pushes "Cancel" and resets everything to where it should be.

I'm curious about the behind-the-scenes for this issue: did Nth Man just grab Claremont's fancy, so he decided to do a quick crossover? Or was this suggested, or even forced on him? (I doubt the latter.) Maybe a favor for Hama? And Bill Sienkiewicz inking Barry Windsor-Smith! Pretty high end for a lower-tier X-book, although I admit it may be a bit scratchy for some readers' tastes.

I had the last issue of Nth Man, bought from a store I worked at during the summer. It was also the only issue I bought new, even if it was the conclusion. It's a pretty good wrapup, although I suspect Hama always had that ending in mind, even if the book had run for 200 issues. I also wonder if maybe Marvel hadn't wanted another G.I. Joe from Hama, and instead they got an idiosyncratic action book that swiped from Marvel (Alfie appears as Galactus, and turns Dr. Goodstroke into a Silver Surfer at one point.) but owed more to action books like the Destroyer. While it may not have broken big, it's at least interesting, so hit up those quarter bins for Nth Man.


Ron Hogan said...

I met Larry Hama once, and we got to talking about The Nth Man (because I got to telling him how much I loved it) -- he said that WAS always the ending that he had in mind from the beginning, and that it was conceived as being not much longer than it turned out to be: it was meant as a 24-issue series rather than the 16 that came out.

I've always wished that Marvel would collect this -- it's just about the right length for an ESSENTIALS volume.

googum said...

Awesome! Hama seems super-cool. I haven't read the whole series, but now it seems a shame it was cut short.