Monday, April 27, 2015

"Never let scoundrels dictate the terms of honor to you." Good advice.

Due to vacation, illness, and dental appointments; I haven't worked a full five-day work week for some time. Which means this week is going to suck so much. So, why not try to shore up my spirits with one of my favorite comics: X-Men Unlimited #49, written by Bill Willingham, art by Kelsey Shannon.

In New Mexico, a little girl named Sally is trapped in a cave collapse, and the X-Men send Cyclops and Nightcrawler to help with the rescue effort. The rocks are too unstable for Cyclops to blast through, but since the caves were well-mapped, Kurt is able to teleport in. There he discovers the cave-in was no accident, and the girl has been abducted by "another offshoot of one of the subterranean races, no doubt." Kind of like the guys that hang out with the Mole Man, but this batch seems more human. Kurt confronts them, and fights the lot of them, but takes a poison dart in the neck and is knocked out. (It didn't help that he may have been showboating a bit!) The leader, Tharkaris, wants Kurt's head on a pike...meanwhile, on the service, the 24-hour news cycle has turned to speculation that the cave-in may have been caused by the terrorist organization known as the X-Men, and that the little girl could be a mutant...

Kurt wakes up being attended to by a pretty cave girl, the leader's daughter. She explains they have to abduct a surface female every generation, "to keep our bloodlines strong." Or "to keep us from degenerating into small, trollish things" like a lot of the other subterranean types had, another points out. Although the leader wanted Kurt killed while he was unconscious, his men objected that would be dishonorable; so he agrees to kill Kurt in a duel instead. Kurt accepts, with the caveat that Sally be allowed to watch, so she'll know he died fighting for her, and he will get his "rightful warrior's place" in the afterlife. They buy it, and Kurt reassures Sally she'll be OK. The cave girl says that was mean, since there was no way he could win, but Kurt steals a kiss from her. Tharkaris is furious, and probably more so when Kurt merely teleports himself and Sally to safety!

After returning Sally to her mother, Kurt is interviewed by the press, which he watches back at the X-Mansion with Sammy Pare. (The fish-boy kid from Chuck Austen's run, whom I think was killed off so no one had to think about that run again...) Kurt makes a mockery of the reporter, and explains to Sammy that the world won't accept them, until it becomes used to mutants, and that won't happen if they stay in hiding. And he didn't fight Tharkaris because he wasn't there for that, his mission was to rescue the little girl. He could always go give Tharkaris the what-for later..."no hurry though. Let him stew a bit."

The cover for this issue was used for the poster book that came with the Marvel Legends Nightcrawler: I really wish they had just included the whole issue, because Willingham gets Kurt's character better than any X-writer had in years. Good news, though: Willingham will revisit Nightcrawler in the upcoming Guardians Team-Up #6, featuring Kurt vs. Gamora in an intergalactic sword-fighting competition!


Dale Bagwell said...

He sure does Goo.
This is realy is the funniest and coolest he's been portrayed(besides you) in a long time.
Never knew he was such a smart-ass like this though. Love it!

SallyP said...

This is rather adorable.