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Oct 11

Nightcrawler #7

Posted on Saturday, October 11, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

Going by the usual format, our main concern this week ought to be X-Force vol 2, which runs up to this week’s issue #10 (yes, four issues – they’re padding it out with a reprint of X-Men Legacy #300).  But let’s do this first, since not only is it self-contained, but it’s a tie-in to another story.

That story is Death of Wolverine, to which this is an epilogue.  Death of Wolverine is running late, and isn’t finished yet, but that’s no problem, because the only thing you need to know about it is in the title, and so can scarcely be called a spoiler.  While that series (wisely) is all about the “how”, Nightcrawler #7 is only bothered by the “what”.

The point of the issue is to give Nightcrawler the chance to say goodbye to Wolverine.  Granted that they were drinking buddies from time to time, you might have thought it would be more natural to do that kind of story with the whole X-Men.  But concentrating on a single character gives it a bit more focus, and besides, doing it in this book makes it a farewell not just from Nightcrawler, but from Chris Claremont.

At this point a sidebar seems in order.

A few eyebrows seem to have been raised this week when people belatedly picked up on an interview Chris Claremont did for the Nerdist podcast,from an episode that came out two weeks ago.  What he says (about 42 minutes in) is that “quite honestly as I understand it now the X department is forbidden to create new characters – well, who owns them?  All because all new characters become the film property of Fox…  There will be no X-Men merchandising for the foreseeable future because why promote Fox material.”

The “no new characters” story has been denied – an unequivocal denial, too, not one of those non-denial denials that Marvel editors use to fend off spoiler questions.  And the claim is indeed a little odd.  There are plenty of new characters being introduced in the X-books.  Half the cast of Uncanny X-Men is made up of Bendis creations.  New students have appeared in the current run of Wolverine and the X-Men.  Nightcrawler itself has introduced Rico, Ziggy and Trimega.  So any such policy would have to be extremely recent – yet Claremont’s interview was recorded at the Phoenix Comicon four months ago.  It suggests crossed wires.


That being said, the claim isn’t entirely senseless.  It’s conceivable that Marvel would indeed prefer some particular characters to debut in other titles so as to keep them out of Fox’s clutches.  And it fits in nicely with the reports that Marvel are cancelling Fantastic Four in order to spite Fox – but that too needs to be approached with a little scepticism.  No doubt Marvel would dearly love to prise those movie rights back from Fox.  After all, it was a different time, they had little bargaining power, they didn’t really know what they were doing, and they naively sold the rights to valuable characters in what they now see as a bad deal.

There does seem to be some evidence that Marvel are cutting back on FF merchandise.  And the idea that anyone at Marvel seriously believes that the success of a Fantastic Four film might be affected by the availability of merchandise – rather than the other way around – seems improbable in the extreme, which fits with the “irrational vendetta” theory.  (Marvel’s behaviour would make a lot of sense if the contract gave Fox a cut of FF merchandise sales at the time of a movie release, but so far as I’m aware nobody’s suggested that’s the case.)

Yet Marvel show no obvious signs of cutting back on X-Men or Spider-Man comics, no doubt because they sell.  Yes, there’s an NYCC slide with a “No More Mutants” tagline for something in January, but they’ve also announced some X-projects for next year including an All-New X-Men crossover, so do the math.  There are excellent creative and commercial arguments for cancelling Fantastic Four, namely that recent relaunches didn’t do that well, and an extended rest worked well for Thor, even if unintentionally.  Wolverine has been in the same position since the botched launch of Wolverine: Weapon X, from which his sales never recovered.  He isn’t a hot character and hasn’t been for years, but it would be terribly embarrassing to admit that fact.  A stint in hibernation would do both titles a world of good.  If industry politics have finally provided the occasion to let that happen, so much the better, honestly.

(Though it is particularly odd to see industry watchers who know better claiming that the cancellation of Fantastic Four is proved by an Amazon listing that refers to an upcoming “final issue”.  There is no phrase that Marvel overuses more enthusiastically, or with less regard for the meaning of the words, than “final issue”.  Even if the story is true – and a hiatus would not surprise me in the least – the words “final issue” are hardly the evidence that proves it.)

I have digressed at length.  Let’s return to the story.

As I said some paragraphs ago, it makes sense to do a Wolverine farewell story in Nightcrawler because it lets Claremont say goodbye.  And this issue was originally announced with Claremont as sole writer, with the solicitation copy telling us that Kurt “may just find his solace in the last place he (or YOU!!) would imagine!”

But the actual issue credits Claremont simply as scripter, over a plot by Marguerite Bennett, a writer who’s done some work for DC over the last year or so, and now makes her debut at Marvel.  The story doesn’t contain anything obviously connecting to the line I quoted from the solicitations, either, all of which suggests a change of a plans.  That’s stating the obvious.

In fact, as an actual story, it largely reads fine.  There’s no evident clash between the writers; it feels very much like something Claremont could easily have written.  Granted, that’s partly because it follows a standard plot for “mourning the dead teammate” issues – character is sad about his dead friend, character reminisces about his dead friend, character tries to do something to honour his dead friend, character realises that his dead friend would really want to be remembered in a different way, character moves forward with his life having achieved this realisation.  This is no criticism.  It’s a standard plot for a good reason – it ticks all the boxes.  But it plays a very straight bat and ends up leaving Claremont pretty much free to write an issue-long monologue, so that he still feels like the dominant voice here.

The basic idea is for Kurt to try and create a memorial for Wolverine as a Danger Room simulation and then decide that, no, Wolverine wouldn’t want to be frozen in amber, he’d want people to remember him by being inspired to live their lives better – which is all pretty standard in this sort of story.  Less usual is the decision to preface Kurt’s project with a one-page montage of funeral rites of the world, in an attempt to set up the idea that people deal with death by building things.  This is a fine little device on its merits, trying to position the Danger Room material as an X-Men expression of an underlying aspect of human nature, but it sticks out because it doesn’t read like Claremont – it’s just not the sort of thing he does, even though his scripting of the page is perfectly good.

More curious is the way in which the obligatory “memories of Wolverine” sequence drifts off into Kurt remembering his own life, with two pages of him joining Excalibur and getting killed by Bastion.  I would guess that the idea was to flag up that Kurt has dealt with his friends’ deaths before, and that he’s died in turn, but neither point goes anywhere, so the sequence comes across as a loss of focus.  The script seems unsure what point it’s supposed to be making on these pages.

It’s ultimately more a story about Nightcrawler’s reaction than about Wolverine himself, but that’s probably as it should be, it being his book and all.  And though no reader is likely to buy the death of Wolverine as permanent, the story does succeed in selling the idea that Kurt believes it, which is the real key to making this work.  There are moments that misfire, but it works on the whole – basic and straightforward, yet largely achieving what it sets out to do.

Bring on the comments

  1. Al says:

    Yes, but who is Nightcrawler’s arch-enemy?

  2. halapeno says:

    Norman Osborne, now let’s move on.

  3. Nu-D. says:

    Do you suppose Marvel already knows when and how Wolverine is going to be resurrected? Or are they just figuring when the time comes, someone will write the story?

  4. Thomas says:

    I’d guess that they have no idea, but Wolverine seems like a particularly easy character to bring back from the dead. No matter how dead he is, his healing factor can always turn itself back on and bring him back good as new.

  5. “Yes, but who is Nightcrawler’s arch-enemy?”



  6. It feels like just yesterday, I was reading Jason Aaron’s issue of Wolverine where he was mourning Nightcrawler’s death.

  7. halapeno says:

    “No matter how dead he is, his healing factor can always turn itself back on”

    I know Wolverine’s healing ability has been exaggerated by writers before, but I think “corpse with functioning healing factor” is reeeeeeally pushing it.

    My money’s on a woman in a white hot room having something to do with his return.

  8. Tim O'Neil says:

    “You mean it was a . . . Skrull?”

    Oh wait, they already did that one.

  9. Brendan says:

    Didn’t Amazing X-Men have Nightcrawler leave heaven because he was really bored? It felt like the metaphorical revolving door of comic book death came off the hinges with that one.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if Wolverine just stabbed his way out of the afterlife.

  10. AJT says:

    Didn’t he already stab his way out of hell in the Aaron run?

  11. Luis Dantas says:

    Norman Osborn came back because he was, indeed, a corpse with a functioning healing factor.

    And a few years ago it was stated that Wolverine literally fights (personified) death fairly often.

    Since the Skrull thing has been done already, maybe it is time for Logan to have been substituted by a LMD duplicate who thinks he is the real thing? It worked for Nick Fury and a very similar situation was used to explain Jamie Maddrox’s return.

  12. Nu-D. says:

    OK, so the leading contenders are:

    (1) His healing factor, stupid.

    (2) Phoenix uses The Power of Love™ resurrect him.

    (3) His soul stabs its way out of the afterlife.

    (4) It’s a duplicate, not the real Logan. When Sabertooth bit off a chunk of Logan’s ear, it didn’t digest completely, and after passing through the healing factor regrew a whole new Logan which is the one that’s been hangin’ with the X-Men. The real Logan has been drinking with lumberjacks in the Yukon since 1988.

    (5) All of the above: there will be some dead genetic material in an old Weapon X warehouse. But due to the healing factor, they’ll be able to grow a clone even though the material is dead. Then, Jean/Phoenix will use The Power of Love™ and restore Logan’s soul from the Japanese afterlife where he’s been hangin’ with Mariko. Cyclops will get pissed at Jean for violating Professor Xavier’s Rules of Mutant Ethics, and there will be a three-way war between Cyclops, Jean and Logan. They will represent the living, the dead, and the undead, and all the Marvel characters will team up along those lines for a 24-part MEGA crossover event.

    In the aftermath of the MEGA WAR, the undead faction, led by Logan, will occupy the underworld of Madripoor and we’ll get a super-zombie ruled underworld. Wonder Man will worry when he finds out that the Blob has been eating brainz of ordinary, not-undead Madripooreans. Meanwhile, Madripoor is been under siege by reprogrammed Sentinels, because the world is more afraid of zombie-mutants than regular mutants orregular zombies.

    Captain America realizes that everyone is deserving of respect, and so he decides that they need to harness the Phoenix Force to undo the undeadness of the zombie-mutants so we can all just get along. The Scarlet Witch conjures a “No More Mutant-Zombies” spell to bring the Phoenix to Earth, but due to a misunderstanding, Squirril Giril and Blob interfere with the spell. Phoenix possesses Blob (zombie-mutant) and Squirrel Girl (not a zombie-mutant), and causes them to fall in love and they cure the zombie addiction to brainz by making the zombies subsist on acorns. Everyone lives happily ever after.

  13. Suzene says:

    I wasn’t going to buy this one. 18 pages at $4 is a line I’m going to need much stronger inducement to cross than this book delivers. My bestie comped me, but even for free, I didn’t care for it much.

    The art was fine, but I was a little baffled by some of the flashback choices. As Paul noted, the side-trip into Kurt’s timeline muddled the theme a bit. And maybe it was the delivery, but Logan came off as kind of an ass in most of his scenes, especially when I compare the “tough love” approach toward Kurt using an image inducer against the far more charming take on it back in the X-Men Classic back-up.

    Nightcrawler is a book I was hoping to enjoy, but this was another issue that didn’t quite hit the mark. I’m just not digging how deeply it’s mired in nostalgia, I guess.

  14. JG says:

    Nostalgia is pretty much what Nightcrawler is all about, that and the so very touchy blue fur. Oh, and the tail of course! 🙂

  15. Jamie says:

    “touchy blue fur”

    Weird, feels like paper to me.

  16. halapeno says:

    Well, however he comes back, it won’t be until after the “Reign of the Wolverines” storyline where they introduce Cyborg-Wolverine, Wolverboy, Adamantium, and the Eviscerator.

  17. wwk5d says:

    They could form their own team of Exiles…oh wait, Marvel already tried something similar to that.

    Maybe Kurt can travel back in time with Beast and bring back a younger version of Wolverine?

  18. Bob says:

    It’s funny that Marvel will be publishing MORE Wolverine comics after his death than during his life… Logan Legacy, the weekly Wolverines, plus others I’m forgetting the names of… Weird.

  19. Thomas says:

    4a) The “extra” Wolverine from Age of Ultron wasn’t killed and has just been laying low.

  20. Billy says:

    (6) The Marvel universe experiences another Time Punch, and Wolverine is suddenly back alive like DC’s Reality Punch brought back Jason Todd.

    (7) Someone at Marvel forgets that Wolverine is supposed to be dead, so he just shows up again as if nothing abnormal has happened, leaving it for a future story to suddenly retcon a way for him to be alive again.

  21. Jim M says:

    (7) Someone at Marvel forgets that Wolverine is supposed to be dead, so he just shows up again as if nothing abnormal has happened, leaving it for a future story to suddenly retcon a way for him to be alive again.

    I think we have a winner. 😉

  22. The original Matt says:

    I’ve been thinking for a while it’ll be after an event, possibly next years event mega-epic, that he’ll just be back, after all the time stream nonsense gets sorted out, be it a reboot or whatever else they have in mind. But yes, I’m thinking he’ll use turn up, and the details will be explored after the mega-event, in a wolverine centric mini event. (That will possibly lead into 2016’s mega-event)

  23. The original Matt says:

    Or yes… The Age of Ultron extra wolverine has been around all this time, and both Logan’s often meet up to discuss what each have been doing, so that wolverine can appear in 10,000 comics a week.

  24. JG says:

    Urk. Looks like that Obi-Wan saying applies to Wolverine as well.

  25. 8) Now it’s robot extraordinaire Albert’s time to shine!

  26. Jer says:

    halapeno you may mock, but Marvel has already announced a weekly Wolverines book starring X-23 (clone) and Dakken (“last son”) and “others”.

    I can only assume that the others will include a guy wearing Wolverine-inspired battle armor and a cyborg-Wolverine (perhaps they can bring Albert back to be in the series).

    As for how he’ll come back from the dead – I can only assume that he’ll be packed into his Kryptonian regeneration matrix which will kickstart his healing factor.

  27. Rory B Bellows.


  28. Lawrence says:

    Only the Wolverine of the X-men died. The Wolverine in Avengers will be revealed to be an entirely different characters and not considered a part of the X-franchise, just in time for Marvel’s WOLVERINE: Not the One from the Fox movies.

  29. Billy says:

    Lawrence, I don’t see Marvel going the “[Avengers] Wolverine: We’re Almost Certain This Might Be Potentially Legal”, not if they remember the lawsuits over the old Mutant X TV series. (AKA, “Not Technically X-Men: We’re Almost Certain This Might Be Potentially Legal”)

  30. Si says:

    I like the idea that the Wolverine we’ve been reading since 1988 was in fact grown from an ear that Sabretooth (ahem) left in a truck stop toilet. It explains so much.

  31. David Tarafa says:

    Aside from X-23 and Daken, Wolverines will feature characters were just associated with him. Mystique, Sabretooth and Lady Deathstrike all seem to be among the main cast. There will be a different book featuring Weapon X castoffs though, I think? Can’t remwmber the title.

  32. Billy says:

    I believe the book is being called “Wolverines”?

    Marvel might as well have called it what it is, Reign of the Wolverines.

    Look at the roster:
    Teen clone – Superboy / X-23
    Evil cyborg – Cyborg Superman / Lady Deathstrike
    Killer – Eradicator / Sabretooth
    Odd man out – Steel / Mystique

    Wolverines even one-ups Reign of the Superman, including a legitimate kid of Wolverine to go with the others.

  33. David Tarafa says:

    The book I was referring to when I said I wasn’t sure what the title was is actually called “Death of Wolverine: The Weapon X Program,” one of the hundred books spinning out of that event.

    Also, the cast of Wolverines appear to also be the cast of Logan Legacy, but in that book they’re starring in solo stories. Seems like a mistake to me to do two books featuring the same cast of characters dealing with the fallout of the same event, but whatever.

  34. ASV says:

    Don’t forget that every event that occurs while Wolverine is “dead” will have an accompanying “What If Wolverine Were Alive For $EVENT?” miniseries.

  35. Damon says:

    Paul’s description of Marvel’s hypothetical innocence in losing the film rights seemed like an amusing allusion to Moore and Gibbons with Watchmen, or at least I hope it is.

  36. halapeno says:

    Anybody know precisely when the film rights to Spider-Man, the X-Men, the FF, etc. were initially sold and who would have been in charge of Marvel at the time?

  37. Chris says:

    I’m sure there are articles about that in WIZARD: THE GUIDE TO COMICS

  38. halapeno says:

    Chris = Gareb Shamus

  39. Brian says:

    I still like the idea of that other AGE OF ULTRON Wolverine showing up to Logan’s funeral to see what all the hubbub is about…

    BTW, Nightcrawler’s arch-nemesis? Chuck Austen.

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