Monday, April 26, 2010

X-Men Comments: The Return of Kitty Pryde and Origins: Nightcrawler

Albeit a little later than I'd planned - thanks to a prolonged spell of glorious spring weather, a new bicycle and the beautiful Somerset country-side - here's the second part of my X-Men feature - click here to read the first part if you missed it.

The Return of a Favourite Character
Back in January
I reported that one of my favourite characters from the X-Men universe - Kitty Pryde - was returning to Uncanny X-Men with issue #522 and I suspected this would be a catalyst for me to start picking the book up again after a year or more.

The issue proved to be an excellent jumping-on point - as I'd hoped - and at times read, if not quite like a one-shot, then an appreciation from the writer and publisher that there'd be plenty of readers like myself that weren't current and up to date with events in Uncanny: from the 'Previously in ...' summary on page 1 to the descriptive dialogue throughout, this book made for a perfect reintroduction.

I enjoyed Matt Fractions writing throughout the two stories contained in the book - the main feature and a 'special bonus story' - and I particularly enjoyed Whilce Portacio's pencils, Ed Tadeo's inks and Justin Ponsor's bold colouring in the main feature, along with Terry Dobson's eye-catching cover.

As a result of this issue Uncanny is back on my pull-list - for how long I don't know but if this issue is anything to go by I could be on-board for quite a while.

The Next Installment of an Excellent Series of One-Shots
One of my very
first posts for Escape from Tomorrow was in praise of X-Men Origins: Jean Grey - clearly 'Origins' books are nothing new but this one connected with me, maybe in part because of my on-off relationship with the X-Men but more so I suspect because of the quality of the writing from Sean McKeever and the breath-taking cover and interior art by Mike Meyhew.

I remember I picked up several copies of the Jean Grey issue and gave them away to friends who otherwise weren't getting the book because I felt it deserved as large an audience as possible.

The X-Men Origins series of one-shots has continued to include some great stories featuring Colossus, Wolverine and Gambit, to name just three, culminating late last year in a magnificent hardcover collection of the series so far.

The latest installment in the series X-Men Origins: Nightcrawler was published recently and, over thirty or so pages of story, we were introduced to a young Kurt Wagner, circus acrobat, and his pitiful early life, from the family that cared for him, those people that were frightened of him, to those in his life that simply wanted to exploit him.

Once again, the quality of writing from Adam Freeman and Marc Bernardin was top-notch: the dialogue felt authentic and I was genuinely touched by Kurt's story. The art throughout the book - Cary Nord and James Harren (pencils) and Chris Sotomayor (colours) with a striking cover from Cary Nord - was very, very nice and, as a reader, I appreciated the reprint of Nightcrawler's first appearance - Giant-Size X-Men #1 from 1975 - at the back of the book.

All in all, this book was a pleasure from cover to cover and I'm excited to expect further installments in this great 'series' and look forward to picking up another hardcover collection at some point in the future.