With all the dozens of X-books already on its monthly release schedule, Marvel added another one to the mix last month, and brought back fan-favourite Kurt Wagnar aka Nightcrawler, who’s been dead for a few years. The guy is still dead, but he’s clearly being setup for a resurrection of sorts since he happens to be in Heaven of all places. The first issue was pretty good in almost all respects. It had a really fun story, some really good art and it had Nightcrawler being all kinds of awesome. When you start off a new series with something like that, that sets expectations for the immediately future issues.
That’s one place where the second issue failed for me since Nightcrawler is here in only one panel, but narrates the entire story regardless. The action this time around is completely focused on the Amazing X-Men team sans Nightcrawler and while I kind of enjoyed it, I still felt let down in a lot of ways since there was a lot of a genericness to the issue, whether we are talking location or dialogue or what have you. Its not the issue I expected or needed or wanted.
Part of DC’s third wave of launch titles for its New 52 reboot from 2011 was The Phantom Stranger, written by DC Co-Publisher Dan DiDio and drawn by Brett Anderson. I picked up the zero issue (which was the first of the new ongoing) in September last year but I wasn’t too taken with it. The story just didn’t work for me, and I ended up ignoring the title altogether. But then came the Trinity War event this year and since a different writer was on the series at the time, I decided to read the tie-in issues and see if things had gotten better. They had.
I’ve been reading The Phantom Stranger since issue #10 (July), and I have to say that I’m really enjoying. There’s something about DeMatteis’ writing that really draws you in, presents a compelling character that you can really follow, with some great premises in each issue and a great build-up of all the mysteries in Phantom Stranger’s life. It also helps that Fernando Blanco is an excellent artist. All of which means that, first with Trinity War and now with the Forever Evil: Blight arcs, I’m really enjoying this series.
Note: This review contains spoilers for Trinity War and possibly the Forever Evil story so far.