Sunday, July 4, 2010

He's Dead, Jim

It is no longer news.  Nighcrawler is dead.  (Well, as dead as dead can be in the comic book world.)  I have some mixed feelings about this.

As of late, Uncanny X-Men, the only X title I keep up on, has had this feeling of dread hanging over it like diseased mistletoe.  Ever since Scarlet Witch uttered those infamous words that wiped out most of the mutants, things have been tense for the ones who remained alive.  The phrase "kill or be killed" has never felt more real.

There were going to be casualties.  There always are.  The X titles are not immune to it.  The X-Men have died individually and in groups.  They usually come back.  In time, Nightcrawler will be back, too.  Nobody stays dead for long.

Nightcrawler has always been my favorite mutant.  Honestly, it had everything to do with his look at first.  The visual appeal of the character got me into him.  As I read stories with him in it, I grew even fonder of him.  His first limited series in the 1980s was utter crap.  It captured his freewheeling attitude, but boy did it suck.  It was actually fairly embarrassing.   At least at the time Uncanny didn't suck, too.

About the only writer whom I felt ever really had a good grasp of the character was Chris Claremont.  It seemed like over the years other writers have shown an appreciation for him, but rarely seemed to get him right.  Of all the mutants on that core team, he was the one who had the best outlook on life, but who also hid great pain.  He was the optimist, but held onto that glimmer of realism if only to never forget how bad people could be.

And now he's dead ... for now ... for right now.

Yeah, his death means something in the comic, but it strikes me as hollow.  It's not that I expected it (I've been expecting it for years, and then kind of thought it would never happen).  It is because I just didn't expect to feel so unmoved by it.

Nightcrawler will be back.  There will be controversy.  There will be celebration.  But for comics it will be business as usual ... and then he'll be killed again.

It's never the ones you hate, is it?

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