The Heart Of The Matter: Reviewing ‘Immortal X-Men’ #7
by Scott Redmond
‘Immortal X-Men’ fills in more of the overall Judgement Day pieces, using Nightcrawler as the central protagonist working behind the scenes to bring the potential victorious vision of Destiny to fruition. There is a ton going on in this issue but it never feels overwhelming, resting firmly upon the charming optimistic but powerful shoulders of the beloved teleporting X-Man. Where there is Nightcrawler, there will be hope.
There is some sort of special recipe that must be used to perfection when it comes to creating an event tie-in issue that can balance between two worlds. Those worlds are being of service to the overall event story and finding a spot that lets a series maintain its identity at the exact same time. It often helps when the writer of the event is also the one writing some of the tie-in issues, which makes that recipe much easier to complete.
That would be where one can find Immortal X-Men right now, hitting the sweet spot with ease.
Truth be told this is an issue I’ve been waiting for, as Nightcrawler is firmly within my top five favorite X-Men/Mutant characters. Technically there are six in that top five since Cyclops and Rogue are tied for first, but it’s my list so I can cheat that way. Those are the rules.
Back to Nightcrawler though. Kurt was a compelling character the day he first burst onto comic book pages and that hasn’t changed one bit. Truly he is easily one of the best characters to have a point of view issue from in the middle of such a dire situation because of his bravado and courage and swagger but also his big giant optimistic heart. Even in the face of extinction (what else is new for mutants and really the Marvel Universe version of Earth period) he’s got a grin and believes that they can pull through, even with all that they are losing.
Yet at the same time, every sacrifice that is needed to meet Destiny’s vision pulls at his heart and soul. They all mean something. Even if they win and can bring everyone back, their losses still pain him. Alongside writing a wonderful Kurt, Kieron Gillen keeps moving many of the juggling plotlines of this series as well as the A.X.E.: Judgement Day event. On that front, this issue gives us a different and expanded view of what went down between the lines in the big powerful moments from the fifth issue of the event. From both sides, that Captain America moment is just freaking awesome.
Sinister’s plan for resetting the universe crumbling apart is very interesting because honestly, I was expecting that somehow his resets might be what turns this event back (though I was hoping not because there were huge things that deserve room to grow beyond the event), but seemingly I might have guessed wrong. We shall see indeed.
Oh also, I really dig the bit where Kurt is resurrected with a live backup of his memories that leads to his realization of the “lie” that is resurrection. He compares it to basically bringing someone back from earlier rather than returning them to life because the returned you has no memory that death happened. It spares the earlier version of oneself from the pain that the lost version had to endure.
It’s fantastic to witness the work that Lucas Werneck and David Curiel create together. It doesn’t matter whether the moment calls for a quieter beat for characters to converse or the world itself being ended around them, they capture every single bit of detail and emotion that makes every panel count and hit hard. Werneck creates lush lived-in spaces within any given panel while making sure to perfectly capture all the emotions, with some top-notch facial expression work. Not a bit of space is extra or unused, the pages feel weighty and powerful as one could just get up and walk right into them.
Krakoa is once again a lush vibrant place with the colors Curiel brings in, but once the world turns there are so many bright splashes of color that just change the energy panel after panel as we begin to feel the frenzied state that is befalling Nightcrawler, Krakoa, and the world. We’re presented with a bright optimistic space to match the feelings that Kurt is expressing at the beginning of the issue, only for the colors to get darker in shades and shadows to emerge more and more as things become direr and direr.
As noted Kurt has an optimistic but playful and courageous spirit and the lettering matches this through and through. I really like how the captions are placed, including some of them popping between speech bubbles to give us a moment to read Kurt’s thoughts about something said (such as his “Urgh” that comes from Xavier reminded him about the fate of Magneto over in X-Men Red. All this is thanks to the great work that Clayton Cowles is always bringing to the page, able to infuse any of the words on the page with the spirit and energy of a given character, especially with these ones where we get a specific narrator each time around. There is a lot that I love about lettering of all types, but I do have a very big soft spot for the use of sentence case in comics that really sets a good neutral/normal level volume, allowing all caps or smaller fonts to become the default for yelling or whispering.
Immortal X-Men #7 is now available from Marvel Comics.