With Wednesday’s release of Amazing X-Men which follows the return of Nightcrawler I’m reminded just how ridiculous comic book resurrections are.
During the nail-biting Second Coming crossover in 2012 Nightcrawler’s death was like a punch to the neck and while most fans begged for him back it was sort of refreshing when he didn’t immediately come back. Don’t get me wrong, these are still comic books, we knew he would eventually show up again. But now over three years later they are taunting us with his reappearance and I’m just glad they’re making a big deal out of it.
That might seem weird to you but I believe if a beloved character dies when they come back it should be an epic. Most fans cringe and shy away from crossovers but when Marvel downplays it the story never make any sense. In recent years I’ve noticed it more and more, X-Men who die honorably are being brought back too quickly and without any celebration. Hell, most of the time it’s just downright confusing. Here are a few of my favorites.
Colossus Piotr Rasputin was always one of my favorite mutants, even his death was a beautiful act of melancholy loyalty. By self-sacrificing himself he ensured that the Legacy Virus cure become airborne and distributed globally. Granted it was a little selfish considering he was crazy depressed after his sister died from the same virus but whatevs. Only a couple years later during the beginning of Joss Whedon’s monumental run on Astonishing X-Men Kitty Pryde discovers Colossus’s very-much alive body hidden deep underground. Apparently in a twist that made sense to absolutely no one, Ord an alien from the Breakworld, swapped out his body with a fake immediately after Colossus died and had been running science experiments on him since.
Okay…what? “Swapped their corpse with a fake” is so overused it makes my brain sad. Let me get this straight, Ord stole a dead body and then brought it back to life AND THEN held it prisoner to do some weird alien Nazi tests on it? What?! After getting “rescued” Colossus goes back to the X-Mansion and off-panel obviously meets with the on-call therapist before finally banging Kitty’s kitty.
Psylocke Now poor, poor Betsy Braddock has had more rebirths and body swaps than any Doctor Who fan could even imagine. During Matt Fraction’s stint on Uncanny X-Men Madelyne Pryor’s Sisterhood of shrieking villainesses kidnapped Psylocke during one of the Exiles’ trip between parallel worlds because that’s obviously a super easy feat. After stealing Betsy’s original body that Kwannon had died in, the Sisterhood prepares the bodies and plops Betsy’s soul into the corpse. There is very little explanation as to how they did this, but you can bet your bottom dollar it involved lots of wispy pink and purple light ribbons. When Psylocke arises she fights the X-Men alongside the Sisterhood, luckily Dazzler was there (said no one ever) and gave Psylocke a nasty blow to the face so she could snap out of the mind control. Almost as an afterthought the X-Men were able to put Betsy back into her vaguely Caucasian ninja body.
While I was super pumped that Bets was back I still cannot wrap my head around what the hell happened in that graveyard. How did a group of female baddies move a soul between bodies? If that was a mutation then these women wouldn’t be as irrelevant as they are. They would be A-List villains. What is this ritual the Sisterhood performed? Why did putting Betsy’s soul back into her old decomposing body suddenly make it young and hot again? Am I really supposed to believe that all these ego-maniacal bitches could work together for that long?
Bishop After months of watching Bishop’s genocidal manhunt for Cable and Hope Summers it was so satisfying to see him get stranded in a barren future with no hope of returning. During their final fight Cable was able to tamper with Bishop’s time travelling device so when he tried to follow Hope again his whole robotic arm exploded thus leaving his ass alone in a deserted wasteland. Now flash forward (or back, god time travel is f*kcing annoying) to present day when a dreadlocked homeless man appears in a junkyard screaming nonsense and growling. Bishop is back! How? Well, apparently the Demon Bear that usually terrorizes Dani Moonstar possessed our psychotic mutant friend that’s how. Boom, all your questions have been answered.
OH WAIT NO THEY HAVEN’T. So you mean to tell me that Demon Bear who feeds off negative human emotion was so drawn to Bishop’s lonely agony and blind rage it found him in the future and then teleported him back? That’s a goddamn stretch, even by comic book standards. I don’t doubt that Bishop was really, really upset when Cable and Hope got away and being stuck in the arid, lifeless future probs only made him more mad but there’s no way Demon Bear travelled that far into the future when at the same time* fanboys all over the world were pointlessly losing their shit over Ben Affleck getting cast as Batman.
Cable Another death that came out of Second Coming was Cable’s. Or so we thought. In a desperate move he allowed the techno-organic virus that he had been holding back for years to course through his time-soldier veins so he can save the world and mutantdom and most importantly his pseudo-daughter, Hope. We’re left with the heart-wrenching image of Hope sobbing on the ground clutching all that is left of her surrogate father, his metal arm. It was devastating.
Except that he didn’t really die at all. Turns out he shot himself into the future and is immediately informed that Hope would accidentally die at the hands of the Avengers. He travels back to present day and hunts down the Avengers. Smooth move, Summers. Knowing he has only 24 hours before the virus kills him he goes on a rampage until he is literally incapable of fighting anymore. At which point someone tells Hope that she could save her kinda-sorta Dad by absorbing the techno-organic virus from him. Now he’s all healed and everything is totes fine except he’s in a catatonic state. “HOPE, SRY IM DED JK TOTES ALIVE GUNNA MURDER PPL NOW BYEE –DAD”
I have high hopes for Amazing X-Men, I’ve been enjoying Jason Aaron’s work on Wolverine and the X-Men and let’s be honest here, Nightcrawler is a bad ass. Everyone loves Nightcrawler. His opening scene in X2 was universally pants-wetting. His cut scenes in the Marvel Ultimate Alliance video game were practically geek porn. As of right now, I don’t hate how they’re bringing the blue elf back. Fingers crossed it stays that way.
*I know Uncanny X-Force #1 came out in January 2013 and we only found out Batfleck in August, calm your tits.