Written By: Si Spurrier
Art By: Bob Quinn
Colors By: Java Tartaglia
Letters By: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover Art By: Giuseppe Camuncoli, Marte Garcia
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: April 21, 2021
In Way of X #1, Nightcrawler is troubled. Older mutants on Krakoa view their new way of life as an evolution of more than just their DNA. It’s an evolution of life, culture, and faith. In the younger generations and newcomers, Krakoan life is developing a sub-culture of death games and rituals where lethal consequences are anything but. Nightcrawler, ever the spiritual center of the X-Men, sees the “wrongness” of immortality and begins to ask questions that may threaten the soul of Krakoa.
Was It Good?
Surprisingly, yes. The early description and solicits do this story a massive disservice in the oversimplicity of it’s description. Nightcrawler is thinking about a new religion, not simply for it’s own sake, but as a coping mechanism to help him understand how the foundations of his own faith can still work when death no longer matters.
If everyone can resurrect just as Jesus did, does his sacrifice no longer have purpose? If everyone has a soul, what happens to it in between a mutant’s death and the time a mutant is reborn? Nightcrawler is considering all these questions as the audience insert and as the kindest and more thoughtful of the veteran X-Men. Smartly, Spurrier doesn’t rush to answer these questions, but gives the reader something to puzzle over before the second issue.
Quinn’s art is excellent here. There’s some action but it’s mostly a talking/thinking issue, so Quinn does well to keep the visuals interesting when not a lot is happening.
What’s It About?
Frankly, the book is too long and too dense for a standard dive, so we’ll cover the highlights.
Nightcrawler and a team of young-ish mutants infiltrate what looks like a religious sanctuary in Venice. The members of the organization living there have a steadfastly anti-mutant bent, and Nightcrawler has ben tasked with retrieving information about them from their files.
During the mission Pixie is lightly teased by the other team members because she hasn’t experienced her “first time.” In this case, her “first time” means her fist death, and they egg her on to get it over with. Nightcrawler is unnerved by the casual, almost game-like, way this younger generation of mutants treats death. He recognizes there’s something wrong with the way Krakoan culture is evolving as the mutants adapt to a new status quo of immortality.
During the mission, the team is discovered. Although they are able to disarm and disable the organization members, Pixie decides to goad one of the guards into killing her. Her friends cheer as she gets her head blown off.
Back on Krakoa, Nightcrawler and Mageneto talk about the nature of what Krakoan life has done for them. Megneto dismisses Nightcrawlers Christian faith as obsolete, and Nighcrawler questions whether or not Magneto has a point.
Later, we learn of a horrific ceremony, called the Crucible, for newcomers that have been stripped of their powers by Scarlet Witch. To belong to Krakoa as a mutant, they must earn the right, and so they submit to a form of public execution by a mutant of their choosing so they can be reborn with their powers restored. Nightcrawler misunderstands the earlier request by a newcomer for him to do the killing because the newcomer heard Nightcrawler could kill them gently. Nightcrawler’s misunderstanding of the newcomers request and seeing that same newcomer brutally killed by Magneto during the Crucible disheartens Nightcrawler further. Something is off in Babylon.
That same night, Nightcrawler finds Doctor Nemesis has been following him because he recognizes Nightcrawler’s unease makes him a perfect subject for a series of mind-altering drug experiments Nemesis is conducting. Kurt, of course, refuses the invitation.
Over the weeks and months, the younger mutants have been whispering about a dark force in the shadows dubbed the Patchwork Man. In the absence of any true threat, Xavier and Nightcrawler try to understand if the Patchwork Man is real or a figment dreamed up to replace the absence of fear or death. Xavier suspects he’s real and they might know who it is that’s scaring the children.
Tasked with finding who they think is the Patchwork Man, Nightcrawler visits a graveyard on the mainland where the likely suspect would appear. The harbinger of what’s to come is Legion.
Way of X #1 is thought-provoking, insightful, and forces the reader to ask all the questions that should have been asked and answered a long time ago. What do people become when the mysteries of life are no more?