Written By: Si Spurrier
Art By: Bob Quinn
Color By: Java Tartaglia
Letters By: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover Art By: Giuseppe Camuncoli, Marte Gracia
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: June 23, 2021
Way of X #3 is one, big hangover after the events of the Hellfire Gala. Kurt Wagner aka Nightcrawler turns into a gin-soaked, loose-lipped, sloppy drunk throughout the first section of the issue, only to wake up with a massive headache and all of Krakoa wondering what he was babbling about. Eventually, Kurt gets back to exploring and debating the first law of Krakoa (“Make More Mutants”) with other mutants on the island, turning the remainder of the issue into a treatise on more existential interpretations of what it means to have “safe sex” and being “sex positive.” Oh, and the Onslaught cat is out of the bag.
Was It Good?
It was okay. The tone of this issue is a fairly strong shift away from the concern and urgency of the first two issues. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but you get the impression Kurt forgot what was going on prior to the Hellfire Gala and now he’s on a different track.
In the first two issue, Kurt senses something dark and dangerous is happening to the mutants of Krakoa. Their immortality, plus the nudging of a dark specter, were causing the mutants to look at death and violence as ritualistic acts. The whole idea of developing a mutant religion took a back seat to Kurt’s troubling revelations.
In this issue, Kurt goes right back to thinking about the laws and rituals that will help guide mutant kind, and acts as if the Onslaught discovery isn’t on his radar at all as a threat.
In isolation, this is a good — almost amusing in parts — issue with excellent art by Quinn and team, but the narrative shift is so jarring it almost feels like a completely different story that belongs in Hickman’s run(s) rather than its own, unique plot.
What’s It About?
We begin during the night of the Hellfire Gala with Kurt taking up two pages in PoV panels making a fool out of himself getting sloppy drunk and near-blabbing about everything he’s discovered about Legion, the Patchwork Man, and Onslaught.
The next morning, Kurt’s head is pounding and too many tongues are wagging about Kurt’s drunken ranting. Few seem to understand what he’s talking about but enough ears have perked up in concern.
As noted in the previous section, the Onslaught revelation from the last issue should be a big deal… the BIGGEST. Yet, Kurt does nothing about it or act like it’s a point of concern in any way. Kurt sobers up and spends a large amount of the issue puzzling through the logistics and implications of the first sacred laws of Krakoa — Make More Mutants.
Spurrier takes the opportunity to run Kurt through the gamut of sexual politics, sometimes through the lens of Kurt’s Catholic upbringing, to explore what sex and reproduction mean in a society that’s a) not human, b) effectively immortal, and c) organically evolving a uniquely mutant sense of morality.
Kurt gets into sounding board debates with Stacy X about adoption, contraception, and sexual matchmaking within Krakoa’s version of a hookup lounge. Legion helps a young couple with intimate time via psychic links when their powers make physical contact “challenging.” Even Doctor Nemesis gets in on the action with an uncharacteristic display of courage and courtship with Dazzler.
During Legion’s psychic sex help session, a dark presence turns sexy time into scary time, and the Patchwork Man is found hiding in the minds of the young couple. Legion chases him out and around Krakoa until he’s eventually revealed as Onslaught near an altercation between Lost and Fabian Cortez.
In the end, Onslaught gets away. his presence is now known to more mutants. And we conclude the issue where we started, with Kurt and his fellow mutants drinking at a bar to consider next steps with Onslught and how to tackle the other laws beyond “Make More Mutants.”
Way of X #3 takes a soft right turn away from the Onslaught problem to explore the politics of sex and reproduction. While interesting (and occasionally amusing) in isolation, this issue feels more like an aside from the imminent threat building since the first issue.