Way of X was building towards something big — a new approach for the X-Men and the island of Krakoa. In X-Men: The Onslaught Revelation, Nightcrawler’s mission goes to hell.
Everything in the last six months comes to this with huge consequences for Krakoa and the X-Men. Si Spurrier, Bob Quinn, Java Tartaglia, and Clayton Cowles bring the Way of X story to a close in an oversized one-shot.
The Cruciball is here, and so is Onslaught. The evil entity is ready to bring Krakoa to its knees and only two mutants stand in his way — Nightcrawler and Legion. It’s a battle for the soul and future of Krakoa.
This issue is such a mixed bag. What it gets right, it absolutely nails, but the lows drag it down significantly. It makes it hard to judge.
On the positive side, this is a strong team book. After focusing so much on Nightcrawler and Legion in the course of the main series, we get the rest of Spurrier’s cast featured in key moments. As Onslaught drives the young Krakoans into a violent frenzy, Pixie, Dazzler, Nemesis, Blink and even DJ all get solid individual moments, and are depicted perfectly by Quinn. It’s something I wish we’d seen more of in the series leading up to this.
The danger also feels real. There was a great sense of tension as I read Spurrier’s words — that Onslaught was forcing Charles to delete Cerebro back-ups. It made the issue a race against time, a challenge which the heroes met ably. Quinn was able to lay out the page in such a way that you could feel that tension as well.
But it’s impossible to look at the book without the negatives. First of all, Tartaglia’s colors were dark and muddy throughout, and once again we saw him color Loa — a Native Hawaiian — much too light skinned. Mid-way through the issue, Onslaught gets a strange and wholly unnecessary makeover.
From the writing side, Kurt and Legion are actually the weak spots of the story. Nightcrawler is still in the weird ,slightly out-of-character funk that he had been in since the Hellfire Gala issue. It’s great to see the character swashbuckling and saving the day, but his attitudes are more authoritarian than he ever would be. And here, Legion is basically hailed as a hero, without acknowledging the harm he’s done over the last five issues. It’s unsettling, to say the least.
However, I don’t think what comes next is without any promise. With the final page tease, and the promise of the second “season” of Spurrier’s story, it’s going to be interesting to see if it can overcome the challenges of this one.
X-Men: The Onslaught Revelation is available now from Marvel Comics.
This oversized finale has problems, but it sets up interesting things for the future. The highs are great though, and it definitely makes it worth a pick-up for any X-Men fan.