Last two comics. Such a sad occurrence. Whatever shall I do for the next two weeks before more comics arrive (hopefully)? Seriously, I'm asking. I have plans through Sunday, but after that, we may be winging it.
Nightcrawler #1, by Chris Claremont (writer), Todd Nauck (artist), Rachelle Rosenberg (color artist), Cory Petit (letterer) - I notice in the upper right corner of that cover that Colossus has gotten some lady to pose for his painting, with at the least no shirt on. Have to wonder who that is. Also, I thought Colossus was on the run with some X-Force bunch.
Kurt's back, and readjusting to life among the living. Reconnecting with friends, adjusting to things that have changed, and being Mr. Charming with his on-again, off-again girlfriend, Amanda Sefton. Who is also his adopted sister, if you care. I don't particularly, but I know a few other people that have noted it with some squeamishness, so just throwing it out there. Their conversation is fairly brief, as some big guy in a suit of power armor attacks and tries to abduct Amanda. Kurt manages to fend him off, but the guy escapes, and Kurt is whisked off with Amanda as she seeks out the person responsible.
I like Nightcrawler to be largely cheerful and swashbuckling, and Claremont is thankfully doing that. Perhaps other comic writers should take note: NOBODY LIKES MOPEY NIGHTCRAWLER! There is a certain melancholy to it, though, that I can't quite place. Mostly, I think it's meant to be Kurt struggling a bit with all that's changed in his absence. Wolverine minus his healing factor, all the new kids at the school, the fact that it really is more of a school than it was when he died, mutants being on the rise again. Plus, having people ask if you remember them, and if you're OK all the time, has to get exhausting. Though you'd think the X-Men would have a seminar for people recently back from the dead. Anyway, I had some concerns about Claremont's writing going in. I picked up both X-Men Forever series out of the back issue bins last year, and they were solid, but I still remember how disjointed and confused his work on Exiles and New Excalibur seemed to me. It's only one issue, but so far, so good. Perhaps being able to concentrate on one character helps him focus. We'll see.
I run hot and cold on Todd Nauck, generally. He's pretty solid on action sequences, the Young Justice I've read suggests he's fair at comedy stuff, but the anatomy can be a little off sometimes. Characters have strangely long necks, or their upper bodies are much too wide for the rest of them. Again, one issue, but this is the strongest work of his I remember seeing. It's less busy than his older work, maybe that's him inking himself, but it makes it look more simplified, with is a look I happen to approve of. Rosenberg's coloring helps, too. It's bright for the most part, but the bit in the Danger Room is cloudy (literally) in a way that lends that feeling of foreboding to things, without muddying the art.
Empowered Special #6, by Adam Warren (writer, black-and-white art, lettering), Brandon Graham (color art, lettering) - What I mean by the art stuff is that Warren drew the pages that are black and white, and Graham drew and colored the ones that are in color. Or so I assume. I couldn't find any other credits.
Empowered and Ninjette are called to a special superhuman hospital. There is a large, living ship hovering over, which has a babyship inside stricken with a parasite. Our heroines have been asked to take a laser scalpel, go inside the babyship (which is much larger inside than out), and kill the parasite before it gives birth, and kills the babyship in the process. If they fail, mamaship destroys the entire city. The two make their way through, Emp distracts the defenses the parasite releases, but ultimately stop Ninjette from killing the parasite, having devised a way to maybe let it survive. Warren drew the two sequences that flank this main story, which involve Emp wandering through the hospital in a scene of carnage, only to come upon an elevator which opens to reveal . . . Emp and Ninjette, fresh off saving the babyship's life. None of which bodes well for our heroines' futures.
This one's a little less serious than the last Empowered Special, even if the fate of an entire city was at stake this time. Weird how that works out, but this one is a little absurd, with the alien parasite hitting a nerve by unwittingly attacking Emp's body issues. More focused on exploring another little corner of the world, rather than an in-depth study of one of the main characters, who just so happens to have had a fairly shitty childhood, and whose attempt to survive and escape that has informed quite a bit about who she is, for better and for worse.
Graham's art is very different from Warren's. His work is less detailed in the characters, but he puts a lot into their surroundings, so you get a good sense of place. And his characters still tell you quite a bit, he gets a lot of information out there with relatively few lines. The colors are kind of muted, not like things are muddied, it's all quite clear, no gauze over the lens, more someone turned down the brightness a bit. It does keep his work from popping off the page as much as I might like, but just going off this, maybe that isn't his style. Warren tends to use fewer, larger panels, and puts the characters large and up close, so they dominate the panels. Graham does that occasionally, but here it's more common for him to place them in the middle distance or further away, so there's more room to show the surroundings. Perhaps to play up the oddity of said surroundings, or the enormity of the task.