Giant-Size Nightcrawler by Jonathan Hickman and Alan Davis, with Carlos Lopez colors, & Clayton Cowles letters, is the second entry in the 5 issue Giant-Size X-Men series, and finds Kurt leading a team of mutants through a Krakoan gate into the deserted & seemingly haunted X-Mansion.
Today I’ll answer:
- + What’s the secret of the haunted X-Mansion?
- + How does Giant-Size Nightcrawler connect to the themes of Hickman’s “Giant-Size” series so far?
- + What X-Men characters and concepts are introduced and what do they mean for the Dawn of X?
Spoilers for discussed comics may follow!
The issue opens with Nightcrawler traveling to the deserted X-Mansion gates with Illyana Rasputin, Eyeboy, Cypher and Lockheed.
Right away the team sees a curious array of ghostly mutants, setting Lockheed out of his mind with flame bursts. It’s all mysterious and a bit too familiar until Hound Rachel’s form dissolves before the team’s eyes – shouts to Alan Davis’ rendering of Lockheed’s utter shock – into a cluster of the beetle-like aliens known as the Sidri! The Sidri are a fantastic, and unexpected pull from Hickman and Davis, a techno-organic alien race of freelance bounty hunters. They’re a really sparingly used deep cut from X-Men lore but make so much for the broader themes and connective tissue of the Giant-Size series so far.
The Sidri debuted in the pages of Uncanny X-Men #154, hot on the tail of Corsair when he was on the run (again) from the Shi’ar. Although they seem almost too small to operate as anything other than pests, collectively the Sidri are capable of working as freelance bounty hunters, which is somewhere between hilarious and terrifying. Imagine Mandolorian was made up of thousands of tiny baby yodas, and you kind of have an idea of the potential here.
In line with the Brood’s involvement in X-Men #8 and X-Men #9 written by Hickman (and issue nine released the same day as Giant-Size Nightcrawler) the Sidri are introduced on the front-end and back-end of the Uncanny X-Men Brood saga, first with art by Dave Cockrum in #154 and later by Paul Smith in issue #168
(168 being the famous Kitty Pryde “Professor Xavier is a Jerk” opener.) In #168 they’re effectively big beetles with laser eyes, and Kitty and Colossus fight a leftover nest of them in the X-Mansion’s basement.
The other important development as all this is happening in the X-Mansion is Doug Ramsey pulled through the Sidri’s alien base where he begins negotiations with the bounty hunters. Illyana finds Doug to rescue him, only to find that 1) Doug’s in talks with the Sidri and 2) Warlock is alive and well, hopping off Doug’s arm and into the form of one of the Sidri.
In X-Men #8 we saw it briefly teased that Doug, Warlock and Krakoa were all discussing Tom Brady’s release from the Pats (at least that’s what I assume), but this is the first real clear instance of Warlock alive and seemingly well as his own entity in the Dawn of X.
Upon his return, Douglock lets the team know the Sidri encountered Lady Mastermind, who came looking to use the gate to Krakoa and has since been kept in a sort of symbiotic coma, causing Kurt and friends to hallucinate those apparitions upon their entrance, and unconsciously using her powers to ask for help.
Although she has a goofy name and puts new meaning in the term V-neck, Lady Mastermind is a really entertaining holdover from the Mike Carey X-Men run – we know Hickman’s a fan.
Doug makes deal with the Sidri that they can keep the X-Mansion real estate for their nest, so long as they basically allow access to the Krakoan gate there. As Doug notes, “It’s going to be a problem,” which is what we in the business refer to as foreshadowing.
The Sidri make a TON of sense to introduce into Hickman’s X-Narrative. A techno-organic alien race with a hive mind? That’s right in line with everything we’ve seen from all of the following:
- + Phalanx
- + Children of the Vault
- + Warlock / Doug
A very real concern I could see developing for the X-Men is an alliance of all these alien/techno-organic forces, continuing the man vs. machine structural war so eloquently teased in Powers of X.
If the Children of the Vault, and now the Sidri team-up that’s an immensely intimidating threat for mutants. Throw the Phalanx into the mix and it may just be up to Douglock to save us all.
As much as I enjoyed this issue, it’s a strange choice for a Nightcrawler showcase. He’s the leader of the squad here, but the story’s not really about him? My biggest takeaways are definitely the developments for Douglock and the sci-fi alien threats added to the growing “techno-organic hivemind” category in the X-men’s database.
In that regard – and really that regard alone – Giant-Size Nightcrawler #1 is disappointingly devoid of the things that make Nightcrawler my favorite X-Men character. The swashbuckling charm, the smile as he leaps into danger, the incredible use of his bamfing teleportation… none of that is really strongly on display. Likewise, whereas X-Men #7 left Kurt telling Scott Summers he’s planning on developing a mutant religion, none of that thread is followed here either.
Even when the decision comes for one character to “rescue” Doug, Kurt chooses Illyana – a sensible choice for her powerset, but another way the focus is taken off Nightcrawler.
+ The mystery of Douglock – What specifically is going on with their relationship, and why is it a secret from the rest of mutantkind right now?
+ My theory would be Doug’s treaty actually offers the X-Men an ally against the Vault. Either way, we know Giant-Size is building towards freeing Storm from a Vault infection. The introduction of the Sidri and free-standing Warlock will unquestionably play a role in that goal, either in support or opposition.