The hell that Sinister has created now has its own group of demons. Or at least, that’s what they look like. Sins of Sinister has kicked off, mutating three titles from Destiny of X. Legion of X is now Nightcrawlers, still written by Si Spurrier but now drawn by Paco Medina, colored by Jay David Ramos, and lettered by Clayton Cowles. Titled after a supergroup of Chimeras that borrow DNA from Kurt Wagner., and tainted with Sinister’s personality, Nightcrawlers #1 is set ten years after Sinister took control of Krakoa, where he is now using these Kurt hybrids as his personal assassins. Similar chimeras were a focal point in Jonathan Hickman’s Powers of X and were attributed to Sinister’s genetic tampering. But how much control does Mister Sinister really have?
What is immediately apparent is that Nightcrawlers is definitely a continuation of Legion of X (itself a continuation of Way of X), so those coming into a fresh number one with no knowledge of the previous book might be a little confused if they don’t already know Mother Righteous, the Spirit of Variance, and other creations from Si Spurrier’s corner of the mutant universe. Honestly, even if you are all caught up, you could still be forgiven for thinking that you are jumping in at the middle because of how fast-paced the opening pages are. Before we even get to the title page, some of the teleporting assassins have been freed from their sinister-ization and are looking for a new purpose. Only after that do we learn explicitly what they were used for and how they were created.
Questioning one’s identity and purpose is certainly interesting, and it is an idea Spurrier has played with well in the past in his long history of writing the character of Xavier’s son, Legion, but I have to admit that I was looking forward to seeing a kill squad of Nightcrawlers be evil for a while. Seeing them do what they were made for in all its carnage would make the attempt at turning over a new leaf more engaging. It would also have given us a better look at how the world has changed under Sinister’s rule and what kind of enemies are actually still around to be in his way. It’s clear they are being used as pawns in a much larger game, though, and that part of the story is far more interesting. Si Spurrier is setting up a four-person chess match, and the allying and betrayal have just begun.
Mother Righteous, who first appeared as a godlike figure that gave power in exchange for faith, has been hinting towards her larger plan in Legion of X for a while, and we get closer to finding out what that is when it is revealed that she is one of the other “suited” versions of Nathaniel Essex. Similar to how Sinister is marked with a diamond on his forehead, there are three other variations that have a club, spade, or in the case of Mother Righteous, a heart. She is the most distinct by far in her appearance and how she chooses to accumulate power. In a world run by Sinister’s science, her using magic as a tool creates an interesting wrinkle in this whole conflict, and that seems to be at the heart (no pun intended) of this part of the event. Paco Medina draws all the magic-y stuff well, and has created a cohesive look across the whole event. The design of the Spider-Man chimera is neat, and the only thing I really like about his appearance here since I think it’s strange to have a non-mutant on the squad.
While Nightcrawler’s #1 starts out at a pace too fast to fully enjoy, by the end, I was anticipating how the next two issues would play out. Although, knowing that the next issue will take place 90 years after this one, I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re forced to play catch up in the opening pages yet again. However, Mother Righteous is such a compelling character that I hope this event isn’t the last we see of her. She is an integral part of the lore of Nathaniel Essex, but her striking design and cultish demeanor is so unique that there could definitely be interesting stories to tell with her outside of her Sinister connection. For now, we will see how she affects this story and all of the BAMF-ing blue killers she has doing her bidding in Nightcrawlers #2.