I've not, I realise, been particularly complimentary to this mini up until now, but it turns out that there is, after all, always more down. At least before I could understand what the title thought it was offering: a defiantly simple sword & sorcery epic built on Cockrum's flair for design and slightly offbeat sense of humour. The former tended towards the uncoordinated and the latter was distinctly hit and miss,and it all seemed a fairly thin reed to hang four issues on in any case, but I least I grasped the fundamentals.
Here, though, I'm at a loss. After two issues of exploring the skylands of the Boggies and of Princess Sabree, Kurt finds himself back on terra firma surrounded by Bamfs, the tiny Kurt-clones Kitty invented for her fairy story back in UXM #153.
It might take a moment for it to sink in just how strange a choice this is. After two issues hanging out with miniature teleporting Kurtelgangers, we've moved on to... different miniature teleporting Kurtelgangers?
This is not the sort of development that reassures you you're in safe hands. Especially since Shagreen resurfaces from being plummeted-presumed-dead status to once again attempt to steal Nightcrawler's powers. Basically, Cockrum is telling the same twice over four issues, making the point of all this opaque than ever.
Even stranger, the second iteration is a clear step backwards from the first, as we go from a desperately slight tale relying almost entirely on Cockrum's new designs to a desperately slight tale relying almost entirely on Cockrum's old designs. The only genuine USP this miniseries was offering has been removed in favour of traipsing through a two-year old Uncanny X-Men issue. Yes, I mentioned Cockrum's sense of humour being in play here, but with the best will in the world I can't claim his yuks are anything special, and anyway in this instance he's mainly focusing on making the Bamfs as borderline-rapey as is possible, which isn't exactly my preferred route to maximum lols.
On top of everything else, I'm really not a fan of this kind of "stories are real" conceit. Which probably sounds utterly ridiculous from someone who just yesterday wouldn't shut up about how awesome Longshot #5's "stories are real" subtext is. But there's a vast yawning canyon between the position that a story's effects on the world can be as profound as any "true" event, and the position that you don't have to bother constructing a coherent structure to your fictional world when you can just squeal "Everything's real" and start seeding your pages with sex-pest diminutive demons.
So no. Not impressed.
Despite the Narnia-like time distortion of whatever universe Nightcrawler is now inhabiting, the calendar of Earth has ticked on by a few days at this point. By my timeline that makes this Christmas Day, which Kitty's Jewishness notwithstanding must have made it pretty tough for the girls to sneak off and do some Kurt-hunting. Though since the timeline has Christmas Day being when Legion is finally set on the road to recovery and Sunspot and Magma are kidnapped, there's probably bigger issues in the X-Mansion in any case.
Tuesday 25th December, 1984
Two OB/GYN buildings and an abortion clinic are bombed in Pensacola, Florida. Because domestic terrorism TAKES NO HOLIDAYS"
"Oh, we Bamfs don't need names. We know who we are."