Nightcrawler #1 - art Dave CockrumNightcrawler

(1984 - four issues, published by Marvel Comics)

Writer/Artist: Dave Cockrum.

Generally I haven't been that impressed with X-stories that go for the funny bone, finding them cloying more than anything. So I was pleasantly suprised by this mini-series featuring the X-Man Nightcrawler as he gets whisked away to another dimension (thanks to story elements laid down in Bizarre Adventures #27, an old black & white magazine from Marvel -- not that you have to have read that to folow the story). There he encounters a world of flying pirate ships and the ideal environment for the swashbuckling mutant with a fondness for old pirate movies. Meanwhile, Kitty and Illyana in the Danger Room work to bring him home.

Cockrum manages to be funny, even silly, while still maintaining the logic of the character, and a sense of true adventure. Nightcrawler doesn't feel as though he's being forced to say and do things he wouldn't just to maintain the light tone. I chuckled a few times overall and Cockrum-as-artist (and the colourists) also do a nice job of whisking you away to these otherworldly landscapes -- you can lose yourself in the fantasy worlds.

Admittedly, the story's awkwardly structured. Nightcrawler spends the first two issues in one dimension, then the next two in another seemingly leaving things a little unresolved from the first half. The second half isn't as consistantly compelling (though still funny) and apparently revisits a place that had already been seen in a previous X-Men story, robbing it of some originality (and getting into that cloying thing I complained about, with Nightcrawler encountering comical dopplegangers of some fellow X-Men).

Still, Nightcrawler was a pleasant, feel good little diversion.