Dream Nails 2 – Easy Tiger
Credits: Warren Ellis (writer), David Williams (penciler), Mike Miller, Mike Christian & Phillip Moy (inkers), Joe Rosas & Digital Chameleon (colors), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (lettering)
Shadowcat and Peter Wisdom go back to the spy hangout and meet an associate of Wisdom’s named Jardine. He tells them that he’s heard things about Dream Nails, the air base where Culley worked. They meet Jardine at his office that night, where they discuss Dream Nail’s cover name, “Easy Tiger”. Wisdom claims it's a codename for “Extra-Terrestrial”. When Wisdom steps outside, Jardine explains to Shadowcat that he’s helping him because Wisdom took three bullets saving his daughter years ago, even though she was a total stranger. Jardine tells Shadowcat that he does care about people, even if he chooses not to show it. Later, Wisdom and Shadowcat break into the Dream Nails base. When Wisdom demands to go in alone, Shadowcat chastises him for always acting on his own and covering up his feelings. She begins to wonder if she’s falling for him. The duo sneak through the base until they reach a computer terminal . While searching through Black Air’s files, they learn that Culley was exposed to extraterrestrial bacteria after an alien bit through his containment suit. Afraid that Black Air would turn him into a lab rat, he turned to Wisdom for help. Shadowcat saves the info to a disc, as armed guards enter. Cornered by two guards, Wisdom demands that Shadowcat save herself and leave with the disc. Meanwhile, Rory Campbell has his first session with Spoor while Meggan and Douglock study the Legacy Virus. They tell Moira that their research shows that there is no pattern to the infections, and that the virus behaves unnaturally.
Wisdom’s friend “Cully” is now spelled “Culley”, which may or may not have been changed to make the X-Files connection less obvious (add an “S” to the front). Wisdom claims that he’s ten years older than Kitty. Kitty says that she’s been an X-Man since she was fourteen (although she was listed as thirteen in her first appearance).
Spoor’s real name is revealed as Andrew Hamish Graves. Rory Campbell claims that Spoor’s father killed his mother by forcing her to drink paint thinner, and then told Spoor she ran away.
Ellis makes a big step in the Pryde/Wisdom romance by revealing for the first time that the characters have feelings for one another that they’re trying to hide. It does seem a little forced, and the idea that Wisdom secretly has a heart of gold under his cynical demeanor is certainly a cliché at this point. Their romance never really bothered me, though, mainly because I’ve seen more random real-life couples, and it doesn’t exactly floor me that a teenager (even the precious Kitty Pryde) would be drawn towards a gruff, older man. The action in this issue is essentially the same as the previous one, only now the Black Air agents are wearing body armor and carrying giant ‘90s-style guns instead of wearing suits and packing handguns. I guess that’s excusable, since this isn’t an action-oriented issue and most of the story is spent on building up the Dream Nails mystery and developing Shadowcat and Wisdom’s relationship. Those aspects work, even if the plot doesn’t advance very far. The story continues to reference the Legacy Virus plotline, even though this is the second issue in a row that someone makes a revelation about the virus that goes nowhere. I’m not sure if the Legacy Virus hints or the Onslaught hints are more annoying. David Williams does a nice fill-in job, drawing in a sparse, cartoony style that looks pretty contemporary with something published today.