Warriors of the Ebon Night
Credits: Scott Lobdell & Jeph Loeb (writers), Joe Madureria (penciler), Tim Townsend (inker), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (lettering), Steve Buccellato & Electric Crayon (colors)
Dr. Strange has a vision that the X-Men need his help, so he sends his astral form to find them. In Manhattan’s Little Asia, Wolverine takes a skeptical Archangel to a tea house. He claims that there are mystic ways to cure Psylocke's injuries. Wolverine suddenly slaps Archangel’s hot tea to the ground, as the steam takes the form of a ninja. Wolverine and Archangel fight the ethereal ninja, until Wolverine notices a lone elderly woman watching the fight. He stabs her in the back, revealing her body to be a front for Gomurr the Ancient, who created the ninja in order to test the duo. Wolverine tells Gomurr that they need a “pint of Crimson Dawn from the Ebon Vein” and demands that he help them. Dr. Strange appears, telling Wolverine that he’s going to join their mission.
This issue is only nineteen pages instead of the normal twenty-two. It also has the first appearance of a computer generated character in this series, the “Steam Ninja”. The computer effects look a little dated today, but this was pretty impressive at the time.
According to the Statement of Ownership, average sales were 362,128 for the year with the most recent issue selling 373,556 copies.
This is a very, very light read. Not only is the plot thin to begin with, but the story itself is only nineteen pages long. Plus, the opening four pages only have five panels combined (one of these pages is a splash of Dr. Strange flying over Manhattan, which is clearly a photograph and not a drawing, leaving Madureria with just a third of the page to actually draw). Lobdell is able to get a small amount of material out of having Wolverine and Archangel play off each other, but there’s barely any character work here. It’s really just setting up the plot of the next issue, which in turn sets up what is probably the dumbest thing ever done to Psylocke. This issue does have some impressive art and a fun action sequence, and it is nice to see a character rarely associated with the team like Dr. Strange show up, but there’s hardly anything else going on.