The Blood of the Righteous
Mark Bernardo returns for another fill-in, and he’s brought along one more obscure villain from the ‘80s. This time it’s the Crusader, a villain who’s only claim to fame is offending Pat Robertson, who happened to come across his debut in Thor. While the art is an improvement over Luke Ross’ ‘90s Spider-Man work, the story is a great disappointment when compared to Bernardo’s previous fill-in. The Crusader wants to kill the famous faith healer X-Man, X-Man meets a suicidal aspiring singer, and of course the two threads meet at the end. After X-Man saves her life during the battle, the singer’s inspired not to kill herself (
It looks like Kavanagh has an issue to waste before next month’s Generation X crossover, so we’re treated to another flagrant time-killing one-off. X-Man discovers an alien craft crashing onto Earth, and wouldn’t you know it, the alien that emerges is a beautiful female he instantly falls in love with. Her name is Sylph, which in a massive coincidence is also an English word that means “slight and graceful female” or “an elemental soulless female being imagined to inhabit the air.” He protects her from her fellow aliens, which don ant-shaped bionic armor while hunting her for some reason.
After a brief fight scene, X-Man discovers that Sylph is a wanted criminal in her world. Specifically, she’s a doctor who killed thousands of her patients while experimenting on them. Her defense is that she was trying to stop a plague and her patients were dying anyway. X-Man claims that he doesn’t care about her rationalizations and won’t stand in the way of justice. Yet, in the very next panel, he declares that he won’t abandon her either. I have no idea what’s supposed to be happening in the next scene, but apparently he’s…going with her to join her punishment in the slave camps? Wha…? Luckily for all of us, his first glimpse of the camps shocks him so much he inadvertently lets go of Sylph’s hand, which causes him to instantly teleport back to Earth. (All of those events occur off-panel, by the way. X-Man has to explain what happened during his one-panel disappearance in a lengthy monologue.)
So, what did we learn today? The only woman X-Man finds more attractive than his mother is a genocidal maniac, and Terry Kavanagh is becoming progressively unglued. Seriously, was anyone at Marvel paying attention to this book by 1999? How on Earth did this thing get published?