Into the Light
Credits: Fabian Nicieza (plot), Erik Larsen (script), Roger Cruz (penciler), Derek Fridolfs and Andy Owens (inks), Wilson Ramos (colors), Comicraft (letters)
Summary: Overcome with the darkness in his soul, Archangel flies into the city. Wolverine follows. Psylocke stays in telepathic contact while Wolverine tries to deprogram Archangel. Eventually, Archangel realizes his true purpose and allows Psylocke to break contact before the Shadow King can resurface. Archangel, his wings now bathed in light, takes away the fear of a girl with cancer. He soon flies to another hospital to find Abraham Kieros, Apocalypse’s original War. Archangel bathes him in light, curing Kieros of his paralysis. With Archangel back to normal, he discusses how to move forward with Wolverine.
- Psylocke still can't use her powers for fear of unleashing the Shadow King, following the events of "Psi-War."
- The Abraham Kieros incarnation of War last appeared during the “X-Cutioner’s Song” crossover. When exactly Apocalypse took his powers away is never revealed.
- The story flashes back to the molting of Archangel’s metal wings in Uncanny X-Men #338, indicating that the transformation of his wings into light is the final evolution Ozymandias hinted at in the story.
Review: The credits now clarify that Nicieza is plotting and Larsen is scripting, although this does not read like Larsen’s work at all. Aside from the fact that Larsen rarely if ever wrote third-person captions during these days, the dialogue is a little more haughty than I would expect from Larsen. As it happens, the scripting is better this issue than in most of Larsen’s Wolverine issues, so whatever might be happening behind the scenes, the published comic doesn’t seem to have suffered.
As you might have gleaned from the summary, there isn’t a lot of Wolverine in this issue. This is clearly an X-Men story, and it isn’t a bad one, but anyone who just wanted to buy Wolverine and didn’t care about the main crossovers is sure to hate this issue even more than the previous one. I imagine most readers of this title, after years of Yu’s hyper-detailed work, probably weren’t thrilled with Roger Cruz turning up with another Joe Mad impression, either. This isn’t even on par with Cruz’s other fill-ins from this era, making me question if this was done on a ridiculous deadline, or if the inkers were simply incompatible.
Ignoring which spinoff this story happened to appear in, it actually stands out as one of the better chapters in the 1999 Apocalypse crossover. With two members of the X-Men having been recruited as Death, it would be foolish not to draw them together and get a story out of it. Dragging out the long-forgotten original War, and retconning something of a friendship between him and Archangel, also gives the story a strong continuity with the previous Apocalypse storylines, an element the main crossover began to lack as it drifted into something of a mess thanks to erratic editorial decisions. Not that this storyline makes perfect sense, of course. I don’t understand why Apocalypse would have “gifted” Archangel with light wings that can heal (apparently only one person, although that girl’s going to die of cancer very bravely), or why he bothered with Wolverine in the first place if he could simply bring Archangel back under his influence, but as the story of Archangel putting Apocalypse in his past, it works.