Giant-Size X-Men: Nightcrawler

Issue Date: 
March 2020
Story Title: 
Haunted Mansion

Jonathan Hickman (story & words), Alan Davis (story & art), Carlos Lopez (colorist), VC’s Clayton Cowles (letterer), Tom Muller (Design), Alan Davis & Edgar Delgado (cover artists), Ben Calldwell (variant cover), Nick Russell (production), Jonathan Hickman (Head of X), Annlissa Bissa (assistant editor), Jordan D. White (editor), C.B. Cebulski (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)
X-Men created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Brief Description: 

Nightcrawler leads a small team consisting of Magik, Eye-Boy, Cypher and Lockheed back to the abandoned X-mansion, as there has been activity at the Krakoan Gate. Immediately, the group notices something off, namely they are beset by appearances of the late Thunderbird and an earlier incarnation of Rachel Summers. However, the strangers’ attempts at communicating fail. Also, Lockheed reacts extremely aggressive when he sees them. Cypher is swallowed by an organic tunnel to end up on what seems like a scifi bridge. With the help of Warlock, whom he secretly disguises as his techno-organic arm, he starts contact with the being behind this. Nightcrawler’s team have found the fake Rachel, who in front of them turns into a bunch of Sidri. While Kurt, Lockheed and Eye-Boy fight them, Magik searches for and finds Cypher and Warlock, who solve the problem. Cypher explains that the Sidri are young and were dormant before. When Lady Mastermind tried to access the Krakoan Gate at the mansion, they felt attacked. She has also been responsible for the illusions. They return Lady Mastermind to the mutants, who in turn allow the Sidri to keep the estate, as long as they keep clear of the gates.

Full Summary: 

Ever since the mutants moved to Krakoa, the X-Men’s mansion has stood empty. The rooms are overgrown by plants. The Krakoan gateway in the hallway, now resembling a jungle, opens and four people (and a dragon) step though: Nightcrawler, Magik, Cypher, Eye-Boy and Lockheed the dragon.

Magik remarks that the place is supposed to be deserted, right? So why all the attempted breaches of the gateway here? Cypher replies that’s not really the problem. Krakoa has hundreds of access failures every day – humans who try to walk through an active gate and then aren’t able to. It’s how the gates work, it’s how they are grown. But they are here because Krakoa smelled “mutant” in this gate’s vicinity during each failure. Which begs the question… what in the world is going on in the abandoned X-Mansion?

Nightcrawler asks Eye-Boy to do his thing. Trevor replies he is using ten different kinds of vision and here’s what he’s seeing: a haunted creepshow they should haul ass from. Immediately, Illyana chides him to show some respect. This was their home. Kurt agrees, but Trevor’s not wrong. Something is off. Trevor enumerates the visions he is using: infrared, night vision aural, thermal. This place looks empty but it isn’t. He’s seeing recent movement everywhere. Human? Kurt asks. Human but he can’t make them out.

Something rustles. They try to figure out where the sound came from. Lockheed sniffs. He smells something and, with a roar, he flies away and begins breathing fire at the shrubbery some distance away.

Nightcrawler orders him to stop and gets ignored. He teleports up to the small dragon, grabs him and repeats his order more forcefully. He’ll burn the whole mansion down! He wrestles with the small dragon and finally clams his snout shut. What’s gotten into him? Kurt demands as Lockheed snarls angrily. He’s acting like he’s seen a ghost! Kurt looks up. In front of him, partially in shadow, he sees what appears to be his dead teammate: John Proudstar aka Thunderbird.

A moment later, the others join them and the apparition is gone. He asks Eye-Boy if he is picking up anything. He swears someone was just standing right here. But Trevor sees nothing further and suggest it may have been the smoke. Never mind, Kurt decides, they should just do what they came here to do.

Lockheed still grumbles in Illyana’s arms. Kurt hears a rustle nearby and sees a woman standing in the shadow. He teleports closer. He ‘ports several times. What is he doing? the others ask. Confused, he replies he could have sworn he saw Rachel. But she looked wrong. She was a Hound. He means, in red leather, stilettos, spikes everywhere? Trevor asks. She’s standing over there. Indeed, there is Rachel Summers standing quietly in her original Excalibur outfit. Kurt addresses her. Suddenly, she runs away underground. Kurt and the others follow. Eye-Boy warns he is picking up a huge spike in both temperature and density. It doesn’t read as part of the mansion or the campus grounds.

Kurt sees Rachel entering a kind of alien tunnel, seeming organic. He teleports in front of her and holds her fast. Rachel seems to be in a trance. He shouts at her to snap out of it. She replies in an alien tongue. Cypher identifies it as some kind of standard harmonic binary. He touches the wall of the tunnel with his techno-organic arm and asks Eye-Boy what alloy this is. They are slightly pulsing. Almost as if… A moment later, the wall swallows him.

That’s not something you see every day, Eye-Boy mutters. A phase shift at the molecular level. Pretty cool, minus the Doug part. They should probably go after him. But they will have to go after her too. He refers to Rachel, who has run away again, deeper into the tunnel. Kurt follows.

Doug is spat out elsewhere on what looks like a scifi bridge. He berates himself for acting like a horror film cliché. In front of him is a giant glowing orb. He walks toward it and gingerly reaches out. He recognizes it as a repurposed antimatter drive of alien origin. Now how did it get here? He hears a noise from behind and sees large black spiderlike creatures coming up close.

Nightcrawler and the others work their way through the tunnel and finally find a chamber, where Rachel is just standing still. Assuming a trap, Magik takes a combative stance with her sword while Kurt addresses Rachel. Time to tell them what’s going on. She’s trapped… sleepwalking, is the reply… dreaming of traveling… migrating to other worlds. Always moving… hunting, capturing – a memory of spiderlings battling Storm, Cyclops and Corsair… now lost alone. Her face contorts as she asks for help.

Then she breaks apart into small spiders. Kurt recognizes them as Sidri – alien bounty hunters – and more and more of the surround the three.

Doug, in the meantime, has started a dialogue with the orb – the leader of the Sidri. He asks it not to freak, out as he wants to try something. His techno-organic arm forms tendrils that reach out to the orb.

Elsewhere, the other three are fighting for their lives against the Sidri. Magik point out this has gotten a bit more violent than they expected. She could do this all day but… Kurt agrees. They are the wrong team for this. Trevor tells them not to worry about him, worry about Doug! They can’t leave him behind. Illyana agrees. Her or him? she asks Kurt. He decides her power is better suited to finding Doug, but hurry or he’ll have to teleport Trevor clear. Magik teleports away.

Some jumps later, Illyana has found him. Doug stands transfixed staring at the orb. But she is more worried about the big Sidri behind him. She runs to attack it… to find that it is actually Warlock who greets her.

Illyana calms down and observes that Doug’s techno-organic arm is normal. So how long have he and Warlock been running this game? And why? Warlock implores her the secret has to stay secret for friendssake. Doug asks if she will keep it to herself if he tells her. Does he really need to ask?

They are interrupted by the Sidri. Doug assures them they will do it now and tells Illyana they have to finish this later. Right now, they have to deal with what the Sidri nest has netted. He orders Warlock to tell them they are doing it now.

Elsewhere, Nightcrawler and Eye-Boy find the Sidri have stopped attacking them. Eye-Boy notes that they are all vibrating at the same frequency. He thinks they are waiting.

That moment, Magik teleports in with Doug. Eye-Boy pleads with them to get out. Doug replies that is exactly what the Sidri want, but first they have to deal with the nests’ infestation. They walk toward a giant cocoon the Sidri have formed. It opens to reveal Lady Mastermind. Doug explains the mutant illusionist is the reason why they’ve been seeing things.

Lady Mastermind wakes up and asks what is going on. Doug asks her what the last thing she remembers is. She recalls she went to the mansion to use the Krakoan Gateway. She heard something, then… she breaks off.

Doug explains the Sidri must be hatchlings, He figures they’ve bene gestating since the last time they invaded the mansion. They must have hatched after everyone went to Krakoa and jumped on the first person who disturbed their nest. He guesses that Lady Mastermind – trapped and lashing out with her powers – exerted some control over the Sidri and them, asking for help the only way she knew how.

Kurt thanks him for a job well done. Doug adds he would hold off on that. He had to made a deal with them…. Some Sidri form into a humanoid body that speaks to Doug. He replies they are leaving now. Thanks for being cool about it. Doug tells the others the deal. The Sidri will stay clear of the gateway but will have the rest of the estate for their nest. He guesses this is going to be a problem.

Maybe not, Kurt replies. Perhaps they can find a way to make it work. And why shouldn’t they be hopeful? These are new days for their people and today they have added one more to their number.

Characters Involved: 

Cypher, Eye-Boy, Magik, Nightcrawler
Lady Mastermind


Phoenix III

Story Notes: 

Storm, Cyclops and Corsair first fought the Sidri in Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #154 when the aliens laid waste to the mansion.

In Uncanny X-men (1st series) #168, Kitty Pryde and Lockheed fought another batch of the Sidri hatched from eggs the previous group had left in the X-mansion’s subbasement.

Cypher hiding Warlock has already been hinted at in Powers of X and X-Men (4th series) #7. After this issue, they pretty much give up the rather poor pretense.

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