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CSBG Archive

I Love Ya But You’re Strange – The X-Men and the Case of the Exploding Communion Wafers

Every week, I will spotlight strange but ultimately endearing comic stories (basically, we’re talking lots and lots of Silver Age comic books). Here is the archive of all the installments of this feature. Feel free to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com if you have a suggestion for a future installment!

Today we look at a bizarre tale that involves Nightcrawler being groomed into becoming the Roman Catholic pope, exploding communion wafers and much more silliness!

Okay, as discussed in the most recent installment of Abandoned an’ Forsaked, Kurt “Nightcrawler” Wagner was tricked into believing that he has been ordained as a Roman Catholic priest.

The only question was (and it was a fairly notable question) WHY did someone want to trick Kurt into thinking he was an ordained Catholic priest?

This is revealed in Uncanny X-Men #424, written by Chuck Austen with artwork by Ron Garney (and a bunch of inkers).

So Kurt and the X-Men show up at the Church where Kurt THINKS he used to work and they discover Kurt’s old priest friend and mentor, Father Whitney, who is turns out was working with the bad guys all along to use Kurt for their evil ways…

So we cut to the Church of Humanity, who reveal part of their plan was to get Kurt Wagner selected as the Catholic Pope (somehow) and then reveal he is a devil-ish looking mutant, thereby blowing everyone’s mind!

But wait…there’s much more!

That’s not enough, instead their plan involves simulating the Rapture by having Catholics the world over explode vis disintegrating Holy Communion wafers…

Now I know what you might be thinking. “But Brian, Catholics don’t even BELIEVE in the Rapture as is described here with the whole ‘true Christians being taken straight to heaven’ thing! Did Chuck Austen not even bother to check with the religion he was writing about for a pretty basic tenet that he was basing the entire plot on?”

Well, it does not appear that he did, no. Or if he did, he just didn’t care.

On to fighting! Kurt and Havok take on the bad guys while, of course, quoting scripture (Austen establishes in this issue that Havok was raised Catholic and although he is no longer a believer, he has memorized a ton of scripture for whatever reason)…

And then the reveal that the big bad guy is a WOMAN!

The revelation behind her motivations is pretty rough…

And so that was that.

It doesn’t really tie into the main plot that much, but in the previous issue, the Church of Humanity also crucified a bunch of mutants on the front lawn of the Xavier Institute (somehow without anyone noticing them setting up all of these crosses). Here Nightcrawler shouts to God while the X-Men try to save the crucified mutants (who include Jubilee).

A couple of mutants actually died here, including Skin of Generation X and Bedlam from X-Force.

66 Comments

I think Austin has…issues. The other thing he’s getting wrong is that the Catholic Church doesn’t teach that the wafers “represent” the body of Christ–they teach that it literally becomes the body of Christ when the Priest consecrates it during the Mass.

Kurt’s religion was always one of those nice features of his character. My recollection is that Marvel was, at least until this point, never in your face about it. He was just a guy with faith (albiet a specified one) in even the worst of crisis situations. To that extent, I think we can all be equally appalled by the bad writing here, when Kurt’s religion gets twisted from a character feature to a ridiculous Da Vinci Code pastiche.

The Crazed Spruce

February 11, 2013 at 6:34 am

I swear, this column could be nothing but Chuck Austin’s X-Men run, and you’d have enough material for the next year.

There’s bad writing, there’s Bendis writing, there’s Lobdell writing….and somewhere 100 rungs below that, there’s Chuck Austen.

Bleh.

last pic’s not working.

is it a coincidence you did this as the REAL pope just announced he’s resigning?

Isn’t “dun got rapeded” basically the motivation for 90% of Austin female characters?

Ahh Chuck Austin…nearly everything you write turns to FAIL.

Reason #….I lost count….that the Chuck Austen run is best left forgotten.

Interesting timing with Benedict’s announcement, but I’ll just take it as a neat coincidence.

This was definitely a shock-value story. I was horrified to read Jubilee was crucified, told a buddy unfamiliar with Austen who said “As long as a writer is making you feel something, he’s doing his job.” Respectfully, I disagree. I know Austen was trying, and if you read the interviews out in the land of Google, you can understand he took the criticism very personally. But it’s still a hard pill to swallow. As a Catholic, reading just a small acknowledgement of Kurt’s faith was enough for me to appreciate the title. The fact that the few represented here–the extremists in this church–well, it turned my stomach and got me off the X-Men just as quickly as I jumped back on to see if Jubilee would make it.

Oh yeah, and for the funeral issue for Skin (where after he’s been buried they have to dig him back up), Austen got his name wrong. Woof.

I’m a new believer on the Ron Garney train. Read this without realizing who drew it–and have to say I think his work recently is leagues better. He still did a better job than I could, but guaranteed if he was doing this book right now, that art would be a billion times stronger.

I dropped the X-men with Austen’s run and never went back. Is there a specific reason Austen was given such a high-profile book? At some point, he must have written something that was good, right? Just idle curiosity on my part, but I’ve never really understood why he was given this assignment.

chuck austens xmen run could be a colum of its own. for thought the church of humanity was really creepy when they crusified some mutants and killed skin. but then to learn that they wanted night crawler as pope and were going to use wafers to help rule the world. talk about one of the creepy runs of the x-men for always liked night crawler having a strong belief it was part of his character.

Here’s the one thing I’ve never understood about Austen, and maybe someone can provide insight. If he was so widely reviled as a writer, then why did both Marvel AND DC entrust him with A-list titles?

What was really crazy is that, if I recall correctly, this issue came out right around the time that the second X-Men film was in the theaters. So if your average moviegoer decided they had liked the film and wanted to see what the actual comic books were like, well, THIS is what they would have found in the comic shop. Talk about dropping the marketing ball.

I’ll second or third the question: why was Austen getting such high-profile work? He had X-Men and Avengers at Marvel and Superman over at DC. (Come to think of it, didn’t Austen write that Superman where he has a giant tantrum because a kid died fo cancer? Not to belittle cancer, but that issue was way out of character for Supes.)

Every so often, the “big two” seem to get overly-attached to a particular writer or artist, even when fandom can’t stand it. In a similar vein, DC and Marvel kept giving work to John Byrne in the late 90s/early 00s even though Byrne was well past his peak and fans rejected a lot of his stuff. What editorial politics drive these decisions?

I think it was a case of Austin getting lucky and scoring a high profile gig, and then editors mistaking sales of said gig as Austin being popular, as opposed to the title itself being popular. Or something along those lines. In any case, he basically ruined everything he touched. I’m fairly sure his X-Men run is more or less considered out of continuity, or at the very last never ever referenced.

If memory serves, Austen only got all those work because he was one of Quesada’s best friends. Later he started to believe in his own hype and wasn’t smart enough to refuse when DC offered him to write Superman. Joe Quesada got very pissed off because of that and fired him. If that’s true or not I really can’t say.

Like a lot of Chuck Austen, there is a germ of a decent idea in there. However, the execution is a textbook on “How NOT To Write Good Comics”.

Alfred Hitchcock coined the term MacGuffin for whatever random thing that sets a story in motion. One of the charms of comics as a medium is that the MacGuffin can be truly, utterly absurd and the story still works. WATCHMEN turns on a fake alien invasion using a telepathic squid. Stuff like that doesn’t play in the movies, or in a prose novel, but it works great in comics. “Defrocked Nun with means, motive and opportunity uses Nightcrawler’s appearance to attack his faith” is not any worse than the MacGuffins that have driven the classics of the superhero genre.

The problem is that Austen takes his MacGuffin way, way too seriously.

Rape-Revenge is a pretty standard pulp motivation for better and worse. However, it is an utterly terrible motivation for destroying an entire organization. Rape is an intimate crime and abstract revenge doesn’t make any sense at all. It is a motivation that requires staying with your antagonist for a long period of time. The shock reveal is the exact opposite of that.

From some of the stories you hear, there is a good deal of politics and cronyism in comics. If you happened to be “in” with the right people, then you could keep getting high profile jobs (which tended to be books that could sell well regardless of writer, which could feed back into the idea that the writer was a profitable one despite any complaints.)

One of the jokes/stories (I don’t know how true it was) told about Quesada was that he’d give books to people who paid his bar tab.

Alright, just to add some perspective to the whole, “Catholics don’t believe in the Rapture” thing – I was riased Catholic, went to CCD for over half my life, my mom was a CCD teacher, and my dad’s family was pretty hardcore on Catholicism, and my aunt is a nun and I had no idea that we don’t believe in the Rapture. I watched a lot of History Channel specials on Revelations and the Anti-Christ, so I assumed it was a whole Christian thing. And besides, even if you were Catholic and what looked like a demon turned out to be the pope while Catholics across the world were “Raptured,” or whatever it’s called, wouldn’t that make you rethink your views if you didn’t know the truth of the matter? I think it might cause a good chunk of people to lose their minds. Plus, the person behind the whole scheme was revealed to be batshit crazy so their logic clearly wasn’t the best.

It’s weak writing, but nothing really all that bad. Instead, the rape motivation is the only thing about the story that ticks me off, and it does make the whole story pretty much unreadable because it is such a reprehensible cliche to use.

If I remember correctly, Austen first got attention for Code Blue (?) and other ‘street’ level stories. The buzz around him was that he was really good at writing ‘real’ people and writing police and firefighters as ‘real heroes’ (it was not so long since Sept 11, 2001). Part of that buzz came out of Wizard.

I think that is why his DC work included Superman’s years long friendship with a bet cop, and the “Pain of the Gods” story in JLA where the team discussed how bad they felt when they failed (not a terrible story, just a bit to forced and drawn out).

Kevin

Anonymous,even lots of Protestants don’t believe in the Rapture. It’s not something given in the Bible, it’s an interpretation that’s been around for maybe a couple of hundred years. Unfortunately, a lot of media coverage of books and movies inspired by Revelation tend to refer to “literal interpretation of Scripture” which it rarely is.
Dean, I know “she got raped” is a stock motivation, but it’s a lousy and sexist one, like a woman’s motivation has to have something to do with sex. I dislike it almost as much as “she/he was abused!” Astonishingly enough, rape and sexual abuse don’t turn people into super-villains.
Joining in the disdain for Austen. Re Superman, he asserted his Superman was a throwback to the 1930s tough-guy brawler who slapped people around and broke the laws with a smile. It didn’t seem to occur to him that when you put that personality into a person who can throw mountains, it’s not the same.

And I’ve got say even by comic-book standards that is really a dumb scheme.

fraser
February 11, 2013 at 11:07 am

Anonymous,even lots of Protestants don’t believe in the Rapture. It’s not something given in the Bible, it’s an interpretation that’s been around for maybe a couple of hundred years.

However, many do… Remember that most Protestant denominations are at best 450 years old, and only officially organized for 200 years (or less, especially if formed from a schism of an early one). The Reformation caused a lot of ideas to creep into the Catholic churches as well (in many places in Europe, the wars 1500-1700 determined the official religion, and people routinely were ordered to convert as their lands were conquered, sometimes a dozen times as battle lines shifted). As the Church tried to adapt to stem Protestantism, a lot of the new ideas found their way into local interpretations.

AND, most Protestant Christian sects have communion services (more tailored to their own belief set) on special occasions (usually right before Easter, on Ash Wednesday or the following night – in my youth as a singer in my HS & college choruses, I experienced them in Baptist, Methodist and Disciples of Christ churches), so screwing around with communion wafers (as ludicrous as it is in implementation) would have made millions of Christians, both Protestant and Catholic, be victims of said false rapture.

It would also be mainly from the population of those that are the most devout (those that would go to an evening service (Protestants tend to not have communion during regular morning services, due to time and cost issues), or the Thursday “Last Supper” service of a week-long Easter Week service. Many small towns and cities have non-denominational services where different churches host each night, with everyone ending up back in their home churches or at an outdoor venue for Easter Sunday).

As batshit crazy as the whole plot and motivation was, there WAS some logic behind it.

Austen totally took the Church of Humanity off the rails. An anti-mutant religious group is a decent concept for an X-villain, but Austen randomly turned them into an anti-Catholic group that was incidentally harmful to mutants. Utterly bizarre.

This was the story that got me to stop reading X-Men, something that I didn’t actually think was possible. I’d left the Catholic church long before this story came out, and even still I was offended by it’s aggressive stupidity.

The thing that always blows my mind about this storyline is that it could probably be remembered as the worst X-Men story ever…except “The Draco” came right after, and achieved such stunning levels of idiocy and outright contempt for the readers that the preceding arc gets overlooked and forgotten.

It’s quite an achievement, writing the worst X-Men story of all time, and then immediately topping yourself. I’m normally not one to hate on writers or artists…the history of comics, or even of the X-Men, is so long and varied that there are plenty of opportunities to say “Well, I didn’t care for it, but I can at least see what he was going for, and some people liked it, so that’s fine.” But Austen’s run was an entirely different dimension of vile.

@Basara — But those Protestants would hardly care who the Pope was or wasn’t. In fact, many pre-Millennial dispensationalists — that is, Rapture-believers — think the Pope and the Catholic Church are instruments of Satan. Note that the Catholic Church is demonized as Satanic by Jack Chick, and that the Pope falls in with the Anti-Christ in popular Rapture fiction like The Late, Great Planet Earth and the Left Behind series.

More to the point, Protestantism may be younger than Catholicism, but both are *much* older than the Rapture. That idea stems from the 19th century teachings of one John Darby, who was associated with the Christian Brethren offshoot called the Plymouth Brethren. The belief was popularized in the United States in the 1910s or so by Cyrus Scofield, a Bible student who included the idea in his widel,y-circulated Study Bible.

But none of it really took off in mainstream culture until the 1970s, when writers of Christian eschatological fiction like Hal Lindsey incorporated it into their ideas about a highly politicized End Times. Today, the Rapture is almost entirely an American Protestant fundamentalist belief, though some Catholics have taken it up as well. This is a significant minority of Catholics, again limited to fundamentalism-friendly American Catholics; official Catholic teaching has a very different view of the End Times. Even though the idea started in Darby’s you will find next to no one in Continental Europe or abroad familiar with Rapture theology *except* as a bizarre “American” or perhaps an English idea. (The English being rather less religious than Americans, most of them don’t velieve in the Rapture either.) Most Catholic officials here feel similarly; several Bishops have written in opposition to the idea, and historically the RCC has followed the position of Augustine of Hippo, who rejected any form of millennialism at all.

In any case, Catholic communion wafers aren’t going to turn up in Protestant churches; Catholic wafers are usually manufactured by nuns and are designed so that a priest can break them apart to consecrate and distribute them. The CoH’s plan here really doesn’t make much sense on any level without a lot of special pleading wherein we assume that people would react against the grain of their usual beliefs. (Come to think of it, if they’re going to disintegrate most of the world’s Catholics, who’s going to be left to *care* who the Pope is?)

@ fraser:

I am not saying that Rape/Revenge is a terrific motivation, just that it exists in the genre. Like anything, I am sure that there are examples of it being done well and examples of it being done poorly. This is just an especially terrible use of the trope.

So, why is it so bad?

Rape is a crime, but what makes it horrifying is its intimacy. Using this trope pretty well demands getting into the POV of the victim. Austen made essentially no effort in that direction. The crime as motivation is handled in exposition by a third party. Worse, the revenge is extremely abstract and gives the impression that the former nun is just crazy. The nameless (!) female antagonist is not getting revenge on the priest who wronged her, but on the entire Church.

Rape/Revenge is is exploitive, but not necessarily sexist. Getting back at someone who has done you wrong is a narrative with a tradition stretching from Hamlet to Kill Bill. In contrast, Rape/Crazy/Revenge is pretty irredeemable. Going crazy under duress is code for weak-mindedness. Depicting female characters as weak-minded has been a hallmark of sexism forever. That concept is toxic.

That is not to say that the motivation is the only hole in Austen’s story. The means is a little dodgy as well. Pulling the image inducer in as a device isn’t terrible, but how Nightcrawler is supposed to leap from (fake) priest to Pope is a little confusing. How a mutant Pope is supposed to be shocking in the Marvel Universe is also a little strained logically.

Finally, the opportunity is difficult to understand. Just who are her followers and why on Earth are they going along with this lunacy? Why do they have special influence within the Catholic Church? I mean, the motive is that this woman was powerless, so how did she acquire so much power so quickly?

Austen doesn’t bother to stitch up his plot holes, because he seems to believe that his MacGuffin is so mind-blowingly awesome that it will stand on its own. In that regard, he has a lot of company in modern comics.

if anyone wants to learn more about American prophecy belief, When Time Shall Be No More is an excellent book on the topic. And thanks to Omar for going into more detail.
So what was “the Draco?”

With all due repsect, the title implies that the comics spotlighted would be endearing in their silliness. There’s nothing endearing about this, because it’s a hateful, misogynist tirade that tries to make an important statement but lacks the nuance or fundamental research to do so.

Let’s say Kurt is somewhere in his 30s. Popes tend to be old, if not elderly (Benedict became Pope at age 77). Was the plan to wait 30-40 years for this scheme to pay off? Does Austen really think popes aren’t carefully vetted? They went back to Benedict’s (mandatory) involvement in the Hitler youth WHEN HE WAS A CHILD. Was the Church just not going to notice the decade(s) Kurt spent as Nightcrawler? FEH.

Austen made me love the over the top soap opera nature of the X-Men. The best part was the fans crying on message boards each month. That was so damn funny.

So Chuck Austen sucks.

What else is new?

Rob’s comment about the timing of this thread and todays events with Benedict are amusing.I said it before and I’ll say it again. Reading only these brief excerpts from both writers the thing that strikes me wrong with both is that we have half a dozen characters or so standing around talking while nothing happens.I like more in depth writing in my comics too,but this is too typical of 80′s/90′s Marvel palaver.Just meaningless chatter that goes on page after page after page.What happened to “it’s Clobbering Time “

Cheers, Orphan.
The story had quite a lot of people fighting (including Polaris going out of her way to murder a few of these “church” guys). I think Brian did great in pulling these pages as it summarizes the strangeness behind the story. There was quite a bit of fighting–a neat splash of Wolverine and Polaris jumping out of the Blackbird while Cyclops fired a blast from the open door. Jean phoenixing somebody. Polaris turning bullets around and murdering the shit out of 10 zealots.

And HEY! Striker’s son from X-2 Jason somehow made it in. I’m sure there was a reason. I don’t remember what.

Brian, seriously, if you want to do more Chuck Austen, I have spare whiskey at the house that needs drinking. I can’t think of anything better to help me through it than Austen.

“Every week, I will spotlight strange but ultimately endearing comic stories”

yeah… as an x-men fan, this was really not “endearing” to me. this is just crap.
the best thing about this story is that it can be safely ignored and forgotten. unlike “the draco”, which permanently messed with nightcrawler and polaris’ origins.

So if Kurt isn’t really a priest, how could he ever become pope? And if they were going to use an image inducer to have him replace an incoming pope, wouldn’t he have to be in on the plot or mind-controlled, in which case why bother to make him think he was a priest for a while?

And most confusing for me, if somebody (writer or editor) didn’t like the idea of Kurt as a priest, why not just not use the character? X-Men had a big enough cast that they could easily drop one guy for a while. Why go to all this trouble?

Boy, am I glad I stopped reading X-Men before this stuff happened.

@joe cavanaugh – But, as we are seeing now in the current X-Men titles, you can’t really replace the character and power set of Nightcrawler so easily.

While I liked when Claremont added Roman Catholicism to Nightcrawler, I wasn’t too keen on making him a priest after the Six-Month Gap that kicked off his second stint on the X-Men. It’s too bad that Austen was the one who tried to extricate Nightcrawler from this character development. While I may share some of his… reservations… about organized religions, I was embarrassed that his lack of an informed opinion was published by Marvel. When casting stones about ignorance, you really need to be sure you are without that sin yourself.

If I remember correctly, Austen first got attention for Code Blue (?) and other ‘street’ level stories. The buzz around him was that he was really good at writing ‘real’ people and writing police and firefighters as ‘real heroes’ (it was not so long since Sept 11, 2001). Part of that buzz came out of Wizard.

Huh, and here I thought he’d gone straight from writing porn comics to writing for DC and Marvel. I’ve never heard of Code Blue. Funny thing is, his porn wasn’t too bad.

With all the tornado chaos here in the past 24 hours, I missed the hoopla about the pope stepping down. Interesting.
Regarding this story… I’ve mostly stayed the hell away from X-Men comics since the early ’90s. When I’ve picked one up on occasion since then, it did nothing to convince me that I had made a mistake in avoiding them. But THIS… everything I’ve seen of Chuck Austen’s run has been on a whole other level of bad. His JLA arc was pretty lousy, but this looks to be far beyond that.

Today’s lesson: NEVER mix religion and comics, especially when the writer is insane.

I think a little bit of my soul died just reading that.

The only Chuck Austen issue that I ever paid for was a 25 cent Uncanny X-Men promo-something. I wanted to find out for myself how bad his X-Men run really was and I didn’t want to pay the full prize for a book. After reading the 25 cent thing I thought I was ripped off.

I always wondered if Pac Man was catholic. He eats wafers.

How ironic…Jubilee almost died on a cross, but she was saved by the blood of (an) Angel, and now she craves blood while crosses can kill her.

is it a coincidence you did this as the REAL pope just announced he’s resigning?

It was an extremely weird coincidence. When I heard the news, I thought, “Wow, that’s one heck of a coincidence.”

As for the endearing aspect of this story, you just need to get past Austen’s intent. Yes, his intent was not a good one, but the execution was so over-the-top silly that the story is still endearing in a sort of “Manos: The Hands of Fate” type of way.

Looks like Brian posted this on February 10, 2013 at 11:46 PM, just before the news of Benedict’s announcement broke. Talk about weird timing.

I remember Austen began doing porn comics ’cause the CBG ran some truly racy covers for them around the late 80′s to early 90′s. Then he took his “animated” style to Disney and began doing Little Mermaid comics. I never sampled his writing until he landed on the Avengers. Since I was dropping the book by then I only browsed through his female Captain Britain arc. I’d seen worse, but this X-Men stuff really takes the cake.

Still, you gotta love lines like “they’ve been feeding me a diet of holy wafers…and they just don’t taste right.” LMAO!

I just realized that the scheme relies on the Church of Humanity managing to contaminate a whole lot of wafers, to the point of being at the very least a major source in several major cities, across denomination boundaries.

Even if they can manage it (they can not), how would they do so without raising suspicions when people notice that churches that make their own wafers (which basically means all of them) are somehow “rapture”-immune?

Are we to believe that the CoH was tainting wheat flour in an impressive scale, yet somehow managing to restrict the effect to communion wafers?

Bad writing, yes.

Chuck Austen’s US War Machine series was pretty good for the most part before he took over X-Men.

As I said in the comments on the linked article I liked the first half of Austen’s X-Men run….

… but anything involving Nightcrawler, Religion or Havok getting back together with Polaris was horrible.

Thanks to everyone who offered Austen explanations. Seems like most agree that it was rampant cronyism based on flimsy performance, coupled with an uncanny ability to jump to another flagship before the previous one sank completely. (See how I worked that awkward metaphor in there? Give me a job, Joe Q.)

Seriously, though, that run was so awful that I totally revised my comic book habit based on it. I stopped being a completist, I dropped almost all the flagship titles (from both Marvel and DC), and I’ve never really gone back. That’s purely anecdotal and specific to me, but I can literally point to that exact X-Men run as the catalyst. I sat there thinking “What the hell IS this and why did I just pay for it?” And this is someone who bought X-Men 98 off a spinner rack in a convenience store and had never missed an issue up to that point.

So, uh, good job there, Mr. Austen.

The worst part of this plan is that Curch of Humanity wouldn’t even need Kurt to begin with. All they would need were a image-inducer and instead of making it fail to reveal that the pope is demon-like, make an actual pope look like he was demon-like or look like he was Nightcrawler.

The only writer who maybe had the talent to write a super-hero priest in any decent way was Claremont, even if that little six month skip into it was lazy writing. Mixing religion and comics in any kind of hardcore way is as much of a good idea as mixing religion and politics — save yourself a headache and DON’T DO IT.

As I understand it, Austen was/is atheist and so his attempt to extricate Nightcrawler from the priesthood was laced with that view — something that ended up offending quite a few people. The whole “there are no such thing as demons or the devil, or angels either, it’s just been immortal mutants all along that gave birth to the idea”. We’re still left with the question in the aftermath of Nightcrawler’s origins, is Azazel a demon or not? If not, then neither is Magik or Belasco, right? There’s only demonic looking mutants, after all.

Putting Kurt Wagner into the priesthood ended up ruining the character. No one wanted to follow up on what Austen did, so he landed right back into the role in theory, if not in truth. His personality was gone, he was only dragged out to be Wolverine’s confessor or to pray now and again. He no longer had depth, complexity, a sense of humour or anything else that had made him compelling. In short, he was wallpaper until Marvel decided they needed a shock death to boost sales in Second Coming, so killed him off. It was a complete and utter waste of a formerly great character.

He was even saddled him with being known only for religion in the film. Marvel can’t seem to write Nightcrawler with his religion as only part of who he was(refer to Daredevil or Kitty Pride), rather it became the whole package. I guess it was too tempting to have someone who looked like a demon but was a man of faith. I hope if/when they return him, they don’t make the same mistake again. At least they avoided making AoA Nightcrawler religious at all, I would guess deliberately.

It makes perfect sense to have atheists in the MU or DCU, where pretty much any religious miracle can be duplicated by metahuman powers. Arguing that it IS an atheistic universe makes no sense because we’ve been shown otherwise too often

People have gone on and on about what a terrible story this is, and the only thing that makes this better than The Draco arc is the art and the fact that it’s shorter (I think). Yes, terrible book made all the worse by the fact that he was writing alongside Grant Morisson, that it made me drop x-men for years. But no one has discussed the worst crime in all this:

Why is Bobby’s outfit so purple? He looks SO. DAMN. STUPID. And he’s wearing his glasses indoors, like Bono. Seriously, bobby, why…?

It was dificult to read Austen’s run on UXM or adj. So I dropped it both times. However I like his idea here, though the execution was kind of poor… God, uxm, compared to nxm at the time was so bad!

That was Iceman? I couldn’t decide whether it was Cyclops or Gambit. Of course, he does use his powers in one of the last panels so I should have guessed, but hey, it doesn’t look like Bobby at all.

Omar: I’ve never seen those “nun-made” communion wafers, even at catholic services (I was a Protestant at a Catholic school in the 70s for a year, and occasionally have been a guest at an aunt’s church); typically they are bought out of catalogues (amazing the reading material you can find in some doctors’ offices). Those were probably a casualty of modern cheap baking companies and health regulations. Even finding NUNS is a rarity anymore in the US, let alone nuns that bake. And, even the wafers could be easily substituted anywhere along the distribution network. Hijack a few trucks, steal the tractors, leave the trailers with apparently their cargo left intact (but in actuality replaced). Who’s gonna even think to question the motives of the hijackers???

That you even bring Jack Chick into the equation shows you have a distorted view of religion to start with. 99% of the rapture believers I know are disgusted by those pamphlets. Hell, I know more SNAKE HANDLERS (seriously!) than I do people who think that Chick publishing had any valid ideas.

The point I was making is that IF a bunch of people suddenly disappeared, it would cause doubt and strife among the non-millenials that maybe they millenials were right – especially since the ones that would be disappearing would be among the more devout. That would shake up hundreds of thousands of congregations, and the effect, if spread over to catholic congregations outside North America, would serve to wipe out the RCC in many areas, further weakening the church.

Again, I’m only trying to point out that the wafer vector is the LEAST awful part of the whole scenario.

Huh, and here I thought he’d gone straight from writing porn comics to writing for DC and Marvel. I’ve never heard of Code Blue. Funny thing is, his porn wasn’t too bad.

Since you quoted me, and for the record, I did not research that post enough before I posted it. The Call Of Duty is the title of the series and mini series that Austen wrote. http://www.atomicavenue.com/atomic/TitleDetail.aspx?TitleID=7998The apparently was a Code Blue, but it had nothing to do with Austen. http://www.atomicavenue.com/atomic/TitleDetail.aspx?TitleID=20824

Kevin

I really liked Chuck Austen’s X-Men. It was actually the only time outside of Whedon’s run on Astonishing that I never missed an issue. But I DID hate THIS story, so there you go.

“They disintegrated him! They activated the wafers he had eaten.” Jesus CHRIST, dude. Really?

Also, he killed Skin, who I liked. So, excuse my language, but y’know… double-fuck that guy.

Basara: Jack Chick is always an extreme example, but I can tell you with confidence that American fundamentalists are often quite anti-Catholic. My high school, a Missouri Synod Lutheran parochial academy, had plenty of instructors who viewed the church about the same way that, well, Martin Luther did.

You’re probably somewhat correct about the effects such a plot might have on real people, at least in the United States. (I’m unconvinced that people elsewhere in the world would be familiar enough with Rapture theology to have the reactions you posit.) I don’t think Austen knew any of that, not least because he gives us Catholic *clergy* who don’t seem to know the Rapture is Protestant doctrine. Have the seminaries gone downhill that much?

More generally, the “Pope Joan” character’s dialogue reads more like a caricature of U.S. fundamentalism — which is typically a branch of evangelical Protestantism — than Catholic theology. The Church of Humanity itself was initially a spoof of people who reject evolutionary biology, for example, but the 20th-century Catholic Church has usually taught that evolution is broadly compatible with the faith. Catholicism strikes me as an unlikely denomination to pursue the CoH’s agenda outside of its most reactionary branches in sub-Saharan Africa. Perhaps American Catholics are close enough to Protestant fundamentalists these days for it to work, but I get the sense that Austen was ignorant of the subtleties we’re all discussing here.

Omar’s quite right. In my Bible belt high school I had several friends who said they’d just become Christian. “What were you before?” “Catholic.”

Don’t forget that Austen said in interviews during his Action Comics run how much he disliked Lois and hoped he could somehow find a way to get Clark and Lana together. Austen made Lois think Clark was cheating on her, which gave us this page:
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_a92LkLDFgAo/SIk66qVvmUI/AAAAAAAAAEQ/NTEslMNb8Kk/s200/Action+Comics+%23822+05.jpg

Back in the Silver Age this would have a great Curt Swan cover with the title “SUPERMAN or SUPER-CHEATER?!?”

How Austen lasted TEN ISSUES on Action Comics with this crap is a mystery to me.

Missouri Synod is a bad example, in that they consider *everyone* who isn’t non-Missouri Synod Lutherans, heretics.

Still CHuck Austin is to Theology what I am to weight loss.

Love reading the comments here! When I first thought about getting back into comics (after the clone saga lead me to dropping them) THIS was the issue I picked up. So needless to say it was a few more years before I came back.

This was a very bad time to be an X-Men fan.

Reading these posts made me look for his reaction…which was, of course, here-

http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=6421

Can’t say it makes me think he was any better a writer, but, uh, he tried?

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