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January 22. Today is our birthday, Martians. And there’s nothing more poignant than sharing the moment of birth – especially if what’s being born is a hideous mutant! Let’s have a look at the conception and birth scene of X-Men‘s Nightcrawler. Writer Chuck Austen reveals Mystique as Nightcrawler’s mom!

Sean Phillips rocks the artwork on Nightcrawler’s birth. This sets the stage for even more mind-blowing artwork by Phillip Tan in the Draco storyline, where we learn more about Nightcrawler’s demonic dad. Phillip Tan did the cover for this issue. Tan would stay on the book for too short a time. We really dig his style: distinctive, detailed, and over-the-top.

Let us defend Chuck Austen’s run on Uncanny X-Men (#410-443) and X-Men (#155-164) for a moment, because we’ve read too many negative reviews of this work. Austen made the X-men a great book again. He took the characters in interesting directions with a fresh perspective. We skipped a lot of X-books before and after, but read and re-read Austen’s run many times. We’d say it was the best writing X-Men had received in over a decade. It’s awesome!

Collector’s Guide:
– From Uncanny X-Men #428