Nightcrawler #1 (Comics Review)

Last year Marvel launched Amazing X-Men, which brought back Kurt Wagner aka Nightcrawler back to life from years of being dead. The first arc of the new series pretty much dealt with the blue elf coming back to the world of the living after fighting with his demonic father Azazel, and now the character is back again and starring in another series. Nightcrawler has been among my favourite X-Men for a long time and it was great to see him get to star in Amazing X-Men, and now with his own title, I think it is a great time to be a Nightcrawler fan.

The new series is written by X-Men veteran Chris Claremont, who has written some stellar X-Men stories over the years and has a long, long history with these characters and with the entire franchise as well. His return to writing X-Men comics is off to a really good start I’d say, as he begins to acclimate Kurt to being alive again and returning to the Xavier school as a teacher this time, on Ororo’s recommendation. Todd Nauck, who does the pencils, turns in a fairly good as well, although there were some aspects of it that I didn’t quite like.

Nightcrawler 01This issue is about Kurt getting used to life as an X-Man once again. We start off the issue with Nightcrawler and Wolverine going at each other during a training session in the Danger Room, which quickly gets out of hand, and then we move on to a great sequence where Kurt rebonds as a friend with Rachel Grey, and then we see him reconnecting with someone who appears to be an old love interest, who also happens to be in a bit of a tough spot.

Throughout this issue, Chris Claremont really nails Nightcrawler’s voice I think, whether we talk about the blue elf’s dialogue or his internal monologue, which provides the narration framework for the entire story. Claremont takes his time, to get the reader and Nightcrawler get used to each other and he starts things low-key, or as much low-key as it is possible to get when you are talking about the X-Men. The character drama and the character development in the middle of the issue deserves high marks, because it is not often that we get to see something like that. The life of the X-Men is generally all about intensity and reacting to the threats and actions of an endless host of supervillains. So it is rare to see two of the team members just sitting down to have a heartfelt chat about the old times.

There’s a fair bit of a mystery going on in the final third of the book, and that I think provides the hook for this first arc on the new series. Seeing Kurt reconnect with an old friend was fun, but it would have helped if we had been provided some narrative background on the character. I felt quite lost since I only started reading X-Men comics very recently and thus don’t know about a ton of the characters. But there’s clearly some history here and that’s fine with me. The series explores a very different side to Kurt Wagnar, and that’s great in and of itself.

If there’s one thing that I would criticize the story on it is that it moves too slow. Despite the excellent character drama in the middle, the issue is not as well-paced as I’d like it to be. In fact, it is too slow I think, and that is something that could easily be improved upon, if we focused less on the not as important things here.

On the art, we have Todd Nauck doing all the heavy-lifting in all the roles, with Chris Samnee doing that almost-classic style cover for the debut issue of the new series. I’m very surprised that Todd is doing so much of the work, which isn’t something you see everyday. Even Phil Noto, who’s doing all the work on the gorgeous Black Widow is working with a letterer. Not so the case here it seems. Some of the characterwork here is a bit stiff and the dialogue can sometimes be a bit stilted as well, but overall the art is fairly good, and it has some measure of consistency as well, which is pretty invaluable.

I likd this first issue, but it could certainly be better, and I’m still waiting for there being a strong hook to keep me interested for the next issues as well.

Rating: 8/10

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Posted on April 10, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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