Saturday, 15 February 2014


And we have some Nightcrawler news! Quite a bit is happening with the fuzzy elf of late. In fact, his fans have suddenly been propelled from famine to feast! He's starring in a new series, Amazing X-Men, penned by Jason Aaron with Ed McGuinness on art and, as of April, will be in his own self-titled solo, written by the legendary Chris Claremont with Todd Nauck illustrating!

The Jean Grey School has been bombarded with bamfs -- little mischievous Nightcrawler miniatures -- since its inception, to the amusement of many readers. The bamfs steal Logan's whiskey, eat the flowers from Ororo's garden, start food fights, act as impromptu, chaotic substitute teachers, hang all over Kitty and generally help to make life at the JGS very interesting. They aren't all nuisance, though, as they've also helped defend the school a time or two. Recently, these little pests have been discovered to have a purpose and a secret agenda of their own. Hidden within the JGS, they've built a portal.  As readers soon learn, they've been sent by none other than Nightcrawler himself, beyond the land of the living,  Now, they've lured the X-Men into a new adventure to help their lost but never forgotten friend in Amazing X-Men.

The series has started off with an emotional bang.

AXM #1

It opens with a flashback of Kurt in the afterlife. He's looking out over the horizon, and plagued by a feeling of things left undone, though he knows he should be enjoying his eternal reward. He finds out soon enough that his misgivings are entirely justified when Azazel, Kurt's demonic father, shows up on the scene.

Azazel has always been ambitious. When he originally appeared, his aim was to takeover the earth and Kurt thwarted him, with help from the X-Men. Now, Azzy is aiming even higher. He wants to control all the realms and first on his list to conquer is Heaven itself. With his demon pirate crew, he's been stealing souls from the heavenly realm to build an army. Kurt is understandably horrified and vows to stop his father, but Azazel taunts him with an unpleasant, niggling little fact -- Kurt's dead. What can he do?

AXM #1

AXM #1

As it turns out, quite a lot, provided he's willing to make the sacrifice. Kurt may be dead, but he's still a hero, and there's no way he's letting dear old dad get away with this. If it means he has to give up his place in the afterlife to stop it, then so be it. Nightcrawler doesn't fall from grace; he jumps.

However, he knows he can't do it alone. He needs the help of his friends. 

AXM #1

The X-Men, having no clue yet who really sent the bamfs, are sucked into a portal leading to the afterlife and soon discover that they're in for the fight of their lives.

Aaron has brought out some vintage characterization in this series so far, as well as real heart. The narration from Nightcrawler, and his commentary on these people he cares so much for, is being used to very good effect. 

Readers are reminded why Storm was considered a goddess. It had little to do with her powers and everything to do with her indomitable will.

AXM #2

We see Iceman and what he's truly capable of. We all know him to be the one ever ready with a joke, often eschewing responsibility when he can, but when push comes to shove, he's there for his friends.

AXM #2
Northstar is the one quickest to go to anyone's aid, whatever the cost.

AXM #2
And Logan...Wolverine is the one who'll never give up, especially where his best friend is concerned.

AXM #4
This book is a perfect blend of action and heart. We have fast-paced, swashbuckling adventure with the rather unusual element of demonic pirates (pirates being a classic Kurt Wagner element), but Aaron doesn't let us forget the underlying essence of the team -- they are a group of people who genuinely care for one another. This is like Pirates of the Caribbean for comics.

AXM #3

Amazing X-Men is so much more than the return of Nightcrawler. It's also been a return, for many, to the family feeling of the X-Men. I can only speak for myself, but this is something I've sorely missed in recent years. 

Aaron's writing has been inspired so far, and McGuinness' art brings the series to breathtaking light.

As if this golden book wasn't enough for fans, we've recently learned that, in April, Herr Wagner's calender will be even more full when Chris Claremont, the man responsible for launching the X-Men to fame,  returns once again to the fold to write a Nightcrawler on-going solo!

Nightcrawler #1

We've only gotten hints to the content as yet. We know Kurt and Logan will be out in the world, in what appears to be something of a  'buddy book format', and that Kurt will be coming to terms with all that's changed in his absence. From Schism -- the fracturing of Xavier's dream and the X-Men just after Kurt's death -- to his best friend's complete turnaround, from AvX and the mutant gene being reignited, to the death of Xavier, from Hank bringing the original five X-Men out of time and into the present and risking the fabric of reality to Kitty's apparent abandonment of her friends to join Cyclops' revolution, there are plenty of changes for him to take in. This is a vastly different landscape than the one he left behind. If Claremont is writing, there's no doubt it will be an epic adventure.

The incredibly talented Todd Nauck is on art and from what I've seen so far, this will be a treat in and of itself!

B&W preview art for Nightcrawler by Todd Nauck