This series has been teased for months now within Wolverine and the X-Men, even before its official announcement. The first storyline is all about Nightcrawler’s return, which is sure to excite his many fans. Also on the team include Firestar, a newcomer to the X-Men, Storm, Beast, Iceman, Northstar and of course, Wolverine. Sounds like a recipe for a great X-Men book.
Written by Jason Aaron, Amazing X-Men wastes no time in re-introducing Nightcrawler. He’s in heaven. His scenes work fairly well, as he’s enjoying paradise but often misses his adventures with his fellow mutants. And then Azazel just had to show up. For those who don’t know, Azazel was introduced in one of Chuck Austin’s many controversial X-Men stories as Nightcrawler’s demonic father. It’s not worth blaming Aaron for creating him, but even referencing him will turn off some people. The plot of Heaven under attack could be interesting, but it’s not very well explained yet. It’s also hard to believe that a single demonic entity and his misfit thugs would stand a chance amongst the legions of angels.
The rest of the comic takes place in the Jean Grey School, mostly from Firestar’s perspective. This is where the quality starts to slip. Aaron’s other X-Men series, Wolverine and the X-Men, is very polarizing with its constant zany humour and lack of character focus. Some of that humour finds its way into this issue, although it’s thankfully toned down. With all the jokes and craziness being thrown around, the comic sometimes feels like too much of a sitcom. The comic again improves once it starts focusing on the plot again, but it spends too much time screwing around that it kills the pacing. There’s also a pointless Emma Frost insult, once again suggesting that Jason Aaron hates her character (though he denies this in interviews).
While the writing quality is a little inconsistent, the art is always good. Heaven appears to be a pleasant place, even without any mansions in sight. The art within the school does a good job at conveying the chaos, and every character is easily recognizable. On that front, the costume detail and facial expressions are both very well drawn and coloured. The bamfs actually look cute in this comic, when they usually look like ugly mini-nightcrawlers in WATXM.
This comic is adequate enough. It could have used less sitcom material, but it sets up the premise fairly well. If you’re anxiously waiting for Nightcrawler’s return, this is at least worth reading. Personally, I’m still undecided whether I’ll pick up the next issue or not. It’s certainly better than WATXM has been lately though, and hopefully future issues will be better. Jason Aaron can write very well – just look at his Thor series. As someone who likes Nightcrawler, I hope he’ll bring some of that skill to Amazing X-Men in the future.