It’s official – Nightcrawler’s back in the main Marvel Earth. And while it’s good to see him back, well … too bad this comic is mediocre at best. This is Amazing X-Men 5.
Jason Aaron’s characterization of Nightcrawler is probably the best part of this comic. He still has his caring, adventurous personality. His interactions with the others are well written, although brief in most cases. While I’m not yet sure how I feel about the personal cost of his return, I’m glad there was a cost. Returning without any consequence to himself would feel cheap. There’s also a brief cameo from Professor Xavier that worked alright. The action was fun as well, especially the all too short teleporting swordfight, but that’s really where the positives end.
Another result of this comic’s ending has to do with Azazel, who is now stuck on Earth. So you’re telling us that a character from what many consider the worst X-Men story in history may now be a regular villain? Thanks (that’s sarcastic in case you were wondering). There’s also a silly line where Warbird has to be reminded which of the bamfs are on their side. We X-Men fans can be pretty smart Aaron, stop making characters look stupid; stop talking down to us.
There’s also one specific moment that’s really troublesome. At one point, Azazel stabs wolverine through from behind. The sword protrudes straight through to the center of the chest, which almost makes it look as though Wolverine was stabbed very close to the spine. Without his healing factor, wouldn’t that cause some serious nerve damage? Either way, wouldn’t that destroy some of his vitals and kill him pretty quickly? He doesn’t have his healing abilities anymore, yet that very evening he’s walking around as if nothing happened. Meanwhile in the Battle of the Atom crossover, he was stabbed and spent the rest of the story in recovery. It’s just hard to take, regardless of what kind of medicine they have at the school.
While the writing is mediocre, the art is good for the most part. It’s bright and colourful and has a bit of a cartoony feel that fits the mood perfectly, although it might not be in everyone’s taste. The action is easy to follow. The 2-page spread with Nightcrawler and Azazel teleporting around as the others fight pirates is simply grand. Xavier’s eyebrows look a bit odd to me in his cameo though; it’s kind of hard to explain and it’s not really a flaw – just saying.
This is only worth recommending to those who really want to read Nightcrawler’s return. Otherwise, its problems weigh down enough on the good elements that it adds up to being mediocre. I haven’t decided whether I’m picking up issue six or not, but either way its Jason Aaron’s last issue on the title. Afterward, Kathryn Immonen writes one issue, and then Craig Kyle and Chris Yost take over. They haven’t worked together for an ongoing since X-Force volume 3, and that was the first X-Men team book I ever read in completion. I’m so looking forward to this.
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It was Warbird, not Storm, who needed to be reminded of which colour Bamf to kill. And it does kinda make sense for her.
This was kinda meh. I think I’m just not a big enough Nightcrawler fan for this to be a big deal for me. Nightcrawler fans are obvviously going to jizz themselves over this story, since it brought him back from the dead. (I was pretty psyched at the story that brought Kitty back from her giant bullet, so I’m not bashing Kurt fans.) But for me, it just didn’t mean that much, so the rest of the story didn’t do much for me.
And also, come on, Aaron, two teleporters with swords. How do you not spend several pages showing that fight? How do you end that fight that fast? Lame. So, so lame. That’s probably the biggest missed opportunity of the whole story.
Hopefully, Azazel’s presence on Earth isn’t followed up on. If we’re lucky, maybe someone will just kill the loser off. Maybe Mystique and Nightcrawler will clash after she shoots Azazel in the head and kills him, for all time.
Whoops. Even so, it still feels to me like Jason Aaron is talking down to his audience, which kept happening during this story. Characters not figuring out they’re supposed to be in Hell, even though many of them have seen it (or similar dimensions) before and it’s pretty clear anyway. The whole time it felt like I was several steps ahead of the characters, and for superheroes as experienced as they are, that shouldn’t happen.
I’m not quite a Nightcrawler fan, but I like him enough that I’m glad he’s back. And I agree, the prospect of Azazel being killed off in a non-eventful way would be great.
As far as characters having been to Hell – Firestar went to a Hell during the Marvel Divas mini. Specifically, Daimon Hellstrom’s Hell. So of them all, she actually had the least reason to feel out of place there.
… and people complain about Bendis ignoring continuity.