Monday, March 9, 2015

Nightcrawler v1: Homecoming TPB

Like many fans my age, I grew up on Chris Claremont X-Men comics. They were just about the apex of my comics experience for years. Eventually, Claremont left and had an eventual triumphant return to the X-titles. The problem was, the books were not good. It certainly seemed that Claremont had lost “it” during his time away. But now, I don’t think that was necessarily the case. That’s because his current run on Nightcrawler shows flashes of that old adventure and fun.

After returning from the dead, Kurt Wagner has some affairs to settle. In addition to taking some time with his X-Men pals, Kurt needs to get in touch with the love of his life, Amanda Sefton. The sorceress is excited to see him, and their reunion goes well, with the exception of repeated attacks by a bunch of weird robots.

The story progresses as Kurt and Amanda meet up with Margoli Szardos, Kurt’s adoptive mother. This leads to a reunion with some low-powered mutants from Nightcrawler’s past. Throughout, Claremont does a nice job re-introducing these older characters for the current audience. I certainly couldn’t remember Margoli or Amanda’s status quo, so I appreciate the reintroduction.

Things do get a bit chaotic and confusing as the story returns to the Jean Grey School. It makes me wonder if Claremont’s greater strength is with solo characters. The best emotional beats and most dramatic moments are all centered on Nightcrawler. The interpersonal drama with the greater X-team isn’t quite as strong.

Todd Nauck’s art is deceptively simplistic. It seems to be so cartoony and elementary, but it tells the story so well. The characters are all on model and the action is well set up. I think the Chris Samnee covers are stunning, which sort of hurts the interior pencils. That doesn’t mean the interiors are weak, but man, imagine seeing Samnee’s Nightcrawler every month.

This is a FAIR comic. It doesn’t affect the greater Marvel U or even the X-Universe, but as a solo feature, this is a fun book. I wish Claremont could have kept this as more of a team-up title; I think that was the strength of the series. 

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