Comic Review – Age Of X-Man: The Amazing Nightcrawler #1

The Amazing Nightcrawler #1 CoverHis name is Kurt Wagner, but in the Munich circus, he was known as The Incredible Nightcrawler!

That was in a different world, though.

Now, his name is still Kurt Wagner, but in the Hollywood Hills, he is known as The Amazing Nightcrawler! He’s also known as that in many other places around the world. For not only is Kurt Wagner one of the world’s most famous superheroes – he’s also one of the world’s most famous actors!

Kurt is used to difficult balancing acts from his years as an acrobat, but even he has trouble managing his responsibilities as an X-Man and his generation’s answer to Errol Flynn. Good thing he has a strong support network and two telepathic assistants (Irma and Celeste) to help him manage all the gala openings, charity balls and breaks from filming to go save the world for real. Despite this, Kurt is still a down-to-earth guy, who delights in using his celebrity and wealth to make other people’s dreams come true.

The problem with being a man who wants for nothing is that you also have everything to lose. For Kurt Wagner has a secret that threatens even his high position. And after one night in which instinct overrides reason, everything Nightcrawler has is in jeopardy! 

As a character-study, Age of X-Man: The Amazing Nightcrawler #1 is a fantastic piece of work. If you’ve never encountered Kurt Wagner before, this book shows you everything you need to know about him. And if you’re already a fan of Nightcrawler, it’s great fun to see him in a new environment, in a world outside of the mainstream Marvel Comics reality where he’s happy, not having to hide who he is and getting to be a superhero AND a silver-screen swashbuckler.

As a continuation of the story of Age of X-Man, this issue leaves a lot to be desired. Nothing is said about the world of Age of X-Man and just why the idea of two twin sisters socializing is so scandalous or why physical and romantic love are now outlawed.  While it’s safe to assume that most of the people picking this series up have already read Age of X-Man Alpha, it still bothers me on some level when a Marvel Comic violates Stan Lee’s First Law – write every issue as if it were someone’s first comic, because it might be. There’s not even a summary box on the title page, which is a problem given the ending of the issue.

While the story itself may be inelegant as part and parcel of the larger event, the artwork is gracefully and exquisitely unfurled from page to page. Juan Frigeri’s design for Nightcrawler is fantastic, subtly suggesting his agility in every panel and showcasing it clearly as he moves around. The color art by Dono Sanchez-Almara is also well done, with Kurt’s eyes seeming to glow upon the page.

Age of X-Man: The Amazing Nightcrawler #1 displays a sense of fun rarely seen in modern comics. Unfortunately, it seems this spirit will be largely absent from the issues to come. It’s a shame, because the brief glimpse we get of a a mutant-run movie studio shows a lot of imagination. I’d personally much rather see a series focused on that idea rather than another grim future dystopia featuring Marvel’s mutants. Still, as a character-focused story on Nightcrawler, this is one fantastic comic.

8/10

Age of X-Man: The Amazing Nightcrawler #1 releases on February 20, 2019!

Written by The Critic The Internet Deserves, but not the one it needs right now…. Matt Morrison. He’s a smart-ass guardian. A sarcastic protector. A Snark Knight.

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