Friday, June 6, 2014

I Reads You Review: NIGHTCRAWLER #1


WRITER: Chris Claremont
ARTIST: Todd Nauck
COLORS: Rachelle Rosenberg
LETTERS: VC’s Cory Petit
COVER: Chris Samnee with Matthew Wilson
VARIANT COVERS: Chris Samnee with Matthew Wilson; Humberto Ramos with Edgar Delgado
28pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (June 2014)

Rated T+

Nightcrawler (also known as Kurt Wagner) is a Marvel Comics superhero character and is best known as a member of the X-Men.  Nightcrawler was created by writer Len Wein and the late artist Dave Cockrum, and the character debuted in Giant-Size X-Men #1 (cover dated: May 1975).

Nightcrawler is a mutant and his most obvious power is the ability to teleport across short or long distances.  He also possesses superhuman agility and adhesive three-fingered hands and two-toed feet.  He has indigo or blue-colored fur (which allows him to blend into shadows), yellow eyes, pointed ears, and a prehensile tail.

Nightcrawler has appeared in numerous X-Men and related publications, including the 1980s and 90’s series, Excalibur.  He has been the star of two miniseries and a short-lived ongoing series.  Nightcrawler was killed off in X-Force (Vol. 3) #26 (cover dated:  April 2010), which was part of the X-Men: Second Coming crossover publishing event.

Nightcrawler recently returned to the Marvel Comics land of the living.  Now, there is a new Nightcrawler ongoing comic book series from the creative team of writer Chris Claremont, artist Todd Nauck, colorist Rachelle Rosenberg and letterer Cory Petit.

Nightcrawler #1 opens at the Jean Grey School of Higher Learning.  In the Danger Room, where the X-Men hone their skills, Nightcrawler engages Wolverine in a fierce one-on-one battle session.  Storm, Beast, and Dr. Cecelia Reyes watch.  Nightcrawler is also having a difficult time with his new surroundings, especially a school full of strange, new mutant students.  Nightcrawler travels to Manhattan to visit his longtime girlfriend, the witch Amanda Sefton.  But a normal romantic evening is not to be – not for an X-Man.

Chris Claremont is not credited as a creator of Nightcrawler.  He has written the character longer than anyone else, and he was the first to write the character extensively.  So Claremont is practically Nightcrawler’s father and co-creator, but you could not tell that judging by Nightcrawler #1 alone.

It is not a bad read.  This is just mostly nothing.  It is as if Claremont’s creative engine has not only run out of fuel, but has also simply worn down from overuse.  Even if it could be re-energized, I wonder if Claremont’s imagination could ever deliver the X-Men stories he once did.  Lord, how I hope that I am wrong.

I cannot explain exactly, but I think that Nightcrawler #1 would be different if Marvel were not publishing so many X-Men comic book series.  I think Claremont would have more leeway in what he could do with this character and this series without having to work around all the other X-books.  I hope for better because I really looked forward to this new Nightcrawler comic book series.  I love the character, and I love Claremont writing the X-Men.

Even Todd Nauck’s art is uninspired.  It is like a step down from what he has done before now.  My review grade is generous.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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