Sunday, May 01, 2005

Nightcrawler 1 - 6

When Marvel did their big "X-Men: Reloaded" thingermabob last year I knew that in the glut of crap that was going to be dumped on the shelves there would probably be a title or two that turned out to be good. Two of those, Astonishing X-Men and District X I have been reading and thoroughly enjoying. The only other new title from the Reloaded event that I took a chance on was Nightcrawler's solo series and I am quite glad that I did.

Instead of this being just your average, paint by number, superhero book about one of a myriad of X-Men, Nightcrawler's book took on a definitively supernatural tone, which was a welcome surprise. I honestly expected nothing more than Nightcrawler teleporting around fighting bad guys for a few issues until Marvel pulled the plug on it. Out of all the solo series launched during the reload, Nightcrawler's series was the first to be cancelled... err, put on hiatus (it is coming back this summer, suprisingly). This didn't bode well for the book so I put off reading it, which is a shame.

In the first four issues, Nightcrawler is asked to investigate the murder of 13 dead children in a state establishment. One child who was present when the others were killed still lived, but he refused to talk. It is later revealed that the child is naturally gifted with the knowledge of magic. Upon finding this out, Nightcrawler pays a visit to Magik, who resides in limbo with two giant, homosexual snakes. While they work to figure out the mystery, Nightcrawler will encounter demons, a spontaneously combusting man, and more. As campy or cliched as this may sound, it is actually a very well written superhero/horror mix.

The last two issues of this arc has Nightcrawler examining the appearance of ghosts in the New York subway system. From the outset of this story you can pretty much guess where it is going, the ghosts' motivations, and how it will be resolved. Even so, it is still a decent read and for readers who haven't read comics for years and years, this will be a refreshing supernatural tale featuring the world's favorite teleporting half-demon.

I really hope that when Nightcrawler returns to store shelves with issue 7, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa will keep the focus on the supernatural as I feel it is a good fit for the book. Darick Robertson's pencils are not overly stupendous, but they are a treat for the eyes. His rendition of some of the demons in the first few issues were spectacular, however. Give Robertson a horror book and I'll buy it in a second as I think he is well suited for that type of book. All in all, this turned out to be one of the better series to come out of Marvel's X-Men: Reloaded event and I'm glad I gave it a chance.

Art: 3.5
Story: 4
Overall: 3.75

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