Nightcrawler is kind of an odd bird. I love the character, I don’t necessarily like some of the things that have been done with the character. He’s been the ultimate outcast among the X-Men, where many of the team could walk out into normal society and pass for human, he’s never been able to do that. As such, he’s been a poster child of sorts for the mutant discrimination aspect that’s always been a big part of X-Men lore. They’ve also, from time to time, made him a huge religious fanatic, something I pointedly detest, although I can certainly understand it considering his situation. He’s had a 12-issue series though and it’s time to take a look at how it went. Let’s *BAMF* to it.
Nightcrawler was dead. Now he’s not. He returns to the main Marvel universe under the eye of Chris Claremont in a series that feels straight out of the classic 80s X-Men.
One thing that Claremont has always been good at is adding just the right amount of silliness into what could otherwise be a serious story. There are plenty of silly elements that have gathered up around Kurt over the years anyhow, from the BAMFs to his running commentary that can give Spider-Man a run for his money and Claremont plays this series very well, keeping it balanced between the serious and the silly and never letting one go too far. As such, Nightcrawler never feels too heavy or too dark, it isn’t out-and-out farce but it also isn’t too serious and that’s a tone that I really adore. At heart, Kurt is a swashbuckler and throughout most of the series, he’s running with a band of pirates so Nightcrawler could always be swinging a sword around, engaging in witty banter. Now I know that this book was aimed at a slightly younger audience but I never thought that harmed the character or the story, Kurt is a lighter character that isn’t grim and gritty, even on his worst day and that’s exactly how I like him.
Unfortunately, now the series is gone and even though they desperately tried to tie up all of the loose ends, they didn’t do a fantastic job and there are still a lot of open questions that I’d love to see explored sometime. I’m really not sure why the book didn’t sell well, it certainly had a much different look and feel than a lot of X-books but that’s because Nightcrawler is a much different kind of character than a lot of the X-Men. And even though I’m not a fan of Kurt’s religious convictions, they did have a consistent wrapper on the story, where Kurt thought that he was booted out of heaven and returned to earth because his work here wasn’t done. I’m all for consistency.
So, while it wasn’t perfect, it was still an enjoyable read, for me anyhow. Maybe after Secret Wars, they can think about rebooting the title, maybe under a different creative team, one that can make Nightcrawler more exciting for an action-oriented audience while still keeping the elements that make him such a unique character. That would be really nice to see.