“The Quest for Nightcrawler” continues, but everyone’s favorite fuzzy blue elf doesn’t take much paneltime in “Amazing X-Men” #2, written by Jason Aaron and drawn by Ed McGuinness. That works to everyone’s advantage, intensifying the suspense surrounding the X-Men as they try to figure out where they are and how to reconnect with their lost team members.
Having already written Wolverine’s adventures in Hell, Jason Aaron puts the claw-wielding Canuck on righteous ground in Heaven, smack dab in the middle of an invasion from demon pirates (or maybe pirate demons). Playing two subplots against the larger main story thrust, Aaron sends Northstar alongside Wolverine into Heaven while Storm, Firestar and Iceman journey to Hell. Neither group is really certain what they’re doing in their newly found environments, but each finds plenty of conflict and action to keep “Amazing X-Men” #2 rolling along. Aaron teases out just enough of each character’s personality to identify them clearly for the readership and through the characters manages to squeeze in some battlefield humor and more than a couple surprises.
With Ed McGuinness on art chores, the visuals are always bigscreen fun. Dexter Vines’ inks are nearly inseparable from McGuinness’ line work and the pair delivers wonderful visuals like surprised Bamfs flinging through the air and an enraged Ororo Munro fighting for her very life. Most of the artwork is constructed in traditional panel arrangement, with a solid helping of frame-busting going on throughout “Amazing X-Men” #2. The artwork finds the same note Aaron’s story is singing and harmonizes like a well-rehearsed holiday choir. The bright colors from Marte Gracia complete the visual throwback of this comic, giving it an instant classic feel and making it exactly the thing X-Men fans are sure to latch on to and enjoy.
As a fan of Aaron’s work on “Thor: God of Thunder” and “Wolverine and the X-Men,” I had no doubt I’d be in line to snatch up “Amazing X-Men,” especially with the larger-than-life, bombastically animated artwork of “Hulk” and “Nova” veteran Ed McGuinness. Aaron and crew up the ante by making the story in “Amazing X-Men” #2 an adventure of an afterlifetime while inserting character bits that makes this fan of “Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends” smile. There aren’t a whole lot of fun, boisterous comic books out there — especially not those that send their characters, literally, to Hell. “Amazing X-Men” #2 manages to be fun, despite the settings and delivers a comic book full of hope and excitement. I just wish I didn’t have to wait so long for more.