X-Men Origins: Nightcrawler #1

Story by
Art by
James Harren, Cary Nord
Colors by
Chris Sotomayor
Letters by
Dave Sharpe
Cover by
Marvel Comics

Thirty pages of a reinterpreted and enhanced origin of everyone's favorite fuzzy blue elf, and three pages of reprinted material from Nightcrawler's first appearance in "Giant Size X-Men" #1. Oddly enough, the three pages outweigh the thirty. The passion and fury that was present in the original tale of the village coming after Kurt Wagner with torches carries a lot more weight than a circus owner and his thugs chasing down a mistreated refugee.

This story is not without its merits, however, as the revisionist origin story deepens what we never knew (nor asked to know) about the early days of Nightcrawler. We all knew he was abused in his life at the circus. We didn't know how it affected the rest of his family though. Rarely have we been given panel time of Kurt's foster mother serving in the role of mother. This issue does little to advance her beyond more than a plot device, however, and her fate is left undefined in this issue.

The art for this issue is split, with Cary Nord drawing the first two-thirds of the story before relenting to James Harren in the final third. Nord's artwork is subtle and subdued through the colors of Chris Sotomayor, but those same colors make Harren's art look murky and less refined. Harren's work is nowhere near as polished as Nord's and that is quite evident when Kurt has his foot to the throat of Herr Getmann. Sotomayor does a good job holding the book together for the most part, but as a reviewer, I check the credit boxes and tend to keep my eyes open for a shift in style, anatomy, and composition. All three occur in the handoff in this issue. Harren shows promise, but has the misfortune of sharing a book with a truly masterful draftsman.

This issue gives us the chance to discover teleporting right alongside Nightcrawler. His amazement is supposed to carry over to the reader, but falls short, as the entirety of this issue does. I'm pleased to be able to read a comic that focuses on Nightcrawler, and Nightcrawler alone, but this is a story for the most passionate, open-minded fans of Nightcrawler. Pedestrian X-fans might not be as enthused by this reconfigured tale of yesteryear.

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