Age Of X-Man: The Amazing Nightcrawler # 5 // Review
Nightcrawler might have a child. There might be some concern about his love life...especially given the fact that in the Age of X-Man love isn’t exactly okay. As the world fabricated by X-Man begins to crumble around him, Kurt Wagner has a lot on his plate in the fifth and final issue of The Amazing Nightcrawler. Writer Seanan McGuire manages her best issue of the series yet illustrated by Juan Frigeri. The Age of X-Man multi-miniseries event continues to draw to a close as the most famous member of the X-Men in the alternate reality struggles with a life that isn’t real.
Kurt Wagner is confronted with a lot in the final pages. He’s looking after a little girl who looks A LOT like him. Revelations begin to filter-in around the edges of awareness as a couple of very intense interactions including one deep within his own mind and another with the woman he loves, thus bringing matters closer to the hearty for a man living a false life in a world where love has been outlawed. Nightcrawler has a lot of decisions to make in a very dramatic final issue of Kurt Wagner’s latest mini-series.
Seanan McGuire pens a powerfully dark bittersweet ending for The Age of X-Man event. Confronted by those who hunt him, Kurt rushes away to have a conversation with a telepathic hive mind named Cuckoo. She’s soberingly critical of Kurt in a way that only a telepath could be. McGuire balances this against a conversation with Kurt’s lover Meghan. McGuire swiftly brings love and duty into sharp relief in a par of conversations that manage to be a really satisfying end to a series that hasn’t always been the most satisfying.
Frigeri brings a fantastic sense of drama to the page. Given the dialogue and the overall lack of action in the issue, this one could have easily felt very, very flat and encumbered by dialogue balloons. Frigeri man ages to capture some really interesting moments with just the right angle and shadow. The conversation between lovers floating in the air in open embrace is a particularly powerful visual that isn’t oversold. With Megan and Kurt’s embrace in the air as with so many other moments, Frigeri lets the power of the moment speak for itself without reaching to hard to find the fantasy in the drama. While this works, for the most part, Frigeri could have done more to sell the jarring cuts between scenes brought about by Kurt’s teleportation. Sudden changes in scenery could have been much more intense. The ending might have had much more impact if Frigeri could have found some way to give the conclusion to the series a bit more visual impact as well.
McGuire’s work here feels a bit stifled by the massive superstructure of the Age of X-Man event. In Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider she’s got much more leeway to do whatever the hell she wants...a situation which allows her to develop nuanced humor and drama in very clever ways. She’s easily one of the best writers working for Marvel right now. It’s too bad that she had to be hampered by the event that this series is a part of. McGuire could be great with Nightcrawler if she was given just a bit more room to develop her own story.