When Amazing X-Men was announced I was under whelmed and quite frankly a little on X-Men overload. But when I saw that Jason Aaron and Ed McGuinness were on the title I immediately added it to my ever-growing list. There was still the lingering doubt whether or not we really needed an additional X book, but much to my relief Amazing X-Men is a welcome addition to the family.
Fans have long clamored to bring back Nightcrawler, and now they get their wish. Aaron’s approach to bringing him back from the dead is methodical and well thought out. It begins with Nightcrawler in Heaven with a heavy heart. He admits, as a man of faith, that it’s everything he believed it would be but he struggles with the unease of unfinished business back on earth. His reflection is short lived with the return of Azazel, in full-blown pirate mode, looking for a fight and Nightcrawler happily obliges. Aaron fuels this battle with plenty of BAMF’s, action and giving it teeth with Nightcrawler’s love of a good sword fight.
Aaron also returns, what many X titles are lacking in, fun and lightheartedness. Bringing an oddly naive Angelica Jones, aka Firestar, into the Jean Grey School gives its characters time to show off the upbeat mixture of characters. This plays right into Aaron’s hands as he does so well on Wolverine and the X-Men: the fighting/flirting of Storm and Wolverine, Bobby’s scolding of an uninvited Warbird into his locked bedroom, and Beast at his most fun since the launch of Marvel NOW! This all leads to the discovery of an infestation of BAMF’s, and the arrival that sets the course for the rest of the arc.
Ed McGuinness is a perfect fit for this title, and Aaron give him plenty to work with here. From the battle in heaven between Nightcrawler and Azazel with its fluid, exaggerated action and detail to a slew of BAMF’s and swordplay is a thing to behold. McGuinness handles it all in stride and precision: to the Jean Grey school and the slew of characters, which can seem crowded and confusing, but McGuinness’ style makes for relative clarity.
My only question is where Firestar fits into this mix and why she’s here. I’m sure Aaron has a plan but for now she seems unnecessary given the crowded group we already have at the school. Overall this is a really fun, entertaining read and Amazing X-Men is off to a great start in Aaron and McGuinness’ capable hands. The return of Nightcrawler was well worth the wait, and I love how Aaron has a much more complex plan for his return rather then explain it away with a time travel or clone simplification. While many of the X-books have been very good, this is a return to the camp, fun and joy an X-Men story can be. It’s well worth your time to pick it up or add it to your pull-list.