REVIEW: ‘Giant-Size X-Men: Nightcrawler,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Giant Sized Nightcrawler 1

Giant-Size X-Men: Nightcrawler #1, written by Jonathan Hickman, illustrated by Alan Davis, colored by Carlos Lopez, and lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles, with a story by Hickman and Davis,  is published by Marvel Comics. Nightcrawler travels with Eye Boy, Magik, and Cypher to the abandoned Xavier Institute, where Krakoa has “sensed” mutant activity. However, during their mission, they are haunted by ghosts from the past, both figurative and literal.

The Giant-Size X-Men series is meant to serve as a spotlight for the titular mutant while pushing forward the overarching narrative Hickman begun with House of X and Powers of X. But, Giant-Size X-Men: Nightcrawler #1 focuses less on Nightcrawler and more on development concerning Cypher. In fact, he is the one who ultimately solves the mystery behind the “haunting” of the Xavier Institute. Since Nightcrawler is the title character, he should be the key focus of the issue.

Despite that, Hickman manages to craft a compelling story in thirty-six pages. He leans more towards mystery/horror than outright super heroics with this issue, presenting former X-Man Thunderbird as a shadowy presence and pulling from other elements of X-Men canon, particularly the Chris Claremont era. Cypher even makes a caustic remark about the “idiot who touches something he shouldn’t” in horror films. And as all good mysteries should do, there are clues strewn throughout the issue that ultimately make more sense when you go back and re-read it. Given Hickman’s tendency to set up seeds for future storylines, the developments here will more than likely come into play down the line.

Giant-Size X-Men: Nightcrawler #1

Davis, who drew the X-Men, and more specifically, Nightcrawler during the original Excalibur comic, returns for this one-shot and his art remains stellar. Giant-Size X-Men: Nightcrawler #1 opens with a page detailing the ruin the Xavier Institute has fallen into. Vines grow around Cerebro, the Danger Room, and the Headmaster’s office; and the entire first floor of the mansion has grown into a literal forest. With only one page, Davis manages to instill a sense of dread into the reader. Hickman has worked with several talented artists before, both with the X-Men books and with creator-owned titles such as Decorum. To see him continue that tradition with a living legend like Davis is a treat.

Davis also adds to the mystery/horror elements of the book, particularly where Thunderbird and Rachel Grey are concerned. They are shown mostly in shadows, with their faces obscured. And in traditional horror form, it turns out there’s a monster living in the mansion — several monsters in fact. Davis shows this in a flashback where Nightcrawler confronts Rachel, showing her falling down to the bottom of the page. Lopez’s used orange and red in this sequence lends a hellish and horrific vibe to the flashback.

Giant-Size X-Men: Nightcrawler #1 boasts a compelling story and strong art, but does not focus on its titular character as much as it should. I feel like this book could have used a few more tweaks to center on Kurt as a character, but the deep cuts from X-Men lore and the mystery at play were definitely a plus.

Giant-Size X-Men: Nightcrawler #1 is available wherever comics are sold.

Giant Sized X-Men Nightcrawler #1
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TL;DR

Giant-Size X-Men: Nightcrawler #1 boasts a compelling story and strong art, but does not focus on its titular character as much as it should. I feel like this book could have used a few more tweaks to center on Kurt as a character, but the deep cuts from X-Men lore and the mystery at play were definitely a plus.