Giant-Size X-Men: Nightcrawler #1 Review

by Harlan Ivester on March 24, 2020

Story & Words: Jonathan Hickman
Story & Art: Alan Davis
Colorist: Carlos Lopez
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Marvel Comics

            After the excellent seventh issue of Jonathan Hickman’s X-Men, the bar had certainly been raised regarding the upcoming Giant-Size X-Men: Nightcrawler #1. Those hoping for more of his specific take on the character might be a little disappointed, however. This issue is very plot-focused, with little room for character insight. That isn’t a bad thing, but more on that later – expectations might need to be adjusted, is all. Perhaps many will know what they’re getting into, if Giant-Size X-Men: Jean Grey & Emma Frost #1 was anything to go by. Anywho, this issue follows Nightcrawler and friends investigating some funny business at the X-mansion. That’s about all I can say without getting into spoilers. It is interesting/exciting/entertaining. I just can’t help but feel like a story with Nightcrawler’s name in the title maybe should have given him a little more room to shine. Still, I can’t say that you won’t get your money’s worth. A lot happens here, and it’s obvious that it’s going to be important down the line, as is everything with Hickman. It goes without saying, again, that he writes all of the characters well, no matter their role.

            Alan Davis gets to show off his skills in horror. The body horror is cool and all, but I really love what he does with the borders. He cleverly uses a back-and-forward motion in the paneling to convey uncertainty and panic, or in one instance, a zig-zag illustrates decay. His characters are stoic yet vulnerable, as shown in the dynamic splash pages. It’s impressive how much emotion each face communicates without feeling at all exaggerated. Carlos Lopez’s colors are focused on the lighting. Thanks to things like Lockheed’s flames or Magik’s portals, he has plenty opportunity to give us depth and immersion in each panel, despite how “solid” some of the environment palette’s can be.

            It’s hard not to recommend Giant-Size X-Men: Nightcrawler #1 simply because of its necessity to Hickman’s overarching story. There are key developments here that I would hate to miss out on. Those developments are engaging for readers, but Nightcrawler fans may want to reassess before jumping in. The art is an excellent fit for the issue, enhancing each moment’s tone and impact in subtle yet remarkable ways.

Our Score:


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