Friday, 12 September 2014

Amazing X-Men #1 - Marvel Comics

AMAZING X-MEN No. 1, January 2014
Any followers of the X-Men from the Late Eighties bored by Chris Claremont’s increasingly destitute plot surrounding the mutant team’s exile in Australia and confrontation with the mutant-hating cyborgs known as the Reavers, must surely have found their interest reawakened by the stunningly colourful swashbuckling cover illustration for Issue One of “Amazing X-Men” by Ed McGuinness. Certainly the twenty-four page “Marvel Worldwide” periodical sold incredibly well upon its release in November 2013, shifting an astonishing 112,337 copies and becoming its publisher’s best-selling book of the month; an especially impressive feat considering some of the negativity a portion of its fanbase voiced at the time concerning the comic’s title incorporating the word ‘Amazing’.

Admittedly much of this magazine’s success was undoubtedly due to its first story-arc promising the return of the ever-popular Nightcrawler, “who had been dead since the 2010 storyline X-Men Second Coming.” But Jason Aaron’s rather bizarre narrative involving wicked sword-carrying devils invading heaven in giant sky-ships, the long awaited return of Kurt Wager’s red-skinned pater, Azazel and the arrival at The Jean Grey School for Higher Learning of the microwave radiation manipulator Firestar, must all surely have played their part as well.

Indeed, the Alabama-born writer’s jolly humorous script, despite some serious moments such as the fencing dual between ‘fuzzy elf’ father and son, genuinely delivers a thoroughly entertaining and upbeat adventure which bubbles along until its cliff-hanger conclusion. The Eisner Award-nominee even manages to imbue the usually seriously penned Wolverine, Beast and Warbird with some authentic (adult) laugh-out-loud moments as they set about their various teaching assignments; “I will murder them all where they sleep! Firestar! Perfect! You shoot blasts of deadly microwave energy, do you not?”

Perhaps the biggest draw for this opening instalment to “The Quest For Nightcrawler” however is the astonishingly attractive artwork of McGuinness. The Massachusetts-born penciller depicts all the demonic pirates, blue and red devil Bamfs and even the somewhat stern-faced X-Men themselves, with his usual slightly cute cartoony style, and as such provides proceedings with a palpable sense of fun which compliments the merrily amusing script perfectly. In fact, the illustrations are so animated as to be reminiscent of the light-hearted tone found within the early issues of “Excalibur” by Chris Claremont and Alan Davis.
The variant cover art of "AMAZING X-MEN" No. 1 by Skottie Young

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