Nightcrawler #8

Title: Winding Ways (Part 2: Dark Carnival)
Published by: Marvel Comics

Writer: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Penciler: Darick Robertson
Inker: Jimmy Palmiotti
Colorist: Avalon’s Matt Milla
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Editor: Mike MartsPublisher: Dan Buckley

My name ees Kurt Vagner, but in ze Munich Circus..
Zey would call me Ze Incredible Nightcrawler…

Good ol Blue Fuzzy Elf. He’s had a pretty decent title as of late. It’s actually one of those secondary X-Books that I look forward to. Then again, lately I’ve been looking forward to the secondary titles more often than the main ones. Such is the way of the comic industry, I guess. At least this isn’t a 6 issue miniseries that does little to explore ‘Crawler…. oh, and thank god it’s not the Draco storyline.

I wouldn’t be able to take that.

STORY!

Kurt has been having some bad reactions lately. After an attack from a creature named ‘Vermin’, Nightcrawler experiences fever dreams due to the toxins that are flowing through his body. He goes through his life, and finds what could be his greatest secret, but before he can access it – Emma brings him out of his own head.

Why did the vampire rat guy attack?
What was in the chest?
How does this tie to Kurt’s circus days?

Well, the pieces, or at least the foundation of the puzzle is being laid out for us right now. While a shard of the X-Men (Emma, Beast, Bobby, and Cyclops) try and break down Vermin into talking, Kurt, somewhat girlfriend and hot nurse Christie, Logan, and Kurt are off to Germany to see what they can discover.

Throughout the journey, Nightcrawler experiences flashbacks to his past. Some of these moments it seems, he spaces out and just relives the moment while others he explains to Christie verbally. They include a reintroduction to Kurt’s circus family, his “brother” Stephen who seems a bit negative, his “sister” Jimaine, who you might know as Amanda Sefton, and his “mother” Margali. We see the beginning of Amanda’s and Kurt’s relationship blossom, and the rift between he and his brother grow. We also get a great throwaway of Amanda wearing the Nightcrawler costume for her tumbling act. This invokes weird gender issues about Nightcrawler’s outfit, but I will let it go.. it was kind of cute.

That is in fact the power of this book, the ease in which Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa handles Nightcrawler. There has never been a doubt that the actions of the character aren’t what I might have envisioned, and the stories are quite cohesive. So, if that’s the case, this should be an excellent issue, right. Sadly, it’s the weakest that has been presented, but I’m not sure where the fault lines on that.

Let’s discuss it further in….

Art!

During a recent review, I claimed that it felt like there were two inkers on a title, when the book, and an email from the real inker, said I was wrong. Fine, I will admit that, but the problem exists again in this title. Midway through the book, the inking style changes drastically. The thinner lines that define Nightcrawler and Logan as they are going towards their camping spot for the night, are thickened and made less definable as the title goes on. Finally, at the end of the book, it’s back to par for the course.

I went back and looked at issue #7, and it does the exact same thing, but to a much lesser extent. I don’t know why, but it is jarring. Very jarring. Add in, that right from the beginning there is a lack of consistancy in characters. Beast doesn’t look the same page to page, and Emma looks so much like Amanda that I had to do a double take.

Overall

I really hate being critical of books that I’ve enjoyed so much. I’m enjoying this issue as well, but the flaws in the page layouts (where certain panels are hard to tell if you are in flashback or real time), the inconsistancies in the art, and the fact that this is a build up issue and not into the full meat of the plot yet make it hard to truly love it.

I’m not sure what happened in the time that Team Nightcrawler took a few months off, but something did, and not for the better.

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