So, I guess the first question to get out of the way is the obvious one – Do we really need another X-Title? Well, here’s the short answer…if it’s written by Jason Aaron, then yes, yes we do. The thing about the X-men books right now is that they are strong across the board and the flagship titles (Uncanny, All-New, Wolverine and The X-men) are really knocking it out of the park. Therefore, any new book needs to fire on all cylinders right out of the gate to warrant a place on the pull list.
Rest easy, True Believers, Amazing X-Men is everything we’ve come to expect from a Jason Aaron comic not titled Scalped. Aaron lays down a healthy dose of bombast, wit, and absurdity. Oh, and swashbuckling. There is definitely swashbuckling.
For me personally, one of the most tragic moments in recent X-memory was the death of Nightcrawler. In general, I don’t pay a lot of attention to character deaths in the big two. Death is most generally a temporary condition in the world of mainstream comics. Because of this, character deaths very rarely have the writer intended impact of me. However, Nightcrawler’s death was one that got my attention. It was well done and it fit with the character. Of course, Nightcrawler was also one of those somewhat rare universally loved characters. Because of those reasons I had mixed feelings about Nightcrawler’s return. When a character’s death actually has an impact, I sort of want said character to stay dead otherwise there’s potential for the death to be cheapened. Also, characters tend to return from the dead in contrived ways (I’m looking at you Jason Todd). To Jason Aaron’s credit, he just straight up hangs a lamp-shade on the whole issue of Nightcrawler returning from the dead, by making it just that. Nightcrawler is 100% dead at the beginning of this issue, no clones, no time displacement, no reality punching. Nightcrawler is in heaven, he’s bored and he’s going to be heading back to life. It’s as simple as that.
Now, that the preliminary stuff is all out of the way let’s get to the meat, shall we? How is the issue itself?
This comic reads a lot like Wolverine and the X-Men and that is by no means a bad thing. As a matter of fact, this issue seems to indicate that Amazing may be a sister title to Wolverine and the X-Men in the same way that Uncanny X-Men is related to All-New X-Men. Jason gives us a solid quick introduction to the major players and their various character dynamics. Wolverine and Storm are arguing and flirting in equal measure. Beast is careening through the school on the trail of those mischevious bamfs. Iceman is having some lady problems. It’s all great stuff and worth the price of admission. Perhaps most interesting for those who have followed Wolverine and the X-Men is that we are finally getting some explanation on what the bamfs are and what they are up to (unsurprising hint #1, it’s got something to do with Nightcrawler). And it’s the bamfs that bring the principle characters together and pull Wolverine and Northstar into the afterlife and right on track to meet up with that ubiquitous blue elf we all know and love.