The Fall of X direction has spread the surviving mutants across the world doing various things. One of those mutants still trying to be active is Nightcrawler. In order to avoid detection from Orchis’ Iron Man Sentinels capturing and killing him Nightcrawler has decided to adopt a secret superhero identity. And not just any superhero identity. Nightcrawler is joining the ever expanding Spider-Man Family. How will this go? Find out with our review of Uncanny Spider-Man #1.
Writer: Si Spurrier
Artist: Lee Garbett
Colorist: Matt Milla
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
“THE NIGHTCRAWLING WALL-CRAWLER! On the darkest of days, he is the spark in the shadows! After the devastating events of the Hellfire Gala, Kurt Wagner is on the run—and having the time of his life?! Swashbuckling about NYC in disguise, the Uncanny Wallcrawler sets aside his mutant angst and dedicates himself to the hero’s life: saving civilians, hanging with fellow wallcrawlers, battling baddies, and hunting down the best pizza on the planet. But he can’t ignore the mutant plight forever… Si Spurrier and Lee Garbett launch a joyful, sexy series that will shake Nightcrawler to his foundations—and have a hell of a good time doing it!” – Marvel Comics
By solely focusing on Nightcrawler Si Spurrier and Lee Garbett are able to give us the perspective of what the Fall of X has on one mutant. The weight of this new direction is a heavy one. It all brings to question of even a character with such deep faith like Nightcrawler can overcome what feels like hopeless battle against Orchis.
That’s where Uncanny Spider-Man #1 is truly at its best. While Nightcrawler has chosen to strike out on his own in order to continue protecting others that may not be the best for his mental health. Especially when Nightcrawler does feel like he can’t be honest with even the people that are reaching out to help. He has to keep his true feelings buried, which is causing them to surface in a mentally unhealthy way.
We see this with Nightcrawler’s interaction with Peter Parker’s Spider-Man. Spurrier does a good job at using this scene to quickly explain why Nightcrawler has adopted the Spider-Man identity. There wasn’t some complicated reason. Spider-Man simply helped out as a friend Nightcrawler by giving him a suit to hide his identity. Keeping the things simple further drives home that while the public have turned against mutants the mutants aren’t alone. This time around the superhero community has their back, as Spider-Man shows with Nightcrawler.
This also works to highlight how the weight of the Fall of X direction has on Nightcrawler. Because while Spider-Man does reach out to be a friend to Nightcrawler we see Kurt keep things internal. He is more private because of his recent experience as he has taken to carrying the direction Fall of X has given to mutants on himself. Lee Garbett artwork does a good job at capturing the emotional range that Nightcrawler shows throughout this issue.
That heavy weight manifesting as an imaginary Chibi Nightcrawler worked both visually and as reminder of the continuity heavy nature of the X-Men franchise. Because with this and other mentions of Nightcrawler’s recent history you could feel lost if you’re not caught up with those events. Spurrier certainly could’ve helped by giving a bit more insight as to why Nightcrawler was on his own rather than being part of the underground X-Men group.
While the continuity heavy nature of Nightcrawler’s history is unavoidable Spurrier does make sure to emphasize Kurt’s superhero nature. Even when being hunted by Orchis he still feels it’s a priority to protect others. Garbett does a great job at showing various instances of Nightcrawler as Spider-Man saving people help to put over this direction as a whole.
This leads to the ending with Mystique making a surprise appearance a solid hook ending for Uncanny Spider-Man #1. Nightcrawler and Mystique’s dynamic is one that we don’t get enough of. There is a lot of potential to use the Fall of X direction to evolve their relationship that will test them both.
All of this while Spurrier also makes sure to continue to drive home how big of a threat Orchis is. With Orchis getting so much momentum, the organization recruiting other villains is a logical next step. They’ve shown the villains a successful way to beat heroes. Vulture joining them at Director-level helps to give Nightcrawler a Spider-Man villain fight that naturally plays into the Fall of X direction.
Uncanny Spider-Man #1 is a solid start to the new status quo for Nightcrawler during the Fall of X direction. Si Spurrier and Lee Garbett highlight how even in this situation Nightcrawler is a superhero at heart and wants to live a life protecting others. Balancing that out with the heavy emotional weight Nightcrawler is carrying after what Orchis did to mutants is something with a lot of potential to explore during this mini-series.
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10