AGE OF X-MAN: THE AMAZING NIGHTCRAWLER #2 by Seanan McGuire, Juan Frigeri, and Shane Davis
AGE OF X-MAN: AMAZING NIGHTCRAWLER #2 is successful in that it's entertaining. The characters and the plotlines are intriguing but the execution is where this issue falls apart. Frigeri and Davis struggle to use art to tell a cohesive story. With so many complex plotlines going on, the art has to be strong enough to hold it all and, for AGE OF X-MAN: AMAZING NIGHTCRAWLER #2, it isn't. Still, that doesn't mean this issue isn't worth a read. If you're a Nightcrawler fan, this one is still a must-buy.
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Kurt’s life takes a downward spiral in this week’s AGE OF X-MAN: THE AMAZING NIGHTCRAWLER #2! While not quite as strong as the first issue, the second installment in Nightcrawler’s spotlight miniseries does help develop some interesting storylines that could become something bigger down the line.

From the underground “love club” to the introduction of “Mastermind Studios,” writer Seanan McGuire continues to broaden the world Nate Grey created with varying degrees of success. Artists Juan Frigeri and Shane Davis, unfortunately, hurt the issue more than help it. Partly why I can’t give AGE OF X-MAN: THE AMAZING NIGHTCRAWLER #2 a better score is because of the art. Until that changes, this miniseries won’t be half as memorable as it could be.

age of x-man the amazing nightcrawler #2 review
AGE OF X-MAN: AMAZING NIGHTCRAWLER #2 Review / Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Kurt Doesn’t Want the Love

This issue covers two main storylines: Kurt’s romance (or lack thereof) with his co-star Meggan and the X-Men’s film studio’s feud with rival company Mastermind Studios. In AGE OF X-MAN: THE AMAZING NIGHTCRAWLER #1, Kurt and Meggan have sex which, as we all know by now, is a big no-no in Nate’s world. In AGE OF X-MAN: THE AMAZING NIGHTCRAWLER #2, Kurt has to make a big decision: should he continue seeing Meggan romantically and face persecution or should he be a “good” X-Man and follow the rules? Ultimately, he wisely chooses the latter and leaves Meggan.

On the business side of things, Kurt’s facing a barrage of threats from Regan Wyngarde a.k.a. Lady Mastermind. She wants her semi-corrupt film studio to team up with the X-Men’s Studio X. Not surprisingly, Kurt isn’t interested in a merger and bluntly turns her down.

Lady Mastermind Becomes a Business Woman

We see a lot of new characters in this issue, from Lady Mastermind and Surge to Julian Keller and Phoebe Cuckoo. Out of all of them, Reygan gets the most panel-time, since she owns the competing Mastermind Studios. I’m not the hugest fan of Reygan in the regular Earth-616 comics, but in AGE OF X-MAN: AMAZING NIGHTCRAWLER #2, McGuire knows how to handle her character.

Reygan’s position as a ruthless, business-minded mastermind (pun intended) makes perfect sense. She’s a great example of how to keep a villain a villain in a different reality without just adding loads and loads of physical violence. She’s a bad guy, but in a different, more unique way. My only complaint is her outfit, which is both sexually gratuitous and out-of-character for her role in the issue. I needed a strong power-suit and instead, I got the skintight latex bodysuit she always wears.

age of x-man the amazing nightcrawler #2
AGE OF X-MAN: AMAZING NIGHTCRAWLER #2 Review / Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Meggan Does Want the Love

I really enjoyed Lady Mastermind’s characterization but her storyline (the potential merger between the two dueling studios) fell a little flat. For the other storyline, it turned out to be the opposite. Kurt and Meggan’s budding relationship is an intriguing thread but Meggan’s characterization feels strangely distant. We don’t see a ton of her in the issue and when we do, her personality is all over the place. She should be Kurt’s “co-star” instead of a lackluster supporting character.

With that being said, the evolution of Kurt and Meggan’s relationship in AGE OF X-MAN: AMAZING NIGHTCRAWLER #2 is entertaining. The secret “love club” that Meggan invites Kurt to is a welcome addition to the ever-expanding Age of X-Man world. Little things like that help to make this reality all the more real (or as real as a comic book alternate reality can be).

Sexualization and Distortion in AGE OF X-MAN: AMAZING NIGHTCRAWLER #2

Drawing the interior art for comics is incredibly difficult. I don’t doubt that artist Juan Frigeri is beyond talented. However, for this issue (and, seemingly, for this miniseries) his art just isn’t functioning well with the storyline. Frigeri really struggles to draw female characters’ facial expressions and figures realistically.

In most panels, Meggan’s features are so fine and her eyes so small that she looks strangely distorted. Her body’s proportions are also abnormally dramatic — even for a comic book. Most of the other female characters face a similar fate, but the male characters don’t. Nightcrawler looks normal in the majority of his scenes. Although Kurt’s the star, there are too many female characters in AGE OF X-MAN: AMAZING NIGHTCRAWLER #2 to ignore them.

age of x-man the amazing nightcrawler #2
AGE OF X-MAN: AMAZING NIGHTCRAWLER #2 Review / Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Colorist Shane Davis does a good job delivering a fairly predictable palette. A more complex palette may have been able to elevate the pencils slightly, but, at the end of the day, the lines have to be strong for the colors to be strong.

The Age of X-Man Rages On

With each Age of X-Man issue, we get a little more information about this larger world. AGE OF X-MAN: AMAZING NIGHTCRAWLER #2 does a great job exploring that aspect of alternate reality building, but it fails in other categories, including art and characterization. If you love Nightcrawler, you probably already subscribed to this series. But, if you’re more of a casual, overall X-Men fan, you don’t necessarily need to buy this issue. Age of X-Man is a huge event. Not everyone can buy every single issue. Stick to AGE OF X-MAN: THE MARVELOUS X-MEN, where the larger events are centered.

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