2. Amazing X-Men #1 By Jason Aaron And Ed McGuinness (Marvel)
Azazel. Does anyone like this character? Didn't think so. But Nightcrawler, his... sigh... son? We all love this dude (but damn, The Draco storyline was absolute garbage)! Kurt Wagner aka Nightcrawler has been dead for a while but death in superhero comics... well, you know. Professor X has died, what, 7 times so far? So, as expected, this comic opens with Kurt alive! He's sitting, in another realm, on the edge of Paradise, looking down on Earth, sullen: he misses his old life and his friends, the X-Men. Then - BAMF! - demon pirates led by his dad, Azazel, show up and they all swordfight. Azazel, along with a horde of miniature red bamfs, not unlike the little blue bamfs that have infested the Jean Grey school since its inception, begin their conquest of Heaven! I was half-expecting this comic to tease us with Nightcrawler on the cover and then do a splash page reveal of the character on the final page so I was pleasantly surprised to see we got fully half of this issue of nothing but Nightcrawler action. Jason Aaron gives fans of the character what we've been missing a good long while before taking us down in the second half to his regular haunt in his series Wolverine and the X-Men, the Jean Grey school. Angelica Jones aka Firestar is starting her first day as Physics teacher at the school and, as regular readers of Wolverine and the X-Men will know, things go cray-cray from the get-go. The faculty's romantic entanglements get in the way of their classes, not to mention the recent departure of their headmistress at the end of Battle of the Atom is keenly felt by the staff and student body, and Hank McCoy is chasing the bamfs who've gone too far this time - they've stolen his custom-made coffee maker! This kind of mass character interaction scene is something Aaron has gotten really good at in Wolverine and the X-Men and it's why that series has been such a success. He brings that magic to this book as well, giving us two halves of an entertaining, bouncy and smart story. If you read Aaron's Wolverine books you'll know he's sent Logan to Hell before - I love how now he goes full circle and sends him to Heaven, especially as it means a reunion between Logan and the friend he calls elf is on the cards. I don't mind Ed McGuinness' art but I certainly don't follow the artist's work like I do others, though his work in this issue is straight up great. Strong lines and dynamic action sequences make up this great comic and I love his Nightcrawler who's just right. It's wonderful seeing Nightcrawler back in business even if his return wasn't unexpected, I just wish Azazel hadn't been a part of his comeback. Otherwise, Amazing X-Men #1 is a great start to yet another - but worthwhile - X-title from Marvel and another feather in the cap for the brilliant Jason Aaron.