On the Panel – Nightcrawler
Despite the fact that Wolverine’s demise was a week away at the time of this comic being released the X-Men tie in titles are getting a head start on eulogising Wolverine.
Kurt Wagner aka Nightcrawler and Wolverine were very good friends ever since they first started working together in Giant Size X-Men #1, it seems their friendship grew so easily because they both felt like the outsiders of the group coupled with the fact that Kurt has such a likeable personality. He and Wolverine always had a playfully adversarial relationship where they would poke fun at one another frequently. Kurt always brought out the best in Wolverine as well, helping him to show his lighter side and get along with his team mates better so having this issue be the first in Marvel’s planned series of comics that tells us how much Wolverine meant to everyone around him is incredibly fitting.
There is a sombre and reflective tone throughout this comic as Kurt privately recounts all that has happened since he met Wolverine and punctuates every event with enormous respect. There’s a really moving page where he lists a number of ways that other cultures honour their dead but to his mind none of them are fitting for the man Logan was. He also conjures a holographic recreating of Wolverine who is looking healthy and acting like his old self with Nightcrawler shrouded in shadow in the background. It’s a strangely eerie image that compliments how Kurt is feeling at this point.
Kurt’s recounting of many of the big events in X-Men history such as the forming of a new team to rescue the old one that brought them together, the Phoenix storyline and all of the emotional implications that came with it and other key events that were met with loss of some sort for the X-Men. The one consistency in those stories is that Wolverine was there as a pillar of strength through it all.
I liked how the issue ended where Rachel Summers heard every thought and found it to be a beautiful sentiment. It was really well done in having Kurt not give this internal eulogy and be the only one privy to it as it helps punctuate how great an influence Wolverine was on those around him. It just goes to show that the loss of Logan has brought some people closer together and he did matter a great deal to those around him.
Chris Claremont to my mind knows these characters better than anyone, having seen them through some of the strongest X-Men stories ever written so it’s no surprise that he writes a really fitting and powerful tribute to a character he spent so much time shaping. Using Nightcrawler to deliver that tribute was a perfect choice as arguably nobody understood Wolverine quite like Nightcrawler.
In terms of reviews this one is fairly short but as comics go this is fairly uneventful since it follows Kurt giving his private internal monologue as he tries to come to terms with the death of his closest friend. It’s a really moving tribute and very fitting as to the sort of man Wolverine was. I’m sure his death isn’t permanent but the effects will at least be felt for quite some time. Nothing much wrong with this comic other than the fact that it’s a little heavy handed on the grief but it is handled very respectfully.