Amazing Nightcrawler #4
Family reunions and nonconsensual brain-surgery abound in the penultimate issue of The Amazing Nightcrawler.
Well. If anyone was wondering how Mystique could appear in this series when she’s also currently running around as the White Queen in Uncanny, now we know the answer. It makes perfect sense that the Cuckoos have been performing (what one must assume is inexpert) brain surgery on Kurt and Meggan in order to preserve their family and save their employers from the attention of the X-Tremists, and it says something incredibly squicky (on a psychological level) that the person who Kurt’s unconscious called for, the person who Meggan’s empathy forced her to become, when he was in pain and confused, was his biological mother.
I understand the narrative reasoning behind this decision. The whole thesis of the book is based around the fact that people need families, whether made or found. Mystique is Nightcrawler’s biological mother, and having him summon her, from his unconscious, makes sense. But I have to say that, knowing what we do about the character and his history, this was an extremely unsatisfying revelation for me — because Nightcrawler was not raised by Mystique. She abandoned him, a few hours after he was born, for reasons which could (maybe) be excused, but which were still pretty selfish.
Kurt Wagner was adopted by a German Romanichal woman named Margail Szardos. She raised him as her son. He refers to her as Mother. Their relationship, in the comics, has been tested and strained but the relationship stands. To see an adoptive parent dismissed as not a ‘real’ parent is incredibly distressing if, like me, your family is made up of chosen relationships. My sister is adopted. I was fostered. She had a biological mother. She has an adoptive mother. Both relationships are real and valid. I have an foster mother. I have a biological mother. My foster mother raised me when my biological mother could not. When I am distressed, which parent do you imagine that I call for? Which parent do you imagine that my sister texts, when she has news? The one which raised us, or the one which (however unwillingly) gave us up?
Margali could have played this role as easily, and arguably more validly, than Mystique. When this is combined with the emphasis placed on the importance of genetic family (symbolised by Kurt’s fixation of Teenia) it can read as a little insensitive to other varieties of family.
This is by far my harshest criticism of the book.
I enjoyed the revelation of the Cuckoo’s desperate machinations. They are stronger together, and they’ll damned well break the world to stay that way. So forming the shell-game of conflict with the other studio in order to remain in each other’s orbit was a wonderful move, and absolutely in character.
I enjoyed the casual existential terror in the revelation that they’ve performed actual psychic surgery on Meggan and Kurt, multiple times, and that this surgery has both left scars and is leading to their neurological breakdown.
I loved that the writer gave Meggan some Romanichal dialogue. It’s. About. Freaking. Time. If Kurt can randomly spew German everywhere, Meggan ought to enjoy her cradle tongue.
The art in this issue was strong and weak in exactly the same places that I’ve mentioned before, but I absolutely love the little added details, the visual nods, Frigeri’s slipped into the panels. This series is a delight to read, and it’s one which rewards multiple readings, and that’s due, in large part, to the art.
In any case, the final installment looks to be a good one. I can’t wait to pick it up.
Reviewed by Bethany W Pope
This is the well-written, funny, occasionally touching penultimate issue of a wonderful series. There's a little, inadvertant, insensitivity to adopted families (and an odd focus on the importance of genetic family) but aside from that this book is well worth picking up.
Amazing Nightcrawler #4: Flatscan Zombie Beach Party
Writing - 7.5/107.5/10
Storyline - 7.5/107.5/10
Art - 8/108/10
Color - 8/108/10
Cover Art - 8/108/10
User Review( votes)