As if there weren’t already too many blasted X-books running around, Marvel has fired up the adjective machine and out comes Amazing X-Men #1. J.R. had commented to me earlier that Amazing didn’t seem like an X-appropriate title, as usually that adjective means a Spider book, but I pointed out that back when the Age of Apocalypse re-titled the X-line for four months, Uncanny and Adjective-less became Astonishing and Amazing, so in terms of nearly 20-year old crossover re-titles, Amazing is as good a title as any to replace the fallen Astonishing, right?
Anyway, Amazing is filling the gap left behind when Astonishing bid its farewell. Once upon a time, Astonishing had been created to be the flagship title of the X-Books, in a time where each X-Men title had an identity and purpose for existing. This is not that time. Solicitations would tell you that this is the opposite side of the coin of Wolverine and the X-Men, since both books are being written by Jason Aaron. So while the older book deals with the school, this new book gives the old fashioned super-hero stories. But of course, that was also the point of X-Men, beyond the whole “toss all the girls together and pretend that’s not the gimmick” bit.
So what’s the point of Amazing X-Men? You got four extra bucks to spend?
The debut story sets about getting Nightcrawler back into the land of the living. You might recall that he was killed off back in Second Coming, since someone had to and he wasn’t really doing anything else at the time. It was a crap death for an awesome character, and nerds like me have been waiting for the day that the fuzzy blue elf gets to play his resurrection card. No good character stays dead, after all. Jason Aaron has obviously had something Nightcrawler-related in mind for a while now since he’s had little Bamf demons running around his school since he launched Wolverine and the X-Men.
The other new bit to the book is the addition of Firestar, who hasn’t been an X-Men character since the mid-80’s when Chris Claremont introduced her as one of Emma Frost’s Hellions. Remember that? I’m actually surprised it’s taken this long to yank Firestar into the X-Men fold, as ever since House of M, every mutant-ish character has pretty much gone under the X. Remember when Cloak and Dagger were members of the team? Whatever happened to that?
I suppose Firestar is supposed to be the character that can level with the reader and get exposition tossed at when needed, but other than that I really don’t see a purpose of tossing her into the team. The X-Men line is already way over-saturated, and anything she could bring to the table can easily be covered by any number of others. She’s probably just a character that the creators liked and thus here she is. I don’t really mind, but I haven’t given a damn about her since the earliest days of New Warriors. Here, she just feels tossed in.
So, there we go. Nice debut issue for another X-Men book tossed out because people will buy it. Hopefully Jason Aaron will stay on the title and give it some identity and it doesn’t fall into the backwaters of importance as its predecessor did.