Chris Claremont and Todd Nauck send Kurt Wagner and Amanda Sefton back to Germany to find Nightcrawler's boyhood home, Der Jahrmarkt in "Nightcrawler" #2. Naturally, such a return to Nightcrawler's roots is sure to bring out some characters from his past, but it also includes a threat from his present.
Chris Claremont handle on Nightcrawler seems effortless, giving fans a chance to share in the life of their favorite Fuzzy Blue Elf. The rest of "Nightcrawler" #2 is semi-obligatory, classic misunderstanding fisticuffs to serve as introductions to new characters, their abilities and their relationships to Nightcrawler. Members of Der Jahrmarkt, strongman Haus, stretching Gummi and eyebeam-shooting Feuer give Claremont a set of cyphers to showcase Nightcrawler's powers and abilities while providing artist Todd Nauck with ample opportunity to draw circus characters in a non-circus setting.
At C2E2 2014, Nauck referred to the collection of oddball characters as a "bargain basement Cirque du Soleil, which is pretty spot-on. Nauck's art is lively and fun, but he doesn't provide readers with the greatest examples of anatomy. Characters like the Bamfs, Haus, Feuer and Gummi are ideal for Nauck's playfully animated art, as is the titular character. Rachelle Rosenberg's color choices are more intense than one might expect for a comic starring Nightcrawler, but that palette helps propel Kurt forward while boosting the superhero tones of this comic book. Rosenberg softens the edges a bit, but keeps "Nightcrawler" #2 looking like a classic comic book, with distinct demarcations between light and shadow.
This establishing adventure is doing a fine job expanding Nightcrawler's cast beyond the members of the various X-Men squads, but it feels a little thin. Having been such a critical member of the X-Men for so very long, Nightcrawler's solo adventures just don't have the same resonance. That's not to say they never will, especially since Claremont and Nauck are going to such great lengths to construct a solid foundation for Kurt Wagner's future escapades. The duo have surrounded Kurt with Bamfs, reunited him with his most consistent girlfriend and introduced an assortment of characters that knew him back when, before the X-Men. Now the creative team needs to focus a bit more on constructing a collection of foes and embellishing the cast they have put in place.