SPOILER- Tissues may be required to read my description of this amazing moment.
When we last saw the Amazing X-Men, the six dynamic mates had been scattered throughout the spirit world after their deceased friend Nightcrawler had engineered their unexpected admittance. Northstar and Wolverine had fallen from heaven onto an endless wintery plateau known as purgatory. Firestar and Iceman kept busy freezing over Hell in their attempt to escape and keep Bobby from melting. While Beast had commandeered Azazel’s demon pirate ship and in doing so had “went round the bend.” All of which was surrounded by a lover’s reunion between Nightcrawler and Ororo.
The team was still separated and trying to fully reunite with Nightcrawler and stop Azazel from achieving his goal of becoming the god of the afterlife. Amazing X-Men, issue four of “The Quest for Nightcrawler” is an emotional one. It explores the lengths that the human spirit is willing to go to for a much-needed reunion and shows that even the strongest of spirits long for those that have been lost. We join Wolverine in Purgatory. He now knows that his dear friend Nightcrawler is alive (even though technically he’s not) and he is determined to walk his way out of a giant snow globe to find him. He refuses to surrender to the freezing temperatures or knee-deep snow, he keeps moving forward. As Northstar flies away to scout out recourse, Wolverine’s body buckles under the elements. As he lays face down in the snow he recalls a conversation he had with Nightcrawler regarding how he would die. Nightcrawler’s last words resonated in his mind, “No one wants to die alone.” This statement allows Wolverine to overcome what he thought was his limit reached and as he forces his body upward, is greeted by Nightcrawler and the promise of whiskey.
This scene brings us to a full-page frame of Nightcrawler embracing Wolverine in an “I missed you, buddy!” hug. The art is beautiful. The whole frame is done in different shades of blue with only the pure white snow and Nightcrawler’s yellow eyes to break up the page. The artist was able to capture Wolverine’s emotions with only his body language. It’s clear that Wolverine has his arm wrapped loving around Nightcrawler’s shoulder, not out of a need to be picked up out of the snow but rather because he missed and loves his friend. Moments later the long lost friends are exchanging the witty banter that makes the X-Men such an enjoyable read. This image made me long for a reunion with those I have lost. That type of emotional response is the sign of true art. When art of this magnitude is coupled with the creative genius that is Jason Aaron, there is nowhere to go but straight to gold! Aaron is living up to his desire to create an Amazing X-Men story that explodes off the page, as he stated in an interview last July, “Amazing X-Men will be about X-Men being X-Men, going on grand adventures all over the Marvel U, with nothing less than the fate of the world at stake.”
This issue of Amazing X-Men is perfectly suited to be a part 4 of 5. We get our heart strings pulled while still having the undeniable action that floods each page of this comic. This story arc, “The Quest for Nightcrawler” has one issue left which will obviously be the final battle to defeat Azazel. The biggest question on my mind is will Nightcrawler get to rejoin the land of the living and stay reunited with his friends? Or will he be returned to Heaven? Regardless of the troubles this group of friends have faced in Heaven, Hell and Purgatory – in the words of Nightcrawler they are definitely ready to “Go be Amazing!”