Comic Reviews: High Level and Amazing Nightcrawler!


HLVL_01_300-001_HD_5c59ce461e41b0.82110085High Level #1 (Vertigo Comics)

What would the world look like a hundred years after an apocalyptic event? That’s the main driving force behind High Level, a new Vertigo series from Rob Sheridan (the artistic director behind Nine Inch Nails’ awesome live shows) and artists Barnaby Bagenda and Romulo Farjardo. While High Level certainly looks like a lot of the post-apocalyptic fiction we’ve seen in recent years, there’s also a strong underlying theme througt the first issue that hints at some larger things to come from the series.

Focusing on Thirteen, a scavenger in the desert wastelands, High Level showcases a world so far removed from an apocalyptic event that the people in this world have not only rebuilt their society, they’ve forgotten about the world that once was. After running afoul of some freakish mutants living in the desert, she’s rescued by a former colleague who charges her with returning a young girl to the “High Level”, a mysterious city that’s rumored to offer people a new chance on life.

From the opening pages of High Level, you may say to yourself, “I’ve seen this all before”. But as Rob Sheridan’s script progresses, more and more interesting layers are revealed about this world and the main character. Thirteen is definitely a girl who doesn’t require any rescuing, but she’s also pretty driven as well. It’s clear from this first issue that Sheridan has a plan for the rest of this series, and has a great handle on Thirteen and the world around her.

And what a world it is. Barnaby Bagenda and Romulo Farjardo’s art is pretty spectacular, showcasing a world that has bits and pieces of Mad Max, Borderlands, and even the Neil Blomkamp film Elysium. The two have a great, slightly cartoony style that works surprisingly well with this series, and like Sheridan’s script, shows great promise for issues to come.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from High Level, but I’m really glad I gave it a shot. Sheridan, Bagenda, and Farjardo take something that looks very similar at first glance, but becomes surprisingly deep once you take the time to really take it in. Here’s hoping it doesn’t get lost in the post-apocalyptic shuffle on the comic racks.


Age of X-Man: Amazing Nightcrawler #1 (of 5) (Marvel Comics) STL108613_1024x1024

Nightcrawler has always been one of my favorite members of the X-Men, so the news that he was getting his own Age of X-Man tie-in was pretty cool. What’s also cool is that the Sean Maguire written and Juan Frigeri drawn series doesn’t have any overt ties to the Age of X-Man event, so it can be read pretty much on its own (so far at least). While this first issue isn’t overflowing with insane action or story beats, it does present an interesting twist on Nightcrawler’s status in the world of X-Man, namely that he’s the biggest celebrity the world has ever seen.

Starring in hit movies, attending gala events, it’s all part of the life of Kurt Wagner. While still a member of the X-Men, he’s been spending his time recently filming his newest feature film with his costar Meggan. He’s got everything he could ever want: money, fame, the love of everyone in the world, so why is he so bummed out?

That’s the mystery that Sean Maguire leaves us with at issue’s end, and while it’s not necessarily a big one, Maguire’s script is done so well that you don’t really mind. Instead of boring you with a rundown of how this world differs from the “regular” Marvel universe, Maguire instead puts the main focus on Kurt and his studio, and the people who work with him. It’s a really great look into Kurt’s life in this world, and allows you to connect to him in a really effective way.

I’m not very familiar with Juan Frigeri’s art, but after this issue I’m definitely going to be keeping an eye on him. Featuring some fantastic line work and great character designs, Frigeri leaves a major stamp on this character, and makes his presence known. I can’t wait to see what the next few issues look like under his art.

Even if you’re not invested in the Age of X-Man event, there’s enough in Amazing Nightcrawler to still interest fans of the teleporting mutant. While it’s another alternate universe story, the fact that it puts the spotlight on the fan-favorite mutant adds a lot to the series, and even enhances the main event by putting a microscope on one aspect of this universe. Check it out.

Posted on February 20, 2019, in Comic reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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