Art by Darick Robertson
|First appearance||Giant-Size X-Men #1 (May 1975)|
|Alter ego||Kurt Wagner|
Archdiocese of New York
X-Treme Sanctions Executive
Nightcrawler (Kurt Wagner) is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics, commonly in association with the X-Men. Created by writer Len Wein and artist Dave Cockrum, he debuted in the comic book Giant-Size X-Men #1 (May 1975).
Nightcrawler is a member of a fictional subspecies of humanity known as mutants, who are born with superhuman abilities. Nightcrawler possesses superhuman agility, the ability to teleport, and adhesive hands and feet. His physical mutations include indigo-colored velvety fur which allows him to become nearly invisible in shadows, two-toed feet and three-fingered hands, yellow eyes, pointed ears and a prehensile tail. In Nightcrawler's earlier comic book appearances he is depicted as being a happy-go-lucky practical joker and teaser, and a fan of swashbuckling fiction. Nightcrawler is a Catholic, and while this is not emphasized as much in his earlier comic book appearances, in later depictions Nightcrawler is more vocal about his faith.
Since his inception, Nightcrawler has had a regular presence in Marvel-related comic books and video games. He has been featured in a small number of the 1990s X-Men animated series episodes and was a regular on its successors, X-Men: Evolution and Wolverine and the X-Men. He was portrayed by Alan Cumming in the feature film X2, while Kodi Smit-McPhee took over the role in X-Men: Apocalypse, Deadpool 2, and X-Men: Dark Phoenix.
Nightcrawler is originally stated to be from a small village called Witzeldorf in the German state of Bavaria. In the X-Men animated series, it is said to be Neuherzl, and in the film X2, he makes repeated references to his time in the Munich circus, though it is never explicitly specified from where he originated.
- 1 Publication history
- 2 Fictional character biography
- 3 Powers and abilities
- 4 Family relations
- 5 Characteristics
- 6 Reception
- 7 Other versions
- 8 In other media
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Dave Cockrum originally created Nightcrawler while he was in the United States Navy, stationed at Guam. He recounted: "I sat up one night in the middle of a typhoon because it was too noisy to sleep, so I stayed up and thought up this character. Originally, Nightcrawler was a demon from Hell who had flubbed a mission, and rather than go back and face punishment, he decided to stay up here in the human world. He was supposed to be the sidekick of another superhero character that I had created named The Intruder." At this point Nightcrawler wore trunks instead of a full costume, but otherwise looked identical to his final version.
Cockrum submitted the character to be part of a group of characters called The Outsiders (not to be confused with the later team The Outsiders), set in the universe of DC Comics' Legion of Super-Heroes series. As Nightcrawler had been rejected by DC, when Cockrum started work on the new X-Men in 1975, he brought the character's costume design (and overall unusual look) over to Marvel. Because editor Roy Thomas wanted the new X-Men to be a multinational group, it was decided to make Nightcrawler German.
Although an X-Men character for years, Nightcrawler did not get his own comic book title (written and drawn by Cockrum) until November 1985. In the four-issue limited series Nightcrawler, along with Lockheed, accidentally travel to several alternate dimensions, meeting strange beings such as the Bamfs. After various adventures, Nightcrawler and Lockheed manage to get home safely.
A second four-issue limited series was published in November 2002. Written by Chris Kipiniak and penciled by Matthew Dow Smith, it focuses upon Nightcrawler's decision to become a priest and his attempts to fight a group of slave traders.
In September 2004, the first Nightcrawler ongoing title was published by Marvel, written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa with covers and pencils by Darick Robertson. The series was canceled with issue twelve.
In 2014, a new Nightcrawler ongoing title commenced, written by Chris Claremont. This was also cancelled with issue twelve.
Fictional character biography
Kurt Wagner was born with certain unusual physical characteristics, but his power of self-teleportation did not emerge until puberty. Margali Szardos, a sorceress and Gypsy queen, allegedly found Kurt an hour after his birth, in a small roadside shelter in the Black Forest with his father lying dead on the road outside. However, this claim was later called into question, and it was subsequently proven that Kurt's mother is Mystique, (also known as Raven Darkholme), and his father is the demonic warlord Azazel. Mystique revealed that she threw him into a well after a large mob learned of Kurt's existence, and Azazel admitted[volume & issue needed] that he secretly saved his son from the fall, giving him to his lover and crony, Margali Szardos, to raise him. Margali took the baby to the small Bavarian circus where she worked as a fortune teller, as a cover for her activities as a sorceress. Wagner was never legally adopted by anyone, but he was raised by all the members of the circus, who had no prejudices against mutants. Margali acted as Kurt's unofficial foster mother.[volume & issue needed]
Kurt grew up happily in the circus, and his two closest friends were Margali's son Stefan and daughter Jimaine. Long before his teleportation power emerged, Wagner had tremendous natural agility, and by his adolescence he had become the circus' star acrobat and aerial artist. Circus audiences assumed that he was a normal-looking human wearing a devil-like costume.[volume & issue needed]
Years later, the Texas millionaire Arnos Jardine, who ran a large circus based in Florida, heard of the circus for which Wagner worked and bought it. Jardine intended to move its best acts into his American circus; however, he demanded that Wagner be placed in the circus' freak show. Jardine drugged him to prevent escape, but a young mutant child with the ability to sense other mutants helped Kurt escape. Appalled, Wagner left and made his way toward Winzeldorf, Germany, where his foster brother Stefan was. He discovered that Stefan had gone mad and brutally slain several children. (It has since been stated that Stefan did not actually go mad, but slew the children because he had recognized them as disguised demons.) When they were younger, Stefan made Kurt promise to kill him if he ever took an innocent life. Two nights after leaving the circus, Wagner found Stefan and fought him, hoping to stop his rampage. In the course of the struggle, Stefan was killed.
The villagers of Winzeldorf, who assumed from Kurt's appearance that he was the one who killed the children, attacked. They were about to kill him when they were all psychically paralyzed by Professor Charles Xavier, who came to recruit Wagner into the X-Men. Before they left for America, he and Xavier went to the Bavarian circus to explain to Margali about Stefan's death, but Margali was not there.[volume & issue needed] With the codename Nightcrawler, Wagner becomes a member of the X-Men. Margali held Wagner responsible for murdering Stefan and created a facsimile of the hell from Dante's Inferno in which to punish him years later. Through the use of Doctor Strange's all-seeing Eye of Agamotto, she learned the truth, and she and Wagner were reconciled. Wagner was happily reunited with his foster sister Jimaine, who had moved to the United States and changed her name to Amanda Sefton, later becoming Kurt's girlfriend.
Some time later, Nightcrawler fought Shagreen the Sorcerer and became lost in various dimensions, including the manifestation of a fairy tale his teammate Kitty Pryde (Shadowcat) had once told to Illyana Rasputin (Magik). It was there that Nightcrawler first encountered the Bamfs, strange creatures that resembled miniature versions of himself and who would occasionally appear during some of his future adventures.
Shortly after this, and once he had rejoined his teammates, a tactic designed to disable the super-Sentinel Nimrod backfired, and Kurt found himself at the mercies of an angry mob without his teleportation ability. He was rescued by Shadowcat, Colossus, and Magik but feared he had lost his ability for good. His power returned but left him drained and vulnerable when he used it, again leading to self-doubt about his value to the team. During the Mutant Massacre (the Marauders' assault on the Morlock tunnels), this exhaustion left him vulnerable to an attack from Riptide, which injured him into a coma.
While he recovers from these injuries, his fellow X-Men are apparently killed on a mission in Dallas. Not long after, Nightcrawler and teammates Shadowcat and Rachel Summers leave to join Captain Britain in an adventure in the UK. They fought Gatecrasher's group of inter-dimensional mercenaries known as the Technet. The heroes work together so well, they decide to form a group they name Excalibur. Captain Britain originally assumes leadership of the group, but Nightcrawler gradually takes the responsibility. While Captain Britain and Meggan's relationship goes through a rocky time Nightcrawler becomes interested in Meggan, a feeling that is reciprocated but never consummated. During his time with Excalibur, he takes charge of the Technet, renaming them his 'N-Men', and he becomes romantically involved with his teammate Cerise before she leaves to stand trial for the Shi'ar. Later, his former girlfriend, Amanda Sefton, joins the team and the two continue their previous relationship. She leaves the team to take control of Limbo, a task that keeps her away from Earth, but the two remain close friends. Fearing it would be stolen from her, Amanda magically hides the Soulsword inside Nightcrawler's body.
Returning to the X-Men
For a time, Kitty Pryde and Nightcrawler express some resentment over the X-Men's failing to contact them after their supposed deaths. Following the wedding of Captain Britain and Meggan, Excalibur disbands and Nightcrawler returns to the X-Men with Shadowcat and Colossus. Yet, as soon as they return, they face a group of impostors following Cerebro, in the guise of Professor X.
Wanting to devote more time to priesthood, Nightcrawler shares team leadership with Archangel. However, his work as a priest is retconned to be an illusion; he had, in fact, never attained priesthood. He has also met his half-brothers Nils Styger, alias Abyss, and Kiwi Black. With them, Nightcrawler defeated his father Azazel, who had tried to use him as a pawn in escaping his prison.
Later[volume & issue needed], Nightcrawler served as the new leader of the Uncanny X-Men team alongside Wolverine, Bishop, Psylocke, Cannonball, and Marvel Girl. In the last mission against the Foursaken[volume & issue needed], Nightcrawler took Marvel Girl, Psylocke, Bishop, and Cannonball to Central Park. He later[volume & issue needed] helped Storm liberate Africa from her uncle's control.
Afterwards, Professor X recruited him, along with Darwin, Havok, Marvel Girl, Warpath, and Polaris, to participate in a space mission to stop Vulcan from laying waste to the Shi'ar empire. During the battle with Vulcan, Nightcrawler helps get the injured Professor X and Darwin back to their spaceship. While there, trying to save Professor X, Lilandra sent the ship on its way back to Earth, leaving half the team behind.[volume & issue needed]
"House of M"
In the 2005 "House of M" storyline, Nightcrawler is part of Wolverine's S.H.I.E.L.D team and helps Mystique track him down. After his memory returns he assists in the final confrontation against Magneto. Upon their return to the true reality, he rapidly teleported around the mansion to find Wolverine on Cyclops' orders, as both men worried that Wolverine would have lost his powers and therefore be vulnerable to the metal poisoning caused by his adamantium skeleton.
When the first mutant since M-Day appears, Cyclops sends Nightcrawler, Wolverine, Angel, Storm, and Colossus to find former Acolytes for information on the Marauders. It was predicted by Blindfold that Kurt would be seriously injured in the upcoming events and indeed this came true when he was shot by the Marauder, Scalphunter[volume & issue needed]. Kurt seems to have nearly fully recovered from his injuries since he, along with Beast, the entire New X-Men team are teleported to Muir Island by Pixie. He takes part in the final battle.
Divided We Stand
Still recovering from his injuries, Kurt is traveling through Europe along with Wolverine and Colossus. Kurt and Wolverine are currently involved in a "war of pranks" as Peter calls it. One of the many pranks involved Logan hacking into Kurt's image inducer to make him look like Angelina Jolie, which results in a picture of Angelina and Peter appearing in assorted tabloid newspapers. The three of them travel to Russia where they visit the cemetery where Peter's family is buried. Afterwards they go to a local bar, where they discuss the recent loss of Kitty Pryde and the destruction of the X-Men. A fight occurs in the bar, during which their cover is blown. Soon after, the three of them are captured by the Russian government which demands to know why all their mutants were depowered and why Colossus, Wolverine, and Nightcrawler retain their abilities. After a battle with Omega Red, the three heroes return to the US and rejoin the team now living in San Francisco.
Kurt, along with Wolverine and Karma ambush the Hellfire Cult after a series of mutant related hate-crimes happen around San Francisco. He also has taken it upon himself to build a new chapel at Graymalkin Industries, the X-Men's new home and base of operations.[volume & issue needed]
During a training session in the Danger Room, he reveals he is trying to keep himself distracted because whenever he has time to think, he can't help but think of Kitty, how the X-Men don't need him, and that Pixie is a better teleporter than he is. After battling (unsuccessfully) several simulated villains, he reprograms the Danger Room to show Kitty. He confesses he was sorry he wasn't there for her and hugs the simulation and cries. The simulation of Kitty replies that she misses Kurt too.
Nightcrawler briefly believes that he no longer has a role with the X-Men, especially due to Pixie's abilities in teleporting. A trip back to Germany renews his conviction through an encounter with a boy cursed by gypsies into demonic form, a brush with Mephisto, and a romantic fling before he returns to San Francisco to aid the X-Men against a foe they struggled with, lacking his help.
In the 2008 storyline "Secret Invasion", Nightcrawler fights alongside the X-Men when the Skrulls invade San Francisco. He comes across a Skrull bible and, after studying it, he gives it to Beast who figures out how to deal with the Skrulls.
Magik teleports away after taking out Pixie, Mercury, Rockslide, and Beast. Kurt wakes up and stops Pixie from going after her and Pixie breaks down and apologizes for stabbing him. Later the X-Men gather and Kurt is put in charge of a team of X-Men to go help save Magik.
Upon entering Limbo, Kurt, Mercury, Colossus, Rockslide, Pixie, and Wolverine fight their way through many demons. Pixie, Mercury, and Rockslide are horrified at how brutal the older X-Men are towards the demons. An octopus type creature attacks Kurt until Pixie jumps in and kills it with her Souldagger.[volume & issue needed]
Hearing the screams from the castle, Kurt teleports the X-Men into the throne room. Once there, Witchfire turns Colossus and Wolverine against Mercury and Rockslide. Kurt notices Illyana chained to a pillar and she asks him to stab her with Pixie's Souldagger, as it's the only way and he is the only one to do it because he is attuned to magic.He apologizes and he stabs her; at that moment Colossus punches Kurt, and Witchfire finishes making her fifth and final Bloodstone from the now demonic Pixie.
The fact however that Colossus and Wolverine have not killed him, makes Kurt realize they are not fully under her control. Using Pixie's Dagger, Kurt then pulls Illyana's Soulsword from her, and uses it to free Wolverine and Colossus of Witchfire's control. Unfortunately, the demon manages to use the Bloodstones to summon the Elder Gods. Through their combined efforts, the X-Men and Magik managed to banish both Witchfire and the Elder Gods, but not without losing four of the five Bloodstones. Furious at losing another part of her soul, Pixie flees. Being told by Illyana to let her go, Kurt consoles Magik about the theology of a soul, before she teleports them back to Earth. Kurt, along with Colossus, Cyclops, and the former New Mutants team, convinces her to stay with them and join the X-Men.
After mutants rise from the dead and attack the island Utopia as part of the Necrosha storyline, Cyclops sends Nightcrawler to lead a team of X-Men consisting of Rogue, Trance, Magneto, Husk, Psylocke, Colossus, and Blindfold to investigate Muir Island. It is revealed that Proteus has been resurrected and has taken possession of Blindfold (who had the vision of going to Muir Island in the first place).
"Second Coming" and death
In the 2010 "X-Men: Second Coming" storyline, the X-Men travel to Westchester when Cable and Hope are detected there. Nightcrawler's discovery of the lethal methods used by X-Force leads to an argument between him and Cyclops. While teleporting during a battle with Bastion, Bastion extends his arm into the space in which Nightcrawler will materialize. Nightcrawler rematerializes around Bastion's arm, fusing with it, and is mortally wounded, though he manages to teleport Hope to Utopia, telling her before expiring that he believes in her.
Despite his death, Nightcrawler continues to aid his friends. When Wolverine is possessed by a demon called the Hellverine, Nightcrawler enters his friend's mind to help him drive out the invader, although the other X-Men who entered Logan's mind to help him assume that Nightcrawler was just a manifestation of Wolverine's mind rather than the real one.
Nightcrawler spends his sojourn in Heaven alongside Professor X, but despite enjoying paradise, Nightcrawler continues to feel as though he had unfinished business, remaining on the periphery rather than actually joining the heavenly choir. When Azazel mounts an attack on Heaven using his connection to Kurt as a door, Nightcrawler instructs a few Bamfs to create a portal to Heaven inside the Jean Grey School of Higher Learning, allowing him to summon the X-Men to aid him in his fight. Having gathered his friends, Kurt uses the Bamfs and his connection to Azazel to restore himself to life back on Earth, thus preventing Azazel from attacking Heaven again by tying them both together, although this results in Kurt sacrificing his own soul to ensure that Azazel will not be able to return to Heaven. His 'Welcome Back' party is subsequently attended by all the X-Men, including Cyclops' branch of the team. Despite the tensions between them, Nightcrawler states that he wants all of his family to be present. Nightcrawler later leaves the party to confront Mystique when she is attempting to find and free Azazel, in which she succeeds.
Upon Storm's and Rachel's encouragement, Nightcrawler accepts a teaching position at the Jean Grey School, where he forms a bond with the pupil Scorpion Boy. While attempting to reunite with Amanda, he is duped by Margali to grant her sanctuary at the school, where she forcefully extracts the knowledge about the Beyond from Beast and Storm in order to open a portal to the Afterlife. Nightcrawler and Amanda manage to foil her, but at the cost of Amanda getting stranded in the Void. Afterwards, Nightcrawler and Scorpion Boy engage the Crimson Pirates, who act on behalf of Tullamore Voge, over the custody of a young mutant named Ziggy Karst, who subsequently joins the Jean Grey School. Soon afterwards, Nightcrawler and Bloody Bess are forced to fight against their fellow Crimson Pirates and X-Men, all mind-controlled by the resurrected Shadow King. The fight ends with the Pirates kidnapping Ziggy and Scorpion Boy and fatally stabbing Nightcrawler; but on his way to the afterlife he is intercepted by Amanda, Wolverine and the Phoenix, who encourage him to return. Together with Bess and the Bamfs, he travels to Voge's interdimensional child slave market and rescues Ziggy and Scorpion Boy, battling Voge's henchmen and the Warwolves. In the end, they defeat Voge, break up his slavery racket, and return the enslaved children, taking those orphaned by the slavers into the school.
During the 2016 "Civil War II" storyline, both Storm and Magneto are having a conflict on their own to save mutant kind from the Terrigen Mist. Storm and the other X-Men who follow her decide to support Captain Marvel's side to require the Inhumans' help to solve their kinds' extinction from breathing that mist, Nightcrawler decides to join Magneto and Iron Man's side. He later joined Kitty Pryde's mutant school, and eventually he developed romantic feelings for his longtime friend and teammate Rachel.
Powers and abilities
Kurt Wagner is a mutant whose primary mutant power is the ability to teleport himself, his clothing, and a certain amount of additional mass from one point to another virtually instantaneously. He does this by displacing himself through an alternate dimension briefly and reappearing in a desired, pre-selected location. He has been shown to be able to teleport distances of up to two miles (3 km) under optimal conditions, although this is usually his outer limit, and he can become severely fatigued if he tries to teleport that distance; he has exceeded this limit on multiple occasions. In one case, he teleported somewhere over 50 miles (80 km). Via coordinates received telepathically from Professor Xavier, Nightcrawler has teleported an unknown (but presumably large) distance. In a final, dying effort to rescue the mutant-messiah Hope, he teleported them both from Las Vegas, Nevada to the mutant safehold Utopia, just off the coast of San Francisco, a distance of approximately 413 miles (665 km). Nightcrawler's teleportation ability is also affected by direction — north-south along Earth's "magnetic lines of force" is easier than east-west against them.
His effective teleport range was extended after his revival both due to outside assistance and a later enhancement to his powers, thanks to a deal he made with a demonic race of Bamfs loaned to him by his father. Nightcrawler can warp greater distances by locking onto them as a form of way point marker in order to teleport longer distances, even trans-dimensional ones. Beyond the use of his own demonic companions Kurt can now seemingly transport himself longer distances without tiring, be they local or continental in range, having teleported over 7,853 miles (12,638 km) from the UAE (United Arab Emirates) to Antarctica, and again traveling 2,936 miles (4,725 km) from Prague all the way to Al-Qasr in Egypt. He possesses a limited unconscious extrasensory "spatial awareness" ability which prevents him from teleporting into solid objects within his immediate vicinity, but this ability diminishes the greater the distance he teleports. Because teleporting into other solid matter would cause severe injury or death, he will only teleport to an area he is familiar with or that he can clearly see at the time or has seen in the past. His power automatically displaces liquids[volume & issue needed] and gases when he arrives.
The process of teleportation places a strain on his endurance and that of any passengers; carrying mass other than his body and clothing when teleporting adds additional strain to his body. Through practice, he has been able to teleport with a passenger over a lengthy distance without exhausting himself. Extensive training has raised his tolerance for teleportation, but most of his passengers lack this tolerance. Therefore, one of his tactics is to grab opponents and make several quick teleportations with them. They usually become weakened or even pass out from the strain.[volume & issue needed]
After Nightcrawler teleports, he leaves behind smoke and a faint scent of burning brimstone; this is a small portion of the atmosphere of the dimension through which he travels when he teleports. His teleportation power is due to a biophysical/biochemical reaction he consciously triggers within himself. A loud "bamf" noise is always present whenever he teleports (being the sound of air rushing to fill the space he was just occupying). His teleporting also causes a slight change in the atmosphere before he arrives, although only superhumans with heightened senses such as Daredevil can detect it.
In addition to his primary power of teleportation, Nightcrawler's physiology is unique in several different ways. His agility far surpasses that of an Olympic-level gymnast, and his bone structure allows him great flexibility. His spine is more flexible than an ordinary human, enabling him to remain in a crouched position for a long time and perform contortionist-type feats without causing any damage to his spine. Nightcrawler's balance and bodily coordination are all enhanced to superhuman levels. He has the ability to cling to surfaces through microscopic suction cups located on the pads of his hands and feet. He also possesses superhuman dexterity, being able to manipulate items and fence with either hand, both feet, and his tail.[volume & issue needed]
He has the ability to blend into shadows, both as a result of his indigo fur, and the dimensional portal which always surrounds his body and absorbs photons. At one point shortly after his initial introduction, it was suggested that he could actually travel through shadows (in much the same way Psylocke did after exposure to the Crimson Dawn) and this was shown in Bizarre Adventures, but never really touched upon after that. In the story, Vanisher removes some of the Darkforce that formed his costume and threw it at Kurt, who disappeared. He then reappeared from within the Darkforce on the ground, saying that it was like "a pool of shadow" and that he "fell right through it".
Nightcrawler has a prehensile tail, allowing him to grab onto objects with relative ease. His tail is strong enough to not only support his body weight, but also lift an adult man completely off the ground at the same time, and is deft enough to fight with while holding a sword or blunt object. Nightcrawler's eyes (which are constantly glowing) grant him a marked degree of heightened night vision.
Aside from the abilities granted by his mutation, Nightcrawler is a superb fencer and a very skilled hand-to-hand combatant, to the point of being able to stalemate super-beings as powerful as Captain Britain. He has also served as the team's pilot and medic when more qualified X-Men were not around to do so. He and Wolverine were also the mechanics of the X-Men's Blackbird jet for a long time. He is also recognized by other Marvel characters as the leading authority on teleportation, with Spider-Man and Daredevil contacting him for information and advice following their first encounter with Francis Klum. Nightcrawler deduced from analysis of photographs of a crime scene that a man had been killed by someone else teleporting inside the victim, despite having never witnessed such a thing before.
For a long period, Kurt's body housed the Soulsword. Magik states that Kurt is attuned to magic and thus able to wield her Soulsword and Pixie's Souldagger.
As an aftereffect of his death and resurrection, Nightcrawler has developed a heightened resistance against psychic domination which helped him resist the Shadow King's telepathic powers, even after the latter had possessed such strong minds as Rachel Grey and Psylocke moments before. With the loss of his soul, he has also been rendered quasi-immortal, although he still feels the pain of any injuries inflicted upon him.
X-Men writer Chris Claremont had intended to reveal that Nightcrawler was the son of Nightmare early in his run. Roger Stern recounted, "It happened when I was the writer of Dr. Strange, back when writers were still occasionally listened to. Chris had come up with the latest of several crazy ideas and declared that Nighcrawler's father was Nightmare. And I replied with something like, 'No, he's not. I'm not going to let you appropriate one of my character's major villains.' As I recall, Len Wein crossed the room and shook my hand. And not too long after, I [became] the X-Men editor and was able to make sure that didn't happen for long enough that Chris eventually changed his mind." Claremont's new plan was for the mutant terrorist Mystique and her lover Destiny to have been Nightcrawler's biological parents. Mystique, being a shapeshifter, would have taken the form of a man and impregnated Destiny. However, Marvel felt the idea to be too controversial and an alternative origin was developed.
After hinting for many years that Mystique was indeed Nightcrawler's biological mother, it was confirmed by writer Scott Lobdell in X-Men Unlimited #4. In 2003, it was revealed that although Mystique was married to a wealthy German, Herr Wagner, Nightcrawler's father was Azazel, a member of a race of demonic-looking mutants known as the Neyaphem which date back to Biblical times that were banished to another dimension by a race of angelic mutants. The storyline was furthered by the revelation that fellow X-Man Archangel's healing blood did not heal Nightcrawler, and in fact caused him great pain.
It is also revealed that in a parallel universe, an alternate Nightcrawler fathered a daughter with an alternate Scarlet Witch; this girl, named Nocturne, is a dimensionally-stranded mutant bearing traits similar to Nightcrawler himself. Nocturne has since referred to Nightcrawler as her father. The demeanor of Nightcrawler is very similar to that of the Nightcrawler from Nocturne’s reality, so the two developed a close bond that resembles a father-daughter relationship.
Nightcrawler is a mutant born with fine blue-black fur covering his body, two fingers with an opposable thumb on each hand and only two toes, each longer than a normal human being's, on each foot and a third toe-like projection on his heel, as well as pronounced, fang-like canine teeth, yellow eyes, pointed ears, and a 3 1⁄2-foot-long (1.1 m) prehensile pointed tail which can support his weight.[volume & issue needed]
Among his more ironic character traits, Wagner is an extremely religious man. A devout Catholic, his demonic appearance obviously makes it very difficult to attend Mass. Despite this, as mutants in the Marvel Universe become more accepted, he even managed to almost become a Catholic priest; unfortunately his studies were interrupted by a villainous group known as "The Neo".[volume & issue needed]
In contrast, Nightcrawler also has a knack for the spontaneous and exciting. He sees himself as a swashbuckler, usually comparing himself to Errol Flynn. He is, despite his looks, always charming and gallant, and several storylines contain Kurt's love life as a conflict to his religious nature. His days in the circus make him a gifted performer and showman. Kurt is also a jokester. He has a great sense of humor for someone in his situation. He always plays pranks on people; some even call him "Trickster" because his combined teleporting abilities and playful disposition enable him to play quite the joke.[volume & issue needed]
Wagner has used a personal holographic device called an image-inducer on several occasions to produce a holographic image of himself as an ordinary human (occasionally Errol Flynn himself) so that he might interact with non-mutants in a normal fashion. After losing a bet with his friend Wolverine, however, Nightcrawler was made to walk through town in his normal form for all to see. To his shock, the reaction of the average person on the street was simply one of startled interest. He was even able to sneak a kiss from a surprised, but unafraid woman. Kurt was, eventually, attacked by a carload of anti-mutant bigots, but he prevented Wolverine from tearing them to shreds, preferring to be merciful to the ignorant. The entire experience emboldened him, and he has since largely forsaken the use of this device, using it only when absolutely necessary.[volume & issue needed]
Nightcrawler has received positive reception as a comic book character and as a member of the X-Men. Nightcrawler was ranked as the 133rd greatest comic book character of all time by Wizard magazine. IGN also ranked Nightcrawler as the 80th greatest comic book hero of all time describing Nightcrawler as a mutant with the appearance of a demon and the heart of a preacher; IGN also states that as the X-Men enter one of their most uncertain periods, his legacy still looms large. In 2006, IGN also rated Nightcrawler at #7 on their list of Top 25 X-Men from the past forty years stating that religion is one of the few commonalities that could bring mutants and humans together and it is through his faith that Nightcrawler has stayed true to the X-Men for so long. In 2008, Marvel rated their top ten X-Men of all time. Nightcrawler ranked #4 on their list stating that far from a character consumed by doom and gloom, Nightcrawler's chivalry, flair for the dramatic and sense of humor have made him one of the most likable X-Men ever, a character you genuinely look forward to seeing leap into action. In 2013, ComicsAlliance ranked Nightcrawler as #19 on their list of the "50 Sexiest Male Characters in Comics".
In other media
- Nightcrawler appears in the episode "The X-Men Adventure" of the 1981 animated series Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, voiced by Stanley Jones.
- Nightcrawler (voiced by Neil Ross) appears in the 1989 cartoon Pryde of the X-Men, the pilot episode of an unproduced X-Men cartoon series.
- Nightcrawler is featured in the episodes "Nightcrawler" and "Bloodlines" of the 1992 X-Men animated series, where he is voiced by Adrian Hough. He is shown as a monk in a Swiss abbey, persecuted by one of his superiors and the townspeople who believe him a demon. Nightcrawler also makes brief appearances in the episodes "Repo Man" and "One Man's Worth, Part I".
- Nightcrawler is one of the main characters in the 2000 animated series X-Men: Evolution, voiced by Brad Swaile. He is much younger in this incarnation, a student at the Xavier Institute who is insecure about his appearance. He develops a long-standing romance with human Amanda Sefton, though unlike the comics, the two have no prior relationship as "siblings". Like the comics, this show reveals that Mystique is his birth mother and that Rogue is his adopted sister.
- Nightcrawler is a recurring character in the 2009 animated series Wolverine and the X-Men, voiced by Liam O'Brien. He appears in the episodes "Hindsight, Part 1", "X-Calibre", "Greetings From Genosha", "Hunting Grounds", "Backlash", "Breakdown", "Rover", "Aces & Eights", "Shades of Grey", and the three-part series finale, "Foresight". At the beginning of the series, he leaves the X-Men when they disband, and he is later seen helping mutant refugees traveling on pirate ships. He enters into a strong romantic relationship with the Scarlet Witch, despite being on opposite sides, and eventually rejoins the X-Men.
- Nightcrawler appears in episode 5 of the Black Panther animated series, voiced by Nolan North. He is seen with Cyclops, Storm, and Wolverine when they find out that Juggernaut is taking part in the invasion of Wakanda.
- In one of the early scripts of X-Men, written by Michael Chabon, Nightcrawler was included, but was cut when the script was scrapped.
- Nightcrawler appears in X2, portrayed by Alan Cumming. Nightcrawler is brainwashed, with a fluid from William Stryker's mutant son Jason, to attempt an assassination on the President of the United States. He helps the X-Men infiltrate Stryker's base on Alkali Lake.
- According to director Bryan Singer, Nightcrawler was intended to appear in X-Men: Days of Future Past, but he felt "that we were forcing too many mutants into the story."
- A younger Nightcrawler appears in X-Men: Apocalypse, portrayed by Kodi Smit-McPhee. Initially forced to compete in mutant cage fights against Angel, he is rescued by Raven. During the X-Men's climactic battle against Apocalypse, Nightcrawler saves Xavier from Apocalypse's attempted mind transfer, and later rescues the team from a crashing jet, at the cost of his consciousness. At the film's conclusion, he is shown as one of the new X-Men. Smit-McPhee reprises the role in a brief cameo in Deadpool 2, and appears in the sequel X-Men: Dark Phoenix.
- Nightcrawler has appeared in a number of video games such as: X-Men for the NES, X-Men: Madness in Murderworld, the X-Men arcade game, X-Men, X-Men 2: Clone Wars, X-Men: Mutant Academy 2, and X-Men: Next Dimension. In X-Men: Next Dimension, Nightcrawler can teleport toward, behind, or above the opponent, following it with any attack he chooses. He also carries a large sword he uses to deadly effect. Nightcrawler's incredible acrobatic attacks rival the other agile fighters greatly, which include Beast and Toad.
- He is one of the 3 playable characters in X-Men: The Official Game, which fills in the gap between the films X2 and X-Men: The Last Stand. Nightcrawler is voiced by Alan Cumming, the actor who portrayed him in X2. He helps the X-Men recover missing Cerebro components from the Alkali Lake facility, works with Storm to stop Multiple Man destroying a bridge, and assists the entire team in the destruction of Stryker's Sentinels. However, he decides to take a sabbatical from the X-Men at the conclusion of the game to return to Germany, as he feels that he is fundamentally a man of peace. Professor respects his decision and assures Kurt that he will always be welcome at the school.
- Nightcrawler appears as a playable character in X-Men Legends and its sequel X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse, voiced by Dee Bradley Baker. Nightcrawler's powers include powerful sword attacks and the ability to teleport short distances.
- Dee Bradley Baker reprises his role of Nightcrawler in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance. He appears as an NPC across all platforms, and as a downloadable playable character for the Xbox 360 version of the game. In the game, he and Jean Grey are abducted by the Masters of Evil. While Jean is taken to Murderworld, Nightcrawler remains in Latveria, and is forced to teleport to Mephisto's Realm when subjected to the Mutant Amplifier. He and Jean will eventually be taken by Blackheart. After Blackheart is defeated, the player has the choice to save either Jean or Nightcrawler, since saving one results in the other one being dropped into the Infinity Vortex. If Jean is rescued, then Nightcrawler will eventually be revived by Mephisto. After he is defeated, he realizes he is only an echo and sacrifices himself to defeat Mephisto. At the end of the game, it is revealed that if Jean Gray is saved, Mystique will sneak into the X-Mansion under cover of night to vent her frustration on Professor X where he will die months later and the X-Men will disband forever (ironically though, Nightcrawler can be seen at the photo of the funeral). If the player play as Nightcrawler in Xbox 360's latest editions after rescuing Jean Grey in Murderworld, the special dialogue clarifies the playable Nightcrawler is either from the present/original timeline while the non-playable Nightcrawler could be either his future-self or a clone, but the playable Nightcrawler claims the non-playable version of himself to be his clone created by Masters of Evil. The playable Nightcrawler also have a special dialogue with Mephisto, related to the non-playable Nightcrawler's status to be presumably his clone created by Mephisto and the Masters of Evil, before switch places with Ghost Rider, and during a final battle against Mephisto, which were never been used in the game.
- Nightcrawler appears in the PlayStation 2, Nintendo DS, and PSP versions of Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, voiced by Yuri Lowenthal. In the PS2 and PSP versions, he is an assist character who will teleport across the screen to defeat enemies. In the DS version, the player is able to play alongside Nightcrawler and take advantage of his unique powers.
- Nightcrawler is a playable character in the Marvel Super Hero Squad video game, voiced by Liam O'Brien.
- Nightcrawler has a cameo in Trish and Magneto's endings in Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds. In the game's rerelease, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, he appears as a card in Heroes and Heralds mode, granting users a teleporting airdash.
- Nightcrawler appears in X-Men: Destiny, voiced again by Yuri Lowenthal.
- Nightcrawler is a playable character in Marvel Super Hero Squad Online.
- Nightcrawler is a playable character in the Facebook game Marvel: Avengers Alliance.
- Nightcrawler is a playable character in Marvel Heroes, voiced again by Liam O'Brien.
- Nightcrawler is a playable character in Marvel: Contest of Champions.
- Nightcrawler will appear as a playable character in the match-three mobile and PC game Marvel Puzzle Quest. The addition of both Nightcrawler and Gambit to the game was revealed during Rogue's official introduction in September 2017.
Nightcrawler appears in the X-Men/Star Trek crossover novel Planet X. In it, Geordi La Forge analyzes his teleportation ability and finds that it works by sending Nightcrawler through the same subspace dimension as warp drive. His ability lets him teleport himself and Data onto an enemy ship since the Enterprise's transporters cannot work through shields.
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