Nightcrawler is a founding member of multiple superhero teams, can teleport, fence, and loves to crack wise, so why isn’t he more popular?
The X-Men’s Kurt Wagner a.k.a. Nightcrawler is not a generally beloved character in the public conscious of Marvel Comics, bearing the appearance of a demon since birth along with having been deserted from his biological parents. However, Kurt has not let his physical deformities or past get him down in his duties in protecting both mutant kind and humanity. The only thing holding the lovable Nightcrawler from reaching his full potential as a respected superhero is his ungovernable mutant heritage.
Raised in a German circus after being abandoned by his birth mother Raven Darkholme a.k.a. the mutant terrorist Mystique, Kurt would be given the stage name of the Nightcrawler for his high-flying acrobatic skills and distinct mutant teleporting abilities. In the place of the shape-shifting Mystique would be the sorceress, Margali Szardos, who would at one-time, be sent the mutant to hell after mistaking him for killing her biological son Stephan. Due to his extended time in the circus, Nightcrawler is one of the most physically acrobatic of the X-Men, giving the equally agile Spider-Man a run for his own money during an encounter in 1984’s Secret Wars event series. Though retaining one of the more alarming appearances of the X-Men team, Kurt is often seen as a trusted source of comic relief for the group.
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While their prolonged relationship began with a rocky start, Nightcrawler and Wolverine have since built a close rapport that has seen the two become similar to that of brothers. It was Nightcrawler who would learn of Wolverine’s true name, Logan, before anyone else on the X-Men team. If there is anyone who can get on Wolverine’s good side let alone get him on their side at all, they are someone to be respected tremendously.
While Nightcrawler is a superhero first and foremost, the teleporting mutant has made it known his other immediate passion… religion. Nightcrawler’s religious beliefs have stemmed from his own personal faith and life outlook, having now established his own mutant religion in current comics.
Though having his fair share of solo comic series’ beginning in 1985 with writer and artist Dave Cockrum, Nightcrawler has received the most exposure from the book in which he made his debut, The Uncanny X-Men. Apart from the X-Men, Kurt is one of the founding members of the U.K.-based superhero team known as Excalibur. While having a distinct appearance and a visually striking power-set, Kurt has mainly been confined to team books.
Mutants are not the most socially accepted group in the Marvel Universe, even when compared to aliens and average super-humans. Kurt’s mutation has held the character back quite a bit in terms of vast potential. Nightcrawler has all of the traits of an ideal superhero, a unique backstory, and appearance, a distinct set of powers, and even a religious backing. Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler may be an iconic X-Men hero, but he deserves to be an iconic hero in general in the Marvel Universe.
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