- Every so often, liebchen, since I look like a demon... I have this irresistible urge to play the part.
- -- Nightcrawler src
In the form of a German noblewoman, the shape-shifting mutant Mystique married Baron Christian Wagner. Meanwhile, Mystique had an affair with the mysterious Azazel from La Isla des Demonas and became pregnant with their child. Azazel told Mystique to raise their child as if it were the Count's. A heartbroken Raven agreed and, while Christian did become suspicious as to the baby's paternity, his sudden "accidental" death ensured no one else heard his suspicions. The baby was born visibly mutated with blue fur all over, pointed ears, iridescent eyes, and a prehensile tail. Due to the shock and the strain of the boy’s difficult delivery, Mystique lost concentration and accidentally revealed her true form. Word spread of her and the baby's condition and mother and son were chased by a torch-wielding angry mob. Mystique passed out and left young Kurt Wagner floating down a river during her escape.
Miraculously, the baby survived and was saved by Margali Szardos, a sorceress and gypsy queen, who became a fortuneteller at a local carnival as a "cover" for her activities as a sorceress. Margali took the baby back with her to the circus. Wagner was never legally adopted by anyone but was raised within the circus, mostly with people who had no prejudices against "freaks" save for the ringmaster, Herr Max Getmann. Margali acted as Wagner's unofficial foster mother. Wagner grew up in Max Getmann's Circus and his two closest friends were his "adopted" brother and sister, Margali's natural children Stephan and Jimaine Szardos. Later, Kurt and Jimaine forged a true friendship as they grew older, and Stephan knew that his magical heritage might lure him to evil one day. So, Jimaine had Kurt promise him a blood-oath, that if he ever killed without reason, Kurt would kill him as well. Long before his teleportation power emerged, Wagner had tremendous natural agility and by his adolescence he had become the circus's star acrobat and aerial artist. Circus audiences assumed that he was a normal-looking human being wearing a demon-like costume.
As he got older, Kurt's abilities drew less and less of a crowd until one day, Herr Getmann could no longer afford to keep him sedated between acts and decided to sell him. Fearing the worst, Margali worked with Armen Freilich to free Kurt. As he fled, he accidentally knocked over a torch, igniting the circus. Getmann and his men chased Kurt through the forest and were about to shoot him in the face when he teleported for the first time. Astonished and pleased with his escape, Kurt wearily made his way to the nearby Father Wagner's church. Two days later, he was discovered and welcomed and Kurt happily found a home trading shelter for labor. One evening, Armen burst in the door, apparently being chased by Getmann and his goons for escaping. Father Wagner tried to stop them from taking the boys, but the men proved too strong and set the church on fire during the brawl. Kurt ported Armen to a nearby farm before going back and beating on Getmann. Just as he was about to kill Getmann, Father Wagner reminded Kurt of his humanity. With the tides turned, Getmann and his men took aim to kill both Kurt and the Father but were frozen. Professor Charles Xavier had arrived and taken control of the angry mob's minds, programming them all to remember Kurt dying in the fire.
Years later, the Texas millionaire Arnos Jardine, who ran a large circus based in Florida, heard of the circus Wagner worked for 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. Appalled, Wagner quit and made his way towards Winzeldorf, Germany, where Stephan was. Kurt discovered that Stephan had gone mad and had brutally slain several children. Two nights after leaving the circus, Wagner found Stephan and fought him, hoping to stop his rampage. In the course of the struggle, Wagner unintentionally broke Stephan's neck. Then the villagers of Winzeldorf, who assumed him to be a demon who was responsible for the child killings, discovered Wagner. They were about to kill him, when they were all psionically paralyzed by Professor Xavier, who had come to recruit Wagner into the X-Men. Wagner agreed to join the group, but before they left for America, he and Prof. Xavier went to the Bavarian circus so that Wagner could explain to Margali about Stefan's death. However, Margali was not there and she held Wagner responsible for murdering Stefan.
Wagner helped Prof. Xavier and Cyclops rescue the original X-Men from Krakoa. After most of the original team left for a time, Wagner, along with fellow new recruits Storm, Colossus, Wolverine, Banshee, and Thunderbird, stayed at the Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters as members of the new X-Men. The second group of X-Men were mostly adults and required no tutoring from Professor X, but trained in the use of their powers, in the Danger Room.
Kurt met Amanda Sefton and the two began to date. Investigating the murder of an old friend, Eric Hoffman, Kurt briefly battled Spider-Man, until the arrival of The Punisher. The duo battled The Punisher, until the real killer, Jigsaw, was revealed and the trio defeated him.
While meeting Amanda at an airport, Kurt recognized the plane of Arcade and overheard that he had been contracted, by Arnos, to kill Spider-Man and refused. After arriving at Arnos' circus, Kurt impersonated Spider-Man, to draw-out the new assassin, and the duo battled Cutthroat.
On Kurt’s twenty-first birthday, Jimaine transported Kurt’s soul to a simulacrum of Dante’s hell. There, he faced Margali Szardos, who held Kurt responsible for the death of Stephan. When Nightcrawler convinced Margali that Stephan had gone insane, she forgave Kurt and departed. Jimaine revealed that she had been at Nightcrawler’s side, magically disguised for months as Amanda Sefton, Kurt's girlfriend.
Kurt then accompanied Wolverine to Ottawa, Canada, where he leaned Wolverine’s real name “Logan”, to make things right with Alpha Flight and Department H and together with Alpha Flight they battled Wendigo. Then, The X-Men stopped the attempted assassination of Senator Robert Kelly by the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants lead by Mystique. When Nightcrawler encountered Mystique for the first time in his adult life, he was shocked to discover how similar in appearance they were and that she knew his real name. Mystique only told him to ask his foster mother, Margali Szardos, about it, leaving Nightcrawler confused.
Kurt began a close relationship with Wolverine and Colossus, even taking a dare from Wolverine to walk down the main street of Salem Center undisguised, in his natural shape. When Miss Locke kidnapped Amanda, Kurt traveled to Latveria where the X-Men defeated a Doombot in the image of Dr. Doom to rescue Arcade.
Kurt took over leadership of the X-Men after Storm had seemingly lost her powers forever. After recounting an adventure to his teammate, Kitty Pryde (Shadowcat), Kitty, excited by the story, attempted to create a simulacrum of the Well at the Center of Time inside the X-Men's Danger Room (based on Kurt's description). Instead of crafting a simulated hologram of the Well however, Kitty inadvertently opened a doorway into the Well itself. Kitty's pet dragon, Lockheed, flew towards it to investigate, when an alien, green tentacle reached out from beyond and dragged him inside of the vortex. Nightcrawler dove in after to save Lockheed and found himself instantly transported to a bizarre, alien world. Nightcrawler and Lockheed shared several adventures on various worlds, meeting Long John McGurk, Boggies, Jinjav Sabree, and battled the sorcerer Shagreen. At the close of each encounter, he found himself drawn back into a spiraling vortex, only to be literally spat out into a new foreign land. After a great deal of trial and error, Nightcrawler finally succeeded in navigating through the Well and returning home.
When both Cyclops and Storm returned to the team, Kurt was more than willing to step down and let them sort out leadership of the X-Men themselves. While the X-Men later battled the Beyonder again, Kurt was left behind and began to question his faith in religion. Before the team returned, Kurt again battled Arcade in Murderworld, this time, to save Judith Rassendyll.
After battling Nimrod with the Hellfire Club as allies, Nightcrawler was gravely injured and was lost after he teleported. After being rescued by Colossus, Shadowcat, and Magik, Kurt found that he could not teleport anymore. Later Kurt's abilities returned, but it became more strenuous to teleport and the X-Men were turned to X-Babies by Mojo, when they battled the New Mutants, until they were broken of their brainwashing and defeated the spineless one, Mojo. After, Kurt faced the Marauders in this weakened state, where he overexerted himself into a coma. Kurt was sent to recover on Muir Island and when he awoke from his coma, Shadowcat informed Kurt of the X-Men's apparent deaths during the time he was out.
After having the same continuous dream, Nightcrawler and Kitty realized that Rachel might have been trying to telepathically reach them. After being attacked by Gatecrasher and the Technet, who were hired by Saturnyne to eliminate Phoenix, Shadowcat and Meggan Puceanu were captured and Kurt went to Captain Britain, who was in a drunken state after the loss of his sister, Psylocke. After leaving Captain Britain, Kurt tracked Rachel to London, where the Technets were fighting the Warwolves over Rachel. The combined efforts of Kurt, Shadowcat, Phoenix, Meggan, and Captain Britain resulted in the defeat of the Technet and the Warwolves. At the urging of Rachel to continue Professor Xavier's dream, Nightcrawler and Shadowcat became founding members of the British-based team Excalibur. After inspecting their new headquarters, at the Braddock Lighthouse, Kurt briefly witnessed Queen Ai'Sha of another reality, but, when he returned with Meggan, they scene had vanished. Kurt found himself attracted to Meggan, but unable to act, due to her relationship as Captain Britain's girlfriend. Later, Kurt attempted to rescue Shadowcat, who was posing as Rachel, from her plan to find the remaining Warwolves, but Kitty was captured. After saving people from a subway train, Kurt followed a mysterious police officer to the Warwolves' hide-out and Excalibur rescued Shadowcat, who's intangibility saved her life, then placed the Warwolves on display at the zoo.
After battling the Juggernaut and a group of escaped prisoners, the team addressed Captain Britain's drinking problems, while moving into their new headquarters, Captain Britain's Braddock Lighthouse. Following a trail of forfeit money, Excalibur traveled to Murderworld and battled the Crazy Gang, to rescue Captain Britain's ex girlfriend, Courtney Ross. While battling the Crazy Gang, Excalibur's bodies were switched with members of the Crazy Gang, with Kurt trading places with Jester. After Kitty entered a virus into the Murderworld computers and sent Arcade into Murderworld, Courtney restored everyone to their respectful bodies. Kurt later accompanied Brian Braddock to the The Flying Finish, where he voiced his concern of the Captain seeing Courtney while dating Meggan. Following Rachel, who sensed her infant brother's telepathic distress, Excalibur traveled to the Empire State Building and battled demons, where Meggan was brought under the demonic influence of the demon, N'Astirh, and became the Goblin Princess. While battling the Goblin Princess, Kurt also rescued Rachel from the marriage to the demon, Crotus, while she had been transformed into a mannequin. Reuniting with Kitty, Shadowcat had acquired Illyana Rasputin's Soulsword and eldrich armor and Kitty returned Meggan to normal.
After the demonic invasion, Kurt left to get the X-Men's old stratojet. Kurt simply teleported into the Skunk Works, a part of the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, and started-up the SR-71 Blackbird. After briefly returning to the School for Gifted Youngsters, Excalibur returned home to rescue W.H.O. from the Lightning Force, alternate reality versions of themselves and negotiated the return of Dr. Moira Mactaggert. After returning to the exchange of Dr. MacTaggert and the Highland Flyer crew with the Lightning Force Reichsrail Train, Reichsminister MacTaggart threw a nuclear grenade and Widget teleported Excalibur and Alistaire Stuart into another dimension.
Wagner finally learned that his mother is Mystique. Kurt eventually became team leader and moved the team to the Muir Island Research Center where he briefly reunited with Amanda Sefton, who had taken the codename Day Tripper, and his former X-Men teammate Colossus joined the team as well. Following the disbanding of Excalibur, Kurt returned to the United States along with Shadowcat and Colossus to rejoin the X-Men.
When Kurt faced Astra, the creator of the Magneto clone Joseph, she stunned him with the revelation that she had some part in his birth or some past connection to Mystique. Astra escaped and Nightcrawler was left wondering.
Nightcrawler ended up taking a few leaves of absence from the team, one to enroll in a seminary and become a priest and the other to mourn for Colossus. Kurt returned to the team and eventually gave up on the priesthood.
Azazel claimed to be Wagner's true father, spawning a number of mutants with dimensional powers to help him in his mad quest. It was unclear if Kurt or any of the others believed Azazel's claim. Kurt was a part of Storm's X-Men squad. When not on missions, he taught Drama to students of the reopened Xavier Institute.
Nightcrawler quit the X-Men for a short time, feeling he wasn't needed since Pixie was a better teleporter than him, and planned to return to his homeland Winzeldorf. Another motive for leaving was when the denizens of Winzeldorf invited him to visit the new Nightcrawler Museum dedicated to him. He soon learned that the local townsfolk tricked him and needed Nightcrawler's aid in defeating a monster called the Vielfras. Nightcrawler fought with the creature, but quickly discovered that Vielfras was actually a sixteen-year-old boy named Henrik Weber, who was cursed by a gypsy. After hearing Weber's tale, Nightcrawler sympathized with him, reflecting upon his own mistreatment at the hands of town villagers many years ago. Nightcrawler defended him when the townsfolk tracked them down, but was injured in the fight. Vielfras killed all of his attackers, then himself being unable to endure this monstrous lifestyle. Mephisto appeared to collect Weber's soul as well as the souls of the twelve men Weber had killed earlier, and Nightcrawler returned to the United States and rejoined the X-Men.
While on the run from Bastion, Kurt used his ability to get Hope as far across the country as possible. Bastion caught up with them, and anticipated one of Kurt's 'ports, putting his arm through Kurt's chest. With the final jump of his life, Kurt brought Hope to Utopia, dying on its shore.
The X-Men were devastated by Kurt's death (especially Wolverine), some blaming Hope or Cyclops. His cremation and eulogy took place on Utopia. It wasn't a Catholic funeral, but it was the best they could do under their circumstances.
Wolverine Goes to Hell
Kurt was next seen during the battle between Wolverine and the demon that was possessing his body. He realized that Wolverine would lose his mind and body if he did not help him. As a result, Kurt went to a special part of Wolverine's mind where he housed his image of Jean Grey so they can defeat the demon. When Kurt and Jean showed up in the battle they asked Kurt if he was a part of Wolverine's mind, however, he replied saying that he is the actual Nightcrawler. After the battle Kurt begged Wolverine to not seek revenge on those who did this to him, however, he refused to listen.
Nightcrawler now resides in Heaven, where he is somewhat of a loner. When Azazel attacks, Kurt calls the X-Men from beyond the grave in order to help him. The Jean Grey X-Men discover that they can also resurrect him, and immediately set out.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
Nightcrawler is a mutant.
- Teleportation: Ability to teleport himself, the clothes, he is wearing, and within limits a certain amount of additional mass which is in contact with him. He teleports by displacing himself into the Brimstone Dimension, traveling through it, and then returning to his own dimension at a certain distance from his point of departure. He consciously determines his point of return. The entire process occurs so quickly that Nightcrawler is unaware of being in the Brimstone Dimension at all. Nightcrawler guides himself through the brimstone dimension by an unconscious, natural direction-finding sense. Although Nightcrawler controls his teleportation ability with his conscious mind, his power to teleport is not psionic. Rather it is the result of an unknown biochemical/biophysical reaction which he triggers mentally.
When he disappears in teleporting, Nightcrawler leaves behind smoke with a stench reminiscent of burning brimstone. This is a small portion of the atmosphere of the Brimstone Dimension that escapes while the aperture is open. His teleportation is invariably accompanied by the muffled sound of imploding air rushing to fill the vacuum left where Nightcrawler's body was. Nightcrawler's powers automatically displace liquids and gases when he arrives in the course of a teleportation.
- The longer the distance over which Nightcrawler teleports himself, the harder and more exhausting it is for him to make the teleportation "jump". It is easier for him to teleport between north and south (along Earth's magnetic field lines) than it is for him to teleport between east and west (against the magnetic lines). Under optimal conditions, teleporting only himself and his costume, Nightcrawler can displace himself a distance of about 2 miles east-to-west, and up to 3 miles north-to-south. Making a vertical teleportation upwards is difficult and dangerous. Nightcrawler has made a vertical teleportation "jump" of 2 miles by pushing himself to his physical limits. Before his death Kurt was able to port Hope and himself from Las Vegas to San Fransisco which is 585 miles and he was weakened and near death at the time.
- Nightcrawler's momentum is retained throughout the process of teleportation: he arrives with whatever amount of inertia he left with. For example, if he were falling from a great height, he could not teleport himself towards the ground in order to save himself; he would land with the same velocity that he teleported with. He can subtract this inertia by teleporting short distances upwards (as though taking two steps back for every one forward).
- The limits to the mass that Nightcrawler can carry with him while teleporting, and the limits to the distance over which he can teleport himself with additional load is unknown. When he transports a passenger over even moderate distances, they both feel weakened and ill, to the point of exhaustion. Teleportation over further distances could be fatal. Through practice, Nightcrawler has increased the mass he can teleport with him. (He once teleported himself and Storm from the center of a small island into the water just off its coast without harming either of them). The upper limits of this capacity are as yet unknown.
- Nightcrawler can use his powers offensively by grappling with an enemy and teleporting him or her in a series of rapid jumps. The strain of these "multiple ports" can exhaust foes without superhuman endurance while Nightcrawler remains strong enough to continue fighting.
- Subconscious Spatial Awareness: Nightcrawler has a very limited subconscious extrasensory ability that prevents him from teleporting himself so that his feet, for example, would materialize below the surface of the local ground. Because this ability is so limited, however, Nightcrawler will not teleport into any place that he cannot see or has not seen in the past. If Nightcrawler teleported himself into an unfamiliar area, he would run the risk of materializing partially or entirely within a solid object. If too much of his body materialized within a solid object, he would probably be killed.
As part of his power, Nightcrawler has also exhibited a limited ability to sense the teleportation of other beings.
- Micro-Suction Discs: Nightcrawler can stick to objects with the surface of his hands and feet. This enables him to scale surfaces.
- Flexible Bone Structure: Nightcrawler's bone structure allows him great flexibility. He can remain in a crouched position for a long time and perform contortionist type feats without causing any damage to his spine.
- Camouflage: He has limited abilities to blend into shadows, both as a result of his indigo fur and his connection to the light-bending attributes of the dimension through which he teleports. This is also the explanation for why he constantly appears in shadow, even in direct light.
- 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. It is deft enough to fight with like a sword or blunt object.
- Infrared Vision: Nightcrawler's always glowing eyes grant him a marked degree of heightened night vision as well.
- Superhuman Agility: Nightcrawler's agility, balance, and bodily coordination are enhanced to levels beyond the human body's natural limits.
- Superhuman Reflexes: Nightcrawler's natural reaction time is enhanced to a level beyond the human body's natural limits.
- Master Acrobat: Nightcrawler is an Olympic-class acrobat thanks to his flexible spine that allows him to perform contortionist-like feats and to go long periods in a semi-crouching position without injury.
- Master Combatant: He is a skilled hand-to-hand combatant and a master at fencing, which he can even perform with his tail, which is strong enough to support his entire body weight.
- Aviator: He has served as the team's pilot and, with Wolverine, has also been the mechanic of the X-Men's Blackbird jet for a long time.
- Medic: He has been the medic when no more qualified X-Men were around to do so.
Strength levelNightcrawler possesses above average strength of a man of his age, height, and build who engages in intensive regular exercise. At his peak, Nightcrawler can lift about 250 lbs.
Despite Nightcrawler's superhuman powers, he is just as susceptible to disease and physical injury as any ordinary human. Also, because he is a Neyaphem, angel's blood, which heals everyone else, hurts him, normally adding to whatever injury he received.
EquipmentImage inducer; at one time he always wore his image inducer in public because he was afraid of how people would treat him because of his mutation. However, after he lost a bet with Wolverine, he went out in public without his image inducer. He expected everyone's reaction to be fear and hate, but it turned out to be a reaction of curious interest. He still has his image inducer, but hardly ever uses it unless he needs to.
TransportationFormerly X-Men Blackbird, X-Men Stratojet, Professor Xavier's Rolls Royce
- Citizen of Germany with a criminal record in the United States, later overturned by the courts; still wanted internationally as an outlaw.
- Kurt is known for being a devout Roman Catholic
- Nightcrawler's origin is located in Bavaria, but the exact location seems to change with every incarnation. In the comics, he comes from a small village called Winzeldorf, and in the X-Men animated series, it is Neuherzl. In the movie X2, he makes repeated references to his time in the Munich circus, though it is never specified where he originated.
- A notable geography error appears in Nightcrawler The Winding Ways. Nightcrawler travels to Bavaria in order to visit his old circus, which he states is located in the Black Forest. The Black Forest region doesn't belong to Bavaria, it actually is part of the federal state of Baden-Württemberg.
- Dave Cockrum actually designed Nightcrawler while still in the U.S. Navy, stationed in Guam, when a typhoon made it too noisy to sleep. His original vision, a demon who refused to return to hell for punishment after he failed a mission, was meant to serve as sidekick for another of his creations, the Intruder. He later submitted the character for inclusion in DC Comics' Legion of Super-Heroes series, which he worked on just before coming to Marvel. DC editor Murray Boltinoff rejected the character as being "too funny looking." 
- A calendar in Kurt's room (Nightcrawler (Volume 3) #12) indicates that his birthday is in November.
- Writer Chris Claremont had several different ideas for Nightcrawler's parentage, including Nightmare as his father, and Mystique as his father (with Destiny as his mother). The Nightmare connection was prevented by then-Dr. Strange (and later X-Men) editor Roger Stern, and the Mystique/Destiny idea was dropped almost immediately.
- Nightcrawler will return from the dead in the "Quest for Nightcrawler" story arc of Amazing X-Men Vol 2, and subsequently join the side of the Jean Grey X-Men.
Nightcrawler's German phrasesEdit
To keep authenticity, the writers - especially Chris Claremont - made Nightcrawler speak German phrases. But due to poor translation and/or simple lack of proper characters, these phrases were often a source of unintended comedy for native German speakers. Notable errors were:
|English word||False translation||Correct translation|
|Kitten||Katzchen (his pet name for Kitty Pryde)||Kätzchen|
|Darling||Leibchen (Shirt)||Liebchen or Liebling|
|Understood?||Verstehen? (To understand)||Verstanden?|
|God in heaven||Gott in Heimel||Gott im Himmel|
|What?||Vas?||Was? (pronounced Vas?)|
- 1,028 Appearances of Kurt Wagner (Earth-616)
- 419 Images featuring Kurt Wagner (Earth-616)
- 35 Quotations by or about Kurt Wagner (Earth-616)
- Character Gallery: Kurt Wagner (Earth-616)
- Fan-Art Gallery: Kurt Wagner (Earth-616)
- Characters killed by Nightcrawler
- Uncannyxmen.net Spotlight On...Nightcrawler
- Nightcrawler's Fan-Forums
- Bamf Central
- Marvel Directory
- Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition #9 (August 1986)
- Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: X-Men 2004
Discover and Discuss
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- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 X-Men Origins: Nightcrawler #1
- ↑ X-Men: Manifest Destiny Nightcrawler #1
- ↑ Amazing X-Men Vol 2 #1
- ↑ Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z hardcover Vol. 8
- ↑ "How a Typhoon Blew in Success", Wizard Special Edition: X-Men Turn 30, July 1993: Wizard Press.
- ↑ http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=23092
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