Art by Humberto Ramos.
|First appearance||Giant-Size X-Men #1 (May 1975)|
|Created by||Len Wein
|Alter ego||Kurt Wagner|
Archdiocese of New York
X-Treme Sanctions Executive
enhanced night vision,
Ability to stick to walls,
Blending into shadows,
Skilled in martial arts, hand to hand combat and fencing training
Nightcrawler (Kurt Wagner) is a fictional character, a comic book superhero in the Marvel Universe. He has been associated with both the X-Men and Excalibur, originally appearing in graphic novels published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer Len Wein and artist Dave Cockrum, he first debuted in Giant-Size X-Men #1 (May 1975).
A mutant, Nightcrawler possesses superhuman agility, the ability to teleport, invisibility in deep shadows, and adhesive hands and feet. His physical mutations include blue fur, two-toed and -fingered feet and hands (not including thumbs), yellow eyes, 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. A German, Nightcrawler is 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 featured in a small number of the 1990s X-Men animated series episodes and was a regular on its successor, X-Men: Evolution. In 2003, he was a major character in the film X2, and was portrayed by Alan Cumming. In 2006, IGN rated Nightcrawler at #7 on their list of Top 25 X-Men from the past forty years. In 2008, Marvel rated their top ten X-Men of all time. Nightcrawler ranked #4 on their list.
Nightcrawler is originally stated to be from a small village called Winzeldorf in the German state of Bavaria. In the X-Men animated series, it is said to be Neuherzl, and in the movie X2, he makes repeated references to his time in the Munich circus, though it is never explicitly specified from where he originated.
Co-creator Dave Cockrum originally designed Nightcrawler 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.
Although an X-Men character for years, Nightcrawler did not get his own comic book title (written and drawn by Cockrum) until November 1985, when Nightcrawler, along with Lockheed, accidentally traveled to several alternate dimensions, meeting strange beings such as the Bamfs (the Bamfs originally appeared in a story fellow X-Man Kitty Pryde told Illyana as a bedtime story in X-Men #153). After various adventures, Nightcrawler and Lockheed managed to get home safely.
A second four-issue limited series appeared in November 2002. Written by Chris Kipiniak and penciled by Matthew Dow Smith, it focused 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 book was published by Marvel. Written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa with covers and pencils by Darick Robertson throughout the series duration, it featured the story arcs "The Devil Inside", "Ghosts On The Rails", "The Winding Way", and the final twelfth issue entitled "Happy Birthday, Kurt!". At the end of "The Winding Way", Nightcrawler came into possession of Magik's Soulsword, which was stored inside his body. The Soulsword has several magical properties such as dispelling and blocking magical effects, and severely damaging magic users (while passing through normal humans and mutants harmlessly).
The series followed Kurt through mystery stories of a supernatural nature. At the time, other X-Men subsidiary titles were steadily losing sales, and the Nightcrawler title was placed on hiatus by Marvel in February 2005, following issue #6; it did not resume publishing until June of that year. Despite the efforts of the creative team with the "The Winding Way" story arc to tie in the previous stories, delve into Nightcrawler's past, and involve other X-Men franchise characters, the series was canceled with issue twelve.
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 Wagner an hour after his birth, in a small roadside shelter in the Bavarian Alps. She claimed to have found his alleged father, Eric Wagner, dead of a heart attack on the road outside, and Kurt's mother lying next to the baby dying. However, this claim was later called into question, and it was subsequently proven  that Kurt's mother is the terrorist Mystique, also known as Raven Darkholme, and his father is the demonic warlord Azazel. Mystique revealed  that she threw him into a river after a large mob found out about Nightcrawler's existence, and Azazel admitted 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 fortuneteller, as a cover for her activities as a sorceress. Wagner was never legally adopted by anyone, but was raised by all the members of the circus, who had no prejudices against mutants. Margali acted as Wagner's unofficial foster mother.
Wagner grew up happily in the circus, and his two closest friends were Margali's natural children Stefan and 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 being wearing a devil-like costume.
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 had brutally slain several children. When they were younger, Stefan had 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, Wagner unintentionally broke Stefan's neck.
The villagers of Winzeldorf, who assumed from Kurt's appearance that he was a demon who was responsible for the child killings, discovered Wagner. They were about to kill him when they were all psychically paralyzed by Professor Charles 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 Xavier went to the Bavarian circus so that Wagner could explain to Margali about Stefan's death. However, Margali was not there. She held Wagner responsible for murdering Stefan, and created a facsimile of the hell from Dante's Inferno in which to punish him years later. Yet through the use of Doctor Strange's all-seeing Eye of Agamotto, she learned the truth and she and Wagner were reconciled. Wagner was also happily reunited with his foster sister Jimaine, who now lives in the United States and changes her name to Amanda Sefton, later becoming Kurt's girlfriend. Known as Nightcrawler, Wagner became a member of the X-Men.
Some time later, Nightcrawler fought Shagreen the Sorcerer, and became lost in various dimensions in his first major solo adventure.
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 (in a nod to his first appearance in Giant Sized X-Men #1) 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 worth to the team. It may have been these feelings that led him to use his "multi-port" stunt to disable Vertigo during the Mutant Massacre. This tactic left him unable to escape Riptide's attack, leading to horrific injuries and his subsequent coma.
While he recovers from these injuries, his fellow X-Men are apparently killed on a mission in Dallas. Not long after, Nightcrawler and Shadowcat 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.
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.
At one point there is a slight attraction between Nightcrawler and Marvel Girl—manifesting in a kiss -- but nothing else came of it. Nightcrawler was balancing his feelings towards Marvel Girl and an attraction to Storm at the same time, while Storm was in somewhat of a romantic "friendship" with Wolverine .
Later, 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, Nightcrawler took Marvel Girl, Psylocke, Bishop, and Cannonball to Central Park. He later 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.
When the first mutant since M-Day appears, Cyclops sends him along with 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. Kurt seems to have nearly fully recovered from his injuries since he, along with Beast, the entire New X-Men team, and Professor X are teleported to Muir Island by Pixie. He takes part in the final battle.
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.
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 not think of Kitty, how the X-Men don't need him, and that Pixie is a better teleporter than him. 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.
Kurt fights alongside the X-Men when the Skrulls invade San Francisco. He manages to come across a Skrull bible and, after studying it, he gives it to Beast who figures out how to deal with the Skrulls.
Pixie and Kurt are training when he brings up Pixie's Souldagger. Pixie summons her Souldagger and stabs Kurt in the chest, knocking him out. When Pixie removes her Souldagger, Magik's Soulsword emerges from his chest.
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.
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. She apologizes and he stabs her; at that moment Colossus punches Kurt and Witchfire finished 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 than 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, 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).
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 means of displacing himself through an alternate dimension briefly and reappearing in a desired location. He has been shown to be able to teleport distances of up to two miles (3 km) under optimal conditions, although it is at his extreme limit, and he can become severely fatigued if he tries to teleport that distance (in one case, however, he teleports somewhere over 50 miles (80 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.
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 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 through his body. Through practice he has been able to teleport a passenger over a lengthy distance with himself without exhausting himself, but the strain on his body grows as the amount of mass he transports and the distance over which he teleports it increase. 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 are weakened or even pass out from the strain.
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 he travels through 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 register 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 agility, balance, bodily coordination, and flexibility are all enhanced to superhuman levels. He has an ability to cling to surfaces with his hands and feet in a manner similar to Spider-Man. He also possesses superhuman dexterity, being able to manipulate items and fence with either hand, both feet, and his tail.
He has limited abilities to blend into shadows, both as a result of his indigo fur and his connection to the dimension through which he teleports. 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." His abilities have interacted with Vanisher's on other occasions, such as when the two found themselves transported to various alternate dimensions.
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.
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.
Veteran X-Men writer Chris Claremont had intended 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. Marvel, however, 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 Chuck Austen. 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 dating back to Biblical times who were banished to another dimension by another 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 father.
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 prehensile pointed tail which can support his weight.
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 masses. 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."
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.
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.
When Nightcrawler was first submitted as a character, it was for DC's Legion of Super-Heroes, but DC turned him down believing his look was too "Alien". Len Wein later sold the character to Marvel as an X-Men character, Len Wein has said that he wrote him as "a kind of tragic monster" and this was fairly apparent from his first scenes in Giant Sized X-Men #1 involving his flight from the mob and his subsequent reaction to them wanting to burn him down from the rooftop. It was Chris Claremont's scripting that evolved him into the swashbuckling hero he is today. Claremont stated that he took the idea that Nightcrawler thought "it was incredibly cool to be blue and furry." He also built up Nightcrawler's stout Catholic beliefs, a direct contrast to his demonic appearance.
In the Age of Apocalypse miniseries, Nightcrawler is similar to his 616 counterpart, but much darker and more violent, and he carries two sabers at all times, denoting his skills as a swordsman. Another important difference is that this Nightcrawler hates churches, having had a traumatic experience when he was younger. Nightcrawler is close to his mother, Mystique, and he even calls her "Mom." Nightcrawler is sent by Magneto to Avalon, an Antarctic utopia where humans and mutants peacefully coexist, to bring Destiny back to the United States to confirm Bishop's claims. While there, Avalon is attacked by Apocalypse's Pale Riders. Nightcrawler and Mystique vow to protect Avalon from the Pale Riders and are joined by fellow mutants Switchback and former Pale Rider Damask to face the Shadow King. Nightcrawler also goes by Kurt Darkholme instead of Kurt Wagner in this reality.
The AOA Nightcrawler appears to always be "breathing fire" when teleporting. Presumably this is simply an optical illusion of his teleportation powers, as it does not appear to have any adverse effects on anything Kurt comes in contact with as he does so. Also, this version seemingly believes his biological father is Sabretooth as is evidenced by Mystique stating that she had gone to the trouble of "finding a father with fur" when Nightcrawler complains he is cold and, when the Shadow King possesses Mystique, the captions reveal "one memory is more interesting than the others" and flashes to Sabretooth taunting Nightcrawler.
In Uncanny X-Men #153 Kurt's friend Kitty Pryde tells Illyana a bedtime story. In it she casts him as a cute creature called Bamf. He is only two feet tall and looks like a super deformed version of Kurt, even right down to his costume. He is fun-loving and somewhat lecherous. At first he only existed in a Fairy Tale, but Kurt himself met Bamf and the other characters from Kitty's story during an accidental interdimensional trip. It soon turns out there are multiple Bamfs, including female (and more winsome) versions; the Bamfs even declared him their "Daddy". The Bamfs later let their affection for Kitty Pryde get the best of them and even resorted to endangering Kitty's pet dragon Lockheed.
Nightcrawler is dead in the alternate timeline Earth-811, but he had a daughter known as Blue. She inherited the power to teleport herself and others, and a similar appearance.
Nocturne is a former member of the alternate-reality traveling Exiles, but is now a member of New Excalibur. Like all members of the Exiles she is from an alternate dimension, and in her dimension the Scarlet Witch married Nightcrawler. Nocturne is the daughter of the Scarlet Witch and the Nightcrawler of that reality.
In this reality, Charles Xavier was attacked several years earlier by a Shadow King-controlled Wolverine. Although the Shadow King was expelled from Wolverine's mind, Xavier was fatally wounded in the attack and Logan was left crippled. Shortly after, Jean Grey died and Cyclops, blaming Wolverine for both deaths, abandoned the team, leaving Wolverine and Nightcrawler as the leaders of the X-Men and the Xavier Institute.
The demeanor of this Nightcrawler is very similar to that of the Earth-616 Nightcrawler, so the first time that Nocturne met 616-Nightcrawler she accidentally calls him "Dad." In subsequent meetings Nocturne and 616-Nightcrawler have developed a bond or a father-daughter relationship.
In the House of M reality, Nightcrawler appears as a member of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Red Guard, a task force of elite mutants designed to quell insurrections; Nightcrawler has a small role when the Red Guard attempts to track down their leader, Wolverine, who remembers the world before the Scarlet Witch changed reality. Nightcrawler also appears in World of M, where he attempts to aid Apocalypse when the latter is under attack by Namor, Storm, and Sunfire.
In the Marvel Zombies universe, where the superhero population gradually becomes infected by a zombie virus, Nightcrawler is among the remaining uninfected superheroes attempting to save what remains of the Earth population. He is bitten by the zombie Fantastic Four in the one-shot "Marvel Zombies: Dead Days," and is one of the last superheroes to be infected. When Ultimate Reed Richards travels to the Marvel Zombies Universe, Nightcrawler is among the zombified superheroes who attack him in the ruins of New York.
The Ultimate version of Nightcrawler (Kurt Wagner) reveals a much more militant young mutant, only fourteen years old when first introduced in this series of X-Men. His first appearances have him forced to battle the X-Men alongside a team of Weapon X agents.
He had been captured by Weapon X and forced to act as an assassin and Black Ops agent. His Weapon X origins link him more closely with Wolverine and Rogue than with his other teammates. Originally speaking only German, he did learn to speak English with the help of Jean Grey’s mental powers. Though Nightcrawler returns home after he escapes from Weapon X, he soon joined the X-Men in order to fight Magneto.
Nightcrawler is originally shown as a friendly, humorous man with a zest for high adventure which has gained him the friendship of many of his fellow X-Men. One of Kurt's more notable friends was Angel who together have "misused" the Danger Room for Pirates of the Caribbean-like "role-playing" sessions under the name of "the dread Captain Blue Tail," as it is shown that he is a fan of the movie. He has a fan-crush on Keira Knightley.
When Dazzler, Kurt's unrequited crush, slips into a coma due to injuries inflicted by Deathstrike, Kurt begins to lose control of his delicate psyche, regressing into his Weapon X days. His loneliness is further exacerbated by Angel's departure from the X-Men. Furthermore, his relationship with Colossus breaks down after Colossus reveals his sexual orientation.
Shortly following Dazzler's awakening, Kurt's irrational increasing obsession with Dazzler prompted him to teleport her to a secluded cave, telling her that the X-Men had been attacked and that he was "protecting" her. The X-Men rescued Dazzler and confronted Kurt upon learning what he had done, resulting in a battle between the X-Men and their disturbed teammate. Kurt was defeated and was afterwards placed in a vegetative state by Charles Xavier in the hopes that Xavier could treat his damaged psyche. At his bedside, Rogue, who had absorbed his memories during the battle, told him she now considered him as much a monster on the inside as he appeared to be on the outside. Whether this statement regarded his activities as a Weapon X assassin or something else she experienced while privy to his memories remains to be seen.
After Xavier was kidnapped by the time-traveling Cable, his hold on Kurt was broken and Kurt vanished from the Institute. In issue #80 he saves Pyro from the Friends of Humanity. Pyro reveals the existence of the Morlocks. Nightcrawler is captured as the Morlocks believe he is an Xavier spy. Shortly, the X-Men arrive to search for Toad, who was sent as an emissary. A fight ensues. During the battle, Nightcrawler helps his former teammates and managed to subdue Sunder, the leader of the Morlocks. He decided to stay with the Morlocks since they were physically mutated like him. They elect him their new leader. When Sinister targets the Morlocks for sacrifices in his attempts to bring forth Apocalypse, Nightcrawler joins in the fight.
Kurt returns to Xavier's on occasion to hang out with his former-teammates and has slowly started to accept Colossus' homosexuality, and even stands up for him when the X-Men discover that he has been using a drug called 'Banshee'. He is also seen to be part of Colossus' Banshee (Ultimate MGH) enhanced X-Men team. In this form, it seems Nightcrawler is wielding javelins of energy, similar to those Blink uses.
Ultimate Nightcrawler's powers are very similar to his 616 counterpart. Kurt's demon-like physiology grants him dark, indigo skin (unlike the 616 version in which he is covered with a thin blue fur); a prehensile tail; superhuman acrobatic ability; and control over the inter-atomic bonding between molecules that allows him to cling to any surface. He also has yellow smoke that billows out of his mouth. Most notably, Nightcrawler can teleport short distances, leaving a burst of yellow smoke and flames, though it was mentioned he had teleported a distance of two miles (3 km) previously. It appears that after Nightcrawler has been using the drug 'Banshee', he now seems to burst purple smoke and flames when he teleports, instead of yellow.
He dies when the Ultimatum wave hits New York.
In the futuristic Universe X maxi-series by Jim Krueger and Alex Ross, it is revealed that Nightcrawler became amnesiac and was displaced in time, finally becoming Belasco, a long-time enemy of the X-Men. After his origins are revealed to him by a resurrected Captain Marvel, Nightcrawler/Belasco finally joins the good guys again.
Nightcrawler has made a number of appearances through the years in the What If? series, consisting of one-issue takes on potential alternate universes. Among his roles were What if the X-Men had stayed in Asgard? (vol. 2 #12), in which Nightcrawler stayed behind on Asgard to be a swashbuckler and eventually joined the Warriors Three.
In What if the all-new, all-different X-Men had never existed? (vol. 2 #23), an embittered Nightcrawler, having never been recruited by Professor Xavier, was talked into a life of crime by Erik the Red. However, after learning the truth about the X-Men, he sacrificed himself to destroy the Phoenix Force that was hiding in Earth's sun, reasoning that, while heroes like the X-Men would be mourned by the world, nobody would miss him.
Additionally, in X-Men: The End, he is shown to be a famous Hollywood action star (with Jubilee as his agent), and is married to Kymri; the pair have children, including another T.J. Wagner (which is Nocturne's name) however, in this timeline T.J. Wagner is a male. Nocturne is a character in this universe.
In the Amerimanga series X-Men Misfits, Kurt's design is radically different with talon-like claws instead of toes and a metal tail with identical marks below each eye.
Nightcrawler appears at the end of the first issue of the sequel to X Men Noir, X Men Noir: the Mark of Cain. Since the characters in the Noir-verse don't have any powers, Kurt is merely a normal human wearing a blue demon mask and a costume tail. His abilities have yet to be shown.
In the film X2: X-Men United, Nightcrawler is played by Alan Cumming. This version shares much of the same history (the circus, Catholicism, and being native to Germany) with the comic book inspiration; his scenes with Mystique leave it ambiguous as to whether or not any subsequent sequels will reveal her to be his mother. One major difference between the comic book Nightcrawler and his film counterpart is that he wears ordinary civilian clothing as opposed to an X-Man uniform, as he is not actually a member of the X-Men in the film (however, he appears to be in the tie-in video game with his own uniform, but he has doubts about staying with the team), but instead an ally of the team. His strong sense of humor and 'prankster' nature were practically non-existent in the film, except for one scene where Rogue says she wishes she could overhear what the X-Men and Magneto are discussing around a camp fire. Nightcrawler replies that he could get closer to overhear without being seen, and a minute or so later the others around the camp fire notice him dangling like a bat by his tail from a tree branch just above and behind them. This is one of the few indications of Nightcrawler's humorous antics in the film, which emphasizes the tragic aspect of the character instead of the clown-like aspect present in the comics and cartoon series. Also, the flash of smoke that accompanies Nightcrawler's teleportation ability appears a dark navy blue in the film, as opposed to the bright reddish-purple as it appears in the comics.
Unlike the traditional versions, in the movie Nightcrawler has blue flesh instead of blue fur. His skin is also decorated by "angelic symbols" which reflects the spirituality of the character's faith and his devout practice of Catholicism. This form of artistic body modification is self-inflicted brandings or scars - when asked how many he has he replies: "One for every sin." In another rare moment of humour he then adds "So - quite a few..." The existence of the blue skin was due to the difficulty of creating a furry hide on the actor, so the decision was made to give him blue flesh instead of fur. There is a recurring joke that whenever anyone asks who he is he responds with, "My name is Kurt Wagner, but in the Munich Circus I was known as 'the Incredible Nightcrawler.'" On all of these occasions he is interrupted before he can finish his speech.
In the film, Nightcrawler is brainwashed with a fluid from William Stryker's mutant son in order to attempt an assassination on the President of the United States. The opening scenes of the movie are almost a showcase of Nightcrawler's powers, with him engaging the Secret Service, defeating them in a memorable fashion. Storm and Jean Grey are sent to find him and bring him back to the mansion, and Wagner goes with them. He helps Storm save the children and stop Stryker's Cerebro at the Alkali Lake facility and joins the team at the end. He uses his teleportation to save the lives of two X-Men during the film - Rogue when she is sucked out of the damaged X-Blackbird and Charles Xavier when Stryker's Cerebro was destroyed.
He did not appear in X-Men: The Last Stand because, according to the movie's official video game, the character didn't like the violent lifestyle of the X-Men. Furthermore, the crew thought it wasn't worth going through the long hours of preparation given that Cumming didn't enjoy the heavy make-up needed for his character and because Nightcrawler's appearance was only going to be minimal.
Below is a list of translations of the name "Nightcrawler".