Uncanny Origins #8
Marvel Comics (April, 1997)
Nightcrawler: “From Circus Freak To X-Man”
WRITER: Bill Roseman
ARTIST: Mark Campos
COLORIST: Scott Rockwell
LETTERER: Jack Morelli
EDITOR: Terry Kavanagh
When he was a baby his mother set him adrift to protect herself from those who wanted him dead for how he looked. (Apparently Europe had decided all demons look like they do in paintings yet claimed to follow the God of the Bible at this point. Go figure?) This is not a surprise considering his mother was mutant that would be known as Mystique. Found by a fortune-teller in a traveling circus, Kurt Wagner would grow up to become a trapeze star under the name Nightcrawler. But he longed for more excitement and when a man wanted to tear the circus apart to get Kurt into his own circus, Kurt opted to go off on his own, to learn what a mutant was after learning he could teleport, saving the woman he was in love with (stepsister, so it’s not as creepy–it’s not like he met anyone else outside of the circus). He also found his stepbrother, who had given in to madness. Kurt was forced to kill him but because of his appearance he was blamed not only for that death but all the kids the madman had murdered. He is saved by Professor X, who gives him a new home and all the adventure Nightcrawler could want: as a member of the X-Men!
What they got right: The art is really good considering they were going for a less real/more cartoonish style in this book. Professor X doesn’t have the weird head he has in previous books.
What they got wrong: The German and Eastern European countryside is a horrible place to be a mutant. Between Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Mystique, and now Nightcrawler everybody is superstitious to almost comedic levels and immediately assumes the worst of any mutant with little to no provocation. Granted it’s the Marvel universe and they aren’t too bright when it comes to superbeings (they still believe the Skrulls were mutants who all somehow had the exact same power–shapeshifting), but even for a comic about intolerance as the X-franchise has become this is growing insulting for that area.
Recommendation: A good summary but I’m getting tired with every origin being one of tragedy. I want more like Angel’s. The big tragedy came after the fact and I like the reason he became a hero. This one is worth looking into, though.