It’s time for another instalment of the greatest hits of some of my favourite characters in comics.
This time it features someone whom I consider to be the heart and soul of the X-Men and the living representation of Xavier’s dream. He’s everyone’s favourite swashbuckling demonic-looking Catholic Germanic ladies man.
It is, of course, the pride of the Munich circus, The Amazing Nightcrawler!!
He’s a mutant born with a demonic appearance, but he doesn’t let it get him down; bringing humour and derring-do to any and all X-Men tales.
So roll up, roll up come one and witness The greatest show on earth, one that will surely go out with a ‘Bamf!’
In order to have a reasonable amount of stories on this list, I will only be considering single issues, arcs, annuals & one-shots set in the main 616 Marvel Universe. I won’t be using alternate realities or possible futures and also I have to have physically read the stories.
If there are others I’ve missed out on or you think I’m wrong please let me know because I honestly can’t get enough of this stuff and I could always do with more reading material. All stories featured here are currently available on digital comics subscription service Marvel Unlimited.
5. Uncanny X-Men: First Class #1-2
by Scott Gray & Roger Cruz
In this modern retrospective series set in the X-Men’s 70’s heyday, we find Kurt abused by a mob of ‘normals’ after saving two girls from falling masonry.
He takes this to heart, which breaks his usually happy go-lucky demeanour. He soon meets The Inhumans (a race of evolved humans) and decides to visit their home of Attilan where everyone is accepted no matter how strange their appearance is. He finds himself able to go about his business in a regular manner something that we all take for granted. Kurt is even tempted to stay until he sees The Inhumans forced mutation of their youngsters
He finds himself able to go about his business in a regular manner, something that we all take for granted. Kurt is even tempted to stay until he sees The Inhumans’ forced mutation of their youngsters . Realising that all of God’s children are born beautiful (even himself) he interrupts The Terrigenesis, which angers the whole city of Attilan and leading them to put him on trial. This culminates in an inevitable Inhumans/X-Men punch up.
This issue showcases many different sides of Kurt’s personality including his well hidden self-loathing most of all, not to mention his bromance with Colossus. This issue also highlights how similar, and yet how very different, these two races are.
4. Uncanny X-Men Vol. 1 #204
by Chris Claremont & June Brigman
Nightcrawler begins to question his faith after meeting a god-like being called The Beyonder. he becomes unsure of his path in life, even questioning his feelings for his current girlfriend.
In need of a good distraction, he soon finds one as he comes into contact with a beautiful jogger, who happens to be marked for death by unusual assassin Arcade and shanghaied to his death-dealing theme park known only as Murderworld (Alton Towers was already taken).
Kurt isn’t far behind, dealing with everything from WWI bi-planes, to Mad Max-esque drag racers, to giant pinball machines and robotic sharks before ultimately rescuing the lady in question and saving the day in a very clever manner. Another great spotlight on Kurt’s need for adventure and thrill-seeking, seeing
This issue shines a spotlight on Kurt’s need for adventure and thrill-seeking. He finds joy in the challenge of avoiding Arcade’s wacky and wonderful death traps.
This is probably his first solo story and clearly one of his best.
3. Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 1 #161-162
by Len Wein & Ross Andru
After reading The Daily Bugle, Kurt discovers that an old circus friend has been assassinated by a mysterious sniper.
On a quest for revenge, he seeks out the murderer. Spidey, after the same killer, soon finds Nightcrawler with a recently fired rifle in hand and both assume the other to be the sniper.
Nightcrawler, surprisingly, manages to hold his own in his battle with the more powerful Spider-Man even getting the upper hand by utilising some of his more unique abilities.
Punisher discovers that someone is trying to frame him for these murders which leads to a three-way altercation until it is revealed that the whole situation has been orchestrated by Punisher’s arch-nemesis, Jigsaw.
With their combined might, they make quick work of Jigsaw and his gang.
It’s nice to see Kurt slumming it in this gritty, street-level story with a very serious and sombre tone, instead of his usual arena of cosmic space battles etc.
It’s also great to see him take a more serious approach to crime-fighting for a change.
2. Uncanny X-Men Vol. 1 #139-140
by Chris Claremont & John Byrne
Who’s your favourite drinking buddy?
Well Nightcrawler’s is not who you expect. If anything he’s Kurt’s exact opposite… it’s Wolverine, a character with whom he has very little in common.
Wolverine, after all, is a godless killing machine.
However, opposites attract and during these issues we see the beginning of this friendship as Kurt brings out Wolvie’s playful side. We also discover a lot of personal information about him via Kurt including learning Wolverine’s real name for the first time.
In this tale, we see Wolverine head back to Canada to iron out some issues with Department H and Alpha Flight. He asks Nightcrawler to accompany him which a brings about some great fish out of water moments from our favourite acrobat as they team up with Alpha Flight to tackle Wolverine’s old foe The Wendigo.
This is probably one of my favourite friendships in comics, we often find The Fuzzy Elf playing Logan’s conscience to great effect and he would very happily die for his demonic drinking buddy, like in the next story…
1. Amazing X-Men Vol. 2 #1-5
By Jason Aaron & Ed McGuiness
During the course of the story, Kurt sacrifices his life to protect her from Bastion and his followers.
The X-Men were never the same.
In this story we find Kurt in Heaven (no surprise there then) watching the world below. He literally turns his back on paradise hoping for one last adventure.
Azazel, Nightcrawler’s father, escapes from Hell via his pirate ship and crew and attempts to conquer the entire afterlife. This leads Nightcrawler to summon the X-Men and what follows is pure swashbuckling perfection.
This story is the best love letter to a character I’ve ever read, not that we needed reminding how incredible Nightcrawler is! It also showcases just how far the X-Men will go to get their fuzzy friend back from the dead. Iceman literally makes Hell freeze over!!
During this story, we are shown each X-Man’s relationship with Kurt via flashbacks which adds real heart to this bizarre battle. I was introduced to something in this story which I never thought I wanted to see until now which is The X-Men decked out like pirates!!
By the end I realised just how much I missed Nightcrawler as he made the ultimate sacrifice, proving he is every bit the hero he has always been.
Hope you enjoyed this romp, reveling through mein fruend’s most outrageous adventures.
Until next time… Auf wiedersehn, true believers!!!