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Characters / Marvel Comics: Nightcrawler
aka: Nightcrawler

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WARNING: There are unmarked spoilers on this sheet for all comics up to and including issue #10 of Legion of X (i.e. anything published before February 2023).

Kurt Wagnernote  / Nightcrawler / Spinnerman
"Every so often, liebchennote , since I look like a demon... I have this irresistible urge to play the part."
Kurt as Spider-Man 

Nationality: German

Species: Human mutant

First Appearance: ''Giant-Size X-Men'' #1 (May 1975)

A mutant from Germany, Nightcrawler possesses superhuman agility, wallcrawling, a prehensile tail, and the ability to teleport. Despite his demonic appearance, he is a devout Catholic. Nightcrawler was raised in a circus, where he was accepted with the other "freaks", and grew to have a playful and happy-go-lucky personality. He's a fan of swashbuckling fiction and Errol Flynn in particular, and for a time, he took up swordplay and started to wear an almost pirate-like costume. Kurt later discovered that the villainous terrorist Mystique was his mother, who had to abandon him because he couldn't change his shape and blend in with her. This also makes him Rogue's adoptive half-brother. Nightcrawler is generally considered to be one of the X-Men's Ensemble Dark Horses and manages to consistently rank among the most popular X-Men. He's also one of the most lucky with women, as his unusual appearance and approachable personality tends to draw women to him really easily. Especially the tail and the fuzzy. Chicks dig the fuzzy.

Nightcrawler's unique design was a carryover from an earlier Dave Cockrum pitch to DC for new members of the Legion of Super-Heroes. In that pitch, Nightcrawler would have been an alien from a race who inspired Earth's images of demons and something between a Token Evil Teammate and a Nominal Hero, with a animalistic attitude and a taste for Black Comedy; instead, under Chris Claremont he became one of the Marvel Universe's classic examples of Dark Is Not Evil.

Nightcrawler provides examples of:

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  • Abusive Parents: When you consider Charles Xavier, who's frequently a Manipulative Bastard, a positive Parental Substitute then your parents were probably not great.
    • His biological parents Mystique and Azazel abandoned him shortly after his birth and only seem to take an interest in him when they feel like he could be useful in one of their schemes.
    • Though Margali was around to raise Kurt as her adopted son, she is still quite willing to manipulate and harm him if it benefits her goals.
  • Affectionate Nickname: He's called Elf or “Fuzzy Elf” by the people who like him. He also addresses Kitty Pryde with a very cute nickname (“Kätzchen” - German for kitten). Also "kleine Fee" for Pixie (little fairy).
  • The Air Not There: Nightcrawler goes "BAMF" on teleporting in and out because he's displacing air molecules. The sound is actually the air collapsing on the space he has suddenly vacated (the 2nd movie actually uses a very realistic sound for the collapse of a human-sized vacuum). He also makes the sound when appearing because, presumably, the same thing is happening, just in reverse. Those molecules that were where he's appearing are pushed out of the way, and fast. The smoke and brimstone smell? That's because his teleportation functions by traverse through another dimension. That dimension apparently being a Physical Hell, which explains why it's so unpleasant for anybody that Kurt brings along with him for a teleport.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Whether this trope applies is a case of Depending on the Writer though.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Nightcrawler has blue skin with a full body coat of smooth fur, hence the "fuzzy" jokes. In films, it tends to just be blue human skin.
  • Another Dimension: He travels through one when teleporting.
  • Art Evolution: In his first appearances he was drawn to look demonic and threatening, nowadays artists have toned down the scarier aspects of his appearance and crossed into cute monster boy territory.
  • Atrocious Alias: Nightcrawler could be a cool nickname — but it loses some of its appeal when you remember that a nightcrawler is technically a kind of earthworm.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: On occasion during Excalibur (and during his sillier moments) he would act like this.
  • Back from the Dead:
    • In Amazing X-Men. Proof if there ever was any that you can never keep a good X-Man down.
    • And again in Jonathan Hickman's House of X, after dying to stop Mother Mold.
  • Badass Adorable: Happens to be the nicest and the most optimistic X-Man you could ever find and a competent fighter and Master Swordsman all at the same time.
  • Badass Longcoat: Sometime into the Krakoa era, he's started wearing a long, sleeveless red coat over an all-black version of his usual bodysuit. Artists quickly took advantage of the design to have the coat wave and flow around Kurt during his acrobatic stunts.
  • Badass Preacher: During Joe Casey's run, the brief period between becoming a priest and being taken over by a writer who knew nothing about Catholicism.
  • Barred from the Afterlife: This seems to be his status after returning to life. Said return involved selling his soul to demons from one of Hell's dimensions. He got a new body and tiny versions of himself out of the deal (who made his mutant powers stronger) and used it to bind his demonic father to Earth. This left him unable to die however, since he now lacks a soul. He was fatally wounded twice in X-Men: Gold and didn't die either time because neither Heaven or Hell would take him.
  • Beard of Sorrow: It's been implied that his beard in X-Men: Red is a result of his breakup with Rachel Summers.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: He's probably one of the kindest characters in the Marvel Universe, but can be truly dangerous if he actually lets loose with his abilities. One gets the impression that he simply holds back a lot. One time, he put the fear of god into professional killer John Greycrow.
  • Blind Jump: He is reluctant to teleport into any area he can't see and/or hasn't been to before for exactly this reason. This reluctance is actually justified at least once in the Excalibur series, when Nightcrawler teleports into solid rock due to interference with the local electromagnetic field. In theory, it could have killed him, but fortunately, he had his teammate Shadowcat with him, and her powers were able to get them out of the rock safely, in severe pain but with no lasting harm.
  • Break the Cutie: More often than not he will be subjected to this trope when a storyline takes a darker turn. Jean's death during the The Dark Phoenix Saga was probably the first time this happened to him. Another time is in Extraordinary X-Men when he finds a pit full of dead mutant children. It takes a while for him to recover from that.
  • Burn the Witch!: Has this (actually, he's about to be staked, but it's the same principle) happening to him in his very first appearance - though the crowd thinks he is a demon, not a witch, due to his blue fur, pointed ears, fangs, and barbed tail. Also, a number of their children had recently been murdered.
  • Characterizing Sitting Pose: Kurt likes to sit in a gargoyle-style crouch, often while perching on the backs of chairs or other high surfaces, even in formal settings like Quiet Council meetings- consistent with his demonic appearance and Dark Is Not Evil characterization.
  • The Charmer: He is a notorious charmer and flirt, even against his enemies, to the point that he's considered one of the most attractive men in the Marvel Universe despite his fur and fangs (though for many, that's a plus).
  • Chick Magnet: Like the summary says, chicks dig the fuzzy (and not just in-universe! He's frequently considered one of the sexiest men in superhero comics). His period of time spent as a priest made him a Chaste Hero, but he remained a chick magnet. A single panel from Excalibur summed it up perfectly:
    Man 1: A horror!
    Man 2: A demon!
    Woman: A cutie!
  • Circus Brat: He was raised in a traveling circus.
  • Color-Coded Characters: His outfits tend to be associated with the colors black, red and gold. Fitting, considering his German background.
  • Combo Platter Powers: He has a long list of minor powers, making him something like a poor-man's-Spider-Man, plus a prehensile tail and shadow-camouflage and some other minor perks. By far his most powerful ability, however, is a seemingly unrelated teleportation power.
  • Cool Teacher: He’s a favorite among the Xavier Institute students, even after M-Day when most other teachers became Broken Pedestals to students. Mercury, Rico, Ziggy, and Pixie all look up to him.
  • Creepy Catholicism: He is a devout Catholic, but his demonic appearance is seen as scary by many, and he has an affinity for shadows, which emphasize the "dark" elements of his character. On the other hand, he had a cheerful and nice personality. The film version plays this trope straighter, by giving him a more introverted personality and self-inflicted scars as a way to atone for his sins.
  • Cute Little Fangs: Just one more thing that puts him in the running for "Sexiest X-Man" every year.
  • Cute Monster Boy: He physically resembles a demon, but he has this fun-loving personality that is hard not to love.
  • The Cutie: Kurt is pretty much unfailingly optimistic and forgiving to everyone. There are very few people he doesn't get along with. He even forgave his mother for abandoning him at birth. But this aspect of his personality also frequently leads to to Break the Cutie moments as described above.
  • Cynic–Idealist Duo: With Wolverine. Also with Storm during her darker moments.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Has the appearance of a demon, yet he's one of the nicest heroes in Marvel Universe.
  • Depending on the Writer: Quite a few things, most notably his religiousness. Writers also tend go back and forth on whether he's supposed to be a well adjusted Fun Personified Nice Guy or a Sad Clown who secretly suffers from a case of Germanic Depression. And he’s one the more consistent characters in the X-men lineup.
  • Doppelgänger Gets Same Sentiment: When he encounters Nocturne, the daughter of an alternate version of him, she essentially treats him as a younger version of her dad.
  • Dual Wielding: He is known as a swashbuckler, being able to dual-wield sabers. He can even triple wield when using his tail to hold a dagger or even a rapier. That being said, he's literally got superhuman agility and acrobatic ability. The unique shape of his feet (with prehensile toes) means he has, on occasion, quintuple wielded, using his superhuman agility for all it's worth.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: While impaled with Bastion's mechanical hand, Kurt manages to gather enough strength to teleport himself and Hope, the possible mutant messiah, away from the enemy before dying. That's a badass moment, but the thing that makes it a dying moment of awesome is that he managed to teleport from Las Vegas to the coast of San Francisco, while having a mechanical hand right through his chest. His normal maximum teleport range is two miles - this one was over 400 miles, and with a robot hand impaling him...
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Several came from the original Dave Cockrum Legion of Super-Heroes proposal:
    • In his early appearances he was capable of becoming completely invisible in shadows. Yes, even the red and white parts of his costume. This power has either been forgotten or downplayed to "his dark fuzz makes it easier for him to hide." Usually. It did get brought up again a couple of times in Excalibur.
    • He had a permanent case of Face Framed in Shadow regardless of the lighting. Modern artists tend to draw him shaded the way a dark blue person would be in the ambient light.
    • He was capable of inhuman vocalizations that sounded more like a cougar screech or a wolf howl. This has generally been dropped over the years.
  • Escaped from Hell: Even better - escaped from Heaven! After all, he wouldn't deserve to be there if he wasn't the kind of man to leave it again if his friends needed him. And of course, he did it on a pirate ship...
  • Expansion Pack Past: Not only do we learn new things about his background every other week, but they blatantly contradict each other. Circus performer with freakish appearance but cheerful outlook. Check. Raised by Roma witch Margoli Szardos. Check. Girlfriend turns out to be adopted sister (Margoli's biological daughter Jimaine Szardos aka Amanda Sefton) and yet they still date. Um...ok. Is revealed to be a devout Catholic. Not impossible, but highly unlikely given his background. Biological mother turns out to be Mystique, who threw him over the edge of a waterfall to escape pursuers after she was revealed to be a mutant. Not only does that not vibe with the earlier story of Margoli finding him with his dead mother, but she had no way of knowing his father's surname was Wagner. Oh, and his biological father is an ancient demon. But we don't like to talk about that.
  • Extradimensional Shortcut: His teleportation abilities involve him slipping into another dimension, traveling very quickly through it, then popping out elsewhere. The exact nature of this dimension varies from adaptation to adaptation, but usually, when we do get to see it, Hyperspace Is a Scary Place. In the "main" Marvel Universe of the comics, it's eventually revealed that the dimension Nightcrawler teleports through is Hell.
  • Famous-Named Foreigner: Len Wein has gone on record that he came up with Nightcrawler's civilian name in 1975 by combining the first name of Kurt Waldheim (Austrian politician, then secretary-general of the United Nations) with the family name of Richard Wagner. Kurt Wagner would hardly raise as much as an eyebrow with a native speaker, though.
  • Flanderization: His religious devotion in later years. While his Catholic faith was a part of the character during the Claremont years (on more than one occasion he was depicted praying, and received spiritual direction from a priest), other writers tended to go overboard on this aspect of his character until that's all there was. Especially when they had no conception of what the Catholic faith was really like. The worst offender in this has to be Chuck Austen.
    • The 90's cartoon and X2: X-Men United also made Nightcrawler's religion the main focus of the character.
    • On the other hand, his post-resurrection portrayal took things to the other end of the spectrum and exaggerated the Class Clown angle of his character.
  • Flashy Teleportation: Nightcrawler's signature *BAMF* effect when he disappears. The purple smoke is apparently the matter of the dimension he travels through when he teleports. There's also apparently a sulphur smell that accompanies it in-universe.
  • Flight, Strength, Heart: He can teleport (taking other people along - or just pieces of them - if he wants), climb walls and ceilings, turn invisible in shadows, and has superhuman agility and a prehensile tail he can use to fence with three swords at once. He also has the ability to know whether or not he's in his home dimension. He can count the number of times he's used this power for anything other than instinctively ending up in the right dimension when he teleports on the fingers of one hand. And Nightcrawler only has three fingers per hand.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: He has three-fingered hands and feet. The X-Men: Evolution version of Nightcrawler has some kind of holographic disguise that makes him look like a factory-standard human. Whenever he's in disguise, his fingers stick together in a Vulcan-salute formation. So does his Alternate Universe daughter, Nocturne.
  • Fragile Speedster: His teleportation powers aka "Bamf" means getting a hit on him is near impossible, but strong foes can overpower him if they get a good attack in.
  • Friendly Tickle Torture: He's done it a lot, some of his favorite victims have been Rogue, Meggan, even Phoenix (Rachel Summers). He completely gets away with it every time, except with Rogue, who completely freaks out the first time he does it, as she's not used to being touched, and panics about him accidentally touching her bare skin.
  • Fun Personified: Often fills this role on teams, though he's by no means The Fool.
  • Funny Foreigner: He acted like this sometimes in his earliest appearances during the '70s and he's this trope in both of his live-action adaptions.
  • Forgotten Phlebotinum: His ability to blend into shadows would have been quite useful in several stories, but it's mostly been forgotten by the writers.
  • Gratuitous German: He's probably the biggest example of this trope in the Marvel universe. Examples include "Mein Gott!" "Unglaublich!" " Liebchen"
    • "Ach du lieber...!"
    • And, always, "Mein Freund."
    • He addressed Beast as "Liebchen," which is inappropriate unless they were going for some all-blue Ho Yay. It's an out-of-date expression for "darling".
    • Not to talk about that it is often (mis)spelled 'Leibchen', which means camisole.
  • Germanic Depressives: He was intended to be an aversion of this, a light-hearted Errol Flynn type. He was introduced as devout as any other lay Catholic simply to demonstrate his demonism was only skin-deep and to heighten the injustice of the religious superstition against him. However, through The Dark Age of Comic Books he became more of a Sad Clown, then as Wangsty as any X-Man. Recently he was killed outright and apparently replaced with a Darker and Edgier Alternate Universe version of himself. He's come back as of Amazing X-Men (vol.2) #5 spoiler: but as he's apparently had to sacrifice his soul to keep Azazel out of Heaven.
  • Good Is Not Soft: One the kindest, most compassionate X-Men (alongside Jean Grey), but he is not a pacifist and is perfectly willing to fight to protect his friends.
  • Good Shepherd: He was on track to become a priest and almost certainly would have become this trope if that arc hadn't gotten derailed by a new and controversial writer.
  • Handy Feet: His feet are shaped very much like his hands and are just as dextrous.
  • The Heart: Often ends up in the position of being the one to call the other X-Men on it when the team was going too far. Shadowcat and Beast also fit the role when Kurt isn't around.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: He is an excellent fencer. Given his prehensile tail, Kurt particularly prefers three swords at once.
  • Heroic Ambidexterity: He takes this up a notch by not only Dual Wielding swords in his hands but simultaneously wielding one with his Prehensile Tail.
  • Heroic BSoD: He had a pretty epic one during the Inhumans vs X-Men storyline when he found a mass grave filled with the corpses of mutant children in Germany.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: His death and return, since it involved selling his soul to the Bamfs in order to bind himself and Azazel to the mortal plane.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Wolverine and Colossus. He and Piotr were similar ages and regularly double-dated and went to movies together - he even taught Piotr how to chat up women! He was also the first to break through Wolverine's hardass act and the first X-Man to learn his real name was Logan, and it was Logan in turn who convinced him to stop disguising himself in public. Sometimes the other two even fight over him like jealous girlfriends, sometimes the three of them go out drinking and get into mischief together. It was through their mutual friendship with Kurt that Logan and Piotr became close friends in their own right.
  • Hide Your Otherness: On occasion, Kurt's made use of an image inducer to go out in public. The first time he got it, he used it to make himself look like Errol Flynn. He eventually stopped using it - a backup story revealed that Logan convinced him a proud man shouldn't hide himself, and Kurt's got nothing to be ashamed of. He still has it for emergencies and pranks though - just after Messiah Complex, Logan messed with it so Kurt briefly looked like Angelina Jolie!
  • Hoist Hero over Head: Once did a one handed version to Callisto.
  • Holographic Disguise: He has one to make him look human instead of his regular demonic appearance.
  • Hypocrite: A rather minor example. Nightcrawler has talked quite a bit about stopping people from doing something they'll regret to save their souls, while he himself sold his soul to the Bamfs to return to life.

  • Iconic Outfit: His original 1975 Cockrum design has lasted a truly staggering amount of time by comic standards and it still seems to be considered that definitive version.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: As originally introduced by Len Wein he was closer to this. Chris Claremont deliberately averted this, figuring Marvel already had the quintessential I Just Want to Be Normal hero in Ben Grimm. So instead, he wrote Kurt as one of the most well-adjusted X-Men, who long ago decided to relish both his mutant abilities and his unique appearance, and is often the one to talk to younger X-Men with body image issues. Later writers have gone back and forth between the two interpretations.
  • I Kiss Your Hand: This used to be a signature move for him with most women he met. It disappeared during his priesthood days for obvious reasons.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: A deeply religious and good mutant who looks like a demon, who actually attempted to become a priest, and when faced with a Deal with the Devil punched said devil in the face. He even makes friends with the incredibly anti-heroic Wolverine.
  • In-Series Nickname: "Demon" (if you're a jerk), and "Blue Fuzzy Elf", or just "Elf" if you are Wolverine. Dave Cockrum would affectionately refer to him as "Nightie" which was also used a few times in comics.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: He's close friends with the much, much older Wolverine.
  • Irony: A devout Catholic that looks like a demon and is implied to travel through Hell while teleporting.
  • Just a Stupid Accent: Kurt's German can come across like this in the hands of less competent writers. It was especially bad in Ultimate X-Men where he addressed Storm as "fraülein" once (the correct spelling is Fräulein).
  • Lady Land: In a solo story, he ended up going to another dimension populated entirely by beautiful intellectual warrior-women who make any male who shows up their deity ("As you noticed, we're all female here, and we do need to keep the population up ..." "Surely you know about the sociological need for religion among primitive cultures?"). He ends up leaving, since he has more important things to do than get nosebleeds over this.
  • The Lancer: To Jean Grey in X-Men: Red, according to writer Tom Taylor.
  • Leg Cling: Dave Cockrum did a parody version of the image to promote his humorous Nightcrawler mini-series.
  • Lethal Harmless Powers:
    • He has mentioned many times that he could use his teleport power to Tele-Frag people but he has never done it... at least not in the main continuity. Some of his Alternate Universe counterparts have demonstrated how possible it is, though - in one alternate continuity story, he ended up taking someone's fingers with him when he jumped. In the Age of Apocalypse storyline, that Nightcrawler teleported Wade (Deadpool)'s head off.
    • There was one in-continuity story where he removed a hi-tech glove off the Red Skull by holding onto it and teleporting...and took all the flesh off the Skull's hand with it leaving nothing but bone.
    • A much simpler, but effective strategy allowed Nightcrawler to defeat Omega Red, who was giving both Wolverine and Colossus a hard time. He simply teleported Omega Red really high up and let him fall to the ground. Omega Red is functionally Made of Iron; if Nightcrawler did it to someone any less durable...
    • Also since 'porting is usually uncomfortable and nauseating to those not used to it he'll also grab someone and quickly and repeatedly port them until they pass out.
    • It gets taken to a whole new extreme in Uncanny X-Force, where Age of Apocalypse Nightcrawler kills Blob by teleporting a live shark into his stomach.
    • It's also been suggested that he could just leave them in the dimension he travels through when he teleports if he bothered to learn how. This dimension by the way is Hell; that's why being teleported by Nightcrawler is an unpleasant experience.
  • Like Brother and Sister:
    • With Platonic Life Partner Kitty Pryde.
    • Downplayed with Rogue. She's unofficially his adopted sister, and that's about it. Though one time Kurt played the brother card as his reason for not being on 'Team Gambit' on Rogue's wedding day.
  • Luke, You Are My Father: "Mystique, you are my mother."
  • Master Swordsman: Not only is Kurt an expert fencer, he can use three swords at once. Slightly ironic for a character who models himself on the Trope Namer of bad movie swordsmanship.
  • Modesty Towel: One issue of Excalibur has Nightcrawler wearing a Modesty Towel when another character bursts into the bathroom and tries to kill him. Conveniently, the towel remains firmly in place throughout the ensuing struggle.
  • The Movie Buff: He learned sword-fighting largely because of his love of Errol Flynn.
  • Mr. Fanservice: As noted under Progressively Prettier, he was initially drawn somewhat creepy and looked much more like an actual demon. This has been almost totally abandoned in the modern comics where he's drawn like a very good looking Cute Monster Guy most of the time.
  • Multistage Teleport: When he has had to travel long distances quickly on several occasions and in different incarnations. Since he can only teleport along a line-of-sight, he does this by teleporting over and over in rapid succession, similar to how he does Teleport Spam in combat, but in a straight line. Eventually the line-of-sight requirement turns out to be more of a mental block that he overcomes, by which point he no longer fits the trope.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Dave Cockrum used to drive Claremont nuts by constantly giving him new powers almost every issue back in the earlier X-Men days. Such as invisibility in shadows, or wallcrawling (the first of which got Orwellian-retconned in reprints, with the latter just being quietly dropped)
  • Nice Guy: One of the nicest in the Marvel Universe. He's placed on the Quiet Council of Krakoa specifically for his kindness and empathy.
  • No Such Thing as Wizard Jesus: In the wake of Secret Wars (1984), he has a crisis of faith after dealing with the Beyonder, who was for all extents and purposes omnipotent as God is thought to be, but certainly not all-loving.
  • Not Blood Siblings: Nightcrawler's "true love" is his adoptive sister Amanda "Daytripper" Sefton, even though they were raised together since infancy. To be more specific, Kurt dated a woman named Amanda Sefton, who would later be revealed to be Jimaine Szardos, Kurt's adoptive sister who he was raised alongside as a sibling when Jimaine's parents found Kurt abandoned as a baby. Despite tricking Kurt into believing her to be someone else, Kurt continued his romantic relationship with Jimaine fully acknowledging their sibling relationship. This was portrayed as a bad idea though — not because of their prior relationship, but because Amanda was portrayed as not-quite-right in the head. Nightcrawler (as Mystique's blood son) and Rogue (as her adopted daughter) have potential for this, as well. Which if it happened would be less potentially squicky than Amanda; they never even met until adulthood. He still flirts shamelessly with her quite often though.
  • Not Quite Saved Enough: An issue of his solo series sees the fuzzy elf return to his home town of Witzeldorf when he learns a childhood friend has created a museum dedicated to him to help foster mutant/human relations. The reunion is short-lived when Kurt discovers the villagers are up in arms over a demon that's been stalking the local forest and has apparently absconded with a little girl recently. Having lived this scenario, Nightcrawler heads out to find what he suspects is a mutant and convince the villagers of their folly. When he manages to track down the creature though, he's shocked to discover a hulking, horrifying brute slowly turning what looks like a child's body over a cook fire and attacks. In the ensuing struggle, Kurt soon learns the demon is actually a village teenager under the curse of a gypsy whose daughter he'd cheated on, and the meat he was cooking was actually a small pig he'd managed to steal because he was starving. The boy breaks down on Nightcrawler, lamenting the fact that he can't even go home without people trying to attack him and the unfairness of being turned into a monster just because his eyes had wandered. Kurt swears to help the kid adjust to his new life, telling him to stay put while he returns to Witzeldorf to clear the matter up and find the girl. He soon discovers the girl has returned, saying how she'd been invited to a tea party in the woods and hadn't realized how late it was. Kurt heads back to the teen, only to find he's hung himself, unable to cope with life as a monster. It's at this point Mephisto appears, now holding the teen's forfeited soul as he taunts Nightcrawler over his failure (especially since, had Nightcrawler not intervened, the villagers would have killed their demon which, while painful, would not have resulted in the boy being damned). Nightcrawler even accuses Mephisto of having orchestrated the events, only to be playfully told the only act the demon lord took was to invite a new little friend into the woods for a tea party.
  • Odd Friendship: As noted above he's very close to Wolverine of all people, despite them having very different personalities. Storm may count as this too, before her character development set in and she became more open to her fellow X-Men. He also got along well with Emma Frost at a time when most of the X-men did not.
  • Only Sane Man: Can certainly come off this way compared to some of the other X-Men, though it does depend on the story.
  • Out of Focus: He wasn't given much to do after his return from Excalibur in the late 90s and Chuck Austen's run on Uncanny X-Men probably didn't do him any favors. He faded even more into the background when fellow teleporter Pixie became a more prominent member of the X-Men in the late 00s. Ultimately this culminated in his death during the Second Coming storyline, supposedly because writers at the time couldn't figure out what to with him. He never lost his popularity though and since Death Is Cheap for the X-Men he was eventually brought back. More recently he didn't get much focus in X-Men: Gold (though to be fair, no one except Kitty Pryde got to do all that much in that series). He had a fairly prominent role in X-Men: Red though. In the Krakoa Era, he's one of the Quiet Council (Krakoa's governing body) and has his own title, Way of X.
  • Parental Abandonment: Mystique threw him off a bridge as a baby. Though frankly, this might've been the best thing she ever did for him, given how it worked out.
  • Pillars of Moral Character: Without doubt one of the most level-headed and compassionate X-Men, and beloved by everyone for it. And of course (all later religious weirdness aside) he became a priest.
  • Pious Monster: He's a blue-skinned mutant who resembles a demon... and happens to be a devout Roman Catholic who spent some time as a priest.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: With Kitty Pryde. To the point when he left to join Excalibur, she went with him.
  • Poirot Speak: Kurt frequently uses German words and phrases in his speech.
  • Prehensile Tail: 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 a sword or blunt object.
  • Progressively Prettier: And how. In his first appearance, he looked much more demonic compared to his modern pretty-boy looks. His original source of angst was being fairly demonic looking in a superstitious Ruritanian hometown. When he first appeared in X-Men he was short and more "cute" than anything. When he was moved to Excalibur, Alan Davis purposefully drew him standing at six feet tall and modeled his facial features and personality after Errol Flynn. Sure, he was still a blue elf but he was noticeably more charming than his earlier Dave Cockrum incarnation. Other artists have followed suit for the most part.
  • Ready for Lovemaking: In one X-Men issue Amanda Sefton arrives home to find a naked Nightcrawler sprawled on her bed with only a plushy of himself covering his crotch.
  • Real Men Love Jesus: He is a devout Catholic and the nicest guy to ever join the X-Men. He could also kick butt when called upon to do so.
  • Recruitment by Rescue: Professor Xavier rescued Nightcrawler from a mob carrying Torches and Pitchforks, prompting Nightcrawler to join the team out of gratitude.
  • Religious Bruiser: His Catholic faith was a part of the character during the Claremont years (on more than one occasion he was depicted praying, and received spiritual direction from a priest).
  • Required Secondary Powers: Teleporting puts considerable strain on things. Fortunately for Nightcrawler (and unfortunately for his foes), his body is tougher than the average human's, making Teleport Spam a viable strategy for him. People who aren't either used to it or have Super-Toughness will often be knocked if Kurt drags them along for a single teleport, let alone multiple ones.
    • For a time, the injuries Nightcrawler sustained in the Mutant Massacre storyline disabled the Required Secondary Power, meaning he could only manage about 1 teleport a day. Doctor Doom cured this affliction completely by accident when Nightcrawler and the rest of Excalibur were fighting him.
    • Subverted in the case of his immortality. Since he's been locked out of Heaven, he can't die, however he does not have a healing factor like Wolverine so if he gets fatally wounded he's not going to be of much use for a while.
  • Sad Clown: Despite being the Class Clown, he suffers from being a mutant even more than most as a result of his demonic appearance, and has a depressing backstory. Where he falls on the Fun Personified to Sad Clown scale depends on the writer. However, even his most lighthearted depictions keep his depressing backstory.
  • Sexy Priest: A very unconventional example; despite his demonic visage, Kurt has always being considered a Chick Magnet and became a priest for a time.
  • Ship Tease:
    • Kurt and Ororo have been teased multiple times over the years but it never goes anywhere. Mostly because Kurt had a one sided crush that faded over time due to Ororo seeing him more as a little brother.
    • Kurt was teased with both Meggan and Rachel Summers during his time on Excalibur, and while there was something there with Meggan (especially in the depths of Brian's struggles with alcoholism), he gracefully backed off. As for Rachel, it was largely dropped after she travelled through time, then abruptly came back when she laid one on him in X-Men: Gold, having noticed his feelings for her when she was in danger, leading to them dating for a while.
  • Sneak Attack: Most video game adaptions cast Kurt in stealthy role. He even has a classic backstab attack in Marvel Heroes.
  • The Soulless: As of Amazing X-Men in 2014, he no longer has a soul and has become immortal as a result
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: He inherited them from his mother Mystique.
  • Super-Reflexes: Nightcrawler's natural reaction time is enhanced to a level beyond the human body's natural limits.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: The probable reason behind his demise in "Second Coming." Also suspected as the reason for his move to Excalibur with Kitty in the 80s.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang:
  • Signature Move: Nightcrawler's Bamf, still one of the coolest powers in the Marvel Universe.
  • Single-Power Superheroes: This is inconsistently applied to Nightcrawler. Sometimes teleportation is considered his only "true" power, with things like hiding in darkness being just a function of his dark fur and wall-crawling coming from his unusual fingers and toes (and he's therefore unable to cling to very smooth surfaces). Other times he has full-on invisibility in shadows and can climb pretty much anything.
  • Smoke Out: Nightcrawler leaves a cloud of purple smoke along with his signature "BAMF" whenever he teleports.
  • The Sneaky Guy: His nimbleness and ability to Wall Crawl, blend into shadows, and Teleport allow him to slip past enemy lines undetected.
  • Spirit Advisor: Acted as one to Wolverine (during the time he was dead) when he got send to hell in one of his solo books.
  • Stealth Expert: He is a flamboyant swashbuckler at heart, but when he needs to be sneaky, he's very good at it. The fact that he can cling to walls and vanish into the shadows at will certainly helps, but beyond his powers, he is quite good at moving in complete silence.
  • Strong Family Resemblance:
    • His blue colouring and yellow eyes being similar to Mystique is the tipoff In-Universe that he is related to her. To be specific she’s his mother. Later Azazel shows up and is near identical to Kurt but is red skinned/furred instead, meaning Nightcrawler inherited the blue solely from Mystique.
    • Multiple alternate realities/futures have shown him to have children or descendants that are unmistakably his because they inherit his blue fur, pointy ears, solid yellow eyes, and tail.
  • Stronger Than They Look: He is skinny as Spider-Man, yet he can lift an entire woman above his head one-handed and has even given Sabretooth a run for his money in a close-quarters fight.
  • Superhero Sobriquets: The (Fuzzy Blue) Elf, The Demon, shares "Wallcrawler" with Spider-Man.
  • Swashbuckler: By his own admission.
  • Technicolor Ninjas: Nightcrawler, whose costume is largely red and white, turns invisible (except for his eyes) in shadow, and can Wall Crawl like Spider-Man. As long as he doesn't teleport and give himself awaynote , he's super stealthy. (He does have a "secondary mutation" of camouflaging while wearing a suit of unstable molecules. If there's any shadows at all, he can blend into them. But this is virtually never mentioned.)
  • Tele-Frag: One of the reasons Kurt's teleporting is usually line of sight is because he's concerned about this happening to him. One time, while imprisoned, he blindly teleported his way into a statue.
    • The Age of Apocalypse version is shown once teleporting away from an enemy — taking several of the foe's fingers with him. He does it again later, with Dead Man Wade's head.
    • The Regular continuity Nightcrawler has threatened this on several occasions, scaring opponents into submission by telling them he'll teleport their arms off. In practice all he really ever does is grab someone and 'port them a few times until they pass out, as teleporting is depicted as extremely uncomfortable for those not used to it.
    • Rogue, using Nightcrawler's power, teleported Nimrod's arm off the first time the X-Men encountered him. (Nimrod being a robot gets around the heroes-don't-kill thing.) Nightcrawler tried to do the same thing later on, and Nimrod demonstrates why using the same tactic against him twice is a bad idea.
    • Nightcrawler gives his fear of telefragging as reasoning not to teleport into a place that he hasn't seen, and in some versions that isn't within sight of his location.
    • Nightcrawler willingly telefrags himself by teleporting in the way of Bastion's blow against Hope and gets an arm stuck in his chest for his efforts. He teleports Hope away, taking Bastion's arm with him, and clings to life just long enough to make sure that Hope is safe with Cyclops before dying.
    • In Uncanny X-Force, an Alternate Self of Nightcrawler eliminates the Blob this way, by teleporting into a shark tank, grabbing hold of a great white, and telefragging it and himself into the Blob's stomach. It's not shown what happens to the Blob's insides, but it's pretty well implied.
    • In Kevin Smith's Spider-Man/Black Cat: The Evil That Men Do, Nightcrawler remarks on the effects of killing someone by teleporting into their body. He avoids the act based on the squick factor, and because he doesn't kill people. The villain of the piece, Francis Klum, performs this on his brother to prevent him from raping Black Cat.
  • Teleportation with Drawbacks: He usually cannot teleport more than two miles, carrying passengers is tiring and gives Teleportation Sickness for all travellers, but Nightcrawler's superhuman endurance mitigates it enough that he can use the sickness to attack people he snatches up. Also, teleporting to places he has not been to and cannot see bears the risk of Tele-Frag.
  • Teleport Spam: His preferred method of attack. He even provides the trope image.
    • In the comics, he could deck several opponents before the first hit the ground (though Surprisingly Realistic Outcome to a slight degree - it's pretty painful on his knuckles to hit that hard that quickly).
    • In the second movie, he uses this technique to take out at least a dozen Secret Service agents, while scored to Mozart's Dies Irae.
    • In Marvel Ultimate Alliance, one cut scene has Nightcrawler use this to defeat a bunch of Doom Bots. In fact, because of the somewhat stressful nature of his teleport, it's a viable tactic for him to simply grab an enemy and port a few times, leaving them exhausted or unconscious.
    • He leaves a layer of gas from the dimension he teleports to each time he does. In the movie example, one off-screen fight has him take out a moderate-sized room filled with agents. When the door to that room is opened, it is seen that he had teleported so much that the midday, open window-shade room is now pitch black from the gas.
    • For several early story arcs of Excalibur, Nightcrawler was unable to use this tactic due to an injury he sustained prior to leaving the X-Men, which left him just as vulnerable to the strain of teleporting as a normal human would be. He could only handle about 1-2 teleports a day, and had to rely on his less famous powers (Spider-Man-like wallcrawling and agility)... until a fight with Doctor Doom accidentally cured him. Then it was back to teleport-spamming.
  • Teleportation: One of the most famous Tekeporter in Comics. It's his primary power and acompanied by black smoke that smells of brimstone, because he travels trought a hell-like dimension when he teleports. This way of teleporting puts considerable strain on things, but fortunately for Nightcrawler (and unfortunately for his foes), his body is tougher than the average human's, making Teleport Spam a viable strategy for him. People who aren't either used to it or have Super-Toughness will often be knocked if Nightcrawler drags them along for a single teleport, let alone multiple ones.
  • Teleporter's Visualization Clause: Kurt requires either line-of-sight to his target, or a good idea where he's going.
  • Token Religious Teammate: He is a devout Catholic despite the fact that his appearance frequently causes him to be mistaken for a demon.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Since his return from the dead he's gained his own mini-Nightcrawler army in the form of the Bamfs. One of the many added bonuses they bring is that he can now teleport anywhere one of his Bamfs is, regardless of distance or line-of-sight (a limitation the Bamfs seem to lack in the first place).
  • Torches and Pitchforks: A key part of his origin story.
  • Totally Not a Werewolf: He may have a forked tail and his teleports smell of sulfur, but he's no demon.
  • Underhanded Hero: Nightcrawler was a circus performer and fashions himself after Errol Flynn, who famously played Robin Hood. In X2: X-Men United, while being mind-controlled, he took out an entire Secret Service squad using nothing but acrobatics, short-ranged teleportation, and healthy dose of misdirection. And he came within a hair's breadth of killing the President.
  • The Un Favourite: Mystique has always made it clear she prefers her adoptive daughter Rogue to her biological son Kurt. Unusually for this trope, Kurt generally isn't bothered by this, having no real relationship with Mystique. He also has a mostly positive relationship with his adoptive mother Margali, who is generally less evil than Raven and hardly ever attacks the X-Men.
  • Unrelated in the Adaptation: The films give no indication that Mystique and Azazel are his parents like they are in the comics. In X-Men: Apocalypse a much younger Mystique has no significant reaction at all when she finds and rescues a young Nightcrawler.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: He was involved in a love triangle with Meggan and Captain Britain during their time together on Excalibur. Meggan and Kurt were very attracted to each other, but Kurt gracefully backs off when he realizes that ultimately Meggan loves Brian. There have been many hints here and there over the years that Meggan isn't entirely over him though.
    • Also during the Excalibur days, he occasionally had this with Rachel Summers, which led to a full blown relationship about 25 years later when she finally made a move on him in X-Men: Gold. It didn't last, however.
  • Verbal Tic: Very, very frequently says "mein Gott".
  • Wall Crawling: He can stick to walls.
  • Warrior Monk: He is very religious, and was even ordained a Catholic priest in a years-long hallucination. His faith allowed him to defeat Dracula where other X-Men had failed.
  • Weaponized Teleportation: See above, Kurt is probably the most well known superhero with teleportation abilities.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: While he's not exactly naïve, he does have a much more idealistic world view than most X-Men characters. This was probably one the reasons Kitty and him were written out of the increasingly dark X-Men books in the late 80s and moved into a more light hearted series.

Alternative Title(s): Nightcrawler