Saturday, May 08, 2010
I saw Ironman 2 tonight, but I don’t want to talk about Ironman.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Nightcrawler is dead.
Now, Spiderman is the greatest superhero of all time. This was revealed to me at a young age, and of this truth I have no doubts. When I was 9 I even saved up several months allowance, as well as using some of my brothers (because, I reasoned, he'd wear the hat sometimes too) to buy a Spiderman hat.
Spiderman is the greatest ever, but I don't necessarily relate to him.
He has/had a smoking hot wife.
His first love was skewered by a goblin glider, mine wasn't.
He's a genius inventor, and my Jamaican Bacon Bananas have never taken off.
He can stick to walls, which isn’t a power I particularly envy.
No, the heroes I relate to most are the brothers in arms, Piotr and Kurt, known to the less nerdy as Colossus and Nightcrawler.
The X-Men were introduced in 1963. But it took twelve years before they got their act together and added characters I liked. Not that I was reading comics in 1975. I’m not quite that old. But in 75 they had a kind of Captain Planet situation and they made up new characters from across the globe. The most famous of these was Wolverine from far-off Canada. But introduced in the same issue were Storm from Africa, Thunderbird from Native America, and of course Nightcrawler and Colossus, from Germany and Mother Russia respectively. Wolverine of course went on to become one of the most famous characters in all of comics, but Nightcrawler and Colossus are where it’s at.
This post is in memory of Nightcrawler, but I liked Colossus first. The Hulk is in my top ten heroes, but he’s not who I wanted to be. He’s the personification of rage, unbridled and powerful. This is fun to watch, but not exactly an admirable characteristic. Colossus on the other hand, though not as strong as the Hulk, is in complete control of his strength. Although he’s the strongest of the X-Men, his power is really more his durability than his strength. And that’s something I always wanted; to be impervious. Mostly figuratively, but being immune to bullets/explosions etc would also be a plus.
Colossus doesn’t want to be a hero. He’s a Russian farm boy, and that’s really where he would’ve stayed, if he had his druthers. He’s an artist, frequently found sketching when not lifting 100 ton objects. His actions over the years, though sometimes questionable, have always been to protect his family and loved ones. He’s a part of the X-Men because they need him, not because he likes it. He’s already sacrificed his life and was resurrected several years later, and says at Nightcrawler’s funeral that if anyone deserves a resurrection, it’s Nightcrawler.
Nightcrawler is arguably the ugliest of the X-Men. If you’re nerdier than me you can probably name uglier characters, but I’m going to gamble that you’re not, and we’ll say he’s the ugliest. X-Men has always been kind of a preachy comic, but all the messages the characters spout about peace, understanding and acceptance really aren’t going to extend all the way to Nightcrawler. He looks like a devil. He’s not ever going to have a casual cup of joe at Starbucks. But he fights for the rest of the mutants so they can be accepted. And despite being an actual preacher, he’s not preachy about it. He’s just the character you can most depend on to do the right thing, for the right reasons.
Despite being pretty universally hated, Kurt is one of the most chipper characters around. Like Spiderman, he jokes as busts heads. His teammates call him Elf, and he’s embraced the carefree title.
He’s one of the founding members of the British X-Men, which was an awesome idea.
Nightcrawler is the most religious of the X-Men, and perhaps the most religious character in all of comics. He’s a Catholic priest, and at various times has had his own congregation. The congregation usually consists of mutants, since they’re the only ones that would accept a devil preaching from the pulpit, but he’s still served as a spiritual guide for his teammates.
Like Colossus, I’ve always wanted Nightcrawler’s powers. I could live without being a three-fingered demon with blue skin and a tail, but I’d love to be able to teleport. This is mostly due to laziness, but also a love for convenience and a desire for efficiency. To this day when I’m walking from point A to point B, I think of teleporting like Nightcrawler. Maybe the blue skin would be worth it. Just think of all the time you’d save.
So rest in peace Nightcrawler. Death is almost always temporary in comics, so we’ll be seeing you again soon.