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Nightcrawler (Joint Venture)
Nightcrawler-JV
Real Name Kurt Wagner
Current Alias Nightcrawler
Alias(es) Kurt Darkholme; Kurt Szardos; The Demon Acrobat; "Goblin", "Elf", "Fuzzy"
Relatives Raven Darkholme (mother), Azazel Wagner (father), Irene Adler (stepmother), Margali Szardos (foster mother), Jimaine Szardos (foster sister), Stefan Szardos (foster brother, deceased) Anna Raven-Irene Darkholme (adopted sister), Graydon Creed (half-brother)
Affiliation Clan Darkholme
Base Of Operations Destiny Manor, New Orleans, Lousiana
Alignment Good
Universe Joint Venture Universe
Gender Male
Eyes Yellow
Hair Indigo
Unusual Features Three toes on each foot; three fingers on each hand; fangs; pointed ears; skin covered with a layer of dark blue fur; possesses a tail.
Nightcrawler is a mutant superhero, and longtime member of the X-Men and affiliated groups. This is the Joint Venture Universe version of the character.

History

Early life

Unlike most mutants, whose powers manifest at puberty, Kurt Wagner's mutation was evident when he was born. This did not bother either his mother or his father, both mutants themselves, but it did cause serious distress to the tiny village they called home, in the Bavarian Alps. The villagers assumed the infant was a demon, and formed a mob against him and his parents. His mother eventually lost him in the woods, when she stumbled over the edge of a waterfall and landed unconscious at the bottom. His father vanished, never to resurface again in Kurt's lifetime.

Fortunately, the infant was found by a trope of performers known as Margali's Traveling Circus. Its mistress, the sorceress Margali Szardos, took him in and raised him alongside her two biological children, Jimaine and Stefan, and later alongside two more foundlings, Pietro and Wanda, who would be adopted by Django Maximoff, the circus' caretaker.

Margali's Circus

Despite his troubled origins and strange appearance, Kurt lived a happy, carefree childhood with his friends and foster siblings. He took an interest in acrobatics and swordplay, and trained diligently, eventually becoming "The Incredible Nightcrawler," one of the star attractions of the travelling show thanks to his natural agility and his prehensile tail.

Over time, Kurt's relationship with his friend Wanda Maximoff deepened, becoming a young love. Her brother Pietro disapproved, not on the basis of Kurt's appearance, but because he felt Kurt's devil-may-care attitude was unhealthy for Wanda to be around. Eventually, however, he softened, largely due to falling in love with Margali's son Stefan.

Stefan Szardos

Despite the happiness Kurt grew up knowing, all was not well in the Circus. Wanda was studying magic alongside Margali's son and daughter, Stefan and Jimaine, and the three of them excelled in their studies. Wanda's mutant powers over probability made her an adept at Chaos magic, while Jimaine's strong will and supportive nature gave her a natural edge in spells of protection. Stefan, by contrast, was confrontational, with a great deal of repressed anger towards the people of Europe who happily came to watch the circus, but would not accept the circus folk into their towns or cities. Recognizing his potential for great evil, Stefan made Kurt swear a blood oath that, should Stefan ever give in to his rage and his darkness, that Kurt would be the one to stop him by any means necessary. Kurt asked why Pietro could not be the one to do this, since he and Stefan were lovers, but Stefan replied that Pietro might not be able to slay him if it came to it. So Kurt agreed, reluctantly; however, the oath, and Stefan's magic, bound him to secrecy, so he could not express his worries to Pietro, Margali, Jimaine, or even Wanda.

Ultimately, Stefan was pushed once too far. One of the villages they went to, Winzeldorf, was a deeply religious hamlet, almost frozen in time due to its church's clergy being strongly xenophobic, technophobic, and rsentful of anything new or different. When they saw Kurt, the villagers were terrified, infuriated, and goaded into action. They rioted in the middle of the performance, tearing down the main tent and setting it ablaze. It was only thanks to timely intervention from Margali and Jimaine -- and the sudden emergence of Kurt's power of teleportation -- that no one was seriously harmed. However, Stefan's best friend in the circus, a raven named Umbra that he had trained to speak, perished in the blaze, and Stefan grew mad with grief and rage.

The Winzeldorf Murders

Even though Margali and the circus tried to pack up and move on, Stefan's hatred burned within him, festering and corroding his soul from the inside. When they made their next stop, Stefan was nowhere to be found. Upon scrying for her brother, Jimaine found him in Winzeldorf, with murder on his mind.

Kurt and Pietro, the fastest among the circus, returned to Winzeldorf post-haste, but they got there too late. The village was in flames, the corpses of men, women, and children littering the streets. Kurt and Pietro found Stefan, walking up the steps to the church with a bloody sword in one hand, and a fire spell in the other. Pietro tried to reason with his lover, but Stefan was mad with rage and bloodlust. Sending Pietro back for help, Kurt fought his brother. Try as he might, though, Kurt could not stop his body from fulfilling his blood oath, and he snapped Stefan Szardos' neck with his tail, killing his foster brother instantly.

A Circus Scattered

Pietro and Kurt departed Winzeldorf in silence. Nightcrawler had avenged several deaths and prevented countless more, but he had also killed the man Pietro loved, and there was no going back from that. With Stefan's death, a barrier grew between the two young men, and Pietro became cold and distant towards Kurt.

However, before anyone could address the pall that hung over the Circus, another tragedy struck, one it would not recover from. Nathaniel Essex, a scientist and sorcerer better known by the name "Mr. Sinister," sent his assassins, the Marauders, to slaughter the camp and abduct Wanda, for he was taken with her power and sought to exploit it for his own. In the ensuing fight, Wanda and Pietro's father, Django Maximoff, and Margali Szardos' old friend Agatha Harkness lost their lives, and Jimaine and Kurt were scattered to the winds by Margali Szardos' final spell, before she too was struck by an energy weapon - thrown by the Marauder Harpoon - and she, too, vanished.

That was the last time Kurt saw her, Pietro, or Wanda.

Flight of the Nightcrawler

Kurt had little time to mourn his separation from his lover. In a cruel twist of fate, Margali's spell had sent him back to the village of Winzeldorf, where he had killed his own brother and alienated his lover's twin. Since Stefan's death, the town was still safe...but with everything that had happened still fresh in their minds, the villagers needed someone to blame.

Turning on Kurt again, they attacked him, either unaware of or simply ignoring the fact that he had saved their lives. One was about to drive a wooden stake through his heart, believing him to be a form of vampire, when a green-and-gold streak flew through the air and carried him off, flying him to safety miles from either the village or his circus. Bewildered when he touched ground, Kurt turned to face his rescuer and met Rogue, foster daughter of Mystique. When he came face to face with Mystique herself, Kurt was dumbstruck by the resemblance between them, and even more so when she revealed that she was, in fact, his birth mother.

Mystique and her partner, Destiny, revealed the truth to Kurt; that she had been his mother, but lost him when the people of her village attacked them. That she and Destiny had been searching for him for years, but by the time they found him, he'd been growing up happily in Margali's Circus. That they knew what Stefan had done, but arrived too late to stop him, or Kurt. And finally, that Mystique wanted to make up for being absent for so much of his life by offering him a new home, and a new family, in America.

Kurt was hesitant at first, but Rogue told him her own sad story; that she had been stealing on the streets of San Francisco to survive, and that Mystique had found and rescued her after she had accidentally done something terrible. Realizing that he had nowhere else to go -- Margali would be infuriated that he had kiled her son, no matter the justification, and Pietro would feel the same about the death of the man he loved -- Kurt accepted, and flew back to America with his birth mother and a new foster family, keeping his old name from the circus, "Nightcrawler", as a keepsake.

Powers

Nightcrawler is a mutant, specifically one with the Neyaphem strain in his genes.

Teleportation: In addition to his unique physical appearance and characteristics, Nightcrawler's primary mutant power is the ability to teleport himself, the clothes he is wearing, and an uspecified amount of additional mass which is in contact with him instantly from one place to another. He teleports by displacing himself into the Brimstone Dimension, traveling through it, and then returning to his own dimension at a destination of his choosing. The entire process occurs so quickly that Nightcrawler is unaware of being in the Brimstone Dimension at all. However, when teleporting with "passengers", the Brimstone Dimension's arcane energies can often leave them shaky, sick, and weak.

  • Subconscious Spatial Awareness: Nightcrawler has a subconscious, extrasensory ability that prevents him from materializing within solid objects, to a certain degree. However, this does not always work well with blind teleports, so Nightcrawler prefers to travel to a place he can see or somewhere he has already been, rather than teleporting into a new area.

Neyaphem Physiology: Nightcrawler belongs to a specific class of mutants called the Neyaphem, that all possess certain physical similarities.

  • Physical Adherence: Nightcrawler can stick to objects with the surface of his body. This enables him to scale vertical surfaces, or even crawl upside-down, provided the surface he is on possesses enough friction for him to grasp it.
  • Master Acrobat: Nightcrawler's agility, balance, reflexes, and bodily coordination are enhanced to levels beyond the human body's natural limits, making him one of the best acrobats in the world. In addition, Kurt's bone structure allows him great flexibility, allowing him contortionist abilities and a degree of dexterity with his feet as well as his hands.
  • Prehensile Tail: Nightcrawler can use his tail as a third hand, allowing him to grab onto objects with relative ease. It is strong enough to not only support his body weight, but also lift an adult man completely off the ground. Additionally, it possesses the dexterity to write, or use a sword, as well as either of his hands.
  • Night Vision: Nightcrawler's unique, glowing eyes grant him heightened night vision.
  • Camouflage: Partly due to his indigo fur, and partly due to his connection to the Brimstone Dimension, Nightcrawler can become completely invisible when in deep enough shadows, even to electronic devices like night-vision cameras. However, he remains detectable to thermal or telepathic scans.

Master Combatant: He is a skilled hand-to-hand combatant and martial artist, and a master of various different methods of sword-fighting, even with his tail.

Multilingual: Thanks his youth travelling around Europe with Margali's Circus, Nightcrawler speaks several different languages fluently: his native German, English, French, Spanish, Russian, and Italian. He possesses a limited vocabulary in several others.

Weaknesses

Inertia: Nightcrawler ends a teleport jump with the same velocity as he is traveling when he intiiates it. Therefore, if he is travelling at a high enough velocity, simply teleporting cannot slow his momentum. However, he can use teleportation along with his acrobatic skill to turn his momentum to its best advantage, or lessen the impact when he finally does land.

Range: The longer the distance over which Nightcrawler teleports himself, the more difficult and exhausting it is for him to make the jump. His usual maximum distance is roughly a 5-mile radius, though he can push past that in extenuating circumstances. Teleporting upwards is even more difficult for him, with a maximum upward range of about 1-2 miles.

Blind Teleport: Nightcrawler dislikes teleporting into any place that he cannot see, or has not been to in the past. If he teleports himself into an unfamiliar area, he runs the risk of materializing within a solid object. He possesses a limited sense of spatial awareness that prevents this, but without a mental "map" in his head of where he is going, the risk makes Kurt intensely uncomfortable.

Displacement: Kurt can displace air and liquid when he teleports -- air being displaced is what causes the signature "BAMF!" sound whenever he does -- but he cannot displace solid matter. If his body materializes within a solid object, he can be injured, maimed, or even killed.

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