Publication Date: 28th Jul 2015
Written By: sixhoursoflucy.
Image Work: sixhoursoflucy.


Kurt Darkholme, a native of the divergent timeline known as the Age of Apocalypse, was a member of the mutant resistance known as the X-Men. The timeline of the Age of Apocalypse diverged wildly from the 616 timeline after the premature death of Charles Xavier in his early adulthood. As a result, the ancient mutant Apocalypse ascended early and embarked on a reign of terror across the globe. Kurt, donning the codename Nightcrawler, stood with his fellow mutant heroes, the X-Men, in defiance of the genocidal, anti-human regime of Apocalypse. This world's Nightcrawler had a much closer relationship with his mother Mystique than his counterpart in the original timeline. However, this Kurt also never found solace in religion, and indeed actively despised churches due to his mistreatment as a "demon" by the faithful in his youth. As a result, Nightcrawler was a far darker personality in this timeline, more comfortable with being nicknamed "Devil" than "Elf".

Their world’s condition was so dire that when a shred of hope arrived in the form of a time-traveler named Bishop, the X-Men’s leader, Magneto, clung to the memories this man had from a better timeline—one where Xavier was not murdered as a young adult, and where his influence successfully prevented the rise of Apocalypse. Magneto sought a woman named Destiny whose precognitive abilities could validate Bishop's claims, and so he dispatched Kurt on a mission to retrieve her — even though success likely meant their own world would end, assuming what Bishop said was true. Kurt’s mother, Raven Darkholme, was one of the only people in the world who knew Destiny, making Kurt the best choice for the job. [X-Men Alpha #1, Astonishing X-Men (1st series) #1]

To get into contact with his mother, Kurt visited his acquaintance, Angel, a mutant in Apocalypse’s good graces who operated a nightclub called Heaven. Angel directed Kurt to “Ghost Dance,” an old warehouse on the shore of the Hudson River now being used as religious center, where he connected with Proudstar and his tribe. Already angry for being duped into meeting at a church, the deeply atheistic Nightcrawler grew tired of the insolent Proudstar’s criticism of his mother, and teleported off the man’s finger. He refused to believe the rumors Proudstar repeated that his mother’s business of ferrying people to the safe haven of Avalon was a cover for her true business of stealing their goods and dumping them into the ocean to die. With these thoughts nagging at him, Kurt boarded the submarine ferry, “Excalibur,” and headed to meet Raven. [X-Calibre #1]

Unfortunately, during the trip, the ventilation unit on the submarine broke, causing the occupants to begin suffocating on their own recycled air. When they were just barely outside of the detection range of the United States, they took a chance and rose to the surface so they could breathe—only to find the electronic door was broken as well. Kurt abandoned the refugees and used his last iota of energy to teleport to the surface of the submarine so he could breathe. Soon, a ship captained by a woman named Callisto arrived. These would-be rescuers took possession of the refugees, since the damaged submarine's captain could no longer ferry them safely. A suspicious Kurt remained hidden while Callisto’s crew loaded the refugees in their hold. He was horrified to discover that Callisto and her men fleeced the refugees of all their belongings and drowned them in the ocean. Enraged, Kurt began dispatching all the pirates on the ship. When he finally cut his way to Callisto, he found himself in a standoff with her, with him staring down the barrel of her gun. He was saved by the timely arrival of his mother, Mystique. [X-Calibre #2]

After killing Callisto and her pirates, Kurt and Raven proceeded to Avalon. Despite her reservations, Kurt convinced Raven to accompany him. A monk ferried them into the tropical paradise miraculously located in the center of the Antarctic, where they met with Destiny, Switchback and Douglas Ramsey. Mystique begged Destiny to return with them to verify Bishop’s visions of a better reality for all of them. Destiny was in the middle of asking what was in it for her when two of Apocalypse’s Pale Riders, Damask and Dead Man Wade, arrived and began wreaking havoc in Avalon. Thankfully, Damask defected and attacked her cohort. Kurt finished the job and teleported Wade’s head off his body. [X-Calibre #3]

Unfortunately, the Pale Riders also brought along with them the Shadow King, who began infecting the residents of Avalon and inciting them to kill one another. A bloodbath ensued. When the Shadow King hijacked Mystique’s consciousness, Kurt devised a plan with Damask and Switchback to stop him. Together, they teleported into the brimstone dimension (which Kurt used as a waypoint for teleportation) and Switchback slowed the passage of time while Damask used her psychic skinning powers to destroy the Shadow King’s mind. Upon defeating him, they returned to Avalon, where a resident still under the residual effects of the Shadow King tried to fire on Destiny. Destiny’s adopted son Douglas dove in the way of the bullet and saved her life. Torn by tragedy, Destiny finally agreed to help the X-Men with their plan if it meant ridding the world of the despotic rule of Apocalypse. [X-Calibre #4]

Kurt managed to get Destiny safely back to the X-Men, where she proved instrumental in successfully sending their visitor from an alternate reality, Bishop, to the past so he could prevent the catastrophic event that altered the timestream. [X-Men Omega #1] Despite things being "set right" in the past, somehow the Age of Apocalypse continued to exist as a splinter timeline.

When the mutants began rebuilding the world after overthrowing Apocalypse, Kurt stuck around and remained a member of the X-Men. In the years that followed, he helped quell an uprising by the Guthrie siblings, former pawns of Mr. Sinister, and was crucial in defeating Mr. Sinister’s "Sinister Six" when the X-Men confronted him. [X-Men: Age of Apocalypse #1-6] The world slowly seemed to improve. Kurt was even able to carve out a little bit of happiness for himself when he met and married a woman named Linda. 

Time passed. In the years that followed, the cosmic entities known as the Celestials visited Earth and threatened to destroy it unless its evolution continued to progress. Nightcrawler’s ally Weapon X took on the burden of evolutionary caretaker himself and accepted the Celestials’ Death Seed, ascending into the role Apocalypse once filled. In the ensuing terror, billions of humans lost their lives — but the Earth was spared. However, despite their steadily dwindling numbers, Nightcrawler and the X-Men continued to defy this new overlord, now known as Weapon Omega, just as they had Apocalypse. [Uncanny X-Force (1st series) #12-13]

Their defiance had grave consequences, especially for Nightcrawler. One night, one of Weapon Omega's minions, the Blob, broke into Kurt's home where he murdered—and ate—Linda. Kurt vowed revenge. [Uncanny X-Force (1st series) #25]

Sometime later, Nightcrawler and the X-Men discovered, to their surprise, that their old enemy McCoy, a former pawn of Apocalypse’s, had returned to their world after a five-year hiatus. Kurt discretely followed him and his traveling companions into one of McCoy’s abandoned labs, where McCoy retrieved something called a Life Seed. Not concerned with the nature of this object other than that it was something McCoy wanted, Kurt teleported into McCoy’s lab and snatched it out of the Beast’s hands. Taking it outside, he and his fellow X-Men squared off against McCoy’s accomplices: a group called X-Force native to Earth-616, the very reality Nightcrawler and the X-Men had worked so hard to restore years earlier.

Despite their pleas that they meant well, neither Kurt nor his teammates particularly trusted anyone who aligned themselves with McCoy. Sunfire, in particular, had no patience to hear them out, and destroyed the Life Seed in a blast of flame. At that point, McCoy fled back to Earth-616 and abandoned X-Force in the Age of Apocalypse. Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed after that. Nightcrawler and the X-Men learned that X-Force was trying to stop their teammate Archangel from ascending into Apocalypse and destroying their own world. At this point, they realized X-Force was telling the truth and took them back to their underwater hideout in Atlantis to regroup. [Uncanny X-Force (1st series) #11]

Unfortunately, the Sentinels tracked the X-Men to Atlantis, forcing them to take immediate action. To help their friends, they needed to retrieve another Life Seed from a fallen Celestial and free the mutant Gateway from the Akkaba prison known as the Sky in order to send them back home. They split into two groups, with Kurt joining the strike force infiltrating the Sky. Shortly upon entering, however, they were ambushed by the Black Legion, Weapon Omega’s team of mutant monsters that included the Blob, as well as Weapon Omega himself. Although their forces were decimated and their teammate Iceman defected, the X-Men repelled Weapon Omega and the Black Legion long enough to rescue Gateway and send their friends home so they could save their world. [Uncanny X-Force (1st series) #12-13]

Miraculously, Kurt and the X-Men survived this fight and lived to see another day. Once free, they had Gateway transport them to Earth-616 so they could help their new friends deal with their Apocalypse problem. Kurt and the X-Men arrived just as X-Force was facing off against Archangel, the new Apocalypse in ascension. Nightcrawler removed one of their most powerful opponents, Apocalypse’s son Genocide, off the board by teleporting the mutant away and unleashing his infernal abilities on his masters. He returned to help thwart Archangel’s plan to purge all life on Earth, but he and his teammates fell in the battle against the formidable villain. Thankfully, Nightcrawler's life was saved before Archangel’s minions delivered the coup de grace. Eventually, with some additional outside help, X-Force defeated Archangel and prevented him from destroying the world. [Uncanny X-Force (1st series) #17-18]

While recovering on this new Earth, Kurt and the X-Men learned that their former teammate Iceman had not only betrayed them, but had joined forces with Akkaba’s forces on Earth-616 and had since gone into hiding. In addition, McCoy and Apocalypse’s mad scientist Sugar Man still remained in this reality. Most personally for Kurt, though, was the fact that the Blob—the man who had murdered and eaten his wife Linda—had also escaped to this reality during the fight against Archangel. As the X-Men from the Age of Apocalypse prepared to return home, Kurt announced he was going to remain with X-Force on Earth-616 until he got revenge on his enemies who had absconded to this reality. After Jean gave him her blessing, Kurt officially joined the ranks of X-Force. [Uncanny X-Force (1st series) #19]