Amazing X-Men (2nd series) #5

Issue Date: 
May 2014
Story Title: 
The Quest for Nightcrawler, conclusion

Jason Aaron (writer), Ed McGuiness (penciler), Dexter Vines (inker), Marte Gracia (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy‘s Joe Caramagna (letterer), McGuiness, Vines & Gracia (cover artists), Xander Jarowey (assistant editor), Jordan D White (associate editor), Nick Lowe & Mike Marts (editors), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

Beyond the realm of the flesh, Nightcrawler leads Storm, Wolverine, Iceman, the Beast, Northstar, Firestar and some Bamfs against Azazel’s demon pirate horde. The X-Men battle the pirates, while Nightcrawler confronts his father who injures Wolverine grievously. Professor X’s soul appears before Nightcrawler and informs him that archangels are coming to counter Azazel, and that he must send the X-Men home. But Nightcrawler feels a sense of responsibility to stop his father, and he speaks to one of the Bamfs, reminding him of the deal they made. At the Jean Grey School, the red and blue Bamfs have engaged each other in combat, with the red Bamfs wanting to destroy the portal. Knowing it may be the only way to save their friends, Rachel Grey, Angel and Warbird fight to keep the portal open. Suddenly, the blue Bamfs all get together in front of the portal and they merge into a strange new form. Nightcrawler confronts his farther once more. Azazel calls him a poor excuse for a son, so Nightcrawler gives the word to the Bamfs. Several of them appear before Azazel and grab him, teleporting him through the portal, as Nightcrawler’s form starts to fade - and he finds himself in the new form created by the Bamfs. Azazel is shocked at what Nightcrawler has just done, and warns him that many will die because of this. Nightcrawler punches his father out, and is then reunited with Rachel Grey. Professor X watches as the X-Men are then teleported out of the realm beyond the flesh, They arrive back at the Jean Grey School, as the realization at what he has just done sinks in for Nightcrawler. He later sits on the roof of the Jean Grey School, and Wolverine speaks with him. They discuss how things have changed since Nightcrawler left, and Wolverine asks him about the deal he made with the Bamfs, but Nightcrawler assures Wolverine that he promised them nothing. But Nightcrawler knows that this whole adventure has cost him his own soul.

Full Summary: 

The Jean Grey School, where an epic battle for the fate of all humanity is about to be waged. ‘Bamfs! Kill kill kill!’ a red Bamf cries out in a hidden space between the walls, where several red Bamfs are about to face off against several blue Bamfs, one of whom replies ‘Bamfs… not think so!’, and with that the two factions of Bamfs attack each other. Three X-Men are in the space, too, Warren Worthington III a.k.a. Angel, Rachel Grey and the alien Warbird, who asks ‘Which shade of beast am I meant to be stabbing?’ Rachel tells her to fight the red ones. Warbird points out that they are trying to destroy the portal, Angel frowns and wonders what has happened to their friends, as they just vanished. ‘Where could that portal have sent them?’ he asks. Rachel concentrates, then reports that their minds are outside of her range of telepathy, so their only chance of finding them is keeping the portal open. A blue Bamf stares up at Warbird, infatuated, while Warbird remarks that if the portal is open, they have no idea what else could come through. ‘So then we cross our fingers and hope that whatever it is, it comes with a friendly face’ Rachel declares.

Meanwhile, beyond the realm of the flesh, the deceased Kurt “Nightcrawler” Wagner and several blue Bamfs have found the assistance of some of Kurt’s old teammates and friends from the X-Men - Ororo “Storm” Munroe, Wolverine a.k.a. Logan, Bobby “Iceman” Drake Henry McCoy a.k.a. the Beast, Jean-Paul “Northstar” Beaubier and Angelica Jones a.k.a. Firestar. They are aboard a pirate ship, and Kurt frowns: ‘Here they come! All hands on deck! Crew of the Warship Xavier. Prepare to repel boarders. Let’s push them back into the sea’. Wolverine pops his claws, while Iceman replies ‘Aye aye, captain’. And so they come. The demon pirate hordes of Nightcrawler’s father, Azazel. They are the motley dregs of the Afterlife, screaming curses in a thousand heathen tongues - they have come to burn Heaven and pillage Hell. They have come to grind the heroes into grease and gristle. ‘You just got repelled. Bub’ Wolverine snarls as he shoves his claws through one demon pirate. Wolverine returns to Nightcrawler’s side, the two friends together again. But the pirates have come to kill them all - even those who are already dead.

Northstar darts about over the pirates, while Storm punches one of them in the face. The Beast grabs one with his feet and leaps into the air, while Firestar blasts a beam of microwave energy and Iceman shoots frozen cannonballs. Nightcrawler thinks to himself that this battle was as much his making as his father’s, as it was he who brought the X-Men here, put his friends in danger, put their souls in peril. He teleports about in quick succession, knowing that he has to save them - he has to be willing to give his all - to die again, if need be. Or worse. Suddenly, ‘Captain ‘Crawler. I believe it’s time we sent you back to Heaven, boy. Slice into pretty little ribbons’ Azazel exclaims as he teleports in front of his son. They battle, sword clashing against sword as they teleport in a quick series of BAMFS, while Kurt shouts ‘I! Am! Not! Your! BOY!’ He knocks Azazel’s sword out of his hand, while the X-Men continue to battle the demon pirates.

Azazel comes to a standstill on a beam above the deck, as Nightcrawler exclaims ‘Never was. Never will be’ and offers him something to help him remember that - but as Kurt moves in for a punch, Azazel teleports out of his reach. On another mast now, Azazel shouts ‘To hell with the ship! Torch it all! Make the X-Men burn!’ Several of the pirates follow command, tossing flaming sticks towards the mutants, as Firestar declares ‘Two can play that game, pal’ and releases a blast of microwave energy at one of the pirates. Nightcrawler teleports onto the mast where Azazel is standing,

‘Don’t look now, but your boat appears to be on fire, captain’ Azazel remarks. ‘And your pirates appear to be dropping like flies’ Nightcrawler replies. Azazel asks him if he really think that matters, as there are plenty more where they came from. ‘Believe me. Tell me though… can you say the same about your friends?’ Azazel grins. ‘No… don’t you dare -’ Nightcrawler begins, and teleports immediately after his father.

Iceman informs Wolverine that the pirates are starting fires faster than he can put them out, so their ship won’t last. ‘Remind me… other than dress up like pirates and fight everybody, what was our plan again…?’ Bobby asks. Wolverine tells Firestar, he wants every ship in flames. ‘This ends here!’ Wolverine shouts. Suddenly, Azazel teleports behind Wolverine and shoves his sword through Logan’s chest. ‘I couldn’t agree more’ Azazel grins, while Wolverine cries out in pain. Nightcrawler teleports to Logan’s side, and calls out to his friend, helping him as he falls to the deck. ‘Always hated… damn teleporters’ Wolverine mutters, blood starting to pool around his body. ‘Oh, God. You sure picked a hell of a time not to have a healing factor’ Kurt remarks to Logan. Logan just tells Kurt to forget about him, and not to stop fighting.

Kurt suddenly hears a voice in his head, as someone tells him ‘Kurt… don’t do this. Don’t do what’s in your mind’. Kurt looks around, confused, ‘What? Who is this? Who’s in my head?’ he wonders. The voice informs him that archangels are on their way now. ‘Let them handle this. Send the X-Men home’ the voice instructs him. Kurt looks out over the water and sees a figure standing over it, a glow around him. ‘Come back with me. Back where you belong’ the figure pleads. ‘Professor Xavier?’ Kurt asks. Indeed, it is Professor Charles Xavier, who tells Kurt to come back to Heaven, as he has earned his rest. ‘What you’re thinking of doing… cannot be undone. Think about what that means. Please… this isn’t your fight anymore’ Charles tells Kurt. But Kurt closes his eyes, and tells himself that Xavier’s army may fall, but Azazel will never be chained. ‘What jail could hold the world’s most powerful teleporter? Only one’ Kurt thinks. ‘Kurt, no!’ Charles calls out. Kurt tells the Professor that he is sorry, but points out Azazel is his father, which makes him his responsibility. Kurt turns to one of the Bamfs nearby: ‘You. You remember the deal we made’ he asks. ‘Bamf’ the creature responds. ‘Then tell your brothers it’s time’ Kurt instructs it. ‘Tell them I’m ready to pay what I owe’.

Back at the Jean Grey School, the portal starts to glow. ‘What’s happening to the blue ones? They’ve stopped fighting. What are they doing?’ Warbird calls out as the blue Bamfs gather around the glowing portal. ‘It’s time. In their minds they just keep saying…”it’s time”’ Rachel explains. The blue Bamfs all link hands, and suddenly, their form changes and they mutate into one large bizarre creature. ‘And just when you thought things couldn’t get any weirder…’ Warbird remarks, while one of the red Bamfs bites into her armor.

On the pirate ship, Nightcrawler turns back to Wolverine, telling his friend to hold on, as it won’t be long now. ‘You got something to do. Go to it, Elf. Just…prop me up against some railing so I can stab somebody in the shins’ Wolverine asks. Kurt teleports up to the beam where Azazel I standing. Azazel asks Nightcrawler if his little friend is dead yet. ‘If so, come with me, and we’ll seek his damned soul in the depths of Hell’ Azazel offers. Their swords clash once more, ‘Still no? Ah well, then I suppose this is where we part. My little Bamfs tell me there are archangels on the way. That is a fight I’m afraid must avoid’ Azazel remarks. He declares that they are setting sail for the blood red rapids of the River Styx, where they shall live to pirate again. ‘Alas, the same cannot be said for your ship and crew’ Azazel tells his son. His razor-sharp tail slices Kurt’s face, and he adds ‘What a poor pirate you turned out to be, Kurt. What a poor excuse for a son’.

Blood trickles down Kurt’s face and he does not look happy. He narrows his yellow eyes: ‘Now. Do it now!’ Kurt shouts. Instantly, several Bamfs teleport in front of Azazel and lunge at him. Kurt knows that the only reason his father ever sired children was to use them as pawns. ‘Get back, you damn traitors!’ Azazel calls out. Kurt recalls that once upon a time, Azazel sought to use the power in the blood of his children to transport him and his armies to Earth. Back then, Kurt fought to stop him. But now, now he finally gets to make his father proud. Kurt grins, and his form starts to fade - before there is a powerful BAMF and an instant later, everyone falls through a portal. Azazel looks up, shocked, while the Bamfs hold him down. Kurt, naked, stands in the darkened room, looking at his hands, while Azazel asks ‘What did you just do?’ ‘Fulfilled my destiny. The one you always wanted for me, father’ Kurt replies. He takes his sword and slices his hand, blood pours from it.

Azazel tells Kurt that he is utterly foolish and asks him if he has any idea what he has just done, or how many will die because of it? ‘I know exactly what I’ve done. You’ve just been shanghaied, father. Who’s the better pirate now?’ Kurt replies as he punches Azazel hard in the face. Pairs of yellow eyes stare out from the darkness - the Bamfs, and Kurt looks up, to see Rachel, Angel and Warbird. ‘Kurt? Oh my God, it’s really you’ Rachel utters at seeing her former teammate. ‘Hello, Rachel’ Kurt grins. He thinks to himself that he used Azazel’s own blood magic to cut him off from his armies and to bind him to the Earth forever. To make this world his prison cell, and Kurt his jailor. He saved billions.

Back on the pirate ship, Iceman helps Wolverine up as Storm calls out to the others, ‘Kurt said to grab a Bamf! Everybody! It’s time to go’. but as the pirate ship around them burns, Wolverine ask ‘Wait… where’s Kurt?’ And, out on the water, the Professor holds up a hand as if he is waving goodbye.

There is another BAMF at the portal, and Kurt thinks to himself ‘I saved my friends’ while Angel looks closely into the portal. ‘Suddenly I…I see…pirate ships burning…angels. I see so many angels’ But Kurt pushes Warren away from the portal. ‘I came back to life. And closed the door behind me. I…I came back to life. Oh, God. What have I done?’ Kurt wonders, turning away from the X-Men as Iceman and Firestar assist Wolverine.

Later, Kurt sits on the roof of the Jean Grey School and gazes up at the stars. Wolverine appears behind him, a few bandages on his body, he informs Kurt that Hank can’t wait to give him the tour anytime he is ready. ‘Shouldn’t you still be in bed?’ Kurt asks, not turning to look at Logan. ‘The wonders of mutant medicine. You won’t believe what you’ve missed’ Logan replies. Kurt explains that there is so much to take in, and he just needs time. Logan sits down beside his close friend, ‘Sure, I get it. We’re all so happy to have you back, but I know… I know this ain’t been easy for you’. Logan adds that he got a glimpse of where Kurt was, of the peace in his head - it is no simple thing to walk away from paradise. ‘The funny part is, while I was there…I spent my time dreaming of here, wishing for one last adventure. And now… I just can’t stop thinking… about how I squandered Heaven. And wondering if I can ever go back’ Kurt admits.

Wolverine understands what has transpired and asks Kurt if he made some kind of a deal with the Bamfs for this body, for all of this. ‘Kurt…what exactly did you promise them in return?’ Logan enquires. ‘Kurt?’ he calls out. Kurt frowns and asks himself ‘What could a dead man possibly have to barter with?’, before he smiles at Wolverine and tells him ‘Nothing, Logan. I gave them nothing at all’. Wolverine starts to leave the roof, while Kurt gazes out over the Jean Grey School. ‘My name is Kurt Wagner. And this has been the story of how I fell from Heaven and fell back into life. Of how I sailed the seas in the Land of the Dead and saved billions of souls. And all it cost me… was my own’.

Characters Involved: 

Angel, Beast, Firestar, Iceman, Nightcrawler, Northstar, Rachel Grey, Storm, Warbird II, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Professor X




Story Notes: 

Azazel tried to transport himself and his armies to Earth in Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #428-434.

Wolverine lost his healing factor in Wolverine (5th series) #7.

Nightcrawler’s adventures continue in Nightcrawler (4th series) #1.

Written By: