Nightcrawler (2nd series) #2

Issue Date: 
March 2002
Story Title: 
Passion Play - part 2 : Without A Sound

Chris Kipiniak (writer), Matthew Smith (penciler), Mark Morales (inker), HiFi Design (colors), Jon Babcock (letterer), Pete Franco (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Bill Jemas (president)

Brief Description: 

Nightcrawler finds out that a ring of slavers is forcing deaf Mexicans to sell trinkets and hand over the money they earn. Not following their orders or not selling enough means punishment and finally deportation. Nightcrawler sneaks into the house and finds a room full of the kids. He tries to get them to safety by teleporting them out in small groups, but he is discovered. A fight starts and thinking of the pain the slaves endured, Kurt snaps and continues to beat up the unconscious criminals until his hands are covered with blood. Nightcrawler is unsure how to help the deaf people, but turns them over to the police despite the risk of being deported. Later he questions his decision, but his mentor Father Whitney tries to assure his faith. Meanwhile Oleg, the boss of the slavers, has arranged that some of the girls have to work as prostitutes. Wanting to know what’s going on in New York, he tries to call, but Nightcrawler answers it and promises to close down his entire organization. Oleg is unimpressed and asks Nightcrawler how. Kurt gets angry, as he has no answer.

Full Summary: 

(Partially flashbacks)

At night, Father Whitney hears noise in his church. He tells whoever it is to come out as he already called the police, but he is relieved when it turns out to be Nightcrawler. Kurt apologizes for disturbing him and the priest notices the blood on his hands. He offers Kurt to talk about what happened earlier. Nightcrawler explains how he tracked down the building of the slave sellers and how he saw a group of deaf slaves crammed into a tiny room. All of them with void expressions and no hope in their eyes. They reminded him of the people he saw in some dark alternate future (Days of Future Past). Kurt goes on explaining that the deaf people are forced to ride the subways where they try to sell trinkets and other worthless merchandise to people who take pity on them. What little money they earn they have to give to their captors to pay off their “travel debt“ and if the slaves don’t sell enough they get beaten up or worse. Kurt had observed one of them being punished for not bringing back enough money and he was surprised that the deaf man did not even try to defend himself nor did any of the others help him. By eavesdropping on the gangsters, Kurt also learned that their boss Oleg ordered them to increase the rate. Instead of selling 100 pieces by day the slaves will have to sell 120. If they don’t comply not only the slaves will get hurt, but also their families and kids still in Mexico. Father Whitney and Kurt know that the threat of deportation gives the criminals full control over their captives.
(a few hours ago)

Kurt decides that he can't let the criminals go on. Believing the slaves safe in their pen, he secretly enters the house through a window and finds himself in a room full with children, apparently the kids of the deaf people. Some of them are frightened and start to cry, so Kurt tries to calm them by showing them circus acrobatics and juggling. He then explains that he is no monster and will save them and their parents. He knows that usually children should not talk to strangers but they will have to trust him in this case.

In Chicago, Oleg is discussing with one of his clients, while eating pizza. The client says that the girls Oleg gave him are already there for about five months and they are slowly “getting comfortable”. They are beginning to make friends, which is bad for the business. They could talk too much and to the wrong people, so the simple solution is that they need new girls. Oleg likes that his client comes straight to the point, however he doesn’t like to be ordered around. Before he can go on threatening his client, a phone call about problems in New York interrupts him. Oleg excuses himself and says that he has to depart immediately. Before leaving he says that he will arrange a switch. The client’s girls will be moved to another city and theirs will be brought to Chicago, this should shake them up, and the problem is solved.
Father Whitney is still listening to Nightcrawler’s narration of the events. Kurt had no real plan, he only knew that he had to get the poor people out of the house. Whitney wants to know where they should go afterwards? Going to the police would risk them getting deported, yet hiding and living on the streets is no real option either. Kurt agrees, he prayed for guidance what to do, and then continues to tell his story.
(A few hours ago)

Nightcrawler tells the children to pile on him and he teleports out with as many as he can carry although it strains him. Outside, he orders the kids to wait, while he wants to get the others. Yet back inside, he is met by one of the deaf parents. Kurt tries to reason with the man, but he is too startled by the X-Man’s appearance and he can’t hear his words anyway. The fight causes some noise and the gangsters come into the room, pointing a gun at Nightcrawler. They demand to know how he got there and Kurt explains that he already fought with the other criminals (last issue) and got the address from them. Ted, the leader of them, makes a joke about it having to be some crazy church, and Nightcrawler replies that he is not fully ordained yet. Kurt lowers his hands and tells Ted to put the gun down and let him and the slaves leave peacefully. Ted asks where they could go, besides back to Mexico, and then he orders the other gangsters to get all slaves into this room as well, since they are “closing shop”.
Nightcrawler realizes that they intend to kill the all of them, His coming has compromised the criminals and the hideout is now considered too dangerous. He teleports into the hallway in front of the gangsters and battles them with his fighting moves. Thinking about the horrors that the slaves must have endured, Kurt snaps and fights without thinking although he usually abhors violence. He even stops thinking about the victims until the deaf man curiously comes out of the room to observe the fight. Nightcrawler tells him to get back and as he is distracted Ted manages to hit him in the face. Nightcrawler gets even more angry and beats him up, even when Ted is unconscious he does not stop and lands blow after blow till his hands are covered in Ted’s blood.
However deep inside Nightcrawler feels that it is a hollow victory, as it did not help the slaves at all. Kurt stops to hit the unconscious Ted and stares at his hands with shame. The deaf people come out, one of them holding a gun that he took from the gangsters. Kurt knows what he must look like to them and stays very calm. Already insecure about himself and how to help them, he simply signs them to leave. As they do not leave, Kurt takes one of the boxes containing the trinkets they are forced to sell, and throws it against the wall. The deaf slaves stare at him, actually they have no reason to trust him, but then one of them comes to Kurt and points at his priest collar. They choose to follow Nightcrawler’s order and leave the building, while Kurt uses Ted’s mobile to call for the police. The fact that the deaf people trust in him to know what the right choice is, doesn’t make it easier and actually Kurt considers more than once to tell the slaves to run away.

Nightcrawler tell Father Whitney that he prays that turning them to the police was the right decision. After he dropped Ted oat the police station, he returned to the house, but all traces of the slavers-ring were gone. He wonders if he made a difference or not, but Whitney assures him that his actions did matter, After all he gave the deaf people the strength to leave the building and face whatever consequences await them now. One can never know how good a good deed will turn out to be, they can only have faith and wait.
As Whitney leaves back to his rooms, Kurt receives a call on Ted’s mobile. He answers it, on the other end is Oleg, demanding to know what is going on with the escaped thai girl and the men that were assigned to bring her back. Kurt replies that he is not Ted, and that he will be coming after Oleg next.
However Oleg is unimpressed and says that he is just running a business. Kurt gets annoyed; no matter what he calls it, Oleg is selling people, and he will shut down Oleg’s operations. Oleg asks how and Nightcrawler angrily smashes the cellphone.

Characters Involved: 


Father Whitney

Several deaf slaves


Ted and other criminals, working for Oleg

Story Notes: 
Issue Information: 
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