Nightcrawler (2nd series) #3

Issue Date: 
April 2002
Story Title: 
Passion Play - part 3 : Taken

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 has been tracking Oleg’s organization for weeks and has been in secret contact with Beatta, a russian woman forced to work in the crimelord’s brothel. He tells her that he wants to help and all he needs from her is to alert him when Oleg comes to “sample the merchandise”. While waiting for her call, Nightcrawler has a serious talk with his mentor father Whitney, who tries to explain to him that beating and punching is not the right way to become a priest. It’s true that Nightcrawler has unique gifts and should use them, however in the big picture he will accomplish nothing as other men will rise to take Oleg’s place. Father Whitney knows that it might be a lost cause, and reminds Kurt to think about his dedication once more before undergoing the final vows to priesthood. Meanwhile Oleg prepares to close his business in New York and relocate. Well aware of Kurt’s intention, he orders Beatta to call him as it is a set-up. Once Nightcrawler makes it to the brothel, he sees Oleg ready to shoot the prostitutes and has no choice but to surrender. Still Oleg shoots him and moves his slaves away, while Kurt lies unconscious in a pool of his own blood.

Full Summary: 

Beatta watches her customer getting dressed again. She sits and smiles, and even helps him to button his cuffs and does it all with the same empty expression on her face as usual. Beatta is a prostitute, and over time, men have become an open book to her. This one, she knows, will go back to his wife, and she is well aware that he would never make his wife do the things she was just getting paid for.
After he is gone, Beatta turns around to the window, Nightcrawler is sitting outside. She wants to know how long he has been there, and he replies that he didn’t see anything of what just transpired. Beatta says that it wouldn’t matter. Kurt asks how she is doing, and Beatta says the same as when they had met a few weeks before. Beatta does not understand why he keeps visiting and trying to help her, she thinks that he must want something from her like every other man too. Kurt is unsure how to help and asks her what she wants. The simple reply is “nothing”, however Nightcrawler knows that this isn’t true and begs her to let him help. Beatta says that he can’t as her lover Zhenya is dead. She explains that she is from Russia and she and Zhenya were in love, but he had to fight in the war in Chechnya and did not return. One a day a friend of his came to Beatta with “news”, however once in her room, he knocked her unconscious and she awoke in America where she is forced to work in a brothel. Beatta wanted to marry Zhenya and have a baby, but since she can’t have her dream she wants nothing. Nightcrawler is sorry for her, however he still asks her to help against Oleg. Beatta asks if Kurt would kill him, but he says no, he only wants to make him stop selling slaves and shut down his business. Beatta answers that he comes to this brothel every now and then to “sample the merchandise”, and Kurt asks her to alert him when he comes the next time. In the meantime he will arrange something for Beatta and the other women. Beatta couldn’t care less, as she has heard too many lies in her life. Kurt says goodbye and teleports away, as someone is knocking at the door. He doesn’t see that it is Oleg. Beatta tells him of Nightcrawler and she is supposed to call him when Oleg next comes to her. Oleg tells her that she did good.
Meanwhile Kurt is leaping and teleporting through New York City from rooftop to rooftop, also using power lines along the way. He is frustrated as he did not want to leave Beatta there, but to get to Oleg he needs her. He wonders what would have happened if he hadn’t been recruited by Professor Xavier years ago, but fallen into the hands of a slaver like Oleg. Probably he would be a freakshow attraction or even dead by now. He is thankful to have found friends and family in the X-men and to have a power that allows him to get out of harm’s way. He will not get trapped like those poor slaves. Lost in his thoughts, Kurt miscalculates his last jump and crashes into the trash bins behind St Michaels.
Kim, the thai girl who is still staying at the church checks out the noise and is startled by the sight of a blue devil, but Father Whitney calms her down and takes her inside. Kurt apologizes to his friend for having startled their guest, but Whitney says that his quest is no excuse for his behavior. While the Father drinks from a hip flask, Kurt says he is close to “finishing it”, though the priest says that it is far from over. The slaves face an uncertain future either way. Kurt says that he will take out the leader and shut down his organization, but Whitney wants to know how things will proceed afterwards and takes another drink.
Kurt finally voices his concern about the amount of alcohol his friend is consuming – Whitney explains it as him being tired. Tired of preaching in an empty church and of mentoring a student priest who spends most of his time beating up people. Kurt says that he is trying to do his duty, but the priest says that if that were the case he should start a literacy program, or feed the homeless, but leave the international crime syndicates to the pros. Nightcrawler asks to whom, the police, the government, the Fantastic Four ? They all seem to have other priorities, and the unwanted people have to suffer for it. Kurt thinks that since he has been gifted with his mutant power, he should use it, and Whitney agrees, but also he reminds him that he is not God. Finding and catching Oleg will change nothing in the big picture. True a few people are saved, but soon others like Oleg will take his place and there will be more victims and more failures. Punching and beating was a good approach with the crises the X-Men have to fight every day, but it won’t help him becoming a priest. Taking another drink, Whitney says that if he thinks he can save humanity then he is setting himself up for a fall and should re-think his dedication before taking the final vows. Kurt asks what the point is then, and the priest has no answer than “It may be a lost cause, but that won’t stop me from trying.”
In a bar in downtown, Oleg meets with another crimelord. After making the usual threats to each other, Oleg explains what he wants. Although he forcefully took over most of the business, he offers to sell it back and writes a number on a paper. That’s the amount he wants for retreating from the territory. The other crimelord is surprised about the number being very low, but Oleg already needs it the next day. Besides there is something else, Oleg says he needs to “lay off” some of the contractors he works with, and a few friends of the other crimelord might be among them. However he doesn’t mind, it’s none of his business and he will let Oleg proceed. Still the crimelord gets curious and wants to know who is on Oleg’s tail, but he is told that this is none of his business either.
Beatta has been ordered to make the phone call to Kurt, and sitting alone in her room she is debating with herself wether to make the call or not. She is surprised that she actually cares, and part of her wants to believe Nightcrawler who somehow was different from the many men in her life. Yet thinking about the consequences if she would not do as told, she makes the call.
Nightcrawler hurries to brothel and along the way he still wonders what to do with the women after he freed them from Oleg. He teleports to Beatta’s window, and she keeps repeating “He is here“, avoiding to look at Nightcrawler. Kurt is concerned and tries to calm her down, but she keeps acting scared of Oleg. When Kurt prepares to head downstairs and fight Oleg, Beatta calls him “Father“, but then hesitates. There is something awkward in the silence and Kurt realizes that something is wrong, still he heads downstairs. Behind a door he hears about 10 to 15 male voices, but he is sure to beat these odds and teleports inside. Yet he finds Oleg and his men holding the other women hostage and pointing guns to their heads. Kurt raises his arms and surrenders, but Oleg smiles and then shoots him.
Nightcrawler wakes up with his hands tied behind his back. He hears Oleg ordering his men to get the girls on a plane and move out. Seeing him regaining consciousness the gangsters make fun of him and Oleg rubs it in Kurt face that Beatta betrayed him. One of Oleg’s henchmen then takes Nightcrawler into another room where he is to receive a bullet to the head. With his last strength, Kurt rips the bonds apart and teleports to safety into the building’s basement, before blacking out from the loss of blood.

Characters Involved: 


Father Whitney

Kim, a thai girl

Beatta, a prostitute


Story Notes: 


Issue Information: 
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