Nightcrawler (4th series) #3

Issue Date: 
July 2014
Story Title: 
If at First you Don’t Succeed…Tri, Trimega Again!

Chris Claremont (writer), Todd Nauck (artist), Rachelle Rosenberg (color artist), Virtual Calligraphy’s Cory Petit (letterer), Jamie McKelvie with Matthew Wilson (cover artist), Niko Henrichon (variant cover artist), Xander Jarowey (assistant editor), Daniel Ketchum (editor), Mike Marts (X-Men group editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

In Winzeldorf, Trimega has located Nightcrawler and Amanda Sefton at the circus. He attacks them, along with the circus performers and Margali Szardos. Nightcrawler battles Trimega, until the robot creature switches into three. The circus performers are forced to defend themselves against the attackers, but the three Trimegas overpower them, and are about to take out Nightcrawler and Amanda, when Margali comes to their rescue and transports the Trimegas away. Nightcrawler decides that they must get assistance from the X-Men. The circus performers decide to remain in Winzeldorf, and before Amanda teleports Nightcrawler, Margali a host of Bamfs and herself to Westchester, they say their farewells. Arriving at the Jean Grey School, though, several X-Men, including a hostile Storm, are on hand to greet Nightcrawler, Amanda and Margali. Tensions mount between Nightcrawler and Storm. Nightcrawler goes to the Danger Room to reflect, and Wolverine joins him, giving Nightcrawler a much needed pep talk, as he seems very concerned about his return to the land of the living. Rachel Grey attempts to probe Amanda’s mind and Amanda easily takes Rachel and Frenzy out with a magical blast. Storm and Beast are interviewing Margali to ascertain what she knows about the Trimegas. Margali is as cryptic as ever, before casting a spell which surrounds Beast and Storm with paper. Storm tries to blast Margali with a bolt of lightning, but it only sets her free from her restraints. The papers trap Storm and Beast, and pull memories from their minds, which Margali believes she can use to her advantage. She then escapes. Wolverine, Nightcrawler and Cecilia Reyes rush through the school when an alarm sounds. Amanda keeps to the shadows, while students start to gather at the windows, and on the school lawn, an entire army of Trimegas has arrived, and opens fire.

Full Summary: 

Winzeldorf, Bavaria, where a brute called Trimega charges through a circus tent. Kurt “Nightcrawler” Wagner and Amanda Sefton stare at him in horror, while their “mother” Margarli Szardos frowns, and several of their friends from the circus, Feuer, Haus, Gummi, and several of the Bamfs, look on, frightened. Kurt doesn’t know whether Trimega is a man wearing armor, a cyborg or a robot - but whatever he is, his power makes him a force to be reckoned with. ‘What have you done, Nightcrawler? You’ve led this monster right to our home!’ Gummi exclaims. Nightcrawler tells Gummi that he will happily apologize later, but that right now the important thing is stopping him. Kurt teleports over to where some tools are in a bucket, and then teleports again, slammming a large mallet against Trimega. Again and again, quickly he teleports and slams the mallet into his foe. Nice try, but no cigar, as Trimega punches Kurt - from a fist that emerges from his back!

Kurt falls to the ground, he thanks Heaven for his reaction time, as a solid impact would have smashed his head in, but he lands safely. An energy surrounds Trimega, and Kurt suddenly understands how the villain gets his name - as two more appear. One in a blue armor and one in a yellow, similar in design but with their own unique features. ‘So robot it is, then’ Kurt thinks to himself, while the first Trimega, now in a red armor, declares ‘You were warned not to interfere. Now pay the price’. Haus rushes forward, ‘You will not hurt a friend of Haus!’ the circus strongman declares - only to be blasted back. ‘Stand down. We have no quarrel with you’ Trimega tells Haus. Feuer breathes some fire towards the Trimega in the yellow armor and warns them that if they fight one among Der Jahrmarkt, they fight them all.

Kurt has seen Feuer melt blocks of steel with his flames, but the Trimega in the yellow is not even scorched. It unleashes hurricane-level winds that suddenly divert Feuer’s flames from the Trimega back towards Gummi, who stretches her body to dodge the flames, but barely. The Trimega in the blue attacks with the power of water, sending a wave crashing into Feuer, knocking him into Amanda. As Kurt teleports behind the blue Trimega, this all happens in the blink of an eye - but fast as the robots are, Kurt is determined to be faster, and he slams the mallet into the blue Trimega’s legs, knocking the robot backwards. Sadly, the robot’s strength is a match for his speed, as the robot raises its arm to block the mallet as Kurt attempts to bring it down onto its chest.  ‘Mutant, you have interfered for the last time’ the blue Trimega declares, before casting a blast of energy towards Nightcrawler, who teleports just in time.

Kurt materializes beside the drenched Amanda and tells her that it is time to go, that he needs to get her out of here. ‘Kurt - behind you!’ Amanda exclaims, as the three Trimega stand over Kurt and Amanda. ‘This battle is over. You cannot escape Trimega’ the red Trimega declares as the three of them raise their fists, charged with energy, and aim towards Kurt and Amanda. Kurt thinks to himself that he has only just come back to life, and wonders if this could be the scales of fate trying to balance themselves? Suddenly, though, ‘Monsters - you do not threaten the children of Margali Szardos!’ the Witch Queen Margali shouts as she casts energy towards the three Trimega robots, raising them into the air and surrounding them with some sort of static field.

Margali raises her staff, and transforms from her regular clothing into a white and gold costume. ‘I am a wizard of the Winding Way. You trifle with me at your peril. You have done enough harm today -’ Margali threatens. Kurt looks at Margali, wide-eyed, ‘She came to our rescue… just like when we were kids’ he tells Amanda, who frowns and replies that she doesn’t remember being this intimidated by Margali back then, though. ‘I. Cast. You. OUT!’ Margali screams as a portal opens above them, and the Trimega robots are sucked into it. The portal closes, and Margali collapses. Kurt teleports over to her and tells her not to worry, as he has her, while Amanda crosses her arms, unimpressed.

Kurt announces that he doesn’t think they have a choice anymore, as the Trimegas are too dangerous, and they know virtually nothing about them. He declares that their safest course of action is to withdraw to the Jean Grey School and ask the X-Men for help.

Kurt, Amanda, Margali, the Bamfs, Feuer, Gummi and Haus emerge from the tent. Other circus workers start to gather nearby, and Margali informs Kurt that, in this, she will defer to him. ‘That’s a new one. Margali usually defers to no one’ Amanda mutters, to which Kurt tells her to cut Margali some slack. Feuer tells Nightcrawler, with respect, that they must refuse. He points out that the Trimegas’ fight was not with them. ‘They were after you’. He points out that they are not super heroes, just circus folk. ‘This is way out of our league’ he adds. Gummi suggests that it is better they stay here and go on with their lives. ‘And, no offense, pray the storm moves on after you’ she adds. Kurt assures Gummi that no offense is taken, before asking her what if she is wrong. ‘You’re the X-Men, yah? Best you put a stop to these bad boys before anything like that happens. Ain’t that what you do?’ Gummi asks. ‘Fair point’ Kurt agrees. He shakes Feuer’s hand and tells his friends to be well. ‘Now that you’re back from - wherever, Wagner, don’t be a stranger. We’ve missed you’ Feuer replies. ‘As I did you, my friend’ Kurt adds. Amanda bids Feuer farewell, before she surrounds Kurt, Margali, the Bamfs and herself in a brilliant energy, and they vanish.

An instant later, they materialize on the front lawn of the Jean Grey School, in Westchester, New York. Kurt supposes that Rachel must have been monitoring him telepathically, as they are greeted by a full-court press of X-Men - and Kurt gets the feeling that a warm welcome is too much to hope for, as Ororo Munroe a.k.a. Storm, Henry McCoy a.k.a. the Beast, Monet St Croix, Joanna “Frenzy“ Cargill, Jono “Chamber“ Starsmore, Paige “Husk” Guthrie and Rachel Grey rush over to them. ‘How dare you bring Magali Szardos here, Kurt?’ Storm demands,angrily. ‘Ororo - she needs our help’ Kurt replies, but Storm announces that she doesn’t care. The Beast quietly tells Storm to calm down, while Kurt declares that all that he is, in large measure, comes from Margali Szardos, as she raised him. ‘And Amanda is my heart’ he adds, explaining that he asked them here because they are in danger - and because helping people is what the X-Men do. ‘At least - the X-Men I remember. Has that changed?’ Kurt asks.

Hands on hips, Storm points out that Margali has committed unspeakable atrocities. ‘You think I don’t remember!’ Kurt exclaims, to which Storm tells him that he would do well to remember that this is a school, and that the students, and their parents, count on them to keep them safe. Kurt stands between Storm and Margali as Storm declares that if Margali wants their trust, she will have to earn it. ‘Does the same apply to me?’ Kurt asks, adding that, after all, his demon sire nearly conquered Heaven, and sent the X-Men to Hell. ‘I’m no longer the man I was before…how do you know I won’t do worse to you?’ he asks. ‘Stop it! Right now, Kurt, I mean it!’ Amanda declares as she steps between Kurt and Storm. ‘These are your friends! You died fighting for them. I won’t let you throw that away, not for me’ she tells him.

‘Nor me’ Margali agrees, before assuring Storm that she was never her enemy, and that she only wants what is best for the children she loves. ‘Yeah, right’ Amanda snaps. Kurt looks confused, and tells Amanda that she charges the way for him, yet turns her back on Margali. ‘You’ve been out of the loop a long time, Elf’ Amanda replies, looking away. ‘And what you missed wasn’t very nice’.

Frenzy, Husk, Monet and Chamber surround Margali as they lead her towards the mansion. Rachel follows, alongside Amanda and tells her that a quick mind-scan should sort things out. ‘Easy for you to say, telepath’ Amanda replies, while Margali asks ‘Kurt’s father nearly conquered Heaven? That’s a story I can’t wait to hear’. Storm, the Beast and Nightcrawler walk ahead, ‘Kurt, I -’ Storm begins, but Kurt tells her ‘Now now. We’ll talk later’, and then he teleports away. ‘He only calls me “Storm” like that when he’s really angry’ Ororo remarks, folding her arms. The Beast puts his hands on Storm’s shoulders and assures her that Kurt will be fine. ‘Will he, Hank? I wonder’ Ororo tells him.

Pink clouds surround Kurt, who crouches on the edge of a cliff, waterfalls drop from the sky around him. He remembers dying. In battle, of course, fighting for the future of mutantkind. But that wasn’t the end - quite the opposite. ‘Nice view’ a voice calls out. ‘As the song goes, “on a clear day, you can see forever”. Quite literally’ Kurt replies. ‘Miss the place, do ya?’ someone asks, standing over Kurt, ‘I… don’t know’ Kurt responds, turning, he sees a bottle of beer handed to him. ‘Have a brew. You’ll feel better’ Wolverine a.k.a. Logan tells his friend, adding that he even got his favorite. Kurt thanks Logan: ‘You’d think I’d be satisfied, Logan. I had my proof of faith. Everything I believed was - true. And yet, somehow, it wasn’t enough. When the opportunity arose to once more fight beside the X-Men…I took it’ Kurt explains, adding that he turned his back on Heaven. Logan sits down beside Kurt, ‘You’re a hero, bub. That’s what we do’ Logan replies. ‘Is it?’ Kurt asks as he starts to drink the beer.

‘Bottom line, Elf, is that you’re alive. Embrace that, why don’tcha’ Wolverine suggests. Several Bamfs teleport in beside Kurt and Logan, as Kurt remarks that he wated some time alone, that he still does. ‘Like I care?’ Logan responds, telling Kurt that he has a second chance. ‘You really have a problem with that?’ he asks, adding that he can’t believe he is the one making this pitch: ‘You ever think what happened wasn’t an accident? That you’re back here because higher authority figured you were needed?’ But Kurt frowns and reminds Logan that he gave up his place in Haven. ‘So earn it back’ Logan suggests, tossing his empty beer bottle off the edge of the cliff. Logan reaches into the box of beer and pulls another bottle out, handing it ot Kurt, while the Bamfs have taken a couple of bottles for themselves. ‘You make is sound so simple’ Kurt remarks. ‘What can I say, I’m a simple kinda guy’ Logan replies. ‘True that, mein freund’ Kurt smiles.

Logan admits that he used to figure he could go on, forever, right until the end of everything. ‘And who knows, maybe even beyond? That sooner or later, me and the redhead…’ his voice trails off, and points out that with his healing factor gone, he supposes the joke is on him. Logan adds that it doesn’t change a thing though, as there is nobody like them in creation. ‘We’re X-Men. We’ve seen things, done things, that everyone else can’t even imagine’. Logan tells Kurt that fate can put them through all the games it wants, but none of that matters, because when the chips are down, when the fighting really matters, they will always find a way to win. ‘With you, we won big. The “why” don’t matter, Kurt. Fact is, you’re here. Question is, what’re you gonna do about it?’ Logan asks his friend, as the Danger Room simulation of Heaven ends, leaving Kurt and Logan in a sterile high-tech room. ‘Start fresh. Do the very best I can’ Kurt smiles as he and Logan clink their beer bottles together. One of the Bamfs teases another by holding the bottle of beer away, as Logan replies’ True that, Bub. Now and forever!’

Elsewhere in the Jean Grey School, Amanda sits at a table, while Rachel stands behind her, making telepathic contact. Frenzy stand nearby. ‘Your mind’s a proper maze, Amanda, but I’m finding my way’ Rachel reports, adding that, so far, nothing marks Amanda as a threat. ‘You’re a truly awesome telepath, Rachel. But I was taught my skills by Stephen Strange… Master of the Mystic Arts and Sorcerer Supreme. Which means you’re wrong. I am a threat’. With that, Amanda releases a surge of magical energy that knocks Rachel and French back to the floor, out cold. Amanda checks Rachel’s pulse and tells her that she is truly sorry about this, and that it is nothing personal, just necessary. ‘I can’t have you interfering. You’ll just get in the way’. Amanda then rushes from the room, hoping that she isn’t too late.

And, in another room, Margali sits at a table, her hands cuffed to the top of the table, where several piles of paper are stacked in front of her. The Beast sits across from the self-titled Sorceress Supreme, while Storm paces the floor behind her. The Beast asks Margali what connection there is between Amanda - or herself - and the Trimegas. ‘The realms beyond this pathetic sphere of flesh are in a fascinating state of flux’ Margali replies, adding that suddenly, all things are possible. She points out that Azazel’s recent incursion into “Heaven” is but the latest example of that. ‘What do you know about that?’ the Beast demands. ‘I walk the “Winding Way”. I know many things’ Margali boasts. ‘Where might that path be leading you now? A benign way, or…?’ Storm’s voice trails off. Margali grins and replies ‘Truth, Windrider, I’m not even sure of that myself’.

Suddenly, Margali starts to blow on one of the pieces of paper, and an image of the Beast appears on it. ‘What I know for sure… is that we all… have a part to play’ Margali declares as the piece of paper floats into the Beast’s face, sticking to his face, Hank falls back off his chair - and an instant later, all of the other pieces of paper swarm around Hank and start to cover him. ‘Sorceress, what have you done?’ Storm demands. Margali replies that it was a simple enchantment, really, for one of her skill. Storm starts to release some lighting and informs Margali that she has one chance to set this right. The lightning strikes the table, and shatters the shackles around Margali’s wrists. ‘Or what, Storm? Do you remember nothing from our previous encounters? My enchantments shield me against both your winds and lightning’ Margali declares. She stands up, ‘See how easily I turn them back upon you?’ she asks, as other pieces of paper start to float towards Storm and knock her back.

Margali pulls the broken shackles off her wrists and declares that once she has liberated herself from them, she will literally pick Storm and the Beast’s brains for the memories she needs. Images start to appear on the papers, which now completely cover Storm and the Beast’s bodies. ‘Sadly, I fear, when I’m done… there will be nothing left of you’ Margali declares. She pulls a piece of paper from Storm and remarks ‘Not the way you likely thought your lives would end, I know’. She grins as she examines the piece of paper ad remarks that fate is replete with wicked surprises. ‘Look on the brighter side, however. By taking from you, I leave dear Kurt free to continue with his new life in peace’. Margali bids the X-Men farewell, and announces that they shall not meet again.

Wolverine pulls his mask down over his face as he, Nightcrawler and the Bamfs rush out of the Danger Room. ‘Alarm tripped in the detention center. So much for our quiet afternoon’ Wolverine snarls, before shouting ‘C’mon, telepaths, gimme a flaming report!’ Dr Cecilia Reyes emerges in the corridor, and Nightcrawler asks her if there is any word about Amanda and Margali. Reyes reports that the internal comm-links are all off-line, but that the last word she had from Rachel was that everything was okay. ‘she sounded pretty encouraging’ Reyes adds.

Amanda stands in the doorway of a darkened room, ‘Where are you…?’ she remarks, as a glowing light shines through corridor windows. Suddenly, ‘Hey, what’s going on?’ one of the students calls out as several of them rush into the corridor and stare out the windows. ‘Even the teachers don’t know!’ another student exclaims. ‘Probably some stupid drill’ another remarks, while someone wonders if the feds are coming to shut them down. ‘Fight!’ someone else exclaims. ‘Looks like’ another agrees. ‘Oh, no!’ Amanda gasps.

Nearby: ‘Everyone get away from the windows! This isn’t a game! It’s not safe! Get to shelter - now!’ Nightcrawler instructs the students as he, Wolverine, Reyes and the Bamfs run towards them. Outside, the sky has darkened, and a whole army of Trimegas has appeared on the front lawn of the Jean Grey School. ‘Surrender, mutants!’ one of them calls out as they start to fire their respective energies towards the mansion. ‘Ahhh!’ a student screams as the windows are blasted in. ‘Mr Wagner, help!’ another calls out. ‘Today it ends’ Amanda declares, annoyed. ‘These the creeps you fought?’ Wolverine asks, teeth gritted and claws popped. Kurt confirms that they are, but that last time, there were only three. ‘Now we face an army’ he points out, before Wolverine declares. ‘That makes it a fair fight. Let’s get ‘em!’

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Cecilia Reyes, Chamber, Frenzy, Husk, Monet St Croix, Nightcrawler, Rachel Grey, Storm, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Amanda Sefton


Margali Szardos



Unidentified students


Feuer, Gummi, Haus and other circus employees


Story Notes: 

Storm’s general dislike of Margali stems from Uncanny X-Men Annual (1st series) #4, where Storm was tortured by Margali.

Amanda and Rachel’s animosity towards each other is from Excalibur (1st series) #75, when Amanda returned to Muir Island to help bring Captain Britain back to the present time, something Rachel was unable to do, and in the process, Rachel was lost in the Time Stream.

Amanda mentions she was trained by Dr Strange. Actually, this was never shown on panel. When Margali forced Amanda to seek out Dr Strange to become his disciple, he turned her down, explaining that he wasn’t seeking a student. [Dr Strange (2nd series) #57-8]


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