The X-Men‘s Nightcrawler has the craziest mindscape in all of Marvel Comics. The mutant race has entered what seems, on the face of it, to be a utopian era. Hero and villain alike have set aside their differences in order to settle on the living island of Krakoa, building a mutant community that no longer lives in the shadow of death. But, as paradisiacal as Krakoa might be, not all mutants are entirely comfortable there.
Nobody is more unsettled than Nightcrawler, who cannot help but ask what it all means. “Every day, there’s some new, amazing thing to believe in,” Kurt told his friend Cyclops in X-Men #7, “and all it costs is the suspension of everything I used to believe.” Nightcrawler’s Catholic faith has been shaken by the X-Men’s Resurrection Protocols, and he is watching the development of some aspects of mutant society, such as the brutal and violent Crucible, with serious concern. Kurt’s disquiet has led him to Charles Xavier’s Omega-level son, Legion, and he’s unknowingly investigating Xavier’s darkest secrets.
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Now, CBR has published an official preview for Way of X #2, by Si Spurrier and Bob Quinn, and it sees Legion enter into Nightcrawler’s conflicted mind. This affords viewers a stunning glimpse of Nightcrawler’s Mindscape, a visual representation of the conflict that broils within his heart, and it takes Legion by surprise almost as much as it will do readers.
While Legion was expecting a Mindscape packed with religious iconography, long-time readers will be delighted to see Kurt’s Mindscape suggest he still considers himself a swashbuckler at heart. But it’s important to note this imagery shouldn’t be separated from his faith, for when Nightcrawler died and went to heaven he wound up battling his piratical father Azrael. It’s important to notice that the ship is being destroyed by a submerged kraken, representing the philosophical discomfort Kurt feels on Krakoa, and the fact he can feel everything he used to believe falling apart. The different aspects of his psyche, the Nightcrawler-like beings inhabiting Kurt’s Mindscape, are powerless in the face of this monster, just as Kurt feels unable to center himself on Krakoa.
It’s hard not to see this image and get the sense that Krakoa is essentially destroying Nightcrawler, threatening to consume his entire sense of self and force him into becoming something brand new. The image will both excite readers and leave them nervous because the current range of X-Men comics seem to have forgotten just who Nightcrawler really is, so a promise of dramatic transformation is potentially as disturbing to fans as it is no doubt to Nightcrawler himself.
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