Ultimate X-Men’s Nightcrawler’s poor reaction to Colossus’ sexual identity began a downward spiral for him that was resolved too easily in time.
Although the Ultimate X-Men was considered a fan-favorite series of the Ultimate Marvel imprint from Marvel Comics, their re-imagination of the famous mutant superheroes failed in their direction for Kurt Wagner, also known as Nightcrawler. The demonic-looking teleporter may have found a new family in the X-Men but the discovery that his close friend, Colossus (Piotr Rasputin), was gay began a downward spiral for the character, culminating in him leaving the X-Men. Instead of exploring this fallout between him and his former teammates, the creators allowed some time to pass before Nightcrawler returned, a member of the X-Men with little to no consequences.
Reimagined by Mark Millar and Adam Kubert in Ultimate X-Men #7, Kurt Wagner was a mutant operative forced into service for the Weapon X program. When Weapon X was dismantled by the X-Men and SHIELD, Nightcrawler joined the X-Men in their mission to protect the world and promote peace between humans and mutants. Kurt was accepted by his teammates, becoming especially close to Colossus and developing a crush on Allison Blaire, the punk rockstar known as Dazzler. Already feeling sad that Dazzler develops a relationship with their teammate Angel, his world is further rocked when Piotr admits to being in a relationship with Northstar (Jean-Paul Beaubier) in Ultimate X-Men #65 from Brian K. Vaughan and Wade Von Grawbadger.
Teleporting immediately after learning Colossus was gay, Kurt avoids him despite Piotr’s attempt to talk to him. In Ultimate X-Men #66 by Robert Kirkman and Tom Raney, Kurt’s attempt to visit Dazzler in the hospital sees Colossus tag along, forcing them to eventually discuss the elephant in the room. Unfortunately, despite Piotr’s honesty and respect, Kurt does not reciprocate these feelings, choosing instead to disown his friend that he claims he didn’t know as well as he thought did. While the X-Men deal with a powerful new teammate-turned- enemy, Kurt is preoccupied visiting Dazzler where he admits in Ultimate X-Men #70 from Robert Kirkman and Jonathan Glapion that he considers Colossus “a deceiver, an abomination. He is dead to me. I cannot bring myself to forgive vhat he has done.”
Kurt’s strong dislike of Colossus’ homosexuality contrasts his mainstream Marvel counterpart, who despite being openly religious, is as an accepting and loving individual who extends hope and compassion to all, even long-time X-Men enemies. His rejection of Colossus would soon follow his crush on Dazzler turning into an obsession where he kidnapped her to an underground bunker, convincing her they were the only two remaining X-Men. When Kurt’s ruse was revealed, he was placed in a coma by Professor Xavier who hoped to rehabilitate him. This decision was met with a mixed reaction by the X-Men, many now disowning him like former Weapon X operative Rogue, who after spending time in his mind, told him that she knew he was a monster. After Professor Xavier’s death, Kurt awakened and escaped, finding a new identity as the leader of the subterranean mutants called the Morlocks.
After Kurt and the Morlocks joined the X-Men to help defeat Apocalypse, Nightcrawler is seen participating in a friendly game of baseball with Dazzler and Colossus in Ultimate X-Men #94 from Aron Coleite, Mark Brooks, Jaime Mendoza, and Troy Hubbs. Although Kurt does attempt to apologize to Piotr, his apology is played for laughs and the ramifications of his character as a kidnapper, stalker, and homophobe were swept away, instead of addressed as the serious issues they are. Although this version of Nightcrawler would soon die in the infamous Ultimatum event, it’s disappointing that the Ultimate X-Men creators put him through an ordeal, and downplaying the purpose of the Ultimate universe to reimagine characters in new directions for the sake of an easy resolution.
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