Nightcrawlers #1

Issue Date: 
April 2023
Story Title: 
part 3: Voices of Fire

Si Spurrier (writer), Paco Medina (artist), Jay David Ramos (color), VC’s Ariana Maher (letterer), Tom Muller and Jay Bowen (design),Leinil Francis Yu & Sunny Gho (cover artists), Phil Noto, E.M. Gist, David Talaski (variant covers), VC’s Clayton Cowles (production), Laurie Amaro (associate editor), Jordan D. White (editor), C.B. Cebulski (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)
X-Men created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Brief Description: 

Vox Ignis it trying to steal some items in the Sanctum Sanctorum when he is surprised by a group of Sinister’s elite assassins, chimeras, who are all partially based on Nightcrawler. Although he doesn’t believe it will work, Vox Ignis attempts his scream of change on them and, to his surprise, a few of them - Wagnerine, Auntie Fortune and Wallcrawler – break free from Sinister’s influence and help him against their former teammates. He takes them to Mother Righteous, who is crashing a meeting between Dr. Stasis and Orbis Stellaris on the Moon to introduce herself as the last clone of Nathaniel Essex. With the help of the three chimeras, she kills Dr. Stasis. She learns from Orbis Stellaris that he currently possesses the Sinister lab with the Moira engines and is now using his Progenitors to find a way to Dominion Status. He doesn’t consider her and her magic a threat and lets her live as a thank you for taking care of Stasis. The Nightkin teleport to the Westchester complex where they free some more chimeras and bring gifts to Mother Righteous. They regret their former service to evil and are looking for a cause. Mother Righteous shows them Orbis Stellaris’ word farm and announces they need someone inside. Given the forcefield, they are aware this is tantamount to suicide, but Wallcrawler volunteers to jump, and is killed. Mother Righteous shows them the items they need to create the Reliquary Perilous and promises to turn them into holy thieves.

Full Summary: 

10 years later:
Nighttime, the Sanctum Sanctorum in New Essex (formerly New York):
Vox Ignis (the gestalt made of Banshee and the Spirit of Variance) is in the Sanctum. Banshee hears the bamfing sounds and nervously announces they are coming. The Spirit tells him to remain calm. The Mother sent them to scavenge for items of power. Banshee tells him those aren’t their regular Sinisters. They need to ask for extraction to the astral realm. The Spirit reminds him, they have been bonded for a decade. In that time, the Mother has not once given rewards for failure. He is the Spirit of Variance. They need to look at the problem from a different angle.

Suddenly Banshee shouts that it’s his elite assassins, the Legion of the Night. He refers to a group of chimeras, all of whom have a Nightcrawler base combined with another mutant or superbeing. Wagnerine (a Wolverine chimera) quickly tackles him. There are also combinations with the Toad, Domino, Pyro, Sabretooth and even Spider-Man.

Vox Ignis manages to shake her off, then tells his Spirit of Variance part to do the scream of change. The Spirit reports they have tried it on countless Sinisters and not freed one of them. Banshee insists they have no choice, and the Spirit complies, his scream affecting the Wolverine-chimera. Wagnerine stops her attack confused. The Emplate chimera observes that her thoughts have become alarmingly unsinister-like. In return she impales his brain. While she fights the Sabretooth chimera, she orders Vox Ignis to free as many of her kin as he can. Vox Ignis manages to free the Domino chimera and the Spider-Man chimera. The Sabretooth chimera wants to call the Quiet Council to warn them, but the Domino chimera, Auntie Fortune, shoots him first as well as the Toad and Pyro chimeras. In the end, only Vox Ignis and the three freed chimeras are left alive.

Vox Ignis suggests they flee. The commander, Wagnerine, stops him. They have led short lives spent on an evil purpose. They need to know what they are for. What higher purpose do they serve?

Vox Ignis takes them to the Moon to join Mother Righteous, outside the House of the Fall (formerly the Summer House). She criticizes him for being late. She interrupts them when they try to explain.

She enters the building, Vox in tow, and criticizes the two men sitting there. They have started without her. Sheer bloody rudeness. The men she addresses are Dr. Stasis and Orbis Stellaris, neither of whom knows who she is. Mother Righteous chuckles, pours herself some whiskey and addresses them by their names, before calling them two tosspots with Sinister’s face, both clinging to the forlorn hope they are the original.

Somewhat intrigued, Dr. Stasis interrupts that he can forgive gatecrashing but not insolence from some unknown hussy with an East London accent! Unimpressed, she tells them her name and adds they haven’t heard of her because she’s been busy. Ten years ago, a bunch of the X-genes got bewitched. However much Sinister spliced them, they kept turning into monsters. It’s taken her years to fix, spells, sacrifices… but it’s done.

Stasis angrily calls her a fool. Orchis commissioned that hex! While it lasted, Sinister was unable to exploit some of the most dangerous bloodlines. Now he’s using the Nightcrawler strain to build his hit squads! She is not one of Sinister’s creations. So why work for him? Mother Righteous replies she is working for no one. And, by the way, the accent is not East London, but near enough. It reminds her where she comes from. And where is that exactly? Stasis demands Essex, she replies coolly as she takes off her domino mask and reveals the heart symbol on her forehead, a match to their club and spade symbols. She… She’s… Stasis begins to babble. Under no narcissistic illusion of being the original, she cuts him off and empties her glass. Now, since they are acquainted…

She orders Vox Ignis to lay down the King of Clubs. Bored, Stasis orders his human-tiger bodyguard Broman to attack. However, the tiger protests that he is no match for the astral energies. Magic, how twee, Stasis mutters disgusted. He tosses a null charm at Vox Ignis’ feet, but Mother Righteous has another ace up her sleeve. The three freed Nightcrawler chimeras – Wagnerine, Auntie Fortune and Wallcrawler – teleport in to join the fray. Wagnerine decapitates Broman, while the other two attack Dr. Stasis, who hides behind a forcefield and deploys several weapons against them that he teleports in.

When Wagnerine attacks him, he grabs her with some tentacles emerging from his back, essentially tying up her arms and legs. He muses about incorporating her claws into himself after her death and asks if she has any last words. In reply, the pointed end of her tail stabs him in the brain.

Orbis Stellaris praises Mother Righteous. He feared he would actually have to listen to his talk of an alliance. He didn’t think she could do it. But to turn Sinister’s finest killers? Ingenious! Now he understands why she cured the monstrosity hex.

Not interested in his praises, she reminds him of the price – answers. She knows he’s been busy and Sinister’s knickers have been in a twist. She believes it is no coincidence. So, what’s the big idea, brother dear?

Some answers later, Mother Righteous summarizes that he stole Sinister’s lab because he didn’t want him resetting this reality. He couldn’t tolerate Stasis’ powerbase and he wouldn’t have allowed her to know this, if she had any chance of changing this. He agrees that he has the processing power of the World Farm. Crunching possibilities to find a path to the highest throne. It doesn’t matter how long it takes. Nobody has access to the Moira clones now. Sinister’s chaos will devour all the obstacles to Orbis’ primacy. And no fuzzy huckster magician can come close. The sword does not fear the cup. Stay out of his way, and she will have safe passage through his dominion. It is the very least he can do to thank her for her help. His globe closes and he vanishes.

Vox Ignis addresses Mother Righteous who tells him she has to think. She orders them to bring her new recruits, new believers.

Over the following weeks, Vox Ignis and the three Nightcrawler chimeras have several conflicts with Council of Sinisters members and manage to free a Colossus-Nightcrawler chimera. Banshee wonders if Mother Righteous will thank them for this. The Spirit of Variance is convinced they are doing this for good and that the three chimeras trust in Mother Righteous. Still, they wonder why they were the only ones Vox Ignis’s scream could set free.

When they break into Sinister’s cloning facility, they find Dr. Nemesis, whose mushroom head has grown to a monstrous size. Sipping his coffee, he orders them to keep quiet. He is chained to the wall as is the original sleeping Nightcrawler, now completely monstrous. The remnants of Kenji Uedo are in a glass tube. Nemesis tells them to keep quiet. The Uedo protein doesn’t like loud noises. Just be grateful the cookie monster isn’t due to feed for another week!

Mother Righteous had dissolved the monstrosity spell that changed Nightcrawler a decade ago, but the effects on him still persist. He is growing more monstrous and mindless. Only a resurrection could restore him to his prime. And these days, only Sinister has the means.

Wagnerine and Wallcrawler intend to free more of their enslaved kin. The Spirit of Variance admits to Banshee he doesn’t know where good and evil lie in this broken world, but he knows this: the Nightkin are happier free than servile.

They free a Nightcrawler / Pixie chimera. The Spirit continues that above all they are kind. They are him as he was in the Spark of their souls.

Avengers crater, formerly Avengers Mountain, now a HQ for Mother Righteous, who orders Vox Ignis to bring them in:

The Nightkin enter, humbly offering gifts and offering their service. Wallcrawler offers the Book of the Spark. Auntie Fortune stole a Limbo rifle from Shaw. Wagnerine offers the brain of Cortez. The Sinisters have them everywhere to boost their powers.

Mother Righteous is satisfied. Only fair they get something in return, she figures. She offers a holy vision and tells them to look: inside is a huge black globe - the laboratory of Sinister. Stolen, protected, hidden, it is only through remote viewing she can even get a glimpse. This is the dark heart of all sin and it falls to them to cleanse it. There are others set against the devil – she refers to the Brotherhood – but they won’t help them. All they know is survival and selfishness, but the Nightkin are here to burn them out.

She shows them a vision of a heart and calls it the Reliquary Perilous. A holy weapon they must build. Properly deployed, it will purge the Sinister stain from every mutant with the white-hot fire of faith. They have been granted the gift of freedom. The righteous thing is to give everyone else the same! They want that, don’t they? All they are missing is someone on the inside. Any volunteers?

Vox Ignis interjects that trying to enter the World Farm would be suicide, but she hushes them. Wagnerine begins to volunteer but Wallcrawler cuts her off. He explains he feels the diamond devil whispering in his mind… the thing he wants them to do to them…. Vox Ignis explains he thinks it is the effect of the scream are wearing off on Wallcrawler. Perhaps the mutant-mutate genotype is less stable than the mutant. Whatever the cause, the Sinister strain is reasserting control.

Wallcrawler announces that their patriarch, their unknown father, wrote of trying new things… of leaping into the unknown. He begs Mother to let him help purge this evil before it claims his kin. Mother Righteous grants him permission for a reconnaissance trip. The Cortez brain will boost him and his fortune- fiddling pal can help with the targeting. In the name of the Spark! he announces and teleports, only to be stopped and killed by a teleportation barrier around the World Farm.

A membrane of evil, Mother Righteous announces. Only in purity, in adherence to the Spark may they overcome it. He died for the love of his kin, for love for the world, for the sacred Spark in all of them!

Mother Righteous asks if he had a name. They tell him his nickname Wallcrawler. Wallcrawler! He has returned to the Spark! She utters his name several times and the others take up the chant.

Vox Ignis nervously points out he doesn’t see how this lot can get inside. Simple matter of faith, she replies, and time. In the meantime, they got work to do. No use getting inside without the weapon. The devil himself made them killers, but she shall make them holy thieves.

Wagnerine likes the sound of that and asks what they are to steal. The weapons of the gods, they are told as she shows them magical items such as the Eye of Agamotto, the Darkhold, the Soulsword, Mjolnir and more...

Characters Involved: 

Auntie Fortune, Wagnerine, Wallcrawler
Colossus-Nightcrawler chimera, Pixie-Nightcrawler chimera
Vox Ignis
Dr. Nemesis

Mother Righteous
Orbis Stellaris
Dr. Stasis
Emplate- Nightcrawler chimera, Pyro-Nightcrawler chimera, Sabretooth- Nightcrawler chimera, Toad- Nightcrawler chimera (Legion of Night)

Story Notes: 

Sinister’s observations on Nightcrawler and the Nightcrawler chimeras: While originally unable to do anything about the changes Nightcrawler and a few other mutants went through after nine years, for some reason the problem was solved and he could use his DNA for experiments.

Further notes:

The issue follows Storm and the Brotherhood #1. The next chapter is Immoral X-Men #1.

The series replaces Legion of X for three months.

The lab was stolen by Mystique and a hapless Brotherhood in Storm and the Brotherhood #1.

Apparently, Mystique was working for Orbis Stellaris.

The Monstrosity spell is explained in X-Men: Before the Fall -Sons of X one shot.

Sword and cup: different playing card suits which are equivalents to the spade and the heart.

Highest throne: Orbis Stellaris is referring to becoming a Dominion.

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