In Way of X, the sudden death of a young X-Man just shook Nightcrawler to his core and made him deeply concerned about the X-Men’s future.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Way of X #1 by Si Spurrier, Bob Quinn, Java Tartaglia and VC’s Clayton Cowles, on sale now
Nightcrawler is nominally one of the leaders of Krakoa, currently serving as one of the mutants within the Quiet Council. But while many of his compatriots have taken more proactive roles with the X-Men and other branches of Krakoa’s society, Kurt has been considering a potentially more revolutionary concept: crafting the first true mutant religion.
In Way of X #1, his journey towards that possible path takes a huge step forward after the unexpected tragedy of Pixie’s death and her hasty revival. This set of events highlight to Nightcrawler some of the things about Krakoan society that don’t sit well with him.
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Nightcrawler has been trying to adjust to the way society is growing within Krakoa and becoming increasingly uneasy in the process. He’s even admitted that his attempts to figure out how to create a mutant religion have proven to be difficult. Around him, he’s watching mutants embrace surprisingly cavalier ideals towards death and resurrection. During an infiltration into Orchis’ religious outreach arm in Venice, Pixie is goaded by her fellow young mutants into allowing herself to die for the first time. But while the other mutants on the mission cheer for Pixie’s demise and how it means she can be resurrected for the first time, Nightcrawler is horrified by the act. Even if resurrection has been mastered, Nightcrawler thinks his fellow mutants’ views on life and death should have weight, not something to be done on a dare.
In addition, Nightcrawler has come to truly hate the Crucible, the process by which depowered mutants can prove themselves in combat and die, only to be resurrected with their powers restored. Magneto (and Apocayplse before him) treated it as an honorable ritual. Nightcrawler considers it murder, plain and simple. Along the way, Nightcrawler has been considering what kind of journey a soul undertakes in the resurrection process — pointing to how moments in between having Cerebro copy one’s mental patterns can be lost in the process, arguably suggesting someone revived isn’t strictly the same person who died. Even Pixie’s revival seems to stoke these fears, as she lacks the minor changes and natural evolution that Kurt had watched in her before she perished on their mission.
While speaking with Doctor Nemesis about the matter, Nightcrawler also is forced to reflect on how the Crucible could be seen as bringing a new “Survival of the Fittest” sentiment to Krakoan culture, propagating more violent, fool-hardy, and warlike mutants to be revived thanks to a swift resurrection after honorable death — in the process being seen as a far more important than mutants who’ve long been dead given a new chance at life. In the process, this elevates the Krakoan ideals of strength over compassion, demises over healing, and death as a constant over life being a gift. Even the fact that the Five mutants capable of resurrecting someone are deified for solely achieving that ability by other mutants unsettles Nightcrawler, with Professor Xavier admitting that he can understand the devout mutant’s concerns.
Although he can’t pinpoint the moral flaw in the cultures emerging out of Krakoa, especially in light of the easy resurrections, Nightcrawler knows there’s something terrible gnawing at the soul of the mutants, and that it’s on him to discover it and try to find a different path for he and his people to take. After speaking with Pixie about her ever-changing taste pallet before her demise, Nightcrawler brings her a sandwich she’d requested at the moment. But with her mind restored to the last time she was recorded by Cerebro, Pixie has lost this growth of her palette and simply wants what she wanted before, symbolizing to Kurt how — thanks to resurrection — mutants can become stuck in a mental and moral loop and lack the spiritual or inner growth that defines someone with a soul.
It’s a heavy topic for Nightcrawler to be confronting, but a crucial one for the spiritual and moralistic mutant to approach if Krakoa wants to keep from becoming something far darker than it should be. Pixie’s death may have been a horrifying moment for Nightcrawler, but it seems to be an important step in Kurt’s coming to terms with the flaws of Krakoa and figuring out a different way. He’s recognizing the dark undercurrents of how mutant society is developing and trying to figure out how to save the soul of not just himself, but all of Krakoa.
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