(One of the original Media Gauntlet columns)
Okay, it’s no secret. I am a huge fangirl for Nightcrawler. I have been since, oh, 1990 and no, I’m not going to tell you how old I was at the time. I collect Nightcrawler statues, busts and action figures. I have the Marvel Tarot set (Major Arcana only) that was printed in Italy, because Nightcrawler is the Hanged Man. I have pins, t-shirts, posters. I am a huge mark for Nightcrawler.
So can any of you tell me why, when I read the culmination of a storyline featuring Nightcrawler, by Chuck Austen, I shrieked in disgust and rage and threw the comic across the store? (I paid for it, being a friend’s store and all.)
Class? Bueller? Anyone?
For starters, I’d like to know who Chuck Austen had to blow to get a gig at Marvel, because I’m reasonably sure my oral sex skills FAR surpass his. Okay, maybe not, because no one’s ever hired me to shit all over 20+ years of established canon. Wow, three years and I’m still this pissed off.
Ah, yes, Austen and his “vision” of the X-Men as agents of divine and diabolic machinations. Keep your stinky religion out of my comic books, Chuck.
Okay, okay, back to the point. Believe it or not, I have one, and not that Austen just plain sucks, everyone already knows that. No, the point is that one of the CONSTANT themes of the X-Men through the years is that, while they have these powers and may well be the next step in evolution, they never forget their humanity, never forget that they’re human first. Its all part of Xavier’s dream. Nightcrawler in particular looks like a demon but he’s not, and his humanity, as much as his spirituality, are fundamental to the character’s raison d’être. And kind of the point of the whole comic, that regardless of how people look or act, they’re still people.
But this is not good enough for Austen. In his zealousness to be “outré” he decides that Nightcrawler becoming a priest was all a front for an anti-mutant organization, The Church of Humanity*, because THEY KNEW HIS DAD WAS THE DEVIL! ZOMG!! WTFBBQ!!! Ok, not THE Devil, but a demon. Yeah. Bite me, Austen.
Need I go on (and on) about how this totally refutes the years of canon AND the whole point of the bloody character? And yes, I’m aware of the “But Azazel’s just a demonic looking mutant” who happens to live forever, gets banished to a realm of fire and brimstone, and just happens to have hung out with a group of guys whose name is a mangled, bastardization of the biblical term Nephilim. And yes, I get it, its Austen’s incredibly clumsy, awkward, adolescent attempt to “stick it to the Man” by deriding the Christian religion, “Why yes, your church is built on mutants, there is no God. Mwaa haa haaaaa!” I can just see him twirling a false Snidely Whiplash mustache in demented glee. Gag.
Ahhhh!!!! This is why at the top of my wish list for every Yule and Birthday you’ll find the item: “Chuck Austen’s head on a stick.”
It’s also one of the few times I’ve been grateful for the Marvel Multi-verse.
*We won’t get into Catholic versus Protestant views of the Rapture and why that whole plot was incredibly stupid, Nightcrawler’s parentage aside.
Edited to add: As much as I love Nightcrawler, even I can’t bring myself to pay $300 for the new Nightcrawler bust. Not without an animatronic mouth and super cunnilingus action.