Nightcrawler was killed in the recent Second Coming storyline. However, given the odd facial tattoo, this isn’t the Nightcrawler that we know.
X-Force’s adventures recently brought them to the Age of Apocalyse, the alternate reality in which Charles Xavier never created the X-Men. In this world, we discover different versions of many of our favorite heroes. Nightcrawler, while a member of Magneto’s X-Men, is completely different from the Nightcrawler of Xavier’s X-Men; AoA Nightcrawler is a hardcore, sadistic fighter. So, needless to say, he will fit right in among the ranks of X-Force, whose past missions have been less than savory.
Is this Marvel’s way of bringing a fan-favorite character back into their storylines without raising them from the dead? Well, yeah. Clearly it is. Does that mean it’s a bad idea? In no way.
It’s also not the first time Marvel has shuffled characters from other universes before. Nate Grey and the Dark Beast both made their way from the Age of Apocalypse timeline into regular continuity. Nocturne switched places with Beak, a fledgling member of the X-Men, while he took off with the universe-hopping super team, the Exiles.
I love the fact that Marvel made this return to the Age of Apocalypse and that they are salvaging some of the characters. Exiles quickly became one of my favorite titles because it brought back and put the spotlight on Blink, who was quite awesome in Astonishing X-Men.
Check out Uncanny X-Force #19, hitting stores in December, for the full story of Nightcrawler’s return.