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REVIEW: MARVEL LEGENDS SERIES 9 NIGHTCRAWLER
By Thomas Wheeler

I've always liked Nightcrawler. Fearsome appearance, heart of gold, generally upbeat attitude, and he's a good Christian (especially portrayed as such in an episode of the 90's X-Men animated series that I'm still surprised to this day actually got on the air given the sad restrictions concerning things of a Godly nature). Not bad overall for a mutant who looks more than a bit demonic, and whose first appearance, in Giant-Size X-Men #1, had him running from villagers who thought that was exactly what he was, and were trying the old pitchforks-and-torches bit on him, until Professor Xavier stopped them.

Nightcrawler is Kurt Wagner, German-born mutant, raised in a gypsy camp that staged a traveling circus, where someone with an unusual appearance such as Wagner would more or less fit in. Unlike most mutants, whose powers and unusual features do not reveal themselves until adolescence, Kurt was born with dark blue skin, covered with a velvet-like fur, pointed ears, glowing yellow eyes, two fingers and a thumb per hand, two immense toes per foot, and a sort of hind-toe, and a prehensile pointed tail. It's a wonder he wasn't drowned at birth.

It would be later revealed that his real mother was the mutant mercenary Mystique, and that his gypsy mother had some experience with mysticism, which is probably why she was able to accept the strange-looking child.

Nightcrawler's appearance is not his mutant ability. He can climb walls with the same ease as Spider-Man, has almost unimaginable agility (the tail helps), and he has the ability to teleport himself across several miles, as long as he has a good idea of where he's going. He has developed his power so that he can carry a passenger or two, depending on their size and weight, but it puts a terrible strain on all parties involved. Nightcrawler's teleportation also tends to leave a horrible sulfuric stink, for reasons that have never been determined.

First introduced in 1974, Nightcrawler quickly became very popular, and went from being a somewhat embittered individual, to one of the more happy-go-lucky and upbeat members of the X-Men, to eventual leader of the spin-off team Excalibur, and even entered the priesthood for a time. He has tended to see himself as a swashbuckling adventurer, comparing himself to the likes of Errol Flynn.

Nightcrawler only made two significant appearances in the 90's animated series, but both were quite significant episodes. He was also brought on board in the second live-action movie, and I hope he'll be in the third.

I've always liked the character. For someone to look so bizarre and yet to maintain such an upbeat attitude, and strong faith, even seeing that in a fictional character can be quite encouraging. He's best friends with Wolverine, who jokingly calls him "elf" and "misfit", and indeed, Nightcrawler does qualify as a misfit. Not sure why, but I've always sort of liked characters like that, especially when they still manage to have a strong personality, and somehow fit in despite being a misfit.

So obviously, when I learned that Niughtcrawler would be added to the excellent line of highly-detailed, highly-articulated Marvel Legends figures, I was delighted. This was one I especially wanted to have. And I turned him up in mid-March.

The figure, overall, is excellent, even if the facial expression is a rather uncharacteristic sneer, and the poor guy has a chin that Jay Leno would be envious of. I think the sculptor in question was trying to make Nightcrawler look a little too "demonic" and ended up with something that looks more like a medieval gargoyle to a certain degree. It's not THAT bad, and it's still certainly recognizable as Nightcrawler, but the features are a little too exaggerated in some respects.

Nightcrawler is dressed in his classic uniform, which is a black bodysuit with white gloves and boots, and a red V-shaped tunic that's part of the body suit, that runs from the trunks to flared shoulders. The flared shoulders on the figure are a separately-attached piece that was assembled very precisely, and the end result is an excellent representation of Nightcrawler's uniform.

Nightcrawler has an amazing 41 points of articulation. Of particular note is the wire-bendy tail, which I suppose counts as a single point of articulation even though it's so flexible you could probably tie a knot in it (although I doubt Nightcrawler would appreciate that). Also of note are the individually articulated fingers, and the individually articulated toes, including the odd little back toes. I think this has resulted in the figure's feet being a bit larger than they should've been, but they're not that bad, and one certainly can't argue about the articulation.

My only mild gripe in that area, and it's probably nothing that anyone could've done anything about, is that Nightcrawler is a fairly slender individual, and as such, I imagine that the assembly points on the figure had to be rather small, and this has resulted in a figure with, in a few instances, slightly loose articulation points. But I don't expect that he's going to fall apart on me, either.

As part of the GALACTUS Series, Nightcrawler comes with the Lower Torso section of Galactus. To complete the Galactus figure, you also need the parts that come with the rest of the assortment, which include Dr. Strange, 1st Appearance Hulk, War Machine, Bullseye, Professor X, and Deathlok. From that standpoint, I'm recommending the entire assortment.

But I especially recommend Nightcrawler. He's a cool character, a longtime X-Man, one of my personal favorites, and this Marvel Legends version of him is excellent!