Published February 16, 2023

Sins of Sinister: Nightcrawler’s Condition, Explained

In the future of 'Sins of Sinister,' Nightcrawler has evolved into a mindless beast. Who would do such a thing, and why?! Find out here!

Even though his mutation gives him a demon-like appearance, Nightcrawler is the profoundly human heart of the X-Men. His fun-loving nature makes him a friend to all, and his thoughtful, spiritual side makes him one of the team’s most unique thinkers… But after unexpectedly growing a pair of horns, he has gone through a shocking mutation that has transformed him into a monstrous, violent creature.

Now, we’re taking a closer look at Nightcrawler’s recent transformation, who caused it, and how it has progressed into the SINS OF SINISTER timeline in NIGHTCRAWLERS (2023) #1 by Si Spurrier, Paco Medina, Jay David Ramos, and VC's Clayton Cowles.


In the mutant nation Krakoa, Nightcrawler is a distinguished member of the Quiet Council, which governs the island, and the leader of the peacekeeping Legionnaires. In LEGION OF X (2022) #7, shortly after A.X.E.: JUDGMENT DAY (2022), Nightcrawler grew a pair of horns on his forehead without explanation. After consulting with scientists like Mister Sinister and Doctor Nemesis about his condition, he was killed and revived through Krakoa’s Resurrection Protocols. While this should have restored his normal body, Nightcrawler’s horns grew even larger, and he took on a more animal-like appearance with boney spikes protruding from his shoulders.

Just as the Legionnaires realized that Nightcrawler’s mutations were mystical, Angel transformed into a monstrous, rampaging bird creature and attacked Jackie Chopra, the Black Knight. When Nightcrawler and his team tried to stop Angel, he turned ravenously feral—even threatening to eat his longtime X-Men teammate—until the Black Knight helped him come to his senses. 

While Nightcrawler lamented his momentary loss of control, other mutants around the world—including Glow Worm and Indra—experienced similar extreme mutations and sudden violent outbursts. After studying what happened to Angel and Nightcrawler, Pixie realized that these excessive mutations were caused by a mix of mythomancy, a form of magic that draws upon beliefs and prejudices, and Chopra’s mutant power, which activates the latent X-genes of people near her. When combined, this magic could randomly jumpstart secondary mutations that transform mutants into the kinds of monstrous creatures that much of the world believes them to be.


Using her magical acumen, Pixie traced the spell back to Nightcrawler’s adoptive mother, a powerful sorceress named Margali Szardos, in LEGION OF X (2022) #8 by Si Spurrier, Netho Diaz, Sean Parsons, and Federico Blee. As a follower of the Wandering Way, Szardos’s mystical power increases and decreases regularly, but she is one of the world’s most skilled magic users. Although Margali took Nightcrawler in as an infant and raised him, he has a fraught history with his mother, who has manipulated and betrayed him on numerous occasions. 

After Nightcrawler rebuffed her advances, Szardos attacked his team with the same spell that transformed him. While Pixie’s Souldagger protected most of the team, Doctor Nemesis was hit by one of Szardos’ magic blasts. With his self-evolving intellect supercharged by magic, Nemesis’ brain started growing rapidly and overwhelmed him with ideas. When the Black Knight tried to attack Margali, Nightcrawler reverted to his monstrous form and instinctively defended his mother. Szardos then revealed she was commissioned to create the spell by the mutant-hating organization Orchis as part of their larger effort to play into the general public’s fears and misconceptions about mutants.

When Orchis’ forces moved in to apprehend the team, Nightcrawler viciously attacked them—and although he was unable to stop himself, he was later horrified by his actions. Szardos then revealed that she cast the spell for Orchis in exchange for access to her weakened son. 

Leaving a dejected Nightcrawler in his monstrous state, Szardos channeled his joy and hope into the Hopesword. Much like the Soulsword he once wielded, the Hopesword is a powerful mystical artifact that sprouted from his chest. After Szardos ripped the weapon away from him, Nightcrawler devolved into an even more monstrous form. But just as the sorceress left, Mother Righteous—a clone of Mister Sinister who studied magic instead of science—approached him and offered him a deal.


In the SINS OF SINISTER timeline, Nightcrawler’s transformation continued as Mister Sinister infiltrated Krakoa’s leadership and reshaped the world in his twisted image. Then, in SINS OF SINISTER (2023) #1 by Kieron Gillen, Lucas Werneck, and Bryan Valenza, Storm realized Sinister had replaced Nightcrawler with a clone. When she confronted Sinister about this, he revealed the real Nightcrawler had devolved into an inhuman creature with long horns, giant spikes all over his body, and a distended jaw. However, the spell that transformed mutants like Nightcrawler also made their genes too unstable for Sinister to incorporate in his initial Chimera, or genetically engineered mutants with multiple X-genes. 

After a decade of sacrifices, failed attempts, and mystical deal-making, Mother Righteous finally broke this mutation spell. While this enabled Sinister to create Chimeras with Nightcrawler’s teleportation powers, it did not affect Nightcrawler himself, leaving him a mindless beast imprisoned in one of Sinister’s labs. 

While Nightcrawler’s mind and body may be broken in Sinister’s future, the Chimera created with his DNA still showed some of his characteristic kindness after being freed from Sinister’s control in NIGHTCRAWLERS (2023) #1 by Si Spurrier, Paco Medina, Jay David Ramos, and VC's Clayton Cowles.

Behold the extent of Nightcrawler's transformation in NIGHTCRAWLERS #1, on sale now!

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