Published March 8, 2023

Sins of Sinister: The Spark, Explained

Discover the origin of the Spark, the Nightcrawlers' belief system, as it continues to evolve in the dark future of 'Sins of Sinister.'

After Charles Xavier and Magneto turned the living island Krakoa into a mutant nation, Nightcrawler found a problem with the X-Men’s paradise. Thanks to the Resurrection Protocols, which can bring any mutant back from the dead, death itself had been reduced to a casual inconvenience. In response to that, he devised the Spark, a mutant philosophy built around the idea of trying new things, particularly practicing empathy for one another and embracing the possibilities it produces with joy.

However, Nightcrawler’s dream for the Spark has turned into a nightmare in the future of SINS OF SINISTER. While Nightcrawler himself devolved into a monstrous state, Mister Sinister used his genes to create a new breed of Chimera, or genetically engineered mutants with multiple X-genes and powers. Although these Chimera were freed from Sinister’s control, they ransacked dying worlds in the name of the Spark for their new master, Mother Righteous. Now, we’re taking a closer look at the Spark and how SINS OF SINISTER warped it in NIGHTCRAWLERS (2023) #2 by Si Spurrier, Andrea Di Vito, Jim Charalampidis, and VC's Clayton Cowles.


Shortly after Krakoa was established, Nightcrawler started having concerns about mutantkind’s relationship to death and interrogated the philosophical questions raised by their resurrection process. This came to a head with the Crucible, a ritual where depowered mutants were killed and resurrected with their full powers, in X-MEN (2019) #7 by Jonathan Hickman, Leinil Francis Yu, and Sunny Gho. After witnessing the first Crucible, Nightcrawler told Cyclops that he needed to start a mutant religion. However, Nightcrawler quickly revised this idea and designed the Spark to be a way of living that was compatible with multiple belief systems instead of being a religion in and of itself.

After seeing several teenage X-Men treat death dismissively during a mission, Nightcrawler focused his philosophical efforts on finding a way to unite mutants through shared culture and a sense of purpose in WAY OF X (2021) by Si Spurrier, Bob Quinn, and Javier Tartaglia. Around this time, Nightcrawler and several other Krakoans were menaced by a psychic predator called the Patchwork Man, who drew out their worst memories and emotions. Charles Xavier suspected his ultra-powerful son Legion was behind the Patchwork Man’s attacks and sent Nightcrawler to investigate. But after Nightcrawler and Legion started working together, they realized the Patchwork Man was really Onslaught, a psionic entity created by the darkest aspects of Xavier and Magneto.

Nightcrawler went on to have several experiences with other mutants that profoundly shaped his ideas about the Spark. He encountered his former teammate Stacy X, who used her pheromone-emitting powers to help mutants connect while looking after abandoned mutant babies. He also met Lost, a previously depowered mutant who had gravity-manipulating abilities. Years earlier, Fabian Cortez killed Lost’s parents in an attack, and the Onslaught entity latched on to Lost’s lingering hatred towards him. 

When Lost confronted Fabian and started to fight, Nightcrawler teleported them to Arakko, the mutant-controlled planet formerly known as Mars, in an effort to get them to talk. But before they came to a mutual understanding, Onslaught possessed Lost and used her power to knock the moon Phobos out of orbit. With a power boost from Cortez, Nightcrawler was able to teleport Phobos back into place. During this ordeal, Nightcrawler had a breakthrough and officially named the Spark for the first time, just moments before dying.


After he was resurrected, Nightcrawler reunited with Cortez and Lost in the Altar, a psychic pocket reality inside Legion’s mind, in X-MEN: THE ONSLAUGHT REVELATION (2021) #1 by Si Spurrier, Bob Quinn, and Java Tartaglia. As Onslaught’s influence grew, he manipulated most of Krakoa’s teenage mutants into attending a lethal dance that would culminate in them all killing each other for fun. While Pixie freed a handful of those mutants, Nightcrawler and Legion helped Lost embrace Cortez despite her hatred. 

As Nightcrawler spoke about the merits of daring to do the unexpected in the name of the Spark, Onslaught left Lost. Pixie then led the teenage mutants into the Altar, where Dust used her powers to link all of the mutants in the astral plane within Legion’s mind. As Nightcrawler preached, the mutants crushed Onslaught with an overwhelming psychic embrace.  

In the wake of Onslaught’s defeat, Nightcrawler turned the Spark into Krakoan dogma, and the mutants involved in defeating Onslaught began teaching its tenets to Krakoa’s other mutants. Within Legion’s mind, the Altar evolved into a place where all mutants could find connection with each other. Nightcrawler also formed a peacekeeping force called the Legionaries to uphold Krakoan law and “keep the Spark.”


While Legion’s body sat in meditation on Arakko, Nightcrawler and the Legionaries started policing mutantkind by protecting Krakoa’s laws from their headquarters in the Altar starting in LEGION OF X (2022) #1 by Si Spurrier, Jan Bazaldua, and Federico Blee. In their early cases, Nightcrawler and the Legionaries pursued Switch, who was possessing other mutants without consent, and Tumult the Trickster Chimera, a fugitive Arakki deity. 

Both plots were secretly orchestrated by Mother Righteous, a female clone of Mister Sinister who studied magic instead of science. Around this time, Mother Righteous bonded Banshee with the Spirit of Variance, a former Spirit of Vengeance that embraced a doctrine of change. After merging, Banshee and the Spirit formed a gestalt being known as Vox Ignis, who declared themselves to be a herald of the Spark.  

As a Quiet Council member, Nightcrawler was actively involved in leading Krakoa through A.X.E.: JUDGMENT DAY (2022), where mutants faced an unexpected attack by the Eternals and planet-wide judgment from an artificial Celestial, the Progenitor. In keeping with the Spark, Nightcrawler proposed two radical ideas during the conflict in IMMORTAL X-MEN (2022) #7 by Kieron Gillen, Lucas Werneck, and David Curiel. First, Nightcrawler proposed the idea of using the Krakoan resurrection process to revive Captain America, marking the first time the process was used on a non-mutant. Secondly, he also turned to Moira MacTaggert, Krakoa’s traitorous cofounder, and enlisted the mutant-hunting Sentinels of Orchis in the fight against the Progenitor. 

Shortly after that crisis, Nightcrawler and several other mutants began devolving into monstrous states. As Nightcrawler devolved, the Legionaries learned the transformations were the result of a hex created by Orchis and Margali Szardos, Nightcrawler’s erstwhile stepmother and a powerful mystic. After Szardos used Nightcrawler’s belief in the Spark to create a Hopesword, the X-Man transformed into a completely mindless creature.


While Nightcrawler was in his beastly form, Mister Sinister replaced him with a lookalike in SINS OF SINISTER. After Sinister brought several other mutant leaders under his power through a corrupted resurrection process, he found he could not experiment with Nightcrawler’s bewitched genes. So, when he started creating Chimera, Sinister left Nightcrawler to rot in one of his labs. 

Eventually, Mother Righteous reversed the spell on Nightcrawler, though he remained in his bestial form. However, this enabled Sinister to use Nightcrawler’s genes to create hybrids like the Legion of the Night, a team of Nightcrawler Chimera creations. While facing the Legion in battle, Vox Ignis used his Scream O’ Change and freed several Chimera, including the Nightcrawler/X-23 hybrid Wagnerine, from Sinister’s control. As the Spirit of Vengeance later explained, Nightcrawler’s genes still carried some of his kindness and devotion to the Spark, which enabled them to become free in NIGHTCRAWLERS (2023) #1 by Si Spurrier, Paco Medina, and Jay David Ramos.

After Vox Ignis freed more of the Nightcrawler Chimera from Sinister’s control, Mother Righteous used the idea of the Spark to control them for the next century. Mother Righteous ordered them to steal an ever-growing list of mystical artifacts from dying worlds to build a Reliquary Perilous that could theoretically erase Sinister’s influence across the universe. Then, after Wagnerine had a child, the infant disappeared and became a religious icon to the other Nightcrawlers through Mother Righetous’ warped approach to the Spark.

In an attempt to recruit Doctor Nemesis, the Nightcrawlers found and freed the original Nightcrawler, who was still alive in his bestial form after a century of imprisonment. Upon seeing how Mother Righteous had corrupted his teachings, the original Nightcrawler attacked the Sinister clone, reasserting that the Spark is about joy and change and not a weapon to control others. 

While Mother Righteous quickly defeated and killed Nightcrawler, his message appears to have reached Vox Ignis and Wagnerine, who saw a glimpse of her child among Mother Righteous’ mystical horde. Now, these heroes seem set to defend the Spark in a violent new way following the events of NIGHTCRAWLERS (2023) #2 by Si Spurrier, Andrea Di Vito, Jim Charalampidis, and VC's Clayton Cowles.

Watch the Spark evolve in NIGHTCRAWLERS (2023) #2, the next chapter of SINS OF SINISTER, now on sale!

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