Uncanny X-Men #428-434 (2003-2004): The Draco

This story arc introduces the demon Azazel, leader of The Neyaphem, who, it turns out, is Nightcrawler’s daddy. 

It starts in the past on an island called La Isla des Demonas, where Azazel impregnates a Baroness named Raven (yes, it’s Mystique).  She has the baby, and it comes out looking like Nightcrawler, and she attempts to kill it by dropping it off a cliff but the baby teleports before hitting the ground.

Issue #429 starts with a seemingly mind-controlled Nightcrawler stealing a Blackbird and heading to La Isla des Demonas. 

The X-Men follow and, when they land, Nightcrawler appears to be a captive of demon hordes who shoot an arrow at Iceman and cause him to shatter into bits.

The X-Men are then sucked into a mystical hole and fight demons until Azazel appears and stops the battle.

Azazel has the X-Men and Mystique, who was mysteriously teleported in during the battle, over for dinner and claims to be Satan and then he and Mystique tell Nightcrawler that Azazel is his daddy.  Margali is Kurt’s stepmom, apparently. 

Before the end of the arc it’s clear that Azazel is not the Devil, just an ancient demon mutant thing.

As part of the big finale, Iceman—shattered in pieces—is able to absorb water from other people and use it to re-form his body.  The various X-Men beat up the various demons who are torturing them, the team gets back to Earth, and Azazel escapes.

While the main story is happening, Lorna figures out that Magneto really is her father and we see that her recent, over-the-top violent behavior is a result of trauma incurred at Genosha. It happens through a series of psychic journeys through her memories.

Also, Squidboy, who Alpha Flight forced to return to Canada, is getting abused by his foster parents and Juggernaut and Northstar go check on him.  Juggy breaks Squid-boys foster dad’s arm.  Alpha Flight shows up to stop Juggernaut, who beats the crap out of them until Squid-Boy tells him to stop.

This whole “Juggy and Squiddy” story is annoying. Juggernaut has been a true villain from the beginning. There is absolutely no good reason to rehabilitate him.

This is a pretty “important” story in that it reveals more about Iceman’s powers, reveals that Magneto fathered Polaris, and that Azazel fathered Nightcrawler.  As for that last reveal, I’m not a fan.  One of the most interesting aspects of Nightcrawler’s character has been how he wrestles with his Christian faith vs his appearance that looks like a classic depicture of the devil.  Knowing that he actually IS a demon makes this conflict much less subtle.

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