X-Men: Si Spurrier Explains Nightcrawlers' Role in Sins of Sinister (Exclusive)

Sins of Sinister is about to thrust the X-Men, and the rest of the Marvel Universe, into its darkest future. The event sees the diabolical Mister Sinister getting what he always wanted, and yet somehow it's slipping from his grasp. The entire Marvel Universe is remade in Sinister's image within three series showing readers what Sinister's universe looks like 10, 100, and 1000 years into the future. One of those series is Nightcrawlers. Spinning out of Legion of X, writer Si Spurrier tells the tale of the elite assassin squad, each a chimera fusing the genes and powers of Nightcrawler with those of another Marvel character.

ComicBook.com had the opportunity to ask Spurrier about Nightcrawlers and how it fits into the Sins of SInister universe and his ongoing Legion of X saga. Here's what he told us, accompanied by a preview of Paco Medina's interior artwork, with Jay Davis Ramos colors, from NIghtcrawlers #1: 

(Photo: Marvel Comics)

What can tell about who the Nightcrawlers are and what their role in the world of Sins of Sinister is?

They're a group of elite clones, created specifically by Mister Sinister as his personal assassins, bodyguards and general all-round nasties.

They're also chimerae. Fusions of two (or more) mutant genotypes into single, viable beings. Ever since Hickman went delving into possible futures in Powers of X we've known that – at some stage – Mr. Sinister's relentless pokings, proddings, splicings and general mad sciencings would reach fruition in hybrids of this sort. From his perspective, when putting together these first generations of chimera minions, it makes perfect sense to use Nightcrawler as the baseline. After all, the one thing that would make the deadliest mutants in the world even more deadly is if they had Kurt Wagner's peerlessly agile teleportation skills.

Standard mission: BAMF in, murder everything that moves, BAMF back out. Repeat.

In practice, it's been a tad more challenging than that for poor old Sinny. Thanks to some magical kinks in the pipe, Nightcrawler's genestrain has been unavailable for Mr. S's enthusiastic attentions. Whenever he's tried to use it, it's resulted in some painfully grotesque abominations. Which, him being him, is actually quite funny. But also – him being him – got boring fast.

Only now, something has changed. Suddenly the Wagner Strain is available for him to seriously muck around with, and his first batch of creations – the Legion of the Night – are still shiny and new as we come into the story.

But there's a problem. They have a flaw. One Sinister couldn't understand in a million years.

(Photo: Marvel Comics)

When I spoke to Kieron Gillen, he described the different eras of Sins of Sinister as being like different genres. How different are the three issues of Nightcrawlers, and how do they work together to tell a story?

The issues certainly all have a very distinct tone and aesthetic. I tend to shy away from genre as a descriptor. This is a longer rant, better had in a pub, but in my view the language of genre is a really fucking terrible technology for taxonomising or revealing anything about stories. I get why we use those words – they're easy and reductive and sometimes they're what we've got – but still. No.

I prefer to think in terms of the big controlling ideas to distinguish stories, or parts of stories.

For instance, the first issue – 10 years into the future – is about the ultimate futility of authoritarianism. The tendency for control to eat itself. It's about the oh-so-human realization that when the jackboots are empty and the dictators are out of ideas, what rises to reclaim the light is the wild spark of humanity. Kindness. And big ideas. (The problem is: that last one can get you in trouble. As we shall see...)

The second issue – 100 years into the future – is about identity and meaning. It's about a group of people who've shackled themselves to one Big Idea, starting to worry that it might be the wrong one. It's about parenthood and legacy, and stealing magical shit from the most powerful beings in the universe. It's about ritual and love. Above all, it's about saying "why?" to power.

The third issue – 1000 years into the future – is the dominion of the Ugly Idea. The subjugation of identity behind the all-consuming need to belong, to perform, to walk unthinkingly in the same direction as everyone else. The defeat of individuality. And, if I've done my job right… the last glimmer of hope.

If it's references you want, there's a lot of A Canticle For Leibowitz here.

It's essentially the story of a religion being created and fostered over the course of a 1000 years – getting uglier and stupider and more exploitative at every step. Up until the point that someone says, "No."

(Photo: Marvel Comics)

For Legion of X readers, how does Nightcrawlers fit into that ongoing story?

There are a few threads that reach from one to the other, but part of the trick is playing them in such a way that folks who haven't read Legion of X can still jump into and enjoy 'crawlers.

I think the three most visible things which will be familiar to LoX readers (but neatly introduced to new eyes) are: first, the ongoing magical "monsterization" of mutants, which happens at random and has left entire genestrains useless to Mr. Sinister; second, the involvement of the mysterious figure known as Vox Ignis, who seems to be a defective Spirit of Vengeance bonded onto the soul of Sean Cassidy, better known as Banshee; and third… Mother Righteous.

The last one is the big one.

Mother Righteous is a new character that we're only still getting to know now in Legion of X, but she seems poised for a big role in Nightcrawlers. What can you say about the part she's playing?

Ha! Very little. She's one of my very favorite types of character: a complicated smartarse who, at any one moment, could be on the side of good or evil or – most likely – both and neither. It's all a matter of who's telling the story, after all.

She's a lot more powerful and a lot more important than anyone has yet figured out.

(Oh, btw, readers of LoX 10 – which drops just before Nightcrawlers 1 – are going to come into the story with a teensy bit of prior knowledge, vis-a-vis Mother R's backstory, which is going to get the internet all a-squee.)

(Photo: Marvel Comics)

Sins of Sinister has a unique structure, in that each issue of each of these series is taking place in a different era, with one artist assigned to each era rather than each series. What are the challenges and opportunities that come with it?

I think that whole thing is such an incredible selling point for this event, and I love yelling about it. Honestly, when we pitched the idea to Jordan I didn't think we had a hope in hell of persuading the higher-ups: the logistics are a nightmare. But it got people grinning and sometimes that's all it takes.

The challenges are exactly what you'd expect. The lead times get exceptionally tricky because (for instance) the artist on the first 3 issues – all of which drop within one month, has to be wrapped way earlier than if he or she were drawing issues which dropped over consecutive months. That front-loading quickly trickles back up the pipe to the writers: we all had to write things completely out of sequence so that (eg) the artist on the third wave of issues could be getting started at the same time as the artist on the first wave. Brainsplode? Brainsplode.

…all of which, given the hilarious level of interconnectivity and recursiveness of this event, meant insane amounts of discussing, checking, doublechecking, tweaking, retweaking… It was a little like building a house where each bricklayer has to start at a different level, often before the layer below had been laid.

Dizzyingly complex.

The result, mind you, is glorious. It doesn't feel overly complex. It eases from one phase into another, like the best hard sci-fi, cantering between big concepts and small, intimate moments.

Each of the three books has its own voice, each of the three time periods has its own energy, so what you get is a smorgasbord of completely unique individual mosaics which collectively form this wild, swashbuckling, funny, sad, silly, serious and completely wonderful story.

It's the most COMICS!!! thing I've ever done.

The Sins of SInister event kicks off in Sins of Sinister #1 on January 25th. NIghtcrawlers #1 goes on sale on February 15th.