May 19, 2024

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Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Characters Case File #388: Nocturne

In another dimension, Nightcrawler and the Scarlet Witch had a kid...

Wait, I never really covered a member of the Exiles team before?  OK, there was one I’ll mention later, but the main team’s original line-up was full of characters that I could just toss into this feature, so I’m doing that this time around with one that maybe got a little more exposure than most, namely Nocturne.

But first, a note on the Exiles team.  Ostensibly, it was a showcase for the character of Blink, something of a break-out star from the X-Men’s Age of Apocalypse storyline.  Blink was a teleporter whose main universe stand-in was dead, and as that timeline was coming to a close, it would stand to reason that the sweet-tempered Blink, youngest of Magneto’s X-Men and like a daughter to the much gentler Sabertooth of that reality, would be an especially tragic case as it didn’t look like that timeline would continue to exist and neither would she.

Yes, let’s set aside the need to keep IP going and move on from here.  At first glance, Blink looked like she was a goner, not one of the handful of Age of Apocalypse refugees that reappeared in the main timeline.

Instead, she popped up somewhere else, namely a timeless void as a member of the new Exiles team.  Charged by the Timebroker to go to different timeline that was “broken,” Blink and her new teammates were charged with basically doing what Sam Beckett did on Quantum Leap, only in their case, if they fixed enough timelines, they could return to their own.  Blink’s timeline no longer existed, so she wasn’t going anywhere, and a member of the team was killed off in the very first storyline to show that no one was safe.  It was fix enough timelines or die.

Anyway, among the members of the team was Talia Josephine Wagner, TJ to her friends, and someone who went by the codename Nocturne.  She came from a timeline where the X-Men were led by a crippled Wolverine and Nightcrawler.  Professor X and Jean Grey were both dead after an attack by the Shadow King, the very attack that left Wolverine in a wheelchair, and Cyclops went all vengeful and evil.  As it was. TJ had a lot to be proud of because she was basically raised by the X-Men.  Nightcrawler was her father, and the Avenger the Scarlet Witch was her mother.  Her powers were something of a mix and match even if her appearance largely matched her dad’s.  She could possess the bodies of other people and fire off handblasts called “hex bolts”.  Beyond that, she had the superhuman agility and prehensile tail of her father, and maybe some limited telepathy.  Given who her father was and how she was raised, she was actually a pretty happy-go-lucky and carefree sort of young woman.

And then she was on a team of strangers that traveled the multiverse, fixing broken timelines.

Now, it was a book where anyone could die, but certain characters like Blink did become something of a mainstay, and Nocturne certainly was one of those.  And despite the fact the original line-up seemed to be made up entirely of alternate dimensional mutants if not outright X-Men, there was no rule that said only mutants could be recruited for this team.  Indeed, while the Exiles did things in a gentle manner, the more, shall we say, “black ops” version of the team led by the Age of Apocalypse Sabertooth included a lot of non-mutants who were not afraid to get their hands dirty like a She-Hulk that didn’t mind smashing things too hard, a heavily-damaged and emotionless Vision, and a Spider-Man wearing the Carnage symbiote.

As for Nocturne, she developed a relationship with a version of John “Thunderbird” Proudstar that had been a Horseman of Apocalypse in his universe and was redesigned to look like a human/horse hybrid.  That relationship seemed to last until Thunderbird died on a mission bringing down Galactus on an otherwise doomed Earth.  Or he didn’t die, but that’s more to do with the fact the Timebroker was not who he said he was, and nobody went home or died when they left the team.

That fate didn’t really befall Nocturne.  The Exiles team made a few stops in the main Marvel universe, one where she slipped up and called Nightcrawler “Dad” at their first meeting.  They came back a second time for a mission that basically required Nocturne to stay in that reality while that universe’s Beak went with the Exiles.  See, I did cover one of the Exiles before.

By the by, Chuck Austen was writing the X-Men by that point, and he couldn’t resist making sexual references in pretty much any issue, so naturally Nightcrawler gave the idea of sleeping with Wanda a good think.  Heck, look above and see how he mentions how attractive Wanda is and we can stop right there.

However, once on Earth, Nocturne became someone who seemed to bounce around on different teams.  She infiltrated the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, hung around with the X-Men, joined an Excalibur team, and somehow suffered a stroke.  Eventually, she even reunited with her beloved Thunderbird and was back on the Exiles.  I think.  You can’t really tell with the Exiles whose on the team sometimes.