Religion in Marvel

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Nightcrawler (Kurt Wagner) is a  superhero appearing in comic books published by Marvel Comics, commonly in association with the X-Men. Created by writer Len Wein and artist Dave Cockrum, he debuted in the comic book Giant-Size X-Men #1 (May 1975).

Nightcrawler possesses superhuman agility, the ability to teleport, and adhesive hands and feet. His physical mutations include indigo-colored skin which allows him to become nearly invisible in shadows, two-toed feet and three-fingered hands, yellow eyes, pointed ears and a prehensile tail. In Nightcrawler’s earlier comic book appearances he is depicted as being a happy-go-lucky practical joker and teaser, and a fan of swashbuckling fiction.

Nightcrawler is a Catholic, and while this is not emphasized as much in his earlier comic book appearances, in later depictions Nightcrawler is more vocal about his faith. Ironically, his appearance is similar to that of a demonic figure from a faith that he practices.

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The Purifiers, also known as the Stryker Crusade, are a paramilitary/terrorist organization in the Marvel Comics universe and enemies of the X-Men. Created by writer Chris Claremont and artist Brent Anderson, they first appeared in the 1982 graphic novel X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills.

A force of Christian fundamentalists led by the ruthless Reverend William Stryker, the Purifiers see themselves in a holy war against mutants, believing Mutants to be the children of the Devil and thus worthy of extermination. The Purifiers made only sporadic appearances since their first appearance, but returned to prominence in the 2000s, when they became prominent antagonists in the series New X-Men and X-Force, murdering over 40 children in one terrorist attack.

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Dust (real name Sooraya Qadir), is a fictional character, a superheroine in Marvel Comics’ X-Men-related comic books. She was created by author Grant Morrison and artist Ethan Van Sciver in New X-Men #133 (December 2002), although her character was not fully developed until the New X-Men: Academy X series written by Christina Weir and Nunzio DeFilippis. Sooraya is a mutant with the ability to transform her body into a malleable cloud of dust or “Sand”.

Born in Afghanistan, Sooraya is attacked by a slave trader attempting to remove her traditional niqāb; almost instinctively, she lashes out with her powers and flays him alive with her sand-like dust. The X-Men, hearing of the situation, travel to Afghanistan and rescue her, where she is brought to the USA and becomes a student of the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning. She is a rare example of a positive Muslim comic book character that is shown practicing her religion frequently.

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