[identity profile] roily-riddles.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] ship_manifesto
Title: I got you - a Logurt manifesto.
Author:
[profile] roily_riddles
Fandom:
Logan/Kurt aka Wolverine/Nightcrawler aka "Logurt".
Word count:
3585-ish
Spoilers:
Some regarding the outcome of the Mutant Massacre, the outcome of Wolverine #6 by Greg Rucka and some from the last storyline of Nightcrawler's late solo series by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa.
Notes: This will primarily be a manifesto for the friendship these two share, as that is the fundamental reason for why I ship them. There are scans a-plenty ahead, so dial-uppers might want to tread carefully.



Kurt Wagner aka Nightcrawler:

Kurt Wagner's curse is the demonic appearance he was born with. He started his life in Germany, being promptly thrown away by his mother and would have died if he hadn't been found and taken in by a Romani woman with her two children. They fell in with a circus and he started training to be an acrobat from an early age, excelling to the point where he was the most famous high-wire act in Europe before the age of twenty.

At that point, his life fell apart; the circus changed owners and the new one wanted to showcase him as a freak, not as an acrobat. When Kurt refused, he was drugged and put on display in a cage. He managed to escape and return to his hometown, only to find out that his foster brother had gone insane and killed several children (it later turned out that he was possessed by a demon at the time). In the struggle, Kurt accidentally snapped his brother's neck. The townspeople came upon him surrounded by the bodies and, assuming he was responsible, formed a mob to take him down.
This was when the telepath Charles Xavier - founder of the X-men - stepped in and recruited him, saving his life in the process. In the X-men, he found a new family.

In spite of his troubles, Kurt is a jovial, friendly, easy-going guy with an optimistic outlook and a penchant for showing off. His biggest character flaw is occasional bouts of self-doubt. He is very disciplined, both physically and mentally, but also deeply emotional. Wise beyond his years, but also playful and clever, with a daredevil streak and an almost childlike awe at the world.
Kurt is often found acting as other people's conscience and support, while he himself mainly draws strength from his faith in God. This is a crucial aspect of the character. It's never been revealed how he came to believe, but when his faith was challenged by the mere existence of a God-like being called The Beyonder, he went through somewhat of a nervous breakdown,. This affected his performance in the field and led to him being brutally cut down before Logan's eyes in the Mutant Massacre (Uncanny X-men #211).

Nightcrawler's main mutant power is instant short-distance teleportation, which manifests with the sound of imploding air ("BAMF"), smoke and the smell of sulphur (this does not help in convincing people he's not a demon). He's extremely agile and can usually be found perching on furniture, clinging to walls or hanging by his prehensile tail from the chandelier. He's skillful with swords - and a huge Errol Flynn fan - but rarely uses them in battle, where he's primarily a brawler, using his own mix of martial arts and acrobatics. For a while, he studied to be a priest, but this was ended through the machinations of a super villain.

James Howlett aka Logan aka Wolverine:

Over a hundred years ago, there lived a sickly, sensitive boy of a rich family named James Howlett. His life in isolation earned him few friends. After seeing his father murdered, James' mutant power manifested as he we feral berserker rage and bone claws protruding from his knuckles, killing the murderer. He ran away with his first love interest, only to accidentally kill her with his claws later. From then on, he took the name Logan.

Around this time, an evil, mysterious man named Romulus stepped in and started manipulating Logan's life for his own purposes. It came to be a rich and varied tapestry of violence, cruelty, more violence, manipulation and death, done both to him and by him. Through his life he's been everything from "the Amazing Immortal Man" in a circus freakshow to a professional assassin and even an aspiring samurai.
He was eventually abducted by an organization named Weapon X, who brainwashed him and bonded adamantium - an almost indestructible metal - to his bones during a torturous process, all in order to make him the perfect killing machine. They succeeded.
For a long time, he went without remembering anything of his past. When Logan was sent to kill Charles Xavier, the man freed him from Romulus' influence instead and recruited him to the X-men. This came to be his family.

Logan is a short, gruff Canadian with a generally surly and anti-social demeanor. His long, messed up life has taken its toll on his psyche, as well as the constant physical pain the adamantium coating his bones causes him. He is very straight-forward, often crass and guided by instinct more often than not. Killing still comes naturally for him. Nevertheless, he is, at his core, an intelligent, vulnerable, emotional and soft-hearted man who's fiercely devoted to those he loves. Unfortunately, his love interests all tend to die violent deaths. He spends most of his time these days trying to atone for his past sins by protecting innocents and killing bad people at a workaholic's pace.

Their relationship:

Logan: "We're both sneaks, the Elf and I. We're both survivors." (X-men #106)

(From Uncanny X-men annual #4)

These two hit it off FAST. Early interaction shows some animosity between the two, but Kurt is the one of the X-men that Logan takes to the fastest and it doesn't take many issues before they were on friendly terms. It's not all sunshine, though - Wolverine proves how unstable he is early on, when he in Uncanny X-men #96, during a training session, lashes out at Nightcrawler with his claws for laughing at him. Kurt teleports away in the nick of time. When one of their teammates points out to Logan that he could have killed Kurt, Logan just responds: "Yeah. I know." It would not be the last time he took a swing at Kurt.

Even so, later on in the very same issue, the X-men battle a giant demonic creature and Logan watches his teammates get taken out one by one, but it's not until Kurt gets knocked unconscious that he reacts - by flying into a berserker rage, yelling "The misfit may be a misfit, but he's Wolverine's buddy - and no one beats on Wolverine's buddies!" He tears the monster to shreds. Afterwards, even he is appalled by his own ferocity.

What exactly caused Kurt to get under Logan's skin so? For one, I'm sure Kurt's optimism, his cheer and his determination to have self-respect and get the most out of life despite the lot he was given, resonates deeply with Logan, whose whole life has been little but one misery after another.
Then there is the beast/man angle, which they both have, although manifested in different ways. Kurt knows intellectually that he is not a beast, but after having had people recoil in horror from him all his life, his subconscious may well tell him different. Disproving this, not only to others, but also to himself, has driven him to discipline himself into being the best he can be. He not only weighs his words, but analyzes his attitude frequently.
This is mirrored, but more strongly manifested, in Logan, whose animalistic tendencies are very real and do need to be controlled. He may not appear as reigned-in and careful as Kurt, but he really does his best and when you get a deeper insight into his troubles and past, it appears amazing that he is human at all and, in fact, still allows himself to love deeply.

This is speculation on my part, but I think there's something more to it: consider that Kurt loathes killing and that what Logan does goes against some very fundamental beliefs of his. He has a very understanding nature, but I just don't believe you build a long-lasting friendship as strong as this on understanding alone. Kurt not only loves Logan, but he clearly loves being in his presence. To a point where that outweighs his distaste for the violence Logan stands for and attracts.

When these two first met, did Kurt subconsciously remind Logan of James Howlett? What happened to James? He was never really allowed to grow up and evolve into an adult - he was replaced with "Logan" through pure trauma. When joining the X-men, Logan was amnesiac and had no memories of James Howlett at all. But when he met Kurt, he started doing something I don't think he had ever been doing since he was a kid: play. A frequent element in their early friendship was to play hide-and-seek and "tag" in the woods (with the loser paying for beer - which meant Kurt ended up owing Logan a LOT of beer). This was mostly for training, but they both clearly enjoyed themselves. Logan would actually lighten up, smile, crack jokes and even have a snowball fight or two (!).

I think the key is that these two are very similar at their core, which enables them to understand each other fundamentally, while they work on getting a grip on their differences. What's clear is that it takes a whole lot of love for them both to embrace the challenge the other provides.
What Kurt is to Logan.

Lady (about Kurt): What an extraordinary young man! Wolverine: That he is, ma'am. (From "The Big Dare" by Chris Claremont)

Given Logan's long life and rich experience and Kurt's youth - he can't have been much older than nineteen when they first met - you would think that it would color their relationship into a mentor/student or perhaps even father/son kind of deal. Instead, while Logan has taught Kurt a lot and stood by him through some insecurities, Kurt's stability and wisdom have proven strong enough for Logan to lean on throughout the years. Often, it's almost like Kurt is a father figure for Logan rather than the other way around. He's simply reached a peace through his faith that is out of reach for Logan. Kurt has always challenged him to think about his actions and this triggered him, in the early days, to start seeking peace and honor of his own.
(From Uncanny X-men annual #5)
Ironically, he grew to be at his wisest and most serene after Kurt got almost fatally injured in the Mutant Massacre and fell into a coma. When Kurt woke up, the X-men had gone into hiding and were officially declared dead. He and some friends started a team of their own - Excalibur, which he ended up leading. It would take years before these two saw each other again (their first reunion can be read in Marvel Comics Presents #101-108. They met again in the Wolverine 1995 annual and when Kurt finally came back to the X-men in X-men #80, almost the first thing he did was save Logan's life). Despite the time that had passed, the affection and closeness between the two never waned.
(From Marvel Comics Presents #102)
An issue that I think deserves special mention is Wolverine #6 (3rd series), written by Greg Rucka. In it, Wolverine has driven three days and nights without rest just to meet Kurt in a bar. He has a confession to make: he has killed 27 people in a berserker rage and he's not sure what this makes him. Logan is in a foul mood throughout the whole issue, which Kurt responds to with his trademark gentle patience and friendliness as he's trying to coax Logan into talking. It takes almost the entire issue before he does and when the revelation is finally made, Kurt is shocked:

Logan: Not much to say to that, huh, Elf?
Kurt:
You were enraged?
Logan: All the way to the bone.
Kurt:
And these men, they had earned this rage?
Logan:
You're looking for an excuse.
Kurt:
No, my friend, I am straining to understand. Because if you're telling me that these men were innocents, all, then you are everything you have always feared yourself to be and you would have to be stopped! Logan: And you would stop me?
Kurt: No. But I would die trying.

[Silence as they stare intensely at each other until Logan looks away]

Logan:
...they were a cult. They had broken a town. Made it afraid. They kidnapped women. Girls. And they used them up.
Kurt:
Then you are describing evil, my friend. And evil begets evil.
Logan:
Me.
Kurt:
Ahh, I see. If that is your question, Logan, I cannot help you.
Logan: You were a priest. Absolve me.
Kurt:
Oh, it would be wonderful if it worked like that, wouldn't it! What a world we would have - legions of sinners all committing their crimes with abandon - safe in the knowledge that absolution was just one quick trip to the church away! They tried that once, you know, during the middle ages. Enough gold, you could be forgiven anything! Would you like that? Such an easy forgiveness?
Logan: Do I need forgiveness?
Kurt:
Isn't that what you're after? Were those men evil? Without question. By killing them in your rage, are you evil? You are unique, Logan, and I'm not speaking of what has been done to you. Is the wolf evil when it culls the sickness from the herd? [Logan pays their tab and they leave]
Logan: That thing about wolves...I'm not an animal. I'm not.
Kurt:
I know, my friend. I know you aren't.
Logan:
I'm not...

When he's not in a bad mood and taking out his self-loathing on others, Logan tends to treat Kurt with a fondness he mostly reserves for women. In the earliest stages of their relationship, he would call him "Misfit", but changed it pretty soon to the more affectionate "Elf". "Kurt", he usually saves for serious occasions. That Kurt remains his best friend is usually implied and sometimes outright stated, as in Wolverine #173, where Kurt barely escaped being assassinated by Logan's enemies for this alone (scan from Wolverine #174).
What Logan is to Kurt.

Kurt: You want to know the secret? About Logan, I mean? Jo: He's a hard-hearted killer? Kurt: No, Jo. The only thing hard about Logan are his bones and his claws. Everything else is just a man trying to do the right thing. (Wolverine #19 -3rd series - by Greg Rucka)

You'll find comparatively few instances of Logan being there for Kurt throughout the years, partly because Kurt hasn't been at the core of many stories in X-men lore, partly because Logan leads a much more conflicted life and partly, it seems, because Logan tends to trust him to take care of his own troubles pretty well. While, at first glance, it might appear as though Kurt is the more needy one, the truth is that he really doesn't lean on anyone but God. He will share his concerns when prodded - perhaps mostly out of politeness - but he's a loner by habit. Logan can relate to this, so he doesn't interfere much. Frankly, this kind of independence is almost required in Logan's best friend. It's not an easy job.
(From the Wolverine 1995 annual )

Nevertheless, in the early days, it had a deep impact on Kurt when Logan made him walk down the street un-disguised, without the image inducer gadget professor Xavier had given him to hide his appearance ("The Big Dare" by Chris Claremont). "Proud men don't hide behind toys", he said and Kurt, always eager to meet a challenge, decided to prove that he was indeed a proud man. It went better than he had expected and after that, he abandoned the image inducer altogether - at least up until recently, when he started using it again, much to Logan's chagrin.

I think Kurt appreciates Logan's brutal honesty and the way he will stubbornly attack anything he doesn't consider to be "right". Kurt himself has a very flexible mind and a gift for understanding diverse points of view, so it must be nice to have someone around who can "ground" him to an extent.
In the end, they are both fiercely idealistic, it's just that the details of their ideals and their ways of enforcing them tend to differ.

The comparison has been made, once, between Logan and Kurt's foster brother in Nightcrawler's late 12-issue solo series (where Logan gets possessed by the same demon that possessed his brother and Kurt has to snap his neck, too - thank heavens for the healing factor). It's unclear how big a part it plays in their relationship, though.

In a recent turn of events, Logan hunted down and gutted Nightcrawler's biological mother, the shape-shifting terrorist Mystique, whom he (Logan) has also had an on-and-off sexual relationship with over the years. Kurt's feelings about this have yet to be addressed, though it's clear that he's aware of it. If he holds any resentment, he has yet to show it. It's a rather bizarre aspect of the relationship that has yet to be properly explored in canon.

What I love about this pairing?

When I first started reading up on the Nightcrawler character, I remember thinking that "this guy would go great with Wolverine", before I was even aware of their status as best friends.
I first and foremost love both characters. They are both striking, colorful and vibrant at first glance and layered, nuanced and profound when you dig deeper. They are both passionate and deeply emotional in their own ways and the way they fit together is just seamless. They always have a great interplay and their off-beat relationship - just by existing - says something in itself, about not judging a book by its cover, about sin and redemption and just what it takes to be a hero. Unlike most Marvel relationships, this is usually played fairly low-key. It's not often that you find their feelings described in detail in captions or elaborated upon in speech. A moment like this, from Uncanny X-men #165:

is about as sentimental as it gets. Usually, the easy chemistry between these two seeming-polar-opposites says enough. And I think that's another reason why I grew to love these two so. I was allowed to just observe and make up my own mind instead of being hit over the head with it.

From a fandom perspective, I love the flexibility of the pairing - it lends itself as naturally to philosophical discussions and deeply emotional moments as to buddy comedy or epic action scenes. And then there's the kink factor.
(From Messiah Complex #1)

That they are both so physical adds another dimension to their closeness. Neither of them have long-range powers, so their work is dirty, dangerous, gritty and bloody and they've always had each other's back in battle. Logan has the "luxury" of a healing factor. Kurt does not. Most of his training he has received from Logan, during one-on-one sparring sessions that they've continued with until this day. They're clearly quite comfortable with each other's bodies already, so imagining them taking it one step further felt more natural to me than in any other fandom I've been in. You just KNOW these two would have as fun together in bed as they do out of it. The fangs, Kurt's agility and the prehensile tail also makes for interesting possibilities - Logurt fics tend to make use of it all.
And now, just some lovely moments before I wrap it up:

(From Uncanny X-men #451) (From Uncanny X-men #454)
( From the Wolverine 1995 annual)

Final words:

I think these two NEED each other like yin needs yang and vice versa. They have always brought out the best in each other and challenged each other on their respective journeys and, well, their journeys aren't over. Kurt's insecurity issues remain. Logan is still a violent man looking for redemption. Each is a response to the other man's core conflict. That's why I think they deserve more recognition, both in canon and in fanon.
That, and they're hot.
Fandom navigation:

[info]crow821's Logurt site.
The Logurt community.

Issue summaries on Uncannyxmen.net

The Wolverine files
- because Wolverine chronology is seriously complicated.
Nightcrawler's Wikipedia page
.

Just a few recommended Logurt comicverse fanfics (movieverse Logurt really isn't that much different and I very much recommend reading it, but I leave it out just for the sake of focus here) :

"Not less than everything" by Rex Luscus -NC-17
"A perfect fit"
by Rex Luscus -R.
"Tangled up in you"
by Jamaillith -R.
"Almost ordinary" by Jamaillith -NC-17.
[info]calling_alice's Logurt fics and art.
"Once bitten" by little-b -PG-13. (First part of a series. Click her name on the site to find the other chapters)

Spotlight canon issues:
"The Big Dare" by Chris Claremont - Logan challenges Kurt to walk down the street undisguised.
Uncanny X-men #139-140 - Logan invites Kurt to take a road trip with him up to Canada. Kurt ends up giving him a lot to think about.
"Male Bonding" in Marvel Comics Presents #101, #102, #103, #104, #105, #106, #107 and #108 (Logan and Kurt re-unite after the Mutant Massacre. The story titles alone are a treat,)
The Wolverine 1995 annual. (Kurt tries to help Logan overcome his feral instincts while they fight demons.) Wolverine #140 (2nd series). (Kurt and Logan spend some quality time together. This involves fighting robots in a junkyard.)
Wolverine #6
(3rd series) by Greg Rucka. (Description already provided under "What Kurt is to Logan".)
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