X-Men King Size Annual #4
If push comes to shove, my all time favorite character is Nightcrawler. There was something smooth and suave about him. I loved the look of the character. I loved the simplicity of his costume. I loved his power and the mystery that surrounded him.
There was a time when comic book companies would put out an "Annual" issue. It was usually bigger and better than what could fit into a monthly book. It was something to look forward to.
This annual was released in 1980. It came out shortly after the death of Jean Grey and just as Kitty Pryde had joined the team. It was written by regular X-Men writer Chris Claremont, with art by John Romita Jr and Bob McLeod.
In this story, Nightcrawler is celebrating his 21st birthday. A mysterious gift arrives. This gift is a trap and Nightcrawler is apparently killed. Shortly after, the rest of the X-Men and Doctor Strange are sent to Hell to free him.
I'm not doing the story justice. It is a loose take on Dante's "Inferno" and added a great deal to Nightcrawler's backstory. To my 13 or 14 year old mind, it "read" like something more than just a comic book. To this day, it remains one of my all time favorite single issues.
It even caused the young teenager "me" to attempt to READ some Dante....I scurried back to the comics pretty quickly!