Azazel claims that many years ago an ancient horde of demonic humanoid mutants from biblical times called the Neyaphem were in an epic battle with a group of angelic xenophobic mutants, named the Cheyarafim. The Cheyarafim were victorious in the battle and banished the “demons” to an alternate dimension for all eternity. The Neyaphem’s leader, Azazel, was the only one who was able to breach the dimensional void for brief periods of time due to his teleportation powers. His only hope to return to Earth was by impregnating women because his children are linked to his dimension.
Azazel began mating with women who had unusual characteristics, at least with looks and abilities other women did not have, as successfully birthing a Neyaphem takes a great physical strain. He met Mystique in Germany, at the time she was married to a rich baron named Christian Wagner, who was unable to give her children. When Mystique was introduced to Azazel, whom Christian knew as a business partner, she had an instant attraction to him. Although she was hesitant to betray Christian, she gave in to Azazel and became pregnant with Nightcrawler. While Mystique had actually fallen in love with Azazel, he seemed only to be interested in impregnating her, though in truth, he found himself in love with her as well, making her the only woman he ever truly loved. Shortly after his “mission” was complete, Azazel left Mystique because the Cheyarafim had learned of his location in Germany, thus would attempt to kill Azazel, Mystique, and their unborn child. Knowing that Mystique would be safe – having her resources and being the woman she was – Azazel left her to protect her and their child. Mystique, however, would never know of Azazel’s true intentions and hated him for leaving her.
Soon afterward, Mystique killed Christian and buried him because he suspected her betrayal. A few months later, Mystique gave birth to Nightcrawler. Due to the shock and the strain of the boy’s difficult delivery, Mystique lost concentration and accidentally revealed her true form. Considered a demon, Mystique was chased away by an angry mob. Barely escaping, she took the form of a townsperson and, acquiescing to the mob, tossed the baby down a ravine. The child was teleported away, apparently by Azazel, and given into Margali Szardos’ care. Azazel had past relations with women before, resulting in the births of Abyss (Nils Styger) and Kiwi Black.
Azazel sired several dozen other children, who, along with Nightcrawler, were all mysteriously called together as adults to sacrifice themselves on the island known as the Isla Des Demonas. Doing this would open a portal and bring his army to earth to destroy the Cheyarafim, allowing the demonic mutants to live in the world and find their place in it. The mutant children worked together in a zombie-like state and opened the portal to Azazel’s dimension, but the X-Men had followed Nightcrawler to the island, and jumped into the portal. Once inside, Azazel took great pleasure in toying with the team, having them believe that he was actually Satan.
In the end, Azazel was not able to free the Neyaphem because the portal had to be opened in an area where Cheyarafim blood could not be found. As Archangel was present at the time, the portal was destroyed and Azazel vanished in grief.
It has been rumored that Azazel is actually a demon, or at least holds the blood of one. Many mystical beings such as Mephisto and Blackheart have made slight references to the leader of the Neyaphem to be much more than he seemed and had a strange set of ‘ties’ to mortals.
Azazel eventually returns to Earth thanks to Frankenstein’s Monster’s former ally Carcabria (a witch of The Winding Way that is affiliated with Margali Szardos). Azazel and his Azazel-like Bamfs side with Kade Killgore and the Hellfire Club where he works at the Hellfire Academy. Azazel also claimed that he took over Heaven and Hell. In the depths of Hell, he encounters thousands of worm-like parasites whom he feeds with his blood and thus reforms them as Bamfs in his own image.
Using his Bamf army and his link with Nightcrawler, who died in the meantime, Azazel begins invading the domains of afterlife – Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory – to gather souls and thus boost his power to divine proportions. However, Nighcrawler strikes a deal with some of the Bamfs and, with the additional aid of his fellow X-Men, draws Azazel from the afterlife and binds him to Earth, sacrificing his soul in the process. But as Azazel is sent to Rykers Island in S.H.I.E.L.D. custody, Mystique frees him, despite Nightcrawler’s attempts to stop her.
Powers and abilities
Azazel possesses all of his son Nightcrawler’s powers, but to a much greater degree; has unparalleled teleportation powers and does not suffer from the limits of needing to see or know where he is going.
Azazel also seems to have studied swordsmanship to such a degree that he has become extremely skilled with bladed weapons. He has also studied many academic fields.
Azazel displays a number of super-human abilities during his appearances; these include:
Immortality: He does not age at all, and can apparently regenerate injured or missing cells from even near-fatal injuries.
Teleportation: able to transport himself, his clothing, and additional mass across inter-dimensional distances.
Paralyzation: ability to generate bolts of paralyzing energy.
Metamorph: can disguise his appearance through unknown means.
Will Bending: ability to manipulate minds, giving him influence over others.
Azazel could only spend limited time on Earth without the assistance of his children, but currently due to Nightcrawler interference he is bound to Earth. He and all other Neyaphem are negatively affected by the healing blood of the Cheyarafim which causes their body to begin to break down. He has knowledge of a way to reverse the curse.