New Mutants (1st series) #11

Issue Date: 
January 1984
Story Title: 

Chris Claremont (writer), Sal Buscema (penciler), Tom Mandrake (finisher), Glynis Wein (colorist), Joe Rosen (letterer), Louise Jones (editor), Jim Shooter (Editor-in-chief)

Created by Chris Claremont and Bob McLeod

Brief Description: 

In the dark priestess’s caves, Amara has been reborn as Magma, attacking Selene. However, the sorceress proves more ruthless and drains Amara’s life energy. At Villa Aquilla, the mutants slowly begin to realize they are on the wrong side. Roberto follows a group of prisoners led away and manages to save his mother from Castro. He asks her to get reinforcements from the Amazons. Gallio, in the meantime, plans to have Sam poisoned and Rahne put under his control. Before Sam can swallow the poison, they are surprised by Magma burning her way in (contact with Earth restored her life and powers). In the commotion, Aquilla manages to get free and has a duel with Gallio, which despite having been tortured before Aquilla wins. Together with the New Mutants and the Amazons, Aquilla’s troops beat Gallio’s men. Then Amara leads the mutants back to Selene and her prisoner Dani. Together, the mutants can’t manage to beat the powerful mutant sorceress, but at least unsettle her enough for Roberto to toss her into the lava and seal it behind her. He is aware, though, that she will be back. Amara wonders what will become of her.

Full Summary: 

In a hidden cavern on the fringes of Nova Roma, Amara has just been reborn as Magma, controlling the molten lava. She fires lava bolts at the sorceress Selene, intending to kill her.

Selene, however, is unimpressed. She has preyed on humankind since before the dawn of history. Many have tried to destroy her. Their bleached bones are eloquent testament to their success. She uses her power to bring inanimate things to life and creates stone giants around Amara to topple her into the lava.

At her feet, Dani wonders what happened to Amara. The transformation wasn’t Selene’s doing. She looks at the sorceress and gasps in surprise. The woman has become old. Each victory has its cost, Selene explains. Fortunately, though, her condition is easily rectified.

She animates the rocks to throw her disciples into the lava. With their life energy, she rejuvenates once more. She allows Dani a taste and, against her will, Dani enjoys it. Selene predicts that she shall make Dani and the New Mutants hers and rule the world. Dani refuses. She’s no one’s slave.

Suddenly, the lava pool explodes as Amara rises again, having burned through the rock demons. She buries Selene in lava and Dani runs up the slope to escape. She loses her grip and falls in front of the still burning Amara.

How is she doing? Dani asks. Her power reaches out and manifests Amara’s fear, to accidentally kill Dani with her powers. Dani realizes that Amara is as spooked as she was when she first discovered her powers. I Amara a mutant? Dani offers her help while Amara moans that she is a monster. How can she face her father or live a normal life. Better she should die…

That moment, energy tendrils bind her and Selene drains her of her life energy, remarking she’ll grant her wish. Amara’s corpse fall’s into Dani’s arms, as Selene’s promises that soon Dani will be able to do the same and come to love it as much as Selene does.

Meanwhile at Villa Aquilla, the survivors of Amara’s father’s personal guard are led away under the watchful eyes of the troops of Selene’s husband, Gallio. Standing by his side are Dani’s fellow New Mutants. Gallio commends them, but the youngsters are not so happy about that victory.

Roberto asks Gallio about Dani who’s been missing all evening. Gallio orders his centurion to form search parties through the city. He wants the girl found alive and unharmed. The centurion replies in Latin, stuttering that, as she’s a maid, the black priestess most likely has her. Gallio snaps back at him not to give him any excuses. Rahne suggests she could help with her hunting skills as a wolf. That’s the last thing he wants, Gallio thinks and tells her that she is considered a goddess there. She should leave that to him.

Aquilla has witnessed the exchange and shouts that Gallio will betray Rahne as he did Rome. Gallio is the traitor, not he. Gallio tells Rahne that Aquilla is demented. He has proof, Aquilla shouts, only to be silenced by the decurion.

Watching the prisoners led by in the dark, Roberto believes he sees a woman with red hair. Could she be his mother? He asks Sam to cover for him and adds that his suspicions about Gallio may be correct.

He attacks a legionnaire to get his uniform as a disguise, sighing that he would have to be a giant. He follows the prisoners to a dungeon where he does find his mother as a prisoner, talking to Castro.

Angrily, she shouts that Castro is lying. He is not in her husband’s employ. Technically, he serves the Hellfire Club, he agrees. But Senhor DaCosta wishes to exploit the natural wealth of the hidden land. His job is to ensure that his wish is granted. The Senhor loves her. He would never order her death, but this is a dangerous country. Accidents happen… With his help, Gallio will become Nova Roma’s first emperor. He will then grant her husband the mining concessions. A pity she won’t be here to see it.

Sunspot confronts them and easily takes out Castro. Relieved, the two of them hug. He recalls how he saw her swept away by the river currents and believed she had drowned. She explains that she was saved by Amazons. They’re all from the city. Girls sent out in the jungle to save them from the Black Priestess. Both the priestess and her cult of fire are incredibly ancient. Her victims are rumored to be sacrificed in unspeakably demonic rites.

That reminds Roberto of Dani’s disappearance. Not even Rahne could reach her through their mindlink. Gallio never mentioned this Cult to them. He’s probably glad to see Dani out of the way, now that he’s won. For all they know, he could be a member. He doesn’t really need any of them, aside from Rahne.

Leading her outside, he asks her to contact the Amazons. They’ll free everyone they can here. Then link up Aquilla’s men with the Amazons. They plus the New Mutants ought to toss a pretty big monkey wrench into Gallio’s plans. And Danielle? Nina asks. Bobby hopes she can take care of herself. He wishes it was daylight. He’s already used up a lot of his stored power. What Casto said about his father being glad… is it true? Nina hesitantly replies that Emmanuel has dreams, ambitions… is it true? he repeats. Yes.

In Gallio’s villa, Gallio is celebrating while Senator Aquilla having been beaten is forced to witness this as a prisoner after having been whipped. Both Rahne and Sam are disgusted and Rahne feels guilty abut her earlier faith in Gallio.

Gallio whispers to his Decurion to poison Sam’s wine and to add the slave drug to Rahne’s cup.

He tells Sam to cheer up. This is a night of celebration. Sam apologizes, claiming he’s worrying about Dani. Gallio is aware that Sam is suspicious of him, but it is too late. He assures Sam Dani will show up and proposes the next toast to her. He asks the two of them to drink deep.

That moment, Amara, in her lava form, breaks through the ground, crying for her father. Despite her changed looks, Aquilla recognizes the voice of his daughter. She begs him to help her.

Gallio uses the moment, shouting that Aquilla’s daughter is a demon. He orders his guards to slay them both. Aquilla orders Amara to flee and save herself but she’s too weak.

Luckily that moment Sunspot enters in a dramatic Errol Flynn-like fashion and disarms a guard, wondering what happened to Amara. He is joined by Aquilla’s troops and the Amazons, led by Nina. Sunspot ironically asks Sam and Rahne if they are going to lend a hand. He tells Sam they were on the wrong side before. Now it’s time to make amends.

With a cry of inarticulate rage, Rahne enters the fray, transforming from girl to wolf, determined to atone for her earlier misjudgments by defending Amara and Aquilla’s lives with her own.

Cannonball mows down the entering reinforcements. Roberto manages to transform into his Sunspot form to take on an armed Decurion, only to have his powers flash out on him. He chides himself. He should have used his judo training and saved up his strength. His shoulder hurts where he was shot. Has he reopened the wound? He is unaware of another legionnaire behind him but Sam cannonballs him down.

Roberto thanks Sam and informs him that according to his mother most of the army is staying neutral. If they defeat Gallio’s household troops, that should do the trick.

Sam warns Rahne of a legionnaire about to skewer her. She turns to her transitional form, stating she that may be neither pretty nor smart, but she can look after herself, and proves it by using the spear and its momentum to take out her foe.

Gallio crashes a vase over her head and decides to slay her, only to be stopped by Aquilla. He’s often boasted of killing him, Aquilla states, here’s his chance. Aquilla tells Roberto to back off, this fight is his and so the two men begin their sword fight.

They’re the same age, but Gallio is taller, leaner, presumably stronger. He is fresh, whereas his opponent has suffered beatings and torture. Their duel would seem to be no contest. Surprisingly Aquilla wins and stabs Galllio in the gut. Looking down upon his foe, he states that Gallio’s flaw was always seeing things as he wanted them to be, not as they truly were. He never dreamed a fat old sybarite like Aquilla might know how to fight or possess the strength and skill to do it well. More fool he.

He next turns to his daughter, asking how she is. Sam has covered the shivering girl with a blanket. She was dying, she states shaking. The black priestess had drained her life away. But somehow the touch of the Earth restored her. She recalls that Selene is a psychic vampire and she plans to make Dani a creature like herself.

Gallio’s wife? Sam exclaims. That figures. Roberto reasons that the tunnel Amara created must lead back to Selene’s hideout. He asks Rahne if she can track Dani from there.

Soon the mutant teens follow Rahne through the tunnels. Amara presumes that Selene made them and Roberto asks if that is the full extent of her amities. Amara doesn’t know and Roberto notes to himself to conserve what strength he has left.

Rahne charges ahead through an opening and immediately the opening closes off behind her, cutting the others off. Roberto orders Sam to blast through there, but that moment rock tentacles spring from the ground and capture them, burying them. But not for long. Cannonball smashes his prison to powder and Amara melts hers, almost as terrified by what she’s just done as she is of dying. If this is her effect on stone, she wonders, what might she do to people?

Sam frees Roberto who admits he couldn’t turn to Sunspot. He has no reserves left. Sam blasts through the doorway with them and they stand opposite Selene who has Dani – dressed in a robe like her – tied to a stone slab while Wolfsbane is busy fighting an animated stone demon of Selene’s.

Amara blasts the rock monster and Dani and Selene are surprised to see her still alive. How delicious to feast once more on her life, Selene remarks. Rahne wants to go for Selene’s throat, egged on by Amara. Sam shouts that killing is not their way. Not that Rahne has a chance, as Selene blasts her into the other three mutants, boasting that she is not to be trifled with nor can she perish by mortal means.

Dani begs Selene to stop, promising she will become her slave if she spares them. Selene laughs. Dani is bargaining from a position of absolute weakness. Why give up anything when soon enough she’ll have them all?

Sunspot surprisingly has found some reserves of strength. He tells Dani not to beg as he tries to attack Selene, only to be repelled again. Nevertheless, Roberto goads her. Angrily, Dani thinks now he really made her mad, but then considers maybe this was a good idea. Selene’s powers must have limits too. She’s concentrating so much on Bobby she’s weakening her hold on Dani.

Dani catches her by surprise and manifests the image of Selene’s fear, an image of her true death. Perhaps this will speed her on the way to the grim reaper’s embrace, Roberto shouts as he buries his sword in her chest.

Had she a heart, perhaps so, she retorts as she grabs him by the throat and begins draining his lifeforce. Bobby sees a bit of sky above, realizing it must be near sunrise. He orders Sam to blast a hole though the eastern wall – fast. Sam complies. The sun is rising and Sunspot instantly powers up. The sudden inflow of energy stuns Selene for a moment. Roberto orders Amara to burn a fissure into the Earth as deep as she can.

Amara does so, sensing the lava beneath. Over Dani’s protests, Roberto tosses Selene into the abyss and then buries her by sealing the hole.

He killed her, Sam states accusingly. No less than she deserved, comes the reply. They’re supposed to be better than that, Sam insists. An easy rule for Professor Xavier to follow, Bobby replies bitterly, safe in New York. However, he fears he merely put Selene out of action for a while. If there’s a way to destroy her, none of them know it.

And what of her Amara asks, worried. Is her power a blessing or a curse? Will she become like the New Mutants, or like Selene?

Characters Involved: 

Cannonball, Psyche, Sunspot, Wolfsbane, (all New Mutants)

Amara Aquilla

Nina DaCosta

Senator Lucius Aquilla

New Roman Legionnaires

Senator Marcus Domitius Gallio



Selene’s cult members


Story Notes: 

As Sunspot predicted, Selene doesn’t die and instead reappears in New York in Uncanny X-Men #183.

Issue Information: 

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