New Mutants (1st series) #20

Issue Date: 
October 1984
Story Title: 

Chris Claremont (writer), Bill Sienkiewicz (artist), Tom Orzechowski (letterer), Glynis Wein (colorist), Ann Nocenti (editor), Jim Shooter (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

The Demon Bear has transported the New Mutants to another dimension, where his first act is turning Friedlander and Corsi into his demonic slaves. As the Bear´s touch despoils the land, the power of the trio grows. Illyana tries to counterattack using magic, but finds that every time she does this, the magical forcefield, she has erected around the operating room weakens enough for the Bear to get through. The New Mutants fight the demon servants but in a moment of carelessness Magma, while saving Sunspot, falls prey to the demons and the Bear starts the same transforming process with her. Magik, noticing this, stabs Magma with her Soulsword. When Sam sees this, he believes Magik has switched sides, and attacks her. Wrongfully, as it turns out, since Magik´s action actually saved and freed Magma. Magik decides that the answer lies with Mirage and forces Wolfsbane to re-establish her mindlink with her to find out. As the others fight the demons, Rahne actually gets the answer - it is Magik´s Soulsword ! With the help of Cannonball Magik destroys the Bear with her sword, freeing the two people who made up the Bear - Dani´s parents. Back in the hospital the New Mutants and Dani´s parents learn, that Dani will be paralyzed for life, but thanks to Storm and the Morlock Healer, she is saved from that fate.
Professor Xavier tells the kids, how proud he is of them, but wonders who or what actually created the Bear. Unfortunately Corsi and Friedlander were transformed into red Indians before their possession and will remain that way.

Full Summary: 

Hours ago Danielle faced the mystical Demon Bear responsible for the disappearance of her parents and suffered grievous injuries in the process. While Dani was undergoing surgery, the Bear tried to strike again, but was stopped by the New Mutants. Eventually the Bear teleported itself, the mutants and the surgery (protected by Illyana´s magical forcefield) to its own world, an unspoiled Midwestern America. However the Bear´s very presence is corrupting that world.
Illyana notes that the surgery is a bridge between both worlds, with only the magical wards around the operating room keeping the monster at bay. Illyana also realizes that, since this is a magical realm, she might be able to work more magic here than on Earth and intends to help the imprisoned Officer Corsi and nurse Friedlander, but before she can do anything, the Bear impales his two prisoners on his claws. As a result they are transformed first into Indians and then into demons and servants of the Bear.

Cannonball blasts into the Bear and makes him stumble, but he is too late to save his prisoners. Illyana tries to magically bind the demons, but in vain - the Bear and its servants are gaining in power as the touch of his shadow corrupts more and more of the land.

As the mutants are distracted, the Bear claws at the forcefield, tearing it open. One of the surgeons within sees the strange world and battle outside, but then the field closes again. The doctor believes the strain made him imagine things for a moment. He and his colleagues discuss Dani´s case and wonder, if it wouldn't be more merciful to let her die.

Meanwhile, Illyana realizes that, if she diverts her power to use any spells against the demon and his servants, the shield around the surgery is weakened as a result. In the meantime the Friedlander-demon attacks Sam. Magma intends to reciprocate with a lava blast, but is pushed aside by Sunspot, missing her target. He tells her that they cannot kill innocents, to which she replies, that those innocents can still harm the Mutants and sometimes sacrifices have to be made. Sunspot exclaims that making sacrifices is their job, as they at least have a choice. His concentration focussed on Magma, Sunspot realizes too late that the Corsi-demon is closing in on him. Corsi grabs him with a lasso and whirls him around.

Sunspot manages to roll with his fall, thanks to his training, but he lands in one of the areas, already corrupted by the Bear´s shadow. There it is night and icy cold. As the Friedlander-demon grabs him from behind, she starts sucking his life energy from him. At that moment Rahne attacks in her wolfform, causing Friedlander to let go of her victim. The demon intends to attack Rahne with bow and arrow, but at that moment Magma joins the fray and tells Rahne to get the weakened Sunspot back into the sun - she'll handle the demon. Unfortunately, she forgot Corsi, who strikes her down from behind.

The Demon Bear impales Magma, intending to also make her his slave. The changing process starts. Seeing this, Illyana summons her Soulsword, cuts the Bear´s paw in order to keep him diverted from the forcefield and then stabs Amara in the heart. Sam, seeing this, goes ballistic and attacks Illyana in full Cannonball mode. He figures that Illyana, the evil sorceress, is showing her true colors at last. Illyana groggily gets up, noticing that her entire left side is covered in armor. Without it, Sam's attack might have killed her. Sam, getting ready for another attack, suddenly finds himself shouted at by a very alive and normal Magma. She snaps at him that Illyana was breaking the demon's spell, not harming her, which he would have realized, if he had taken the time to think. While Magma chews him out, Wolfsbane and the exhausted Sunspot join them, finally reaching the daylight section once more.

While the others discuss their next move, Illyana notices that the Bear´s power is growing. If they don't act soon, they'll never get a chance. When Sam bemoans the fact that he hasn't got Dani´s gift for strategies, the mention of Dani´s name gives Illyana an idea. She remembers Rahne's statement that Dani possessed the means to destroy the Bear and orders her to mindlink with Dani once more and find out, what it is. Rahne refuses, out of fear of harming Dani, but Illyana mercilessly reasons, that if they don't do it, Dani will die anyway; so will they and who knows, what the Bear might do to their world afterwards... Rahne accedes, but at that moment, the Bear once again lashes out at the forcefield. Forced to use all her power to maintain the shield, Illyana has no way to protect herself against the backlash. She starts to bleed and notices that the Bear sicced it's demons on her. However, the other mutants come to her aid. Acting as a team Cannonball, Sunspot and Magma manage to drive them off.

At that moment Rahne cries out, she has the answer, but gets hit by the Corsi-Demon. Illyana summons her Soulsword and stabs the demon through the heart. It changes its form to that of a normal Indian male and sinks to the ground, unconscious. Rahne tells Illyana, that her Soulsword is the answer. She must cut the monster to its heart and soul. Illyana orders Amara to divert the Bear with her lavablasts and then has Sam fly her towards the Bear. She strikes with her sword and splits the Bear´s skull into half. The monster screams and the land with it as the Bear splits into two halves that in turn are revealed to be a man and a woman.

Then, suddenly the mutants find themselves back on Earth in front of the surgery and notice with a start that the unconscious Tom Corsi and Sharon Friedlander are human once more, but still red Indians. The people, that made up the bear, a middle-aged Indian couple, explains that they will remain that way. They were reshaped before they were possessed. This is a reminder that the force behind the Bear still is at large.

One of the surgeons bursts out of the operating room and asks about the commotion. The Indian man introduces himself and the woman as William and Peg Lonestar - Danielle's parents - and asks after his daughter's health. The doctor replies that Danielle will survive, but will be totally paralyzed. The kids are dejected, but are then telepathically informed by Professor Xavier that he's back and has already taken steps to remedy that situation.

A short while later Danielle wakes up, after being treated by the Morlock Healer, who helps due to his leader Storm asking. Storm thanks him and tells Dani that while the extent of her injuries tasked the healer to his limits, he came through. With time, she will fully recover. When Dani asks about the Bear, her parents join her. Amid the tearful reunion, they explain that they weren't killed years ago, but transformed into the Bear. They were meant to do the same to Dani, but her grandfather's - Black Eagle - spells kept the Bear at bay, until Black Eagle died and the Bear came to hunt Dani. Both Dani and the other Mutants wonder, who's behind the Bear. Xavier answers that William refuses to tell, trying to protect them. Xavier decides to ask Steven Strange about both this power and a means to transform Corsi and Friedlander back. Finally, he tells the team, how proud he is of them.

Characters Involved: 

Cannonball, Magik, Magma, Mirage, Sunspot, Wolfsbane (all New Mutants)

Storm, Professor Charles Xavier (both X-Men)

Healer (Morlocks)

William and Peg Lonestar, Mirage's parents

Tom Corsi, police officer

Sharon Friedlander, nurse
Demon Bear

Story Notes: 

Xavier gets around to discussing Illyana´s magical powers with Dr. Strange in Uncanny X-Men #191. However, neither Corsi's and Friedlander's changes, nor the identity of the force behind the Bear are discussed (at least not on-panel).
The identity of the power behind the Bear is never officially revealed. Considering the Forge/Nazé/Adversary/Cheyenne magic story running parallel to this one in Uncanny X-Men, though, it is not unreasonable to assume that this threat was also supposed to be the Adversary.This was also spelled out in the letter column of a later issue.
This is the first appearance of William and Peg Lonestar in human form.

Issue Information: 
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