New Mutants (1st series) #27

Issue Date: 
May 1985
Story Title: 
Into the Abyss

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

Brief Description: 

After Xavier and the New Mutants find the comatose Moira and Wolfsbane in Moira’s destroyed lab, Xavier and Mirage try to contact them via Dani’s and Rahne’s psychic link on the astral plane. It turns out to be a trap and Cypher and Gaby Haller get drawn in as well, while Warlock watches in helpless horror. On the astral plane, Charles protects the others, while at the same time trying to tear down David’ psychic walls. He comes face to face with three of David’s personalities (the ones that control his powers) and the pitiful tiny true personality of David, calling him father. Taken aback by this revelation, Charles loses concentration and the others are drawn into the city that lies at the base of the maelstrom. Xavier decides to follow. The city is a surreal horrifying mix of Paris and war-torn Beirut, dominated by a black dome. Xavier decides to go find Tom Corsi and Sharon Friedlander – David’s first victims - while Dani and the others go look for Rahne and Moira. Those two have been fleeing from the violent manifestations of David’s psyche until running into Cyndi, a nihilistic punk girl who is in control of David’s pyrokinetic abilities. Together with her, they rendezvous with Dani’s group. Gaby tells them that the Arab was in charge of an assassination team that wanted to kill David but, with the manifestation of his powers, he killed them first and apparently absorbed the Arab’s psyche into himself. Charles, in the meantime, gets some help, courtesy of Jack Wayne, the telekinetic persona. Jack tells him that the Arab is to blame for the horror that has become of David’s mind, that David is imprisoned in the black dome and that Xavier has to help him kill the Arab. After some soul-searching, Charles agrees.

Full Summary: 

Xavier, Dani and the other Muir Isle residents find the unconscious Moira and Rahne after the lab was apparently firebombed. Physically, neither of the women is harmed, but their minds seem to be gone, similar to prior victims, Tom Corsi and Sharon Friedlander. Dani notices something else: Rahne is still in her transitional form: part human-part wolf, whereas, in the past, whenever she lost her consciousness, she automatically reverted to her human form. Xavier moves his astral body into the room of the peacefully slumbering David Haller. He fears that the boy with his immense psi-powers is responsible for the state of Moira and the others. He wonders how it is possible that this young boy threw him – reputedly the most powerful PSI alive – out of his mind the other day. He muses that not only does David have multiple psionic powers – telepathy, telekinesis and pyrokinesis- he also seems to evidence multiple personalities, with a different one being in charge of each power.

Dani pipes up. She has an idea. If Rahne’s body is still in her transitional form, logically the same should apply to her mind. Then maybe she can contact her via the special rapport Dani shares with higher animals. She cannot sense her now, but maybe if Xavier transported the two of them to the astral plane…? Too dangerous, is Xavier’s knee-jerk reaction, but Dani insists. He can monitor her the way he did when she probed Sunspot, she suggests

Xavier asks Gaby Haller, David’s mother, to tell him everything pertaining to her son’s condition, but Gaby claims she already told him everything. Xavier knows she is lying but doesn’t want to probe her mind. He already scarred her once that way and now she wants him to do the same for her son… A risky endeavour, even if he were in perfect health, and, Xavier admits to himself, he is far from it. But, with so many depending on him, he fears he has little choice in the matter. Studying David’s face, Dani announces that “the geek” looks a lot like Xavier. Charles coolly informs her that he sees no resemblance and the boy’s name is David.

Gaby thinks to herself how sorry she is, but when Charles broke down her mental barriers, he learned all of her thoughts, all her secrets. This is one secret she swore she’d keep to herself at any cost.

Dani tries to contact Rahne and then helplessly shouts at David to let her go – to no avail. Xavier shifts the two of them to the astral plane. Even as Dani marvels at their astral bodies - idealized representations of themselves - a wolf races towards them: Rahne, or so Dani thinks. It’s a trap, Xavier warns her – Rahne should be frozen in her transitional form, not her full wolf form and, indeed, the wolf attacks Dani and both of them start to burn, while Xavier frantically tries to pull the creature off Dani.

In the lab, the others are shocked to see that that the Professor and Dani seem to be ablaze, yet the flames don’t seem to hurt them. Suddenly, the flames reach Gabrielle and Doug as well, as they crumple to the floor. Only the frightened Warlock is spared, thanks to his alien nature.

Meanwhile, on the astral plane, Xavier holds the unconscious Dani in his arms. Suddenly, the ground beneath them vanishes and Xavier sees Douglas and Gaby’s astral selves about to be swept into the maelstrom below him. Xavier catches them in a force bubble, even while David’s psychic walls are closing in around them. Xavier lowers Dani’s limp form into the bubble and tries to contact David, explaining that he means no harm. Gabrielle remembers, as if in a dream, that she had seen Charles tearing down a wall like this in her own mind. She hated the walls but she also knew that only outside she could be hurt; and she proved to be right. Charles inadvertently “hears” Gaby’s bitter thoughts, but tries to ignore them and focus on David instead. His astral body displays huge hands, which he uses to tears down the walls. Doug slaps Dani to awake her. He’s optimistic that Xavier is going to come through. While he is in he process of tearing down the wall, Xavier tries to locate Moira and the others. He believes them to be at the base of the maelstrom and is amazed to glimpse an entire city there.

Dani tells the others that she too can sense Rahne via their rapport down at the base. She and Dr. MacTaggert are in danger.

Xavier is torn: he feels guilty about assaulting an innocent’s child’s psyche the way he wouldn’t even attack a super-villain. As the wall begins to crack, David screams in pain. Suddenly, the face of a young David forms in the wall, asking for his mother, crying to stop the pain and, suddenly, addressing Xavier as father. Charles realizes that he means him and that it is the truth. With that momentary lapse of concentration, his psychic bubble pops and the others fall. He can barely hold on to Dani, who is holding on to the others, but eventually Gaby and Doug fall and the walls begin to close. Xavier faces a dilemma: he can escape with Dani, but in his current state he doubts he can return to shatter the wall once more. Or should he risk Dani’s life alongside his own to save the others?

Three huge faces begin to form in the wall. A man telling Xavier “them’s the breaks,” the Arab boy, once more trying to warn him – in vain as he only speaks Arabic, and a punk girl who’s glad about some “new blood” to play with. The man introduces them as “Legion,” alluding to a verse from the New Testament. Besides the three heads, there is a tiny head of David, as a young child, crying for his parents. Seeing the boy suffer like this, Xavier makes his decision and enters the maelstrom with Dani.

In the real world, a panicked Warlock is joined by Jamie Madrox. Neither of them has any idea what to do, while David smiles gleefully and returns to sleep; all the better to play with his new toys.

Inside David’s mind, Xavier comes to feeling terrible. He realizes that the injuries he received recently are demanding a terrible toll on his body. If he keeps it up he’ll die. He opens his eyes to face pandemonium around him. A mix of war-torn Beirut and Paris – everything larger as seen from a child’s point of view, but at the same time surreally twisted; violence all around, the scenery is dominated by a huge black dome in the center. He wonders how long David has been like this. Could he have remained sane with this terror in his mind for years?

Xavier telepathically reaches out and finds Dani, who’s with Doug and Gaby. Somewhere else, he senses Rahne and Moira running from surreal tanks, which are chasing them. Rahne carries Moira in her arms and evades the attackers by jumping from rooftop to rooftop while the tank, which charges after them, becomes buried underneath the collapsing building. Rahne wonders if the people those monsters killed were real? Are they real? She doesn’t know and would rather nor find out, Moira replies. Xavier cannot find Sharon and Tom, though, and wonders who should be his priority: them? His students? David? Why do his choices always have to be so ambiguous, he wonders while joining Dani’s group.

Dani suggests that she and her group rendezvous with Rahne, leaving Xavier free to find Tom and Sharon. Xavier doesn’t like the idea of splitting up, but agrees that it makes the most sense. Before leaving, he warns them that any injury or (God forbid) death on the astral pane will have the equivalent effect in reality.

Suddenly, he sees the young Arab, one of Legion’s personas. He calls out to him, but the Arab doesn’t seem to notice. Xavier is unaware that helicopters behind him are gunning for him until they fire. Fortunately, it’s only a flesh wound in his shoulder. As he lies on the ground in pain, he wonders why the Arab didn’t warn him. He must have seen the monster. Or did he do that deliberately? From David’s behavior, at least one of his personalities is hostile. Is it the Arab? Suddenly, the wall collapses falling towards Xavier. At the last moment, the debris is stopped hanging in the air. The work of a telekinetic, Xavier recognizes, as he finds himself face to face with another of David’s personas. The big man introduces himself as Jack Wayne, a swaggering macho adventurer with an infectious grin, the kind of man Xavier dreamed of being in his youth.

They are attacked again by a chopper. Jack quickly telekinetically disables the chopper without killing the crew. He tells the exhausted Xavier to take it easy. Xavier asks him about the Arab. Is he the telepathic personality? He notices Jack’s hostility and asks him why he doesn’t like the Arab. Because he’s to blame for this mess, Jack explains. There wasn’t any war or violence in Paris and David’s life until the Arab showed up. He points towards the huge black dome: there you can find what’s left of David’s essence, his true personality. The Arab is responsible for the dome and the military hardware. He keeps the boy prisoner inside and uses the weapons to keep the other psi-selves away. The kid creates reality in his head. And the telepathic Arab gives him nightmares, which the boy brings to life. Jack hopes that the Prof can change that.

Xavier asks him incredulously if Jack truly wants freedom for David, even though that may mean his own “death,” when the psi-selves are absorbed into David’s core persona. “Them’s the breaks,” Jack states and grins. Besides, they are all part of David, except for the Arab, so they won’t really be destroyed. An admirable attitude, Xavier admits, still having doubts, but he figures that whatever he does, he cannot make matters any worse. Unfortunately, though, with all the psychic static, he has lost contact with Dani’s group.

Dani’s group barely evades the fire from another killer tank and Dani sarcastically asks Doug, who was so hungry for an adventure, whether he’s enjoying himself. No, he’s scared stiff, he snaps back. At least Dani has a real power. He can only speak languages. As if on cue, the Arab boy waves at them and greets them in Arabic – so much for Doug’s “useless” talent. Gaby, however, goes ballistic at the sight of the young man. As the mutants restrain her, the boy runs away. Furious, she explains that the Arab is the murderer of David’s godfather and tried to kill David himself. Another tank attack prevents them from following the boy.

Elsewhere, Wolfsbane and Moira flee from helicopters through a bazaar. They notice, in horror, that the parents shove their children into the line of fire to use them as human shields. Nevertheless, it’s always the parents who get killed. “They say they love you, but when it’s your life or theirs, they’ll dump you every time,” an angry young voice announces. It comes from a teenage punk girl, who’s chewing on an apple and sitting on a wall next to Rahne and Moira, seemingly unimpressed by the carnage. She introduces herself as Cyndi. When Moira asks whether she can help them, Cyndi isn’t interested. She knows they are only interested in “Daveydomeboy;” they couldn’t care less about her.

Maybe they prefer things the way they are… Moira reasons that the split personas will die as well, when David body dies. Does she want that? His powers are out of control and this internal chaos may tear him apart psychically and physically or force others to take action against him. Cyndi tells Moira to watch how she talks to her, as she blows up a nearing helicopter with a gesture. She isone of those powers. The pyrotechnic firestarter who blew up Moira’s lab, they realize. Cyndi agrees and tosses her apple core at Rahne. They’d better be nice to her …

Dani, Doug and Gaby, in the meantime, are making their last stand on Eiffel Tower, chased by a group of faceless, fat monster with Prussian-style piked helmets Only a limited number of monsters can follow then up the narrow stairways. On the other hand, they are trapped and Dani cannot even use her powers against them. Without warning, the creatures combust. Rahne, Moira and Cyndi have caught up with them. Relieved, Dani and Rahne hug and the two groups compare notes. Doug is unwilling to trust Cyndi, since she torched Moira’s lab for fun. Moira rushes to her defense, pointing out that she could have killed them in the process, but chose to spare them, so she can’t be that bad.

Dani, who has had enough, demands that Gaby finally come clear and level with them and explain who the Arab is. He’s nicer than “Blondie” Cyndi pipes up. Better looking too. Gaby takes offense at Dani’s tone but has to admit the girl is right. David was the only survivor of an anti-Israeli terrorist ambush in Paris. He used his powers to kill the attacker. The young Arab was the group’s leader. Moira reasons that as a high-order PSI – in the chaos of a panic catalyst – David absorbed the psyche of the Arab while physically killing him. It’s the most reasonable explanation for all of this.

Cyndi interrupts: Jack Wayne told her that they’d die if they freed David; is that true? Moira admits that she doesn’t know. It’s been so long and the splinter personalities might have become too strong. Then, of course, there’s the Arab. He isn’t a sub-personality of David but an independent consciousness - that isn’t likely to change. Cyndi mentions that Jack Wayne has been trying to get at the dome forever – she tried to help once, but to no avail. The Arab drove them away. He and Jack really hate each other. She then turns to Doug, telling him he isn’t so bad after all. She’s obviously taken a shine to him.

Elsewhere, Xavier finds that he still cannot re-establish psych contact with the mutants. Then, he notes that the dome, which had been on even ground before, is now on top of a mountain. One of the Arab’s tricks, Jack agrees and then inquires after Xavier’s health. He looks awful. Xavier answers with a polite lie. He realizes that as his body is ailing his psychic strength here is severely limited as well. The more strength he tries to muster the more damage he does to himself; a vicious circle..

Jack breaks him out of his reverie, telling him that there’s but one sure way of doing the job and shows him a knife. He’s a healer, not a killer, Xavier replies. He admires that stance, Jack answers, but then breaks into a litany of the Arab’s deeds: how he killed Charles’ friend Dan Shomron, tried to kill David and became part of the boy’s psyche. He’s been taking his revenge ever since, Jack states. Xavier might be used to dealing with shades of grey in reality, but here, for once, things are clear-cut: ever since the Arab arrived, David’s been imprisoned in a nightmare. Charles can change that – if he has the guts. Taking the blade, Jack offered him, Xavier grimly replies “let’s go.”

Characters Involved: 

Cypher, Mirage, Warlock, Wolfsbane, (all New Mutants)

Professor Xavier

Dr. Moira MacTaggert

Gabrielle Haller

David Haller /Legion

Jamie Madrox /Multiple Man

David’s personalities:

Jack Wayne (the telekinetic)

Cyndi (the pyrokinetic)

the Arab (the telepath)

Story Notes: 

Dani mind-probed Sunspot’s mind (with Xavier’s help) when the boy was possessed by Cloak’s shadow power [New Mutants (1st series) #24].

Gabrielle Haller had been so traumatized as a child thanks due her experiences in a Nazi Concentration Camp, that she withdrew into a state of catatonic schizophrenia, until Xavier literally smashed her mental walls. [As seen in Uncanny X-Men #161]

The name “Legion” is derived from the New Testament. Mark 5.9 and refers to a man who is possessed by several “unclean spirits”: My name is Legion: for we are many.

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