New Mutants (1st series) #33

Issue Date: 
November 1985
Story Title: 
Against all Odds

Chris Claremont (writer), Steve Leialoha (artist), Buhalis & Orzechowski (letterers), Glynis Oliver (colorist), Ann Nocenti (editor), Jim Shooter (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

Karma takes pleasure in making her new slaves, the New Mutants, torture some guests of her nightclub. Soon after, they are challenged by Storm and the few New Mutants still free, who manage to free Wolfsbane thanks to the psi-link between her and Mirage. A short time after they have gathered at Storm’s home, they are attacked again by their teammates. After a battle, Illyana seemingly sells out by returning first Rahne and Dani and finally Storm into Karma’s hands, and teleports Warlock to Limbo. Actually, this is part of her plan against Karma, but Warlock, who has heard S’ym’s stories of Illyana’s past, now believes she is a traitor and intends to kill her

Full Summary: 

In Cairo, Karma – master of the city’s underworld – hosts over her nightclub, Pharaoh, the most wicked place in Cairo. At her feet, dressed in finery, sit her new slaves, several members of the New Mutants, whom she has possessed. Karma points her pets’ attention to a happy couple on the dance floor, suggesting they play with them. Obediently, Cannonball cuts into their dance. The man, Phil, angrily protests, but Dale, possessed by Karma, eagerly embraces Sam telling Phil she doesn’t want him anymore. Karma grins, revelling in the anguish she has just caused the husband. Phil angrily shouts at Cannonball to let her go. Sam shoots him a murderous look, daring him to start a fight. Phil realizes that Sam wants him to fight and that he is willing to kill him. Followed by the taunts of his wife, he leaves quickly. Afterwards, Sam tells Dale that maybe she simply isn’t worth it, meaning she also isn’t good enough for him. With that, Karma releases her hold on Dale Sullivan, leaving her only with the awareness of what she has done, not of the fact that she has been possessed, breaking her heart. For the other guests, this is merely part of Pharaoh’s floor show.

Karma enjoys the emotional damage she has inflicted. Suddenly, she becomes agitated, sensing familiar thoughts. She addresses someone in the crowd, daring her to show herself. It’s a reunion Karma has long awaited… As has she, Storm states boldly. Storm tells Karma she knows who she truly is and proclaims that she has come to free those innocents. A boast she has heard from far deadlier foes, Karma mocks. Besides, she must first defeat her loving children. With a gesture, she orders the mutants to attack Storm and they eagerly obey.

Storm uses her staff to maneuver Cannonball off course and towards Magik, who appears at that moment. Illyana has a stab at him with her Soulsword. While Sam knows that the sword is deadly only to magical entities, Karma does not and reacts accordingly with shock and surprise – enough to send Sam spinning out of control. Illyana disappears into the crowd as Karma sends Wolfsbane after her. Instead, Mirage appears in front of the wolf. Using their psi-link, she tries to draw her best friend back to their side. With horror, she realizes that Karma, being telepathic, now uses the link against Dani. With Karma’s attention focussed on Dani, Rahne momentarily breaks free and switches to human form. With that change, the link dissolves, enabling Dani to mount a counter attack by attacking Karma with a psi image of her greatest fear: Charles Xavier.

While Karma is distracted, the two girls head for the exit, but Karma gets her bearings too fast and angrily possesses everyone in the club barring the two girls’ path. Dani grabs Rahne and runs into the other direction until, suddenly, the rug beneath them moves – turning out to be Warlock. With the two girls “on board,” Warlock takes into the air and flies them out of the club, while Karma shouts after them that she will find them and have her revenge.

Warlock transports the girls to a poor neighborhood in Cairo; Storm’s choice. It’s the area she used to live in when she was a child. Dani turns to the shocked Rahne, who is only now truly beginning to awake. The last thing she remembers is being in Madripoor. She has no idea what happened, though she feels dirty inside and remembers that the others have become evil. Was she like that? Warlock tries to comfort her by assuring her it doesn’t matter, turning into cartoonish pets to cheer her up. He succeeds as Rahne finally starts to smile.

A little later downstairs, Rahne frantically washes herself, trying to get clean, until Storm gently tells her that she’s done enough. Rahne curiously asks the former X-Man if she truly was a thief. The best in Cairo, Ororo replies. Or so she used to think, she amends. After her parents died, she grew up among those alleys, begging, scrounging and picking pockets, but the manifestation of her mutant powers drew her south across Africa to her ancestral homeland and her destiny. She catches a glimpse of Dani admiring Rahne’s evening gown. Embarrassed, Dani steps outside while Ororo assures the others that the loss of her powers doesn’t diminish her. She follows Dani to the roof in spite of Illyana’s protest, assuring the girl that this is more important.

Outside, an embarrassed Dani confesses that she couldn’t help herself touching Rahne’s dress and wondering what she’d look like in it. She never had a chance before to look pretty and it never bothered her, but now it does. She wonders if those feelings are hers or residues of Karma’s influence. Ororo assures the girl that they are hers and that it is the nature of their foe to twist the most natural human yearnings into something foul. Dani admits to her feelings of guilt: when Sam proposed this caper, she should have said something. But she was so sure they could handle Karma. Ororo begins to tell the girl they are facing a foe beyond their experience or knowledge.

Suddenly, some force strikes the building, causing the roof to crash in. The mutants are all accounted for, save for Illyana. Cannonball is about to crash his stunned teammate into a wall. Warlock cushions Illyana’s impact with his body, grabs her and hurls Cannonball high up. Rahne angrily asks him why he’s done that. Sam has stopped blasting, meaning the fall could kill him. Warlock is confused: he thought Sam was an enemy now. Ororo explains that he is not in control of his actions and a still puzzled Warlock takes off to save him.

Dani helps Illyana out of the building, while Sunspot jumps at them. Working in unison, the girls trip him and he falls down the roof. Dani looks after him worried hoping they haven’t hurt him. Illyana points out that they may have to before this is over. Angrily, Dani shouts then what is the point of their side winning? She’d rather die than hurt her friends. How are they supposed to defeat them? Maybe, they are not, Illyana states ominously.

Suddenly, the ruins around them turn to molten lava, courtesy of Magma. Illyana quickly reacts and teleports them both away. Dani exits the teleportation circle first, only to find, with horror, that Illyana has teleported them back to Pharaoh and leaves the incredulous Dani behind. Karma instantly possesses the girl, smiling to herself at Ilylana’s peace-offering, stating gleefully that she knew from the first that she and Illyana were kindred souls. And since Dani is in her possession now, so of course is her soulmate Rahne.

Warlock, in the meantime, lands in the ruins of Ororo’s house with his captive, Sam. Suddenly, he finds that Rahne attacks him, as does the now freed Cannonball. Warlock hasn’t got a clue to what is going on, but angrily tells his teammates that he will not allow them to hurt him again. They are joined by Illyana and her pet demon, S’ym. Illyana brusquely orders Warlock to leave the others alone and teleports them to Limbo. Warlock demands an explanation. Later, Illyana tells him and orders S’ym to keep Warlock out of trouble, before she teleports away. S’ym takes it upon himself to be helpful to Warlock by giving him the nickel tour and his version of things: Limbo is the place where Illyana grew up and which she eventually took over, after kicking out the head magus, Belasco. S’ym figures Illyana switched sides and joined Karma. Warlock protests that this behavior would be inconsistent. The heck it is, S’ym replies and shows the alien the corpse of the alternate Colossus embedded in a wall. Warlock doesn’t know the boss like he does, S’ym assures the young alien. He continues that all the X-Men died here. Some because they tried to free Illyana, some later at her own hands. Warlock screams “no” in horror.

In one of Cairo’s back alleys, Illyana fervently wishes she could work magic on Earth. She needs to find Ororo before Karma’s mutants get a chance to kill her. Suddenly, she is faced by Dani, now also dressed in a gown, and Wolfsbane. Illyana reacts startled, but “Dani” assures her with a smile that she has nothing to fear from them. Karma is in her debt for giving her Dani and Rahne and hopes this is the beginning of a long and profitable association. Sounds great, Illyana replies with a fake smile and watches them leave. A desperate Illyana puts her forehead against the wall, Karma’s words that they are kindred souls echoing in her mind. Part of Illyana wants to join her. Suddenly, she hears a wolf’s howl and realizes grimly that Rahne has caught Ororo’s scent.

The enslaved New Mutants have indeed cornered Storm. Using her fighting staff, Ororo quickly hits Sunspot in the stomach and then uses both staff and her shawl to disorient Cannonball, causing him to crash into a wall, toppling the water of a cistern on magma as a result. The shock makes the girl pass out. Mirage attacks next with the illusion of confining Ororo in a box that gets smaller and smaller. Ororo is almost overcome by her claustrophobia but overcomes the illusion and attacks Dani. Taking up her fighting staff, she jumps up a roof, followed by Rahne. Illyana arrives, teleporting her away. Relieved Ororo tells her she is grateful for her timely arrival. As is she, “Rahne” tells her laughing evilly.

A little later at Pharaoh’s, surrounded by the New Mutants, Karma proudly gazes at the newest addition of her collection. Storm, now also dressed in finery, prostrating herself before Karma.

In Limbo, Illyana watches the proceedings through a scrying pool with a broken heart. She remembers how years ago she had to slay another Ororo in Belasco’s palace to save her from eternal damnation. She prays she won’t have to do the same here. It’s such a big gamble and she only has one chance. Suddenly, the angry word “traitor” is shouted. Warlock, who has knocked out S’ym, looms over Illyana, threateningly telling her that he wants to hear no more lies and that she will share Karma’s fate.

Characters Involved: 

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



Phil and Dale Sullivan

Other guests at Pharaoh’s

In Illyana’s vision

12-year-old Illyana

alternate Storm

Story Notes: 

The deaths of the alternate X-Men S’ym and Illyana refer to took place or are further explained in Magik #1-4.

Issue Information: 

This Issue has been reprinted in:

Written By: