New Mutants (1st series) #47

Issue Date: 
January 1987
Story Title: 
My Heart for the Highlands

Chris Claremont (writer), Jackson Guice (penciler), Kyle Baker (inker), Glynis Oliver (colorist) L.Lois Buhalis (letterer), Ann Nocenti (editor), Jim Shooter (editor-in-chief)

Chris Claremont & Bob McLeod: creators

Brief Description: 

After Magik teleported them to Limbo to save them from Magus, the New Mutants are all unconscious. Sunspot is the first to awake and witnesses demons taking away Magik. Unable to rouse his powers or his teammates he tries to save Magik anyway, unaware that the demons are actually reviving her. Illyana is touched. After she awakens the others, they discuss what to do. The decision is taken out of their hands when the Magus reaches them in Limbo. Illyana teleports them away again and they land in the past in Scotland, where they end up saving the Scottish King Robert the Bruce from the English. The kids befriend the runaway king and discuss what to do, whether they can risk teleporting. Sunspot volunteers to check out Limbo ahead to see whether it’s Magus-free, but finally Warlock is the one who goes… to tell them Limbo is fine. Rahne and the king exchange gifts and Illyana teleports the mutants away.

Full Summary: 

The last thing Sunspot remembers is a tunnel beneath the island of Manhattan suddenly coming alive around him and his fellow New Mutants. It tried to kill them. But Magik teleported the team to her eldritch domain of Limbo. Still unconscious, the other team members lie strewn on the ground. Sunspot is the only one to regain consciousness so far.

He feels awful. No surprise, he figures, considering where he is. On a ridge close by, he sees demons only to eager to attack until they spot that the “boss” Magik is with them. Bobby sees them heading for Illyana and taking her away. He tries to change into his powered form to defend his teammate, but can’t. There’s no sun in Limbo to draw strength from.

Perhaps the others can help, he hopes but finds, no matter how he screams and shakes them, they do not wake. What to do? he wonders. Magik is a demon sorceress. She’s probably better off with her kind. But suppose they mean her harm? She’s evil. Serves her right. She’s also a New Mutant. Doesn’t that count for anything? How often has she risked her life for them? Why couldn’t’ she be nice, he wonder angrily. It would make this decision so much easier. Not even knowing how to save her, he begins to follow the demons on an arduous path, climbing the ridge, then falling into the water.

Much later, he has arrived at some sort of temple. The demons placed Illyana on the altar like a sacrifice. Bobby has no plan. What would Thomas Magnum do? he wonders as the demons below raise a sword above Illyana. Improvise spectacularly, he tells himself.

Suddenly, S’ym, Illyana’s chief demon, grabs him from behind, telling him it’s impolite to disrupt a church service. The sword strikes Illyana and moments later she stands before them restored, thanks to her Soulsword.

She asks what’s Bobby is doing there and S’ym relates how he thought she was in trouble and tried to save her. Illyana is touched. Bobby is terrified, boasting he’d have done it for any New Mutant. But what matters is, he did it for her, she retorts.

Illyana teleports them back to the others and casts a spell to revive them. She wishes they were visiting under pleasanter circumstances. He wishes they had a pleasanter place to visit, Bobby mumbles. Point taken, Magik agrees. She grew up here, to her this mess is normal. How about she conjure up a facsimile to Xavier’s School to make them more comfortable? No, Dani states simply after a look at the result, a place that looks indeed like Xavier’s, but with a definitely demonic bent to it. Illyana swears. Hard as she tries, lately this happens to every spell she casts.

Sam notes they are cold. Can Illyana cast a fire? Magma takes care of that in her lava form. She warns the others though that she can’t do this for long, as she draws her power from the Earth.

Illyana offers food, but the others are unenthusiastic, preferring to wait. Magma asks if it safe here. Illyana is convinced it is. Douglas anxiously points out that she can’t protect them from the Magus. He tears stars in half. He’s after Warlock’s hide and he won’t quit until he gets it or they get him first. Warlock pipes up, assuring him that’s impossible. He is doomed.

Dani tries to cheer him up but screams and inadvertently reaches into Warlock’s strongest fear – the Magus. Predictably, Warlock panics. Dani desperately looks for comfort from Sam, asking what sort of mad place does Warlock come from, where children have to slaughter their parents to earn their right to live. Been so long since she lost control like that. She forgot how scary it was.

Warlock suggests Illyana teleport him to Earth. If Magus has killed him, the New Mutants will be safe. Wolfsbane and Douglas try to cheer him up and refuse, as do Sam and Dani. Illyana more realistically asks how they go about it.

That moment, the Magus reaches for them from the ground, having followed them. Illyana’s demons try to defend them but are instantly changed into techno-organic beings and then sucked dry by the Magus. Magma’s lava blasts stagger the Magus, but she quickly exhausts her powers. Rahne prepares to defend Warlock, aware that it is in vain.

Dani tries to use her powers on Magus, finding his greatest fear. Amazingly it is an image of Warlock. Terrific, she thinks. Their salvation is in the hands of an incoherent puddle of circuitry. Magus forms a giant fist, almost smashing her.

Magik orders Karma to possess him. Against her own expectations, she manages to do so, if only for a few seconds. Time enough for Magik to teleport them away.

Meanwhile at Xavier’s School, all is supernaturally quiet. Moira MacTaggert is in the kitchen, drinking coffee. She has spent the last few days trying to save lives. Despite her best efforts, though, too many have died. Also missing are the New Mutants, among them her foster daughter, Rahne Sinclair. Moira looks at a photo of the two of them. She tries to hope for the best, but cannot deny her fear.

Suddenly, decent cutlery, plates and candles are floating in the air. “What the devil!” she exclaims. Some would consider that a more than apt description of Magneto, the master of magnetism remarks. A proper meal deserves a proper setting, he explains. Moira thanks him, but she isn’t hungry. Neither is he, he replies as he crouches in front of the fridge, gathering food. But they need nourishment. They need to stay strong for the patients in the infirmary who depend on them. Besides, if thy do not eat, this food it will go to waste.

He complains how the New Mutants can consume such thrash and yet remain so healthy. He’d be doing them a favor by throwing it away. He speaks as though they’re still alive, Mora observes. He believes they are. He looks out the window at Dani’s flying horse Brightwind. A mystic bond exists between Dani and Brightwind. He wouldn’t remain if she were dead. Magneto has lived his whole life with despair. Believing the worst of humanity. But since becoming headmaster of Xavier’s, by knowing the New Mutants, he has learned the virtue and power of hope. This is a lesson he will not cast easily aside. Somewhere, somehow, he knows they live.

Maybe not for long, as Magik’s teleportation disk lands them in or around a river. Sam remarks that they are in the northern hemisphere, summertime. Illyana is nervous, wondering what Magus might be doing to Limbo.

Suddenly, they hear riders coming their way fast. An entire army following three riders. One of the chased riders addresses the other as his liege and asks him to press on. He’ll delay their Sassenach pursuers. The other man, calling him Dougal, protests that is suicide.

Sam asks Doug to identify their lingo. Scots, Gaelic, Cypher replies. But he needs to hear more before he can effectively translate.

Dougal attacks the riders behind him… and is quickly killed. Sunspot and Wofsbane have seen enough and come to the help of the few Scotsmen left. Sunspot, however, is quickly in trouble as he reverts to his human form, not having absorbed enough solar energy. One of the knights wants to take he opportunity and kill him. Reason enough for Cannonball to intervene and blast him off his horse.

Mirage scares the men with spirit forms of their fear – the Scottish army suddenly appearing. Magma causes some minor volcanic eruptions to shake them up a bit. A rider tries to attack her with his sword but finds his blade melts against her body.

Karma and Magik examine the young man who started the battle. He is indeed dead. Cypher warns them of an attacker coming. Illyana decides to teleport him to Limbo and back. That should take the fight out of him. But instead of vanishing when Illyana manifests her light circle the knight is instantly transmoded into a techno-organic form and destroyed. Horrified, Illyana exclaims what happened to her home! Another knight tries to stab her from behind, but Karma possesses him and Cypher hits him with a stick on his head.

The rest of the army flees. The man for whom Dougal sacrificed himself addresses the kids in English as they apparently don’t speak his language. He offers them his gratitude and his hand in friendship. But if they are the devil’s pitspawn come to claim his soul, he will fight them to his last breath and beyond. Sam realizes it may be hard to believe, but he assures him they are human too. An excited Rahne whisper to the others that she recognizes the man. This is Scotland’s most famous king, Robert the Bruce!

Introductions are made and king and mutants repair to a small keep nearby for some rest and refreshments. The king explains that those knights served a Sassenach Baron. Humphrey de Beaumont, as outriders for the Army of their King Edward who hungers for his land and crown. He fears he will soon have both. Those who escaped will return with reinforcements.

Next to his throne stand Rahne and Roberto, both dressed in Scottish garments. The king continues that he has no means to hold this little place and much less desire to see more loyal subjects butchered in a hopeless cause as his squire Dougal was. He must flee until he is taken or slain. The mutants cannot stay either. The English will not take kindly to those who aided him. They can take care of themselves, Sam assures him.

The king compliments Rahne on the way she looks in that gown and remarks with her courage and spirit she proved herself a true daughter of Sinclair, the first house of Scotland. As a token of his esteem, he gives her a silver emerald necklace. Rahne is embarrassed and her first instinct is to refuse. Royal commands, he tells her jokingly, must be obeyed.

Meanwhile, Bobby is talking to the others, while Warlock cowers in the corner. Bobby tells them to look at the king. A lone man struggling against hopeless odds. Sound familiar? What’s on his mind? Sam asks. Illyana’s afraid that Limbo may be totally under Magus’s control. If it is, they have no way of returning to their own time. They are stuck. They could make the best of that. They have a noble cause to fight for, great deeds to be done. Think of what they could accomplish.

Ain’t that simple, Sam points out. What about the cost to their world and future, if they change history? Doing good here and now might cause untold harm in times to come. Dani reminds him of the Magus. Chances are, he’ll follow them there. Is that what he wants?

So what do they do then? Bobby asks. Run and run and run like rabbits? The others look dejected and have no answer.

Suddenly, the king tells him yes; sometimes precisely that, though it galls your warrior’s heart. He and Roberto share the same name, no small thing when that name’s a royal one, and he senses in the boy a kindred spirit, with a foolish, passionate courage that matches the king’s. He too would rather fight than flee. But the responsibilities of the crown he wears demand he press on and play the hated hare until such time, better time, as he can once more become the wolf. Not a glorious path, but the right one.

Cypher politely asks if the king isn’t afraid of them. He’s only their word that they aren’t demons, or worse. True, he admits but any Hadesspawn so able to assume so young and innocent and noble a seeming, deserves respect rather than fear, for that demon has become more human than most men. Whatever they are, wherever they hail from, Robert the Bruce is honored to have them as his friends.

They wouldn’t be true to that friendship, if they brought the Magus to his land. They have to go, whatever the risk, Roberto announces. He tells Illyana she needs a pathfinder to determine if Limbo is safe. He volunteers. Stubbornly, she refuses, maintaining this is her job.

Warlock objects. Logically, he is the appropriate choice. If Magus is still present in Limbo, then Warlock’s existence will be terminated and the New Mutants will no longer be in danger. If Magus has departed, Warlock can blaze a safe trail for them. Is he sure? Douglas asks and offers his company. Warlock refuses. He tells Bobby that he knows of his fear of Limbo and the transmode virus, but he overcame that fear for the good of the team. If Warlock cannot do the same, he has no right to call himself a New Mutant and his teammates’ friends. Warlock and Bobby hug and Bobby assures him that friends is what they are.

Illyana opens a portal, telling Warlock to hurry back. Sad, she admits they’d be better off if his dad is there waiting for him. How can she think such a thing? Bobby asks, disgusted. That’s her nature, she replies.

That moment, Warlock stretches his head out of the teleportation portal and happily announces the coast is clear.

Before dawn, the king takes his leave, riding the path alone. Roberto feels like a coward for leaving him alone, but Rahne tells him not to despair. When things looked bleakest for the Bruce, he sat up one rainy night in a hovel and watched a spider try to spin her web. Time and time again, she tried and failed, but she never gave up hope and finally completed her web. Considering this, the king thought that, if a spider could have such determination, how could a man have any less? So he pressed on, getting his troops to beat the English at Bannockburn, a victory that guaranteed Scotland’s independence for centuries. If he could persevere and triumph, who’s to say they cannot?

Thank you for that pep talk, Dani replies, jokingly calling her little spider. Then she notices Rahne’s belt is missing. Rahne blushes and explains that, since the king gave her the necklace, she gave him a keepsake in return. Historians are gonna love puzzling that one out, Dani laughs and with that Illyana teleports them away.

Characters Involved: 

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


Moira MacTaggert

Robert the Bruce

Dougal and other loyal Scotsmen

English army


Other Limbo demons


Story Notes: 

On page 19, Dani’s words seem to come out of Sunspot’s mouth.

Robert the Bruce or Robert I. of Scotland (1274 – 1329) became one of Scotland's greatest kings, as well as one of the most famous warriors of his generation, eventually leading Scotland during the Wars of Scottish Independence against the Kingdom of England.

“Sassenach” is a word used by the Scottish to designate an Englishman.

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