New Mutants (1st series) #66

Issue Date: 
August 1988
Story Title: 
Sorcerer’s Duel!

Louise Simonson (writer), Brett Blevins(penciler), Terry Austin (inker) Ken Bruzenak (letterer), Glynis Oliver (colorist), Ann Nocenti & Bob Harras (editors), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief)

Chris Claremont & BobMcLeod: creators

Brief Description: 

In Dallas, Magik attempts to battle the sorcerer Forge, to take revenge for the death of her brother, Colossus. More surprised than anything, Forge capably defends himself. When the New Mutants try to intervene on Forge’s behalf, Magik teleports them all to her domain, Limbo, where she is more powerful. The first thing she does is having magical vines secure the New Mutants, unaware of the fact that the plants are taking on a life of their own. As the sorcerers continue to battle, some of Forge’s statements hit somewhat too close, enraging Magik even more. When Forge realizes she is little more than an angry, grieving child, much as he was in Vietnam when he started this disaster, he refuses to defend himself any longer, allowing her to kill him, if that is her choice. Magik stabs him, though this attack only disrupts his magic, instead of taking his life. Her demons egg her on to finish it. In a last ditch attempt, Dani makes her see what she fears – the full-fledged Darkchilde, something she is bound to become if she chooses to murder. She frees her teammates and releases Forge, though she clearly still wishes him hell on Earth. Back at school, Illyana despairs over the danger she is to everybody else and the team is disturbed by Magneto dressing in his old villain colors. In space, the slave-master Spyder promises one of his slaves, Gosaymr, freedom, if she can bring him Lila Cheney…

Full Summary: 

On a slag of molten glass and steel that was once Eagle Plaza, Illyana Rasputin aka Magik – out for blood – is attacking the Native American sorcerer Forge with her Soulsword, announcing that he killed her brother and now he will pay! Forge evades her blow and remarks that, while he has killed in the war, he never killed anyone who looked like her, referring to her demonic Darkchilde aspects. Who is she?

Sometimes she is Magik, Illyana snarls. Right now, she is the Darkchilde. Yes, he can see that, Forge replies. Further enraged by that answer, Illyana strikes another blow, missing the man and destroying the rocks next to him instead.

The New Mutants so far have been watching the battle. Wofsbane turns to her transitional form, ready to spring into action and stop Illyana before she kills. Sunspot instead worries about their friend getting hurt. Wolfsbane suggests he worry about Forge. Illyana’s Soulsword just cuts trough magical stuff. And they are mutants, not magicians. They should be safe. In response, the alien Warlock grabs one of the rocks Illyana’s sword cut through and shows it to Rahne. If Illyana’s sword only affects substances permeated with magic, then how has the shattered rock been changes to this? The rock displays an evil, leering face.

The kids wonder what this could mean and Sunspot reminds them of Destiny’s prophecy. Sam, who was unconscious during that part of their battle with Freedom Force, doesn’t understand, so Mirage quickly explains that Destiny predicted demons would overwhelm Earth, brought there by the Darkchilde’s willfulness and desire for revenge. He guesses that’s a pretty right-on description of what’s happening right now, announces Sam, as he watches Forge using a magic shield to protect himself from another of Magik’s attacks.

Forge reluctantly begins to cast a counter-spell, as he tells Illyana that he doesn’t want to use magic to hurt her. Why is she doing this? Magik explains that her brother was the X-Man Colossus. Forge was the one who tore a hole through dimensions. And Colossus and the other X-Men volunteered to help him close it, Forge says, finishing her narration.

Furious, Illyana reminds him that this took their lives. Forge apologizes. She has been hurt enough already but, he adds, she is wielding dangerous sorceries. Her sword is an object of unbelievable power, but it draws its potency from elsewhere, whereas his sorcery is of this Earth, rooted in his ancient Cheyenne heritage. For all her power, she cannot prevail against him.

The energy of his spell ricochets and Illyana cannot block the overload. Her face contorted in agony, she sarcastically asks that he didn’t want to hurt her? He probably hated to open that rift too… Tell that to the X-Men and to her murdered brother! She sinks down in exhaustion.

Forge defends himself that this rift was opened when he was a soldier in Vietnam, driven to madness and desperation. A person would have to be mad to consider such an act, to call up demons. It was a mistake, Pandora’s box… and years later he paid dearly for it. Her brother and the others paid, Illyana spits back. They closed his portal with their lives!

Watching from some distance, the mutants are concerned. Wofsbane wants to jump into the fray and save Illyana, however Dani orders her to hush. She tells Sam that she is going to distract Illyana, while he is to carry her off.

Dani shows Illyana an image of her current heart’s desire: Forge dead at her hands. Illyana quickly realizes that this is an illusion. Threateningly, she turns towards Mirage. That moment, Cannonball carries her off. Angrily, she threatens him, and he unfortunately finds he cannot hold a teleporter. She decides to continue the “discussion” between herself and Forge, elsewhere… namely Limbo.

The mutants jump into the teleportation circle, much to Illyana’s chagrin. With a gesture, she casts a spell for vines to keep them prisoner … and safe. Almost choking, the mutants wonder whether this is supposed to be safe.

Forge asks where they are. Her realm, she explains, where she was raised by demons and became one of them, the most demonic of them. There are other magics as ancient and powerful, Forge warns, as he conjures spirit shield and weaponry.

They won’t save him, a red-faced Illyana promises, as she attacks with raised sword. The shield barely withstands her attack.

In the meantime, the mutants find that the growing vines are really trying to swallow them, but Illyana is too caught up in her struggle with Forge to listen to their cries. Sam wonders if maybe actually Illyana wants this.

Illyana grudgingly tells Forge that he fights well. Why didn’t he fight this well against the Adversary? Why did he let her brother die? Forge replies that Colossus mentioned his little sister brought him to Dallas. So she teleported him there in harm’s way. Illyana angrily tells him to shut up. Forge continues that she can see through magical lenses through all time and space. Why didn’t she see what was happening? Why didn’t she come to her brother’s aid?

Illyana justifies herself that she was fighting other battles. And when she tried to come to help, she couldn’t get in.

Forge realizes that the Adversary shut everyone out. As he counters her blows, he asks whether Illyana thinks he wanted this. He lost Storm, the woman he loved. Illyana reminds him that he stole Storm’s powers and killed her. He has a funny way of loving!

Their energy bolts ricochet and destroy her scrying glass. She absorbs the shards, her armor growing more spiky. Lost in the darkness, she mutters, and the darkness grows, beginning to take on a life of its own.

Forge apologizes for the ricochet. It was an accident. Another accident, she repeats sardonically. He’s accident prone, isn’t he? A real hard luck case. Perhaps he is, Forge muses. Storm took a blow meant for someone else. He nearly killed her then. But he restored her and her restored power led to the confrontation with the Adversary. To Earth’s salvation and her destruction. Storm, Colossus, all the X-Men dead. Because of him. A possibility both he and Storm foresaw. He is tired, tired of using his powers, magical and mutant… for destruction.

He dissolves his shield and weaponry, realizing that the Darkchilde is a child, like he was back in ‘Nam. Wielding Magic as deadly, driven by as great a rage… as powerful a grief as he was. And if she chooses to use her magic this way… what right has he to destroy her too in order to stop her? If that’ the choice he’d rather die instead. If that’s his choice, then he can die! she shouts and stabs him with her Soulsword. Forge screams as his magic is disrupted.

The still struggling mutants are shocked by what they have just witnessed and realize that he must have really been one of the good guys.

Illyana’s small demons announce that the blow disrupted Forge’s magic but didn’t kill him yet. They egg Illyana on to strike again and finish him for good.

Dani shouts out and before Illyana appears a mirror image of herself; an Illyana that has completely given in to the Dark side and is completely demonic. Limbo’s mistress as she is meant to be, her demons swoon. A thing of beauty, a joy forever, the “completed” Darkchilde hisses.

Illyana realizes this illusion is Dani’s doing. Remembering her friends, she finds them almost swallowed by the magical vines. Forge weakly remarks that surely her sword holds more power than this. That wasn’t a killing blow. He tells her to kill him, if that is her choice, to send him to join in death the woman he loved. Wolfsbane shouts at her not to do it. She would not just destroy Forge, but also her immortal soul. The demons ask her to ignore the buzzing of that little fly and finish it, return to them.

Illyana prepares for a strike, then shouts that she gives the orders here. She tosses the Soulsword at the vinemass, commanding it to release her friends.

That accomplished, she draws back her sword. Pointing at Forge, she asks how he knew she wouldn’t kill him. He didn’t, Forge replies. Life, death, it wouldn’t have mattered. But she has friends who value her and risked their lives to save her. He thought perhaps she would be worth it.

Fine words, a noble sentiment, Illyana replies, seriously or not. She won’t kill him now, as he doesn’t deserve to be with Storm and her brother. She restores his magic and health and returns him to Dallas, even as they return to Xavier’s School. As a good-bye, she wishes Forge worse torment than she could inflict for what he has done. She is lucky, Forge muses. Had he had friends in his youth like hers, perhaps he would not have become the accident-prone man he is.

Back at Xavier’s Illyana berates herself for almost killing Forge, almost killing her friends. Almost isn’t did, Rahne pleads, asking her to send the Sword to Limbo and come back as her ordinary self. She can’t, Illyana insist. That monster Dan showed her, it is what Destiny prophesied would destroy the world. It’s what she is, what she’s already become! She can’t change back.

Rahne points out that it isn’t what Illyana is to become, only what she is afraid of becoming. But she didn’t. She let Forge go and didn’t kill anybody. Please come back, she pleads. Illyana finally lets go of the weapon and loses all demonic aspects.

A little later, the kids sneak down from the attic, passing Magneto’s study undetected, the master of magnetism apparently not even having noticed they were gone. The mutants are disturbed to see that he is wearing his old red and purple uniform that he wore during his time as a villain.

Roberto angrily reminds them that he is the Hellfire Club’s White King. Dani adds disturbed that he might be taking more interest in the Club’s affairs. And that can only be bad news to all of them, Sam adds. She is bad news, Illyana insists. Destiny said she had to leave or the world would be destroyed, but where shall she go?

Somewhere in space, on a spaceship. It’s mine, hisses a voice as spider-like arms hold a poster of interstellar rockstar Lila Cheney. It’s a she, corrects the voice of a beautiful elfin creature. The fragile being stands in a subservient position before a throne on which the spider-like creature sits. The elfin being asks, what she is. Another flavor for your collection? Stroking the elfin being’s chin and calling it “little Gosamyr,” its master agrees. Just like Gosamyr and Gosamyr’s kind. Marvelous, how enthusiastically beings sell themselves into bondage. She didn’t, Gosamyr points out, referring to Lila. Its world sold it. Gosamyr’s master shrugs. Legally, it’s the same.

The master adds that it has Lila’s contract and has but to recapture it. It has fled to its native planet where it advertises its whereabouts and hides in plain sight. Perhaps little Gosamyr will find in this operation the opportunity to earn freedom, even as Lila loses it…

Characters Involved: 

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



Limbo demons

Spyder (unnamed)


as Mirage’s illusions:


The Darkchilde

as a picture:

Lila Cheney

Story Notes: 

Magik transported Colossus to join the X-Men in Dallas in Uncanny X-Men #225.

The X-Men sacrificed their lifeforces to Forge’s spell in order to stop the Adversary in Uncanny X-Men #227. What neither Forge nor the New Mutants know, though, is that the goddess Roma secretly resurrected them.

Issue Information: 
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