Ever have one of those days when nothing seems to go right? Well, the New Mutants have had that kind of week. Their co-leader Danielle “Mirage” Moonstar has been possessed by an unknown flaming entity. Their teammates Rusty Collins and Sally Blevins a.k.a. Skids have were captured by the government’s mutant police, Freedom Force, and their Ship headquarters disappeared into outer space with their mentors, X-Factor, on board. Now, the New Mutants have been inexplicably transported to the dimension of the Norse Gods - and a bad day just keeps getting worse….
‘I hate this, guys! I really do!’ Tabitha “Boom-Boom” Smith exclaims to her friends and teammates as they watch a flaming Mirage ride her crazed winged horse Brightwind, also flaming nearby. Rahne “Wolfsbane” Sinclair asks what they are doing up in Asgard, while Boom-Boom wants to know how they even got here. The alien New Mutant known as Warlock replies that they were teleported, but why and by whom his sensors do not know. Julio Richter appropriately codenamed Rictor points out that someone obviously brought them here - or maybe sent them here. Bobby “Sunspot” DaCosta exclaims that it must have something to do with Dani’s transformation.
An anguished Wolfsbane looks up at her deranged best friend and remarks that perhaps now they are in Asgard, some Asgardian magic will counteract whatever it is that has transformed Dani. ‘Oh, Dani! I know you don’t really wish to harm us. Please gain control again. Please be yourself!’ Rahne pleads. Rahne switches into a wolf so she can establish the rapport that Dani shares with all animals. Communicating with Mirage, Rahne asks her to tell her how they can save her and defeat that “thing”.
Rahne thinks to herself that she can hardly feel Dani’s presence in her own body anymore, Rahne wonders how Dani can stand contact with this vile energy, ‘How did she find the courage to fight it for so long?’ Rahne tries to be like Dani, to show Dani courage and reach out to her, reach out through the fire and darkness and pain - but she can’t, and screams as she is forced out of her wolf form and into that of a half-girl half-wolf. ‘FOOL!’ the frightening and twisted Mirage screams, ‘Let this serve as a warning!’ she cries as she blasts her dear friend with her deadly fire.
Mirage boasts that she is undefeatable, ‘For my business is death!’ she exclaims, warning the New Mutants that death will come, in time, to own all of them. Mirage warns her teammates not to interfere in her business any longer, or else she will take a premature interest in theirs!
Meanwhile, in the nearby dimension of Hel, the Asgardian Goddess of Death, Hela, searches for her creature. ‘She was on Migard…and then she was gone! But how…and where?’ Hela wonders, before looking into a scrying glass and seeing that Mirage is here in Asgard, specifically in Valhalla, below the Peak of the Valkyries. Hela thinks that it must be impossible - and yet it is true, the scrying glass reveals Moonstar’s presence. Hela wonders how Moonstar got here, as the dimensional path between Migard and Asgard, the Rainbow Bridge, has been shattered.
Hela remarks that Asgard now floats in the Negative Zone, severed from Earth for all time - so she wants to know what enemy has the strength and cunning to teleport Moonstar here. Hela exclaims that Moonstar was to have laid waste to Earth, then bring the souls of Earth’s greatest heroes to swell her army of the dead. Not completely disappointed that her plan was ruined, Hela is pleased that Moonstar’s little friends the New Mutants were transported here with her. ‘Their souls must satisfy me…for now!’ she exclaims.
Meanwhile, ‘That…monster hurled fire at her!’ Rictor exclaims. Warlock announces that his sensors detect no burns, despite the flames, and the New Mutants co-leader Sam “Cannonball” Guthrie asks Rahne if she is all right. Mirage begins to fly away on Brightwind and Sunspot runs after her, telling her to get out of here, ‘And good riddance!’ he exclaims, reminding Mirage that Rahne is supposed to be her best friend, not to mention the nicest amongst the New Mutants, ‘And you tried to kill her!’
Rahne gathers herself and tells Bobby not to scold Dani, as she is being driven to destroy them by the entity who is possessing her. Rahne informs her friends that Dani is in such terrible pain, as if the entity is trying to drive Dani from her own body. Rahne declares that Dani won’t leave, that with all her will she is fighting for control, and that time, she won. Rahne reveals that Dani forced the creature to spare her, but next time, they will not be so lucky. Sam grabs hold of the weakened Rahne and thinks to himself that Rahne must miss Dani more than any of them, except maybe him, as he and Dani used to share leadership. ‘Now I have to somehow save Dani - and see that none of us dies doing it. Might be a tall order!’ Sam thinks solemnly.
‘So this is Asgard?’ Boom-Boom remarks as she looks around. ‘Not much to it, is there? Just rocks and that creepy castle’. Looking up at the pink-colored sky though, Tabby exclaims that the sky is ‘definitely weird’. Sunspot points out that as Tabby and Rictor are new to the team, they haven’t been here before, so wouldn’t notice, but the sky is supposed to be weird. However, Roberto remarks that it used to be the most beautiful azure. He begins to say that he wonders why it is no longer that color, when Boom-Boom interrupts, exclaiming that she wonders why their Ship took off back on Earth, and what will happen to Rusty and Skids, and why they are even here - teleported down in the middle of nowhere. ‘It’s ugly and scary and I hate it!’
Sunspot uses his incredible strength to lift up a massive boulder and tells his new teammate to quit whining, remarking that Asgard is not so bad once you get used to it. ‘I am not whining! And I don’t want to get used to it. I want to go home!’ Tabby snaps back. Bobby begins to spin the rock around on one finger as he reminds Boom-Boom that Dani was chosen to be a Valkyrie, adding that he met the Warriors Three and that beautiful women fell all over him. Bobby adds that the Asgardian sun makes him stronger than ever.
Sam, Bobby’s best friend, tells him to chill out, as this is serious, they are not here on vacation. ‘Kill joy!’ Bobby exclaims as he tosses the rock away, informing Boom-Boom that they weren’t on vacation last time either, and that most of the team still didn’t want to leave! Suddenly, there is a mighty cry, ‘Who screamed?’ Bobby asks as he and the others rush over to where the large rock landed.
As everyone gathers around the gaping hole in the ground, the New Mutants are suddenly attacked by a horde of unfriendly dwarfs! Boom-Boom screams as she is pilled in. ‘What the heck?!’ exclaims Rictor. Pulled down into a series of caverns and surrounded by the dwarfs, Wolfsbane points out that they are not in Nidvallir, so wonders where they could be and why there are so many dwarfs here. ‘This is so gross!’ Boom-Boom shouts, while the dwarfs, armed with deadly swords and other weapons proclaim the New Mutants to be spies. ‘Our secret assault on the castle has been discovered!’ one of the dwarfs remarks, while another shouts ‘Kill them!’ and leads the attack against the confused New Mutants.
‘They stink!’ Boom-Boom exclaims as she cowers to one side. ‘They’re like roaches! They’re everywhere!’ Rictor tells his friend to chill out, and stands in front of her, promising that he wont let the dwarfs get to her as he unleashes his seismic powers. Warlock and Sunspot set about punching through the dwarfs, while Cannonball blasts along and grabs Wolfsbane, protecting her from an assault, he reminds her that her wolf-form is strong, but not invulnerable, like he is when he is blasting.
Sunspot smashes one of the dwarfs while pointing out that the New Mutants are stronger, but are far outnumbered. ‘Perhaps you are, self friend, but self is not!’ exclaims Warlock as he shifts his alien body, giving himself six arms which he swings around in a circle, punching several dwarfs out. Rictor asks Warlock how long he can keep that up. ‘It’s only a matter of time before…’ his voice drifts off as he battles on.
‘A matter of time before what - we’re overwhelmed? Destroyed?’ Boom-Boom thinks to herself. ‘In the hands of those filthy creatures? This is the most awful thing that’s ever happened to me!’ Tabby thinks to herself that she cannot let them touch her, that she would rather die than have them touch her! She thinks that she has to stop them, and a time bomb - a really big one will save them all! Boom-Boom tosses a time bomb skywards, ‘Self friend…no!’ Warlock shouts, but it is too late, as the cave begins to fall in on the New Mutants and the dwarfs.
‘The lass commands explosives!’ one of the dwarves shouts as the dust and debris begins to clear, and everyone gathers themselves. One of the dwarves exclaims that the master forger, Eitri, trusted them to advance in stealth and silence. ‘We could not have announced our coming more boldly had we blown trumpets outside their door!’ another dwarf snickers. Shocked, Cannonball exclaims ‘Eitri’s leading this expedition?’ He then calls out to his teammates, telling them to stop fighting, declaring that these dwarfs are not their enemies.
‘You’re joking, right?’ Tabby exclaims horrified. She explains that brought the ceiling down on the dwarfs so that the New Mutants could escape! Suddenly a dwarf comes up behind Boom-Boom and grabs her, putting his hand over her mouth so she cannot speak anymore. Another dwarf boasts that the New Mutants are their prisoners, and the New Mutants are all rounded up, as Cannonball declares that he is a friend of Eitri’s, and asks them to tell Eitri that Sam Guthrie is here, and to be quick about it if they value Eitri’s good will!
Back in Hel, Hela grins as she watches the New Mutants planning to ally themselves with the dwarfs. ‘Fools leading greater fools…and I shall be the richer for it!’ she exclaims. Hela knows that Moonstar still resists her spell, for Moonstar has a loyal heart, and a spirit stronger than Dani herself realizes. ‘So far, she has refused to harm her friends…but in time, that will change!’ Hela exclaims, before deciding that for now there are others equal and more than willing to accept that task.
‘You who used to be a Valkyrie!’ Hela exclaims to one the fire-engulfed corpse-like Valkyries that stands before her. ‘Valkyries we remain, Queen of Hel!’ replies the Valkyrie, adding that they still have all of the Valkyries powers and prerogatives, ‘But we serve death now, instead of life!’ Hela tells the Valkyrie that she and the others have served her well, bringing all sorts of men to Hel, before informing her that dwarfs and sons and daughters of Earth have invaded the chambers beneath her palace. ‘I would have you prepare a party to greet them…’ Hela exclaims.
Deep beneath the Valkyries castle, the caverns wind through narrow fissures and grottos big as mead halls, the dwarfs carry their captives. Boom-Boom wants to know why, if Cannonball knows the dwarfs leader, why they are in chains, not to mention why they are invading the Valkyries’ castle, as she thought the Valkyries were supposed to be good and carry off heroes who die in battle to feast and fight in Valhalla. Tabby adds that it sounds like whatever changed Mirage must have changed all of the Valkyries!
Sunspot grins and tells Boom-Boom not to worry, with his augmented strength he can free them anytime, so he doesn’t see what the problem is. Cannonball remarks that it seems awfully convenient that when they were transported to Asgard, they arrive on top of where the dwarfs were tunnelling. Rahne tells Sam that she was just thinking about how odd that was, while Sam thinks to himself that they learned before that in Asgard, there is no such thing as a coincidence. Sam wishes that he could talk to Dani, admitting that he took her so much for granted as co-leader, as she thought and acted so quick, he wishes he could think as fast. Sam thinks upon his decision not to fight the dwarfs and how his teammates, particularly Boom-Boom are unhappy about his decision. Sam recalls that the dwarfs did not even say for certain if they would tell Eitri that he is here. Sam wonders what will happen if Eitri does not remember the New Mutants, or doesn’t care about them. ‘Hope I made the right decision…’ Sam thinks to himself.
‘This place will hold you!’ a dwarf exclaims as he tosses the chained New Mutants into a small room. ‘You’ll tell Eitri -’ exclaims Sam before he is cut off, ‘Maybe we will, youngling…and maybe we wont!’ the dwarf replies before slamming the door on them. ‘Nice fellow, real cooperative!’ Bobby remarks sarcastically, before declaring that they don’t have to pretend to be prisoners anymore, and uses his incredible strength to break free of his chains. Warlock boasts that his method of egress is more elegant, which he demonstrates by shifting his body into a large key, undoing the chains which Sam and Rahne are tied in.
Sam pulls his chains off while thinking that the rules that govern existence are different here in Asgard than they are on Earth, he knows that, but he doesn’t know how he will understand how Asgard really works - he played his hunch, but doesn’t know if he got it right. ‘BLAST!’ exclaims Sunspot as he smashes his fists against the solid cavern door. Bobby declares that he has tested it with all his strength, but it won’t splinter or budge. He turns to Cannonball and says to his best friend ‘I think you just ordered us into an air-tight trap!’.
Warlock comes to his leaders defense, exclaiming that Cannonball is too wise to make such a terrible mistake, before shifting his form again so that he reaches through the bars on the door and inserts his fingers, transformed into a key, into the keyhole. But Warlock is fried with magic that shields the lock, and is forced back into the dungeon. Wolfsbane tends to her friend, while a furious Boom-Boom exclaims ‘I hate this! We’ll be stuck here forever!’ Sunspot folds his arms across his chest and agrees, exclaiming that he doesn’t like it, and that Dani wouldn’t have stuck them in here, she would have had a plan.
Cannonball replies that just because they do not like his plan, doesn’t mean he hasn’t got one, before pointing out that they do not need to insult the dwarfs by breaking out of their cage. Sam points out that the dwarfs are a power here on Asgard, so they don’t want them for enemies. He reminds his friends that they are up against something too big for them to handle alone, and are therefore going to need all the allies they can get. ‘Dwarfs as allies. Swell’ Boom-Boom mutters as she goes over and stands by her long-time X-Terminators teammate and friend Rictor.
Rahne continues to tend to Warlock, while Cannonball solemnly thinks to himself that he hopes he guessed right about Eitri, because his answer to Bobby earlier was one big lie! Sam admits to himself that he was counting on Bobby’s strength to bust them out of here almost as much as Bobby was. Sam supposes that if Eitri doesn’t come through for him, then there are always Boom-Boom’s time bombs….
Rictor tells Boom-Boom not to sweat it, pointing out that it is not much worse than being in jail. Rictor reveals that he and his father were thrown in jail in Costa Rica. ‘Did I ever tell you -’ Julio begins until Tabby tells him not to try and cheer her up. ‘I’m not just some kid!’ she exclaims. Boom-Boom begins recalling all the events that have happened to them recently, beginning with how they got sucked into Limbo and demons attacked the world. ‘That was bad enough!’ Tabby exclaims, adding that at least Illyana was from Limbo and had some control over it, ‘And we did manage to save the world’.
Tabby continues, reminding Rictor how Illyana was turned into a six-year old kid, and the New Mutant’s school was destroyed. Rictor points out that X-Factor took the New Mutants in, like they did with the two of them. ‘Then Dani turned into a monster…and Rusty and Skids were captured by Freedom Force…and our Ship disappeared…and X-Factor abandoned us…and we end up here…surrounded by dwarfs!’
Boom-Boom snarls that she got them free, but that Sam said they have to be captured, and no matter what she does, things don’t get any better, they just keep getting worse. ‘I’m an ordinary Earth kid! I’m good at video-games…not other dimensions!’ Tabby declares that before X-Factor found her she was doing okay, as she had her time bombs and could take care of herself. ‘Then X-Factor saves me…yeah…saves me, right!’ she mutters, remarking that she joins up with the New Mutants and suddenly it is disaster city. ‘It stinks, you hear me, Rictor?’ she shouts, before telling Rictor to leave her alone and pushes him away.
Boom-Boom turns her back to everyone, and Sam goes over to Rictor, telling him to give Tabby some space, that she will snap out of it. But Rictor replies that he isn’t sure, as this is not ordinary Boom-Boom antics, all this Asgard stuff is really bothering her. Rictor informs Sam that Boom-Boom saved him once, explaining that the Right, who had tortured him once before, were after him again, and he was ready to die, rather than let the Right have him.
Rictor remarks that it might have been enlightened self-interest on Boom-Boom’s part, after all, there was a goo chance that if he went, he would take her with him, but Tabby did talk him out of dying. Rictor declares that it was a turning point for him, as he was able to grab hold of himself for Boom-Boom’s sake. Julio tells Sam that he owes Tabby, and that Boom-Boom may think she is tough, but really she isn’t. ‘I know her, probably better than she knows herself’ Rictor claims, explaining that he tries to watch out for her and boss her around, steer her when she goes wrong. He declares that he will not let her down - no matter what.
Warlock asks Wolfsbane why bad things keep happening to his wonderful friends. Warlock regrets that they are trapped here and that he cannot get them free, adding that he doesn’t want anymore of his friends to die like Doug, or to go away, or become monsters… his voice trails off and Rahne hugs him, telling him not to worry as Sam has a wonderful plan and that soon they will be free with their friends. ‘Such faith!’ Sam thinks to himself as he looks at Rahne, before admitting that they tend to see Rahne as being weak because she is the littlest and the most emotional, before acknowledging that it was those very qualities that got through to Illyana and saved them all during the Inferno. Sam thinks that Rahne is so special, she will be strong for as long as there is somebody around who needs her to be. ‘She’s really the heart of this group!’
Rahne tries to put a smile on Warlock’s face as she tells him to cheer up, as it really isn’t that bad. Sunspot watches them and tells himself that he is acting like a moping fool. ‘They’ll open this cage eventually and then you can clobber them!’ he thinks to himself, before approaching Warlock and telling him that Rahne is right, and he begins juggling the chains that he broke, reminding Warlock of how easily he broke them. ‘This is what I think of their paltry effort to keep us here!’ Bobby exclaims, before slipping and falling over, the chains thudding to the ground beside him.
Sunspot remarks that even he can’t juggle and dance at the same time, to which Warlock grins and boasts that he can, as juggling was a game on his planet. Sunspot asks Warlock if he thinks he still can, and tosses him the chains, ‘Show us how it’s done!’ Bobby exclaims. Warlock begins juggling the three parts of the chain with ease, and Rictor exclaims that it is awesome, before tossing him one of his cuffs and asking if he can handle more. ‘Mix gets more fun’ Warlock exclaims as he juggles the cuff too. ‘How bout this?’ Sam asks as he tosses a padlock towards his teammate. ‘It’s not a problem!’ Warlock grins.
‘Ah…but can you juggle this?’ Boom-Boom exclaims with a grin before tossing one of her time bombs at Warlock. Suddenly though, Cannonball grabs Boom-Boom hard by her arm and asks her if she has lost her mind, before Rahne calls out to Warlock and tells him to get rid of it. Warlock exclaims that he must protect his friends and shifts his body into a shield, only for the time bomb to fizzle out. ‘It fizzled!’ Sam exclaims, to which Tabby replies that of course it fizzled, as she made a dud.
Upset, Boom-Boom exclaims that she wanted to play too, and that she thought Sam of all people would understand. Sam begins to apologize to Tabby, when suddenly the door slams open. ‘Sam Guthrie, son of my heart…why art thou in jail?’ a dwarf asks as he enters the room. ‘Eitri!’ Sam shouts as he rushes up to his friend, remarking that he supposes Eitri’s friends didn’t want to let a good thing like the New Mutants get in their way. Sam turns to his teammates and reminds Eitri that he has met Rahne, Warlock and Bobby, before introducing him to Rictor and a sullen Boom-Boom as his friend the weapons-smith extraordinaire and leader of the dwarves.
Shortly, in the vast caverns beneath the Valkyries castle, the dwarf-army pauses to refuel and welcome their old friends. Sunspot remarks that they are lucky that when he tossed that rock it broke through on top of the dwarves raiding party, before admitting that he was disgusted when Sam called of the fight, but admits that Sam was right, they are a lot better off now than they were before. ‘Sure are, good grub, Eitri!’ Rictor agrees. ‘If you like pickled herring’ Boom-Boom mumbles, not eating anything. Sam watches Boom-Boom and thinks to himself that she is still grumpy, which is partly his fault, and tells himself that he was wrong to go off at her about that time bomb. Sam thinks that he was edgy and was not thinking clear. He realizes that Boom-Boom would never hurt them and decides to apologize after dinner.
Eitri declares that it wasn’t luck, but the fates who led the New Mutants here. He goes on to explain that these caverns were once natural, but were converted before living memory to dungeons and warehouses, like the cell that the New Mutants were locked in. He informs the young heroes that the Valkyries have forgotten about the caverns existence, but that the earth-memory of dwarves is strong.
Rahne approaches Eitri and informs him that when she was here in Asgard last, she met a wolf-prince, and asks if Eitri knows what happened to him. ‘Wolf-prince, lass? What would he look like?’ Eitri replies. Rahne shifts into a half-girl half-wolf form and replies ‘Like this…only he’s silver…and a boy of course…and very handsome!’. ‘Wolf-prince? Oh boy! What next?’ a wide-eyed Boom-Boom thinks to herself.
Eitri replies that he hasn’t seen a wolf-prince as they have been busy as of late to notice the passing of changeling princes, explaining that the Valkyries used to only take the souls of slain warriors, but now they have changed, and horribly. Eitri reveals that now the Valkyries have begun to raid the living, and have stolen several of the very best dwarf weapon-smiths. ‘But…that’s against the rules!’ Cannonball exclaims.
‘That it is, lad!’ Eitri agrees, explaining that they have sent complaints to Odin, but whether the complaints have reached him or not, they do not know. Eitri adds that with this accursed Negative Sky and the attack of the demon Annihilus, the all-father has had a lot on his mind, so they are left to take matters into their own hands. Eitri declares that they shall infiltrate the Valkyries castle and win back their forgers. Eitri tells Cannonball that it is a pity their teammate has fallen to the curse, but that it is good to have them in his ranks. ‘You chose well, son of my heart, when you made bold to join us!’ Eitri exclaims.
Boom-Boom slaps a hand against her forehead as she thinks ‘That means more fighting…gross…and beside these little…monster dwarfs!’ Tabby thinks that her only consolation is that things cannot get any worse, when, suddenly, Wolfsbane calls out to Sam, ‘Look! No - it can’t be!’ she exclaims. Three flaming Valkyries flanked by several warriors appear, and one of the Valkyries declares that they think Cannonball chose well too, exclaiming that he and his friends will be joining them in Hel…forever! ‘I knew it…it did get worse! I just knew it!’ Boom-Boom shrieks as she and her friends look on in fear….