New Mutants (1st series) #83

Issue Date: 
December 1989
Story Title: 
The Quick and the Dead

Louise Simonson (Writer), Bret Blevins (Artist), Joe Rosen (Letterer), Glynis Oliver (Colorist), Daryl Edelman (Assistant Editor), Bob Harras (Editor), Tom DeFalco (Editor-in-Chief)

Brief Description: 

Boom-Boom, Warlock and Hrimhari are rescued from the frost giant by an even bigger giant, who unbeknownst to them is the sorcerer they are seeking, Tiwaz. In Hela’s throne room, Eitri is forced to create the Deathsword which Mirage is going to use to slay Odin during his Odin Sleep. The imprisoned New Mutants and their ally the Valkyrie Mist free themselves when no one is looking, and Mist, Sunspot and Wolfsbane leave to free Asgard’s mighty warriors, the Executioner and the rest of the Einherjar. They are successful, and all return to Hela’s chamber where the Einherjar begin battling Hela’s minions. This distraction enables Cannonball to steal the Deathsword and make a quick getaway with his teammates and Mist - but not without the possessed Mirage and a couple of other warriors following them. Eventually, the New Mutants come to the end of the road, at the edge of a cliff, caught between the lake of deadly lava below, and their insane teammate behind them. Mist is no longer able to withstand Hela’s influence and pushes the New Mutants off the cliff, though Hela appears in time to rescue the Deathsword. Mirage, on Brightwind, searches for her unlucky teammates, but cannot find them. The Children of Volstagg are scolded by the Grand Vizer for their part in Boom-Boom, Warlock and Hrimhari’s escape from Odin’s prison and are told to go home, however instead they go to find Balder the Brave, who they know will believe them that Asgard is in danger. Hela completes her spell with the Deathsword, forcing her evil magicks into it, causing all of Asgard to tremble. Meanwhile, on Earth, Rusty reads about the riots at the Vault from his own prison cell, and hopes that Skids is okay and that the riots do not spread to the prison he is in. The Vulture is bought in as a prisoner and the other prisoners tease the old villain, who warns them that they shouldn’t, as he and the incarcerated villain Nitro are going to cause all of their deaths.

Full Summary: 

Asgard. The dimension ruled by the Norse Gods. The Death Goddess, Hela, has a deadly scheme, to slay the mighty Lord Odin as he sleeps his magic and restorative “Odin Sleep” and make herself mistress of all Asgard. Between Hela and the completion of her plan stand the New Mutants, a team of mutant teenagers inexplicably snatched from Earth. Four of the New Mutants are Hela’s prisoners in icy Hel. Now, in Nastrond, at the edge of the icy wastes, the others have been captured by Hela’s ally, a frost giant.

The frost giant holds Tabitha “Boom-Boom” Smith, Warlock and Hrimhari the wolf-prince in his hand, while an agitated Boom-Boom exclaims that this is “sparkling time” and tosses one of her plasma time-bombs at him. She warns the giant that she makes these time bombs, and that whatever he is, he better let them go before the time bomb explodes. It does, in the giants face, and he screams, dropping Tabby, Warlock and Hrimhari to the snow covered ground below.

Hrimhari congratulates his new friend on a well thrown time bomb, before remarking that what she has started, he will finish. Boom-Boom doesn’t get to answer him however, as she lands head-first on the ground and is knocked unconscious. The giant addresses Hrimhari as a “cur” and lumbering over to the unconscious Boom-Boom, asks the wolf-prince if he can save his friend if she is smashed to a pulp. The giant raises his massive foot over Boom-Boom’s motionless body, but Hrimhari is able to leap onto the foot and bite it, enabling Warlock to shift his form into a vehicle capable of travelling quickly on the snow and grabbing Boom-Boom, he speeds away.

Hrimhari’s bite on the giants big toe causes the giant to shriek and fall backwards. Once on the ground though, the giant scrambles forward and grabs hold of Warlock and Boom-Boom, exclaiming that they shall not escape him so easily, informing them that Hela does not care what happens to them so long as their rebellion is crushed. Warlock urges Boom-Boom to awaken, as the giant is indeed strong and will be able to crush him. The giant points out that Warlock cannot function without a head, so he begins to squeeze Warlock’s head, when suddenly an even bigger giant comes up behind him and cries ‘Freeze!’ The bearded larger giant remarks that although it is the other giants nature to be predatory, these little ones he seeks are no fitting prey, and turns Hela’s ally into a frozen statue.

Meanwhile, in Hela’s throne room, the Goddess herself has been watching what has transpired and sees in her scrying glass the larger giant holding in his hands Boom-Boom and Warlock, both safe. A furious Hela shrieks ‘Who…is he?’, remarking that although she doesn’t know him, she shudders at his power. Nearby, chained on a ledge are the four New Mutants - Sam “Cannonball” Guthrie, Bobby “Sunspot” DaCosta, Rahne “Wolfsbane” Sinclair and Julio “Rictor” Richter, alongside them is their ally, the half-Valkyrie half-Fairy, Mist, also chained.

Cannonball expresses his relief, for his friends, while Hela turns to the center of her throne room, where the possessed New Mutant Danielle “Mirage” Moonstar leers menacingly, and the dwarf-lord Eitri is forced to construct Hela’s weapon, and one of Hela’s henchmen holds onto Eitri’s daughter, Kindra. Hela exclaims that she must move quickly and snarls at Eitri, pointing out that the ingot is white hot, so he must now fashion for her a sword which no world has ever seen, warning him that if he doesn’t, he daughters fate will be far worse than death!

A brilliant white light fills the dull chamber as Eitri smashes his tools down onto the Uru, while Sunspot remarks that he wonders if that mysterious giant has any friends in Hel. Cannonball replies that it would be nice, and points out that the giant made Hela awfully nervous. Wolfsbane exclaims that it is bad enough that Hela would force Eitri to forge such a sword, but that it is almost intolerable that Hela would force Dani, bewitched as she is, to slay Odin. Mist remarks that is the crux of Hela’s plan, pointing out that to be slain ignominiously by a mortal, and in his sleep, will doom Lord Odin’s soul to Hel, leaving Hela to control the Odin Power.

Wolfsbane remarks that Dani’s mortal blood helped her to resist Hela’s magicks for a while, to which Mist replies that her own fairy blood did the same, but even as Dani fell, Mist believes that she too will fall to the curse in time, and she fears that it will be soon, so she knows that she must do something to stop her. Sunspot, with all his incredible strength cannot snap the chains that they are bound in as he exclaims that Mist is right, they cannot let Hela get away with this, they have to stop her - but how? ‘We can steal the sword’ Rictor suggests. Mist remarks that might work, though points out that they are captives, to which Sam exclaims they will have to escape.

Meanwhile, Boom-Boom has never liked waking up under the best of circumstances. Now her head pounds where she slammed it on the rock out in the snow, and a voice like thunder rolls on and on…. Ice creatures surround the trio of heroes who are laid out on a large bale of some soft substance. Warlock is engaged in his surroundings, while the bearded giant speaks to the waking Tabitha, informing her that this is his kingdom, pure and cold. He remarks that although his subjects lives are short, he tries to see that their lives are in turn sweet. Painfully, Tabitha opens her reluctant eyes, and shafts of light rip through crystalline walls.

‘A frost giant!’ Tabby exclaims, tossing a time-bomb at her rescuer while pulling Warlock back from the ice creatures. Her voice wakes Hrimhari and Tabby tells him that it is ok, she will not let the giant get him. The giant catches the small plasma blast in his large hands, and turns it into a small fairy who flies back in front of Boom-Boom and the others. Hrimhari remarks to Boom-Boom that he suspects this is not any old frost giant, but the sorcerer that they seek. ‘He turned my time bomb into Tinkerbell!’ Tabby exclaims Boom-Boom, while a mesmerized Warlock confirms that this is indeed Tiwaz, adding that it is he who saved them.

Hrimhari bows before the mighty sorcerer, thanking him for the rescue and begging his forgiveness for that impetuous attack from his comrade, explaining that his size confused his mortal companion, adding that they were not told he was a giant and therefore Boom-Boom mistook him. Tiwaz replies that there is no offense taken, adding that the frost giants fear those larger than themselves, so he is as large as he needs to be. Tiwaz proceeds to ask the trio what brings them to these icy wastes. The fairy created from Boom-Boom’s time bomb lands on Hrimhari, who informs Tiwaz that the children of Volstagg suggested they find him, to beg his aid - for Asgard’s salvation and that of all the Nine Worlds!

Back in Hel, Eitri holds high above his anguished body the recently forged “Deathsword”, exclaiming that it is done, to his eternal shame. ‘Now shudder, Odin in thy rest. Dark will be thy sleep, and long…and all thy power shalt be mine to wield!’ Hela bellows while Mirage hovers nearby. Sunspot whispers that no one is watching them, so suggests they break out now, if they can, before exclaiming that the chains have been magicked so good, he cannot budge the shackles.

Suddenly, Rictor shatters his own shackles, surprising Sunspot, who asks him how he managed to do that. Julio reveals that he has been shaking up the molecules in a low-level kind of way ever since they were put on, adding that Hela’s magic held, that it was the iron that shattered. Rictor proceeds to shatter the others, and once everyone is free, Sam tells Bobby, Rahne and Mist to head off and do what they were planning earlier, to release the Einherjar and tell them Hela is in here, and to come this way. He adds that they don’t need to worry about sneaking around, that they can make as much noise as they can.

Rahne begins to protest, to which Sam agrees that he is not happy about splitting up either, as he has seen too many monster movies where it is “divide and slaughter”, but he points out that there is nothing else they can do. He exclaims that no one is looking, and orders his friends to go. Mist leads the way up the cavern and Sam calls out that he and Rictor will wait until they hear the good word. Engulfed in flame Mist exclaims that the Einherjar are down this corridor, and asks Rahne to lead now, for until they release the Einherjar they must go in secrecy and silence.

Mist points out that Wolfsbane’s wolf-senses will warn them of approaching danger, and shortly, as they round a corner, Rahne exclaims that there are two guards up ahead. Mist takes lead now, explaining that these warrior-creatures are dim-witted and to them all Valkyries look alike, so perhaps they will mistake her for one of Hela’s own. ‘And if not…’ Bobby mumbles, before Mist steps in front of the warriors, bidding them greetings, she informs them that she has a message from their mistress to give to the Einherjar, and orders them to unlock the cell so that she can enter.

The warriors begin to let Mist past, until they realize that although she is sheathed in flames, they burn cool. ‘She is no true child of Hela!’ one of them exclaims as they rush towards her. ‘It figures we’d encounter the only brain surgeon in Hela’s army!’ Sunspot exclaims as he quickly uses his formidable strength to take down the warriors, before handing Mist the keys he took from them. Rahne announces that someone is coming, to Mist declares that they must hurry.

Rushing down another set of stairs, Mist approaches the cell, ‘Soon, champions of Odin, will I find the key that will release you’ she exclaims as she tries the lock. One of the warriors asks her who she is, to which Mist asks Harkonin, leader of the Einherjar, if she is so changed that he cannot recognize her. Harkonin realizes that it is Mist and asks her how she has resisted the curse, before asking who the mortals are. Mist explains that they are her friends, before revealing that her fairy blood cannot resist Hela’s spell much longer.

The Executioner exclaims that they know Hela’s power well, remarking that the Valkyries took the brunt of Hela’s first attack, but now the Death Goddess has turned her eyes to them, adding that they are very weak and are sore pressed to resist. Mist tells the Executioner that, nonetheless, he and the others must take their weapons and beard Hela in her chamber. Mist informs the Einherjar that Hela has a sword created to slay Odin in his sleep, but that they have a pain, when suddenly she keels over, overcome by the immense pain, Mist fears that Hela will have her yet.

Sunspot tends to Mist while giving Wolfsbane the keys to keep trying to open the cell, and in an instant Rahne has the cell open. Executioner and the other warriors storm out of their prison. Executioner tells his allies to get their weapons, and they do, before smashing their way through Hela’s monsters.

Back in her throne room, Hela holds the Deathsword in her hand as it throbs with power, however, to Hela, it is still an empty vessel to be filled with her foul sorceries, and so she begins a chant, too terrible for human ears to bear, and foul magicks swirl around the sword - magicks to pierce the protective spells that surround Lord Odin in his Odin Sleep and strike swift and deep into the all-father’s heart. Magicks, that in mere seconds, will penetrate the sword and bond with it for all eternity.

>From their hiding place, Cannonball exclaims that the others better hurry, and Rictor points out that Hela’s magic is almost complete, adding that by the looks of things, Dani cannot wait to get her hands on it. Sam tells Rictor not to kid himself, as that fanged thing up next to Hela is not Dani, not anymore. Suddenly, Sam hears shouts and the ringing of metal, and on cue, the Executioner, followed by everyone else enters Hela’s throne room. The Executioner warns Hela to drop her sword, otherwise she will fall before the all-father’s chosen champions!

As everyone begins battling Hela’s minions, Cannonball blasts into battle too, and pointing out that Hela is distracted, he asks Rictor to use his seismic power to shake the ground and throw Hela off balance, which Rictor does, enabling Cannonball to fly towards Hela and grab the sword. Sam swoops back and grabs Rictor, exclaiming that the Einherjar’s attack has bought them some time, so he suggests they use it to get out of here. Holding the sword, Sam flies down a corridor where he meets up with Bobby, Rahne and Mist.

‘It worked! Sam has the sword!’ Bobby exclaims, but Sam tells him to save his celebration until they are safe in Asgard, before asking Mist which is they way out. Mist acts confused, to which Rahne informs Sam and Rictor that Mist is in a bad shape, Hela’s spell is beginning to take its toll on her. Suddenly, Mirage races towards her teammates, flanked by a couple of Hela’s warriors, she tells them to halt, which gets the New Mutants’ attention. Rictor remarks that it figures Dani was not distracted like the others, as she is fixated on the sword.

‘Give it to me! The sword is mine!’ Mirage screams as she lunges her teammates in a fiery fury. ‘Says you!’ Rictor exclaims as he aims his powers to the roof of the cavern, before telling Sam to take the sword and run. Rictor remarks that he may not be able to stop the problem permanently, but as the roof collapses, blocking Dani from reaching them, he exclaims that he can give them a head start. Sam thanks Rictor, and grabs him by the wrist, ‘We’re not going anywhere without you!’ he exclaims.

The New Mutants run through the caverns which run dark and deep. Being teammates and friends, they each use their powers to aid the others, ensuring their escape. The New Mutants are at their best, a team…that most unstoppable of human machines! Behind them though, surrounded in darkness and mist, the minions of Hel bay at their heels, until the New Mutants come to a “fork in the road”. Cannonball asks Mist which way they are to go, but, as the common saying on Earth goes, “A machine is as strong as its weakest cog…” and that is Mist, who clutches her throbbing head and points to the middle path, exclaiming that she thinks it is that way.

Mirage and the warriors enter the chamber and see the New Mutants and Mist going down the middle path, and continue to follow them. Up ahead, Sam informs his friends that he sees light at the end of the cavern, so he thinks they have made it - but arriving at the end, the New Mutants find themselves on a small ledge leading to nowhere. ‘What is this?’ Bobby asks. ‘Where are we?’ Rahne exclaims. Mist apologizes, exclaiming that pain is twisting her memories to serve Hela’s purpose. ‘I am her creature…trust me…no longer!’ Mist exclaims.

Not all of the New Mutants are in Hel however. Rusty Collins remains in New York, unjustly incarcerated in a maximum security federal prison for a crime he did not commit. Of course, Rusty could use his pyrokinetic powers to burn his way free, but he has so far chosen to remain here, awaiting trial, during which he hopes to tell his story to the world and prevent an even greater injustice. Reading a newspaper, the former leader of the X-Terminators, who merged their team with the New Mutants, Rusty reads an articles which says there is trouble at the Vault, which is where all of the really dangerous super-villains are kept - and where he is being threatened to go unless he plays along.

Rusty reminds himself that his girlfriend and teammate Sally “Skids” Blevins is locked in here somewhere too, and hopes that she is okay, and that the Vault’s problems do not spread here. He also wishes that the rest of the New Mutants would get back from wherever they have gone, and that they are still alive. Suddenly, some commotion in the corridor gets Rusty’s attention. ‘Unhand me, you star-spangled baboon! What right have you to manhandle the Vulture?’ the elderly Spider-Man foe exclaims as he is led down the corridor by a prison guard.

The prison officer reminds the Vulture that he wrecked an airplane, so now he belongs to Uncle Sam for a long time. Other prisoners begin shouting things out: ‘The Vulture? Ha! Without the wings he ain’t nothing but a tired old man!’ ‘Tired, am I? Old, am I?’ the Vulture snarls. Another prisoner declares that the Vulture is no threat to nobody, and calls him a jerk before commenting on how there has been a break out at the Vault. ‘They say a team of super-criminals is being built - fact is, you ain’t been asked. You ain’t one of them. You ain’t nobody!’ the prisoner shouts.

‘Nobody, am I? I’ll show you who I am! I’ll show you all!’ the Vulture threatens, before glancing over to Rusty’s cell and seeing a photograph of Nitro in the paper Rusty is reading, the Vulture cackles as he proclaims that Nitro is going to help him. The guard shoves the Vulture into the cell next to Rusty’s, ‘Your own little steel reinforced nest!’ the guard jokes. Rusty recalls that he has read about Nitro in the news, some guy who can literally cause himself to explode, and the paper says his trial has started. Rusty wonders how they can try him when he is locked in a canister and kept gassed and disorientated, unable to speak in his own defense.

Rusty supposes that once Nitro was out in the air, he could, and probably will, use his explosive power again, or so the papers say, so he realizes there is some excuse to keep Nitro gassed, before wondering if they can try Nitro from a canister, can they find some excuse to do the same thing to him? The guard tells the Vulture that he will see him in the exercise yard and suggests he don’t go stealing any wooden birdseed. ‘Old I may be, you muscle-bound nincompoop, but that gives you no right to insult me!’ the Vulture shouts back, before thinking that Nitro is also old, just as that shaggy silver thatch of hair on his head attests, and yet, the Vulture can tell everyone is afraid of Nitro, afraid that he will blow them all to kingdom come. The Vulture bites his lip, knowing that for now, Nitro is in that canister, and he is trapped in here, ‘But that will change…and it is I, rather you should fear. We vultures feed on the dead! And soon, there will be dead aplenty!’

Back in Asgard, fumes rise before the New Mutants, hot and noxious, behind them bay the hideous hounds of Hel. Wolfsbane encourages Mist to try and hold on for a moment longer, until they can get her out of here and to someplace safe. Mist replies that for one such as she, there is no safety in all of the Nine Worlds. ‘I warned thee, mortals…trust me not!’ Mist shouts before she pushes the New Mutants off the ledge, despite Mirage telling her to wait, as they must not lose the sword.

However, Hela appears in the sky and grabs the sword which slipped from Cannonball’s grasp. Mirage acknowledges Hela’s presence and Brightwind appears alongside Hela as she hovers towards Mirage, and hands her the Deathsword. Hela remarks that it took longer to quell the rebellious Einherjar than she had thought possible, adding that it would have pleased her greatly to have turned them against their lord, to have had them ride with her when she invade Odin’s realm, but that will no longer be possible.

Hela tells Mirage to take her horse and fly deep into the fiery mists, to find those who were once her teammates and if they live, bring them to her. Hela orders Dani to hurry, as the time for invasion is fast upon them, before turning to Mist, who is now kneeling before her, ‘You flung the sword deliberately into the abyss!’ Hela points out. Mist replies that it was an accident, and asks her not to blame her for so long resisting her puissance, as it was the fairy blood which flows through her veins. Mist assures Hela that she has won, and she now belongs to her, body and soul.

Mirage swoops back up towards Hela, announcing that she has searched the mists for as long as Brightwind could stand the heat and fumes, but she has seen no sign of the New Mutants, and the bottom of the pit bubbles with deadly lava. Mirage exclaims that if the poisonous fumes did not kill the New Mutants, then their fiery fall must have done so - for nothing living could survive there. ‘Surely they are dead and gone!’

Meanwhile, in the city of Asgard, the children of Volstagg the Enormous are dragged before the Grand Vizer. The old bearded man looks down at Hildy, for he knows that she is the ring leader in all of this mischief, and asks her to explain why she and her siblings languished in Lord Odin’s dungeon. ‘What has become of the mortal wench, the mechanical man-thing and the wolf-boy who are our rightful prisoners?’ Hildy replies that they are called the New Mutants and are Asgard’s secret allies. Hildy informs the Vizer that the New Mutants learned that Hela has suborned the Valkyries and captured the Einherjar and plans to invade Asgard.

Hildy explains that the New Mutants tried to tell Odin’s guard but that he would not believe them, they however, did. The grand Vizer asks Hildy what makes her wiser than the chosen guard of the all-father, to which Hildy replies that it isn’t that they are wise, but that Prince Hrimhari of the wolves said that it was true, and she knows he would never lie. ‘Hrimhari? Is that who the wolf lad said he was?’ the Vizer asks, before remarking ‘who would have thought the children of Volstagg so credulous as to believe in that ancient myth?’ Wide-eyed, Hildy replies that Hrimhari is not a myth, but true flesh and blood, and suggests the Vizer send a messenger to the Valkyries castle if he doesn’t believe them.

The old man replies that he shall indeed, adding that their father shall learn of this escapade and their impertinence when he returns. Hildy asks if that will be soon, to which the Vizer replies that the Warriors Three should arrive at any moment, and until they do, he orders the children to return to their home. Exiting the Vizer’s palace, one of the kids exclaims that the Vizer does not believe them, and that he has no more idea of when their father shall return than they do. Another of the children remarks that until the Vizer’s messengers confirm their story, he will not send for noble Balder, and by then it will surely be too late. Hildy declares that they must warn Balder then, to which another of the children asks her how they will do that, as Balder is far away, with Karnilla in her kingdom. Hildy points out that at least they know where that is, and she knows how to get them there!

Back in Hel, the air crackles with pulsing sorceries as Hela’s interrupted sword-spell is resumed. Every syllable is a sound of power, resonating a physics beyond logic, binding dark energies to the molecular structure of the sword to create a weapon that is the betrayal of order and reason. A wretched fang of sorcery-most-poisonous to strike at the all-father’s heart. In a blinding flash, it is over, and the Deathsword is complete - and all of Asgard trembles!

Hildy and her siblings are knocked from their feet by a massive rumble. One of them exclaims that it must be an earthquake.

Meanwhile, on the icy rim, the brittle subjects of the giant Tiwaz shatter and break like ancient Asgard’s heart. Warlock exclaims that he is registering a massive seismic occurrence, and Tiwaz adds that the epicenter is coming from icy Hel itself. He remarks that long has he felt dark Hela’s fury at Asgard’s triumph over her, but now Hela’s minions mass for an invasion, and Hela wields a weapon against which the all-father muffled in his Odin Sleep has no defense. Tiwaz exclaims that this weapon, left unchecked, could threaten to fell even the World Tree itself. ‘The World Tree? The source of life?’ Hrimhari exclaims worried. Boom-Boom exclaims that they are, like, going to have to do something…and fast!

Characters Involved: 

Boom-Boom, Cannonball, Mirage, Rictor, Rusty, Sunspot, Warlock, Wolfsbane (all New Mutants)


Hrimhari the Wolf-Prince

Eitri the Dwarf Lord

Kindra, Eitri’s daughter

Mist, a Valkyrie

Tiwaz and his ice creatures

Hildy, Kev, Signe and two other children of Volstagg

Grand Vizer


Harkonin and other members of The Einherjar




Frost Giant


Other Prisoners

Prison Guards

Photograph in Newspaper article:


Story Notes: 

The New Mutants sans Skids and Rusty were brought to Asgard in New Mutants (1st series) #78.

The trouble at the Vault is taking place in Avengers Spotlight #26.

Brightwind is called Nightwind once in this issue, it seems to be a mistake, as he is once again called Brightwind in New Mutants (1st series) #85.

Issue Information: 
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