New Mutants (1st series) #85

Issue Date: 
January 1990
Story Title: 
The Killing Stroke

Louise Simonson (Writer), Geoff Isherwood (Guest Penciler), Rob Liefeld (Cover Artist), Brett Blevins (Inker), Joe Rosen (Letterer), Glynis Oliver (Colorist), Daryl Edelman (Assistant Editor), Bob Harras (Editor), Tom DeFalco (Editor-in-Chief)

Brief Description: 

The battle has been joined! On one side: The New Mutants, the Warriors Three, Balder the Brave, Karnilla and her stone people, the children of Volstagg, Hrimhari the wolf-prince and Queen Ula and her savage swarm. On the other side, Hela and her hoary legions of Hel, Moonstar, Mist and other possessed Valkyries, and other possessed warriors from all over Asgard. The New Mutants have a brief reunion after being separated for so long, but Boom-Boom, Warlock and Hrimhari take off after Mirage, who has begun her flight to Odin’s palace. En route, they slow her down, but are soon thrown off course and end up in the clutches of some rocky creature. This gives Cannonball, Sunspot, Rictor and Wolfsbane the chance to catch up to Moonstar, following her to Odin’s chamber. In Hela’s prison, Eitri creates a key which frees the Executioner and the rest of the Einherjar, who still hold Eitri with some blame for creating the Deathsword which will kill Odin. Eitri reveals to Kindra his daughter that he is going to prevent that from happening, and after the Einherjar storm the battle field, restoring hope to the tiring heroes, Eitri and Kindra soon follow. Eitri hides Kindra, before taking a horse and riding to Odin’s. where the New Mutants have managed to slow Dani down by injuring Brightwind. Cannonball, Sunspot and Rictor are all eventually taken out of the picture, when Eitri arrives and uses his hammer to cut a chink out of the Deathsword, though it wounds him gravely. Cannonball wakes and Eitri tells him that the sword can now be destroyed, warning him that it will kill the person who does, and that he wanted to do it himself. Cannonball barely hesitates before blasting between Mirage and Odin, destroying the sword and releasing Hela’s magic all over Asgard, thus freeing everyone under her control. They and the other heroes all turn on her, but she retreats back to Hel with her followers, boasting that she will return to destroy the New Mutants and Asgard. Dani collapses, and Cannonball, Sunspot and Eitri all lie motionless, with Rictor wondering if any of the New Mutants will ever be the same. The same can be said for Rusty and Skids, who break out of prison back on Earth. Rusty tells Skids that they have to go prevent the Vulture from freeing Nitro and destroying innocent people, though Skids is not entirely convinced, as it was innocent people who got the two of them imprisoned in the first place.

Full Summary: 

In the sky above Asgard, the dimension ruled by the Norse gods, the New Mutants and the free peoples of Asgard have joined forces against the invading warriors of the Death Goddess, Hela. Sam “Cannonball” Guthrie, leader of the teenage New Mutants blasts through the sky, knocking winged warriors from their flight, while Julio “Rictor” Richter rides on a winged beast and uses his seismic powers to throw the winged warriors off balance. Bobby “Sunspot” DaCosta uses his super strength to toss the warriors about, while Rahne “Wolfsbane” Sinclair is also strong in her wolfen form and does the same.

Sam exclaims that this battle gives confusion a new and deadly meaning, as it is hard to tell friend from foe! Rictor agrees and points out that even the heroes that Hela has taken over fight for her like demons. Hela hovers in the air nearby and wonders how the Asgardians did it, how they managed to rally this vast array against her. However, the Death Goddess boasts that she will win, for She-Who-Was-Moonstar has but to use the Deathsword, ‘And Asgard will be mine!’

Cannonball motions to their transformed teammate, Dani “Mirage” Moonstar, who is riding her winged steed Brightwind alongside Mist and the other transformed Valkyries. Sam exclaims that they have got to stop her before she reaches Odin.

On the battlefield below, the Asgardian Warriors Three - Hogun, Fandral and Volstagg, slay thousands of Hela’s demons, while Volstagg’s brave children, Hildy and other four, do battle upon magical chariot goats Toothgnasher and Toothgrinder who belong to the absent Thor, Norse God of Thunder. Nearby, Balder the Brave and the sorceress Karnilla lead their stone army, the people of Nornheim, while Tabitha “Boom-Boom” Smith and Warlock of the New Mutants, along with the wolf-prince Hrimhari, who have been separated from their friends, battle desperately. Queen Ula and her savage swarm have also joined the forces of good.

Ranged against them however are Hela’s monsters, ensorcelled giants, trolls, dwarves, dark elves, and most terrible of all - the Dark Valkyries who were Odin’s maiden warriors and choosers of the dead. Tragically among them is the New Mutant Danielle Moonstar, now Hela’s creature, she wields the most potent weapon, the cursed sword forged by Hela’s captive, the dwarf-lord Eitri.

Urgently, Wolfsbane points to the battle field and informs Cannonball that Boom-Boom, Warlock and Hrimhari are surrounded. Rahne adds that as Dani is just circling and not doing anything, they have to go and save them. ‘If we hurry!’ replies Sam, pointing out that they can use their friends when they go up against Dani. Sam blasts down to the battle field, scattering the warriors that are surrounding his friends, and Warlock shifts his form, as Sam instructs, to protect the others from his dive-bomb.

Amid all the carnage, this is hardly the time for a reunion, but the friends are reunited, and Sunspot tells Warlock that he has mustered an impressive army. Boom-Boom boasts that they did it all by themselves, and that Hela will be stopped because of them. ‘You wish, Boom-Boom!’ Rictor exclaims to his friend, before motioning skywards and alerting his friends to Dani. ‘So?’ asks Boom-Boom. Rictor informs her that Dani’s sword will kill Odin enabling Hela to steal Odin’s soul and all his power. ‘So it’s Dani we have to stop!’ Boom-Boom realizes, while muttering ‘And here I promised that sweet old giant Tiwaz we’d save Asgard!’

‘Then self friends, we must!’ exclaims Warlock as he snatches up Boom-Boom and Hrimhari and blasts at top speeds after the retreating Dani. Sunspot calls after his alien teammate, asking him what he is doing. ‘Come back!’ he shouts, pointing out that they are a team. ‘You idiots! Boom-Boom, this isn’t a game!’ Sam declares that Boom-Boom isn’t listening and tells the others to mount up on the winged beasts they stole, but Sunspot alerts his teammates to the approaching warriors behind them. Sam decides that they are lucky then that Boom-Boom and the others got away from this battle and went after Dani, who has changed more than ever, more powerful, more dangerous, but maybe, just maybe, Boom-Boom and the others can engage her and slow her down till they can join them.

High above, Warlock streaks across the sky in the form of a large bird of prey. Boom-Boom tells Hrimhari that this is one problem-filled environment he has here, while tossing a time bomb towards her deranged teammate. ‘It makes New York look like Disney Land!’ Tabby jokes, while Hrimhari tells her to be quiet, as their aim must be true, Dani must be distracted. Tabby’s time bomb smacks Mirage in the back, ‘FOOLS!’ she screams, turning to her pursuers, she tells them that they have presumed once to often upon Moonstar’s memories to save them. ‘Presume no longer!’ she shouts as she unleashes a bolt of flaming energy upon them.

Dani’s blast causes Boom-Boom to fall from Warlock, while the deranged New Mutant cries that Danielle Moonstar’s hold on her has ended, ‘Darkness is her mistress now - and thine!’ Warlock extends his form so that a large cupped hand catches Boom-Boom. But thrown off course from pursuing Moonstar, the three fly directly towards a large rocky creature that reaches out to grab them. ‘Bummer!’ mutters Boom-Boom.

Not far away, Sunspot tosses the last of the warriors aside, informing Cannonball that is all of them for now, before remarking that he can see Dani up in the sky, but not Warlock and the others. Fearful and apprehensive, the four New Mutants leap upon their winged mounts and urge them high over the battle field. Rictor declares that he cannot see them anywhere, while Rahne is worried about her wolf-prince, and wonders what her monster best friend has done to him, urging Sam that they have to go and look for the others. Sam assures Rahne that it is tearing him up too, but that they don’t have time to look for them as they have to stop Dani from using the sword - for if she does, the people of Asgard will all die horribly at Hela’s hands. He points out that Boom-Boom and Warlock slowed Mirage down enough, giving the rest of them a slim chance at stopping her. ‘Let’s make their sacrifice count!’

Balder and Karnilla, lovers, stand side by side and watch the New Mutants follow their insane teammate. Balder remarks that he begins to understand why Thor spends his time on Earth and loves the mortals as his special charges. ‘Their lives, compared to ours, are fleeting as a Summer day, and yet, you see? They spend them gallantly fighting our battle in the service of right!’ Karnilla agrees, ‘Surely, my love, they are heroes and their deeds will live in song long after they are gone!’

Elsewhere, many warriors have fallen to Hela’s enchantments, but not all. The Einherjar, chosen by the Valkyries from among the battle-slain, remain true to Odin, and themselves. It would take much to subdue these elite warriors, and Hela has chosen to spend her energy on the Valkyries and the Deathsword, content that, imprisoned, the Einherjar cannot fight against her. However, imprisoned with them is the dwarf-lord Eitri, forger of the Deathsword, and his daughter, Kindra.

Eitri points out that even those who are supposed to be guarding them have joined Hela’s invasion, and exclaims that he has been awaiting this opportunity. Eitri reveals to the Executioner that he has found a key, rusty and bent, but has been reshaping it in secret. He displays the key, before placing it into the lock and opening the prison, telling the Einherjar that they are free to go and aid Asgard if they are able. The powerful Executioner remarks that it was Eitri who forged the Deathsword, but that his deed here has redeemed him, in part, before ordering the Einherjar to their weapons, then they will go through the mystic warp and out upon the field of battle. One of the Einherjar exclaims that the prison door is open, but that Hela’s dark spell still tugs at them, endeavouring them to remain here, sapping their strength. ‘Then we must fight the foul magic and make good our escape, for the sake of Asgard!’ the Executioner exclaims.

Eitri watches the warriors leave the dungeon and overhears one of them remark ‘We must stop the evil wrought by the dwarf-lord!’ Kindra asks her father how he can let them speak like that, as he did what he had to save her, and the New Mutants, his friends. Eitri begins breaking his chains and tells his daughter not to blame the warriors, for their anger will strengthen them in the coming battle. He adds that each of them must fight death in their own way, ‘I blame myself that things have gone so far!’ Eitri and his daughter begin to leave the dungeon and Eitri reveals that there is a fault in Hela’s plan, known to only he alone. Eitri informs Kindra that they are also going through the warp, to the battle field that lies beyond, informing his daughter that when they emerge, she must hide herself and by no means engage in the battle. Kindra begins to protest, but Eitri tells her to listen to him, ‘Thou must live…to tell thy mother that, though I forged the Deathsword, I did not allow it to be used…but died, bravely, righting a terrible wrong!’

Back on the battle field, reinforcements from all over the city, even those who guard the sleeping Odin, have left their post to join Asgard’s defense…but they are still losing. Karnilla tells her lover to rest, pointing out that he is injured, while assuring him that her magicks will keep the approaching creatures at bay, while her restorative spell does its work on his injuries. ‘Nay, my love!’ Balder replies, exclaiming that while there is still life in his limbs he must not rest, but rise and fight on, ‘For Hela must not be allowed to triumph!’ he exclaims.

The Warriors Three are still fighting valiantly and Hogun applauds Fandral on a maneuver. Fandral replies that there is nothing dashing about this battle, and fears that it will make him as grim as Hogun. Nearby, Hildy exclaims that she wished Thor’s goats hadn’t thrown them off, to which Volstagg tells his clever daughter that the goats judged wisely, for deciding that children do not belong in battle. He tells his daughter that her heart is large, but stature is small. ‘Sometimes, papa, small works best!’ Hildy exclaims as she smashes a giant’s approaching hand with a mallet. Another of his children asks Volstagg where Loki is, as he though Hela is his daughter, surely he would oppose this mad scheme.

For all of the valor of its warriors, Asgard is surely doomed to fall to the overwhelming onslaught of Hela’s legions of the dead - then, through the warp bursts the Einherjar, wielding not swords and spears, but automatic weapons acquired in battle on Earth not too long ago. ‘To battle, men! And may we banish Hel’s foul legions from our land!’ The Einherjar begin blasting Hela’s minions with the weapons not familiar on Asgard. ‘Back, monsters! Threaten not Asgard’s finest!’

Volstagg congratulates the Executioner, exclaiming that the aid of the Einherjar was much needed, for Asgard is in desperate peril. Hildy points out that the Einherjar were imprisoned in Hel, and asks them how they escaped. The Executioner reveals that Eitri freed them, and as if on cue, Eitri and Kindra appear on the battle field. Volstagg exclaims that Asgard has much to thank Eitri for, while remarking that the Einherjar’s presence here might turn the tide against Hela and her minions. ‘Great is his heroism!’ Volstagg exclaims regarding Eitri. ‘And great is his infamy, for he has forged the sword to kill -’ the Executioner begins, until he sees a warrior above them crack a small ledge, causing rocks to fall down upon them. ‘Kill? Kill whom? Brave Executioner, answer me!’ Volstagg exclaims, but the reply is lost in the crash of collapsing rubble and the clangor of battle. Time is running out….

Eitri takes his daughter to a small hole a hillside and tells her to hide there and to remember what he has told her. Kindra motions for her father to look behind himself, and doing so, Eitri exclaims that the Fates have heard his prayers, though their blessing is punishment enough in its own way for all of his transgressions. Eitri looks at one of Odin’s special war-steeds, bred for strength and swiftness, he remarks that hr would rather fight a serpent than mount this steed, for dwarves dislike horses, believing that honest men should keep both feet firmly planted on the ground, yet Eitri ignores the thumping of his heart and slides closely, dodging the flailing hooves to grab the war-steeds bridle.

He proceeds to gallop through the battle field towards Odin’s palace as he sees a ball of fire streaking towards Odin’s palace, realizing it is the one they call Moonstar and behind her, the New Mutants. A monster approaches Eitri on the horse, but the dwarf-lord smacks it aside with his mallet, ‘I have not time for thee!’ Eitri exclaims, knowing that the New Mutants cannot hold Moonstar for long. ‘I must shatter the sword…or Asgard is lost!’

Back up in the sky, the mutant Danielle Moonstar had a talent, she could give dreams and fears flesh-and-blood reality. But she is now a Dark Valkyrie, a servant of Death herself, her soul ashes. But that inborn power is still hers to command, and she points at Odin’s chamber, and the New Mutants watch, horrified, as the roof is ripped off by a white hot flame. The room is like a furnace, but even in his Odin Sleep, the all-father’s magicks will protect him from the flames - but not from the sword!

Cannonball drops down between his dear friend and the all-father, protected from the heat by his force field, he calls out to Dani, asking her to give him the sword. Within seconds, the roof to Odin’s chamber is gone, and the other New Mutants drop down into the chamber, with Rictor exclaiming ‘Hey, Dani! Don’t be such a hothead!’ ‘Speak not that accursed name in my presence, Rictor!’ She-Who-Was-Moonstar replies, only to be struck to the ground, along with Brightwind, as Rictor uses his seismic powers on them, ‘You got it! Actions speak louder than words, in any case!’ Rictor remarks.

Moonstar hears a crack and realizes that Rictor has broken Brightwind’s wing. Cannonball exclaims that the horse is no more Brightwind than she is Dani, and declares that it was done because they cannot take a chance of risking her run away. ‘We’re gonna have this out, here and now!’ Dani tells Sam to be silent, exclaiming that she wants vengeance against Rictor, and covers his hands in her powerful flames. ‘My hands!’ Rictor shouts, dropping to the ground.

Rahne and Sam step in between Dani and Rictor, and Rahne calls out to her best friend to leave Rictor alone, and put the sword down. ‘If our friendship ever meant anything to you…please!’ Rahne remarks that Dani, more than anyone, knows what that cursed weapon means for this world, to which Dani asks ‘What care I for this world?’ ‘But you care for us, don’t you? No matter what you say, you don’t want to hurt us…and you’ll have to kill us to get to Odin!’ Rahne warns Moonstar.

The deranged New Mutant exclaims that the shred-that-was-Moonstar may want what she wants, ‘But it is I who control the body…and the power!’ Dani lashes out with flame, causing Sam to push Rahne out of the way so that he absorbs the blow himself. Sam tells Rahne that reasoning with Dani will not help, nor will appealing to her better nature, as Dani is locked away , trapped in the dungeon of her soul, ‘It’s up to us to set her free!’ Mirage tells Cannonball to fly, pointing out that the more he activates his blast field, the worse it will become for him, ‘For this is no ordinary flame, but your worst nightmare!’ Sam exclaims that the flame is interacting with his blast field, filling it with gas, he then falls to the floor, unconscious.

Dani turns to Rahne, who is holding on to the unconscious Rictor, and asks her if she cares to test her any further, before suggesting she move aside, as Lord Odin is “waiting” for her, however, as Mirage walks over to the all-father, Sunspot smacks his powerful fists down on the floorboards she walks on, causing her tumble backwards. ‘That’s one appointment you won’t keep!’ Sunspot tells Dani as he raises one of his fists above her face, only to be bombarded with her evil flame.

Rahne grabs a tapestry that was hanging on the wall and smothers the flames that burn Sunspot while exclaiming that this is not their darling Dani anymore, before wondering why it has taken her so long to realize that. The possessed Moonstar staggers up. She is hurt, but is driven by a need beyond herself. ‘Blood! The sword needs…blood!’ she exclaims, when, suddenly, the chamber door is splintered open by a forger’s hammer, and Eitri reveals himself, lunging towards Moonstar, he exclaims ‘If the sword needs blood…then let it drink mine!’ Eitri strikes the blade with his hammer, ‘Fool! The blade! You have damaged the blade!’ Moonstar screams, before her fury engulfs Eitri in a sheet of flame.

Meanwhile, dimensions away in upstate New York, the unjustly imprisoned New Mutant, Rusty Collins has tackled the half-mad Vulture as he escapes from federal prison. ‘The other prisoners will scorn me no longer!’ the aged villain squawks as he flies around the prison yard, boasting that he will release Nitro from his container and create such devastation that the world will tremble at the mention of his name. ‘Sorry, Vulture, but I can’t let that happen!’ Rusty exclaims, warning the Vulture to give up, otherwise he will ignite his wings and burn them to shreds.

The Vulture pleads with Rusty not to hurt him and swoops towards the ground, exclaiming that he will land, but instead, circles in his flight, ‘It is you who will land - hard!’ he cackles as he forces Rusty off of him, in the process, Rusty’s leg is zapped by the electric fence, and the Vulture exclaims that he was not born yesterday. He calls Rusty a heroic fool and suggests he ponder that, ‘While I fly free!’.

Watching from her cell is Rusty’s girlfriend, the New Mutant Sally “Skids” Blevins, horror stricken, she watches the fight and calls out to Rusty, ‘Please be all right!’ she exclaims, while in a nearby guard-tower, a watchman exclaims that the escaping prisoner is the mutant, and recalls he was warned about him. ‘Halt or I’ll shoot!’ the guard cries out, firing bullets at Rusty anyway. ‘Cut it out! It’s not me who’s escaping you idiots! It’s the Vulture!’ Rusty calls back, sending a blast of flame up to the watch tower to defend himself.

Rusty then calls out to Skids, asking her if she can hear him, he tells her to stand back from the window and let him burn her an exit. Rusty barely gestures and solid steel bars ignite. Skids then hurls herself past the flames and leaps out the window, ‘What the heck do you think you’re doing?’ Rusty asks his girlfriend, who tells him not to worry, as her deflector field is under her and will cushion her fall so she will not be hurt. Landed, Sally spins around and uses her force field to protect both she and Rusty, while asking her lover what this is all about, and why he cares if the Vulture escapes.

‘Why help humans anyway? They’re the ones who jailed us!’ Sally reminds him, to which Rusty burns a hole in the wire fence surrounding the prison and informs Sally that the Vulture is going to free Nitro, explaining that he is some madman with the power to cause incredible explosions and is currently being kept in a canister that prevents him from exploding. ‘Who?’ Sally asks, continuing to hold her force field in place protecting she and Rusty from the bullets.

Rusty turns around and grabs Sally’s wrist, pulling her along with him as they escape, and he informs her that Nitro is on trial in his canister, unable to participate in his own defense. Sally continues to block the bullets by creating small shields to protect them while Rusty remarks that there are reporters, picketers for civil liberty and lots of innocents in and around the courthouse. ‘And unless we can stop it, the Vulture will release him and Nitro will explode! Hundreds of innocent people will die!’.

Back in Asgard, Cannonball regains consciousness, lying around him are the unconscious Rictor and Sunspot, who is being tended to by Wolfsbane, and Mirage and Brightwind are nearby too. Sam sees Eitri and asks him what he is doing here, what happened. Weak, Eitri calls out to Sam, ‘Son of my heart’ he calls him as he reveals that he forged a flaw into the sword, and trying to destroy it, he nicked it to mark the flaw. Eitri explains that the blow will release such magic, that it may very well kill the one who takes it. ‘Wanted it to be…me…’ Eitri whispers, before going silent.

Cannonball watches as Mirage rises and stands before the sleeping Lord Odin. Flames engulf her and she raises the sword, ready to strike. Cannonball is invulnerable when he is blasting, and since he joined the original New Mutants he has practised his timing, and his aim. Now, his eyes are fastened on the telltale nick in the blade - that is where the blow must strike. The sword swings in a glistening arc that will split the all-father’s heart - but it strikes Sam Guthrie instead! And, in the explosion of the thunder and energy, the Deathsword shatters.

A brilliant light engulfs all of Asgard as magic is released from the shattered sword and fills the sky. On the battle field, warriors for both Asgard and Hel stop and stare into the light, and Hela’s hold on the denizens of Asgard is broken, and those enthralled are released. ‘Free!’ cries one of the warriors! A Valkyrie looks to the Heavens and exclaims ‘We are free! Our bodies…our wills…are now our own!’ In outrage, they all turn towards Hela who is standing high above on a peak. ‘Attack her!’, ‘Destroy her!’, ‘Drive her back to Hel!’ the Asgardians shout.

Hela realizes that the sword is gone and all of her brave plans are now laid to waste. She orders her remaining legions back into Hel, warning the Asgardians that they have not heard the end of her, someday, soon, she will return. ‘Asgard…and the New Mutants…will pay!’

Back in Odin’s chamber, ‘No! What have I done? What have I allowed to happen?’ Dani exclaims as the flames surrounding her dissolve, and she begins to fall. The now-conscious Rictor grabs her and places a tapestry around her naked body. Rahne goes over to her best find and Rictor informs her that she is back, and that they saved Odin too. Looking around, Cannonball, Sunspot and Eitri are all lying on the floor motionless, Odin too remains in his Odin Sleep, and Rictor wonders if Dani, or any of them here, will ever be the same….

Characters Involved: 

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


Hrimhari the Wolf-Prince

Fandral, Hogun, Volstagg (all Warriors Three)

Balder the Brave


The stone people of Nornheim

Hildy, Kev, Signe and two other children of Volstagg

Eitri the Dwarf Lord

Kindra, Eitri’s daughter

Executioner and the Einherjar

Queen Ula

The Savage Swarm

Toothgnasher & Toothgrinder




Mist and other Valkyries

Various creatures

Various Asgardians in Hela’s army


Prison Guards

Story Notes: 

This issue is part of the Acts of Vengeance, a company-wide story that took place throughout Marvel titles at this time.

Boom-Boom, Warlock and Hrimhari were separated from the other New Mutants in New Mutants (1st series) #82.

Rusty and Skids were unfairly imprisoned in New Mutants (1st series) #82.

Issue Information: 
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