Welcome to Hel. Welcome to the darkest and most melancholy of all the Nine Worlds, Dani Moonstar. Welcome to the Realm of the Dead. Dani Moonstar a.k.a. Mirage, leader of the New Mutants has donned Asgardian armor as she rides Brightwing, and a raven guides her on through the sky. ‘Whoa, Brightwing!’ Moonstar calls out as her Pegasus comes to a stop, landing on some ice-covered, barren terrain. Wide-eyed, Dani looks around and asks ‘Can you feel that? That…tingle in the wind? I thought things were bad at home. What’s happening here?’, while the raven squawks at her: ‘Hela! Hel! Help!’ Mirage calls out to the raven, ‘Hey! Okay, you! Here’ and it flies over to her. ‘Aren’t you supposed to be my guide?’ she asks it. ‘Some kind of summoner? What do I call you?’ she asks.
‘KAW! Help! Help!’ the raven squawks. ‘Okay, “Kaw”. You dragged me to Hel because Hela sent for me, right? To help? But I came looking for her help! Have you any idea how much danger my world is facing right n-’ Dani tells Kaw, who squawks at her again. ‘Yes, I get that part. But help what?’ Dani asks the bird. Suddenly, ‘Look! One of Hela’s own!’ a voice calls out. ‘Wait! Who’s -’ Dani calls out to Kaw as the bird flies away, but Dani turns and sees hundreds of Asgardian warriors gathered. ‘An avenging angel!’ one of them calls out. ‘Too little, too late!’ another declares, while a Centaur tells her to run away, as the battle is already done. ‘Turn around and take flight with us!’ he urges her.
As they gather around her, Mirage suddenly realizes that they are shades of the dead - spirits. ‘Good God, how are there so many of you?’ she asks. ‘We smelled the life and light in you. We thought you might be able to show us a way out’ one of the spirits tells her. ‘A way out?’ Dani asks. ‘Are you scared of something?’ she enquires, to which one of the spirits exclaims ‘Damn right! And you should be too!’ Confused, Dani reminds them that they are dead. ‘Nothing could be so bad that -’ she begins, but one of them interrupts, ‘You’ve heard of a date worse than death, right? Well, it’s heading this way’.
Meanwhile, in a place that, in a small but significant way - isn’t Hel. A red-colored being grins, and exclaims ‘Please allow me to introduce myself, I’m a man of wealth and taste’. He gets no response, so remarks ’No? Not even a smile? A chortle? Ooh, tough crowd’ Mephisto, lord of Hell utters. Standing before him are several young mutants - Doug “Cypher” Ramsey, Bobby “Sunspot” DaCosta, Amara “Magma” Aquilla and the alien Warlock, collectively known as the New Mutants, as well as their new companion, X-Man. ’Doug. Get us out of here!’ Sunspot urges. Examining his notes, Doug replies ‘Yeah. But. Okay. I…I don’t know how I got us into here’.
Mephisto looms over the young mutants and points out that they are here, so they should make the best of it. ‘He seems friendly, self-friends. Perhaps -’ Warlock begins, but Sunspot tells him ‘Don’t’, to which Mephisto asks if this is a Catholic thing. Bobby stares away from Mephisto and tells the others not to look at him and not to talk to him. Amara tells bobby that they are going to need help getting out of here, to which Bobby replies that will not get it from him. ‘I am serious’ he warns his friends. ‘You don’t talk to him. Talking’s what he does. It’s how he tricks you’ Bobby remarks, while Doug grows increasingly frustrated, scrunching up the papers, he declares that he thinks Mephisto has already tricked them. ‘I mean, he must have done something to the spell I used to get us here’.
Mephisto walks down some stairs and stands close to the New Mutants, and announces that he is not guilty. ‘Generally speaking, I don’t care how people get here. I just care about how they stay’ he explains. ‘Look, we’ve slipped reality iterations, that’s all. We’re just off-target. Figure out what you did wrong and redo it, Doug -’ X-Man calls out. Sunspot tells him that this is not just an alternate dimension. ‘Listen to Bobby. It really isn’t’ Mephisto remarks. X-Man boasts that he has traveled transdimensionally, that he knows how it works. ‘It just doesn’t freak me out. This is just the wrong multi-parallel and -’ he begins. Sunspot tells him that this is Hell. ‘So, what? He’s the Devil?’ Nate asks, motioning at Mephisto, who replies that he finds the name Mephisto more user-friendly. ‘Because, “the Devil”? Talk about negative brand reinforcement’. He frowns as he adds ‘And don’t get me started on the Lord of Lies’.
He assures the New Mutants that, for a start, he is not lying. ‘I told you who I was, and where you were. I’m totally transparent about this stuff’. He informs the young mutants that they are in Hell, and if they want to be somewhere else he can get them out, and suggests that they talk terms. ‘Don’t listen to him’ Sunspot states again. ‘But if -’ Magma begins, ‘AMARA!’ Sunspot shouts. ‘Ooh, “Amara”, I like it!’ Mephisto declares. ‘High maintenance, but lovely’ he remarks. Warlock transforms himself into a bench for Cypher to sit down on, and he declares that he doesn’t know what he did. ‘I can’t piece the spell back together in my head. The words are just…erasing…I made a mistake but I can’t remember what it was’ Doug announces. ‘Self-soul friend, Self will help you’ Warlock calls out, as he begins accessing his memory and plays it for the others.
They see the X-Men battling a transformed Juggernaut, and Sin killing Bucky - Captain America. ‘Hey, hey, everyone…relax. Let’s just cool the heck down and take a moment. It’s not like there’s anywhere else you should really desperately be…is there?’ Mephisto grins. The New Mutants are shocked at the images, and Amara declares that everyone is going to die. ‘We’re trapped. We’ve got ourselves trapped here’ X-Man exclaims. ‘You sunova -’ Sunspot begins as he strides towards Mephisto, while Doug begins to pick up all of his papers, muttering that he can’t do it, cannot figure it out. ‘So…how much do you need my help right now?’ Mephisto asks, smiling.
In the meantime, in Hel, Dani informs the spirits that her world is in trouble. ‘Which one is that?’ one of them asks. ‘Midgard’ Dani replies. ‘The realm of man…’ one of the souls remarks. ‘I remember Midgard’ another declares, while Mirage asks them to tell her the names they used to be known by. A gray-skinned, mostly bald warrior replies that he was Bjurg Shieldwall. ‘The lad was Sarstone Died-Too-Early. Then there’s -’ he continues, while Dani tells him that she came to get Hela’s help. ‘No chance. She’ll be dead by now. The Draumar woke up’ Bjurg reveals. ‘Really? And who was that?’ Danielle asks. Bjurg explains that Draumar means “The Dreams”, if all you speak is Midgardian. ‘And from that accent I guess you must’ he adds.
‘Dreams of what?’ Mirage enquires. ‘Bad dreams. The bad dreams someone very dangerous had a long time ago’ another of the spirits reveals. ‘Who?’ Mirage asks. Bjurg explains that no one remembers, as the memories are so old they wore away, like rainwater wears away stone. ‘His bad dreams were buried in Hel so no one else could have them’ Bjurg adds. The other spirit tells Mirage that he must have come back, because his dreams have woken up. ‘And that’s why you’re running?’ Mirage asks. ‘Girl, we physically cannot cross the boundaries of Hel…but by the Nine Worlds, we’re going to try, because with the Draumar abroad, there’s nothing for us here’ Bjurg explains.
‘Except something worse than death. Others can face that. Not us’ one of the others adds. ‘So we’re talking about…evil dead gods that everyone had forgotten about?’ Mirage asks. ‘She wouldn’t make a greater spinner of sagas, would she?’ Bjurg tells his comrades. ‘Still, it sums it up, I suppose’ a third remarks. Mirage climbs back onto Brightwing and asks ‘Where are they?’ ‘The evil dead gods that everyone had forgotten about?’ Bjurg asks. ‘Yeah’ Dani tells him. ‘Are you really that insane?’ one of the warriors asks her. ‘Must be’ Dani replies as she prepares to take flight.
Back in Hell, Sunspot declares that they do not negotiate with the Devil incarnate. ‘Oh, big picture, please. You’re in Hell. You’re mine already. It’s done. Your mistake, not my fault, but you’re mine!’ Mephisto retorts. He clasps his hands together and informs them that he can do anything he wants with them. ‘But where would be the fun in that?’ he asks, announcing that the only satisfaction he ever gets is when the deal is made willingly - when the sacrifice is theirs. He adds that he will offer a tremendous amount of gratitude and cooperation in return for a little satisfaction.
‘So, to review, you’re looking at eternal suffering, or…giving me something worthwhile in return for my help. Voluntarily’ Mephisto tells the New Mutants, but Sunspot informs his teammates that he is tricking them, and to ignore him. ‘Oh, Roberto, you’re so pig-headed’ Mephisto begins, but Sunspot snaps and shouts ‘I said back off!’ as he unleashes a blast of energy at Mephisto. ‘AND I SAID THERE WAS A HARD WAY!’ Mephisto booms as he transforms into a massive head, and his large tongue darts out of his mouth and wraps around Bobby. ‘Get away from him! NOW!’ Magma warns Mephisto as she rises above him, and uses her power to bring forth lava from under the ground.
Mephisto releases Bobby, ‘Impressive’ he tells Amara, before apologizing for yelling, explaining that he has a bit of a temper. ‘Amara, was it? Here’s my offer’ he begins, offering to let them go, and that he will even transport them all directly to Hel - ‘One “L” Hel’ he confirms. ‘In return for what?’ Amara asks. ‘A date with you. One single date. No strings’ Mephisto replies. Magma remains silent, just stares at Mephisto. ‘Don’t say anything, Amara -’ Sunspot declares. ‘No not say yes!’ X-Man adds. Warlock begins to point out that there will be no other way. ‘Are you kidding?’ Doug mutters. The silence from Amara continues, before she answers Mephisto’s question: Okay. Yes. Deal’. ‘Wonderful. I’ll call you’ Mephisto replies, before he uses his power to transport the New Mutants and X-Man. ‘And now off with you. I do hope you get there in time’ he tells them.
At that moment, ‘I can hear the battle from up here’ Mirage tells herself as she and Brightwind hover over Hela’s citadel. She declares that they have to get down there and help, when suddenly, she goes wide-eyed, ‘Oh my God. They’re huge. I can feel…terror, like a physical thing…here goes, anyway…’ Mirage declares as Brightwing sets her down on the ice-covered ground. ‘Hey, big fat ugly jerks! Who wants it first?’ Mirage calls out. Several beings turn to her, while some remaining warriors father nearby. ‘A Dark Angel! A Dark Angel’s come to fight at our side. Rally, warriors of Gel! Rally and fight!’ one of the warriors calls out. One hideous beast with massive oversized arms, an eye on its chest, two smaller arms extending from its stomach and its large jagged-tooth mouth on its shoulder can be seen standing over some warriors.
Weapons are thrown towards Mirage, ‘Jeez!’ she exclaims, while a warrior tells her to watch her wings. ‘Yeah, I’m Hela’s Angel! Let’s go, you ugly sons of -’ Mirage calls out, sword ready for battle - but an instant later, the hideous beast with the mouth on its shoulder chomps down on her, seemingly swallowing her whole, and raven feathers scatter all around….