‘How do I look?’ Amara Aquilla a.k.a. Magma of the New Mutants asks her friend and teammate Danielle “Mirage” Moonstar, as she stares into a mirror. ‘Great. Beautiful. Far too good for him. He’s a really luck guy’ Mirage replies. ’God Amara! This isn’t’ right! We -’ Dani begins, but Magma tells her that she knows this has to happen, that it is a one-time deal. ‘I’m only going along with it to…you know…save our mortal souls’ she explains. Dani declares that there has to be another way and offers to call Hela, or even Cyclops, the Beast or Wolverine, as one of them will have the number for Doctor Strange. ‘Or Ghost Rider’ Dani adds, but Magma cuts her off, announcing that she is doing this, and she is going to be really careful.
Magma motions to the bracelet on her wrist and explains that it is a tech-tag that Warlock made for her, so that they can track her. Amara assures Dani that she is not going to agree to anything that will get her or the team into further infernal trouble. ‘One date. That’s all. One date. He agreed to let us out of Hell if I went on one date with him’. Looking in the mirror once more, Magma declares that she thinks she knows how to say “never going to happen”. ‘Ask Bobby’ she points out, causing Moonstar to just roll her eyes.
Outside the New Mutants’ San Francisco home, a cat hisses as a shadow falls upon it on the pavement, while inside, ‘This is killing me. Killing me’ Bobby “Sunspot” DaCosta mutters as he paces the hallway. ‘Think of it as a mission, Roberto’ a shirtless Nate “X-Man” Grey suggests as he sits on some stairs, telekinetically lifting some small discs into the air. ‘It’s not a mission, you dumb-ass! She’s going on a date with the Devil incarnate!’ Sunspot exclaims. Nate suggests again that it is a mission, and points out that Magma got the team out of eternal damnation by agreeing to one night out. ‘She’s doing this for the team’ he tells Roberto. ‘She’s going on a date. With the Devil!’ Sunspot repeats. Nate points out that Amara can handle herself. ‘I’ve seen her in action’ he adds.
‘He’s not some handsy jock or trust fund brat!’ Sunspot declares. ‘He’s the metaphysical embodiment of the source of all evil in the world!’ Nate asks if it is really that, or ‘Is it that she’s going out with anybody who isn’t you?’ Suddenly, the doorbell rings. Nate loses control of the objects he was lifting telekinetically, and Cypher a.k.a. Doug Ramsey, and the alien Warlock turn their heads from around the corner, as they and Sunspot all look at the door, wide-eyed.
The door opens, and standing before them is Mephisto, dressed in a blue suit and holding a bunch of red roses. ‘Hi. Here to pick up Amara? She ready?’ the Devil asks. Sunspot and the other boys all frown at Mephisto. ‘Well, this isn’t awkward at all’ he jokes, before Amara walks down the stairs, followed by Dani. ‘Wow. You look…wow’ Mephisto calls out. As Amara takes the flowers and heads out the door, Cypher tells her not to say yes to anything and not to agree to anything. ‘Watch what you say to him. Think how it might be interpreted. He’s all about lies!’ Doug declares, suggesting to Magma that she doesn’t use any phrases that leave loopholes for consequences or repercussions.
‘It’s a date, not a senate hearing’ Mephisto calls out, assuring the New Mutants that he will have Amara back by midnight. ‘After that, you know, be busy sacrificing virgins’ he remarks. Everyone looks shocked, but Mephisto quickly remarks ‘Too soon for jokes? My bad’. Walking down onto the pavement, Amara sees Mephisto’s red car and remarks ‘Uh…nice car’. ‘Hey, this is restrained’ Mephisto assures her, adding that he has a Phaeton made of adulterers’ hearts pulled by horses from the abattoir of all pestilence. ‘Trust me. You did not want me pulling up here in that baby’ Mephisto remarks as he helps Magma into the car. ‘What would the neighbors think?’
At that moment, out of one of the windows across the street, a young man is standing at his window and sees the red car drive off down the street. ‘The Hell -?’ he utters as he gets his binoculars out.
‘Oh, and the jewelery? Too ostentatious’ Mephisto remarks as he takes Magma’s emergency bracelet and throws it out the car window, where it bounces along the street. ‘We have lost her already, selffriends’ Warlock states darkly as the New Mutants stand on the sidewalk and watch the car drive away. ‘Man!’ Sunspot complains.
Five minutes later, ‘You…brought me to Hell for our date?’ Magma asks as she sits down at a long table, placed beside a large window which looks out over a field of volcanos and lava pools. Mephisto’s waiter-like servants stand around, while Mephisto gushes that he is going all out tonight, and that she is getting all his best stuff. ‘This place, okay, is great! I know the owner. He owes me a favor’ Mephisto remarks. Motioning out the window, he tells Magma that this is the Third Circle, which is gluttony. ‘But I figure we’re eating anyway’ he adds, before pointing out that it overlooks the Bay of Agony. ‘Don’t let the name put you off’ he adds, telling Magma that it has amazing views and burning seas. ‘Of Magma. See what I did? Magma? Just for you, right?’ Mephisto smiles, adding that later on he has arranged for Mountains Etna and Krakatoa to come by and put on a little show for them. ‘Krakatoa?’ Magma asks. ‘Absolutely. East of wherever the heck I tell it to be’ Mephisto declares, adding that right now, they have the house band. ‘Fellas?’ he calls out, to where a group of five musicians stand ready.
‘Hey, man. Five, six, seven -’ the drummer calls out. Magma goes eyes-wide and stares at the stage: ‘The guy on keyboards, is that…?’ she asks, to which Mephisto, sitting at the other end of the table, replies ‘I know, right? Great, huh?’ and tells Magma not to get him started on the correlation between musical genius and going to Hell. ‘But speaking of which, the stand-up acts I’ve booked for later, after the volcanos -’ he begins, until Magma tells him to stop.
‘I’m sorry. Stop’ Amara declares. ‘What?’ Mephisto asks. ‘Just stop’ Amara exclaims, declaring that she thought she could do this, but that she can’t. ‘This isn’t real. This isn’t a real date. This isn’t a real anything’ she tells Mephisto. ‘I don’t know what I was thinking…’ Amara mutters as she stands up. Mephisto stands up as well and tells Amara to chill for a second, while Amara declares that her friends were trapped in Hell, that they were desperate, so she would have agreed to anything to help them get out. ‘I thought…one date, you know? But I was crazy, I can’t do this’ Amara exclaims, telling Mephisto that this is too much, way too much, that she can’t be here. ‘Every word I say, every word you say, I’m checking them for double meanings and riddles’.
Magma declares that she knows if she makes one slip, she is going to damn everyone she knows and loves. ‘You’re really not’ Mephisto announces. ‘That’s how you work. It’s lies and tricks and verbal contracts with hidden implications’ Magma exclaims. ‘I know it!’ she states, adding that tonight is not a way of clearing a debt with the Devil, but the Devil’s way of making that debt worse. Magma tells Mephisto to show her what she has to sign and then they can get it done. ‘Tell me what you want. Tell me what you need me to do to leave my friends alone’.
In the meantime, back in San Francisco, there is a “yip yip yip” noise, while Warlock skulks through the New Mutants’ home with a bowl of dog food. ‘Shhh’ the alien calls out before opening the door to one of the rooms, where a reddish-brown fire-breathing puppy with big eyes stares up at him excitedly. ‘You must be quiet, Hel-Hound puppy / friend!’ Warlock exclaims. He tells the puppy that it is his Asgardian secret. ‘Self does not pretend to understand such things, but there is imperative puppy quietness so that you remain hidden’ Warlock tells the dog, who just whines. Warlock sets the bowl of food down in front of the dog, who licks Warlock’s hand. ‘Warlock? Who was that?’ X-Man calls out from down the corridor. ‘Um. Nobody’ Warlock replies as he closes the door to the room with the dog.
‘What did Warlock say?’ Sunspot asks. ‘He said it was nobody’ X-Man replies as they stand around in the kitchen, while Mirage and Cypher are making phone calls. ‘…no, everything’s great. I was just wondering if I could come over and say hi to Illyana’ Mirage tells the person she is speaking to. ‘Oh, she is? Oh’ Mirage remarks. ‘…Doug Ramsey of the New Mutants. Well, I was just wondering what would be the correct procedure if…you know, if a friend or a person or someone…was abducted by the Devil? Well, when will Doctor Strange be back?’
Back in Hell, ‘Amara! Listen to me. Can I level with you?’ Mephisto calls out as he follows Magma across the red ground. ‘I’m pretty sure you can do anything you want to’ Magma mutters in reply. ‘First, someone offers me a promise. I take it. That’s what I do. Sue me. A date with you? There’s leverage there. My business acumen took over. But second…once you’d said yes, I realized what I wanted was a date not an opportunity’ Mephisto explains. ‘What do you mean?’ Amara asks. Mephisto explains that he can get souls, that he is good at it and business is good. ‘You guys turning up in Hell like that? That was too easy. There was no sport in it. No satisfaction of a damnation well done’ Mephisto explains.
Mephisto tells Amara that he said yes because he wanted to go on a date with her, that she is really gorgeous with the magma hotness. Magma holds her hand out and tells Mephisto that she is not going to fall for this, asking for a contract to sign. ‘I’m serious’ Mephisto explains, before asking Magma why they left Utopia and moved to San Francisco. ‘We - we were tired of being freaks. We wanted to live in the real world for a change’ Magma replies. ‘I thought so. Sometimes I want that, too’ Mephisto announces. Magma goes wide-eyed, and stares up at Mephisto, who tells her not to look at him like that.
‘Yeah, I’m a universal archetype. I’m the personification of one of the core balancing forces of the universe’ Mephisto declares. ‘But the power that made me gave me a human mind and human emotions. That’s why I’m so good at what I do. I get under people’s skins because I empathize. I know how they work’. Magma continues to look at Mephisto, shocked, so Mephisto continues, declaring that sometimes he just wants to be that person for a while - he wants to live in the real world for a change. ‘And I thought that just for one night, I could - but that makes me the crazy one, right? Never going to happen. I’ll get them to bring the car around’ Mephisto sighs.
‘It was too much’ Magma exclaims, throwing her hands into the air. ‘What?’ Mephisto enquires. ‘Krakatoa. The Third Circle. The rock and roll hall of fame. Seriously too much’ Magma tells Mephisto. Mephisto adjusts his glasses and reveals that he hasn’t had much actual experience of going on dates. Magma smiles and tells Mephisto that he is shockingly bad at it. ‘It’s like you read about dates in a magazine and then did everything all wrong. Too much’ she remarks, adding that a girl likes to be impressed a little - not stunned into submission. ‘Is there anything I can do?’ Mephisto asks. ‘You can get the car’ Magma tells him.
Shortly, ‘Is this a bib?’ Mephisto asks as he sits across from Magma in a booth at a Ribstickers BBQ restaurant in San Francisco. The restaurant is quite busy, and Magma informs Mephisto that there is a lot of sauce involved in this food. ‘You come here a lot?’ Mephisto asks. Magma explains that she came here for a job interview once, but that didn’t go too well. ‘I think that’s why the manager’s giving me the evil eye’ The manager and several staff stare at Magma, to which Mephisto asks her if she wants him to have the manager boiled in oil. ‘No’ Magma replies. ‘I’m saying I can do that’ Mephisto tells her, but Magma answers ‘No’ once again. ‘Okay, that was just a little Devil humor’ Mephisto smiles, and while sipping her soda, Magma asks Mephisto to tell her about himself.
‘Well, you know I’m a workaholic. Hell is…it’s like the biggest multinational corporation you can imagine. I’m trying to expand our portfolio, we’re doing a lot subprime these days. Toxic debt’ Mephisto explains. ‘Be serious’ Magma smiles. ‘Oh, I am’ Mephisto assures her, revealing that Hell used to be the stick, back in the day. ‘Old Testament, Middle Ages…your case file got passed down to me if you gone done wrong’. Mephisto declares that you had to be good, as he was the threat, not the promise. As their meals are placed in front of them, Mephisto tells Amara that this is the Twenty-First Century, that people are smart, that they are much better informed about good and bad life choices. ‘I’ve had to diversify’ he explains.
‘How?’ Amara asks. ‘I do a lot of global charity work. Famine relief. Disease control. I’m working to improve life expectancy and quality of life’ Mephisto reveals. ‘You’re theDevil’ Magma points out. Eating away at his food. Mephisto points out that millions of people die of disease and hunger and other bad stuff, and that they die young. ‘It’s very tragic’ he remarks, adding that kind of short, horrible life gets them a direct pass upstairs, so he helps them live longer, better lives. ‘Thus, I increase the chances of them doing terrible things and therefore qualifying for Hell. Crazy, right? I do more good than UNICEF and they call me the Devil’.
‘Huh…’ Magma smirks, before Mephisto asks her if she has seen any good movies lately, and raises a small bowl of dip to his mouth. ‘Whoa. Be careful. That’s chipotle. Very hot’ Amara tells him. ‘Hey, brimstone? Ok?’ Mephisto replies. But after downing the chipotle, he tugs at the collar of his shirt, smoke coming out of his ears, and utters’ Wow. That’s piquant’. Magma just smiles.
Soon, Magma and Mephisto walk along the pavement, towards the New Mutants’ home. ‘I had a weirdly good time’ Magma announces. ‘Me too’ Mephisto tells her. ‘So’ Magma smiles as they stand at the front stoop. ‘So’ Mephisto replies, rubbing the back of his neck, before telling Amara that it’s all good, that she and her friends are totally even with him. ‘I appreciate you treating me like a regular person for a couple of hours’ he remarks. ‘Makes a real change for me’ he adds. Magma smiles and tells Mephisto that she appreciates him not tricking her into Hell for the remainder of eternity. ‘Least I could do’ Mephisto replies.
Magma climbs the stairs, before turning back to Mephisto, who asks her if she forgot something. Magma walks back down the stairs, then kisses a very surprised Mephisto on his cheek. ‘Night!’ Magma exclaims as she flies up towards the door, closing it behind her, leaving a shocked Mephisto standing on the street, rubbing his cheek.
Walking up the internal stairs, Magma finds her friends waiting for her on the landing. Mirage asks Magma if she is okay, to which Amara announces that she didn’t mean to wake them all. ‘We were awake. Waiting for you’ Sunspot tells her as she enters her room. Mirage turns to the men and points out that Magma is back home safe from her date with the Devil, so they should just give her some space. In her room, Magma puts one of the roses from Mephisto into a vase, and Danielle enters, asking Amara if she is okay. ‘He was kinda sad. We ended up having fun’ Amara replies. ‘FUN?’ Mirage exclaims. Magma sits down on her bed and assures Dani that the debt is clear and that she didn’t agree to anything. Mirage hesitates, and looks doubtful, before replying ‘Okay’.
Magma tells Mirage that she is tired and has to sleep, but thanks her for worrying. Exiting the room, Dani tells Amara that, in the morning, she wants details. Amara agrees. Removing her shoes, there is suddenly a tak tak at the window. Amara opens the window and sticks her head out, where she sees Mephisto down on the street, throwing pebbles up at the window. ‘Go home. Go to Hell’ Magma calls out. ‘Right. Funny’ Mephisto replies, before asking if he can call Magma again. Magma smiles down at him and replies ‘I don’t know. Can you?’ to which Mephisto begins to walk off down the street, and hands in pockets, remarks ‘Seriously. Smoking hot’.