New Mutants: War Children

Issue Date: 
November 2019
Story Title: 
War Children

Chris Claremont (writer), Bill Sienkiewicz (artist), Chris Sotomayor (colorist), Bob McLeod, Martin Simmons (variant covers), VC’s Clayton Cowles (letterer), Lauren Amaro (assistant editor), Darren Shan (editor), C.B. Cebulski (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

Warlock suffers a panic attack and flees. The other New Mutants and Shadowcat follow and see how he has transmoded all life in the wood. Warlock turns against his teammates, then transforms and takes control of several of them as well. Things become more dangerous when he does it to Magik, as her evil Darkchilde part becomes unleashed and instead takes control of the transmode virus and her transformed teammates. Cypher manages to talk to Warlock and gets him to reveal his fear of confronting his father Magus. They merge and heal the others, allowing the better part of Magik’s soul to get her evil part under control as well. With everything solved, they wonder how to explain all the destruction to the headmaster.

Full Summary: 

Evening at Xavier’s school: The New Mutants and Shadowcat are busy or sleeping. But Warlock is panicking, frightened of his father Magus. To become him, he must destroy his friends or be destroyed by them. He flies through the roof and the New Mutants and Kitty are alerted or woken up by the noise.

They run to Warlock’s room, which isn’t only a mess but also full of techno-organic material. Sunspot believes he has been touched by it. Magik tells him not to panic as she teleports the room away.

Cypher clinically points out she now infected Limbo. She corrects him; she dumped the room somewhere at the end of reality, where it will never be found (she hopes). Kitty Pryde calms Roberto’s hysteria by pointing out she phased him. He isn’t infected. Cannonball informs team leader Mirage that he has followed Warlock who left a pretty clear trail.

Dani gasps as her Asgardian paraphernalia appear and out of her wrist comm rises an appearance of Asgardian death goddess Hela, who tells her she is summoned to her destiny. She is one of her choosers of the slain. Dani switches off the hologram but notes that Hela’s appearance has changed, as though she were infected by Warlock’s TO virus. She wonders what it all means. Rahne nervously addresses her, sensing something is wrong through their psychic bond, but Dani denies this. She tells Kitty to have Lockheed follow Sam and warn everyone to keep their distance from Warlock.

Illyana comes teleporting in and reports there is no sign of infection anywhere else in the mansion, and Warlock seems to be heading for the ridgeline at the west end of the estate.

Dani gives the order for everyone to suit up. To save time Magik casts a spell, dressing them in their black and gold uniforms, including Kitty, much to her displeasure.

They enter the woods, which have been transformed by Warlock. All the animals have fled. Cypher examines some plants and announces he doesn’t believe there is any hostility. So now he can speak the language of plants? Roberto mocks. He can speak the language of Warlock’s trail, Doug retorts, and he’s scared. Roberto is not convinced. Fear can make anyone do awful things.

Rahne points to the sky. Cannonball and Lockheed are returning, but they see they have been transmuted and attack, transforming Dani, Brightwind and Kitty, turning them into part of Warlock’s TO gestalt.

Karma reacts and uses her possession power, stopping the Dani, Brightwind and Sam being, but not Lockheed and Kitty. Lockheed fires his flames at Doug and Rahne, who tells him to grab onto her so she can carry him to safety.

Magma tries to enclose her changed teammates in a sphere of lava.

Sunspot wants to hit them with a bat. Magik teleports in and grabs him away, warning him that his bat has become transformed and Magma’s lava is of them same stuff she is. She teleports the two of them to Limbo. Roberto protests they need to warn Amara.

But it’s too late, as a Warlock’s tendril has touched Magma and transformed her. She fights to keep her personality, but to no avail.

As the two return, Amara fires a blast at them. Illyana hurls Roberto aside. Fire cannot hurt her as a demon-sorceress, but instead something worse happens, as the TO-virus infects her. But unlike the others, the TO-system becomes corrupted and instead Illyana turns into her demonic Darkchilde form, but now part techno-organic. Manifesting her Soulsword, she laughs at her human self, trying to hold on to her ideals while knowing at her core she is demonic. Illyana’s true self is now freed!

Rahne, Doug and Karma see what happened. What happened to Illyana? Rahne exclaims. Doug cynically points out that’s not Illyana; she’s not even human any more. Body and soul, she’s a demon. Then what is she? Rahne snaps agitated. Way, way better, he replies. Always was, always will be. Rahne refuses to accept that. Illyana is family and she won’t give up her friend.

Karma steps in Darkchilde’s way, telling her this is as far as she will go. Darkchilde scoffs but Karma manages to paralyze her with her possession power. Darkchilde warns she won’t be able to hold her and Dani. Karma replies she is Vietnamese. Her people thrive on challenges.

Darkchilde tries to kill her. Sunspot throws something at her. Unimpressed, Darkchilde points out that they are the weakest of the New Mutants, except perhaps for him. The battle is already over, and they’ve lost.

Sunspot realizes that she doesn’t talk like the rest of Warlock’s victims. She laughs that Warlock’s attempt to coopt her failed. She will assimilate him and become the first demon magus. His tech, all their powers, her dark will. Nothing in creation will stand against her!

Her TO-virus lashes out at Wolfsbane’s feet. Doug panics, fearing that Rahne in her transitional form will be transmuted. She turns to human form and tells him not to be daft. Her uniform is still there to protect her, even in wolf form. Does he think she runs around starkers in wolf form?

Darkchilde tells them to run away, for all the good it will do them. The two run but realize that if they wait till the X-Men come, Illyana may be unbeatable. This will be up to them. The weakest ones on the team, Rahne points out.

Doug is working on a plan. He tells her that, while Kitty may be his best friend, Warlock is also part of him. He thinks Warlock is scared.

They find Warlock, who turns into a monstrous threatening shape and shouts at them to go away. Doug refuses, even when Warlock threatens to kill him. Warlock’s bluster stops as he sinks down and admits he can’t. Doug sits down next to him and asks what is going on.

Warlock admits the problem is his father, the Magus, and the battle they will eventually have to fight. He could not bear the thought of his friends dying. Doug asks why it has to be that way. Warlock it always has been. Doug points out since becoming one of them Warlock has changed for the better. Warlock insists the Magus will still come for him. Doug promises they will face him together and win. They are family. He takes off his glove and offers Warlock his hand. Warlock anxiously points out if they bond it cannot be undone. Rahne nervously asks if he is sure. Doug admits he isn’t, but he knows it is right. They are family and stand together! He takes Warlock’s hand.

The moment is interrupted when a mocking voice remarks, they are so cute - and so doomed. Darkchilde slices Wolfsbane with her Soulsword and infects her.

Doug bonds with Warlock. Warlock attacks Darkchilde, who gloats that he has no chance. Doug, sounding like Warlock, promises Rahne that everything will be okay turns her normal again. Speaking Gaelic, she burst out that she doesn’t understand what is happening. Doug / Warlock explain she is healed. Time to deal with Illyana.

Working together, Warlock and Doug set the other free. They challenge Darkchilde, who tells them she has no friends. She is the ultimate predator and her prey all of creation!

But inside her, Illyana reasserts herself and thanks Doug. In her soul, Illyana and the Darkchilde fight armed with swords. The Darkchilde boasts that Illyana cannot win, for she is the personification of her soul. Illyana refuses to accept that and stabs her through the heart. Illyana tells her she is nothing more than the shadow on her soul. When needed, she embraces her and does her best to save the world. Just like Doug. Just like Warlock. And puts her away when the battle is won! She knows what she is. She’s the demon that chooses the light!

Even as Illyana speaks, Douglock reach out and draw all TO mode parts of their friends and the surroundings into themselves, healing everybody.

Hela appears to Moonstar and asks if she defies her. Dani replies she made a choice. They are all mortal, but nobody dies here today. Does she have a problem with that? Not today, the death goddess replies and tells her they will talk about this another day.

Dani groans that she doesn’t want another day like this ever. Kitty agrees. Rahne replies she thought it was fun. And best of all, they taught the evil creature lurking within Illyana a proper lesson. Illyana wryly thanks her. Roberto considers her weird and Sam thinks he gets it. Dani thanks Warlock and Doug and ask how they did this. The two exchange a look, then reply “luck” at the same time.

They wonder how to explain the destruction to the professor. Sunspot suggests they blame Lockheed and Warlock suggests another visit by the Impossible Man.

Characters Involved: 

Cannonball, Cypher, Karma, Magik, Magma, Mirage, Sunspot, Warlock, Wolfsbane (New Mutants)
Shadowcat (X-Man)

As an apparition:

Story Notes: 

The story takes place between New Mutants (1st series) #32-34 or #43-46.

While the mutants refer to the professor, the current headmaster is Magneto.

The team met the Impossible Man in New Mutants (1st series) Annual #3.

Written By: