New X-Men (2nd series) #39

Issue Date: 
August 2007
Story Title: 
The Quest For Magik – Part Two of Four

Craig Kyle & Chris Yost (writers), Skottie Young (penciller/inker), Jean-Francois Beaulieu (colorist), Dave Sharpe (letterer), Anthony Dial (production), Daniel Ketchum (asst. editor), Nick Lowe (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

The mutants fight back against Belasco but with little success. Elixir uses his newly-acquired medical knowledge to build David a new heart to replace the one Belasco ripped out. X-23 frees Dust and Mercury only to have her skeleton mystically removed by Belasco. Illyana sets her sights on Pixie and the others spring to her defense but are handily brushed aside at the Darkchild’s might. Trance breaks free long enough to tell Surge and Hellion who has taken them and that Belasco is killing them and has already killed David. O*N*E cross-references this info and locates Amanda Sefton. Surge and Hellion insist on helping. Dust and Mercury fight valiantly against Belasco, finding courage and motivation to overcome their fears. Distraught to hear that her friends are in pain and at death’s door, Pixie gives in to Illyana’s demands… offering her own soul to form a new soulsword in the hopes of defeating Belasco!

Full Summary: 

The captured mutants watch helplessly as Belasco rips out David’s heart. Elixir and Trance cry out but X-23 takes action. She orders Trance to send her astral form up to the teleportation circle above.
As X-23 breaks free, Josh uses his power offensively against the demon holding him causes it to release him. X-23 pops her claws, shattering the gauntlets that encased her hands. Josh makes a beeline for David while Trance soars into the sky frantically repeating “pleasedon’tletmedie” over and over. S’ym asks if he can kill them and Belasco tells him that these children are his. X-23 frees Dust and Mercury and tells them that they have to fight as she makes her way to Belasco.

Josh lays his hands on David’s chest and they glow with energy. He recalls all the information he absorbed for the Beast, reciting the parts of the heart as he desperately tries to create a new one for David. Slowly, a new heart begins to form from the surrounding tissues and David gasps as he is suddenly returned to life. Josh falls unconscious from the strain of healing such a massive wound.

X-23 slices Belasco and is surprised to see that he still lives. Arcane fires cauterize his wounds and he tells her that her claws are nothing compared to the power of the Elder Gods. He grabs her by the throat and tells her that her soul isn’t worth taking as it stinks of science. He tells her that she isn’t even real. He then sends a blast of mystic energy through her body that separates her skeleton from her flesh! Her bones collapse in a pile at his feet. Cessily and Dust cry out Laura’s name as Belasco turns to them and asks once again, “Where is Illyana Rasputin?”

In the Wastelands of Limbo, Illyana has just rescued the other Xavier Institute students from a horde of demons. Loa tells Match that they have to get a doctor for Victor, whose right arm had just been severed by a demon. Match asks how she thinks they can do that given where they are. Wolfcub points out that Illyana has horns and a tail and asks if she’s really Colossus’ sister.
Illyana looks fiercely at the group as N’Astirh hisses at her side. Victor tells Match that he has to take the lead and Ben replies that he can’t and doesn’t know what to do!
Illyana points at Pixie and tells N’Astirh “Bring me that one.” Pixie cries out as Illyana lets the gigantic demon loose. N’astirh flies straight for her, knocking Match and Wolfcub aside like rag dolls. He is stopped by Nezhno, who punches the demon in the nose. Nezhno has increased his size and mass dramatically, his new muscles straining against the silver tattoo-like bands that encircle his body. He calmly tells N’Astirh to stay down and when N’Astirh rises again, he punches him with incredible force. This causes a surge of energy from his “tattoos” and he passes out from the strain of using his powers. Pixie cries out as he falls.

Illyana is surprised to see that they are fighting her and reminds them that she saved their lives a moment ago. She mystically dissolves her armor and tells them that she was the one who yanked them away from Belasco’s earlier attempt to capture them and he’d have killed them by now if not for her. She tells them that if they ever want to see their friends again, she needs one of their souls.

At the Xavier Institute, Surge and Hellion try in vain to breach the mystical barrier that surrounds the school. They aren’t having much luck when suddenly a flash of energy burst through and rockets towards them. It takes form and is Trance! She is shocked at first and asks if she’s back. Surge asks Hope what’s happening and if everyone is okay. Hope tells her that someone named Belasco took them to hell and is killing them all. She manages to say that he killed David before she is yanked back into Limbo.

Belasco tells them how he was banished by his masters, supplanted by the human sorceress, Amanda Sefton and had to wade through blood to take back his realm. Indra tries to struggle against his chains and S’ym silences him. Mercury and Dust break free of their bonds as Belasco again demands the information they have about Illyana’s whereabouts. Mercury is scared and tells Dust she can’t do this. Dust tells her that the devil is coming and begs her not to let her fight him alone.
The two girls attack as one, Dust creating a sandstorm around Belasco as Mercury forms giant claws and encircles him with her liquid form. He declares that they were with her and demands an answer.
Cessily tells him that they weren’t with her and don’t know what he’s talking about. She says they don’t even know who he is! Belasco thinks they are lying and knows that they know him enough to fear him. He can taste the fear on their souls. He tells Sooraya that she fears that she is not worthy of her God’s love and tells Cessily that she is afraid of being hurt again.
Hearing his taunts helps to steel Mercury’s will and she glares at Belasco and gives Sooraya the signal to attack. Belasco laughs and blasts Mercury with mystic energy, reducing her to a bubbling puddle of liquid metal. He then turns his attack on Dust, telling her that he is the Devil and her time in hell is just starting.

At the Xavier Institute, the O*N*E is studying the energy field around the mansion. Dr. Valerie Cooper reports that it is unlike anything they’ve ever seen and that they are dealing with science anymore. Col. Reyes asks if she seriously suggesting this is magic. Cooper tells him that if Dr. Strange weren’t a fugitive from SHIELD currently, he’d be there explaining all this and would probably turn Reyes into a llama for that remark.
Valerie explains that the X-Men have a long and nasty history with Belasco and they have to find a way into Limbo to save the X-Men and their students. A technician reports that he’s cross-referenced the keywords “Belasco” and “Limbo” and found Amanda Sefton, who was checked into a German hospital two days earlier. He reports that she’s in a coma.
Cooper explains that Amanda is Nightcrawler’s ex-girlfriend, a sorceress and the current ruler of Limbo according to the X-Men’s files. Surge says that she can get them into Limbo and they’re going to get her. Colonel Reyes says they aren’t going anywhere and the O*N*E will handle it. Surge and Hellion both ignite their power auras and glare fiercely at Reyes. Julian says coldly “You might want to rethink that.”

In Limbo, David tries to wake Josh so that he can save Laura but Elixir is completely wiped out. He asks David what they are going to do. David realizes that Belasco took out the telepaths first, which means they are a threat to the demon lord. He says that they have to free the Cuckoos, who are surrounded by lesser demons.

Belasco’s fight with Dust and Mercury continues and continues to ask “Where is she!?!” He pummels Dust just as Cessily manages to reform her body. Belasco notes that their transient forms make them more resistant to his attacks which will just prolong their agony. As Mercury rises, she tells him no. Something has clicked inside and she is ticked off. She tells him again that she doesn’t know what he’s talking about and she honestly doesn’t care anymore. She says she’ll die a thousand times before she’ll let him hurt anyone else! Dust gathers herself together and says boldly, “And I stand beside her.” She adds that if she’s going to die then let it be a death that makes Allah proud. Belasco hisses and replies, “So be it” as his eyes rage with mystic fire.

Elsewhere Illyana stalks towards the mutants and tells them she can feel the agony that Belasco is causing their friends right now. Loa asks Victor what they are going to do. He comments that he should be dead but his wound doesn’t hurt. Illyana tells them that Belasco is stronger than she is and she can sense him. Pixie asks what she wants and Illyana explains sinisterly that the only thing that can kill Belasco is a soulsword and she’s lost hers. She approaches Pixie and Loa leaps to her defense but is easily struck down by a single bolt of mystic force from the Darkchild. Pixie cries out as Loa is hurled away.
Illyana touches Megan’s cheek as she explains that she requires a soul to forge a new soulsword. She asks Megan if she wants to save her friends and would give her soul to help. Megan realizes what Illyana is asking of her. Anole tells her not to listen, that they will find another way. Match and Wolfcub regain consciousness and get ready to attack Illyana.
Illyana’s eyes glow crimson as with a flick of her finger, she mystically pulls up rock-forms from the ground to encase Pixie’s would-be saviors. Pixie is crying as Illyana declares that she is alone now. Again, she says that she can feel the others dying and hear their cries.
Megan relents and says that she doesn’t want any more of her friends to die and will do whatever it takes. The Darkchild smiles maniacally and raises her hands. She coldly tells Pixie, “Try not to scream” as she yanks her soul from her body! Pixie cannot help herself and cries out in agony.

Characters Involved: 

Hellion, Mercury, Prodigy, Surge, X-23 (All New X-Men)

Anole, Blindfold, Elixir, Gentle, Indra, Loa, Match, Pixie, Stepford Cuckoos, Trance, Wolf Cub, (Xavier Institute students)

Bling, Ernst, Martha, Onyxx (Xavier Institute students; present but not shown)

Beast, Colossus, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Shadowcat, Wolverine (All X-Men)

Valerie Cooper, Colonel Miguel Reyes and unnamed officers (All O*N*E)

Magik I/Illyana Rasputin




Demon hordes of Limbo

Story Notes: 

Belasco serves the Elder Gods (also called the Dark Gods) and his chief goal has been to join with them. His efforts to do so have spanned centuries and are fully explored in the Bring on the Bad Guys article: THE BALLAD OF BELASCO.
Illyana has been presumed dead since the Inferno. For a fully detailed account of her history, check out the Magik I Spotlight .
When Belasco speaks of the pain that Mercury has suffered, he is referring to her recent torture at the hands of the Facility as shown in NEW X-MEN #33-36.
Belasco comments that X-23 reeks of “man’s science” and is “not even real”. X-23 is a clone of Wolverine created by the Facility as shown in the X-23 and X-23: Target X Limited Series.
The complex history of the Soulsword is discussed in the Objects: Soulsword article.

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