New X-Men (2nd series) #40

Issue Date: 
September 2007
Story Title: 
(first story) - The Quest For Magik – Part Three of Four <br> (second story) - Endangered Species – Chapter 4

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

(second story)
Chris Yost (writer), Scot Eaton (penciller), Andrew Hennessy (inker), Raul Trevino (colorist), VC’s Joe Caramanga (letterer), Will Panzo (asst. editor), Andy Schmidt & Nick Lowe (editors), Axel Alonso (executive editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Mike Carey (special thanks)

Brief Description: 

(first story) Surge, Hellion and O*N*E officials travel to Germany where they resuscitate Amanda Sefton so she can get them to Limbo. The Darkchild draws two Bloodstones from Pixie to form the Soulsword she needs to defeat Belasco. Anole breaks free and saves Pixie using his newly regrown and more powerful arm. Rockslide reconstitutes his shattered form using the rocky landscape of Limbo. This grants him a larger form with a molten lava core… and an apparent immunity to magic! He stops Illyana from further corrupting Pixie, who now possesses a Souldagger! The remaining New X-Men battle Belasco who bounces back from every attack they can muster. He threatens to kill and resurrect them in an endless torturous cycle if they do not tell him where Illyana is. Amanda gets Surge, Hellion and an O*N*E Sentinel to Limbo where they are immediately attacked by a horde of demons!
(second story)
The Beast pays a visit to Dr. Kavita Rao to solicit her help in finding a means of saving mutantkind from extinction. The irony of the situation is not lost on the pair considering that Rao developed a cure for mutantcy. But with mutantkind going the way of the dinosaurs, her career as a mutant geneticist has also reached an obsolete state. Kavita willingly gives Hank what remains of the DNA samples and data she received from Ord of Breakworld, though the samples themselves were rendered useless on M-Day. She also gives Beast an important piece of advice: No help may be better than the wrong help… especially some of the corrupt scientific minds her has already approached for help!

Full Summary: 

first story:

In a hospital in Germany, doctors try to revive Amanda Sefton who has flatlined after days in a coma. Their attempts are unsuccessful. The New X-Man called Surge tells them forcefully to move and steps in to administer an electric jolt with her mutant powers. Amanda groans as she comes to.
Dr. Valerie Cooper reprimands Nori for her brashness in jumping in to “help” and tells her that she could have killed Amanda. Surge coldly asks if Amanda can get them to Limbo or not. Val tells Amanda that she’s in a hospital and that witnesses say she fell from the sky. Amanda is disoriented at first but then tells those gathered that Belasco is back and after the X-Men’s children.
Hellion sarcastically replies “No kidding, lady.” Lex tells Amanda that the Xavier Institute was attacked six hours ago and they think Belasco is behind it all. Surge tells her that he’s taken the X-Men and their friends and they need her to get them to Limbo to rescue them.
Amanda groggily points out that she can barely breathe and that they need the Soulsword. Hellion asks what that is and Amanda explains that it’s Illyana Rasputin’s sword and that Nightcrawler has it. Val explains that Kurt isn’t on the planet currently and Amanda says that there’s no hope then and the X-Men and their students are dead. Surge hands Amanda her clothes and tells her to shut up and get dressed, demanding that she take them to Limbo. Her eyes light with electricity and she tells Amanda “NOW.”

Meanwhile in Limbo, Illyana has begun the process of extracting a portion of Pixie’s soul to forge a new Soulsword. An arc of mystical energy joins the two mutants as Illyana tells the tale of her childhood with Belasco.
Pixie cries out in pain as the Darkchild explains how Belasco used pieces of her soul to create Bloodstones as a sacrifice to the Elder Gods he served. She notes that had he taken five complete Bloodstones, he would have been able to bring his masters to Earth. She tells Pixie that she will use her innocence against Belasco.
Nearby, Pixie’s fellow students are encased in emerald stone erected by Illyana. Blindfold tells Anole that the Darkchild is not to be trusted and that he must save Pixie. Victor struggles against the stone, shouting at Illyana to let Megan go.
Illyana ignores him while continuing her rant about innocence and the Soulsword being power personified.
Wolfcub tells Match to do something, since he was their squad leader once and tries to wake Loa and Nezhno who are unconscious. Victor asks Blindfold what’s about to happen and what he needs to do. She tells him that he will save her and that he has strength within him. Pixie begs Illyana to stop and tell her it hurts. The Darkchild merely replies “I know. I remember.” Victor struggles against the rock which begins to crack.

As Illyana completes a second Bloodstone formed from Pixie’s soul, Blindfold tells Victor that she intends to take Pixie’s entire soul.
Illyana continues to declare that the Soulsword will enable her to destroy Belasco. The sword begins to form but the spell is disrupted by Anole! He strikes Illyana from behind with his right arm, which has grown back! It is larger, more powerful than before and covered in spikes like the carapace that cover his head.
As the Darkchild is thrown to the ground, the amulet around her neck that contains the Bloodstones breaks off. Victor stands over herand tells her to stop this or he will have to hurt her. Pixie is stunned; her once pink hair is now black with a few stripes of pink remaining.
Illyana rises and her hands glow with arcane energies as she tells Anole that he will suffer for his interference. At that moment, the ground around them rumbles as Rockslide reforms himself. He is enormous, easily fifty feet high and his body seems to be composed of ebony rocks with molten lava visible underneath. He yells at the Darkchild, “You get the #@$% away from my friends!”
A look of fear washes over Illyana’s face and she unleashes her mystic blast at Santo. He tells her that he’s going to use her horns for toothpicks, no matter how hot she is! Victor makes a run for Megan who comes around but is shocked by Victor’s new arm. He asks about her soul and she pulls out a small “Souldagger”.

Rockslide is unaffected by Illyana’s attack and slams her into a Cliffside. He tells her that he saw what she did while he was reconstituting himself and she’s dead! Victor stops him and says that they need Illyana to lead them to the others. Santo is also grossed out by Victor’s new arm.
When Illyana protests, Santo tells her that she’s going to take them wherever they say. She says that she can’t as the castle is sealed from her powers. She looks disoriented for a moment and asks them who they are. She asks where Kitty, Sam and Dani are. She then asks where her brother is. Pixie and Rockslide look shocked by this sudden change.

Elsewhere in Limbo, Dust and Mercury are in pitched battle against Belasco. He grabs Mercury and again declares that he can smell his former apprentice on them. Cessily asks what he even wants with her and he says that her soul belongs to him.
Again, he demands to know where Illyana is. Mercury lies and says that she’s alive and they’re hiding her. This was merely to distract Belasco a moment longer while Elixir mounted his attack. Josh uses his powers on Belasco. As Josh’s skin turns deep black, Belasco’s begins to bubble up with some kind of subcutaneous infection. He releases Cessily and collapses to the ground. Dust says this is not right, for you cannot kill the devil. At that moment, a flash of arcane green energy erupts from Belasco!

In Germany, Amanda Sefton hovers above a pentagram. Hellion tells Surge that Dr. Cooper seemed concerned about her behavior and told him to keep an eye out for her. Surge says nothing and Julian tells her that he told Val that she’s fine. He asks if she is or not. He says that they both know how Trance can be and that they don’t know for sure what’s happening. He again asks if she’s going to be okay. Nori turns grimly to him and tells him to ask again when she’s turned Belasco into a smoking pile of ash.

Illyana explains to the mutants that she can remember her life with her brother and the New Mutants up until the Inferno. But that’s the last she can remember. She explains that when Belasco came to Limbo he tried to summon her by gathering every bit of her essence but that her soul was missing. Instead of Illyana, he got the Darkchild.
Victor is confused and says that he wanted Illyana but not the Illyana they see before them. She replies that he is really after her soul and she plans to kill him before he gets it. Victor tells Illyana that they have to get to their friends and asks how they can do that. Illyana says that she can’t do it but that Pixie can. She took a piece of her soul and filled the hole with black magic. Together with her small Soulsword, she may be able to breach the castle’s barriers. Pixie accuses Illyana of turning her evil and is about to call her a nasty name when Victor asks the obvious question: How can Pixie get them there. Illyana tells them that she can teach her a teleportation spell.

Belasco has quickly recovered from Elixir’s attack and explains that he cares nothing for these children but will kill them all unless someone tells him where Illyana is. Elixir is spent after his effort and can barely stand. Belasco uses his power to reform X-23’s body. She cries out and he grabs her by the hair. He tells them that time has no meaning here but their suffering and pain do matter. He then raises a pike from the ground and impales Laura’s body on it, killing her again. He threatens to kill then resurrect and then kill each of them over and over until he has what he wants. He threatens to bring all of Earth to Limbo if that’s what it takes.

Close to the castle, Amanda Sefton arrives with Surge, Hellion and Lex’s Sentinel unit. The transition to Limbo has taxed her greatly. Lex realizes that his communication with Earth has been cut off and Amanda explains that the Sentinel only functions there due to her magicks. She tells him there’s a good chance they’re about to die and introduces herself properly. Outside, Hellion and surge report that they can’t see a thing in the dusty mists surrounding the castle. They ask Amanda where the castle is but she has passed out from overexerting herself. They still can’t see but they can hear something approaching. Lex sees it on his sensors and asks the two New X-Men if they can see it. They tell him that they can as an endless horde of demons attack them and the Sentinel!

second story:

The Beast trudges through the snow as he leaves a less-than-stellar meeting with the High Evolutionary. In his journal writings, he concludes that the Evolutionary’s evolved state has left him with a rather pessimistic attitude. The High Evolutionary believes that there is no scientific answer to mutantkind’s imminent extinction. Dr. McCoy notes that he disagreed quite loudly and somehow lived to tell the tale. He did learn that someone else had visited Dr. Wyndham with similar questions but the enigmatic lord of Wundagore Mountain would not say who. Despite the lack of assistance, Hank is sure that he will find the answers in science.
Hank then makes a visit to Dr. Kavita Rao in her personal laboratory. He hangs from her ceiling and expresses his hope that she has good news for him, for a change. She asks if he prefers being upside down and if it gives him perspective. He replies that it doesn’t but he’s told it is unnerving. She tells him that indeed it is. He asks what this place is and notes that it’s a far cry from Benetech. She explains that with mutantkind on the brink of extinction, her area of specialty (mutant genetics) has become akin to archeology, making her professionally obsolete. Beast asks what she’s doing there and she tells him she is trying to create a clone from inert mutant DNA. She notes that he was present in Berlin along with the late Moira MacTaggert and the missing Sarah Kinney and is aware of existing mutant clones.
Dr. McCoy wonders aloud why a woman who called mutantkind a “disease” and then developed a cure for it would work to create a mutant now. She points out that her work had the potential to save many lives and numerous mutants sought it out. It was these mutants who christened her cure, “Hope”. McCoy tells her that she is wasting time that he does not have and bids her good-bye. She calls for him to wait. She tells him that her test case, Tildie Soames had her life destroyed by her mutation and that she truly cared for her. But it was the X-Men who saved her life. Rao says that she may have been wrong about mutantkind. Beast tells her that the clock is ticking on his entire species and the irony pains him since he himself considered taking her cure. Now here he is asking for her help in saving mutantkind. He concedes that her research was based on alien data he doesn’t have access to and that she may have answers he doesn’t. He asks her flat out for the data given to her by Ord of Breakworld. She reminds him that that data had a price. She has become a pariah in the scientific community when it was revealed that her work was not entirely based on her own research. Hank tells her that she isn’t the only scientist who would sell their soul to work with an advanced alien race. He also reminds her that the cure she helped to develop worked. She asks what good it is now with no mutants to administer it to as she opens a cold storage unit filled with mutant DNA samples. She tells the Beast that this is all the Breakworld research and it has gotten her nowhere so he is welcome to take it all. She tells him that the samples are from every mutant who took the cure as well as those they used in developing it. Every sample is now dust since after M-Day the isolated mutant gene just ceased to exist. McCoy looks pained by this information and says under his breath “Damn you, Wanda.”
Dr. Rao tells Hank that she is leaving and returning to India. She tells him to stay as long as he likes as there’s nothing here for her anymore. He thanks her. She tells him that all the data he needs is here, including files on another lab from which Ord obtained test subjects. She tells him that her single-minded obsession made it easy not to ask too many questions. She begs him to be careful and he asks what she means. She removes her glasses and tells him that she made a deal with the devil due to her obsession. She reminds him of the methods used and those who suffered for her decision. He begins to tell her that if she’s looking for absolution she can shove it. She interrupts and says that she will keep the blood on her hands. She urges him to keep his clean. He glares at her and tells her that what she did was monstrous and he is not her. She replies that she does not have Arnim Zola’s phone number. She apologizes and urges him to think about what she’s said. She tells him that sometimes no help is better than the wrong help.
As she slams the door, Dr. McCoy is left with his thoughts and a stack of files detailing Rao’s work on the Cure. Among the files are folders marked “Mutant Genome Project” and “Neverland” and what appears to read “NEX #17”.

Characters Involved: 

first story:

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

Anole, Blindfold, Elixir, Match, Pixie, Wolf Cub (All Xavier Institute students)

Valerie Cooper, Alexander “Lex” Lexington (Both O*N*E)

Magik I/Illyana Rasputin

Amanda Sefton


Unnamed medical staff

Demon hordes of Limbo

second story


Dr. Kavita Rao

In Flashback:

Dr. Kavita Rao

Ord of Breakworld

Story Notes: 

first story

The complex history of the Soulsword is discussed in the Objects: Soulsword article.
Belasco’s motives and history are fully explored in the Bring on the Bad Guys article: THE BALLAD OF BELASCO.
For a fully detailed account of Illyana’s history, check out the Magik I Spotlight .
Amanda notes that Nightcrawler has the Soulsword. This was revealed in NIGHTCRAWLER (3rd Series) #7-11.
The following characters were also present in Limbo but not clearly shown in this issue: Bling, Ernst, Gentle, Indra, Loa, Martha, Onyxx, the Stepford Cuckoos, Trance (Xavier Institute students) and Beast, Colossus, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Shadowcat, Wolverine (X-Men).
second story:

This story is Part 4 of the Endangered Species series. Part 1 was shown in X-MEN (2nd series) #200, Part 2 in UNCANNY X-MEN #488 and Part 3 in X-FACTOR (3rd series) #21. The story continues in X-MEN (2nd series) #201.
Benetech is scientific research group and the former employer of Dr. Kavita Rao. While working with Benetech, Rao helped to develop a “cure” for mutants that came to be called “Hope”. This serum was developed using unwilling mutant test subjects and scientific data provided by the alien Ord of Breakworld. The X-Men opposed Rao and Ord in the pages of ASTONISHING X-MEN.
Rao mentions Moira MacTaggert and Sarah Kinney, both geneticists specializing in mutants. Moira MacTaggert was killed by Mystique in X-MEN (2nd series) #108. Sarah Kinney worked for The Facility and helped create X-23, a female clone of Wolverine. She was killed by her “daughter” at the command of the Facility’s director as depicted in the X-23 LIMITED SERIES.
Several viable clones of mutants have been created. These include X-23, Madelyne Pryor, the Stepford Cuckoos, Namorita, Stryfe and the many cloned versions of the Marauders. Professor X himself was provided with a cloned body by the alien Shi’ar after his original body died.
Wanda is, of course, Wanda Maximoff AKA the Scarlet Witch – the reality-warping mutant who uttered the words “No more mutants” and nearly wiped out the entire mutant race in HOUSE OF M #8.
Arnim Zola is a master geneticist who worked for the Nazis. He was one of many “super-villains” that the Beast contacted for help in preventing the extinction of mutantkind. Zola was part of the same conference call during which the Beast first talked with Dr. Rao about the problem.
The Mutant Genome Project was established years ago by a coalition of scientists that included Dr. Brian Xavier (Charles Xavier’s father), Kurt Marko (Juggernaut’s father) and Alexander Ryking. Together they researched mutation and nuclear radiation and assisted with the Black Womb project.
Neverland was the name of a mutant concentration camp and research facility established by a recent incarnation of the Weapon X program. This was depicted throughout the WEAPON X series.

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