X-Men: Black Sun #3

Issue Date: 
November 2000
Story Title: 
Third Spell: Bare the Claws!

Chris Claremont (Story), Roy Thomas (Script), Karl Waller (Artist), Pop Visuals (Lettering), Tom Smith (Colorist), Mike Marts (Editor), Bob Harras (Editor-in-Chief)

Brief Description: 

After Magik fills new X-Men member Thunderbird III in on the N’Garai, Belasco and the hatred they hold for the X-Men, she teleports away, trying to save the N’garai’s next victims.
Wolverine and Iceman are undercover in Genosha, when they find themselves attacked by the N’garai possessed Banshee and Sunfire. Banshee’s wail quickly takes out Wolverine and most Genoshans including Magneto and Polaris. As „Banshee" closes in on the two, he is stopped by the Ru’tai Pilgrimm. Their battle in turn is interrupted by the recovered Polaris who then heads outside to help Iceman against „Sunfire." However the two of them cannot stand against the united power of the two N’garai possessed X-Men and both of them lose their souls to them. Both Wolverine and Magik arrive too late to save them. Magik proceeds to absorb the unconscious forms into her Soulsword to save them as she did with the other soulless X-Men and Wolverine is close to attacking her, accusing her of not being Illyana. She asks him to trust her and strangely enough he does and teleports away with her.

Full Summary: 

A cairn appears in front of what appears to be the Xavier Institute for the Gifted. Out of it crawls a N’Garai, a demon bent on the death of Earth and all its inhabitants. This is no ordinary N’Garai, but one evolved a light-year from now along some grotesque evolutionary highway, its essence is murder, and it is looking for prey, and it has found some – in the forms of the mysterious young woman calling herself Magik, and Neal Shaara, the newest Thunderbird. But instead, it is the N’Garai who becomes the prey… As a blinding beam of raw plasma pierces the demon’s armored torso.

The raw power of the plasma blast sends the N’Garai back through the cairn, which closes as suddenly as it had opened. Thunderbird asks Magik, who is holding the unconscious Psylocke, if she saw what he did. Magik tells him that what she sees is the cairn itself remains unscathed. Neal asks the mysterious young woman if she cannot even allow him one moment of triumph. Magik tells him to savor it quickly, as it may be all he gets, and tells him that Betsy is their concern now.

Thunderbird agrees, and reminds Magik that she got hurt bad when Storm attacked her. Magik tells Thunderbird that it was not Storm, but a N’Garai wearing her body. Thunderbird asks Magik why he gets the feeling that the mansion behind them is not the real mansion at all. Magik explains that he is right, and tells him that they are still in Limbo, of which she is the putative protector.

Thunderbird mentions that the X-Men told him she was dead. Joking he tells her he will let it slide, and asks her if she knows how the cairn got on „their front lawn." Carrying Betsy inside, Magik tells Neal that the creature he slew was the vanguard of an invading demon-horde from another dimension, and they are bent on the conquest of Earth. She adds that the details of her „death" are her concern only.

Inside, Neal looks out the window and says ‘Fair enough, on the other hand, why should I believe you?’. As Magik lays Betsy on a couch, Thunderbird tells Magik that he has never seen her before, or the demons that she is talking about, or Limbo he adds. He asks her how she ‘pulled that trick’ where she sucked Archangel into her sword.
Magik offers no response, and when Neal prompts her, the young woman who once carried much importance for the X-Men tells him she never imagined her identity or credentials would be doubted. ‘On the other hand’ Magik says ‘what should I expect form the newest X-Man?’ Thunderbird tells her he is waiting for her to convince him.

Magik looks cross and points a finger at Thunderbird and tells him she won’t convince him, but show him!

Around the powerful sorceress, time and space turns white, and images appear to show the story that Magik is about to tell. She asks Thunderbird if one of the X-Men had ever mentioned to him about how the late Cyclops accidentally blasted the top off another cairn, which freed the Demonlord Keirrok, who was the first of the N’Garai to encounter the X-Men, and though Storm destroyed his cairn, he would not be the last N’Garai to appear.
Magik continues, telling Thunderbird that the demon responsible for the N’Garai’s current plan is an ancient sorcerer known as Belasco, and that over time he and the N’Garai had come to view the X-Men as the primary obstacle in the achievement of their goal. Magik continues, telling Neal that the restoration of the primeval arcane order on Earth, where the N’Garai rule and humanity exists solely to be their prey, and that the hatred Belasco and the N’Garai have for mutants, specifically the X-Men, stems from that belief.

Thunderbird storms out of the room and into another asking what he got himself into when he joined the team. Magik asks him what he is doing, and he tells her that he is cutting loose with his powers at the cairn. Magik tells him to save his energy as the cairn, unlike the N’Garai he slew the cairn can only be harmed by magic. Neal looks quite dismayed when he sees that his powers did nothing against it, and asks Magik why she does nothing against it. She tells him that her powers are needed to battle Belasco, ands that he has found a way to open this portal between worlds, utilizing the souls of his enemies, in that he hopes to achieve both revenge and the N’Garai restoration. She continues, telling Neal that Belasco’s targets are the original X-Men, and his so-called „catspaws" are those who replaced them – the „New X-Men.„

Thunderbird asks Magik if she means originals like Archangel, to which the sorceress tells him yes, and that the only way to save him was to pull him into her Soulsword. Magik continues with her story, telling Thunderbird that the key to Belasco’s plan is the generation of five mystic bloodstones, from the souls of the five original X-Men. Magik tells him that her job is to foil Belasco’s plan, while he is to hold the N’Garai at bay. With that, Magik leaves Thunderbird alone via a Stepping Disk, before he can ask her if she can take Betsy to safety. Though Neal knows what Magik would have said: „if the X-Men succeed, Psylocke’s safety is assured. If they don’t, it won’t matter where she is, on Limbo or on Earth."

Hammer Bay, capital of the island nation of Genosha. The civil war is all but over, and reconstruction is well underway. Not only a physical reality, but also the way the ministry of information spins that reality for the international community. Spinning that information now is Dr. Alda Huxley a woman who had a hand to play, albeit a bad hand, in getting Genosha to where it is today.
It is the middle of a press conference and Huxley is publicly speaking. She says that it is the truth that the political situation in Genosha has stabilized, and social order has once more been restored – Huxley lifts her arm up indicating a huge wall painting of the man responsible for it, the man who now benevolently rules over them – Magneto!

Huxley tells those who are listening to look around them at the structures going up over Genosha, taller and lovelier than those that fell before them during the recent unpleasantness. She mentions now, the mutant Acolytes who patrol the city day and night to keep the peace, and reveals that the UN Observer Corps has certified that Genosha has become again a safe place to visit.

Towards the back of the crowd, slightly obscured by the remains of an old building, Wolverine tells his companion that Huxley makes him feel warm all over, and then brings up the pun of talking to Iceman and being „warm all over." Logan tells Bobby that they have to move out. Bobby hesitates and Logan asks him what the matter is. Bobby Drake asks Logan how he can be so ‘pardon the pun- cool about all this’. Bobby reminds Logan that Magneto was the first enemy the X-Men ever battled, and that he was the youngest. Bobby continues, telling Logan that he will never forget how scared he was during that battle, or the nightmares he had for weeks afterwards.

Bobby tells Logan that the state of Genosha now is a nightmare come to life, and that it is as if everything the X-Men have ever stood and fought for means nothing. Wolverine tells Iceman that he should tell that to Professor Xavier, as he is the man who let the UN give Magneto Genosha. Iceman reminds his companion that the situation was not that simple, and tells him that he thought Xavier and he had buried that hatchet. Logan snarls to Bobby that he and the Professor did, but it doesn’t mean he has to like, or agree with what Charles did, and reminds Bobby that Genosha was a country whose society was built on the enslavement of mutants, and that one should not replace hate with hate.

Bobby tells Logan that that is why they are here isn’t it – to make sure that does not happen. He says that they need to ascertain of what the status of humans is here and then get out quickly. Wolverine says that he may stay behind and finish what Charles Xavier will not. Bobby tells Logan that that is not smart, and Wolverine turns around to the younger man and tells him that sometimes you have to throw out what is smart for what is right. Iceman tells Wolverine that there is more at stake in Genosha than just his sense of morality, and that Magneto will know he is coming from a mile away. Bobby hesitates slightly before telling Logan that he doesn’t need him telling him what Magneto does to things made of metal.

Wolverine tells Bobby that he does not care, to which Iceman tells him does, and tells him to think of Quicksilver…Bobby’s voice trails off a bit, before adding ‘and Lorna’ and tells Wolverine that they cannot endanger them.

Suddenly, Wolverine unsheathes his claws, Bobby asks him what he is doing and Logan tells him that he smelled a scent that should not be here, and they have visitors! Pointing up to the sky, two flying figures can be scarcely made out.
Bobby quickly turns to ice-form and tells Logan that they have to outflank the other two, get into Magneto’s citadel and find Polaris, but adds that the locals may see this as an attack, and respond in kind.

Iceman and Wolverine begin traveling on one of Bobby’s ice-slides and Logan tells him they will burn that bridge when they come to it. Iceman tells him not to say „burn" while on the ice slide, and when Wolverine asks if it is bad luck, as if on cue, the bridge is burnt by a solar blast from a possessed Sunfire! Who is accompanied by an equally possessed Banshee, who asks „Shiro" why he continues to hurl fire at the „meat" when they have fallen. The N’Garai within Sunfire tells his companion that they are more than meat, they are enemies, and they must see their blackened carcasses to make sure that they are dead.

Meanwhile, falling into the city below, Iceman asks Wolverine if their two former teammates sounded a little different to him also. Logan tells Bobby they will discuss it after he saves him. Bobby complies by creating an „ice toboggan", though Wolverine asks him how that is going to stand the fire blasts from Sunfire any better than the slide did. Iceman tells him that it won’t, but the point is to get them to the ground before he can shoot at them again. The two mutants land, and when Bobby suggests they get their defenses up, Logan asks them what kind of defenses they can mount…against the wail of Banshee?

Banshee lets out an extremely powerful sonic scream and in the war between free-will mutant, and N’Garai-possessed mutants there are no noncombatants. Sean Cassidy’s shriek rips through the ears and mind of every person in the city – rendering them unconscious. Due to his genetically enhanced hearing, Wolverine is especially vulnerable to this sonic assault, and Iceman does not fall long after him.

While Sunfire goes to the fallen mutants, Banshee flies towards the citadel, which looms over the city, and meets no resistance as all guards have fallen thanks to his sonic scream. Banshee unleashes a smaller scale cry and shatters a window, entering Magneto’s throne room. But the mutant master of magnetism is not who the possessed Banshee seeks. It is his companion, the former X-Man known as Polaris – Lorna Dane!

Magneto lies sprawled out on the floor, Lorna beside him. The N’Garai possessed Banshee decides that while he has come primarily for Polaris, Magneto is an enemy who must not be allowed to live. The N’Garai will relish in the killing more, if he is in his natural form, and Banshee’s image melts away as the N’Garai bares his teeth and claws over Magneto. As his claws dwindle over Magneto’s helmet the N’Garai thinks to himself what he will do to the brain inside – until someone – or something – whacks the N’Garai from behind – and throws him across the throne room.

The demon steps into view - it is Pilgrimm! „Banshee" asks if a Ru’tai has come to the rescue of Magneto, and Pilgrimm tells him that he has come to kill Magneto, Polaris, him, or all of them! While the N’Garai uses Banshee’s sonic scream against him, the Ru’tai tells the N’Garai that his goal is to disrupt Belasco’s spell by any means possible, thus preventing the N’Garai resurgence. The N’Garai is somewhat surprised that Banshee’s sonic scream does not work against him, but before the Ru’tai can act further, he finds himself trapped – encased in every piece of metal in the chamber.

Polaris has awakened- and she is more than mad. She tells Pilgrimm that from what she saw when she was coming around, she best dispose of the other demon before she plays with him – and in a rush of magnetic energy sends the N’Garai possessed Banshee through the roof of the citadel and into the skies over the city.

On the street below, the N’Garai possessed Sunfire sees this, and wonders what entity could treat a N’Garai like that. Standing nearby, Iceman realizes what they are up against – N’Garai in mutants clothing, and sneaks up behind the possessed Sunfire and encases him in a prison of ice. The N’Garai admits that it was a mistake to turn his back from the fallen „meat" but that is a mistake he can easily fix, and using Sunfire’s power over heat, melts the ice surrounding him.
He decides to deal with Iceman before he tends to his fallen N’Garai, and turning around unleashes a solar flame against Iceman, though it is too late before he realizes that he has been tricked. The flame bounces off scores of reflecting surfaces, all resembling Iceman, as in the moments „Sunfire" was encased within the block of ice, Bobby surrounded him with a larger many-faceted globe of ice. Firing at the carved Iceman, the N’Garai heats up that surrounding globe, and in the space of a heartbeat, he is swept away in a monstrous flash flood.

Meanwhile, the real Bobby Drake, after deciding there is no time to bring Wolverine around, has gone in search of Lorna Dane! Before he gets very far though, metal javelins suddenly appear around him in rapid fire, trapping him in a cage. From above him, someone says ‘What are you doing here, Bobby?’ Iceman looks up to the sky, and cannot believe his eyes. Lorna Dane hovers in flight above her former teammate. Iceman asks if it is really her – or if she is N’Garai like Banshee and Sunfire.

Lorna scoffs when Bobby mentions the N’Garai and asks him if that was what this was all about. She tells him that he still should not have come here.

Polaris lands and walks up to her caged one time boyfriend, and Bobby tells her that he will not stand by idly while she makes decisions that may ruin her life. Lorna tells him she refuses to have that same argument again, and that they have more pressing matters to deal with. She tells him to stand aside while she releases him. Bobby tells her she has no need to do that, as he can do it himself, and tells her she would be amazed at what happens to metals when they are exposed to temperatures near absolute zero, and as he cools the metals, he just as easily breaks them as if they were twigs.

Lorna tells him that was impressive, as she never felt so much as a chill. Bobby says ‘Cold hands, warm heart’. Lorna frowns and narrows her green eyes, telling Bobby that she never doubted the warmth of his heart - just that she could never return it in equal measure.

Bobby says ‘Whatever’ and while Polaris flies, he glides along an ice slide as they follow the remnants of his flood. The two former X-Men end up in a construction site, and standing on a ledge they see Sunfire who is still lying unconscious in a pool of water, with more water pouring on him. Lorna says ‘And we do what?’ Bobby tells her he will freeze the water again, encasing him in ice again, only this ice is cold enough to keep him unconscious in a hypothermic suspension.

Bobby and Lorna stand over „Sunfire" and Bobby tells Lorna that he shouldn’t give them any more trouble, encased in a bed of ice. The two powerful former X-Men turn away from him – big mistake – and the N’Garai’s features return to their natural form, and with a demon face comes demon strength – and the N’Garai leaps out of the ice. Lorna spots him first and warns Bobby to look out. Bobby tells her that he will have to try something else, as his ice didn’t hold him – and as Bobby shoves his elbow into the N’Garai’s jaw Lorna tells him he hurt the demon as blood gushes from his mouth.

„Sunfire" gets mad, and with a flaming punch, knocks Iceman out cold. Seeing her friend knocked out, Lorna announces it is her turn, and unleashes raw magnetic energy, enwrapping the N’Garai in streamers he cannot escape. However, a sudden sonic scream plays havoc with Lorna’s inner ear, resulting in instant vertigo, and overwhelming nausea, as „Banshee" screeches down towards Lorna, as the mistress of magnetism goes down beneath the barrage of the N’Garai.

The N’Garai stand over the lifeless bodies of Polaris and Iceman, not knowing that above them sits the Ru’tai called Pilgrimm, preparing his assault on them - but instead the familiar sound of a snikt proves otherwise, as Wolverine has returned and leaps over towards the demon. Logan remembers telling Bobby that earlier he smelled something that didn’t belong in Genosha – or even Earth! Logan lands on the crane that Pilgrimm is clinging to, and Pilgrimm welcomes this contest. Logan is thrown off his game just a little, by the realization that the Ru’tai is telling the truth.

Logan and Pilgrimm are still fighting when they land on the ground below, startling the N’Garai and Lorna and Bobby who have just risen. Lorna Dane does not ask Wolverine if he wants help, she just acts, and metal objects are drawn towards her like moths to a flame, metal shavings form a torrent that washes toward her like liquid mercury. The metal flows over her body from solids and liquids alike, coating Polaris from head to toe, till every inch, save her flowing green hair, is covered in gleaming chrome.

Lorna has served her purpose – she has the Ru’tai’s attention, who hurls Logan away with inhuman strength, and turns towards the new challenger! Fed up with everything, and in a really bad mood, Lorna taunts the demon, telling it to hit her with its best shot. He does, and punches Lorna Dane in the stomach with full force. The blow has no effect, other than the impact. However, Pilgrimm does not stop after one blow, and scrapes away at Lorna’s armor, thrusting her to the ground, the damages visible for all to see.

Lorna sees just how deep the Ru’tai’s claws have cut, thankfully, the metal covering her body saved her from such a nasty end. The Ru’tai looms above Lorna Dane like the angel of death – the next he shrieks in surprise as he is struck from behind by an energy blast that hits like a thousand razors, and he vanishes in a burst of arcane ether.
The N’Garai possessing Sunfire gloats that he killed the Ru’tai and tells Logan that he will kill him now. Wolverine tells „Sunfire„ that he didn’t kill anybody, and taunts him – until a literal wall of solid sound hits Logan, sending him back across the construction yard. „Banshee" turns to Polaris telling her that Wolverine will not bother with them for a while, but before he can tells Polaris what he intends to do to her, he is struck by pain.

Iceman stands over him, and Polaris, holding her stomach, asks Bobby what he did to him. He replies that he made the air around the N’Garai, so that when he breathed in. the chill scorched the membranes of his throat, ‘less like freezing than being on fire!’.
The N’Garai within Sunfire tells Iceman he has wasted a lot of effort, and will unlikely be able to do that again! The N’Garai unleashes a huge solar flame, aimed at the battered Iceman. Iceman is in trouble, as soon as he regenerates his ice-shield, the N’Garai dissolves it again, a few moments more, and his flesh will melt before the fiery assault too…

‘Stop!’ Cries Lorna Dane, a tear forming in her eye she tells the N’Garai not to kill Bobby and asks him what he wants. The demon tells her that he came for her, and that if she drops her metal defenses he will spare the icy warrior. In pain, Bobby tells Lorna not to do it, as you can not trust a N’Garai. ‘I’ve no choice’ says Lorna, and the metal covering her body slips from her body. Lorna keels over from the pain, and tells the demon that she has willed her armor to flow off her, and tells him to leave Bobby alone, as she is his.

For a long moment, the N’Garai study the face of the pleading Lorna Dane, now vulnerable, before „Banshee" comes up and smacks her out. Lorna is not conscious to see Bobby rush forward, regardless of his own safety to tend to her Lorna. She also does not see the Sunfire N’Garai unleash a powerful that fells him.

The demons kneel over the fallen heroes, and mutter arcane spells never to be spoken by human throats, as the N’Garai steal away the souls of Lorna and Bobby. Then in a blinding burst of unearthly energy, they vanish, leaving nothing behind but two unmoving forms.

A heartbeat later, Magik…arrives. The young woman realizes she arrived to late, and as she looks down at Lorna – a woman who was once a friend – a moment of humanity seems to emanate from Magik. But she returns to the task at hand, knowing that what happened here in Genosha was just a prelude to the true confrontation, and she must pool her resources until then, though a hard decision, it is the right one.

Magik holds her Soulsword above Lorna and Bobby and starts to draw their life essences into the Soulsword. Suddenly, another voice is heard – it’s Wolverine. He tells Magik to ‘Lower that pig-sticker, lady, or I bury these claws where it hurts’. As if she knew their meeting would be inevitable, Magik begins to say something, until Wolverine cuts her off, asking her who she is. She tells him she is Magik, to which Wolverine tells her that she is lying, for Illyana Rasputin is dead, and he tells the young woman that she is not Illyana.

From beneath her cowl, Logan’s claws up at her face, Magik tells Wolverine to look at her and trust her. She tells him that he of all the X-Men should be able to sense the truth. Logan looks, and says nothing, but he knows. He sheathes his claws away from the face of the woman he once knew well and Magik tells him that his strength is needed elsewhere, while she plans to end the N’Garai threat once and for all. She tells him that she needs his help, and as they vanish through Stepping Disk, Logan says ‘You got it Darlin’.

Characters Involved: 

Psylocke, Thunderbird III, Wolverine (All X-Men)

Magik II

Iceman, Polaris (Former X-Man)


Dr. Alda Huxley

Unnamed Acolytes

Citizens of Genosha


N’Garai in the bodies of Banshee and Sunfire.

N’Garai demons


In Flashback/ Magik’s image:

Colossus, Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Sprite, Storm




Story Notes: 

Polaris is not exactly one of the „Original X-Men", but she joined about 50 issues into the first run of Uncanny X-Men before it was canceled and became reprints. She is standing in for Cyclops, who at this point-in-time was presumed dead after the Twelve Saga and the battle with Apocalypse. But like Havok who joined around the time Polaris did (and was also believed dead at the time), she is more often considered an Original X-Man as opposed to a New X-Man.

The X-Men encountered Keirrok in X-Men (1st series) #96, and Kitty Pryde later fought one left-over N’Garai in Uncanny X-Men #143.

Iceman and the other original X-Men (not Polaris) first fought Magneto in the first issue of X-Men ever, X-Men (1st series) #1.

Magneto was given Genosha in X-Men (second series) #87, at the end of the „Magneto War".

Polaris is one of the many woman Iceman could never get a proper relationship with, however to this day he still holds a special place for Lorna in his heart. Lorna’s current feelings for him are still somewhat ambiguous.

As with most of Lorna’s friendships, the one between her and Amanda is more implied than stated, as the two were both members of Moira MacTaggert’s shortlived Muir Island X-Men.

Issue Information: 
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