X-Men: Hellbound #3

Issue Date: 
September 2010
Story Title: 

Chris Yost (writer), Harvey Tolibao w/ Tom Raney (pencilers), Sandu Florea w/ Scott Hanna (inker), Jay David Ramos (colorist), VC’s Sabino (letterer), Marko Djurdjevic (cover), Daniel Ketchum (editor), Nick Lowe (consulting editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (Exec. Publisher)

Brief Description: 

Cannonball and Anole confront Gambit, who is overcome by his Death persona, and their two teammates, Dazzler and Northstar, whom he has already converted. Massively outmatched, Sam grabs Anole and then flees. Meanwhile, N’astirh and Pixie confront the captive Magik. N’astirh offers Pixie her soul back if she brings him Magik’s Soulsword. Illyana spells out this will mean she will die, but figures that won’t bother Pixie. However, Megan surprises them both by attacking N’astirh with her souldagger instead. In turn, N’astirh then turns on her but, at that moment, Gambit and his servants join them and take N’astirh and Pixie captive. When Pixie refuses to join, Gambit plans to kill her, but Cannonball and Anole arrive. Cannonball amazingly holds himself against his teammates while Anole saves Pixie, who in turn tries to help Magik. Illyana tells her she isn’t worth it; she should save herself rather and admits that she hates the New X-Men because she envies their goodness. Pixie nevertheless chooses to help her and, once freed, Magik frees the others, including Gambit, from whom the darkness has receded. Illyana apologizes to Pixie and they prepare to return to Utopia… if there still is a Utopia to return to…

Full Summary: 

Limbo. A crater in a volcanic wasteland where Magik sits tied to the ground by tentacles. She shouts in pain. ”Pomogeete mne… pozhalista…pomogeete”, she moans, then calls out her brother’s name.

Two beings suddenly land next to her: the arch-demon N’astirh and the young X-Man Pixie. Rasputin! N’astirh tells her, they have come to end her suffering. Forever. Pixie points her Souldagger at the dejected Illyana.

Meanwhile, in the lava fields in another part of Limbo, Cannonball and Anole find themselves surrounded by demons and their possessed teammates, Gambit, Dazzler and Northstar. They deserve this! Anole announces. Seriously… the X-Men have been dealing with this nightmare forever, but they never do anything about this! Everything they do comes back to haunt them, but this… they just let Magik walk around making gateways to hell! That’s their transportation, he lectures Sam, gateways to hell!

Will he give it a rest? Sam interrupts him, pointing at their possessed teammates. They’ve got bigger problems, no? Limbo corrupts people. He’s seen it before. Why isn’t this happening to the two of them? Victor asks.

Sam addresses Gambit, leader of the possessed group, urging him to fight it. This isn’t him. Gambit replies amused Sam has no idea how him this is. Look at Sam, playing leader…He can’t lead those who are stronger than him into hell and not expect bad things to happen. And bad things are about to happen. He hears young Anole here grows new limbs when he loses one, that they come back stronger. He thinks he wants to see that.

What? Victor exclaims horrified. Sam orders him to stay behind him. They are moving. Behind him? They are all around them, Victor points out. The three slowly move toward them. This disgusting little creature struck him once, Northstar muses. He goes first. He thinks he’ll take the arms. Don’t be greedy, Dazzler chides him.

Cannonball orders Anole to grab onto him and then flies the two of them out. Disappointing, Dazzler observes, though Northstar reminds her it doesn’t matter. There is only one way out of here and he knows where she is….

N’astirh tells Pixie that this magic imprisoning Rasputin reeks of science. He cannot break it. And Magik’s own spells are keeping him from acting against her. But Pixie is of both worlds. Nothing could stop her. This is what she wanted, he urges her. Her soul back and she can have it. All she has to do is take the Soulsword from Rasputin and give it to him.

That’s right, Illyana addresses Pixie as well. And all she has to do to take her sword is kill her. But she knew that, didn’t she? Look at her, N’astirh didn’t even have to try, did he? Megan doesn’t reply and Illyana continues her rant, mocking her, poor innocent Megan, finally standing up to her big bad monster. What Illyana did to her was nothing! Pixie thinks she understands pain? She doesn’t know anything! She urges her to do it, before Illyana takes the rest of her soul, before she feeds on all her spoiled little friends. What is she waiting for? Do it!

Pixie’s lip begins to curl in disgust. Then she strikes with her soul dagger, and slams it in to N’astirh’s shoulder.

In disbelief, he exclaims she would fight for Rasputin? She is as much a demon as he is! After everything she did to Pixie, she would fight for her? Yeah, Pixie replies. That’s what X-Men do. Is that what she is? he taunts, a hero? Good, then when he eats what remains of her soul, he’ll use that to kill Rasputin. He will resurrect Pixie, so she can suffer for all—

Someone flattens N’astirh at superspeed. “Oh, thank God”, Pixie babbles. The X-Men are here! Illyana tells her to run. Why becomes clear. What was slammed into N’astirt was Sy’m… at the hands of the three possessed X-Men, Gambit, Dazzler and Northstar. They are dead, N’astirh threatens Gambit, and then he will feast on his corpse! He orders his demons to tear the X-Men apart. Don’t think so, Gambit replies. The small demons gather behind him. Holy crap! Pixie mutters. What should she do? What happened to them? Illyana moans that this is not Gambit.

Gambit, or whatever is in control, informs N’astirh that this place is his now and so are his demons. They belong to Death just like he does. On his order, the demons attack N’astirh and Pixie, who fights back with her souldagger. She screams out in horror. N’astirh orders her to be silent and fight. Is he kidding? she protests. He wanted to eat her soul! N’astirh ignores that statement and points out the power within this Death is neither mutant nor magic. It will consume this place. If she wants to live, she has to fight! Both of them are swamped with demons, and finally overwhelmed.

They are brought to kneel before Gambit. Pixie asks him to understand this place is changing him. She reminds him he taught her how to throw knives and pick locks. This isn’t him. N’astirh asks him if he thinks to take possession of this place. The Elder Gods will return and he will burn. Does he think he knows what death is?

He does, Gambit agrees and decapitates N’astirh. Turning to Pixie, he tells her she can die like this demon or he can make her strong. He can make her into what she was meant to be. He can make her just like Illyana. She is not like her, Pixie insists. Sure she is, Gambit tells her with a smirk she just needs a push. He can do that. He can make her a Darkchild just like her. Please no, Pixie begs. Gambit takes it back; she doesn’t have a choice…

That moment, Cannonball lands between them. He know this is hard for him he addresses Gambit, but step away from the girl! He’s nothing, Gambit mocks. Not even worth corrupting. Then show him what he’s got, Sam challenges him. And here he thought he was arrogant, Northstar mocks.

Kill him! Gambit orders his two possessed teammates. Her pleasure, Dazzler replies as she fires a laser beam which Sam fends off with a localized expulsion-field. That it? he asks because he is on a schedule here.

“Death” orders Northstar to bring him this hayseed’s tongue. Northstar flies at him but Sam cannonballs against him. Gambit orders Dazzler to kill Pixie while he deals with Cannonball.

Pixie tries to make Alison remember that they are friends. Dazzler came to visit her when she got hurt. She’s a fan! She watched Dazzler’s movie, went to her concerts!

That’s so sweet, Dazzler mocks. She will give her a last performance then, for old time’s sake. That moment, Anole strikes Dazzler from behind. He tears into the demons next, telling Pixie she will have to free Magik.

Sam slams into Gambit, telling him to snap out of it! He brought Gambit here to keep them focused! He’s making Sam look bad in front of the students! Calling Sam a hick, “Death” mocks if he honestly believes he can fight him. On Gambit’s worst day, Sam couldn’t hold a candle to him. He kicks Sam in the face.

Is that what he thinks? Sam asks. He doesn’t know him at all. He blocks Gambit’s staff. He was fighting Sentinels while Gambit was still stealing paintings. While Gambit was under Sinister’s thumb Sam was being trained by Cable! So does he think he can take Gambit? Hell, yes! He hits him with a cannonball-powered blow in the face.

Pixie tries to cut away at the tentacles holding Magik with her souldagger. She can’t-- Magik begins. Pixie interrupts her. She doesn’t want to hear it. She’s trying to help her! Magik orders her to stop. Pixie can end this! Use her dagger and take her soul back. What? Pixie asks confused. Does she know why Illyana hates her? All of the New X-Men? Because they are a constant reminder of what a monster she is. They show her every day that she has become what she hated… Belasco. She is begging her, take her soul back! Take the Soulsword from her heart and end this! End her! Please.

Overwhelmed by the demons, Victor shouts out for Pixie who doesn’t know what to do.

Gambit kicks Sam off, taunting that Cable thought Sam was the special one. But then he casts him aside. Now he has Hope. Cyclops thinks he is a leader but he just led his team to die! Like he said, Sam’s nothing!

Sam blasts directly at him. Talk all he want, bottom line: he’s taking him down! And when he gets back up top? He thinks he’s gonna go ask Rogue out for a date…. Now that’s hitting a man where it hurts, Gambit replies. He likes it. Maybe he’ll take Sam after all.

He tries to grab him but Sam disappears, courtesy of a teleportation circle. Magik is free. He looks like fun, she remarks. Now get the %$§& away from her friend!

Gambit gets ready to attack her when Pixie stabs him from behind with her Souldagger. Magik uses her Soulsword on him at the same time. He falls. Down.

Is he all right? Pixie asks agitated. Does she want him to be? Illyana shoots back. Sam wonders why he isn’t changing back. Illyana’s sword should cut through Limbo’s influence. What’s happening? Magik admits she doesn’t know.

Neither of them is aware of the struggle inside Gambit, between him and his Death personality. Death retreats. Soon, it threatens. The others just see that Gambit starts to look normal again as do Dazzler and Northstar.

Magik restores the realm to the way it was, promising she’ll punish N’astirh and S’ym later- for better or worse, this realm is hers again.

Sam asks if she is okay. They were all worried about her. She is fine, she replies, thanks to Pixie, she adds unexpectedly. She addresses Pixie directly. She doesn’t think Illyana is worth saving. Pixie weakly protests. Illyana cut her off. It’s okay. She isn’t. But Pixie did it anyway. She remembers… that’s how she used to be. She used to be like Megan. She remembers what it is like having a soul, What it was like to suffer. And she’s sorry that Megan is suffering because of her. If they survive this, maybe they can help each other find a way to be whole. Okay, Pixie agrees somewhat mollified.

The others slowly awake. Northstar remembers Sam hitting him. He’s impressed. Guthrie got them though this hell. He’s actually admitting he is a good leader? Sam asks. He hasn’t ruled out luck, Jean-Paul warns him.

Anole tries to help Dazzler, assuring her it wasn’t her. She knows, comes the reply, she has some experience with being possessed. It’s just… this time something was different. She can’t describe this.

They figure Trance is back on Utopia, back in her body. Pixie casts the teleportation spell and Sam darkly hopes there is a Utopia to go back to…

Characters Involved: 

Dazzler, Gambit / Death, Northstar (all X-Men)

Cannonball, Magik (all New Mutants)

Anole, Pixie (all New X-Men)



Limbo demons

Story Notes: 

This is a side story of the Second Coming crossover.

Illyana was kidnapped in New Mutants (3rd series) # 12.

Illyana’s words are Russian for: “Help me. Please help me!”

Anole lost and regrew his arm in Limbo in New X-Men (2nd series) #36-41.

Cable thinking Sam was the special one was a big plotline in early issues of X-Force (1st series).

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