New Mutants (1st series) #73

Issue Date: 
March 1989
Story Title: 
The Gift

Louise Simonson (writer), Bret Blevins (penciler), Al Williamson & Mike Manley (inkers), Joe Rosen (letterer), Glynis Oliver (colorist), Bob Harras (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

Magik battles S’ym while Cannonball, Sunspot, Boom-Boom, Rictor, Warlock and Wolfsbane embark on a mission to find her, leaving Mirage, Rusty, Skids and Gosamyr to protect Artie, Leech, Wiz Kid and the Inferno Babies. On their journey, the away team come across all sorts of demonized objects trying to stop them. Colossus arrives in Manhattan also in search of his sister, while N’astirh appears before the Inner Circle of the Hellfire Club and tries to make a deal with them. The away team see Magneto and are about to ask for his help, until they see him conversing with N’astirh and decide against it. Eventually they find Magik, still battling S’ym, and they liberate her from the battle and follow her into Limbo, where the demons there celebrate their queens return. Colossus and S’ym go head-to-head, while Mirage, Rusty and Skids fight off a barrage of demons all trying to get the Inferno Babies. During the mêlée, Mirage becomes unconscious. Magik takes her place on the throne of Limbo, while Wolfsbane comes up with a plan to save Illyana, by rescuing her younger self whom they encountered earlier in Limbo. Cannonball and the others follow Wolfsbane as she leaps through the static Stepping Discs until she finally finds the infant Illyana and grabs her. This angers Magik, until she finally realizes that she does have a choice, and transforms into the Lightchilde, extending a Stepping Disc all over the world, and a wind of fire hurls the demons back into Limbo. During the confusion though, Wolfsbane loses hold of the infant Illyana. S’ym is also blown away, and Mirage regains consciousness, before leaving with Rusty and Skids to go find their friends, leaving Gosamyr to look after the babies. All that seems to be left of Magik is her eldritch armor, crushed. Colossus arrives at the scene, while Mirage comforts Wolfsbane, he hears a voice in the armor, and ripping it open discovers the infant Illyana. The New Mutants and X-Terminators realize that Magik’s sacrificed herself so that the world would be saved and so that her infant self may live. N’astirh is furious that his plot with Magik has ended, but still has another plan, one involving Nathan Christopher Summers and Madelyne Pryor!

Full Summary: 

Illyana Rasputin was once a beautiful gift to the world, filled with the promise of perfection. That was when she was young…before she fell into the demonic dimension called Limbo. There, she was raised by sorcerers and demons. She survived. She learned. She traded a bright piece of her soul to the darkness…for power. She became Limbo’s mistress and escaped back to her own world. But Limbo rebelled…and followed her home!

Today, in Times Square, the uber-demon known as S’ym puffs on a cigar as he stands on Illyana “Magik” Rasputin, currently known as the Darkchilde, though she is covered from head to toe in eldritch armor. Both mutant and monster reach for Illyana’s powerful Soul Sword. S’ym remarks that Magik’s armor may protect her from his Transmode Virus, but that she still rejects her dark heritage. ‘You refuse to be the Darkchilde in more than name and form’, he says, before remarking that it is good, as it will make it easier for him to destroy her.

‘Destroy me, S’ym?’ Illyana asks from behind her armor, while a proud voice inside of her whispers to herself that if she can no longer be perfect in beauty and goodness…why not be perfect in evil? For without the dark power, she is nothing, an empty shell. A vacuum that which nature abhors. ‘Demon…you make me laugh!’ Illyana exclaims as she forces S’ym off of her body and picking him up, tosses him across the room and out of the window of the building they were in.

The voice whispers to her again, telling her that with the darkness and power, she is the Darkchilde, that her existence has meaning, and that she has already done so much by bringing Limbo to a corner of Earth, but the voice adds that she could do so much more too. Illyana fires a blast of magical energies at S’ym as she reminds him of how he tortured her when she was small and helpless. ‘I’m not small any longer!’ she boasts as she leaps from the window, and holding her sword high, adds that she has more than enough power already to destroy him.

S’ym lies in a pile of rubble, while Illyana looms over him. Already the long-serving member of the teenage mutant heroes the New Mutants has fought off the nightmare whisperings. She is still fighting them - but she is losing, evident as she brings her powerful sword down upon S’ym, slicing him into several pieces. S’ym’s head bounces along a bit before stopping, and grinning at Illyana he points out that he didn’t kill her when she was small because N’astirh protected her. S’ym’s techno-organic body begins to reform as S’ym informs Magik that N’astirh is now dead, and boasts that it was he who defeated him, reduced to ash. S’ym stands up before Illyana and tells her that he wants her sword - and her dark power.

S’ym declares that it will be his pleasure to take it from her - then take her life. He lunges at her, but Illyana tells him that he is wrong, and unleashes a massive amount of magical energy upon him, forcing him backwards and into a brick wall. Magik proceeds to tell S’ym that N’astirh is not dead, although he no longer protects her. ‘He has abandoned me’. Magik tells S’ym that N’astirh knows she can access the dark powers that will destroy S’ym utterly and that he hopes S’ym will force her to take that choice. ‘And you know, S’ym, that tempts me…it really does!’ Illyana exclaims wickedly.

Meanwhile, not too far away, just off Times Square is a church, which is currently a haven for a trio of injured teenage mutant heroes, an female alien, three pre-pubescent mutant boys and ten babies. The three teenage heroes stand in the doorway of the church and watch their un-injured friends and teammates in the New Mutants and X-Terminators leave to go and find Magik. Rusty Collins of the X-Terminators remarks that he knows they are in no shape to go with the others, but he still feels like a shirker.

Danielle “Dani” Moonstar, co-leader of the New Mutants and codenamed Mirage tells Rusty that it is hard letting them go, adding that she is afraid for them - as she sees death everywhere. ‘My head…’ she adds. Sally Blevins a.k.a. Skids remarks that it is probably her head again and suggests to Dani that she go and lie down. Dani tells her new friend that it will not do any good, as the Valkyries gave her a gift that lets her see death coming. ‘right now…I see death all around!’

Not too far away, the rescue team consisting of a merged team of New Mutants and X-Terminators makes their way to find Magik. Warlock has once more transformed himself into “Super Warlock” to carry his friends around, except for Cannonball a.k.a. Sam Guthrie who blasts alongside. Sam remarks that the way the buildings and streets keep shifting around, he doesn’t know if they will see Illyana even if they fly right over her. Warlock exclaims that, nevertheless, they need to continue the search, pointing out that Magik might be the only one who can put the city right.

Rahne “Wolfsbane” Sinclair reminds her friends that Illyana took back her sword and became the Darkchilde so that she could get them home - that it was never Illyana’s intent for this to happen. Bobby “Sunspot” DaCosta remarks that he feels badly, and adds that if Illyana did this to save them, then it must be their fault, to which Julio Richter a.k.a. Rictor adds that the X-Terminators played their part too, and that he and Boom-Boom feel just as bad.

The young heroes continue on their journey, when suddenly they come to a set of traffic lights that glows red and begins talking to them; ‘Hey you hoodlums! Red light! And this is a NO WAY street!’ Warlock continues to fly past the traffic lights as reality bends and twists even more, with the entire road warping around them as the traffic light asks them if they cannot read a sign or do they not know what a red light means. Cannonball cries out for Warlock to stop, and the traffic light exclaims ‘You ain’t even slowing down!’

Warlock alerts his friends to the fact that the street is looping around them and trying to crush them, as several demonized cars drive up behind them. ‘Yup! Penalty for traffic offenders! Gonna grind you into a traffic jam!’ one of the cars shouts. ‘Stoplight wise mouth lacks street smarts!’ Warlock shouts as he smashes through the traffic light. The cars increase their speed. ‘They ran the lights!’ one of the cars shouts.

‘That’s not all we’re gonna do to your lights!’ Sunspot shouts as he and the others begin battling the road and any traffic lights they come across. Tabby Smith, better known as Boom-Boom tosses her plasma time-bombs about while she tells her fellow X-Terminator Rictor to ‘Shake ‘em up, dude!’ Sunspot remarks that they could really use Professor X about now, to which a wide-eyed Boom-Boom exclaims ‘Professor Xavier is your teacher? The old guy who used to teach X-Factor?!’ Sunspot replies that Xavier taught them once, but he had to leave, and now they have a new headmaster, who he suspects shows more concern for them than the danger to the city.

Meanwhile, through twisted Manhattan streets strides an upright man. He knows the demons that scurry before him, he has seen them before. His little sister was once their mistress in Limbo. However she escaped, left Limbo and its nightmare world behind her. So where is she now, the mutant X-Man Piotr Rasputin a.k.a. Colossus wonders - and what is Limbo doing here? The mighty X-Man grabs a scrawny green demon by the neck and asks where his sister is. ‘S…sister?’ the demon asks.

Colossus explains that his sister fell into Limbo when she was six, and by the time she escaped, she ruled everyone in the domain, before arriving back here on Earth, eight long years later, only to discover that for those on Earth, mere hours had passed. The demon explains that is because time is different in Limbo, and another squawks ‘Time better there!’ Colossus holds out a couple of photos of his younger sister at age six and one of the demons remarks ‘One time is all time in Limbo through teleport discs!’ The green demon in Piotr’s grasp points out that it is part of Limbo’s special magic, to which another demon exclaims that it is the only part that mighty S’ym cannot bring here to Earth.

‘S’ym? My sister rules Limbo, not S’ym!’ Colossus exclaims. ‘Surprise for you, big guy, huh?’ another demon exclaims, before informing Colossus that his sister no longer looks like that girl in the picture, that N’astirh has since changed her. Another demon informs Colossus that S’ym fought N’astirh and won. Yet another demon cries ‘You Colossus, Darkchilde’s brother!’ The demons recall that Colossus is in his organic steel form and that he fought S’ym once, so they decide to bring him to the mighty S’ym - ‘For our new ruler…shiny coronation gift!’

Nearby, on a rooftop high above, the Hellfire Club’s Inner Circle battle the invading demons. Sebastian Shaw a.k.a. the Black King angrily remarks that this is the doing of Magneto’s students. Shaw points out that Magneto has lost control of Illyana who has set her demon hordes against the Earth. Magneto reminds Shaw that he has already told him there was unrest in Magik’s kingdom, and that it is more likely that Illyana lost control. Magneto’s attention is suddenly drawn elsewhere as he sees who he thinks is Colossus in the hands of demons, before deciding that it cant be, as the X-Men are dead, he saw them die - the whole world saw!

Suddenly, there is a blinding light as the uber-demon N’astirh appears before the Hellfire Club, announcing that he would call a truce. The demons stop fighting, and Magneto, Shaw, the White Queen and Selene all gather around N’astirh as he introduces himself, remarking that there is no reason for his legions to battle them, as they all share the goal of world domination. N’astirh points out that, previously, economic means, combined with the selective use of their mutant powers have furthered the Hellfire Club’s goals, before declaring that he has other means at his disposal - the magic of Limbo is behind him.

Magneto replies that his student Illyana rules Limbo, to which N’astirh reveals no longer, as the Darkchilde and her great enemy S’ym, will destroy each other. N’astirh boasts that when that happens, he alone will rule Limbo and Earth, and offers Magneto the opportunity to rule this world together.

Mere blocks away, the New Mutants and X-Terminators have escaped the barrage of demonized cars and Bobby exclaims that it is a good thing they are free. Rahne remarks that this is all far too much for them to handle, and wonders if perhaps Illyana can do something about it, to which Julio points out that first they have to find her. Tabitha mutters that they could use some help from adults and wishes X-Factor was around.

Leaning over the side of Super-Warlock, Rahne suddenly points to a rooftop and asks Sunspot if that is Magneto over there, perhaps he could help them. Rictor exclaims that Magneto is the guy who blew up the Russian sub - a villain! Wolfsbane replies that Magneto reformed - or so Professor X believed. She adds that Professor X even made Magneto the headmaster of their school, but the New Mutants don’t trust him, as he wouldn’t help the X-Men when they were in trouble - and they died - and now, Magneto has allied himself with the Hellfire Club.

Cannonball remarks that, nevertheless, Magneto is awfully powerful, and tells his friends that they should lead on down. Wolfsbane exclaims that Cannonball is right, perhaps they should seek his help - after all, it is Earth against the demons, and they know what side Magneto will choose this time. ‘Do we?’ Sunspot asks. He remarks that he hates to mention this, before motioning to who it is that Magneto and the Hellfire Club are talking to. The young heroes all look at where Bobby is pointing, and Rahne exclaims ‘N’astirh! But we saw him explode! We thought he was dead!’ Rahne also points out that N’astirh has been infected with the Transmode Virus.

Boom-Boom asks what the Transmode Virus is, to which Cannonball explains that it makes N’astirh techno-organic, like Warlock, meaning he will be practically invulnerable now, and able to shape-shift. Rictor asks Wolfsbane what it is that N’astirh is saying, and using her heightened hearing abilities, Rahne replies that N’astirh is saying he only wants Manhattan, and that if they stay away from the Empire State Building, the Hellfire Club can have the rest, before adding that he said something about “Selene’s holdings in the Amazon Jungle!”

Bobby angrily remarks that that is where Magma is, and Rahne exclaims that they are trading human lives like playing cards. Rictor remarks that it looks like the New Mutant’s headmaster is cutting a deal with the demon who got Illyana into this mess. Boom-Boom suggests that they get out of here, or before they know it they will be the ones under attack next.

Not far away, S’ym and Magik continue their fight, when suddenly, the lesser demons drop Colossus at S’ym’s feet. ‘Present for you, master’ they say. S’ym puffs on his cigar as he grins over at Magik. ‘Your brother, Darkchilde!’ he exclaims. S’ym asks Magik if he should treat Colossus here as he once treated him in Limbo, but before S’ym can bring his fist down upon Colossus, Magik screams ‘NO!’ and blasts the demon with magic, knocking him back and allowing Magik to inspect the man before her.

She kneels beside him and exclaims that this can’t be her brother, as he was killed in Dallas - but turning him over, Illyana sees that it is. Illyana raises her sword and asks S’ym what he has done to her brother, to which S’ym replies that it isn’t what he has done, but what he will do, and the two clash in battle, with Magik warning S’ym to keep back while she defends her brother, who, unbeknownst to her, is beginning to come to.

Up in the air, Super-Warlock alerts his friends to flashes from a magic-infused fight down below. Sam exclaims that it must be Illyana and asks the others what they are waiting for as they head down to the street below. Bobby suddenly reminds his friends that Illyana is the Darkchilde, so what happens if they save her only to have her create greater trouble? Cannonball asks his best friend how he can say that, as she is their friend, Illyana, and reminds him that Illyana saved them, regardless of the consequences.

Sam turns his attention back down to the street and seeing who he believes to be Illyana all covered in armor, exclaims that it can’t be her - can it? Angrily, Sunspot remarks that their “little” Darkchilde just had horns and scales, but now she has evolved even further - but into what? Rahne remarks that whatever it is that Illyana is becoming, she seems intent on slaying S’ym. Rahne remarks that she hates that monster and he deserves to die for what he has done to Illyana, but nevertheless they still have to stop her, as her blind rage, her passion for revenge can only drag her deeper into darkness.

Warlock promises Wolfsbane that he will save Illyana from herself, and swoops down into the midst of the battle, knocking S’ym to one side and picking up Illyana while Cannonball motions to a pile of metal on the ground and remarks that it looks familiar. Before anything more can be said about it though, Illyana cries ‘You fools!’ and Warlock, with everyone else in tow, crashes into a shop down the street, smashing right through the front window.

Sunspot remarks that they don’t have time for S’ym, to which Rahne points out that at least they have Illyana. Rictor asks where it is they are, to which a lamp on a nearby shelf informs them that they are in a pawn shop, which is right where they belong. Various objects around the shop begin spouting off cryptic sentences: ‘Always been everyone’s pawn’, ‘Shoved here and there’, ‘Held as collateral for power’, ‘Even sold herself’, ‘Pawn became a queen though!’, ‘Queen of darkness, dark queen’, ‘Alone on the board’, ‘Checked at every move’, ‘Has to play the game out to the end!’

Suddenly, Colossus crashes into the room with S’ym, ‘Incoming mail!’ Boom-Boom shouts, while Sunspot remarks that it is Colossus, but he thought he was dead! Boom-Boom asks who Colossus is, while the X-Man himself looms over S’ym, demanding to know what he has done with Illyana. S’ym glances at Magik, still covered in the eldritch armor and asks Colossus if he doesn’t recognize his “little snowflake”.

Colossus is horrified, ‘Illyana - ? No!’ he exclaims, asking S’ym what he has done to his sister. Illyana turns away from Colossus, exclaiming that she didn’t want him to know, that she was almost glad he was dead so that he would never see her like this. ‘I should be dead! I’m dead inside already!’ Illyana shouts as she opens a Stepping Disc and jumps through, with the New Mutants and X-Terminators trying to stop her.

The gathering of heroic teens falls through the disc also and Boom-Boom asks where they are now. They all stand behind Illyana who is sobbing on her knees and Sam informs Tabitha and Rictor that this is Limbo, where Illyana was raised, and learned to control the teleportation discs that pop on and off at random, until she finally used one of them to escape. Rahne adds that this is where the demons on Earth came from and Boom-Boom turns around to look behind her, where she sees dozens of demons. ‘Oh…gross!’ she exclaims, before asking what they are going to do now.

Back on Earth, Colossus calls out for Illyana, to which S’ym remarks that it is Piotr’s own fault that his “little snowflake” came to this. ‘Mine?’ Colossus asks furiously. S’ym points out that Colossus abandoned her, let her think that he was dead while he went about his own business, at which time S’ym wen about his business of deposing Illyana. Colossus smashes S’ym across the road, declaring that he visited Illyana in Limbo, fought S’ym and saved her.

S’ym corrects his opponent, ‘Thought you saved her’ he exclaims, before explaining that Illyana merely thought he was a ghost, one of her dark conjuring. S’ym turns the lower half of his body into a tank-like vehicle and races towards Colossus as he remarks that Colossus simply thought he made things better, thought he saved her. Colossus boasts that he will save her now, that he will slay every demon on Earth to defeat S’ym and win Limbo for himself, if that is what it takes to get his sister back.

Elsewhere, a gathering of lesser demons from Limbo including some of the N’asteris remark that the Darkchilde has gone back to Limbo to take back her kingdom, then she will call them home. Another demon points out that the babies are here, the ones that they collected. ‘Know where they are!’ another cries and the demons take flight towards the church, exclaiming that they are going to take the babies to Limbo with them. ‘Nothing in Limbo nearly good to eat as little human babies!’

Back in Limbo, cheering demons lift their queen triumphantly. Rahne extends a hand, calling for Illyana to come back, but Illyana replies that she cant, as she now sees how wrong she was to turn her back on Limbo. ‘Once I won, I had to rule it!’ Illyana tells her friends that, in trying to escape, she created a power vacuum which S’ym and others rushed to fill - with disastrous results for Earth. Rahne points out that Illyana didn’t mean to do all this, that it isn’t her fault, and asks her if she just cant come back, ‘Just be our Illyana? Our friend?’

Sitting on her throne now, Illyana replies ‘I wish…oh how I wish…’ before declaring that the time for that is past, for if she evades her destiny then Earth will be destroyed - this is where she belongs! Magik boasts that, as the Darkchilde, she is special, powerful, and controls the hordes of Limbo. So she asks, ‘Why would I even want to be an ordinary girl again?’

Meanwhile, demons scurry around as Colossus and S’ym continue their battle. S’ym remarks that Illyana is in Limbo, while Colossus is still here, strong, powerful and impervious to his Transmode Virus. The demons leap onto Colossus as S’ym warns him that despite all of that, he will not prevail. ‘And you will never again see your sister alive!’

Back at the church, Mirage, Rusty and Skids are defending their sanctuary from a barrage of demons. Sally extends a force field to shove the demons back while she remarks that it was quiet for a while, and now this! She asks her boyfriend where they came from and what could have happened. Rusty replies, as shoots bursts of flame at the demons, that he doesn’t know, but that this is not a good sign. The demons all begin chanting that they want the babies, to which Dani, while fending off the demons with her spear, points out that the demons seemed to have forgotten about the babies, so why would they want them now?

Danielle supposes that something must have happened with Illyana and Limbo, adding that the death glow flickers on and off, yet she thinks that death becomes less of a probability and more of a certainty with each passing moment till it seems to surround them all, heralding death for all - for this city - for the whole world! The death glow flickers over Rusty and Skids, while Mirage exclaims that she cannot fight it alone, no matter what she does, it just glows brighter! Mirage passes out due to her concussion, and little Artie and Leech hold on to her.

Sitting on her throne, Illyana motions to her scrying glass, now restored and improved, she tells everyone to look at the state of Earth, the state of her own power. Illyana remarks that it is so easy now that she is coming to accept what she truly might be. In the scrying glass, Magik sees Artie and Leech trying to help Dani, and Manhattan, which is now lost. Her brother, losing in battle against S’ym. And of course Dani’s death-vision, which sees most clearly what this invasion of Earth means - ‘The beginning of the end of everything!’

‘Unless…’ Illyana utters as she suddenly has an idea. Her throne glows gold as she exclaims that she will do it, remarking that her whole existence, her whole life has led her to this moment. Wolfsbane tells Illyana that she won’t let her do it, and begins running off after Illyana. Cannonball tells her not to, and all of the others begin running after her. ‘Come back here!’ exclaims Bobby, while Sam asks her where she thinks she is going. Rahne mumbles that Illyana has chosen, ‘I can’t save her!’ she remarks, before explaining that she cannot help thinking about how when Illyana was little, and reminds her teammates that they travelled through one of those Stepping Discs.

Rahne is about to leap into a Stepping Disc, until Warlock grabs hold of her and pulls her back. Rahne reminds Sam, Bobby and Warlock that they saw her too, innocent, almost a baby, trapped in Limbo - lost in time! Rahne asks how they could let her stay here, how could they have let that happen? Rahne begins sobbing, revealing that it has been preying on her mind since she first saw the infant Illyana, and regrets that she let their Illyana stop her from rescuing the child.

Sam points out that it was Illyana’s life, that she knew what she was doing, before telling Rahne that it is in the past and they have to deal with the here and now. ‘Not in Limbo!’ Wolfsbane shouts as she transforms into her wolfen form, exclaiming that Limbo’s past, present and perhaps even future can all be now! Rahne exclaims that at least she can try and save Illyana and leaps into a Stepping Disc. The New Mutants follow, and the X-Terminators are not far behind, though Boom-Boom complains ‘Aw no…not again!’ and Rictor asks where they are now.

‘Good question’ Sunspot replies, explaining that the discs pop at random throughout time and space, which is why all times in Limbo are the same time. He adds that they cannot control where they go, that is Illyana’s speciality. Sunspot then turns to Wolfsbane and asks her if she has gone mad, that she is going to get them lost, in fact they are lost already. Rahne replies that she doesn’t care, as she didn’t ask them to follow her. Rahne reminds her friends that she hates Limbo, as it frightens her near to death, so if it frightens her, it must frighten an innocent child even more.

Rahne leaps into yet another Stepping Disc and the others follow her. Rictor remarks that this might not be such a bad idea after all, until they come across some demons in the next area they land in. Sam asks Julio if he likes slugging it out with demons, to which Julio replies ‘Not especially’ before pointing out that if they save the kid and get her out of Limbo, then perhaps the Darkchilde will not have to fulfil her destiny and none of this would have happened. The teens fight their way past some demons when Rahne thinks she sees Illyana through another Stepping Disc. She reaches through, calling out for her, and grabbing her as the others follow, they all immediately fall through yet another disc.

‘Oh gross’ mumbles Tabitha, while Sunspot asks where they are going now. The answer comes quickly, as the teens and young Illyana look up to see the Darkchilde standing above them. ‘You went…I felt…NO!’ she exclaims as she lays eyes on her younger, innocent self. ‘You caused all of this!’ Magik screams as she swats young Illyana away, telling her that she should have died like the others. ‘But you fought to live, to become what only I could become…and in that process to die inside…a little bit at a time…until there is nothing left!’

Magik begins transforming once more, the armor disappears as she shouts ‘Ignorant child! See…know…what you will be. What I am…I AM POWER!’ screams the new version of the Darkchilde, her body resembling living white energy as she grabs the young Illyana by the hair and exclaims that she should destroy her for what she has made of her. Magik holds the Soul Sword above the child until Rahne rushes over and holds onto young Illyana, before looking up at her teammate and exclaiming ‘No! Illyana, no. That’s Limbo’s way, the way that trapped you here!’

Illyana looms down over Rahne, who exclaims that if they can save the young Illyana, the innocent child Magik came from, then they might also save Magik, and the world as well. Tears roll down Rahne’s face as she tells Illyana that this time, she has a choice. ‘A…choice?’ Illyana asks, before turning away and exclaiming that N’astirh told her that, in Limbo there is no such thing as a right choice. However, Magik knows that N’astirh, a demon, is the master of deception, so perhaps Rahne is right, and they can beat N’astirh at his own game.

Rahne holds onto the young Illyana still while Magik engulfs herself and her friends in a Stepping Disc, announcing that the only choice is to remove the choice - to negate her presence in Limbo as if she had never existed here at all. Warlock asks Magik what it is she is going, to which Illyana replies that Destiny’s prophecy was that she must learn, but how can she learn, as she is the Darkchilde, shut away from life, always on the outside looking in. ‘But can I learn? Have I?’ she asks.

‘Is this the answer?’ Magik asks as they arrive back in the Inferno that is Manhattan. Sunspot exclaims that they are back in Times Square, while Rictor asks what is happening to the Stepping Disc. Sam exclaims that it is growing. An eldritch pillar of fire begins to sweep the Earth, hurling the demons who contaminate it back to Limbo where they belong. Now, the Darkchilde, the burning mote in the eye of the storm hurls her sword, fashioned from the darkest, most powerful piece of her soul…into the heart of darkness…and becomes, in truth, a child of blinding light. The light fills the surrounding area, and in all the confusion, Rahne loses hold of the infant Illyana. She calls out to Sam, asking for his help.

Not far away, Colossus and S’ym’s battle is interrupted by a powerful wind. S’ym turns, and is suddenly caught in the wind and blown away, leaving behind a puzzled Colossus.

At the church, Artie and the alien Gosamyr, a friend of the New Mutants, are tending to Mirage, when suddenly she regains consciousness. Gosamyr realizes something is wrong, and asks her what it is. Clutching her head, Danielle replies ‘Not wrong, Gosamyr - it’s wonderful. My death visions have vanished!’ Dani heads outside where Sally and Rusty are still battling the demons, only for the demons to be blown away, caught in the winds of flame as Sally points out. ‘They’re blowing away!’ Rusty exclaims, and Dani realizes that it must be Illyana.

Rusty exclaims that they did it, that they found her, Mirage agrees and declares that they have to go see, but knows that they can’t leave the church. Suddenly, ‘Yes, you can!’ exclaims Gosamyr as she stands in the doorway of the church with Artie Maddicks at her side. Gosamyr points out that the demons are gone and she will be able to keep the little ones safe until they return. Mirage and Gosamyr have never gotten along, so Dani is slightly taken aback by this kind offer, before thanking Gosamyr, and rushing off with Sally and Rusty, shouting back ‘You’re a pal!’

A haze sits all around Times Square, but it doesn’t take long for Dani, Sally and Rusty to reach their friends and teammates. ‘Rahne…what is it?’ Sam asks as everyone gathers around Rahne, who is sitting on the ground, holding the eldritch armor of Magik in her arms. Tears fall from Rahne’s eyes as she announces that Illyana’s armor is crushed. Broken. Colossus has reached the younger heroes also. ‘Illyana…?’ he exclaims. Cannonball begins to cry also.

Colossus kneels down beside the now-blackened eldritch armor, ‘My sister…my little snowflake!’ he whispers, while Mirage rushes over to her best friend, Wolfsbane who exclaims that Illyana wasn’t the Darkchilde at the end, but an angel, a being of light, burning so brightly that they could hardly look at her. ‘She sacrificed herself and saved the whole world…and all the time she was a wee child, too!’ Rahne informs Dani that she held the infant Illyana in her arms, while the Lightchilde burned - and then, she couldn’t feel little Illyana in her arms anymore.

Rahne finds comfort in Dani’s arms as she declares that she must have let go of Illyana, somehow lost her, as the smoke cleared, and there was her charred armor, just an empty shell. However, at that moment, there is a quiet voice from within the blackened armor. ‘Piotr Nikolivich….’ Colossus is confused, until there is another murmur from within the shell, ‘Help me!’ Colossus realizes that it is his sister and tells her not to move as he will free her. He rips into the armor with his incredible strength, revealing Illyana Rasputin…as young child!

The child leaps into her brothers arms, and Mirage motions for Rahne to look. Rahne does and the child rushes over to her. Rahne continues to cry, this time though, tears of joy. Cannonball recalls how Illyana said that she was empty inside, but that she was wrong, as the innocent kid inside was there all along waiting to get out. Rictor asks if because Magik saved her younger self, does this mean that the Illyana they knew, the teenage Illyana, never existed?

Sam replies that that is impossible, as they knew her and remember her. He exclaims that they might never know what it means except that because of her sacrifice, Earth has been saved. ‘And your life will stretch before you like a golden path…filled with the promise of all that’s wonderful!’ Rahne tells the young Illyana held in her arms.

And so, Illyana Rasputin, Cannonball, Mirage, Sunspot, Rusty, Skids, Boom-Boom, Rictor, Warlock and Wolfsbane saved the world…but unbeknownst to them, N’astirh is perched nearby, watching them. ‘And so it ends’ he remarks, exclaiming that here on Earth, all is again, as it was meant to be - or so they think. He exclaims that the transport disc is closed and his demon servants have been swept away, also his churlish rival, S’ym has been removed from play. ‘See them gloat. Ha! Those children who defeated me, quite an apparent success…fools! All fools!’

N’astirh exclaims that his beautiful Darkchilde should have trusted him, but now she is lost, reduced in stature, powerless, vulnerable, destroyed. ‘The inevitable result when humans meddle in the affairs of demons!’ N’astirh looks towards the Empire State Building and remarks that demons, on the other hand, have had a glowing success rate in manipulating humanity throughout history, adding that the chasm between Earth and Limbo yawns wide, stretching an impossible distance. ‘But I will build a bridge…on the souls of the innocent Nathan Christopher Summers…and the lost Madelyne Pryor. Before the sun rises…Earth and Limbo will be mine!’

Characters Involved: 

Cannonball, Magik / Darkchilde / Illyana Rasputin, Mirage, Sunspot, Warlock, Wolfsbane (all New Mutants)

Boom-Boom, Rictor, Rusty, Skids (all X-Terminators)


Artie Maddicks

Six-year-old Illyana


Magneto, Sebastian Shaw, Selene, White Queen (all Inner Circle of the Hellfire Club)



Various demons

Demonized objects around the city

In Photograph:

Illyana Rasputin

In Illustrative Image:

Nathan Christopher Summers

Madelyne Pryor

Story Notes: 

The Inferno took place across several Marvel Comics titles at this time, the main issues being New Mutants (1st series) #71-73, Uncanny X-Men # 240-242, Excalibur (1st series) #6-7, X-Factor (1st series) #36-39 and X-Terminators #1-4.

Wiz Kid, Nathan Christopher Summers and the rest of the Inferno Babies do not appear this issue, though they are “behind the scenes” as they are being kept safe in the church.

N’astirh was seemingly killed in X-Terminators #4, in part by his own arrogance, in part by, Wiz Kid (believe it or not). Although he later revealed himself to Magik at the end of New Mutants (1st series) #72.

Mirage has been having severe headaches over the course of the last few issues of New Mutants (1st series).

Whether by intent or not, New Mutants writer Louise “Wheezie” Simonson gives readers a sneak preview of who will essentially become the core cast of the New Mutants several issues from now - the team that goes to rescue Magik, consisting of Cannonball, Sunspot, Boom-Boom, Rictor, Wolfsbane and Warlock. Magik is de-aged as of this issue and soon returns to Russia, and while Mirage, Rusty and Skids all remain New Mutants, Mirage is off being insane in Asgard and eventually remains there, while Rusty and Skids are trapped on Earth, dealing with the likes of Freedom Force, the Vulture and the Mutant Liberation Front, eventually forced to join the MLF themselves.

The X-Men are believed dead as of Uncanny X-Men #227.

Magneto blew up the Russian sub in Uncanny X-Men #150.

N’astirh was supposedly killed in X-Terminators #4 / New Mutants (1st series) #72, but he is an uber-demon after all.

The New Mutants saw the infant Illyana in New Mutants (1st series) #71.

Wolfsbane’s comment about the infant Illyana going on to having a wonderful life is not so true, for she eventually contracts the deadly Legacy Virus, and in one of the most touching stories of all time, passes away in Uncanny X-Men #303. However, that may not have been Illyana’s intended fate, as New Mutants (1st series) Annual #6 has a pin-up with Rob Liefeld art, depicting “a glimpse into the future that may occur sooner than you think!” the pin-up features a Cable led New Mutants / X-Force, with Cannonball, Sunspot, Boom-Boom, Rictor, Wolfsbane, Warlock, Shatterstar, Magma (or possibly Skids), and Magik, wielding her Soulsword.

N’astirh’s plot continues in Uncanny X-Men #242 and X-Factor (1st series) #38.

With Illyana reduced to infancy, the ruler of Limbo became S’ym for some time. He was challenged by the Darkoth. Belasco later took control, until Amanda Sefton deposed him. As Magik II, Amanda continues to rule Limbo to this day, for as prophesized, it would become Amanda’s destiny to wield the Soulsword and rule Limbo. [Excalibur (1st series) #minus1]

The Soulsword finds its way to Excalibur’s Lighthouse where Illyana’s best friend, Kitty Pryde, tried for a long time to ignore it. Darkoth would wield it for a short while, until Amanda Sefton severs the link between Kitty and the Soulsword and gives it to her mother, the Sorceress Supreme Margali. Margali used the sword to kill everyone ahead of her on the Winding Way, and finally the sword ended up with Amanda, who as Magik II became the new ruler of Limbo.

Louise Simonson mentioned in an interview that the young Illyana whom the New Mutants brought back with them was an alternate Illyana from Limbo, not “their” Illyana, thus leaving open a back-door for future writers to bring back Magik if they wanted to do so.

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