Uncanny X-Men Annual (1st series) #9

Issue Date: 
December 1985
Story Title: 
There’s no Place like Home

Chris Claremont (writer), Arthur Adams (Penciler ), Alan Gordon, Mike Mignola, Art Adams (inkers), Tom Orzechowski (Letterer), Petra Scotese (colorist), Ann Nocenti (editor), Jim Shooter (editor-in chief)

Brief Description: 

At Xavier’s School, Kitty Pryde has a nightmare, proclaiming the New Mutants to be in terrible danger in Asgard. Verifying that revelation, the X-Men, led by Cyclops, decide to follow, though their adventure starts off badly, as Rachel chooses this moment to adopt the identity of Phoenix. They make it to Asgard, where they save the wolf prince from some trolls. After a run-in with Hela, who hints at Phoenix’s heritage and potential, the X-Men learn from the wolf prince that the enchantress has kidnapped Wolfsbane. One group makes their way there, while the other scouts the city of Asgard. In the meantime, the New Mutants have made their home in the Enchantress’ castle. After Warlock is injured by Loki, Dani, Sunspot and Cypher run off to his side, leaving the others, including an increasingly more evil Magik (thanks to the magic she is practicing) behind. The mutants find Warlock, but he panics as he gets a good look at Dani and flees with Cypher. One group of X-Men makes it to the castle, where they are welcomed by the New Mutants. Just as Magik is about to cast a spell to find Storm, though, Loki attacks first, felling them all. He transports them to his own castle, where he uses Magik to cast a slow spell, corrupting the others, while sending the wolves, along with some trolls, to catch the other group. Cannonball and Magma, in the meantime, have helped the master smith, Eitri, finish the Uru hammer and are to transport it to the city of Asgard to confront Loki. In the city, they are welcomed by the group of X-Men, led by Wolverine. Barely together, they find themselves attacked by Loki’s troops and, joined by the revitalized (thanks to Cypher) Warlock and Doug, they manage to beat them off. While they can rescue Wolfsbane, Magma and the Uru hammer are kidnapped and Wolverine is dealt a mortal wound, though he doesn’t let on – only Mirage senses something off about him, thanks to her new powers. One group goes to free the others, only to learn that Karma has already managed to knockout Magik, while the others go ahead to the Hall of Heroes, where Loki is about to introduce Storm as the new goddess of thunder. The heroes try to stop the ceremony but are too late, as Ororo, subtly brainwashed by Loki, takes up the hammer and gets her powers back. As Wolverine confronts her, she, believing him to be a demon, almost kills him. Hela appears, intent on taking his soul. Storm, who has finally snapped out of it, fights her, as does Mirage, and Hela reveals to the girl that she has become a valkyrie before striking her. This proves to be a mistake, as the valkyrior come to Dani’s help and their powers, in addition to those of the X-Men, prove too much for the goddess – she flees. The X-Men and Loki reluctantly strike a deal: the heroes are sent back to Earth with all enchantments removed, all knowledge and gifts taken back, only Dani’s bond with Brightwind, as a result her status as a Valkyrie, remain. Left alone, Loki first sulks, but then convinces himself that, as an immortal, he has time enough to scheme anew.

Full Summary: 

It’s a midsummer night at Xavier’s School. A scream pierces the night and the X-Men race out of their rooms, ready for battle. Rachel Summers announces that the scream comes from Kitty’s room. She’s in agony and her thoughts threaten to overwhelm Rachel. Nightcrawler teleports the young telepath to Kitty’s room, where the youngest X-Man lies, caught in a nightmare, thrashing about. Rachel forges a mindlink between herself and Kitty and tells the others that this isn’t so much a dream, but a kind of message. Kitty’s being hit hard by specific psychic images from her best friend, Illyana. Somehow, the two girls share a primal, subconscious awareness of each other, like identical twins. Rachel projects the images for the others to see. They behold Storm, dressed in Asgardian armor, and, with seemingly restored powers, fighting Illyana’s Darkchilde incarnation, while the New Mutants are captured in the background. Watching the battle with evil smiles are Loki and the Enchantress.

The collected X-Men wonder what to make of this. They recognize Illyana – barely, but she shouldn’t be able to work magic on Earth and Storm should have no powers. Cyclops states what they are all thinking. This is something more than a nightmare. The X-Men check what they can and, an hour later, Nightcrawler tells the others what he has found out: Storm and the New Mutants were vacationing on the Greek Isle of Kirinos, but a freak gale has cut off all contact to the island. Coincidence? Wolverine snorts derisively.

Kitty, in the meantime, is getting comforted by the highly pregnant Madelyne Pryor. Wolverine tells the others this is Loki settling his score after their adventure last winter. Madelyne reminds him that Loki was forced to swear he wouldn’t harm them, but Kitty interjects that Loki is the great Trickster. If anyone can find a loophole in a promise, it’s him. Rachel backs her up. Her instincts tell her Asgard is the origin of this SOS call. The X-Men decide that they have to go there and save the New Mutants.

A short while later, all the X-Men, save for Rachel, have changed into their costumes and are waiting in the living room. Nightcrawler informs the other that he has had no luck in contacting Thor. He is supposed to be in Asgard himself. They’ll have to make it without him. Cyclops tells his wife that Professor Xavier is in England and that she should tell him what happened. He adds that he hates to leave with the baby almost due… Madelyne interrupts and assures him that he is doing the right thing. Those kids need the X-Men’s help, but how will they get to Asgard? Cyclops shows her a quiver full of red and golden lightning bolts. He explains that they were created by Arkon the Imperion to teleport between dimensions. Arkon has taught Cyclops how to use them; the right combination should get them to Asgard. And where will the wrong combination take them, Rogue taunts.

Cyclops ignores her, kisses Madelyne good-bye and asks the others if they are ready. Waiting for Rachel, Wolverine replies, mouthing “oboy” the next moment. All of the X-Men display reactions ranging from annoyance to shock, as Rachel makes her entrance, dressed in an updated version of the red and gold Phoenix costume Jean Grey once wore. Playing innocent, Rachel asks the others if they’ve just seen a ghost. She just figured it was time for her to get a decent costume. Clearly struggling to control himself, Cyclops points out that her bird image is the same as worn by Phoenix. He’d appreciate it if she wore something else. Rachel refuses, telling him she means to keep both the outfit and the name “Phoenix.” She reminds him that he is married and retired from the team, so it really is none of his concern. Madelyne asks the rattled Scott that she is right, isn’t she? Sure, Cyclops tells her curtly and dons his mask. Maddie turns to Kitty, who asks her if she could take care of her pet dragon Lockheed while they are away.

Several X-Men shoot Rachel dirty looks and Kitty wonders whether she was trying to hurt Scott for being married to a woman other than her mother. Cyclops throws down the lightning bolts and the X-Men disappear in a cloud of smoke. Left behind, Madelyne suddenly finds herself fearing that she and Scott will never be happy together again.

Magma’s dream:

The New Mutants are outside Xavier’s school, some of them being trained in the use of their powers by Storm. Magma herself sits beneath a tree, concentrating and shaping a little elf figure out of molten rock with her powers. Storm commends her on her work and Amara tells her that her father used to tell her bedtime stories of the fairy folks. It is sad that such creatures no longer exist in this harsh world. A little distance away, Cannonball and Sunspot are training their powers. They agree that Storm makes a pretty good teacher and wonder whether seeing them displaying their powers hurts her, since she has lost hers. Sunspot wonders what he would do if something like that happened to him. Mutants are more and more hated. He would trade all he had for a place and a life where he was accepted.

Inside the mansion, Dani Moonstar tells her worried friend, Wolfsbane, to go away. Quietly, she ponders her fear that she will make mistakes as a leader and that people will get hurt as a result. Rahne silently wishes she could help her friend just as Dani’s friendship helped her when she first came here.

Magik, Cypher and Warlock are lazing at the pool. Cypher once more complains about not having any physical powers. Warlock’s earnest assurance that he will protect his friend doesn’t help, Illyana, in turn, tells them her problem. She can barely control her mutant power and her magical powers are almost non-existent on Earth. And, anywhere they do exist, they turn her to evil. But, without that part, she fees hollow.

Suddenly all are dressed in Asgardian clothes and, collected around Magma, the mutants utter their most secret wishes: Illyana wants to use her magic, Warlock wants a place where he and his friends will be safe. Dani wants to prove herself worthy of her warrior ancestors. Rahne wants love, Storm wants her powers back. Sunspot tells them there’s a place where all of their dreams can come true: Asgard! Magma is surprised; None of them ever said that. How does she know all this? An image of Sam Guthrie appears, telling her that she is part fairy now and Fairies see the secrets in another’s heart.


Amara awakes horrified, back on Asgard, back to being a fairy. Sam is at her side shaking her awake.

A little later, both of them a in the forge of Nidavellir, helping the master smith, Eitri, do his work to create the Uru hammer for Loki. Amara feels torn: her mutant power makes her feel connected to the great fires in Eitri’s forge but her fairy nature abhors cold iron. Sam pours the molten Uru into the mold. Then, he flies Magma up and she fires a lava blast that enshrouds the molten form in a cocoon of rock. Eitri tells her that he places the hammer into her charge and that she must bear it to Asgard. Amara protests: the metal is deadly to her. Eitri reminds her that the metal is encased in stone. Her power is necessary to keep the mold liquid and white-hot until they deliver it to Loki’s throne room. Loki wishes to hold the ceremony in the Hall of Heroes before the assembled host of Asgard. There, they will have their chance to confront the lord of lies. Then they might stand a chance of saving their friend Storm.

Amara turns to the encased Uru, while Sam thanks Eitri for all his help. Eitri tells him that, by confronting Loki before all the gods, they can bear witness to his perfidity. And, if there is a fight, Sam adds, it is the Asgaridans’ home that gets destroyed and not the dwarves’. Eitri agrees, adding that he will miss Sam. Sam returns the compliment but explains that this isn’t home. He doesn’t belong. Do his friends feel the same way, Eitri asks. Sam hesitates: some of them want to stay. Eitri presents him with some farewell gifts: a chain mail proof against any weapon and a sword that will cleave through all unliving matter. He asks Sam to use them well, calling him son of his heart.

Elsewhere in the Golden Realm, the X-Men arrive in a forest after a transition so rough that only Phoenix is left standing. Wolverine informs the others that he smells hunters and blood. Nearby, they see a wolf being chased. Rogue wonders if it’s Rahne. Wolverine dryly informs her that this is a male animal, but runs to help anyway. Cyclops orders him to wait – after being ignored, he tells the others to help, reminding them that they want information, not a body count. The X-Men easily dispatch of the trolls, saving the wolf prince. With the trolls beaten, Hela, goddess of death, appears. She had wanted the soul of a wolf prince, but now she must content herself with a paltry band of trolls. With a gesture, she reduces the creatures to skeletons. She bids the X-Men welcome in Asgard, especially Rachel, whom she refers to as starsoul. She tells Rachel that she is much like her mother. Rachel hesitatingly asks if Hela knew her mother. Yes, Hela, tells her, adding that, while they were bitter enemies, she yet sent more souls to death than any who professed to serve her. Angrily, Rachel lets loose a psiblast at the goddess and yells that it wasn’t her fault.

The goddess disperses and reforms behind Rachel, reminding her that the “why” does not matter, only the deed itself. She hopes that Rachel will be all her mother was and more and leaves the spooked X-Men.

Meanwhile, Ororo, changed once again into a falcon, thanks to Freya’s cloak, flies over the city of Asgard’ rooftops. Warlock, flying as well in the badly disguised shape of a bird, has become interested in the bird and is following her.

In the Enchantress’ castle, the other New Mutants see through Warlock’s scanners and Mirage asks him to scout the city, instead of playing follow-the-leader with a falcon. Sitting at a table, Douglas complains that he should be with Warlock instead of translating the Enchantress’ dumb, magical book. Illyana, dressed in a skimpy, silver outfit, reminiscent of the Enchantress’ wardrobe, nastily tells him that he only wants to be with Warlock because, on his own, he is helpless as a baby. Mirage chides her and Illyana angrily reminds them that Loki is the mightiest sorcerer in Asgard. The grimoires might hold the means of defeating him. She can’t read them, unlike Doug. He can play hero afterwards.

Loki, in the meantime, welcomes the falcon and notices the “bird” pursuing her. Suspicious, he shoots it down with an arrow.

The New Mutants notice as Warlock’s transmission breaks off that very moment. Dani decides to go after him on Brightwind and Doug joins her, despite Illyana’s protests. Dani shouts at Rahne to shift to wolf-form, so they can keep in rapport via their mindlink. Illyana, unimpressed with Warlock’s plight, angrily mutters that she is the only one who matters and rudely tells Karma and Rahne to stay out of her way. Shan worries. She’s noticed how much Illyana has changed since she started practicing the Enchantress’ spells. She’s no longer certain if Illyana wants to return to Earth and suspects she probably isn’t the only one.

In Loki’s palace, Loki transforms Storm back from the falcon, asking her if she enjoyed his gift, which enables her to fly, until a more suitable gift will make her a goddess. Ororo raves how wonderful it was. She felt as though she was reborn. Handing her a cup of mead, he asks if she is happy here and whether she could learn to love Asgard. Ororo earnestly replies that she already loves the land, as she does no other. And, while she misses the X-Men, they no longer have any need of her. And, from what Loki said, there is need here and she wishes to help. Loki silently congratulates himself. Mixing a little magic with Storm’s own desires, he has bent her to his purpose of her own will. With his help, she will succeed Thor as Goddess of Thunder. And with her help Loki will become ruler of Asgard.
Meanwhile, in the forest, it is night and the X-Men and their new ally are gathered around a fire. Rachel examines the wolf’s mind and shares what she learns with the others: Odin is believed dead, the order of the realm is upset as a consequence. That’s why trolls hunt so far from their realms and Hela walks free and unafraid to claim what souls she will. The wolf’s beloved was stolen by the Enchantress’ nightgaunts and he’s been following their trail. With a start, the X-Men realize that his beloved is Wolfsbane. At least this confirms Kitty’s dream, Cyclops remarks. They are on the right track. He proposes they split up. One half stays with the wolf until he is fit to travel, while Wolverine, Shadowcat and –he hesitates – Phoenix reconnoiter the city of Asgard and, hopefully, find Thor.

“Big if,” Wolverine snorts, while Kitty is starstruck. They are about to enter the home of the Norse Gods! Her thoughts turn to Rachel and what Hela said to her. They don’t dare talk about it openly to her, because she hasn’t told Cyclops who she really is and she won’t use psi-speech. Kitty figures Rachel is the loneliest person she knows, but she seems to want it that way. Just like her father, who, Kitty figures, must know who Ray is after Hela’s words, but refuses to say anything on the matter.

Later, Rogue has transported the three to a back alley in the city and has scrounged some clothes for them. Kitty makes some cracks about their new look, until Wolverine tells her to put a sock in it. Kitty confides being rattled by Hela and wondering when they’ll meet her again. She can’t help being afraid of dying. There’s no law against a hero being human, her teammate replies and tells the girls it’s time to go to work.

Elsewhere, in a tavern, Sunspot is enjoying the ladies’ attention, when suddenly everybody, personnel and guests alike, grow deathly frightened as Mirage enters the tavern. The only one not frightened is Sunspot’s old “pal,” Vigdal, who tries to hit on Dani, until his friends drag the drunk away. Sunspot wonders about everyone’s reaction: what do they see in Dani? But she is as much in the dark about this as he. They leave to go in search of Warlock, puzzling about those events. Dani suddenly tells the others that Warlock is up ahead and still alive. However, she can’t tell them how she can sense that. The badly-injured Warlock lies ahead of them in a puddle and Doug runs towards his friend. He tries to calm him, telling him Dani will fly him to their headquarters. Warlock looks at Dani and cries out hysterically. In her, he sees death. He grabs Doug, throws energy bolts at Dani and flees with Doug.

Dani tells Sunspot that he won’t get far. They’ll find him. And what then, Bobby asks. He was afraid of Dani. Asgardians join them, drawn in by the noises, demanding an explanation until Dani tells them to mind their own business. Once again, the Asgardians react with fear after they get a good look at her. Sunspot wonders what they see in her and whether, after all, the mutants truly belong in Asgard as he had believed.

Elsewhere, the second team of X-Men and the wolf prince have approached the Enchantress’ castle. The prince catches Rahne’s scent and races inside. The X-Men follow, only to see the two wolves enthusiastically greeting each other. They, in turn, are greeted by Karma, who exclaims that this is a miracle. Rahne shifts to human form and presses herself against Karma. She’s ashamed of acting like an animal.

The X-Men and Karma exchange tales as she leads them to Magik’s sanctum. Colossus is certain that Karma worries too much about his sister. She tells him to judge for himself as they enter.

Illyana greets them rather coolly, making a crack about Peter and the wolves, before reminding Karma that she had told that she wanted to be alone. Colossus is taken aback. There’s an aura about his little sister that terrifies him. Illyana tells them that they arrived at the right moments. She’s about to cast a locater spell to zero in on Ororo. Then they can grab her and leave. Scott warns her not to take any chances but, at that moment, Loki arrives and kayos them all, tutting at the Enchantress’ inability to take care of these mortals. As usual, if you want a thing done well…

In a ruined part of the city, Doug has tried to scrounge for something organic for Warlock to consume but came up with nothing. His alien friend is close to dying. Doug asks why he had to run, anyway. He’d be fine if he had come with them. Warlock feebly answers that Dani wears the mantle of the destroyer, she had come for him and, so, being a coward, he fled. Doug tells him he’s delirious and then comes up with an idea: maybe Warlock could absorb some of Doug’s life energy without transmoding him into a techno-organic being – to tide him over. Warlock is hesitant to accept this sacrifice, but then drapes himself around Doug.

In another part of Asgard, Rachel tells the others that Thor isn’t at home. Her psi-scan reveals that the thundergod and his friend, Balder, have led the Einherjar – the warriors of Asgard – to Hel, to free the innocents, Hela has imprisoned there. So there’s no one left in authority for them to turn to. Wolverine tells them to roll – he has just caught some familiar scents.

In the meantime, Cannonball and Magma, with the hammer mold, are nearing the city gates. Amara complains that she wants to go home to the forest. This city is anathema to her fairy nature. Sam urges her to hang onto her humanity. But she isn’t human anymore, Amara complains, and will never be again. When she first beheld this land, she never wanted to leave. Now, she has her wish. Sam wonders if there are any ways to help her and bitterly thinks that they got every wish they ever made fulfilled in Asgard and they all backfired in their faces. “Hi, Sailor, new in town,” a voice breaks his reverie. Standing on a balcony above them are the three grinning X-Men.

Meanwhile, the other X-Men and New Mutants find themselves shackled to the wall in a dungeon, save for Illyana, who is in a trance. Loki cheerfully informs them that he will leave them to bask in the glow of her soul. Soon, that fundamental evil will corrupt them and recast them in her and Loki’s image. Cyclops reminds Loki of his word to never harm the X-Men. Loki slyly points out that he isn’t doing anything. One of their own number is. That her actions benefit him is just the merest… coincidence. But their teammates should really join them. He sends for rock trolls to find them. Then, he attaches collars of obedience to Rahne’s and the wolf prince’s neck, turning them into bloodthirsty beasts, whom he names Grimfang and Bleakheart. The slaver enchantment, Loki boasts, will remain in force so long as they wear the collars and no mortal power can remove them. He orders the trolls to take the wolves and find the other mutants.

With Loki’s back turned to his prisoners, Nightcrawler focuses, trying to overcome Magik’s influence and teleports. Touching Cyclops with his tail and kissing Rogue simultaneously, this results in the Southern mutant gaining both the men’s powers. Rogue teleports out of her shackles and hits Loki simultaneously with Cyclops’ eyeblasts. Then, she teleports to his side and hits at him with her own super strength. She might actually win, but they are interrupted by Storm, entering the dungeon. Ororo wants to know what she thinks she is doing. Momentarily, she is taken aback. Both parties are friends to her. But, thanks to Loki’s enchantments, she starts seeing Rogue as a creature of evil, trying to deceive her. Rogue is distracted long enough for Loki to work a spell that shackles her. Unsure, Storm asks who that was and Loki calms her with his lies.

Dani and Sunspot are watching the city riding on Brightwind. Sunspot asks how can anything on Earth compare to this. Noticing his doubts, she asks whom he is trying to convince. Suddenly, a telepathic image of Rachel appears before them, asking them to join the X-Men. Dani happily greets the X-Men, but suddenly sees the image of a skull-face hanging over Wolverine. Nobody else notices but Dani goes cold inside. She knows something horrible is going to happen, but what? And what is her role in it?

Suddenly, the ground shakes and the trolls attack them, intent on capturing them all, especially Magma, who’s keeping the hammer liquid. They succeed in trapping Amara in a machine of iron. Wolverine finds himself attacked by one wolf and hesitates, recognizing the scent. His distraction works in the trolls’ favor, as one of their dragons bites Wolverne’s ankle. Poison, Wolverine realizes, as he sinks to the ground. He already fears that his healing factor won’t cope. Sam finds himself attacked by the other wolf, Eitri’s chain mail protecting him. He tries to shoo the monster away with his magical sword. The blade catches onto the collar and loosens it, freeing Rahne, who transforms back to human form and asks Sam to help her prince as well.

Just then from above, comes the starship Enterprise to the rescue (or, more to the point, a re-energized Warlock, who has been watching too much TV). The “ship” scatters the trolls and they decide to leave, since they have the most important price. Sam wants to give chase, but Wolverine warns him that the trolls want to lure them to their own turf. Kitty agrees, worrying about Logan. Something about him is off.

Automatically assuming leadership, Kitty tells the others that they are the only ones left, according to Rahne. Loki’s calling a big meeting tonight, so whatever he’s planned is going to happen this night. She suggests splitting up. One team, led by Wolverine, goes to the ceremony, while Kitty, Sam and Rahne free the prisoners. Rahne tells her she’s too frightened. Loki will capture her again. Kitty seriously tells her that there’s no alternative. They need her wolven senses. She’s scared as well, but facing one’s own fear is the hardest part of being a hero. Their powers make them special and they can’t let the people who depend on them down.

In the Hall of Heroes, the warriors of Asgard have gathered at Loki’s behest beneath Odin’s raven banner. Loki reminds them all of their sacrifices and of their courage in the recent war against Surtur. They all have suffered. Most of all, their fair realm, through the loss of its liegelord, Loki’s father: Odin. He skilfully gets to the subject, stating that the sons of Midgard who fought at the Aesir’s side were no less valiant. It is of one of those warriors he is speaking of; a heroine whose birthright, the dominion over the weather, which makes her spiritual kin to Thor, was cruelly stripped from her. She owed nothing to her fellow mortals, Loki continues enthusiastically, but when the Gjallerhorn sounded she did not hesitate to come to their aid.

The X-Men and New Mutants are mixed among the crowd. Rachel admits that Loki certainly has a way with words. Wolverine, who is already shivering with fever, reminds her that he may be silver-tongued, but most of all he is a devil. The warriors are divided. Some agree with Loki, remember seeing Storm fight. Others deeply distrust the god of mischief.

Meanwhile, in Loki’s dungeon, Karma has marshalled her strength and makes a desperate attempt at possessing Illyana to break Loki’s hold on her.

In the Hall of Heroes, Sunspot tries to come on to Rachel, telling her that they will save the day. Wolverine grabs him by the collar and pulls him behind a pillar. Does he think this is a game, he snarls. He knows the risks and laughs at the danger, Sunspot boasts. At least here, if he gives his life, it will have a meaning. And it won’t back home, Wolverine asks harshly. Robert points out that they are hated there, in case it had escaped Wolverine’s attention. Wolverine sarcastically states that Earth isn’t good enough for Sunspot. Poor little mutie doesn’t get any respect. In Asgard, they know how to treat heroes, Sunspot insists. So he’s only after the glory, Wolverine states. Sunspot angrily exclaims that Wolverine has no right talking to him like her were his father. Wolverine pushes him against the pillar, telling him that he is a man doing his job and Sunspot is a boy chasing a fool’s dream. He figures Sunspot is no longer worth the effort, but he is here for Storm, who, unlike the New Mutants, didn’t have any choice in this mess.

A serving girl notices Wolverine leaning against the pillar and worriedly asks if he is all right. He tells her he is fine thinking that there is nothing anyone can do for him now. He just has to stay on his feet until the job is done.

In the meantime, Sam crashes though the wall of Loki’s dungeon and the others follow. They see Shan and Illyana unconscious on the ground, but nobody else. They’re close by, Rahne insist. Kitty tells her to shift back to wolf-form, unaware that, behind her, Colossus gets ready to smash her to a pulp. Luckily, he is hit by Cyclops’ optic blasts. The others fill Kitty and her group in: Shan was able to break Illyana’s hold on them, but Colossus, being Illyana’s brother, proved more susceptible to her spell. He should be all right when he awakes.

In the Hall of Heroes, Loki introduces Ororo to the warriors as a pure and noble warrior maid and a fitting heir to Thor’s place, should he choose to stay in Midgard or not return from his quest to Hel. Loki turns to the cart with the mold and the hypnotized Magma but, mid-speech, his cloak turns against him, draping itself around his face, while Warlock grabs Amara. Wolverine shouts at Ororo to snap out of it, but breaks off mid-sentence with a cry of agony and falls. Sunspot finally realizes that something is wrong with Wolverine and, when one of the Asgardians makes threats against the humans, he starts a fight among the crowd.

Loki has freed himself and retaliates against Rachel’s telekinetic attack by summoning Rock trolls to fight against her. The warriors are getting nervous: how dare Loki summon Asgard’s ancient foes to this place? Loki turns to the mold, opens it and tells Ororo to reach inside and take up the hammer. Over Wolverine’s weak protests, she obeys with an enraptured expression and touches the hammer. The moment she makes contact, wild weather patterns break loose outside and her outfit changes to an armor. There is no doubt that her control over the weather has returned.

Loki smirks. Her hammer is bound to Loki’s power by the spells that forged it and Ororo to it. Nobody will be able to deny her her place. At that moment, Wolverine has gathered enough strength to confront them directly. He tells Storm that she is being suckered. Loki convinces her he is another foe of hers and Asgard’s, who is cloaked in the shape of her friend. Storm turns her hammer against Wolverine, attacking him with lightning to strip away the deception. Despite the agony, Wolverine slowly walks towards her, telling her he isn’t about to quit. Storm becomes unsure. How can a demon show such courage? But Loki would not lie to her. A horribly injured Wolverine has finally reached her and sinks down at her feet. “He’s the god of lies,” he rasps out. “That’s all he does.”

Suddenly, Hela materializes in the hall. Addressing Ororo as goddess of the storm, she orders her to step aside. It is Hela’s right to claim that warrior’s soul, Storm protests, but Hela reminds her that she struck him down. Hela will but finish what she began. Suddenly, a voice from above shouts at Hela to leave him alone. It’s Dani Moonstar on her flying horse, Brightwind. She’s armed with a bow, which is trained on Hela. The goddess of death laughs as she beholds her. She tells Dani that she has become a valkyrie – a chooser of the slain. She should be standing at Hela’s side to aid her, instead of keeping her from her task. Dani reels at that relevation, but then decides that, if her stay in Asgard has made her a chooser of the slain, she chooses to slay Hela. With that, she lets loose her arrow, accomplishing no more than to annoy Hela. The goddess strikes her with a mild energy charge to teach her a lesson and horse and rider fall to the ground.

Wolverine, in the meantime, tells Storm that whatever Loki offered her was for his good only. He is using her. Hela once again demands Wolverine. Storm angrily replies that he is not dead yet and she will never have him, while Storm yet lives. With that, she attacks Hela with all the power at her disposal. Cyclops realizes it is not enough and, addressing Rachel as Phoenix, without hesitating this time, he tells her that they need to lend a hand with their powers. Hela is starting to feel their joint attack and makes angry threats. However, reinforcements are coming as the valkyrior close in. Dani asks her triumphantly if she can fight them as well. The blow Hela struck her was felt by her sister and now they come to her aid.

Hela angrily realizes that, even now, the Einherjar are at Hel’s gates and she needs all her strength against them. She cannot deal with those upstarts as they deserve. Vowing revenge, she teleports away.

Loki, who had hidden beneath a table during everything that occurred, crawls out again, fervently hoping that Hela and Thor will manage to kill each other. He is expected by a very angry Storm, who tosses her hammer at him. Loki easily catches it – after all his spells helped forge the weapon. He reminds her that he has fulfilled all promises to her. Easily, he retuns the weapon, attacking Ororo, and tells the humans that his patience is at an end and, with it, their lives.

“Sez you, weaselface” Kitty Pryde tells him rudely. She then points out that there are a score of mutants in Asgard. Either he sends them home, all curses lifted and the vendetta finished or they’ll scatter. They know the truth, as do the Valkyries. No way Loki can kill them all. It’s only a matter of time before one of them reaches Thor or the Warriors Three or another of Asgard’s heroes and then Loki can kiss his ambitions good-bye. Despite himself, Loki finds himself impressed with Kitty’s sheer chutzpah (not to mention the fact that she is right).

Elsewhere, on the Nornkeep, the Norn queen, Karnilla, watches the proceedings gleefully via a scrying pool. She had her hand in this affair, helping Karma, enabling Illyana’s dream to reach Kitty and finally helping the X-Men cross the cosmic gulf to Asgard. Though unwilling to confront him directly, there is no way she will allow Loki to seize the throne of Asgard. The new liege shall be a man of her choosing, she vows.

In Asgard, Loki tells the heroes the conditions of their deal: They may depart in peace, but they must all leave. Should one remain behind, all must stay. The wolf prince protests loudly. Loki has no right to take Rahne away from her. The choice is hers, Loki bluntly tells her, and Rahne, crying in Dani’s arms, admits that she loves him, but cannot stay.

In addition, Loki continues, all powers, gifts and enchantments they gained here will be stripped from them. Cannonball’s magic sword and armor will become ordinary metal, Illyana will forget the spells she learned from the Enchantress’ grimoires. And, of course, she will release the Enchantress from Limbo. Magma will return to her human form. But he is not so ungracious as to condemn Karma to her previous look, he sneers. She may retain her beauty. Mist interjects before he turns to Mirage. She tells him that, by Odin’s law, horse and rider may not be separated once the bonding has been made. Loki insists that his will is adamant. They compromise. Dani may take Brightwind with her to Earth.

Loki turns to Ororo, reminding her that on Midgard she will be an ordinary, powerless woman. He stretches his hand out to her, urging her that Earth and the X-Men no longer have a place for her. She can stay as a goddess and rule at his side. But, if she refuses, they are quits. Storm is clearly hurt the moment he reminds her of her powerlessness but, after he is finished, she gives him a cold smile and tells him that Asgard is not his realm and she will never help make it his. With that, she uses what power is left to destroy the hammer and tosses the remains at his feet.

Loki is furious that she refuses and tells her to gather her brood and be gone. Secretly, he admits to himself that it would almost be worth losing Asgard’s throne to win her. Loki casts his spell, sending them to Professor Xavier’s side, his part of the bargain is fulfilled. The valkyries honor theirs, telling him that they will keep silent, treating this as a misunderstanding, a good deed gone awry. But should he break his oath, he will answer to them.

Displeased, Loki mutters “humph!” Then, he turns to the remains of the hammers, casts a spell and changes it into a miniature of Storm as thunder goddess. He smiles, reminding himself that the great game still continues. Tomorrow is another day and an immortal has nothing if not time to scheme again. He will yet have his way, he assures himself. Asgard will be his and perhaps… a queen. Until then, this miniature will be something to remember Ororo by.

Characters Involved: 

Colossus, Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Phoenix III, Rogue, Shadowcat, Storm (all X-Men)

Cannonball, Cypher, Karma, Magik, Magma, Mirage, Sunspot, Warlock Wolfsbane (all New Mutants)

Madelyne Pryor-Summers

Lockheed, the dragon

The wolf prince

Vigdal, an Asgardian Warrior

Tavern guests
Asgardian Warriors

Eitri, King of the dwarves


Axe, Mist and other Valkyries
Karnilla, the Norn Queen


Hela, goddess of Death


Story Notes: 

This story is continued from New Mutants Special Edition #1 and takes place between Uncanny X-Men #199 and 200.

The X-Men ran afoul of Loki in the X-Men/Alpha Flight limited series.

Xavier is currently in Europe to help prepare Magneto’s defense before the World Court.

Cyclops got the quiver with the bolts from Arkon after their adventure in Uncanny X-Men Annual #3

Rachel displayed the power of Phoenix in Uncanny X-Men #199 and decided to accept both her mother’s name and heritage (though none of the X-Men know this yet).

Officially, Cyclops doesn’t know about Rachel’ being his and Jean’s daughter. Unofficially, he was strongly hinted to have guessed at the end of the X-Men /Alpha Flight limited series. However, that doesn’t really fit with his subsequent behavior.

Considering that this story was soon followed by X-Factor #1, which included the return of Jean Grey and the beginning of the end of Scott’s and Madelyne’s marriage, Maddie’s fears in this issue proved to be almost prophetic.

Ths is the first (and only time) it has been shown that Rogue could absorb someone’s powers by having both of them touching a third party.

Odin is believed to be dead after the ravages of Asgard’s war against Surtur.

Thor has taken the Einherjar onto a quest to Hel, as chronicled in Thor #361-362.

Perfidity, the word of which the dwarf, Eitri, hopes all the Asgard’s gods will bear witness to with Loki, is not a word. Actually, it is most likely a misprint of the word “perfidy,” which means an act or an instance of treachery, of which Loki is definitely plotting.

A grimoire is a manual for black magic, something that would definitely be found in the Enchantress’ library.

Issue Information: 
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