Uncanny X-Men #160
Issue(s): Uncanny X-Men #160
...Colossus's young sister Illyana Rasputin is summoned away by the demon sorcerer Belasco. Kitty and the other X-Men soon follow and are transported into an "interdimensional limbo" (it will later simply be referred to as Limbo) via teleportational discs that are explicitly based on Larry Nevin's stepping discs from his Ringworld novel.
In Limbo, the X-Men meet Belasco...
...an evil dopplegangers of Nightcrawler...
...and an older version of Storm, who is a good sorceress who helps them fight Belasco and his minions...
...which includes the demon S'ym.
S'ym is apparently a tribute to David Sim's Cerebus. A response to a letter in Uncanny X-Men #164 that mentions Cerebus says, "...our tip o' the hat to a certain Earth-Pig Born occurred in X-Men #160". More from Jim Shooter:
The S'ym character was a friendly nod to Dave by Chris Claremont. They were friends. There was even talk between them about an X-Men Cerebus crossover, which Mike Hobson and I were okay with, mostly to humor Chris. It never got done for some reason. Not because of Marvel. Hobson had a contract drafted, generous terms, and sent it to Sim, but Sim never got back to us about it.
On the topic of the semi-related "Wolveroach" incident, it's worth noting that Claremont will continue to use S'ym as well. I suppose he's less of an obvious parody. I would have never realized that S'ym was meant to be Cerebus on my own, but i guess it's rather obvious in retrospect.
The X-Men are able to rescue Illyana, but not before she's spent 6 years in Limbo due to time differentials. She emerges a 13 year old goal.
Her time in Limbo will be expanded upon in the Magik limited series next year.
It's cool seeing Brent Anderson here and bringing in Belasco from the Ka-Zar series. And it's a cool mystical/alternate reality story for the X-Men. It will be a while, however, before Claremont gets to exploring the implications of the aging of Illyana and the idea that she's been corrupted.
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: Professor X doesn't appear in this issue, but he's still sick from the (not yet revealed) brood egg in his belly. All Uncanny X-Men issues have been pushed backwards in publishing time because Uncanny X-Men #167 has to take place before Contest of Champions and Hulk #277-279.
Continuity Implant? N
Reprinted In: X-Men Classic #64
I never could figure out why Chris Claremont grabbed onto Belasco so much since he didn't have anything to do with his creation.
Belasco is also the name of the main villain/ghost in Richard Matheson's book "Hell House", which was gratuitously lifted for what was supposed to be the last "Werewolf By Night" story until its cancellation notice was revoked(for a while, anyway). Doug Moench rearranged Belasco's name for the villain there.
Claremont also took Garokk the Petrified Man and Zaladane and made them his own. Did the same with Yuriko Oyama (Lady Deathstrike).
He seemed to be a resuscitator and/or reimaginer of minor characters he thought had potential, whether they were his own or someone else's.
Sabretooth (Iron Fist) and Mystique, Destiny et al (originally to appear in Ms Marvel) being some of "his own" who he resuscitated/reimagined.
A good writer never throws away an idea. He's gonna get SOMEthing out of it, somewhere along the way.
Brent Anderson sure got away with murder in that "Kitty kneeling before Belasco" panel, didn't he?
He sure did.
Seriously, how the Hell did that get through?
the "wolverine behind Kitty" a bit down the page is dodgy as well.
Hah! I didn't notice that one. I could buy that that one was unintentional though. The Belasco Job is just brazen.
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