New Mutants #71
Issue(s): New Mutants #71
What's kind of sad is that Illyana thinks that her brief incursion into space in the previous arc fulfilled Destiny's prophecy in New Mutants #65-66 that she would have to leave Earth to prevent it from being destroyed.
Obviously that wasn't enough.
I am a little surprised that Warlock doesn't have any special way of dealing with the transmode-infected demons.
S'ym is actually able to take Illyana's soul-sword during the fight.
Illyana then realizes that while she can't teleport out of Limbo, she can at least use the stepping-discs to teleport to a different part of Limbo, away from S'ym. N'astirh shows up at this point to berate S'ym for attacking Illyana, who is integral to their plan to open the portal to Earth.
While they are resting, Illyana explains to the other New Mutants about her time in Limbo and all of the alternate versions of the X-Men, and even herself.
It coming up again in this story is an important signal. Louise Simonson has said that she had left an obvious out for herself if she ever wanted to bring Magik back after Inferno, and we see that starting with this discussion and then the appearance of a younger version of Illyana a little later in this issue. Also of note is Magik's talk of choices; N'astirh will later tell her that it's really not possible to make the right choices in Limbo and that she was doomed to corruption just by growing up there.
And here's that young Illyana.
Magik turns to avoid watching "what's coming", which implies something awful, but instead what happens is something she doesn't remember. We see N'astirh attacking S'ym.
It's also with these scenes that the rest of the New Mutants finally see and understand what Illyana went through as a teenager, and realize that she's not evil as much as abused. Between this and the coming conversation with N'astirh about choices, this serves as a kind of redemption for Illyana. It doesn't absolve the rest of the New Mutants for allowing her to repeatedly banish people to Limbo (although i liken it to teens watching a friend engaging in destructive behavior due to a drug problem or something and not knowing what to do about it), and it's still sad that none of the adults in her life (Xavier, Magneto, Colossus) were able to help her.
Back on Earth, we see the Hellfire Club observing that the Empire State Building is growing...
...and lower down in the building, a tourist's eyes are removed in a gruesome scene.
Magneto attacks the binoculars but the Hellfire Club get thrown off the building and manage to survive only because their costumes are laced with steel thread that Magneto can levitate (although i suppose Shaw might have survived the fall and Selene could have found a way to break hers). And they therefore fail to save the tourists, who die in the elevator in another gruesome scene.
Back in Limbo, the New Mutants escape S'ym's demons by taking refuge with N'astirh. It's actually N'astirh in the past; his present day form is on Earth at this point, as seen in the X-Terminators series. Limbo is confusing that way. But this version of N'astirh tells Magik that he loves her, and will help her fight S'ym if she'll embrace her true Darkchylde form. And in the future, become his bride. Over the protests of the other New Mutants, she agrees, and returns to fight S'ym.
S'ym is seemingly defeated (and Magik gets her sword back). It's at this point that she forces her way through Limbo back to Earth. But she finds that she can't close the portal, and it's now raining demons in Manhattan. And this was N'astirh's plan all along.
Similar to Louise Simonson's work with John Bogdanove on X-Terminators, Bret Blevins' art style blends with Simonson's scripting style to form a dense, angsty, frantic tone. There's definitely important work for Magik here, and it's good to see the focus firmly on her. Her character has been in a weird state pretty much since she was first artificially aged, so the fact that the New Mutants issues of Inferno are focused on closing her character arc is a good thing, even if it's not going to result in a happy ending, exactly.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: I've left some space between New Mutants #70's cliffhanger and the start of this issue to allow the rest of the Marvel universe to catch up with Inferno. You may assume concurrency, that the New Mutants battled S'ym's demons in Limbo for a while between issues, or that time moves differently in Limbo, according to your personal preference. This issue takes place concurrently with X-Terminators #3, and along with that issue, this starts the phase of Inferno where the city is overrun with demons and not just animated objects.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: X-Men: Inferno TPB
Inbound References (5): showBlack King (Sebastian Shaw), Black Queen (Selene), Cannonball, Gosamyr, Illyana Rasputin (Alt-Limbo version), Magik, Magneto, Mirage (Dani Moonstar), N'astirh, S'ym, Sunspot, Warlock, White Queen (Emma Frost), Wolfsbane
You didn't include the 3rd and most brutal of the Empire State Building's elevator atrocities. It was very Stanley Kubrick's The Shining inspired.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | August 20, 2014 12:28 PM
Posted by: fnord12 | August 20, 2014 1:05 PM
I wonder if kids refused to enter elevators after reading this crossover...? There is a another incident in The Uncanny X-Men #240 with an elevator in the RCA Building to go yet... ;) Preying on phobias much Marvel?>:)
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | August 20, 2014 1:38 PM
Forgot about that elevator scene. Very gruesome. Still, it was the tower viewer eyes thing that got me.
Posted by: JSfan | August 20, 2014 2:01 PM
"It's also with these scenes that the rest of the New Mutants finally see and understand what Illyana went through as a teenager, and realize that she's not evil as much as abused"
Posted by: Michael | August 20, 2014 7:54 PM
Illyana was the most interesting sub-plot/character of Inferno. This had been building since X-Men 159. It really brought Sorcery/Magic to a plausible relevance in the X-Books. My only wish is the Dr. Strange could have been involved more. It wouldn't have been that hard.
Posted by: Mdent | August 22, 2014 12:18 PM
Michael - My view of the scene with Emma was that she wasn't concerned because she cared about people. It was the psychic pain she was feeling being a telepath. She wanted the elevator caught so it would stop her headache.
Posted by: clyde | August 22, 2014 12:45 PM
Mdent, Dr Strange does "get involved" in Bendis-penned issues of Uncanny X-Men.
Posted by: Jon Dubya | November 11, 2016 8:13 PM
Here Illyana explains to the rest of the team all about Limbo, & Rahne in particular seems completely unaware of how Illyana got to Limbo in the first place & what Belasco's plans for Illyana were. The whole team only now seem to realise, on seeing a young Illyana with their own eyes, that she might not have started off evil when she arrived in Limbo aged 6 or 7. (Though they had previously seen a younger-but-not-this-young Illyana in their visit to Limbo in issue #14.)
Some of this lack of awareness is obviously for exposition purposes, though it does seem to make them bad friends for how unaware they are of Illyana's circumstances. I appreciate it might be something that Illyana didn't want to talk about too much, but Limbo is a place they've visited several times & has become more & more of a threat over the past 20 issues or so, you'd think they'd at least know more of the basic story.
One thing I'm not sure about is they're also unaware of the alternate X-Men who died in Limbo, though some of that shock will be due to Illyana claiming to have murdered them. Warlock has already seen the dead alternate Colossus in issue #34, though perhaps he didn't tell the others? I feel like Magik had previously mentioned the dead alternate Kitty & Kurt to the rest of the team, & perhaps had blamed herself for their deaths before (though less bluntly), though perhaps that's me misremembering. Can anyone with a better memory than me can recall how much she'd previously told them?
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | June 20, 2018 7:12 PM
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