ROM annual #3
Issue(s): ROM annual #3
The story opens with a group of female Dire Wraith children, whose parents were killed or banished by ROM, and they are therefore immature and confused.
That doesn't stop them from terrorizing a classroom full of children, or mind-sucking and killing their teacher right in front of them.
ROM and Starshine intervene before any children are hurt (not counting mental trauma!), and continue their kill vs. banish debate.
As ROM banishes the final Wraith, something slips out of the opened portal. It's Hybrid, who manifests as a young human during a baptism in a small town in Kentucky.
"Several weeks later", the New Mutants arrive in town to visit Cannonball's family. This is the first time we meet the Guthries, including five brothers and sisters. One of them, Joshua, will later turn out to be a mutant, code-name Icarus.
Sam's other mutant sibling, Paige, aka Husk of Generation X, does not appear in this issue.
After a rather nicely done horror movie-ish plot, the New Mutants, ROM, and Starshine face off against Hybrid. ROM gets stuck in Limbo, and Hybrid removes the Starshine armor from Brandy Clark (he also puts her into a weird "sexy" wedding outfit).
Hybrid intends to use the female mutants for breeding purposes.
Magik teleports away to Limbo...
...where she encounters ROM. She initially recognizes it as "her" Limbo but wonders why she's never encountered all the Wraiths that ROM has banished there before (i'm also reminded, due to the (mis?)coloring of these female Wraiths, that now that the females have been introduced we simply don't see the males anymore. Limbo should be full of male Wraiths since that's what ROM fought for most of his series).
ROM responds that Limbo is "less a place than a concept".
Hybrid is defeated through a combination of Magik's soulsword...
...and a powerless Brandy Clark using ROM's Neutralizer, shielded from the pain (from the safeguards that prevent others from using ROM's weapon) by Professor X.
Mantlo really delivers with this one. It's a creepy story, and i like the side touching on the Limbo concept, even if the differences are explained with a bit of hand-waving. William Johnson's art is a nice break from Ditko; my one complaint is he never gives us a nice scary splash panel of Hybrid.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Brandy Clark loses her Starshine powers in this issue, placing it between ROM #60-61. The MCP places Xavier here before Uncanny X-Men #189, which fits with the New Mutants not knowing about Storm's power loss, which Amara, at least, should be aware of by UX #189. But if we accept that, this story has to also take place before New Mutants #23, since New Mutants #23 takes place after UX #189. See my comments on the New Mutants entry for more on that, since it differs from the MCP's placement.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (4): showCannonball, General Merriwether Locklin, Hybrid (Dire Wraith), Icarus, Jebediah Guthrie, Joelle Guthrie, Lewis Guthrie, Lucinda Guthrie, Magik, Magma, Professor X, ROM, Starshine II, Sunspot, Wolfsbane
When it comes to creepy, rapey Marvel supervillains, Hybrid makes the Mandrill look like a feminist!
Posted by: Oliver_C | November 23, 2015 4:07 PM
I think Mantlo's story is very ill-served by William Johnson's art. He makes Hybrid look like Tweety Bird! If this issue had been drawn by Bill Sienkiewicz (who did the cover), it would have been awesome.
Posted by: Tony Lewis | October 4, 2016 2:39 PM
Bill's Hybrid would have given readers nightmares!
Posted by: Vin the Comics Guy | December 15, 2016 11:25 PM
Never read this, but from the scans it seems to sort-of-but-not-quite establish that Illyana's Limbo is a "concept" that is related to Rom's Limbo.
I'd been under the impression that Immortus' Limbo was the same as Rom's Limbo (Dire Wraiths appear in Immortus' Limbo in Avengers #268) but that Illyana's demonic Limbo was totally separate to the Immortus/Rom Limbo. This muddies the waters by having Illyana recognise Rom's Limbo as her Limbo, which would make all 3 Limbos the same. Did anyone bother to make a "correction" establishing what if any relation the Limbos had to each other, or is the (probably unintended) implication that Illyana & Immortus have the same Limbo just a dropped plot point no-one remembers from a Rom annual?
Sure, there's enough wiggle room that the Limbos are "less a place than a concept" if you don't think about it too hard & just accept that it's comics, but between this & Avengers #268 it seems that there is "some" relation between all 3 Limbos, whatever it is.
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | July 9, 2018 11:30 AM
Here' the Wikipedia entry on the various Limbos -
Posted by: clyde | July 9, 2018 9:05 PM
That wikipedia entry says what I thought, which is that there are 2 Limbos, Illyana's & Immortus/Rom's. But as this issue establishes that Illyana's Limbo is connected to Rom's Limbo, and Avengers #268 establishes that Rom's Limbo is connected to Immortus' Limbo, then either Rom is randomly sending his Dire Wraiths to 2 different places or both Limbos are connected in some way, the same thing even if they don't take the same form.
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | July 9, 2018 11:37 PM
I actually very much like Mantlo's suggestion offered here that Limbo is "less a place than a concept". With one line of dialogue he simultaneously acknowledges the seemingly-contradictory depictions of Limbo in various stories and agues that it doesn't matter. If you try to get too specific about what Limbo looks like or who lives there then it becomes just another parallel dimension, as opposed to a really strange realm that's weird and scary and totally unpredictable.
Posted by: Ben Herman | July 10, 2018 1:27 PM
The idea that the Limbo to which Rom had banished so many Dire Wraiths was the True Limbo ruled by Immortus first appeared in ROM #19 when Rom was banished there by his own Neutralizer and encountered the Space Phantom. The story in Avengers #268 seemingly confirmed that and later official handbook texts established that the historical figures whom Immortus controlled were actually disguised Dire Wraiths. And then Avengers Forever revealed that those historical figures were really Space Phantoms, so who knows what's what anymore.
Personally, I prefer the idea that Rom's Limbo and Illyana's Limbo (Otherplace) and True Limbo are three separate places, with True Limbo being a Singularity in the Marvel Multiverse and the other two just being mystical pocket dimensions whose ties to "reality" are looser than normal. One of the reasons why I dislike the idea that Rom's Limbo was True Limbo is because, by definition, there is (or should be) only ONE True Limbo. So, unless the Wraith-Galador War in Reality-616 was an anomaly, that could mean that hundreds or thousands or millions of divergent Roms each spent two centuries busily banishing Dire Wraiths from their respective timelines into a single location, leaving True Limbo filled to the brim with banished Wraiths.
Posted by: Don Campbell | July 10, 2018 11:59 PM
I'd agree with that, it would probably make more sense if they'd kept all the 3 Limbos separate and the other 2 Limbos are just dimensions with similar properties to Immortus' Limbo (or if some editor had told Claremont/Mantlo "we already have a Limbo so can you call this place something else"). I mean, presumably Belasco & Immortus both simply named their dimensions after the Catholic concept of Limbo, and Rom is saying something Galadorian that the closest translation is "Limbo", there's no reason to assume that the dimensions should have to be connected.
Not that it really matters as the connections between the 3 Limbos are I think forgotten now, and the connections are vague enough that they can almost be treated as in-jokes. I'm just surprised that this issue making all 3 Limbos related didn't result in Englehart or someone else in 80s Marvel making a Unified Theory Of Limbo with maybe a battle for territory between Immortus, Belaso and all these Dire Wraiths that kept appearing.
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | July 11, 2018 8:09 AM
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