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15: UXM 160 (Magik!)

What's Covered?

UXM #160

Magik Limited Series # 1 - 4


I need to start by explaining why I am so excited the be writing about Magik. Throughout this journey, I've been talking about how much I like learning about new characters. Magik, (Illyana Rasputin) is a character who I was only vaguely familiar with before starting, but I recently watched the New Mutants (the last Fox X-Men movie that was delayed for years) and I realized how little I knew about the New Mutants, especially Magik. I have since been ravenous to learn more about her and her powers. So when I started to read this issue and soon afterwards realized there was an entire mini series about her, I got so excited. I'm happy to say that I wasn't disappointed. So without further ado, let's jump in with X-Men # 160.

Since I'm taking us a little out of order, I will help to set the scene. Issue #160 took place between the first and second phase of the Brood Saga. The spider alien things had destroyed the Mansion before Corsair and Scott destroyed them. After defeating Magneto, Charles had the terrible idea of having the team use Magneto's creepy alien floating city as their headquarters.

UXM # 160

Writer - Chris Claremont

Pencils - Brent Anderson

While the X-Men are doing a general training exercise, little 7 year old Illyana is being called to by some mysterious voice.

Illyana sneaks off as if in trance and goes inside one of the creepy buildings. Only Kitty seems to notice.

Eventually the rest of the X-Men realize that both Illyana and Kitty are missing and they start looking for her.

Illyana continues to follow the creepy voice.

Kitty wakes up in a creepy place. She's not in Deerfield anymore.

Eventually all of the other X-Men are taken to the creepy place as well.

A truly disturbing scene takes place. Kitty is scared to death, but relieved she finds Kurt. However while they are embracing, she yells at him and says "Kurt! How dare you touch me like that!" When Kitty takes another look she sees that it is Kurt, but something is wrong with him and he seems to be trying to attack her. This was really unsettling as it seems that Kurt was trying to sexually assault her. This clued me into the fact that we were in for a very different kind of story.

After running from Kurt, Kitty runs into Belasco. He introduces himself as the ruler of the world/dimension they find themselves in, Limbo.

Kitty is imprisoned and it becomes clear that Belasco was the voice that had lured Illyana. She presents Illyana with a medallion that has 5 Bloodstones in it. We'll learn more later of the significance of this later. I know for certain that this is a major plot point and even though I am a few issues ahead in my own reading, I still have not witnessed exactly how this will pay off.

Belasco introduces us to S'ym, a powerful monster who resides in Limbo who will get a lot of screentime in the near future.

At this point, things are still very confusing. Kitty is trapped in a crystal, Kurt is a hornball freak, and those are supposedly Wolverine's bones laying on the floor.

The real Kurt also sees this scene unfold and is equally confused.

Illyana is officially gifted with the medallion.

As Storm is trying to find the others, a mysterious hooded sorceress is following her and providing help along the way.

Wolverine comes across the corpse of Colossus, another creepy-ass sight.

A battle between S'ym and Wolverine erupts. He suffers the obligatory shirt loss.

Colossus shows up and the two of them are still losing until the hooded sorceress shows up and teleports them to safety.

All of the X-Men, including Illyana, are re-runited and the hooded sorceress reveals herself. It's Storm! But an older version of Storm.

The older Storm fights off the army of Belasco while the X-Men escape back to the creepy island. It's also worth mentioning that it almost seems as though younger Storm is doing a spell too. We start to get an inkling that maybe Storm's title as a Goddess has a bit more to it.

While they are teleporting, Belasco gets a hold of Illyana.

For a minute, they lose her.

But then they grab back ahold of her and yank her through.

What comes through the portal is a 14 year old version of Illyana. It turns out that little Illyana spent the last 7 years of her life trapped in Limbo.

Claremont uses a 4 issue mini series to flesh out what happened in Limbo, but right here it all started to make sense. I knew we were getting close to New Mutants, which she would play a role in, but I didn't understand how that would happen with her so young. Also, my oldest daughter is 7 right now so to think of this young girl being trapped with a demon for so how long was something that really shook me to my core. She comes back as a very different person and I am intrigued to learn all I can.

Magik (AKA Storm and Illyana)

We begin with Illyana back in the real world, reflecting on how this should be her eighty birthday, but in reality she is turning 14. Half her life was spent in Limbo.

So begins the saga of Magik. Is she a hero or is her soul already forfeit?

Illyana takes us back to the beginning. Shortly after being snatched by Belasco, we see him starting to work his magic on her. There are some truly sad lines here that reflect how a 7 year old would really think. "He won't do anything bad to me. He loves me, he said so." That sad instinct of kids to believe adults and take them at their word.

Belasco tells Illyana that her fate is already decided and she's destined to become his apprentice, a demon sorceress herself.

I'm not quite sure how long she is with him (hours, days, years?), but eventually Kitty shows up and takes her away.

Kitty brings Illyana to the elderly version of Storm, however it's clear that their methods are different. This version of Kitty is much more violent and direct.

We learn that this version of Kitty is no longer human, she's been transformed into a literal Cat.

For a time, Illyana stays with Storm and feels safe.

Storm begins to each her some magic and is surprised at how quickly she seems to be picking it up.

Eventually Cat shows up and decides that Storm's more passive training is not what's best for Illyana. She takes her elsewhere.

There is a nice little training montage as Cat spends some time (maybe years!?) training her to be a fighter.

More training, more growing...

When Cat decides that her training is complete, they go together to Belasco's lair. This is where they run into the twisted Nightcrawler and they kill him, once and for all.

Belasco is able to defeat them and decides to remedy this insurrection by turning Cat into even more of a Cat, this time without any free will.

She has learned some benevolent magic from Storm and fighting skills from Cat, but now her true training with Belasco will begin.

We learn that Illyana is the key to Belasco taking over the earth so that his masters, the Dread Lords, can rule. Once all 5 bloodstones of her medallion are filled, the prophecy will be fulfilled and the invasion can begin.

Storm continually tries to reach Illyana and convince her to leave, however she is conflicted. A part of her enjoys the training.

This is where we learn that in addition to being adept at magic, she has a mutant ability to create "stepping stones" of light which teleport her through space and time.

She teleports herself to places that she shouldn't go and happens to stumble across Storm attacking Belasco. Storm is victorious in the battle, but loses the war.

The cost of killing Belasco is that she forfeits her own soul.

As Storm lays dying, the mindless Cat creature attacks.

Illyana is so blind with rage at the loss of Storm that she attacks Cat and kills her.

Belasco offers Illyana the opportunity to grow stronger by stealing Orroro's lifeforce and damning her for eternity. Instead, she offers her a mercy and kills her.

After this, Magik decides that it's time to leave. She teleports herself back home to Siberia, however her parents don't recognize her because of how old she is. This is where she realizes that while she doesn't want to stay in limbo, she no longer has a home.

She goes back to Limbo and completes her training herself. In her studies, she discovers that she can channel all of her magical might into a soulsword. With this discovering, she decides that she's ready to face Belasco herself, one last time.

She quickly dispatches of S'ym and corners Belasco aggressively.

She disarms Belasco and goes in for the kill.

However, she hesitates. She remembers what happened to Storm and decides that killing him will not accomplish her goal. Her soul may already be tainted, but she doesn't need to take this final step.

This is when she decides to use her stepping stones one more time and it takes her back to Issue #160 when the 14 year old version of her was pulled out by Kitty and the X-Men.


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