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(1st Story) Mike Benson (writer), Mark Texeira (artist), Lee Loughridge (colorist), VC’s Clayton Cowles (letterer)(2nd Story) Jim Krueger (writer), Ron Lim (artist), Chris Sotomayor (artist), VC’s Clayton Cowles (letterer)Jordan D. White and Nick Lowe (editors), Axel Alonso (editor in chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)
(1st story)After touching a mysterious skull, Thor finds himself trapped in Limbo, defending himself against hordes of demons. Magik senses his presence in her dimension and goes to rescue him. However, Thor refuses to trust her and attempts to handle things on his own, causing even more demons and monsters to arrive. Angry over the mess he made, Magik teleports both of them back to Earth and warns Thor to stay out of her realm.
(2nd story)Cyclops chases down Malice in New York City. Based on his recent actions and the fact that it looks like he's chasing down innocent civilians, Cyclops is mistaken as a villain. The Superior Spider-Man attacks Cyclops but, when Malice attempts to possess him, he realizes she’s the true threat. After Malice possesses Cyclops, Spider-Man knocks him out and takes him back to his lab to separate them. Spider-Man is able to contain Malice and hands her over to a grateful Cyclops before sending him on his way.
(1st story)In Asgard, Thor enters the Devon’s armory in search of Volstagg the Enormous, whom he wishes to congratulate on his victory against storm giants. Devon tells Thor that he has not seen Volstagg since he fixed the handle of the Brandrheid Undrsigr. Thor assumes Volstagg is celebrating with his lady wife and begins to glance around the armory and the shelves adorned with swords, shields and axes. Devon tells Thor what an honor it is to have him visit his armory and Thor assures him that the only reason he has not seen him is because he only has need for Mjolnir.
A nearby demon skull catches Thor’s eye and Devon tells him that it’s from Limbo. “You say from Limbo?” Thor says suspiciously as he lifts the skull. Just as Devon begins to shout a warning, Thor vanishes before his eyes!
At the secret headquarters of Cyclops’ X-Men, Cyclops and Magik are coordinating a Danger Room exercise for their students. They supervise as Benjamin Deeds, Goldballs and Christopher Muse dodge lasers and cutting saws. Cyclops suggests that Magik goes easier on the students but Magik thinks they need more hard work, especially with the Avengers on their trail.
Suddenly, Magik cries out in agony. Cyclops asks if she's okay but she teleports away before she gives him a solid answer. Cyclops is left to conduct the exercise on his own as Goldballs is slammed up against the viewing glass by a wrecking ball.
Magik arrives in Limbo to find Thor defending himself against a horde of vicious demons. “Feel my might, foul demon-spawn!” Thor shouts as he stands on the high ground, swinging his hammer against what seems like countless demons. “No wonder I felt a disturbance,” Magik says. “There’s a god in my kingdom.”
Thor immediately blames Magik for his current situation and promises to turn the might of Mjolnir on her when he’s finished with the demons. Magik tells him that not only did she have nothing to do with him coming to Limbo, she’s willing to save him. “The son of Odin does not need the feeble help of some boney mutant,” Thor declares as he continues to smash through demons. He recalls how Magik imprisoned various Avengers in Limbo and doesn’t believe that she’s changed her ways since. As Thor continues to berate her, Illyana slashes behind him with her soulsword, saving Thor from a demon’s axe. “Sure you don’t need my help, Thor?” Magik says with a grin.
Thor admits that he’s tiring and prepares to end things. He begins to swing his hammer violently and then slams it onto the ground, obliterating the surrounding demons and leaving him and Magik standing in a smoking crater. “Now that those demons are dispatched, it’s time to take you to justice,” Thor says as he throws his hammer toward Magik. “Silly god…” Magik says as she teleports out of the way.
Magik appears behind Thor with her sword raised. Both heroes prepare to attack each other when suddenly a giant serpent-like monster erupts from the ground between them. Magik tells Thor that the crater he created has opened the door to even more evil. Demons begin to surround the pair again and Thor manages to save Illyana from one, claiming that they are now even.
As the two fight countless hordes of demons, Magik says they can get them out of there but Thor refuses to admit defeat. Just as Thor is about to attack the giant serpent, Magik teleports them back to Earth. When asked why, Magik claims that he did enough to her dimension today. “I’ll clean up the god-sized mess you made,” Magik says. She warns him to stay out of her realm and teleports away, leaving Thor to admire her spirited attitude and to wonder where exactly she left him.
(2nd Story)As he chases an old woman down into a NYC subway station, Cyclops realizes how strange the situation must look to outsiders. Not only does the public believe he murdered a man in a wheelchair but now it looks like he's targeting old women too. The old woman shouts for help and claims that a mutant is trying to kill her. The woman is possessed by Malice and Cyclops vows to stop her before she can give the world one more reason to hate mutants. Having been forced to do regrettable things while possessed by the Phoenix Force, Cyclops is driven to stop Malice like never before.
Once on the subway platform, Malice, still inside the body of an old woman, clutches her heart and falls to the floor, pretending to have a heart attack. “For once, I wish New Yorker would live up to the stereotype,” Scott thinks as New Yorkers crowd around the woman to help. Cyclops pushes the crowd away, trying to prevent Malice from leaving her current host. “Get back!” he shouts as he unleashes an optic blast but it’s too late as Malice now inhabits the body of a young brunette woman. Malice’s signature choker is seen on her neck as the subway train doors close.
As Cyclops races towards the moving train, he realizes how much easier things would be if he was considered a hero. Off to the side, a group of “spider-bots” are crawling amongst the subway, no doubt relaying the events to Spider-Man.
Cyclops manages to enter the train by jumping onto the back and blasting the door down with his optic blast. The crowd reacts with anger and fear as Cyclops walks amongst them, except for the woman Malice is possessing. “This has to end, Malice,” Cyclops says when he stands before her. “You have to end.” Malice taunts him, saying that he really is a villain now if he's willing to kill the innocent woman she’s inhabiting. Before Cyclops is able to respond, Spider-Man crashes through the train window, knocking Cyclops away. Cyclops tries to explain the situation but Spider-Man doesn’t give him the chance and kicks him down the train car. “Knock him back to mutant world!” someone in the crowd shouts as the train passengers begin to cheer on Spider-Man.
Cyclops tells Spider-Man about Malice but Spider-Man doesn’t believe him and calls him a mutant terrorist. While trying to prove his innocence in Xavier’s death, Cyclops brings up the time a policeman’s death was blamed on Spider-Man when it was in fact the fault of Doctor Octopus. The mention of Doctor Octopus sets Spider-Man off and he viciously puts his arms around Cyclops throat and pushes him to the ground. Cyclops realizes that Spider-Man is acting out of character, because not only is he trying to kill him but he’s also not making his usual jokes. As Spider-Man tightens his hold, Cyclops’ optic blasts begin to unleash wildly, tearing through the train car and into nearby buildings.
Malice approaches the pair and, wanting to kill Cyclops herself, attempts to possess Spider-Man but is shocked to find she’s unable to. “I’m used to pushing away weaker personalities,” Spider-Man says as he bashes her in the head with his skull.
Realizing he was telling the truth, Spider-Man helps Cyclops up and tells him that they must prevent Malice from entering Cyclops’ body. Liking the idea of possessing Cyclops, Malice begins to pass through civilians on the train until she inhabits the one closest to him. She threatens to jump out of the hole of the train and kill herself unless Cyclops stops her. Realizing that the only way to stop Malice is by making contact and giving her a chance to possess him, Cyclops thinks about how easy it would be to do what everyone expects him to do. Spider-Man tells him not to do it but Cyclops grabs the man before Malice jumps. Malice’s choker appears around Cyclops’ neck as Scott feels himself losing control.
Malice, now in Cyclops body, attempts to fight Spider-Man but finds that she cannot control Scott’s optic blasts. Spider-Man easily dodges the wayward blasts and knocks Malice out with a single punch. “Having possession is not the same as having control,” Spider-Man says as the crowd on the train cheer.
Cyclops wakes up in Spider-Man’s lab with Malice no longer in control. Spider-Man claims to have known that Malice wouldn’t be able to control Scott’s blast since he realized Cyclops himself wasn’t in complete control of them while they fought. Cyclops calls him out on making such a dangerous gamble but Spider-Man claims that heroes use deception all the time. Spider-Man tells Scott that it was Otto Octavius that had a means of separating Malice from him and even managed to contain Malice in a vial, which he hands over to Cyclops.
Outside, Cyclops watches as Spider-Man swings away and reflects how glad he is that Spider-Man is one of the good guys because anyone else would have kept the vial containing Malice to use as a weapon…
Cyclops, Magik (both X-Men)Benjamin Deeds, Devon, Goldballs, Christopher Muse (Xavier School students)
Various Limbo DemonsLimbo Beast
“Superior” Spider-Man (Doctor Octopus)
(1st story)Magik imprisoned Avengers in Limbo during the AvX crossover event.
An editor’s note clarifies that this story takes place before Uncanny X-Men (3rd Series) #5 when Magik loses control of her Limbo powers.
(2nd story)Under control of the Phoenix Force, Cyclops murdered Professor Xavier during the AvX crossover.
Unbeknownst to Cyclops, Spider-Man is currently under control of Doctor Octopus which is why Malice is unable to possess him.
This is the first time Malice has been seen since being expunged from Omega Sentinel during the Messiah Complex crossover. This also marks the first time Malice has been able to be contained without a host body.