New Mutants (4th series) #26

Issue Date: 
August 2022
Story Title: 
The Labors of Magik Book Two: Best laid Plans…

Vita Ayala (writer), Rod Reis (artist main story), Jan Duursema (artist flashbacks), Ruth Redmond (colorist flashbacks), VC’s Travis Lanham (letterer), Tom Muller (Design), Leinil Francis Yu (cover artist), Nick Russell (production), Jonathan Hickman (Head of X), Anita Okoye (assistant editor), Sarah Brunstad (editor), Jordan D. White (senior editor), C.B. Cebulski (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

Trapped in an icy Limbo wilderness, Magik and her friends find a fortress where an older version of Magik with Warlock are fighting a demon siege. They help and learn that this is a future Illyana who was never able to return to Earth (and the others died) and she has been fighting the demon hosts ever since. The demons offer young Magik and her fiends to leave but they refuse to take the deal and decide to help. At night Magik and Madelyne discuss why Illyana wants Madelyne to succeed her. Later, old and young Illyana make a plan. The next day, old Illyana challenges the demon’s leader who turns out to be a techno-organic S’ym. They fight and Sym gains the upper hand by infecting her with T/O, which she then uses against him. She takes him out and some of S’ym magick goes into young Magik, allowing her to partially reconstruct her soulsword. In Krakao, Colossus is looking for his sister. At another time in Limbo, young Illyana traps Cat and tries to lift Belasco’s spell. Cat momentarily turns back into Kitty Pryde but when Illyana frees her, Cat reverts to her form and vows vengeance before fleeing.

Full Summary: 

Magik, Mirage, Wolfsbane and Madelyne Pryor make their way through an icy landscape somewhere in Limbo. While Wolfsbane leads the way, Magik tries to manifest her Soulsword, but only gets a broken stump, after S’ym managed to shatter it. She figures this may also be why her teleportation is off. She decides, the sooner she figures out how to get it together, the sooner they can return to Krakoa and rally to sort out the mess in Limbo. She reaches out… and nothing happens. Angrily, she swears and kicks the dirt.

Dani tells her they need a place to rest. Illyana may not be bleeding, but what happened was devastating to her. She can’t just expect to bounce back immediately. She doesn’t have the luxury of taking the knee, Magik replies stubbornly. They could be in for all-out war.

Rahne shouts and points at a hill: she heard sounds of battle from behind it.

The Goblin’s tale:
Long ago, the Goblin exile lost a great battle against the demon usurper, and her companions were forced to flee into the shadows of the kingdom she once ruled. One by one, the small band of rebels were hunted down by the horde of demons, until only the goblin exile remained. Then something both new and ancient found its way into the land – an infection that twisted the demons into a magical hive intent on consuming everything living in its path. The goblin exile’s power somehow kept the hive trapped in the kingdom. Now at the edge of things in a cold desolate outpost the goblin exile holds the line.

When they look down, they see a fortress beset by demons, though something seems off about them. Magik warns they are not in shape to take them on. Dani wants to help. lllyana figures they are outnumbered and Madelyne agrees. Wolfsbane takes the decision out of their hands by moving closer. She sniffs something familiar: the woman atop the castle is another older Illyana who holds a blaster and has a techno-organic arm-cum-sword that seems to be made of Warlock.

When the demons see her, they want to rush her. She sighs, do they never learn and blasts them with her Warlock-arm.

The four mutants are impressed.

Old woman Illyana calls down that it usually takes three weeks for them to get themselves for another siege attempt and calls them up. She calls them to the door and offers them a tour. She explains that, after her sword shattered, she lost her ability to teleport and was trapped here. She never regained the strength to take control of Limbo back from S’ym. As far as they are concerned… her version of Dani and Rahne died together in an attack in the first year, and Madelyne in an arcane accident a year later. She’s not sure how the TO virus made its way here, but it's everywhere, and Warlock can’t absorb it.

Still, they’ve been holding back the infected hordes for too many years to count. She has attempted multiple times to breach their stronghold. She thinks if she kills their leader they will scatter. From what she has been able to gather, the human world is a mess. Krakoa fell. As far as she knows, she and Warlock are the only mutant survivors. The spells she uses to destroy the demons take a lot out of her and Warlock, and she admits she is exhausted. She suggests they talk more in the morning and tells them to make themselves at home.

While the others go somewhere to sleep, Madelyne ignores the hint that Illyana wants to be alone. She asks why Illyana chose her. Illyana explains she is like her and a good and stable person cannot rule this place. They have seen the darkness and survived. Neither is untouched. Madelyne still insists, why her? Illyana admits that she has left her impression on this place. She is connected to this place, but not the same way Illyana is. She lost her innocence in this place; parts were ripped away and parts she bargained to survive long enough to free herself from Belasco. It took from her, but it is the place Madelyne came to break free from the powers that controlled her.

Madelyne points out what is to stop her from using this place to make everyone who slighted her pay? Illyana points out that what the contract is for. She admits that Madelyne was right: there hasn’t been a moment in Madelyne‘s life when she was free to make a choice about who she was. It disgusts her!

Madelyne bristles at what she perceives as pity. Illyana corrects her that she was the same but she had the chance to put herself together before Krakoa. If Essex deserves to sit at the table, Madelyne deserves that and more!

Madelyne demands, how is Illyana handing this to her different than the council resurrecting her at the whim of Alex Summers? Illyana offers her an infinity of choices out of the shadows of the men the world thinks define her.

In the morning, Illyana joins her older self on the roof. They are interrupted by a flying demon, who comes under a banner of truce. It offers safe passage back to Earth for younger Magik and her companions, in return for leaving her older version behind. The two Illyanas look at each other and burst into laughter, then tell the demon to get bent. The demon warns her this is a chance to change her fate.

Both old Magik and Warlock fire at the demon, which flies away. As it does, it warns young Magik that, the next time they come, their parlor tricks will not be enough. Ask her how much longer she can keep doing this!

Magik suggests they all talk. Inside with the others gathered, Magik asks what the demon meant by that. Is her older counterpart dying? No, but things are complicated, old Illyana replies. What they saw when they came over that ridge was a spell she cooked up long ago. Seems like the only thing that puts them down for good, but there are always more who come. The demons are vulnerable to Warlock’s essence, so she created the spell around that. But every time they cast it, it takes something from them. When Warlock first arrived here from Krakoa, he was injured but mostly okay. Now he can’t even hold his original shape anymore.

Magik asks why she is doing this and don’t say “It’s what we do.” She did tell her, her counterpart replies, she is the only one left. She believes if she kills the leader of the techno-organic demons, the powers of Limbo will revert to her and she will be able to destroy the rebellion once and for all and return to Earth.

What else has she tried except letting them attack her and killing herself slowly? Madelyne demands sardonically.

Warlock briefly manifests and screams at her in rage. She has tried a lot. This is the only thing that seems to make a dent in their numbers. She attacked the castle, lost her arm. She tried to return to Earth through every arcane venue left to her. They always ended up here.

Magik criticizes her for doing the same thing again and again. She needs to think bigger. She’s got an idea…

Krakoa, the Sextant:
Colossus enters the New Mutants’ home, where he finds Karma and her girlfriend Galura happily chatting. He announces he needs to talk to his sister. Karma informs him she hasn’t seen her since yesterday but she is happy to take a message.

He tries the Green Lagoon and then asks Cypher and Warlock, but the answer is always the same.

A giant demon army has gathered outside the fort. Once again, one of them makes the offer to Magik and tells her to think of her friends. Old Illyana also has an offer. A one-on-one battle between her and their leader. Don’t be ridiculous! the demon scoffs, but a voice behind him announces he will take the deal. Old Illyana smirks when she sees the leader – a techno-organic S’ym. Unimpressed, he remarks she’s got a new sword… his is bigger.

Young Magik is about to go ballistic, as she swears rudely and is held back by Rahne and Dani who remind her this is her plan.

Old Illyana coolly lays down the rules: one-on-one battle. No interference from either side. None of them uses magic.

Amused, the demon warns that doesn’t seem very fair to her. She might as well give up now. Raising her Warlock-sword, she warns him to worry about himself. He counters her blow with his mace. She charges. S’ym strikes true and wounds her. He grabs her by the throat and infects her with the TO-virus. Pathetic! he judges as he drops her.

She told him to worry about himself, she announces, as her eyes glow. A spell is cast and the TO is removed from him. All this time she spent fighting him from the outside. What better way to defeat your enemy than from the inside? She strikes her sword again, and this time he is wounded. She just needed a fresh pair of eyes to show her. This has been a long time coming, she whispers into the dying demon’s ear. Goodbye.

The other demons panic as he melts down and the effect spreads. Whie the other women take care of the demons, Magik talks to old Illyana who holds a little energy ball that is left of S’ym. Old Illyana tells her to take it and, indeed, after absorbing it she is capable of forming a new Soulsword, even if not for long.

After seeing the determination of the exiled goblin, the little goblin regained hope.

Second story:
Young Illyana Rasputin (somewhere between 9 and 11 years old) is still a prisoner in Belasco’s castle. She is running away from his servant Cat (formerly her best friend). She leads Cat into a trap and paralyzes her in a spell. The older woman threatens what she will do once she gets out.

Illyana casts a spell and Cat momentarily turns into Kitty Pryde again, her humanity and personality restored. Tearfully, she asks what is happening. Illyana apologizes and dissolves the forcefield. She reaches out and Cat is back, slashing at her as she hisses to worry about herself, before she runs away. Illyana vows she will do everything in her power to save her.

Characters Involved: 

Boom-Boom, Cannonball, Chamber, Cypher, Karma, Magik, Mirage, Sunspot, Warlock, Warpath, Wolfsbane (New Mutants)

Story Notes: 

For some reason the chapter has the same title as last issue.

Written By: