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Magik #1 (1983, December)

July 27, 2014

Ah, here’s a big one. I’ve been looking forward to this. We find out about Illyana’s experiences in Limbo! By Chris Claremont and John Buscema, the first issue is “Little Girl Lost.”

Little Girl Lost

Kind of a dull cover, actually.

This whole series takes place between a couple panels in Uncanny X-Men #160. It starts with the 14-year-old Illyana at Xavier’s, standing on a cliff and looking out, reflecting that it’s her birthday – her 14th, when it should be her 8th. Then it’s on to the main story!

Witch Storm is about to teleport the X-Men out of Limbo. Belasco grabs Illyana, and she slips out of Kitty’s grasp, then Belasco teleports away with her. The old Storm – who I’ll now refer to as just Storm, since the normal Storm doesn’t show up again – follows. Belasco tells her to submit, and she says she will, if Illyana is released. He raises Illyana’s soul out of her body, and she trusts him. He shifts her soul into an older and demonic version of herself, then he transforms the piece of her soul into energy, which he squeezes into a Bloodstone. He places the Bloodstone into a pendant with five slots – when it’s complete, the Elder Gods will be free.

Belasco blasts down Storm, but before he can kill her, he’s attacked by Cat – Kitty Pryde. He’s forced to retreat, and Storm and Cat take Illyana to Storm’s home. They talk about what to do, and then Storm tries to break Illyana’s link to Belasco. She moves into Illyana’s mind, and finds the bit of her that’s been corrupted. The dark Illyana manages to subdue Storm, and starts to bring out the demon in her. She whips up a tempest, which gives her a chance to escape Illyana’s mind.

She and Cat talk, and Storm decides to make Illyana her apprentice. Cat thinks it’s a terrible idea, exactly what Belasco wants, and suggests killing her, instead. Cat takes off her mask and a glove, and we see she’s been twisted by magic, so she looks like a cat, and has claws rather than nails. Cat leaves, and Storm talks to Illyana, showing her the tree at the heart of her sanctum – a tree she created. She created the acorn that grew into the huge tree. She then teaches Illyana to project her astral form. Illyana says she wants to be taught to make and change things, and Storm freaks out, then explains that changing things on a whim is wrong. She shows Illyana the little bit of corruption Belasco put in her; Storm’s corruption is even greater.

Then Storm wakes them both up. A year has passed in the brief time they spent in their astral forms. At night, Cat sneaks in, knocks out Storm and leaves with Illyana, offering to get her home.

On its own, this issue isn’t really anything special. But as part of the 4-issue story, it does a wonderful job setting up the rest. We learn the biggest players – Belasco on the side of evil, Storm and Cat on the side of good, and Illyana being torn between them. There’s references to Storm having been apprenticed to Belasco, which is an interesting idea. I also like the idea of Storm exploring her mystical heritage. It’s a shame it’s never been explored in the normal comics. I’d like to see a story that touches on the fact that she’s descended from sorceresses.

The art’s good. John Buscema was better than Sal Buscema, so the comic looks great. The astral stuff stands out, both when Storm goes into Illyana’s mind, and when she shows Illyana how to astral project. Glynis Wein does some neat stuff with the colours in that portion. She probably could’ve done a bit more in some panels, but meh, I’m just being picky.

This issue is pretty laid back. That won’t last long.

Song of the day: Silver Lining by Rilo Kiley.

  1. This mini-series gets so intense. By reviewing this one, you’ve put me in the mood to re-read it.

  2. I loved this miniseries when I read it. It definitely locked in Illyana as one of my favorite characters in the whole X-family. I totally hated when they eventually de-aged her through the Inferno crossover; that event put her out of commission as a real character for nearly a decade I think.

    • More than a decade – she was de-aged in 1989, killed in 1993, and then wasn’t brought back until 2007. So it was 18 years after being de-aged before she became relevant again.

      Illyana was always great in New Mutants. Bendis has been doing some fantastic work with her in UXM – his take on her is probably my favourite.

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