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Magik #2 (1984, January)

August 2, 2014

Let’s take a break from the Assistant Editor’s Month for a couple minis. Today, by Claremont and John Buscema, “Cold Iron Hot Blood!”

Cold Iron Hot Blood!

You can’t see it, but he’s actually holding a fourth sword. Guess what he’s holding it with. (It’s his penis.)

The story starts with a demon attacking Cat and Illyana. Cat’s knocked down, and the demon chases Illyana, but Cat kills it. Then another demon knocks Illyana into a circle of light. She finds herself in darkness, and then scampers away from another circle. She finds Colossus’ dead and shattered body. S’ym grabs her. Cat shows up to distract him, then escapes with Illyana.

They find themselves in another part of Limbo, fashioned after the Savage Land as a desolate waste. Cat kills a two-headed sabretooth tiger, then roars in triumph. Dinner time. Cat tells Illyana to get some sleep, because her training starts in the morning. In the morning, Cat gives her some new clothes to wear, then tells her they’re heading for some mountains way in the distance. They run. Illyana collapses, but a monster scares her to start running again. Eventually, Illyana can’t run any more. So, obviously, Cat tries to kill her. See, this is why the X-Men make terrible teachers. Their idea of gym class was a room that tried to kill them. Anyway, Illyana tries to defend herself with a sword, but Cat easily disarms her. Cat tells her that she needs to train, to be hard in order to beat Belasco. This is when Storm’s astral self shows up, saying Illyana will need knowledge, not steel.

The training continues. Time passes. Illyana grows up, and is able to keep up with Cat. She even starts winning their duels. Now, they’re ready to climb Belasco’s tower. They’re attacked by a twisted Nightcrawler. The creepy one who tried to molest Kitty. Nightcrawler grabs some swords and challenges Cat to a duel, but Cat phases through the floor, so Illyana fights him instead. He’s distracted, which allows Cat to grab him and phase his leg into the floor. Nasty. Oh so nasty. Then she stabs him through the heart. No more creepy molesty Nightcrawler! Seriously, dude, you tried to molest a 13-year-old. Not cool at all.

With him done, they head to the altar where Belasco performs his main rituals. Cat hopes she can phase the two of them through the barrier between Limbo and Earth. They wind up grabbed by Belasco. Cat tries to kill Belasco, but he seizes control of her, instead. Then he uses his magic to make her even more like a cat. This includes stripping her of free will. Then he gives Illyana a knife, which she uses to cut herself open, and allow the blood to drip into her pendant, becoming the second Bloodstone.

With this issue, things start getting intense. The training Cat puts Illyana through is brutal, and the ending is even worse. Nightcrawler dead, Cat a mindless slave, and Illyana in the control of Belasco. One thing that might’ve been a nice touch is if Illyana’s narration changed as she aged. She was 6 when it started, and she’s 10 by the end of this issue, but her narration style is much the same. So is her dialogue, actually. It’s a minor thing, but I think it would’ve elevated this series a bit. Still, the writing is good, and it’s an exciting story. John Buscema’s art is great. Again, I do have a complaint about a missed opportunity. It would’ve been nice to get more of a contrast between Belasco’s tower and the plains. The portion with Cat training Illyana could’ve felt a bit bigger, more open, more sense of space, with the portion in Belasco’s tower could’ve felt closer, more claustrophobic. The colours from Glynis Wein actually help with that, though. It goes from fairly light colours, to dark red. It actually happens on a single page. It’s a nice touch.

Song of the day: This Too Shall Pass by OK Go.

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