Magik #4 (1984, March)
Time to finish this mini. y Claremont and Sal Buscema, “Darkchild.”
Illyana begs Belasco to spare Storm, and promises to do anything. He says she’ll do anything anyway. He tells her they’re going to summon the third Bloodstone, and use it to take Storm’s soul and offer it in sacrifice to his dark gods. He gives her his dagger, and Storm smiles at her. Illyana kills Storm, and the sky goes crazy. Lightning everywhere. Belasco’s pissed, and Illyana flees with Storm’s body, back to her garden.
Without Storm’s magic, the garden starts to die. Storm’s corpse – already decomposing – climbs out of the grave Illyana made, and Illyana flees. Then she’s attacked by Colossus. She flees again, and finds herself home, at her parents’ farm. They don’t recognize her, and don’t accept that it’s her. She drops to her knees, depression, and is attacked by the corpses of the X-Men. She passes out.
She wakes up in front of Belasco. He makes the third Bloodstone. Then he leaves her alone in the wilderness, with his spells blocking her power. She takes shelter inside the massive trunk of Storm’s tree. She tries again to conjure an acorn, and fails again.
More time passes, and Illyana’s almost killed the tree, drawing on it for strength for her spells. She tries one last time, and fails again. And the tree is dead. She thinks about her failures, and realizes that Storm’s acorn was a way for her to regain the woman she was. Illyana’s not her, and she wants vengeance, so she decides on a sword. She creates it, and feels a surge of power. She teleports to Belasco’s citadel for a fight. Her sword blocks his magical attacks, and her circles give her an advantage in the fight. S’ym joins the fight, and is brought down quickly. She then burns up a bunch of Belasco’s grimoires.
Over the course of the fight, Illyana becomes more demonic, while Belasco becomes more human. She beats him easily, and disarms him. She grabs him with her tail and prepares to deliver the killing stroke. She realizes she’s become just like him. She decides not to kill him. He calls her a fool, but she tells him not to get cocky. She’s now ruler of Limbo. Then, she goes back home.
A year later brings us to the present, where she reflects on the X-Men who died in Limbo. It starts snowing, and she sees the New Mutants playing in the snow. This, by the way, is where the next issue of New Mutants picks up.
This is a really good finale. It’s a nice balance of lightness and darkness. Illyana’s realization of why she couldn’t create an acorn was cool, as was the creation of her Soulsword. The best scene was probably her fight to keep hold of her humanity by refusing to kill Belasco. It’s a well-written scene, and well-drawn. Still, as with the previous issues, I could wish for a little more use of shadows in this issue. Something to strike a greater contrast between the light and the dark. Another problem, more specific to this issue, is 14-year-old Illyana’s outfit going from a one-piece to a two-piece. It’s an odd and rather uncomfortable bit of sexualization for a 14-year-old. I mean, I know that kids are often sexual beings – even kids much younger than 14 – but just the same, this is a bit on the creepy side.
Another problem with this series was a sense of repetitiveness. That’s a problem with Claremont in general, but it’s especially notable here, as Illyana constantly talks about wanting to please Belasco, and hating that she wants to. Because it’s only a four-issue story, the sheer number of times that line of thought comes up stands out a bit.
At the end, Illyana mentions that she didn’t tell her parents what happened to her. Apparently (and according to this write-up on UncannyXMen.net), Claremont had some plans to follow up on this with a Colossus/Magik mini, but it never ended up happening. I’m curious what those plans were. It’d be neat to see what ideas he was batting around for it.
Overall, the Magik limited series was pretty good. It had its flaws, and it feels like it was held back a bit by the time it was made in. If it was done today, I think it’d be very different, and probably a lot better. Still, it’s an enjoyable read.
Song of the day: Born To Be Alive by the Morning Birds.