Thursday, June 23, 2016
Dan Abnett and his old writing partner Andy Lanning are guys whose names I've seen on a number of books over the years: not to the point where I'm signing up in advance for their work, but I usually enjoy whatever I get from them. And they have a pretty massive list of credits, like Annihilation: Nova, Legion of Super-Heroes or old Punisher comics or a pretty great issue of Creeper or Star Trek: Early Voyages. Today, they've got my favorite character, in a weird place, figuratively and literally; in 2001's X-Men: Magik #3, "The Fall of Hades" Written by Abnett and Lanning, art by Liam McCormack Sharp.
Previously, Magik had been Illyana Rasputin, and well, she is again today as well. But she was de-powered, de-aged, and then dead for some time in between; and I suspect Marvel didn't want the trademark on the name to go without a fight. They could've made longtime supporting character Stevie Hunter the new Magik if they'd wanted to...it probably wouldn't have made any more or less sense, honestly. Instead, longtime supporting character Amanda Sefton gets the title, the Soulsword, the stewardship of Limbo. (Not the same Limbo Rom's neutralizer sent the Dire Wraiths...although I don't know why.) The little origin box mentions "Black Sun," which was a pretty dire crossover from 2000; guess D&A got the task of seeing what they could do with it.
This was during the stretch where Nightcrawler was training to be a priest (a plotline I hate with all the bile in my heart) so why not put him in a leather vest so he can hang out with his ex in hell? Or hell-adjacent Limbo, I suppose. Y'know, it was probably better than whatever they had him doing in the regular X-titles, so I'd just go with it. Most of this issue was Amanda rescuing Mephisto from being destroyed by the same unnameable force that had already destroyed Muspelheim, as well as Dormammu and Nightmare's realms. All of Marvel's assorted hells had been splintered off into their own long ago; and to fight the newcomers, Amanda gets them to agree to unite. One big, happy, hell; as it were. But this may have played into the enemy's hands, as Kurt discovers one of Amanda's aides had been replaced by longtime supporting demon S'ym! If you don't recognize the name, S'ym was one of Illyana's main demons, played a big part in Inferno, and checks a box for X-Men fans.
The art is...interesting. This had to be pretty early going for some of the computer stuff that's going on here. And now I need to find my copies so I can see how this ended. Amanda would no longer be Magik well before she was killed in Claremont's Nightcrawler since Illyana's taken the name back, but I still like Amanda better.