Story Craig Kyle and Chris Yost
Script Chris Yost
Pencils Skottie Young
Inks Sean Parsons
Colors Skottie Young with Jean Francois-Beaulieu
Painted Cover and Storybook Pages Niko Henrichon
Letterer Dave Sharpe
Cover Dated June 2007
Quest for Magik : Prelude
Craig Kyle is credited as creating X23 though she doesn’t appear in the issue.
Happy Easter, Everyone!
This may be a little sacrilegious but I’m going with it. Let me explain first
So back in the day, when I had time to listen to podcasts, one of my favorites was Comic Book Queers. They, at that time, were big X-Men fans and so I listen to quite the few that had X-Men in the episode description. Nowadays they seem to be heavy on DC, thus I no longer listen to them. It also sounds like they have a whole new crew that I’m not familiar with. Episode 93 has Brett and Evil Jeff, who I really liked.
Comic Book Queers Episode 93 :
In the episode they talk about Jean and Magik, which gave me the idea for this post. So every Easter, I’ll do one spotlight post with Magik and I figured I’ll start the tradition with the first issue of the storyline that brought her back to us.
The episode must have came out around May 2009, as they discuss Messiah War 1, as if it just came out.
Illyana discussion starts around the thirty minute mark.
Other great episodes of theirs are : 18, 52 (the awesome Jean v Emma debate!) 88 (where they talk about Clue, which I love) and 140 – but really if you just do a Control-F for find and type ‘X-Men’ you’ll get a good episode. They do have some good non-X-Men related titled episodes as well. Those four I listed and in particular, episodes 52 and 93 are the ones I have relistened to the most and would recommend. Clearly.
I was tempted to start the Easter idea with whichever issue was next on my list of Magik’s chronological list which is Uncanny X-Men 146 but I thought with the resurrection that the better idea would be to start with her actual return from the dead which was in this New X-Men : Quest for Magik arc. Also, these would be more current comics, if you can count 2007 as current. Which if you are a How I Met Your Mother fan, which how can you not be? – in the penultimate episode, they reference how long ago was 2007, the year Marshal and Lily were married.
Now onto the issue!
Issue opens with some of the students that are left after the massive House of M mutant depowering that hit the students the hardest as there are only like twenty students left. The students are gathered around Rockslide as he tells a story around a fire. Listening to Rockslide are Anole, Blindfold, Match, Loa, Pixie and Wolfcub. Oh Wolfcub, if only I can tell you to get out now. Also, poor Pixie after this storyline, she is essentially a different character.
Rockslide starts retelling the adventures he has had with the X-Men or his fellow students. He has fought Sentinels, Apocalypse, told off Professor X, saved Hellion from Wolverine, has been with Lady Mastermind and saved the Cuckoos from the Phoenix Force. Most of these did occur, Rockslide just wasn’t involved with any of them except for the Sentinels.
Match, whatever happened to that guy?, thinks the story is cool but Anole knows that Rockslide is greatly exaggerating his involvement with the stories. I like it as it works as a wonderful time capsule moment of what was going on at the time.
Rockslide challenges anyone to tell a better story. He mistakenly turns to Blindfold to go first, which sets up this story.
Young does all the student artwork and Henrichon does all the awesome splash pages from Blindfold’s story.
This is of course, during the time when she is talking in broken segments. Which adds to the overall uneasiness of the story.
Her story begins with how a demon lord took a young blonde girl captive. He was going to use her innocence as fuel for his own power. A group of heroes try to save the girl but were unsuccessful. The demon lord becomes the young girl’s master.
I love once we cut back to the students, that they realize Blindfold should not have gone next but she continues.
For the heroes, the girl was lost for only a moment but in that moment, she aged from a young girl to a teenager. Not only was she older now, she was harden by her experience. She had become an apprentice. She was in a place like Hell (Limbo).
Rockslide wonders if the girl is hot and the rest of the students tell him to be quiet. Rockslide, who looks like the Thing but with more jagged rocks, is very girl crazy.
Meanwhile, Mercury hasn’t gotten out of bed from the previous adventure where the people who created X23 had taken Mercury to use her skin to make the Predator X creatures even more formidable. Hellion is watching over her. He’s really taken a beating since New X-Men ended, losing both of his hands during Second Coming. Only a few of these students are still in tact. For instance, Anole at one point loses his arm but he grows a new one that is much larger and scalier than the previous one. He got off easy.
Surge appears to check on Mercury, what ever happen to her? Surge is the leader of the New X-Men, the field team for the students, when they are able to go out into the field. Surge tells him that Mercury will get better. Surge wants to talk to Hellion about something out of the room, he tells her that this is going to be a long night – he doesn’t know the half of it!
There are five Spider-Man related ads in this issue. The first is for Spider-Man 3, so that explains the extra exposure. I rather watch 3 than the whole of 1. Most of these origin stories, on the rewatch, I skip straight to when they don their costume for the first time.
In the story. The young girl, who if you don’t know who the story really is about, is only shown to be a young blonde girl, it could be a random person but if you do know who it is, it really is an awesome retelling of Magik’s origin. Henrichon should do an Origins tell for everyone in this manner. It is awesome.
An ad for the first Mass Effect game on the XBox 360, that is how long ago 2007 is.
Magik was raised by Belasco, (neither are named yet) and trained in the dark arts. His main goal is to break the girl’s soul into little pieces, Bloodstones, and then use these pieces to release his overlords. Eventually the blonde fights off the demon lord with the aid of twisted versions of her brother’s friends. The girl is able to regain a portion of her soul and uses this to forge a weapon, a Soulsword! She will use this sword to banish, Belasco of Limbo. The art is really well done.
Rockslide tries to give Blindfold a tip on how to make this story even more gruesome, when Anole finally recognizes this story has one he has read about. He read it from one of the X-Men files. He’s pretty sure Blindfold isn’t telling a story, she’s reciting history!
I like the idea that at one point, the X-Men have to sit in front of a computer and type up all of their adventures for future reference.
Rockslide tries to state that his story was real too, especially about hooking up with Lady Mastermind.
There is a fun little joke about Anole calling Blindfold a pre-cog and Rocksldie calls her a re-cog for the rehashing of history. Kyle and Yost are not about only killing characters in horrible horrible ways, they sprinkle some fun in there too.
Pixie wants the story to continue, oh Pixie, get out now!
Meanwhile, Elixir has finally convinced the Cuckoos to upload all of Beast’s medical knowledge into his mind. Elixer’s power is to heal and he feels he could do a better job if he knew how anatomy works. Which isn’t the worst idea to strength your powers with knowledge. I’m not sure if he’s been seen since his X-Force days.
The Cuckoos give him everything Beast knows about human and mutant biology, genetics and medicine. This causes Elixer pain and he shouts, I didn’t know!
An ad for Spider-Man 2.1, which I would recommend buying over the original release. 2 is my Spider-Man movie. My favorite Spider-Man villain and the best of the four films.
Back in the story. Belasco wants to reclaim his price apprentice. He goes looking for her and learns that she died (Uncanny 303 – it is sad). He then finds the latest ruler of Limbo, a new gal name Magik – Amanda Sefton. From the second Magik titled miniseries, it isn’t very good.
In his weaken state, he kills a demon and uses this new energy to see what is happening on Earth and sees twins reshaping history. These twins are of course, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, wearing robes and holding hands. He also sees, in a fun next page reveal, Magik of the House of M timeline. This all occurred in this title back in issues 16 through 19, a full two years prior to this issue, that is one slow burn.
Anole isn’t liking where this is going. They know that Magik is dead. He isn’t sure why Blindfold is telling this story. Loa is confused by reality changing – as only the Astonishing X-Men and the New Avengers kept any memory of what happened during House of M. For the students, they were minding their own business, learning their powers and co-existence and the next moment, the majority of them didn’t have their powers anymore.
Pixie wonders if Cyclops shows up in this story, he doesn’t.
Wolfcub wonders if Magik really existed and Rockslide wonders who is Colossus.
Blindfold continues, she has no time for answers. Magik, right before the House of M timeline is changed back, she teleported to Limbo. Which at the time, when issue 19 of New X-Men came out, I and a bunch of people on the message boards were predicting that this was the way to bring Magik back into our lives. I know Louise Simonson had another plan to bring both Illyana and Doug back to life but the modern writers found two different ways to do it. Doug was still dead at this point.
There is a wonderful two page spread of Belasco’s return to Limbo. If that isn’t every demon in Limbo, it must be close.
Belasco had seen this new Magik and wanted to find her again. He once again confronted the new Magik, and she fought him off. In the caption, they talk about how the Black Sun faded. Which was a truly horrible terrible miniseries. It sets up the less than stellar second Magik series. One day I will get around to reviewing both series. I only own like every other issue of Black Sun. It isn’t an issue of understanding it, it is an issue of quality of story. I’ll be curious how I would feel about it 14 years later.
Since Amanda’s sword wasn’t Illyana’s sword, Belasco was able to fight her and win Limbo back.
There is an ad for Spider-Man : One More Day, my time as a Spider-Fan are numbered, I just don’t even know it yet.
In Blindfold’s story, she informs her listeners that Amanda crashed back onto Earth two days ago. Limbo is once again a dark reflection of Belasco. He can’t locate Illyana but he can smell those who were with her last. The children of the Xavier Mansion.
There is an ad for Captain America : Fallen Son, it isn’t very good.
The students who are still around who were part of the House of M Hellions (that Magik was of course a member of) are Hellion and Surge. The House of M New Mutants that are still around at this point in the title are Mercury and Sophie of the Cuckoos. The Hellions, if I remember correctly, were meant to be the field team of students and the New Mutants were definitely being groomed to be the next leaders of mutantkind.
This of course, freaks out the students. Blindfold went from a distant history to talking about two days ago and the mansion. Eyes are all big. The entire coloring for the issue is really outstanding with the use of shadows and the flames.
Anole knows that this story went from fiction to a warning, real fast. Pixie announces she is no longer a fan of Blindfold (which I like as they are current roommates during the latest X-Men Legacy volume). Rockslide calls Blindfold a, freaky chick. Opinions are changed.
Anole wants to inform the X-Men immediately. Pixie wonders if they will be okay, to which Blindfold gives the unsettled answer of , no. Blindfold adds that she is sorry for Pixie’s lost.
Anole wants to get out of the mansion now but it is already too late. The floor below them crashes and fire surrounds them. The students are lost into darkness.
Such an amazing story!
Not sure when I will get around to reviewing the rest of this storyline, hopefully not a full year from now but it will be worth the wait!