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Super Reads Dark Reign & Realm of Kings 2

badguy84.jpgNo Siege but some Realm of Kings and Mutants!

Today, we check out Dark X-Men #3 & Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #3 and Blast to the Past for New Mutants Special Edition #1 & X-Men Annual #9.  Enjoy and spread the word!

Spoilers Ahead!

The week after Siege #1, we get nothing new on the Siege front but that doesn't mean it's empty!

If this is your first time reading Super Reads, it's been around for a while, now!  We've covered everything from Secret Invasion through Dark Reign as well as War of Kings.  If you're interested in reading all that back story (and who wouldn't be?), check in the "Features" link at the top of the page, look for the "Super Reads" button and click away for DAYS of reading enjoyment.  If that's too many clicks for you, just hit HERE and get there in one shot.

Let's get the ball rolling with some mutant action.

dxm3.jpgDark X-Men #3
Writer: Paul Cornell
Penciler: Leonard Kirk


Last issue, the mutant shaman, Nate Grey, celebrated his return to the Marvel Universe by attacking Dark Beast, a fellow member of the Age of Apocalypse storyline.  Nate quickly slipped back into nothingness, which depowered Omega and took away Mimic's connection to Nate's powers.  The Dark X-Men returned to HAMMER HQ for a debriefing by Norman Osborn where they learned all they needed to know about Nate Grey and decided that he'd make a nifty power source for Omega.  Mystique checked on her teammates to see if they were ready for this mission before everyone met in Dark Beast's lab to discuss how they were going to track X-Man.  This led them to the HAMMER Psi-Division, which in turn led them to a cluster of people forming a brain-type shape.  Omega took exception to this human brain monstrosity and declared that he would report it... if he was allowed to remember it.  The brain tracked X-Man but Nate stole the brain's power and drained it.  In another part of the Psi-Division, Dark Beast used his time to kill another psychic and rip out her brain.  Through it, they viewed what X-Man did when he took the big brain's power.  Turns out he looked at what he missed: Civil War, World War Hulk, Secret Invasion, Dark Reign, all that stuff.  He wasn't happy with what he saw.

In this issue, X-Man starts things off with a full-frontal assault on Avengers Tower.  Nate is here only to slay the wicked and sends those he deems "innocent" away to more helpful careers.  While the Dark X-Men debate entering battle, X-Man defeats Venom and then finds himself facing off against the rest of the Dark Avengers.  X-Man tricks Sentry away by telling him a story about their past team-ups.  While Iron Patriot orders for caution, Ares leads a charge against Nate Grey.  Down below, the Dark X-Men are still stuck in debate when Omega starts channeling Nate's powers and goes off his rocker.  Up above, the only one giving Nate a challenge is Ares, but the two are separated by a runaway Omega.  This surprise attack stuns Nate and nearly leads to him getting taken down by Hawkeye.  After being saved by Mimic, X-Man gives Rankin a taste of his future before the battle is continued with Ares.  Ares defeats X-Man and, while hovering over Nate's body, Norman is struck by a blast while X-Man's body disintegrates.  Norman declares the mutant dead and everyone goes about their jobs.  Later on, Mystique gives Norman an ultimatum: give her freedom and she won't tell everyone that Nate's taken over his body.


Nate Grey flies down on Avengers Tower like an avenging god.  You might be wondering how he's got a body.  Turns out he can make it out of stolen psychic energy.  He could have formed just about anywhere in the Tower but he wanted to smash through the side of the building, and who am I to blame him?

The X-Man is pretty much the most powerful mutant ever so he doesn't meet many people who can even slow him down.  The people he DOES meet, he stops to give friendly business advice (which amounts to: don't work for HAMMER anymore).  The first Avenger he meets is Venom.  This should take about five minutes.

So while X-Man fights the Sinister Spidey, lets move on over to the Dark X-Men cast.  Mystique gets word that X-Man is in the building and gets ready to lead the Dark X-Men charge against the super mutant.  She's stopped by Omega who doesn't think this fight is a good idea.  Omega doesn't think it's a good idea to rush off into battle.  Mimic believes this is because Omega doesn't want to absorb all that mutant power and volunteers to ride point.  Mimic got a glimpse of the future from his first encounter with Nate's powers and he wants to get a better look.  Dark Beast is with Omega.  There's no need to rush into battle when there are plenty of Dark Avengers to do the heavy lifting.
Venom has actually almost swallowed X-Man when Grey finds a way to fight back using his psychic abilities.  With that, Sinister Spidey is down for the count.  Now, it's time to face the rest of the Dark Avengers.

Nate begins the fight by facing the biggest threat head on: The Sentry.  Apparently, Nate and the Sentry have history together.  He even says he's telling Bob the truth.  Learning that X-Man might have been a friend before his incident, Sentry flies off to be useless.  That's one Avenger down.  Nate gives the rest a choice: stand with him against Norman or fall with the former Green Goblin.

Just because you took down the biggest hitter in the room doesn't mean that the rest will fall in line.  Ares, in particular, is ready to get his scrap on.  While Iron Patriot calls for caution, the god of war isn't taking Norman's advice.  He leads the charge of Avengers straight up into this fight.

Meanwhile, the Dark X-Men have entered the room if not the fight.  They've actually approached from a concealed area and are trying to get close enough for Mimic to copy X-Man's powers.  Mimic even starts talking about how he was once a member of the ACTUAL X-Men but I still don't see how that line is relevant.  It seems like he's the one that's looking to get close without being seen.  Unfortunately, it looks like Omega doesn't have to be as close as Mimic to be affected by X-Man's powers.  He gets a full dose and goes to crazy-town.

Those Dark Avengers aren't faring much better than Venom.  He shakes off everyone's attack except for Ares, even going so far as to mock Daken for his pheremone powers.  Turns out Nate's sampled every chemical.  He's built up an immunity.  Ah, but Ares... Ares is a challenge and Nate can't figure out how to best the greek god.  Omega takes that fight out of the mutant's hands by plowing between the two.

It's an opening that Hawkeye tries to take advantage of.  Only a timely optic blast from Mimic stops Lester from slicing into Nate.  Calvin shouts that they were supposed to take X-Man alive, but we all know what he really wants.  Rankin wants a taste of the future.  Nate decides to oblige.

X-Man removes himself and Mimic from time so that he can view everything in a completely different way.  It looks like multiple images of people around them and each image represents a different stage in their lives.  Calvin asks if their futures can be changed and Nate tells him that it's possible in some cases.  Either way, there's always hope.  Nate seems to be about to offer a truce with Mimic and his Dark X-Men teammates right before Ares finds him in this aspect of reality.

The fight continues on this plane and that means when X-Man is shoved through Dark Ms. Marvel's form, he affects it in a certain way.  Karla loses a memory.  That makes this fight super dangerous to anyone around.  The repercussions can be felt half a world away where the battle is reflected in the stars.

Nate returns this battle to what passes as reality, addressing a cryptic phrase to Rankin about starting to live again.  When they emerge, X-Man has been defeated by Ares.  Mimic isn't so happy because he didn't go this far for vague prophecy.  He wanted the future, dammit!  Still, he's not punished for his part in the battle.  Ares even thanks the mutant, though there is heavy sarcasm in the god of war's words.

Nate falls to the ground and Iron Patriot leans in to get a look at the fallen body.  Dark Beast warns that Nate isn't exactly made out of anything more than thought at the moment.  Norman is about to step away, making mention of possibly loading Nate into the Omega Machine, when X-Man's body explodes.  Norman's armor is bathed in light.

Ms. Marvel and Daken are the first to check on the Director of HAMMER who tells everyone that he's fine.  They look at the smoking remains of X-Man and Norman tells them that his sensor indicated his death.

From that moment, it's just the basic clean-up work as the remains are loaded into containment and everyone clears out.  Throughout this process, Mystique is carefully watching body language instead of actual language.
darkxmen3.jpg

Seems she's onto something.

Later on, Norman is relaxing in his ever changing office/personal quarters dressed in a business suit and getting a good look at his reflecion in the windows.  He sits behind the desk, pleased with himself and ready to begin his work. 

Before that can begin, Mystique shows up and Osborn lets her in for a visit.  Mystique isn't here for a personal call.  She's here on business.  She wants Norman to give her a number of things: she wants the bomb removed from her system, she wants a jet to take her wherever she wants to go, and she want to be left alone forever.  Osborn is amused.  Why should he grant her any of this?

Well, for a starter, Mystique has been watching him and found him not acting a lot like the Norman Osborn he's supposed to be.  Leave it to a shape shifter to discover something like that.  It turns out that Norman Osborn is actually Nate Grey.

rokig3.jpgRealm of Kings: Imperial Guard #3
Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Artist: Kevin Walker


Last issue, the Starjammers and Imperial Guard set off on their mission into the Fault in the Starjammer ship.  Gladiator took a meeting with Gorgon.  The Starjammer was attacked by space jellyfish and shut down everything in order to escape.  Raza stared down his former symbiote.  The Starjammer made contact with a bio-organic ship which started firing on it.  Before the crew could react, they were pulled inside the bio-organic ship.  Inside, the Imperial Guard learned that the ship is actually dead, and being devoured by parasites.

In this issue, Mentor and Ch'od get to work fixing the Starjammer before those parasites can destroy the organic ship they're within.  The Imperial Guard is overrun by Enzymes and are only saved by the timely arrival of Starbolt and Flashfire.  The Starjammer escapes the ship right before it folds in on itself in a gooey mess of nastiness.  Job done, Praetor Mentor collapses.  On Ouar, Kallark and his aids attend a session of the Galactic Council where he dreams of punching holes in everyone he can before excusing himself.  In the Fault, the Starjammer flies into the junk zone where they meet up with Quasar and his pursuers: more bio-ships.


There's nothing like being on a dead ship (literally–  it's a biological ship that's expired) when your own ship isn't running.  Fortunately, Ch'od and the Imperial Guard Praetor, Mentor, are at work on the Starjammer to get it airborn once again.  These two don't get along.  Ch'od's been fighting the Shi'ar for years and the Praetor makes a good target.  After the crap he pulled at Lilandra's funeral, he's an easy guy to want to slug in the mouth.

Not that Mentor doesn't have his own issues to deal with.  He's stepped into some big shoes.  Kallark, the last Praetor of the Imperial Guard, held the position FOREVER before taking up the Shi'ar throne.  Mentor is working with a team that is used to acting a specific way for a specific leader.  He's also pushing himself to the edge to prove himself worthy of his position.  Plutonia tells Ch'od that she's pretty sure Mentor gave up sleeping.  Ch'od, being newly promoted himself (he's the new captain of the Starjammer), kind of understands but he still doesn't like the way the Praetor is acting: muttering up and down while working on fixing his ship.  He orders Mentor to take a break and come back with a clear head.  Mentor is not going to listen to a Starjammer, and merely complains about being interrupted. 

The crew onboard the Starjammer are getting updates on the situation outside.  They learn what we learned last issue.  This ship is dead.  It died trying to escape something else.  With how easily it gobbled up the Starjammer (and that was just a reflexive impulse from a dead ship) you can imagine the force it would take to down this monster.  They need to get out of here and they need to do it yesterday.

Outside, other Imperial Guard members effect repairs to the hull.  They haven't ended their debate over the rightness of Gladiator serving as the Shi'ar Majestor, either.  Some members are totally cool with it (Manta).  Some are completely against it and sort of jealous that they weren't chosen (Fang).  Others want to tell stories about how they bedded the current Majestor before he got his royal duties (Hussar– and: EW!).  This conversation goes south from there but doesn't get a lot of time to explode.  It looks like the parasites are on their way and they're coming in DROVES.

The exploring Guardsmen are rushing one step ahead of these monsters.  Oracle actually corrects me on this point.  These aren't parasites.  They're Enzymes designed to quickly decompose the ship.  They're everywhere and are doing their job as fast as possible.  On board the 'Jammer, repairs are complete and it's time to get this show on the road.  Raza reignites the engines, praying that their ship starts right up.

Outside, the Enzymes are all over the place.  There's no escaping them and the Imperial Guard that were outside repairing the hull join those returning from around the ship to keep alive long enough to make their escape.  Manta runs out of power and needs rescuing from Fang but it's soon apparent that they'll all need rescuing before they can get out of this mess.

Which is why it's a good thing they have Starbolt and Flashfire around.  These two Guardsmen are doing phenomenal work today and their part is only just beginning.  It seems these Enzymes are super vulnerable to fire.  Starbolt and Flashfire go to town and clear the road for their fellow Imperials.

Everyone boards up and the Starjammer rockets off.  Even so, they aren't out of the woods.  Much like Independence Day, they still need to clear the ship to be safe from all the explosions and, unlike that movie, the door isn't slowly shutting.  It's closed.  The Starjammer opens fire on the opening but it does no good.  Moreover, it saps into the reserves.  Starbolt is already in the engine room pouring energy right back into the reactor.  This ship is going to stay flying but how is it going to escape?

Mentor's got a plan.  He sends Flashfire to the hull and orders the Imperial to fire at some dangling nerve endings.  Dead or not, this thing has a nervous system that they can play with to get their desired effects–  in this case, opening that damn door.  Flashfire does his thing and the portal opens.  The Starjammer rushes out as fast as it can.  With that escape managed, Mentor collapses for some well-deserved rest. 

On their flight away, they watch as the organic ship that would have been their ultimate prison collapses in on itself as the Enzymes finish their work.  This living ship obviously didn't want to end up in enemy hands even in death.

Outside the Fault, on the planet Ouar, the Majestor of the Shi'ar Empire attends the Galactic Council with his trusty advisors, Chancellor Araki and Admiral Ka'arduum.
rokimperialguard3.jpg

Karnak is acting on the Kree's behalf to restore the council after Vulcan did his best to execute their members.  The Rigelians are all about that, but they want to make sure that the Shi'ar are kept under control. 

Majestor Kallark isn't too pleased to hear all this anti-Shi'ar talk and, in his imagination, goes on a killing spree in a violent rage.  Fortunately, he doesn't do this in real life because then he'd be just like Vulcan.  No, Gladiator doesn't go on a killing spree. 

Gorgon tries to include Kallark in the proceedings but Gladiator's mind isn't really on this sort of thing.  He calls for a break and walks from the chamber.  Ka'arduum and Araki are left to wonder about Gladiator's state of mind as the Majestor punches a wall outside the chamber in his frustration.  Seems like he's not used to this politic-ing.

The Starjammer has only been in the Fault for just shy of 8 hours and they've already had their share of adventure.  This is only issue three so we've still got some adventure ahead of us.  Even in the next few pages! 

Mentor has woken from his nap in time to watch the Starjammer enter what looks like a junk zone.  It looks like all the junk from the Fault heads right to this point.  Ch'od would rather avoid the area, considering that the Starjammer isn't in the best condition and there could be trouble lurking behind every pile of junk; but he's overruled by Mentor.  There's an energy signature inside the zone that could be Vulcan, the former Shi'ar Majestor.

On the Starjammer's External Scan Array, Neutron and Warstar detect an energy signature rapidly approaching them.  It hits them right in that Scan Array.  Up on the bridge, they know about the collision but don't know what hit them.  Warstar is able to fill them in.

It's Wendel Vaughn.  Quasar.  Direct from his last appearance in the Realm of Kings One-Shot.

He's not alone.  Quasar's been followed.  Closely.  Remember that dead bioship from earlier?  Well, there are at least seven of them chasing Vaughn and they don't look at all on the dead side.  Looks like we just found out what killed the earlier ship.

Let's just hope it doesn't do the same to the Starjammer.

nmse1.jpgThe New Mutants: Special Edition #1
Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Arthur Adams


In this issue, Loki decides he'd like to make Storm the new Thor and sends the Enchantress off to nab her and any X-Men she finds.  On the island of Kirínos, the New Mutants relax and recuperate with the help of Storm.  After Dani stages a fake attack on the beach using her mutant powers, they team returns to their current residence only to watch as the island is overcome by a very unnatural darkness.  The team and Ororo are attacked and carried off by Asgardian demons.  Ororo finds herself in Loki's presence where the god of lies transforms her into his version of female Thor.  The New Mutants wake up in the Enchantress's dungean.  Magik tries to teleport them out but she's blocked by the enchantments present.  This causes the teleportal to backfire sending the New Mutants all over Asgard while Magik remains trapped in the dungeon.  Karma finds herself in a desert where, after giving up on life, she finds the will to live in a young girl and fights her way out of the desert, losing all that Shadow King weight in the process.  Doug finds himself in a Viking hall and is swiftly put to work as a slave after losing a swordfight to a girl.  Wolfsbane is teleported into a forest where she is chased around by giants and meets up with a wolf prince.  Warlock absorbs the lifeglow of a dragon, takes on Longshot's form, meets up with Hela, and runs away.  Sunspot gets into an arm wrestling match and gets a job as a bouncer.  Magma gets tricked by woodland fairies into becoming one of them through tainted food.  Cannonball meets up with dwarves and saves the chief dwarf's wife, getting himself wounded in the process.  Mirage rescues a pegasus and unwittingly becomes a Valkyrie.  Enchantress casts a spell on Magik, separating out the darkness of her soul and making a separate entity to chase the missing New Mutants with.  The Dark Illyana tracks Doug down first, but Cypher is saved by Warlock.  Rahne is falling in love with the wolf prince but gets scared and decides to look for her friends instead.  Sunspot meets the Warriors Three and they become friends after he lifts Volstagg off the ground.  Cannonball recovers from his wound and once more rushes to the defense of the Dwarves, this time fighting an elfed out Magma.  Dani searches for her friends with the Valkyries but, when learning that they plans for her future, she runs off with her flying horse.  Dark Illyana finds Sunspot but the young mutant isn't as lucky as Cypher and ends up being added to the enchantment as a slave warrior.  Loki visits the Dwarves with his Storm pawn in bird form, and after rooting Sam out of hiding, forces the Dwarves to make a hammer for his new Thor.  Rahne is the next New Mutant to be drawn into Dark Illyana's enchantment to the dismay of the Wolf Prince.  Karma meets up with Doug and Warlock and we learn that she was given aid in the desert by the Norns.  They fight it out with Dark Illyana and her crew and, with Karma's powers, are able to overtake them before anyone is turned into a slave.  They return to the Enchantress's castle and overtake the place, sending the Enchantress to Limbo for safekeeping.  The New Mutants decide to return to Asgard to rescue Storm instead of going to the X-Men for aid.

Yeah, a lot happens in this book.  Buckle in!

Loki is out looking for someone to manipulate and remembers all about Storm.  At this point in time, Ororo is depowered (thanks to a weapon designed by Forge) and that's something that Loki might be able to help with.  After all, Storm's powers slightly resemble those of a certain god of thunder... it might be possible that Loki is looking for a replacement.

To this end, the god of lies summons the Enchantress to his presence.  The Enchantress has worked with Loki before and, though she doesn't exactly trust or appreciate the villain, she recognizes that, with Odin gone, Loki is in a position where he could rule Asgard.  Loki sends the Enchantress out to retrieve his half-brother's replacement.  If she finds Storm in the company of X-Men, she can do whatever she wants to the others as long as Loki gets his prize.

Ororo isn't with the X-Men, though.  She's on the island of Kirínos with the New Mutants where everyone is recovering from their latest adventure.  Storm is bringing food to one who has suffered more than most: Xi'an Coy Mahn.  Shan was possessed the Shadow King for quite a while and, while possessing her body, Shadow King made a complete mockery of it.  Shan is now incredibly obese and has some major issues associated with it.  Because of that, she's not too happy that Storm's bringing her more food and pushes the food tray away.  She's rather die that keep eating.

Which is when Storm delivers her motivational speech for the issue and gets Karma to at least agree to keep living for a little while longer.

Since the rest of the New Mutants didn't wake up to a morbidly obese mockery of their body, they're spending their time on the beach, enjoying the sun and water.  One of the newer members of the team, Warlock has yet to figure out why these crazy humans act the way they do but he's trying.  He's able to mimic the human form pretty well but doesn't get that dudes aren't supposed to wear bikinis.  Illyana tries to teach him the gender rules but Warlock merely changes into a copy of her swim suit.  Someday, they'll look back and laugh.

Right now, they're going to occupied by a combat excercise.  The Mutants find themselves threatened by a sea serpent and spend the next few pages in battle with the thing only to finally figure out that it's a mental construct of Moonstar's creation.  Some of the teammembers are exactly pleased with this because they never signed on to be Xavier's soldiers.  Some of them just want to learn to control their mutant abilities so they can go back to normal lives.  Seems they haven't learned that a mutant doesn't get the option of a normal life.

Before this can be debated further, an actual attack hits the island.  Clouds roll over the skies, blocking out the sun and making it look like nighttime.  The New Mutants race by to their lodgings to meet up with Storm and Karma.  Once there, they send Warlock up in the sky to check things out.  He doesn't get far before he's struck by lightning and drained of his power reserves.  Magik's Soulsword starts bubbling with energy with means that this whole effect is magic in origin.

No sooner is that figured out that the team is attacked by demon vikings on horseback.  The kids put up an admirable defense but they aren't prepared for this level of combat.  Even Storm is overwhelmed.  When the final mutant falls, the demon vikings gather their spoils and bring everyone back to Asgard.

This is where Storm is separated from the others.  She ends up Loki's prisoner and the god of lies spends little time encasing her in a Crystal Chrysalis and altering the woman's appearance to something much more Thor-like.  Now he just has to allow the magic to work it's course and he'll have his own Thor.

While the New Mutants aren't going under such a quick change as Storm, it'll happen.  Just give them some time.  For now, they find themselves prisoners in the Enchantress's dungeon.
newmutantsspecialedition1.jpg

The Enchantress doesn't believe in chaining these kids up so that means they're going to start their stay in Asgard with an escape attempt.  Magik jumps to her feet and draws her Soulsword.  The Enchantress prepares for a fight but Illyana isn't planning on that at all.  She opens up a portal and tries to get herself and her friends to the safety of Limbo.

It backfires.  The Enchantress has wards to prevent unauthorized teleportations.  It's not a strong enough ward that it does it's job completely, though.  All it does is scatters the New Mutants throughout Asgard (some, it throws into the past) while leaving Illyana to suffer the Enchantress's wrath. 

Karma is thrown into the past a few months' time.  She also ends up in a desert.  Since Storm isn't around to give her a rousing speech about living, Xi'an Coy Mahn decides this is a good day to die and flops down on the desert floor to do just that.

Cypher ports right into a Viking hall.  While Doug is trying to figure out what's going on, the Vikings grab him up and start debating why this young man ended up in their hall.  Since it's damn easy to offend a drunk Viking, Doug wastes no time doing that.  The Viking Lord does show some pity on him, though, and has him duel a girl instead of the Viking he offended.  Doug can't even lift the sword and still loses the fight.  With that indignity done, they put the mutant to work as a slave.

Wolfsbane ends up in a forest where a trio of giants are in the middle of a hunt (and, yes, one of them DOES look just like Ed Grimley).  Unfortunately, they're hunting for wolf which means Rahne fits the bill.  Luckily, the giants' actual target, a gray wolf, comes to Wolfsbane's rescue and cases the three giants to stumble all over the forest before collapsing.  While the giants work their way to their feet, Wolfsbane escapes with her new companion.

Warlock lands in a cave system and immediately tries to locate his friends.  With his powers still at a low after his date with a lightning bolt, our favorite techno-organic hero has little power to do anything.  When a dragon faces him down, Warlock decides to have a meal of the creature.  Who knows if dragons are sentient, right?  Warlock devours the creature and gets a full charge in the process.  The alien changes his form to resemble that of Longshot just as Hela shows up to collect the spirit of the dead dragon.  Hela tells Warlock that he is in Hel, the domain of the dishonorably dead and the cowards.  Warlock claims to be a coward and rushes off to find his friends.  Hela plans for another encounter before taking the dragon spirit.

Sunspot teleported into what looks like an Asgardian bar and made himself right at home.  When we meet up with him, he's already gotten some clothes and is engaging another patron in an arm wrestling match.  Roberto wins with a little help from his mutant powers and then defends the honor of one of the bar wenches when his arm wrestling opponent decides to start making out with her against her will.  This starts a huge brawl that Sunspot... wins.  Something about the Asgardian sun is making him all the stronger in his mutant form.  For cleaning up the bar, the owner hires Roberto on as a bouncer and the women flock to him.

Magma isn't so lucky.  She ported into another forest and gained the help of the fairy folk.  That's not as awesome as you might think.  The fairies are more interested in making her one of them and get her to pig out on fairy food.  She passes out as the fairies ominously claim that she's just given up her humanity.

Cannonball winds up deep underground but not in Hel.  He finds a group of dwarves who aren't altogether unfriendly even though they start things off by bartering the price of their aid to Sam.  When the dwarves are threatened by a troll attack, Guthrie doesn't even think about it.  He just rushes right into battle to save the lead dwarf's wife.  In the course of defending the dwarves, Sam ends up with a spear in his back, passing out just as he's returning the lead dwarf's wife to her husband.

Mirage finds herself on a wide open plains.  Dani's walking along, minding her own business when she comes across a pegasus who's not only fallen into a bog but is covered in barbed wire.  Moonstar is a lot like Sam.  She doesn't even think of NOT rescuing the animal and, in so doing, begins to feel the pegasus' pain.  In the end, she's able to free the flying horse only to find herself defending the wounded creature against hunters.  Dani uses her powers to project a huge image of Hela but the riders aren't fooled.  Luckily, she has help when another girl flies in on her own pegasus.  The riders don't even try to stand their ground.  They race off as quick as they can.  The newcomer is surprised to find that the pegasus has taken so to Dani and invited the mutant back with her.  Dani is only too happy to accept.

Lets check back with Illyana.  The mutant is enduring the Enchantress's hospitality as the sorceress uses magic to revert the girl to infancy and back.  Enchantress is upset that she's unable to turn Illyana into an old crone.  It seems like she's unable to affect the mutant's age past her current teenage years.  No matter, playtime is over, anyway.  The Enchantress extracts the darkness from Illyana's soul and creates a new form to do her bidding.  This new Illyana is completely under the Enchantress's control and, more than that, any damage or injury that happens to the Illyana avatar won't do that avatar any injury at all.  It will only affect the real Illyana.  With that, she sends the evil avatar out to locate the missing New Mutants.

Back in the desert, Xi'an wakes up to find that she isn't dead yet.  More than that, there's a little kid racing towards her that's being hotly pursued by a huge sand serpent monster thing.  Being a hero, Karma can't just let that monster kill herself and the little girl.  Instead, she mentally possesses the thing, forcing it away into the desert sands.  Now, she's saddled with the responsibility of getting a little girl out of the desert alive even if she believes the task impossible.  That means no more whining about her weight problem and getting right down to business.

Doug is still doing the slave thing at the Viking Hall and he's making a poor job of it.  He made some... "friends" when he ported in all unexpected and those friends are making damn sure he looks terrible in front of the Viking Lord.  Before Doug can get a taste of punishing whip, Illyana's dark avatar has found him.  The Vikings don't know what to make of this and just assume they're under attack.  Dark Illyana gleefully begins slaughtering all who oppose her, including that Viking Lord.  Doug recognizes Illyana and, having the least offensive capabilities among the New Mutants, hides under the table. 

When he sees the Viking Lord drop dead, he finds that table just isn't enough defense and jumps out the nearest window.  This would be just a delaying effort since Dark Illyana is hunting him except, outside, he meets up with Warlock who has been tracking him since the alien escape Hel.  Illyana smashes through the wall to capture them both but Warlock grabs his friend and makes tracks.  Doug realizes that they don't stand a chance on their own and he tells 'Lock to keep on tracking the rest of his lost team members.

Meanwhile, Rahne is getting to know her wolf companion who turns out to be a Wolf Prince who can take a transition form between human and wolf.  The Prince is very interested in pursuing Wolfsbane in a romantic fashion and that just makes Rahne confused and intrigued.  Before the two can start a make out session, Rahne remembers that she's still looking for her friends and rushes off to find them.  That Rahne... she's just not ready for a commitment.

Sunspot has been doing a great job as a bouncer and as a ladies man.  So much so that he's attracted the attention of the Warriors Three: Hogun the Grim, Fandrall the Dashing, and Volstagg the Voluminous.  Sunspot is challenged to a contest the likes of which very few have passed.  He needs to lift Volstagg of the ground.  It's a good thing that he's gotten a power boost because, even with it, he is barely able to succeed and that success comes with the cost of nearly breaking his back.  Now that he's proven himself, the Warriors Three decide to give him a tour of the city and, maybe, help him find his friends.

Underground, Sam has gone a long way in recovering from his wounds.  The Dwarves are very appreciative of what he's done and have really taken a shining to him.  They try to give him advice for his quest but the Dwarf leader, Eitri,  believes it pretty hopeless.  Before Sam can dwell on his problems, the Dwarves face another attack from their many enemies.  This time, it's a fairy Magma that they face.

Eitri uses a fire extinguisher to put out Magma's flames while Sam grabs the nearest table to drive off the rest of the fairy folk.  Magma is left behind which is good news for Cannonball.  While Amara doesn't have any memory of her time with the New Mutants, the Dwarves have  remedies for that.  Suddenly, the Dwarf Leader believes victory is possible.

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Sam, on the otherhand, is filled with doubt.  He looks at what has happened to Amara and knows that she won't be able to go home in her condition.  What if the other New Mutants have met similar fates?

In the skies above the Realm Eternal, Dani and her new companions search out her friends.  Unfortunately, any travelers they notice rush off before they're able to question them.  Dani doesn't know it yet but her companions are Valkyries, the choosers of the dead.  Worst still, her bond to the pegasus makes her nearly a Valkyrie herself.  When they return from their flight, Moonstar overhears the Valkyries talking about this very thing but, mistaking it for something evil on the part of the Valkyries, she takes her flying horse and runs off before they can enact whatever blood ritual they were talking about.

In the desert, Karma and her young charge have been travelling for quite some time.  Xi'an has used her mutant powers to snag a meal out of whatever desert creatures she can find and she's been able to scrounge for supplies when they've come across some of the desert's less fortunate travellers (the dead ones).  The miles have done harsh things to her muumuu but good things to her weight problem.  She's still packing on some extra pounds but she already considerably thinner.  It's only a matter of time before she's back to her regular weight.  Let's hope there's something left of that muumuu when that happens.

Roberto is still doing the bouncer thing while he waits for news from the Warriors Three on his New Mutant friends.  He'll never be there to recieve it.  Dark Illyana shows up and sucks him into one of the empty suits of armor she's leading around before Sunspot even has a chance to know what's going on.

Loki and Storm are about to make a trip down to the Dwarf kingdom but, since it's too early for Storm to be revealed, Loki transforms her into a falcon using Freya's Cloak of Feathers.  Once below, he charges Eitri with the creation of a new hammer like Mjolnir and Stormbringer.  Eitri is forced to comply when Loki finds Sam hanging out in the crowd and notices the mutant isn't exactly as short as all the other Dwarves.  The Dwarf Leader gives a cover story and the god of evil graciously spares Cannonball's life, knowing that the act will get exactly what he wants from the Dwarves.  Sam apologizes for his part in Loki's plan but Eitri knows that Loki would have just found another way to get what he wanted.  Sam also noticed that Loki's falcon had blue eyes and a white mohawk.  It looks like he's located another friend.

Rahne has had no luck at all locating her friends but has been wooed the whole way by the Wolf Prince.  Since she's a good, confused, teenaged girl, she runs off once again instead of facing the dreaded thought of beastiality (now, granted, she turns into a wolf and the Wolf Prince turns into a humanoid but... it's still kind of ick).  While Rahne is crying over the entire thing, Dark Illyana finds her and sucks her into another one of the empty suits of armor.  As the Wolf Prince watches, he sees his love being taken from him.

Karma has crossed the desert and is thin again!  She's made it just in time to meet up with Warlock and Doug.  She explains that she's been in a desert for a LONG time while Doug tells her that he and Warlock have only been in Asgard for a week.  It confirms that Illyana's botched teleport attempt hurled them in time and space.  Before Xi'an can introduce them to her travelling companion, she realized that the girl that she lead across the desert is gone and that she's holding a white string in her hand.

It turns out that there wasn't a real girl at all.  The Norns took pity on her and gave her just what she needed to survive the desert and get back to business in fighting form.  It saves us issue after issue of fat Karma, at least. 

This New Mutant reunion wouldn't be complete if everyone didn't join in right now.  Dark Illyana and her thralls show up to collect the trio but they're only the beginning of the action.  Cannonball and Magma are also flying overhead and are ready to get this fight on.  You want more?  Well, Dani is also in the area and fires a couple arrows into Dark Illyana before she realizes who she's attacking. 

The Enchantress is watching all of this back in her castle and gives us the low down on Dani that we've already gone over.  She might not be able to steal Dani's soul since it's protected by the Valkyries but she can still order her warriors to kill the Cheyenne.

Before that can happen, Karma tries to use her powers to gain control of Dark Illyana and the attempt shatters the Enchantress's scrying crystal.  The sorceress isn't able to find out what has happened until the next morning when Illyana shows up at her gates with the rest of the New Mutants in armored suits.  It looks like she's won... except it's all a ruse.

Once inside the castle, the New Mutants throw off their desguises and reveal that Karma's attack released everyone from their armors.  Only Dark Illyana remains a threat and, with Xi'an controlling her, it's not much of one.  While the New Mutants deal with the Enchantress's guards, Karma orders Dark Illyana to bring her right to the rest of Illyana.  Unfortunately, Magik hasn't been left unguarded.  The guards are defeated by Xi'an but not before they get a few shots in on Dark Illyana.  Karma gets a good look at Magik and learns that any damage taken to the mutant's dark avatar showed up as wounds on the real deal.

Karma orders the two Illyanas to be reformed but, once they are, the two New Mutants face an attack by the Enchantress herself.  The rest of the New Mutants come to the rescue and, before the Enchantress can counter, Karma takes control of the sorceress and makes her remove all the wards against teleporting.  With that, Illyana is able to send everyone to Limbo, including the Enchantress.  Since Limbo is Illyana's realm, the Enchantress doesn't have a chance of facing her there.  She's put in shackles and left in the comforting hands of S'ym.

And that's a win... if you can call it that.  Magma still looks like a fairy, Dani is a Valkyrie, and Rahne has some wierd feelings to deal with.  When given the choice of running back to the X-Men to tell them of Storm's plight of returning to Asgard to face it themselves, the New Mutants easily choose returning.  Only Sam things this is a bad idea but he's outvoted.  It's too bad he's only one of the two team leaders.

uxma9.jpgX-Men Annual #9
Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Arthur Adams


And now, the exciting conclusion!

In this issue, Kitty has a psychic dream that lets the X-Men know that the New Mutants and Storm are being held in Asgard and use Arkon's lightning bolts to gain access to the Eternal Realm.  Amara has a dream where most of the New Mutants decide that Asgard is the place they want to be before waking up to her lovely fairy form.  Sam and Amara help Eitri build that super hammer that Loki wants and Eitri gives Cannonball special armor and a magical sword.  The X-Men arrive in Asgard and make friends with the Wolf Prince... and also meet up with Hela to become less than friends.  Warlock spies on Loki only to get hit by a magic blast, causing the New Mutants to rush to the alien's rescue.  Storm has, at this point, been put almost totally in Loki's control which means it's time for the god of lies to set his plans in motion.  The X-Men compare notes with the Wolf Prince and decide to split up to search.  The New Mutants reach Warlock but the alien freaks when he sees Danielle, grabs Doug, and escapes.  Some of the X-Men find some of the New Mutants and are easily captured by Loki.  Doug shares his life-force with Warlock so that his friend won't die.  Logan's team of X-Men meet up with Sam and Amara.  Loki begins his plans of corrupting the mutants he's captured and sends the two wolves out to find the rest.  The X-Men try to free themselves, but are stopped by Storm who doesn't see them as her friends at all.  Dani and Roberto meet up with Logan and company, are attacked by the wolves, and more of Loki's warriors and are saved through the timely arrival of Warlock and Doug Ramsey.  In the fight, Wolverine is mortally wounded.  Loki gathers the Asgardians to his table to present his new goddess of thunder while the freed mutants wait for the right moment to strike.  The captured mutants work out their own rescue, and actually save their presumed rescuers from a sudden attack by Colossus, who was easier to turn to darkness than the others.  Logan tries to rescue Storm, but collapses on the ground because of his own injuries.  Loki gives Storm her new super-hammer which she uses on the now risen form of Wolverine.  In the process, she starts to see through Loki's deceptions and switches sides.  Unfortunately, it's not in time to prevent Hela appearing to take Logan's soul.  The X-Men and New Mutants fight together for the fate of Wolverine's soul but Hela mostly takes off because Thor and his team have reached her realm and she has to rush off to engage them.  Confronting the god of mischief, Loki agrees to send everyone back unaffected by what has happened to them in Asgard except for Dani who can't take back being a Valkyrie.  They all have to decide to leave together, which they do.  Loki is less than trouble by how things went down and makes a statue of Storm to keep until they meet again.

Yeah, these books are frickin' huge!

Lots of crazy things happen over at the X-Mansion so, when the sleeping X-Men hear Kitty Pryde screaming from her room they jump out of their beds expecting action.  They aren't going to get it.  At least, not for a couple hours.  Kitty's screaming but she's still having a terrible nightmare.  Rachel uses her telepathic abilities to wake Pryde up and then projects images of Shadowcat's dream for all to see.  What we get is images of Thor-Storm, Loki, the Enchantress, and a totally Norsed out Illyana.  I think we all know what this means.

It's time for that vacation to Asgard they've been looking forward to.

Nightcrawler does a quick check on the island of Kirinos and learns that it's completely cut off from civilization.  Wolverine remembers their last fight with Loki that occured over in X-Men/ Alpha Flight and knows that the god of mischief is finally getting some revenge.  Cyclops hits the store room and finds a pouch of lightning bolts left by Archon the Imperion.  They should help with the dimension-hopping and get them to Asgard if they're REALLY lucky.  Now they just have to get into their battle costumes and head out.

Which is when Rachel enters in her brand new suit.  It looks like she's wearing a variation on the Phoenix costume worn by her mother.  This startles everyone but hits Scott harder than the rest.  He's the only one in the room that isn't aware that Rachel comes from an alternate future timeline where he and Phoenix/Jean Grey had a little kid in the post-Apocalyptic future.  He's not about to pick up a clue, either.  Since his Jean Grey look-alike wife is standing next to him looking all pregnant, Scott just puts on his head gear and claims that this change doesn't bother him at all but none of us believe it.  Not even Madelyne.  The future is going to be super rocky for this couple.

Amara is dreaming that her and the New Mutants are back at the Mansion.  No one wants to be there, though.  Everyone seems to be pretty determined to make a new future in Asgard.  It's about this point that Amara knows that she's not remembering a real memory but dreaming.  Sam shows up and tells her that since she's a fairy now, she can sense the true feelings of others.  Amara wakes from this dream to find the real Sam there to comfort her from it.  It turns out that reality is much stranger than her dreams.

Later on, Amara is helping the Dwarf Leader, Eitri, forge that super-hammer that he's making for Loki.  Eitri doesn't really want to give this weapon to the god of mischief but he was given little choice in the matter.  Besides, it's a way to have the New Mutants in close for their rescue of Storm.  Magma has to stay with the molding to keep it super heated until it finds it's owner.  Eitri has taken a real shining to Cannonball and gives the mutant a nice suit of chain mail that will defend against any strike.  Sam also gets a magic sword that can't cause mortal damage but CAN cut right through any enchantments.  With these gifts, Eitri wishes his new favorite mortal well on Sam's incredibly challenging mission.

Through some impossible miracle, Cyclops actually got them to Asgard with Archon's lightning bolts.  We'll get the skinny on how that actually worked later.  For now, Wolverine is going to lead us right to the first fighting scene.  Logan notices that a a group of troll hunters are picking on a white wolf.  Logan has a thing for wolves and runs to the defense without knowing the score on both sides.  The rest of the X-Men reluctantly join in on Logan's rescue attempt and, X-Men being X-Men, they totally win this one.  This is for the good because they've just made their first ally in the Eternal Realm: Rahne's Wolf Prince.  He'll definitely help them locate some of the New Mutants.  But first, Hela.

Hela's here because, even though the X-Men don't kill, that rule must not apply in Asgard.  Or for Trolls.  Probably Nazis and Skrulls are also good to kill.  Anyway, the Hunter Trolls are dead and Hela is here to collect some souls.  After that task is done, she starts talking to Rachel about her mom.  While the goddess of death doesn't outright CALL Rachel's mother Jean Grey or Dark Phoenix, everyone gets the reference except Cyclops, who seems to be TRYING to remain completely clueless.  With that, Hela blinks off to do other goddess of death things.

Over the skies of Asgard, a very robotic bird is following a falcon across the skies.  The bird is Warlock and he's tailing Storm in Falcon form.  Everything Warlock is looking at is beamed back to the Enchantress's castle to be viewed by Illyana, Dani, Rahne, Doug, and Xi'an.
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Doug is translating the Enchantress's books for Illyana who is really getting her sorceress look on.  In fact, Illyana seems to be letting the dark side of her soul reign free which probably isn't a good thing.  While they're watching, Loki notices Warlock flying in his skies and decides not to take any chances on the random bird.  He hits the New Mutant out of the sky with an arrow.  This obviously concerns the other (except Illyana) and Dani and Doug race off to the rescue.  Rahne and Xi'an are left with Illyana and are trouble by the dark change in their teammate.  Xi'an is also worried because her teammates don't seem to want to go home.

Storm might not be one of Xi'an's teammates but she certainly doesn't want to go home.  She's very happy to have the ability to fly again and, thanks to Loki's magic, she's happy to remain in Asgard.  Her old life is a happy memory but her new life is Asgard-bound.  This all pleases the god of lies.  He decides the time is ripe to make a play on the Asgardian Throne.

The X-Men are taking care of their new friend, the Wolf Prince, who was injured by the Hunter Trolls.  Rachel uses this time to scan the Wolf Prince's mind and discovers that he has a connection to Rahne.  Cyclops sees this as a good lead but believes the best plan is to split up into two teams to search faster.  Wolverine, Shadowcat, and Phoenix are sent into Asgard to search around while the rest of the team follows the Wolf Prince who is on Rahne's trail.  Rogue raids some Asgardian's S&M gear so that Rachel, Kitty, and Logan can... blend in.  Kitty is a little freaked out by seeing an variation of death hanging around and has just a bit of fear of dying.  Wolverine tells her that it's not the dying.  Everyone does that.  It's how you go out.  He's a lot of comfort.

Sunspot is loving his life in Asgard and being a bouncer at a local bar.  His fun is spoiled when Dani and Doug show up looking for his help.  Since Moonstar is a Valkyrie (and every Asgardian knows it), the entire bar goes quiet... well, except for one drunk who decides to "flirt with death."  None of the New Mutants realize what's going on with Dani but they DO notice that something is going on. 

The trio continue on their search for Warlock and find his weakened form comatose with an arrow through his chest.  Doug rushes up to comfort his fallen friend but, when Dani makes her approach, Warlock panics.  It looks like the alien can see Dani as a Valkyrie and fears for his life force.  Warlock shoots off an attack, grabs Doug and escapes before Dani can take his soul.  Sunspot realizes that Warlock freaked out about Dani but no one realizes what's actually going on.  When a group of Asgardians run out to figure out what's going on (those Asgardians are always happy for a fight), Moonstar nearly stops them with a glance, telling them to leave the area.

Cyclops and his team of X-Men have followed the Wolf Prince right to the Enchantress's castle where they are reunited with Rahne, Illyana, and Xi'an.  Wolfsbane even embarrasses herself while flirting with the Wolf Prince in wolf form.  Ick.  Anyway, Illyana tells them of her plan to rescue Storm right before Loki shows up and captures everyone.

Warlock has escaped from Dani with Doug but that doesn't end his troubles.  The reason he was scared of Moonstar was because his life force was at a low ebb.  Since there's no animals around to steal life from, Warlock is fading fast.  Doug asks if there's a way to take part of his life force without infecting him with the techno-organic virus.  Well, there's only one way to find out, right?  Warlock starts eating.

Logan has been getting info around the city and we all figure out why Thor hasn't made an appearance.  It turns out the god of thunder has lead a team into Hel in order to free a bunch of innocents.  That's great for those in Hel but leaves the X-Men on their own.  At least he's also located a few wayward New Mutants.  His nose has just picked up Sam and Amara, who are heading into the city to deliver the super-hammer to Loki.  Cannonball is happy to see some familiar faces.

Back at Loki's stronghold, the god of mischief is bathing his captured mutants in the soul of the Darkchilde.  Cyclops complains because the last time Loki lost a fight to the X-Men, he agreed not to do them any harm.  Loki, of course, twists the logic around until he believes he's actually doing them a favor.  He's messed up that way.  Now, he just has to find the rest of the mutants so he can deliver his gifts.  To that end, he summons up some Rock Trolls and uses his magic to alter the wolf forms of Rahne and the Wolf Prince, making them hunters with a nasty disposition.  They'll find the rest of the X-Men and New Mutants.

Nightcrawler's not giving up without a fight.  It seems that Loki didn't account for a teleporter and, suddenly, Kurt is racing about to free the other X-Men.  He transfers his and Cyclops' powers to Rogue and she does the rest, teleporting out of her shackles and optic blasting Loki across the room.  Rogue is easily besting the god of lies since she had the advantage of surpise and two other X-Men's powers to boot.  Unfortunately, she didn't figure Storm into the equation.  Storm doesn't even see Rogue as a former teammate.  To her, Rogue is just someone stealing a friend's form.  While Ororo doesn't attack the X-Man, she distracts Rogue long enough for Loki to regain his composure and cast a spell on his opponent.  The X-Men aren't going to be freed that easily.

In Asgard, Dani and Sunspot recieve a telepathic call from Rachel and, now, we've got most of our freed muties in one place.  Dani, getting more and more in touch with her Valkyrie powers, sees a spirit-face looming over Wolverine.  She doesn't know why and she doesn't know what it portents but she doesn't like it.  She's not allowed to think about it for long.  Rahne and the Wolf Prince have located them and the wolves brought Rock Trolls with them. 

The battle is fierce and, during it, Logan recieves a venomous bite by one of the lizard steeds.  This wound refuses to be healed by his healing factor and Logan will be close to death for the rest of the issue.  Cannonball uses his sword on one of the wolves and it breaks through the enchantment, freeing Rahne.  Wolfsbane lets him in on the situation and begs Sam to do the same to the Wolf Prince.  Warlock and Doug fly in (Warlock altering his form to look like the USS Enterprise) and the battle is quickly mopped up.  The trolls DO make it out with the super-hammer and Amara but Wolverine warns against pursuit because he knows the trolls will just lead the team into one trap or another.  What they need to do is interrupt Loki's ceremony and rescue their captured teammates.  Wolfsbane isn't in a hurry to rush back in and get potentially captured but Kitty does a much better pep talk than Wolverine and everyone is ready for action.

In the Hall of Heroes, Loki is having a feast with many of Asgard's finest and really building up his new goddess of thunder.  It's a matter of reminding everyone how Ororo fought during the Surtwar and mentioning how much the current god of thunder likes spending his days on earth instead of Asgard.  Since it's Loki, he's able to make those words sound much more genuine than they actually are.  I swear, these Asgardians know what a snake they're dealing with but fall for his speeches EVERY TIME.  The guys NOT falling for it are Logan and his team of X-Men and New Mutants.  They're in the crowd and waiting for the right moment.

The captured mutants haven't turned to the dark side yet but it's a definite possibility.  Before that move can be made, Karma makes an attempt at taking over Illyana.  It's their one chance at freedom.  Will it work?

Probably. 

In the Hall of Heroes, Sunspot's cocky demeanor gets him a chewing out at the hands of Wolverine.  Roberto's preaching the word of Asgard isn't helping his case.  Still, Logan isn't here to make people decisions for them.  He's here for Ororo because Storm is here against her will.  Sunspot can ruin his life if he wants to.  That said, Logan walks off to fight through the latest bursts of pain that are wracking his system.  He knows he's dying but only has to stay alive long enough to free Storm.  Then he can lay down and die. 

While Logan and team are waiting for their moment, Cannonball leads a group to rescue the captured X-Men.  They find Illyana and Xi'an unconscious but the rest of the X-Men are nowhere to be found.  Well, one of them is sneaking up and trying to smash Kitty into the cobblestones but that's just because Colossus is a terrible ex-boyfriend.  Since the rest of the team is free, Cyclops delivers the optic blast that knocks Piotr down for a nap and the X-Men explain that, because Colossus is Illyana's brother, he was more affected by the darkness in her soul and went evil more quickly.  Piotr just needs a quick nap and his evil tendencies will be quieted.  Kitty is happy to see everyone ok but doesn't waste time on hugging everyone.  They've still got a mission to accomplish.

In the Hall of Heroes, Loki has just revealed his new goddess of thunder.  He's about to present Ororo with a brand new super hammer when the X-Men make their move.  Wolverine, unfortunately, forgets all about the charge and collapses to the ground in pain.  The rest of the mutants keep the fight going but Loki is able to get Ororo her super hammer before anyone can stop him.

Once Storm has her new hammer, she decides to use it on the one who's taking Wolverine's form.  She believes that it will strip away the lie and reveal the truth.  All it does is put Logan even nearer to death's door.  Logan falls at her feet and Loki's spell is broken.  Ororo knows that this Wolverine is the real deal.

Unfortunately, Hela shows up to retrieve the fallen mutant's soul.

uncannyxmenannual92.jpg

Hela is halted for mere moments by the fledgling Valkyrie, Danielle Moonstar, but Mirage is heavily outmatched in this game and is quickly shone that very thing in combat with the goddess of death.  Dani won't be the only one to enter this battle.  Loki's goddess of thunder uses her newborn abilities to strike at Hela.  Cyclops and Phoenix join in  but even that's not enough to stop the goddess.  It's only when the Dani's allies, the Valkyries arrive and Hela sense Thor and his Einherjar at the gates of Hel that she retreats from battle to better prepare for Thor's visit.

And that just leaves Loki, who is a suitable threat.  Storm tries to deliver her revenge for Loki's lies by throwing her super-hammer but this one isn't anything like Mjolnir.  Loki is able to grab the thing in mid-air and return it to sender.  Before Loki can act on his own rage, Kitty decides to battle Loki not with physical strength but with chutzpah.  She tells the god of mischief that there are WAY too many X-Men and New Mutants to deal with not to mention the Valkyries.  Any of these will send word to Thor on Loki's actions when they live and then the god completely loses.  This is the kind of threat that Loki can appreciate and he decides that it might be time to end this.

We move over to Nornkeep where Karnilla, Queen of the Norns, watches the proceedings with interest.  It was she who allowed the X-Men to become aware of the situation through Kitty's dream and who helped Cyclops and his team to enter Asgard by using Archon's Lightning Bolts.  Karnilla isn't going to let Loki choose the next ruler of Asgard.  No, if anyone chooses that ruler, it'll be her.

Loki decides that the mutants will be allowed to leave but they've got to do it together AND they'll lose all their magic and enchantments that they've gained while in Asgard.  It's basically a big reset button that will return Magma to her human form and save Logan's life, but it'll also take away Storm's returned powers.  The only one that won't be affected is Danielle because NOTHING can remove the bond between a Valkyrie and her steed.  Moonstar will take the pegasus back with her with the Valkyrie's blessing and there's nothing Loki can do about it.  This also sucks for Rahne because she had fallen in love with a wolf dude.

Storm is the only other one that has more to lose by leaving than staying but Ororo knows the price for her returned powers is too high.  She lets lightning strike one last time and destroys the super-hammer that Loki gave her.  This pisses Loki off while simultaneously turning him on.  The Mutants gather together each with their own thoughts about their latest adventure.  With that, Loki sends them straight to Professor Xavier and their anniversary issue X-Men #200.

The Valkyries leave but warn that, if Loki doesn't stay true to his oath, they will totally squeal on him.

With that adventure done, Loki can't help but laugh.  It was all pretty fun and his long term schemes weren't threatened.  Until he can see her again, Loki makes a little Thor-Storm to play with.  We won't ask any more questions about that thing...

And that was the X-Men's Asgardian adventure!  Pretty good times all told.

And, until next time: Who Do YOU Trust?

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About the Author - SuperginraiX


SuperginraiX is the biggest sap on The Outhousers' payroll (wait, we get paid?). He reads every issue of every crappy Marvel crossover so you don't have to. Whats worse is that he pays for his books, thus condoning Marvel's behavior. If The Outhouse cared for his well being at all, they'd try and get him into some sort of rehab center. But, alas, none of us even know how to say his name. For a good time, ask Super why Captian America jumped off the Helicarrier in Fear Itself. Super lives in the frozen wastland that is Minnesota with 15% of the state's population living under his roof: a wife he makes wear an Optimus Prime mask, two gremlins, and his mother-in-law.

 


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