x men 75

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so…… x-men sketchbook spreads. like 75% of these are actually like from june/july. I wasn’t planning on posting them but lately i’ve made a couple more sketchbook spreads that actually fit in with them pretty well so here’s everything I GUESS

Entry 005 - Magik

Art by Chris Bachalo

  • Name: Illyana Rasputin
  • Code Names: Magik, Darkchild
  • First Appearance: Giant Sized X-Men #1 (Oct ‘75)
  • Powers: Creates “Stepping-Disks” that allow her to teleport through time and space, Sorcery, Mystical Soulsword and Soularmor
  • Teams Affiliation: New Mutants, X-Men

About

The X-Men have always walked the line between light and darkness and none have shown that dichotomy better than Illyana Rasputin, the demonic mutant sorceress known as Magik. The sister of Colossus, Illyana has become a favorite of fans and creators thanks to her tragic story and dark characteristics. Illyana has overcome her evil and turned into one of the premier X-Men of the last few years.

Charles Xavier first visited the Ust-Ordynsky Collective in Siberia to recruit Colossus, the metal mutant revealed his armored form by saving his unnamed six year old sister from a run-away tractor. Creators Dave Cockrum and Lein Wein could not have imagined what that adorable blonde girl would go through, or how much this little snowflake would mean to her big brother. Illyana stayed a footnote until Chris Claremont and Cockrum brought her back as a prisoner of Arcade and Dr. Doom. Her big brother would rescue her and it was decided to allow Illyana to stay at the Xavier Institute. Kitty Pryde would become very close with the young child, famously retelling versions of the X-Men’s adventures as bedtime stories.

Art by David Cockrum

While the X-Men where living on a mysterious island in the Bermuda Triangle (while was heavily implied to be, but legally distinct from, the Lovecraftian island of R'lyeh), the young Illyana was seduced by the demon lord Belasco to enter the realm of Limbo. Belasco showed the innocent child a locket with a pentagram on the interior and grooves on the five points as a “token of his love”. He boasted that the child would be the liberation from the Elder Gods. The X-Men, led by Kitty, went to rescue the child and were met with opposition from Belasco in the form a villainous, twisted, version of Nightcrawler and the giant purple demon S'ym. With the help of Limbo’s version of Storm, the X-Men were able to open a portal back home but fought with Belasco to bring Illyana through it. Kitty lost her grip on the child but when she was finally able to pull Illyana through, the child had mysteriously aged to thirteen years old. She told no one what happened those seven years in Limbo, not the Professor, not Peter, and not Kitty. She kept her locket, and its three Bloodstones, hidden.

Art by David Cockrum 

After returning as a teenager, Illyana’s latent mutant abilities were revealed and she was assigned to the New Mutants. She could generated large “stepping-disks” that were used to travel through time and space. This would often just make Illyana the team bus, getting them wherever they needed to go, but occasionally she would send them to the past or alternative futures. Magik, as she was now going by, also wielded the Soulsword which could cut through enchantments, eldritch armor, and was an accomplished sorceress, though no one was sure where she obtained these items and skills. Magik was a valuable member of the New Mutants, but her dark personality and violent nature often put her at odds with her teammates. The religious Rhane was especially wary of Illyana and was unable to align her beliefs with the dark magicks Rasputin was utilizing.

Art by Bill Sienkiewicz

In a 1983 mini-series by Chris Claremont, John Buscema, Ron Frenz, Sal Buscema, and Tom Palmer called Storm and Illyana: Magik, it was revealed how Illyana spent her seven years in Limbo. Belasco pulled the six year old Illyana from Kitty’s grasp and closed the portal behind her. There he fought the Limbo version of Storm and took a piece of young Illyana’s soul, crafting it into the first Bloodstone. Belasco placed it into the amulet revealing that when all five are placed, the Elder Gods would burst through the dimensional walls and rule again. Belasco was challenged by The Cat, Limbo’s twisted version of Kitty Pryde, and retreated allowing Storm and Cat to take Illyana to their sanctum to rest and train. Storm and Cat debated the correct way to train Illyana, Storm wanted to teach her magic, Cat wanted to teach her to fight. Overtime she trained with both of them and after three years, her and Cat snuck into Belasco’s citadel to try and send Illyana home.

The two fought through the citadel, with Cat killing Belasco’s twisted version of Nightcrawler. As they were finally sending Illyana back to her home, Belasco struck and snatched the poor child from the portal. For killing his servant, he turned Cat into his new, mindless, guard. He gave Illyana a blade and told her she must create the second Bloodstone, she sliced her arm and poured out part of her soul into the amulet, promising to serve under the demon lord. Storm, looking through a crystal ball cursed the shy. For three years Illyana trained under Belasco, using her magic to destroy and constantly being unable to create as Storm could. S’ym would torment her, Belasco would tell her he loved her, Illyana would fail at creating.

Art by John Buscema

One night in her bedroom, the twelve year old Illyana discovered something she hadn’t been able to do before, she could create “stepping disks” and move through time and space. At first this was limited but she knew that this mutant gift was her way home. Storm attempted to rescue Illyana from Belasco’s clutches, but was subdued by the transformed Cat. A distraught Illyana tried to help Storm and had to snap Cat’s neck in the process. As Storm laid dying, Belasco swore he would make her watch as he pulled the third Bloodstone from the child. Illyana was given the knife but used it to put Storm to rest and teleported herself back to Storm’s sanctum.

After burring her mentor, Rasputin tried to transport back to her home and made it to the old farm house on the Ust-Ordynsky Collective. However her parents had a six your old daughter, not a preteen, and they knew not who she was. Because she was so distraught, Belasco was able to pull her back into Limbo and take the third Bloodstone from her. He promised that he would have use of her later, but she needed to learn respect and cast her out to the wilderness of Limbo. There, through deep focus and long meditation, Illyana was able to finally use her magic to create. With all that remained of her strength she made the Soulsword, a magical weapon of destruction. Filled with power she assaulted Belasco (who was apparently in the middle of an issue of Ka-Zar) and easily dispatched his servant S’ym. As she fought the hell lord she grew horns and a tail, a demonic version of herself that would later be known as the Darkchild. Seeing herself become like Belasco, she spared the demon casting him out and becoming the new lord of Limbo. She took the Bloodstone amulet for herself and returned to her timeline, reaching out for Kitty’s hand.

Art by Sal Buscema

Illyana became more and more open with her time in Limbo. She would often send the enemies of the New Mutants into Limbo for S’ym to rough up or bring demons to Earth to help assist in battles. One such instance would come back to be costly for Magik, in a battle with the New Mutant Warlock’s father, Magus, Illyana trapped the patriarch in her hell dimension. What she wasn’t expecting was her new lieutenant S’ym to gain techno-organic powers from the transmode virus that Magus spread and begin plotting her demise. While the New Mutants were able to contain the outbreak, it came at a cost, the Darkchild persona was growing stronger by the day and Magik had to keep her Soulsword planted in Limbo to stop the spread of S’ym’s forces.

S’ym and the demon N’astirh joined forces and opened a portal to Limbo over New York City during the Inferno event. Magik gave into the Darkchild side of her personality to try and combat the corruption of Limbo and created a cyclone that destroyed everything from Limbo, herself included. Luckily her New Mutant’s teammates had gone back in time and rescued a six year old Illyana from before Belasco’s corruption.

Art by Bret Blevins

The young Rasputin was sent back to the Ust-Ordynsky Collective to live with her parents and it seemed as if Illyana would grow up as normal as a mutant girl could. Unfortunately a Russian mutant known as the Soul Skinner had possessed an entire town, including the deadly Omega Red. The X-Men Gold team had come to resolve the situation but the Russian government wanted a backup plan. They planned to use a device to enhance the six year old Illyanna’s mutant ability and allow it to manifest early, trapping the Soul Skinner in Limbo but potentially killing the girl. Knowing that the Rasputins would never allow their daughter to go through that, the government had its agents storm the farm, kidnap Illyana, and kill her parents. The X-Men were able to stop the threat of the Soul Skinner before Illyana would need to be utilized but the sensless murder sent Colossus into a rage. He brought his little snowflake back with him to America to stay at the Xavier Institute but she soon developed the Legacy Virus. She was one of the first victims of the disease, and her death hurt the X-Men more than almost any other.

Art by Richard Bennett

Years later, while reality was altered during the House of M, the banished Belasco glimpsed a living Illyana Rasputin. This inspired him to return to Limbo and reclaim his throne, defeating Amanda Sefton who had become the ruler after Magik’s death. Belasco summoned a portal under the Xavier Institute and brought the New X-Men, including Pixie, Mercury, Rockslide, and Anole, into Limbo believing they would know the location of Illyana. The group was split and Belasco began torturing the New X-Men for information on his missing apprentice while the remaining members were faced with fighting off a demonic horde. The young X-Men were able to survive the assault with the surprising return of the Darkchild riding N'Astirh into battle.This entity was resurrected by Belasco but missing any trace of a soul, the original Bloodstone amulet was missing and the Soulsword had been passed to many people, at this point residing inside Nightcrawler. Belasco was disgusted with this empty shell of the child he raised and cast her out.

Filled with anger and bent on revenge, and with not but glimpses of her former life, the Darkchild agreed to work with the New X-Men if they were willing to pay the costs to defeat Belasco. Darkchild took the innocent Pixie and corrected her into forming Bloodstones from her own soul as well as her own Soulsword, the weapon needed to kill Belasco. Before this could be completed, Rockslide intervened answering Pixie’s cries of pain and only one Bloodstone could be formed, which Darkchild kept in a new locket, and the Soulsword only formed into a Souldagger. The Darkchild relented saying this was sufficient to defeat her former master and, after teaching Pixie a teleportation spell, began the attack on Belasco’s castle. With the help of the New X-Men, Darkchild was able to finally kill Belasco and again take control of Limbo. A separate rescue mission by the senior X-Men, including Colossus, resulted in the young teams rescue, but not before the metal mutant realized his sister, or some part of her, was alive.

Art by Skottie Young

As the Darkchild tore Limbo apart looking for the pieces of her soul, Colossus demanded that the X-Men mount a rescue but Limbo was mystically sealed off. Until its master would break the seal, none could enter. Pixie and Nightcrawler begin training, pushing her new teleportation abilities to the limit. When Kurt brought up what happened in Limbo, and Megan became very upset. When she revealed the Souldagger she was forced to create, something took over her and she plunged the weapon into Kurt’s chest. Pixie was shocked at what she did and when she went to remove the dagger, Illyana’s Soulsword came with it, having previously been stored with Kurt. This triggered the Darkchild to teleport out of Limbo and retrieve part of her missing soul.

When she grabbed the blade, the Darkchild transformed back into Illyana and her memories flood back. After seeing her brother for the first time in years and feeling nothing Illyana understood she needed the Bloodstones to be whole again and quickly teleported away to retrieve them. Colossus organized a team including Pixie and Mercury to go rescue his long lost sister. When she returned to Limbo, Illyana found her second-in-command S’ym gravley injured and blaming Belasco’s daughter, Witchfire, who quickly overpowered Illyana, revealing that she possessed the Bloodstone amulet. Witchfire took the amulet Illyana had (containing Pixie’s Bloodstone) and added the stone to the amulet containing Rasputin’s. This triggered a reaction from Pixie to teleport right to Witchfire, who pulled the fifth and final Bloodstone from the Welsh mutant’s soul. Witchfire summoned the Elder Gods and the X-Men did what they could to fend them off. Wearing the magic resistant Mercury as armor, Illyana was able retrieve the amulet from Witchfire and but combing the Soulsword and dagger, Pixie and Illyana removed the fifth Bloodstone before it set. The fifth stone bonded to Pixie’s Souldagger, however Witchfire was able to escape with the remaining four, The Elder Gods were once again, cut off from our world. Pitor was able to convince his sister to stay with the X-Men and Magik would finally be home again.

Art by Giuseppe Camuncoli

Magik quickly joined Cannonball’s New Mutant’s team and was a great asset in their first mission, assisting with the reappearance of the mutant David Haller’s, even letting Karma use her Soulsword. When Pixie was taken prisoner by Project: Purgatory, Magik stirred the New Mutants into action and sent them into Limbo. Magik revealed that her demon army in Limbo had taken Witchfire prisoner, however the Bloodstones were taken by Project: Purgatory. When the New Mutants attacked the Purgatory base in Limbo they subdued and Illyana was taken by their General who revealed their intentions. After Inferno, the government wasn’t going to be unprepared for a demonic attack again. They took the babies that were used to open the Limbo portal in Inferno into the hell dimension and raised them as super soldiers for twenty years. After learning of the Bloodstones, they wanted the ability to summon the Elder Gods as a nuclear deterrent. Karma, along with one super soldiers named Face, rescued Magik and Pixie before returning to base on Utopia.

As Magik rallied the X-Men to rescue the New Mutants and stop Project: Purgatory, Karma confronted her saying she knows Illyana had something planned and that this was more than just a simple rescue mission. Karma told Magik just to get it over with and Illyana stored the Soulsword inside Karma, knocking her out. As Purgatory released the Elder Gods on the world, Karma entered David Hallers’s mind. Trapped inside his many personalities was the near omnipotent Legion, and using the Soulsword, Karma would set him free. The God mutant Legion was unleashed on the Elder Gods and willed them out of existence. The Bloodstones were returned to Pixie and Magik and their souls were finally free. Karma confronted Illyana again, she brought Legion back into the universe in exchange for the destruction of the Elder Gods, the put her best friends in life threating danger and almost destroyed the Earth in order to destroy them, she had no sympathy. When Cyclops understood what Illyana did, she was sentenced to the X-Brig, the Utopia prison, but she was whole once again.

Art by Leonard Kirk

During the Fear Itself event, Illyana positioned herself to challenge the Serpent powered Juggernaut on his attack on San Francisco. She was released by Cyclops to go with Colossus and Kitty to the demon lord Cytorakk and inform him that the Juggernaut serves another. Furious at this new, Cytorakk offered to make Magik his new avatar of destruction, but Colossus could not stand to see his sister become the servant of another demon. He became the Juggernaut in her place and defeated Cain Marko. Magik and Peter both stayed in Utopia after the Schism and joined Cyclops’ Extinction Squad. During the Avengers Vs X-Men event, both Rasputins became hosts of the Phoenix Force and eventually Magik brought part of Limbo to Earth as a prison. After losing their powers fighting with each other, the Rasputin siblings continue to battle until Illyana takes Pitor into Limbo and runs him through with her Soulsword, removing Cytorakk’s enchantment. Colossus, realizing that she could have don’t that at any time asked why she waited, she told him that she was tired of him treating her like his perfect little snowflake. He needed to realize she was ruined, she was corrupt, and that “there are no snowflakes in hell”. Pitor vowed to kill his sister if he ever saw her again.

Magik joined the fugitives Cyclops, Magneto, and Emma Frost in opening the New Xavier Institute to recruit and train new mutants for Cyclops’s Mutant Revolution. Her powers were tested when Dormmamu made a play for her rule of Limbo, in desperation she absorbed the whole of the realm inside of her. Realizing she needed to better control her powers, she sought out a version of Dr. Strange from the past to better understand her new abilities and hone her sorceress skills. She rekindled her friendship with Kitty Pryde and would often remove herself from the infighting frequent among the X-Men to help rescue mutants in Danger. She was finally able to reconcile with her brother and they are now working together in Extraordinary X-Men, and considering the location of X-Haven, I would assume she is going to be a huge part of that book.

Art by Humberto Ramos

Must Read

The Storm and Illyana: Magik mini-series is the must read work for Illyana Rasputin. It is Claremont creating a weird world and really diving into characters in a way his ensemble books never gave him a chance to do. Even with a different artist doing each issue, it all look beautiful, you tremble in fear of Belasco, you dead for the innocence lost in Illyana. This is a fabulous mini-series that really encapsulates a character that has honestly been done well for the last several years (though since this mini literally takes place between the panels of Uncanny X-Men #160 you probably want to read that first). And while it may be too early to tell, Jeff Lemire is doing fantastic with Magik in Extraordinary X-Men right now and if you want to get her modern voice, that is the book to read. Storm and Illyana: Magik is available on Marvel Unlimited or in a trade paperback wherever books are sold.

Art by Sal Buscema

Ranking

Look I just wrote over 3000 words on this character, I obviously love Magik. She is one of the best examples of a character that only works in comics (a demon sorceresses who was a little girl but then was a teenager but then was a little girl but then died from mutant AID’s but then came back to life as a young adult and summoned Elder Gods and everything turned out OK). She is a true X-Man through and through and I am so happy to see creators like Wells, Gillen, Bendis, and Lemire put her in the spotlight recently. She is easily the new number 1 in the Xavier Files.

anonymous asked:

ok this is an actual question bc im not an x expert (practically know nothing)- did claremont really write his characters with lgbt subtext? or is it just a fan headcanon?

it really is a thing. he’s widely known for writing queer subtext into everything he could get his hands on. i don’t know if he’s ever spoken specifically about it because i can’t find any quotes right now but honestly it’s far from the kind of thing that you could argue wasn’t intentional.

here’s the thing: he wrote uncanny x-men from ‘75 to ‘91, new mutants from ‘83 to '87, and part of excalibur (the gayest lmao). marvel comics abandoned the comics code in 2001, which prohibited depictions of sexuality in comics. he literally could not write the characters being blatantly queer (nothing was allowed, from simple seduction to actual kissing or sex scenes), so the best he could do was slip a bunch of subtext in there that looked like just friendship.

this is the kind of stuff we’re talking about, though:

“although I knew Chris had some plan for Sat-Yr-9 [the blonde, posing as kitty’s roommate] to corrupt Kitty and that the various Cross-time versions of Saturnyne were attracted to Kitty, I had no idea what, if any, the goal of this relationship was to be. I just played it as a lesbian affair.”
– alan davis, the artist in this issue. (from excalibur #24)

kitty is one of his characters with the most queer subtext ever. at some point she and xi’an coy manh (who’s openly a lesbian) almost kiss in mekanix. you can read more about it in this essay “kitty queer” (which you should totally read because it’s amazing), but during claremont’s runs on uncanny x-men and excalibur, kitty’s friendships with illyana rasputin and rachel grey are… incredibly similar to what a romantic relationship would be but without anything that couldn’t be interpreted as just friendship (*sigh* comics code).

(from new mutants #63, written by claremont and louise simonson)

i remember reading this and it describes this moment as “little soft lesbian college dorm tickling fun” and i loved it.

(from mekanix #6)

i’m giving kitty examples because she’s the one i know better but from what i hear it was everywhere. ororo munroe and yukio are another notorious example:

There was an issue where Storm went to Japan and bonded with Yukio, a female thief and adventurer. As a result of Yukio’s influence, the formerly calm and tightly controlled Storm cut loose and got a Mohawk! After an entire issue of them running around together having sexual chemistry, they ended up on a roof. Then the scene cut to them lying together on the roof smoking [presumably post-coital] cigarettes. I can’t imagine that was anything but intentional.” (x)

long story short, if not for the comics code we’d probably have quite a few more openly queer x-characters by now. and it’s endlessly enfuriating that all the recent x-men writers refuse to acknowledge what claremont had going on, and don’t even address these characters’s sexualities, acting as if they’re all heterosexual until explicitly proven otherwise.