BLOG of X: The MANY KEYS of Magik
Hello X-Fans and welcome to another BLOG of X! I have been diving into some great X-Men characters lately, and researching their key books to learn a little more about them. I thought for this week's blog I would share one of them with you. These are the Key Issues for Illyana Rasputin, otherwise known as MAGIK!
With the release of The New Mutants (FINALLY!), and the official end of the Fox Studios run of mutant films (blessing or curse? YOU decide), I know a lot of fans are interested in the characters they saw on the screen. In particular, everyone I've talked to about the film has highlighted how great Magik is portrayed in the movie. This made me want to jump onto the Key Collector app and do some Google searching to see what I could find.
The often-sidelined little sister to X-Man Colossus is one of the most unusual characters in the Mutant Universe because of the way in which she has evolved since her first appearance. As the little blonde girl saved from a runaway tractor by her big brother back in Giant-Size X-Men #1 (see the last article of BLOG of X) she barely said a word but helped to set up a great new team member in big brother Colossus. Since then she has gained new abilities, changed her look many times, and even aged, which is remarkable given how few times this occurs in Marvel comics. From innocent little sister to sexy blonde bombshell, Magik's story has been an usual one to say the least. That first appearance, pre-mutant abilities, might only amount to a handful of panels, but it has helped to establish her origin and to further solidify Giant-Size X-Men #1 as a mega key book.
But when did she show up next and actually get the chance to speak? Well friends, that's where those of us who have been slowly hunting great Uncanny X-Men books are going to need to update our hunt lists. Many times during the early days of the new team, Illyana was used as a pawn of villains wishing to exploit our favorite mutants. In issues 145-147 the new team deals with Dr. Doom and Arcade World, where key friends of the new team have been taken hostage and turned into robot versions of themselves. You know, the usual. Illyana was part of this plot although we really only really see the robot version. After this story, she is brought to live with her brother at the mansion.
Later however, in issue 160, the adolescent Illyana makes her return in a big way and was again part of a plot by a villain. This time, it's the evil lord Belasco (a sort of red, devil-looking Nightcrawler) who is behind the plan. I think this is a great, and underappreciated, key in her story since she is given a talisman by Belasco and there is a sort of prophecy made about her eventual rise to power. It's a fun, demon-related issue with significant implications for Illyana's future.
We also can't forget issue 171 as well, where Illyana first receives her Soulsword. During a training session in the Danger Room, that Illyana sets for her brother and others, she uses Belasco as their foe. When asked by her friend Kitty Pryde to shut it down she loses control. She conjures a sword from thin air and nearly kills her friend. Thankfully, Kitty settles her down, but this is the moment when the prophecy begins to come true.
All of these stories set up the classic 80s miniseries Magik: Storm and Illyana, a truly under appreciated four-issue story that is a must-read for any fan. This series marks the first time she is connected to the name Magik, since she would only gain the codename AFTER this series, during her time with the New Mutants. Issue one of the miniseries gives readers a fresh look at her origin, expanding on her Giant-Size X-Men #1 appearance, and issue 4 is a big key for fans because we see her evil alter-ego Darkchylde! This evil persona will continue to be a part of her character for a long time to come. Altogether this is a fun read and great book to watch out for in your local dollar bins.
Her next important issues occur in the New Mutants run. Specifically, issue 14 is a key for her: it's here she officially joins the team that she will be most closely connected with for the rest of her history. Even to this very day, she is still a member. Also, don't forget about issue 21, which is the first time she adopts the name Magik (finally, right?). It's a great minor key for her and other characters like Warlock, who joins the team for the first time. Plus it's written by Chris Claremont and drawn by Bill Sienkiewicz, so you really can't go wrong.
Lastly, I wanted to throw a little love at the 90s and her tragic death (for the first time anyways). Uncanny X-Men # 303 is a great issue and part of the tragedy of the Legacy Virus. This same virus would later lead to the death of her brother Colossus as well in issue 390. It's a powerful storyline and one that should be read by any Magik fan.
So there you have it friends! The short history of Magik, Illyana Rasputin. She has gone on to be a part of many different teams and have many different stories. Far too many to mention all of them here. If you have an issue you think I should've included (her return as Darkchylde thanks again to the villainous Belasco?) feel free to let me know in the comments section.
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