Meet Magik, Marvel’s Mutant Sorcerer
Who is Magik? Read on to learn more about Illyana Rasputin's transformation from Colossus' kid sister into the X-Men's mystical powerhouse Magik.
Long before she saved the world alongside the X-Men, Illyana Rasputin saved herself from one of the most horrific fates imaginable. Since forging her mystical abilities as a captive in the hellish heart of Limbo, Magik has fought her demons to become a heroic mutant sorcerer. While she may have merely been Colossus’ little sister when she debuted, Magik is now a guiding light for the next generation of Marvel’s mutants and magicians.
With Magik set to appear in Marvel’s Midnight Suns, a new tactical RPG by acclaimed Firaxis Games and 2K, we’re taking a closer look at Magik and how this New Mutant evolved into one of Marvel’s mystical powerhouses.
Like her brother Piotr, Illyana debuted GIANT-SIZE X-MEN (1975) #1 by Len Wein and Dave Cockrum. In Illyana’s first appearance, Colossus saved his beloved little sister from a runaway tractor shortly before leaving the family farm to join the X-Men. After being kidnapped by the villain Arcade, Illyana soon joined her brother stateside in the X-Men’s care. But in a tragedy that would define her life, Illyana was captured by the demonic Belasco, the lord of the hellish Limbo dimension, as part of his plan to unleash the Elder Gods in UNCANNY X-MEN (1981) #160 by Chris Claremont, Brent Anderson, and Bob Wiacek. Although she was only six years old when she entered Limbo, Illyana was 13 years old when she emerged from the dimension a few moments later.
Illyana’s time in Limbo was chronicled in a MAGIK (1983) miniseries by Chris Claremont, John Buscema, and Tom Palmer. After Belasco corrupted part of her soul and used it to create a Bloodstone, Magik was forced to survive constant mental and physical torture in Limbo, where she held off demons like S’ym and warped versions of the X-Men. In Limbo, Illyana found allies in alternate versions of Storm and Kitty Pryde, who taught her mystical skills in addition to combat. Although she eventually lost them both, Magik evolved into a formidable magician thanks to her studies, then later discovered her mutant power to create teleportation discs. By drawing on her life-force, Illyana also manifested the Soulsword, a mystical weapon that can cut through some types of magic. With the Soulsword, Magik defeated Belasco and escaped Limbo, having earned her place as the dimension’s ruler.
NEW MUTANTS AND INFERNO
After returning to Earth, Magik grew especially close to her teenage peers in the New Mutants and particularly with her best friend Kitty Pryde. Throughout the team’s classic adventures, Magik quietly began using her mystical powers and started manifesting armor whenever she used her Soulsword outside of Limbo. As Magik used her mystical powers, her darker other half, the Darkchylde, grew more powerful inside her, especially after the apparent deaths of Colossus and Kitty and an attack from the alien Magus brought the Transmode Virus to Limbo.
Magik played a critical role in the 1989 crossover “Inferno,” where S’ym teamed up with the demon N’astirh to launch a demon invasion of New York. While the New Mutants were trapped in Limbo form in NEW MUTANTS (1983) #71 by Louise Simonson, Bret Blevins, and Al Williamson, N’astirh – a former ally of Belasco – tricked Illyana, who gave in to her demonic Darkchylde. When Illyana tried to teleport her team back to Earth, N’astirh took over the portal and used it to transport Limbo’s demons into Manhattan.
Ashamed of her Darkchylde form, Magik returned to Limbo to reassert her control over the dimension in NEW MUTANTS (1983) #73 by Louise Simonson, Bret Blevins, Mike Manley, and Al Williamson. After Wolfsbane confronted Magik with her younger self, Illyana overpowered the Darkchylde and used her mystic powers to open a massive portal that brought the invading demons back to Limbo. When the dust settled, a six-year-old Illyana stepped out of Magik’s armor, appearing just as she was before she fell into Limbo. After spending some time with her family and with the X-Men, the young Illyana contracted a mutant plague called the Legacy Virus and died in UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #303 by Scott Lobdell, Richard Bennett, and Dan Green.
MAGIK RETURNS TO THE X-MEN
Magik wasn’t a regular part of the X-Men’s world again until 2007’s “Quest for Magik” storyline, which started in NEW X-MEN (2004) #37 by Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost, Skottie Young, Niko Henrichon, and Sean Parsons. After seeing his former apprentice alive during HOUSE OF M (2005), Belasco wanted to resurrect Illyana. However, his attempts could only revive Magik without a soul and in her Darkchylde form.
Having been banished by Belasco, Illyana soon turned on a group of teenage X-Men trapped in Limbo and took part of Pixie’s soul to create a bloodstone and the Souldagger. After defeating Belasco and retaking Limbo, Illyana sent the X-Men home and vowed to restore her soul. With an increasingly human appearance, Magik ultimately regained her Soulsword and returned to Earth during X-INFERNUS (2008) by C.B. Cebulski, Giuseppe Camuncoli, and Jesse Delperdang.
When the New Mutants officially reformed, Magik rejoined the team in NEW MUTANTS (2009) #1 by Zeb Wells, Diogenes Neves, Cam Smith, and Edgar Tadeo. For their first mission, the reunited team faced Legion. On this adventure, Karma and Magik entered his mind and killed several of his alternate personas. Magik and the New Mutants also faced the forces of Project Purgatory, a group of mutants who were kidnapped during “Inferno” and raised in Limbo. But as revealed in NEW MUTANTS (2009) #21 by Zeb Wells, Leonard Kirk, and Andrew Currie, Magik manipulated the New Mutants so that Legion could defeat Limbo’s Elder Gods and ensure the full restoration of Pixie’s soul, as well as her own.
Although Magik was briefly imprisoned for deceiving the X-Men, her importance to the team only grew as she became the team’s chief teleporter. Shortly after tricking her brother into becoming the Juggernaut during FEAR ITSELF (2010), Magik joined Cyclops’ powerful Extinction Team in UNCANNY X-MEN (2011) #1 by Kieron Gillen, Carlos Pacheco, and Cam Smith. During AVENGERS VS. X-MEN (2012), Illyana even received one-fifth of the Phoenix Force’s power. After the Phoenix Five started reshaping the world with their cosmic power, Spider-Man goaded Magik and Colossus into fighting each other, which cost both of the siblings their respective Phoenix powers and briefly left them bitterly estranged.
MAGIK LEAVES LIMBO
Following AVENGERS VS. X-MEN (2012), Magik began exploring her magical potential and started embracing her role as a teacher to the next generation of mutants and mystics, initially with Cyclops’ outlaw X-Men. After barely stopping Dormammu from invading Limbo in UNCANNY X-MEN (2013) #7 by Brian Michael Bendis and Frazer Irving, a humbled Magik traveled to the past and quietly began honing her magical powers with Doctor Strange, who worked with her extensively and even taught her how to use the Eye of Agamotto. When the Inhumans’ Terrigen Mist threatened mutants around the world, Magik temporarily relocated Storm’s X-Men team and headquarters to Limbo and took an interest in the doomed mutant Sapna, whose spirit was eventually trapped in the Soulsword.
After the formation of the mutant nation Krakoa in HOUSE OF X (2019), Magik was named a Great Captain – one of the island’s chief military leaders – with a focus on teams of former and current student X-Men. Along with her fellow New Mutants, Illyana took a special interest in mentoring Krakoa’s younger residents. She also joined several other magic users in teaching the mystical students of STRANGE ACADEMY.
After ruling Limbo for much of her life, Magik decided to step down as its leader and pass the crown on to Madelyne Pryor, a troubled clone of Jean Grey who was manipulated into helping N’astirh during “Inferno.” Ready to fully move on from her time in Limbo and to give Pryor a chance to prove herself, Illyana officially began the process of surrendering her title in NEW MUTANTS (2019) #25 by Vita Ayala, Rod Reis, and Jan Duursema. Throughout “The Labors of Magic,” Magik, Madelyne, Karma, and Wolfsbane confronted alternate versions of Illyana in Limbo and even helped a young Illyana take her first steps to fight Belasco. After breaking her Soulsword while fighting S’ym, Magik manifested a new golden armor and Soulsword as she signed control of Limbo over to Madelyne.
Since stepping down, Magik has rejoined the primary X-Men team and helped the group through the A.X.E.: JUDGMENT DAY (2022) event. While still active with the New Mutants, Illyana is also mentoring the mystical students of Strange Academy and working with the mystical heroes of MIDNIGHT SUNS (2022) to save the world from supernatural threats. With Madelyne Pryor set to play a central role in the upcoming DARK WEB event, Magik may soon have to face the world-shaking ramifications of her decision to leave Limbo behind.
To follow Magik's continuing adventures, don't miss MIDNIGHT SUNS (2022) #2, on sale now, and pick up Marvel's Midnight Suns on Windows PC, Xbox Series X|S, or PlayStation 5 when it goes on sale December 2.
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