Saturday, August 31, 2013

Of Malleable Moles & Terminable Body & Soul Control...

Today's entry focuses on Chris Claremont's late 90s Fantastic Four run.

Claremont's tenure on the book is quite interesting, least of all because he was never supposed to be writing the title after Marvel relaunched it in the wake of the Heroes Reborn fiasco. Nope, it ws up to Scott Lobdell and Alan Davis to tell the tales of Marvel's first family... and they did.

For three whole issues.

Just why Lobdell and Davis were removed from the book has never been revealed. Most likely, a falling out or editorial spat can be blamed. Fact remained: Scott & Alan were gone and the double sized fourth issue of Fantastic Four needed to be written. Chris Claremont, working on staff at the time, stepped in and picked up the slack while also using several of the ongoing storylines. After all, issue # 3 ended with an imminent threat to Mole Man and all of Subterranea...

"Attend to me, my mindless minions!"

Seeing that Danny DeVito lookalike halfnaked and without his trademark glasses is worth the 1.99 cover price alone. So, something was hiding in the dark, secretly claiming Mole Man's faithful servants. Wonder who it could be?

"While I couldn't care less about your domination of the surface world, know this... I will fight you with my dying breath in order to protect my people!"

An impressive speech and an even more impressive choice to keep the identity of this mystery villain under wraps. Makes you want to rush out and buy the next issue to find out who it is we're dealing with... That is, unless you read the 'next issue' promo blurb and find out who the baddie is. And no, it isn't the Silver Surfer... Or Alicia Masters.

Working from Lobdell's established storylines, Claremont dutifully penned #4, which saw the Silver Surfer and his companion Alicia seek out the Fantastic Four's help in tracking down the same threat the Mole Man had been facing underground. The Surfer guided the Fantastic Four to the source of the disturbing energy readings he had picked up... and it turned out to be in the middle of a small town in Canada, where the people behaved... oddly.

"Could it be some form of mind control?"

Ha! Kudos for the self deprecation there, Chris. As it turns out, no, the citizens of Yorkton were in their right minds... But, being Canadian, they were ignoring their famous guests to be polite. Still, the local arm of the law did show up to get some answers... and to get some handy dandy additional exposition out of the way as well.

You can't help but admire Salvador Larroca's dutiful sense of filling the entire page. If the talking heads don't quite cover, just thrown in the logo. Whatever works, right? Also: kudos to Claremont for remembering that Ben Grimm worked as a (test)pilot before turning into the Thing. His explanation of radio beacon blindness is factual, informative and makes him seem like a well rounded character for a change.

In spite of the Surfer's temporary 'blindness', the story progresses when Mole Man comes stumbling out of the local church to greet his oldest adversaries. The usually grandiose ruler of Subterranea is remarkably subdued and as the FF follows him inside, they learn why...

The Moloids are suffering from a mysterious, seemingly lethal infection. The FF promise to help look for a cure, but before they can get to work the church is attacked by Terminus, an old foe of both the Avengers and the Fantastic Four.

Originally created by John Byrne to be a new type of Galactus-level threat, Terminus is a giant, planetary scavenger that raids an entire world's natural resources so it can sell it to the highest bidder. And this time around, Terminus is after more than gold, oil or uranium...

"Fascinating. This incarnation of Terminus is some form of composite being... made up of the collective substance of thousands of individual Moloids!"

Sounds pretty awful, makes you wonder what... Oh, what's that, Reed? You have more to add? Well, go ahead then...

"Monster! You're as bad as Terminus! You're worse! He may have enslaved my people...
but you treat them like lab specimens"

Standing around hearing his sworn enemy compare a creature comprised of your followers as 'something reminiscent of Clive Barker story' makes Mole Man mad. His people are more than lab specimens, or so he claims. That's actually a little rich, considering he's ruled the Moloids with an iron fist for years, caring very little about their survival...

Anyone remember when Mole Man and Kala planned to destroy the surface world using giant magma funnels in 1972's Fantastic Four # 127?

"It is not we who labor on these shafts, but my beloved's selfless, nigh-mindless Subterraneans... Already, countless thousands of them have been consumed by accidentally escaping flames over the past few months."

But hey, I get how Mole Man might be affected by watching helplessly as his faithful servants were getting absorbed into the collective creature calling itself Terminus... Their hapless, numb features an ever present reminder he had failed them. Luckily, the Silver Surfer decided to use the power cosmic he's known for...

Terminus actually deemed himself the liberator of the Moloids... even though his idea of liberation was consuming their very mind and bodies. But that didn't prevent the Silver Surfer from using his powers to free the Moloids...

"This incarnation of the behemoth has been laid to rest.
No trace of him remains along the Moloids."

So all's well that ends well... Back to underground enslavement, you Moloids you. Ya know ya love it! 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Karma Conundrum part V: The Big Blubbery Brain Breacher's Bee-zare Bye Bye

In the fifth and final chapter of the Karma Conundrum, we're still dealing with New Mutants # 34 and the question on everyone's mind: what's been eating Karma? Or, better put: who's been eating as Karma?

The answer is provided by Magik and Warlock, who teleported into the past to get some answers. It turned out Karma had been taken over by Amahl Farouk, an evil telepath who once fought professor Xavier to the death and lost...Wait, wait, I'll have the kids do the talking, they're awfully good at it...

"I have a plan. And you funnybunny, are the key! Consider it your chance to play the hero."

Funnybunny? Really? Following the masterplan of someone who talks like an eight year old girl just fills me with hope and confidence of a positive outcome. Still, Warlock agrees and they both teleport away to start planning the rescue of their teammates... They'd better hurry though...

"You are the strongest, most stubborn of my toys.
Your spirit must therefore be the first to be tamed."

Man, the mental humiliation shtick is getting pretty tiresome. For a change of pace, Karma temporarily releases Storm so she can speak her own mind for the last time. After Ororo is done yelling obscenities at Farouk, yes she knew who he was straight away, Kar/mahl confirms and reveals the suspicions about how he survived ánd what he has planned for revenge...

Yup, the real Karma is still alive, trapped inside her own body. And after he's done reconfiguring Ororo and the New Mutants, they'll unwittingly serve as Charles Xavier's executioners. He'll never see it coming. A brilliant plan, really... speaking of brilliant strategists...

"I don't want to end up like these mutants. So I accept."

Last time, we covered how Magik allied herself with Karma and now she wants to formalise their working relationship into a permanent partnership. Sealed with a handshake and a kiss. Only, Karma actually wanted to get close so she could possess Magik too. During their struggle, Illyana's light circles quietly teleport Storm and the other captives. How she can do that while fighting Karma? Simple... She's not exactly Illyana.

"Bismallah... You are not human!"

Not human? Look who's calling the pot a disembodied mental entity.

Magik's ruse worked like, erm, magic... and teleporting Karma's victims to Limbo freed them from her possession. Reunited, the team attacked their former teammate who tried to do the whole mind control thingie again...

"Look out, he's nabbed Rahne again"

Yeah, looks like... but when Dani Moonstar used her powers to scare Farouk with his biggest fears, she expected to see professor Xavier again, just like last time. Instead, she manifested an Vietnam war era American chopper raining bullets and death. Which meant one thing: Xi'an was in possession of her own body again. But where did Farouk go then?

Let the games begin...

"Our suspicions have just been confirmed... Farouk is masquerading as one of us. He struck down the child because he feared her wolfen instincts might detect him."

Yeah, that makes sense... Unless you actually stop and wonder why if he was so afraid of Rahne, he didn't hide in her... Instead, he took up residence inside Storm. Or did he?

"Come Farouk... face your slave. Instead of catching her by surprise when she was weak and wounded... let us see how formidable you truly are."

Dems fighting words, Xi'an... unfortunately, all those months imprisoned inside her own mind, had left Karma's mental self as bloated and ineffective as her physical form, as Farouk tried the same trick he did when he was inside her head: pacify Xi'an with all the extatic comfort she could wish for. And she almost gave in too, if not for Storm and the New Mutants who showed up... as bees.

 Yes... truly bee-zare.

In spite of all that, Xi'an finally realises her own innerstrength and breaks out of her self imposed shell in an actually inspiring sequence. Restored and ready to fight, Karma makes short work of Farouk, transfering all the mental bulk she shed to his form and sending him on his way. Shocked, Farouk fled and sought refuge once again on the astral plane.

All's well that ends well, right?

"I will not be his slave... better death than such a fate. Go, my friends... let the flames claim me."

Sheesh Karma, you're such a Debbie Downer sometimes... You just beat an aspect of the Shadow King... Mon dieu, that's reason enough to celebrate. Here, have a cookie, feel better. Or don't, cos, while her astral form shed the pounds, Karma's physical form was still morbidly obese after months of excessive indulgence in food and drink. Which is actually a nice way of showing the kids that victory doesn't necessarily include a happy end... or that there are no prices to be paid.

"You have all earned a rest... and I know the perfect place. An island in the Aegean called Kirinos. There, for a time, you can be happy"

The Karma Conundrum ends with Storm setting up the events of the X-men and New Mutants adventures in Asgard by taking them on a holiday to the Greek island of Kirinos...

And here's where we hit a bit of a snag in regard of Storm's presence in the story. As great a character she is, it becomes clear she's really just standing in for Charles Xavier. The Evil Karma storyline would have worked even better if Warlock had sought out the professor, after all he was the one Farouk was really after.

Ongoing storylines like the second Secret Wars and Charles' injuries after his mugging in Uncanny X-men most likely prevented the professor's presence. A shame, really... Having Illyana betray her mentor to Karma instead of Storm would have packed a real emotional gut punch. And heck, it becomes even more obvious Charles was meant to be there when Storm brought up Kirinos.

She'd never been there, it was Xavier who visited the island after returning from 'the war'. A fact he also revealed back in Uncanny X-men # 117. At the time, that war had to have been the 1950 - 1953 Korean conflict, but by the time New Mutants # 34 came out, it would have been Vietnam.

"I went a little crazy, then I became a nomad, bumming around the mediterranean. Eventually, I came to the isle of Kirinos. The people there needed my help... In return, they gave me the care and love I needed to burn the psychic poison out of my system."

It only makes sense that he'd take his traumatised students there, hoping Kirinos would do the same for them.

Let's see how that went...

"SEE what that devil Farouk has done to me! I am a freak... un monstre!"

... Looks like there's a lot more to do on the island than just burning psychic poison. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Karma Conundrum part IV: Pay No Attention To The Fez In The Corner

In the fourth part of the Karma Conundrum, we finally reveal what's wrong with Xi'an Coy Manh. The cheerful, innocent former New Mutant turned into the bloated big brain of an evil operation, controlling countless minds as she pleased... Including those of her old teammates ánd Storm, who Karma seemed to have a particular interest in.

Which is odd, considering this is 1985 and Xi'an wouldn't come out as a lesbian until the early 2000s. Anyhoo, let's get on with it...

Only Warlock and Magik were able to escape her grasp... But there was a rather specific reason for that. Warlock's techno organic nature made him immune to Karma's possession, but Magik still teleported him to Limbo 'for safety reasons'. With him out of the way, she struck a deal of sorts with Karma, agreeing to be partners. To prove she was trustworthy, Magik delivered both Storm ánd Dani Moonstar into Karma's mind controlling hands.

Let's see how Warlock responded to this once Magik returned to Limbo in # 34...

"So... if you want my life, take it. I do what you like. I won't even try to stop you."

No dear readers, Illyana didn't just get mind controlled by Warlock's rather piercing eyes. But her sincerity worked... Warlock refrained from killing her outright, instead he joined Magik in observing what Karma was up to with Storm and the New Mutants in club Pharaoh...

Courtesy of Illyana's scrying pool, we get these scenes...

"Shall we find someone to play with, Ororo? A body to humiliate, a soul to savage?"

Storm desperately fought Karma's all too present mind control, threatening to break free on several occasions... But Karma always proved to be the stronger presence. A fact she liked to remind Ororo of by forcing to humiliate herself outright.

"My hooks are sunk too deep in you, windrider. Try as you might, you will not win.
See? I told you so.
Now, show these dear people how much you love me.

Nothing like a little foot fetish to compliment the already intense domination/groveling theme going on here. But Karma wasn't simply out to humiliate her and the New Mutants. If all the world's a stage, she wants everyone to be her puppets. As she reveals how her presence at the Paraoh nightclub will actually increase the number of people she will get to toy with...

"I infect them with a taint they'll never be rid of. A corruption that will grow and grow until it rots their souls! Tee-hee-hee!"

Sheesh, and you thought the cover charge and a 4 drink minimum were a crime. Still, Karma had considerable trouble infecting all the customers to Pharaoh, which was known as the most wicked olace in all of Cairo. Y'see, Storm's exceptionally strongwilled and Karma has to fight to keep her in check. And that's simply no fun, so she decides to do this...

"Tonight, I shall psychically operate on your minds, permanently altering your personalities so that you will henceforth follow me willingly, without any more need of my possessing you. Does that please you, Ororo? Is it not, in fact, your heart's desire!"

So, Karma will use mind control to eliminate the need for mind control? Talk about making sense. But wait, did I say Karma? She jut said she's actually Charles Xavier's oldest, bitterest and deadliest foe. Man, quite the disguise... Guess Magneto's mastered more than just magnetism.

Actually, it's not Magneto... It's Amahl Farouk, from way back in Uncanny X-men # 117. A fact Illyana and Warlock discover when Illyana teleports them about twenty years into the past and they retroactively become part of that Uncanny X-men issue. They watch as Charles Xavier meets future X-man Storm as a child and celebrates at a local cafe by thinking a man to death. Hey, in Charles' defence, Farouk wás wearing a fez.

Here's the original scene by John Byrne...

And this is Steve Leialoha's reinterpretation in New Mutants # 34.

You'll note significant differences between the two. The cafe is totally different and Fahrouk's lady friends actually react relieved instead of shocked at his demise. Which might mean Illyana inadvertently teleported into an alternate reality... Or maybe Leialoha didn't have Uncanny X-men # 117 available for reference.

Either way, I'll lay-a-lowa on that one... Until the fifth and final part of the Karma Conundrum: The Big Blubbery Brain Breacher's Bee-zare Bye Bye

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Karma Conundrum Part III: Wouldn't It Be Easier To Simply List Who Doesn't Get Mind Controlled?

When we last left the New Mutants, they'd been trying to track down and capture their former teammate Karma... For the longest time, Xi'an Coy Manh was presumed dead after she disappeared during a fight with Viper and the Silver Samurai.

Professor Xavier told a whopper of a white lie when he claimed he wasn't able to tell she had survived and went about business as usual... Turns out Karma was very much alive ánd possessed, which is ironic considering her mutant powers allowed her to take over anyone's mind.

As a victim of this unnamed entity, she gained a tremendous amount of weight ánd augmented powers. The new Karma effortlessly controlled dozens of people, using them as playthings.

Unaware of this power upgrade, the New Mutants barged into Karma's headquarters and attacked. Only Magik and Moonstar managed to escape Karma's mind control. After some adventures we covered last time, they met up with Storm and Warlock, their fellow New Mutant, in Cairo. Here, the beyond pleasantly plump Karma had taken over nightclub Pharaoh where she entertained.

"Shall we then play with them, my pets?"

And play they did... Karma's power had been intensified to such a degree that everyone she possessed became a part of her... up to the point she was able to manifest her mind control through them. So, when Cannonball approached the couple, he (or rather Karma) was able to do this.

"Ha! The poor man doesn't know I possess his lovely bride. As I do Sam Guthrie and his fellow New Mutants. The tramp is little more than a puppet."

Karma apparently feeds off more than fast food...She also snacks on the emotional misery she causes, enjoying the anxiety of the husband who has to watch his wife jumping in the arms of another man. Not to mention the eventual horror of the woman when the possession ends and all she can remember is how easily she cheated on the man she'd only just promised to be eternally faithful to... 

"Wonderful! I've inflicted the kind of wound that rarely ever heals. Their love will turn irrevocably into something foul... which will... in time, with luck... utterly destroy them." 

Big ol' Karma isn't allowed too much time to revel in her latest psychic scarring... Because a very familiar face enters the Paraoh Nightclub, ready to confront the malicious mental mistress & her mutant minions... And all she has is a walking stick. 

"I crave the wind-rider's heart, pets... bring it to me."

Storm, ladies and gentlemen, is bad ass... Even without her weather control powers, she stands up to against Karma's New Mutants and manages to hold her own until Magik teleports in the others... like Dani Moonstar who uses her psychic link with Wolfsbane to talk some sense into the mind controlled Rahne Sinclair... A clever plan, but it backfired somewhat....

"NO! Can't break contact, Karma won't let me! Head aching...
feel Karma's influence growing... trying to resist..."

Due to the struggle between Moonstar and Karma, Wolfsbane gained enough freedom to revert to her human form... which severed the psi-link between herself and both Dani and Karma. Free to act, Dani Moonstar used her mutant abilities to manifest one's worst fear to create a diversion. Wanna guess who Karma's worst fear or biggest enemy is?

No silly, it's not the threat of starvation as a Vietnamese boat refugee, or the cruelty of her uncle, general Ngoc Nguyen... let alone having to absorb her evil twin brother during her first appearance... Nope, her biggest fear tuns out to be the man who showed her nothing but kindness since day one: Charles Xavier.

Still, taking anything she could get, Moonstar uses the distraction to get Rahne and herself to safety... which isn't exactly an easy thing to do...

"She's possessed everyone in the club! But how...?! There are so many... Karma never had such power, when I knew her she could barely manage two."

Moonstar and Wolfsbane managd to get out of Club Paroah (interesting typo) thanks to Warlock, who posed as a giant rug but instantly transformed himself into a getaway plane that brought them to Storm's place in downtown Cairo. There, free from Karma's influence, Rahne finally realised just what she's been through...

"I feel... dirty inside! The others... 'berto, Amara, Sam... They've become evil! Was I like that?!"

Bless Warlock's techno-organic heart for changing into a Disney character and yelling 'unimportant'. But it truly is an emotional scene for the god fearing Rahne who at this point still feels guilty for being a mutant... What if she finds out she was possessed and forced to kill? After all, Karma had the enthralled New Mutants slaughter the gladiators guarding her villa. 

But Rahne and the others didn't get too much time to ponder the deeper consequences of Karma's mind control... Because the equally mind controlled Sunspot, Magma and Cannonball attacked Storm's hideout out of the blue and were ready to take care of business. In the midst of battle, Magik had a bit of an epiphany and teleported Dani Moonstar away...

"Is this a peace offering, Illyana? Has self-preservation prevailed over your sense of loyalty to your fellow New Mutants? How charming..."

And Illyana was only getting started. By dropping Dani off to get mind controlled by Karma, she caused Wolfsbane to immediately fall under the same spell, because of their psychic bond. 

But Magik was a bit too busy to realise that, as she stopped in Limbo to pick up her loyal pet demon S'ym and together they got back to the battlefield in Cairo where she snatched Warlock away to Limbo, ordering S'ym to take good care of the young Technarx during his stay in her realm...

Returning to Cairo, Illyana has a personal moment of doubt, fear and confusion in an abandoned alley, wondering if her plan would work or if she even did the right thing to begin with... When all of a sudden, Dani Moonstar and Wolfsbane turn up to make it even harder for Magik to answer that question...

'I'm so pleased, I would much prefer having you as partner... rather than slave."

Karma, via Dani Moonstar, told Illyana they were very much alike... Kindred souls even, a thought that made Illyana shiver, thinking of how her own soul was tainted by evil and darkness. But that didn't stop her from pressing on, as she heard how Karma's New Mutants had finally found Storm and were moving in for the proverbial kill.

Much to Ororo's credit, she managed to beat back all of them with only her smarts, the aforementioned wooden walking stick and a bit of luck... Also, when Illyana showed up to rescue her, Storm willingly agreed, not knowing Magik had already made her decision...

My collection is very neary complete."

Yup, Magik had picked Karma's side by delivering Storm into Xi'an's undoubtedly grease stained hands. Ororo was one of the biggest jewels in Karma's crown, for reasons only know to the entity that controlled her. But it wouldn't be a Claremont comic if the slave wasn't forced to humiliate him or herself for the master...

"I humble myself before your majesty... and worship you with all my heart and soul."

And while Karma made Storm, the New Mutants and whoever happened to be around participate in her debasing games that would outgross the sickest of the sick, Karma's 'ally' Illyana observed via a scrying pool... 

"It's a big gamble... the risk is so great... and I'll only have the one chance."

Just how Illyana's plan will unfold, we'll see in the fourth part of The Karma Conundrum, but considering this was the clifhanger... you do the math.


Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Karma Conundrum Part II: Mind Controling Madripoor

When we last left the New Mutants, they had just discovered their former teammate Xi'an Coy Manh, better known as the mind controlling mutant Karma, was still alive. But more importantly: they also learned she had gained at least 300 pounds and was now an evil, shadowy crimelord involved in overeating and arena blood sports to the death.

...No really...

Bill Sienkiewicz managed to... flesh out... the new Karma quite well...

Vowing to stop Xi'an all by themselves out of a misplaced sense of teenage pride and honor, # 32 opened with Cypher telling the team he had hacked enough high level data networks to track Karma's whereabouts  she was on the pacific island nation known as Madripoor.

En route, the New Mutants had a big discussion about just how trustworthy their mentor Charles Xavier had been all this time. After all, considering he's the world's most powerful telepath, shouldn't he have been able to pick up Karma's mental patterns, even after she went missing in the aftermath of New Mutants # 6?

Sunspot is especially pissed off at the professor and he does have a point. Charles *did* sense Karma had survived ánd that she'd been contacted by a powerful, malevolent presence... and he did everything to withold that information from his students. Because, well... The boss'll tell you himself.

"I am convinced Shan is alive... I would have 'felt' her death... but the entity that attacked her may strike again. If that happens, I want the New Mutants far away, out of danger."

In fact, that's why the professor sent the New Mutants on a 'holiday' to Brasil where they'd meet future New Mutant Magma and run into the ancient, mind controlling mutant sorceress Selene in Nova Roma... So, yeah Charles... Sending them to Brasil kept them safe alright. 

Also: as the world's premiere telepathic mind, shouldn't Charles know that psychic attacks aren't necessarily limited by geographical distance? The astral plane connects everyone everywhere, all the time... With that in mind, wouldn't it make more sense to have your youngest, most vulnerable pupils near you so yo could immediately protect them from harm?

You'd think... But hey, sometimes professor Xavier can be a real jerk. Just ask Kitty Pryde.

And, most damning of all... Charles just sorta forgot about Karma. Sure, he would soon be struggling to learn how to walk again, the first Secret Wars were right around the corner, then he was scheduled for a mugging that left him near death, and right before he handed the school over to Magneto and moved to space, he was more than a little busy bonding with his long lost son Legion.

Still, was even a little memo in a file somewhere too much to ask? Karma was hired as Charles' secretary, so without her the paperwork would probably pile up, but there wasn't so much as a post it on the refrigerator. "Out of milk... Investigate who corrupted Karma.... Tape Star Search, love Charles".

Anyhoo, the New Mutants used their time in Madripoor well. It was the first time they, or anyone else in comics, had been there, so Claremont took his time setting up the statu quo of the island.

Skipping that bit of exposition, suffice to say the team learned where Karma was holed up: a palace like compound guarded by technology ánd a contingent of gladiators from her arenas. The team made short work of both threats and entered the main villa, ready to take down and bring in their former teammate.

"A moment is all Karma needs... to possess her. Or any of us."

More than profetic words, Dani... because as the panel already revealed... Wolfsbane wasn't quite herself any more. And that was just the beginning...

'Guys... grab her, stop her... Oh... NO!"

Oh... Yes! In the old days, Karma could barely control a single person... but the new and improved evil incarnation was capable of doing so much more to so many people at the same time.

"Karma's nailed them too"

Using Wolfsbane as a conduit for her mind control powers, Karma snatched Cannonball, Sunspot and Magma. Only Dani Moonstar remained, but the real Karma showed up for that special moment, cursing professor Xavier along the way... And again, who could blame her? Not óne rescue mission?

But just as you feel ready to side with her... she says stuff like this.

"You and your friends are to be the instruments of my vengeance. Isn't that nice?
(...) once I've broken you to my will. I hope you resist. I want this to hurt."

Yet, right before Karma used her powers to bend Dani to her will, Magik popped in and teleported Moonstar to Limbo out of reach of Karma's possession powers. Ignoring for a second the question why Illyana didn't teleport the entire team to safety, the two girls planned their next move.

It was a surprisingly easy one: invade Karma's villa with Limbo demons, take her prisoner and let professor Xavier figure out what's wrong with her. Unfortunately, the second they returned to Madripoor, they discovered Karma hadn't only vanished with the New Mutants, she'd also used her mental control over them to force the kids to murder the gladiators guarding the compound. 

"Karma framed us!"

Cleverly placing the blame for the massacre on the New Mutants, Karma literally got away with murder. But Magik and an increasingly erratic, ticked off Moonstar retreated to Limbo once again, now deciding to scout Cairo, where Karma maintained a secondary base of operations according to Cypher's intelligence.

Magik's powers were still far from reliable... She got the where right, the when was an entirely different matter... They landed in ancient Egypt and were met by a remarkably familiar face. 

"Like you, Illyana, I walk the shadow path. When I sensed your kindred soul tumbling along the timerace, I drew you to me."

No, that's not Storm... It's actually Ashake, one of Ororo's forefathers and a powerful sorceress. All that magic must have some effect on DNA, because even over a millennium down the road all her female ancestors resemble her. Anyway, this was all part of one of Claremont's aborted plans.

He wanted Storm to discover and develop her latent magical skills, which would helped compensate the loss of her weather control powers in Uncanny X-men at the time.

It was a plan years in the works... After all, the elderly Ororo seen in 1982's Uncanny X-men # 160 was a powerful mage as well. So all this was little more than build up and place setting... that went nowhere.

After catching their breath in the Egypt of old, the girls continued their trek, but now they ended up at least a decade in, from their perspective, the future. They also met their old teammates...

"So young an' fresh... an' innocent. But we can soon change that... one way or the other.
Ya'll going to join us, cuties..."

Illyana teleported Dani and herself away, claiming upon arrival that she was sure she at last got the time right... Wow, I suppose even a broken clock is right at least once a day. Still, the two girls were getting desperate when it dawned on them they had no idea or means how to stop Karma. Luckily, help was on the way...

"I know something of your foe."

I'll say.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. When Karma was busy taking over the New Mutants, Warlock realised he was immune to her mind control powers and fled. The frantic, young techno organic alien was able to find Storm, who upon losing her mutant gifts, was in Africa on a journey of self discovery. The two of them travelled to Cairo because Warlock's sensors picked up the fact Dani and Illyana would be there...

That's all well and good, if you ignore the fact that Magik's teleportation powers work instantaneously. So Warlock would have had seconds to pick up her light circle ánd transport himself and Storm to the exact spot Illyana'd arrive at. Pretty neat trick... Ah well, let's rely on the suspension of disbelief some more and wrap this post up...

"The creature is a match for the best of heroes, far deadlier than you could ever be."

Talk about a rousing pep talk... Still, Storm wasn't too wrong as we'll see in part III of The Karma Conundrum: Wouldn't It Be Easier To Simply List Who Doesn't Get Mind Controlled?