Sunday, April 14, 2013

Black Magikal Mind Control part I: In Soviet Russia, Mind Controls You!

When Chris Claremont launched X-Men Forever in 2009, there were some initial doubts about how viable a nostalgia act would be... Let alone if Chris would be able to resist indulging in his love for all things mind control.

But fair's fair, Claremont managed to refrain from any obvious forms of sultry seduction, unleashing dark alter egos or even enthralling the innocent for nearly 12 issues. Considering the book's biweekly schedule, that's almost six mind control free months. Good for him... But then X-Men Forever # 11 came around and this happened...

"A glorious destiny awaits you, young lady. The time has come for the rebirth of MAGIK!"

Continuitywise, the history of the alternate reality of X-men Forever is the same as the 616's, including the moment in Inferno when the teenage Illyana Rasputin encountered her younger self, still trapped in Limbo as Belasco's unwilling apprentice. The Darkchilde teleported the young girl home, sacrificing her own existence in the process. Lil' Illyana moved back home with her parents in Russia... In our reality, she would eventually die of the Legacy Virus, but here... she fell prey to the villain called Cossack, a servant of Belasco. 

"I want you to be all you can be."

When an old man with purple hair and a skull cane wants you to achieve your full potential, you just know it's not going to end well. But as luck would have it, a team of X-men happened to be in Russia, checking in on Illyana's big brother Peter...

"And I can assure you, Ms. Pryde, that Peter is just fine."

Yeah, in this reality Colossus and Natasha Romanova are lovers, despite her codename 'The Black Widow'. They joined Colossus in the investigation of Illyana's disappearance and when they located her and Cossack in an abandoned factory near Moscow, they were greeted by a rather hauting sight...

"But now you face... Black Magik!"

Lazy codenames aside, Cossack had managed to release Illyana's demon soul which changed her back into a teenage succubus style bad guy. It goes without saying that seeing her former best friend twisted back into an evil creature has a profound impact on Kitty Pryde... 

Who was already more than a little shaken by the loss of Wolverine, gaining one of his claws in the process, the discovery her surrogate mother Storm was responsible for Logan's death... and now her first love Peter was shacking up with the Black Widow... Talk about being put through the emotional wringer. 

"Whatever Cossack's done, you can fight it. You're so much stronger..."

Them's fighting words, but what Kitty and Little 'Ro (aka: Tiny Storm) don't realise... Illyana's not exactly suffering from mind control. 

"Don't you get it, Kitty? When you pulled me out of Limbo you didn't 'save' me...
I was supposed to pull you in."

... Well, that certainly puts a new spin on this classic scene from X-men 160...

So... This Black Magik was actually the real Illyana finally being allowed free reign? A fascinating twist, which would lead to far more mind control as we'll see in part II of Black Magikal Mind Control: Fiery Faux Felines

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