New Mutants: Illyana's Magik

Editor Nick Lowe breaks down the mysteries surrounding the recently returned Magik in anticipation of some answers in NEW MUTANTS #9!

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NEW MUTANTS #9 preview art by Paul Davidson
By Marc Strom

Since her mysterious reappearance in NEW MUTANTS #1, fans have wondered just what secrets Illyana Rasputin harbors. Now, in NEW MUTANTS #9 on January 6, writer Zeb Wells and artist Paul Davidson bring the young Magik to the attention of Emma Frost-and she wants answers!

"[Emma's] been interested [in Illyana] ever since she came back, but she's only [getting] a chance to deal with it now," relates series editor Nick Lowe. "Emma's been through a lot lately, from Utopia through Nation X, and her plate has been full! You'll see some new developments in UNCANNY X-MEN that I don't want to spoil here, but which make it a bit easier for her to properly 'debrief' Illyana."

As to just why Magik has chosen to keep so many secrets in recent months, Lowe promises that, "once you read NEW MUTANTS #9, this will be a lot clearer. You'll understand why she's been keeping [things] secret and you'll learn why that isn't an option any more. There were tastes of it in NEW MUTANTS #1, but when you get more of a full picture it's going to scare your pants right off."

NEW MUTANTS #9 preview art by Paul Davidson
Given her secretive nature, fans might expect a certain level of mistrust or apprehension between Illyana and her fellow New Mutants. However, Lowe explains that, for most of her teammates, this hasn't proven much of an issue.

"Sam [Guthrie, a.k.a. Cannonball] and the rest have known and loved Illyana for years," he recounts. "So there's some degree of trust and love that is much more emotion-based than thought-based, if that makes sense. Their hearts want to trust her. It's almost like a muscle memory.

"For instance, I drove to high school every day from my Western suburb of Cleveland to my school which was just outside downtown Cleveland. Several times since, when I'm home and driving downtown, I'll absentmindedly get off the freeway at my high school's exit rather than where I actually need to go. People call it 'autopilot.' It's like that with the New Mutants and much of the X-Men. Their hearts are on autopilot and their heads are just now catching up and asking questions about this strange young woman."

Illyana recently took on yet another secret, claiming responsibility to Doctor Kavita Rao for murdering the personality inside Legion's head that her friend and teammate Karma actually killed, something that has

NEW MUTANTS #9 preview art by Paul Davidson
helped to strengthen the relationship between the two girls.

"She takes responsibility for killing lots of Legion's personalities as well as several other beings," notes Lowe. "But that one that Shan killed, that's more of Illyana doing Shan a solid so she doesn't get in trouble. It's like she's Judd Nelson in 'The Breakfast Club.' That makes Shan the Molly Ringwald character and Bobby...Ally Sheedy?"

Looking to the future, Lowe says Illyana will have a significant role to play in NEW MUTANTS and the X-Men's world as a whole.

"[Her role's] both big and ass-kicking," touts the editor. "She also has a big part in 'Second Coming.'"

As for the rest of the New Mutants, they'll have more than enough to keep themselves busy in the coming months:

"There [are] some new villains coming around that are scary and dangerous as hell. Just wait until you hear their story. Also, some major

NEW MUTANTS #9 preview art by Paul Davidson
figures from the big Inferno crossover are going to be kicking the New Mutants' butts soon."

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