If the future Magik’s victory over S’ym is any indication, mutantkind has the collective strength to defeat any enemy.
The following contains major spoilers for New Mutants #26, available now from Marvel.
Dystopian alternate futures are a dime a dozen in the Marvel Universe, and an uncanny number of them are linked directly to the X-Men. No matter what the team does, their actions always seem to create at least one apocalyptic alternate timeline, which usually ends up forcing a member of the team from that future to travel through time to prevent it from coming to pass. In the current era of the X-Men, the fluctuating nature of mutantkind’s future has often taken center stage in many storylines, as has its mythological past.
In New Mutants #26 (by Vita Ayala, Rod Reis, Jan Duursema, Ruth Redmond, and VC’s Travis Lanham), Magik, encountered an older version of herself from an alternate future that has been single-handedly fighting off hordes of Phalanx-infected demons in Limbo for decades. While the elder Magik’s fate was influenced by her personal history, the war she waged was eerily similar to a conflict that shaped mutantkind’s history and served as a reminder that their fight for survival may never end.
After Magik’s longtime rival S’ym shattered her Soulsword when she tried to ritualistically transfer her title as ruler of Limbo to Madelyne Pryor, they, Danielle Moonstar, and Wolfsbane became trapped. While searching for a way to restore the Soulsword, the group found their way to the frozen edge of Limbo. There they encountered a future version of Magik that wielded a Warlock-infused Soulsword against an army of demons that had been infected by the Phalanx. After defeating S’ym, the elder Magik helped her younger self reforge the Soulsword, preventing her future from coming to pass.
While the ordeal that the future Magik faced is an example of the youngest Rasputin sibling’s impressive skills, it also bears an uncanny similarity to a defining moment in mutantkind’s history. During the X of Swords event, readers learned that Krakoa, then known as Okkara, was once the site of a mutant kingdom ruled by Apocalypse and his wife Genesis. When demons from an alternate realm known as Amenth invaded through a rift in reality. Genesis led Okkara’s population into Amenth to keep the demons at bay while Apocalypse stayed behind to prepare mutantkind for the demon’s inevitable return.
Throughout several millennia, the mutants of Okkara waged war against the demons within Amenth, forming a unique culture on a severed fragment of Okkara that would come to be known as Arakko. Eventually, the mutants of Arakko were subjugated by their foes just as the X-Men had finished founding their mutant nation on Krakoa. While the demons attempted to launch a second invasion during X of Swords, the X-Men were able to defeat them and free the inhabitants of Arakko, who eventually settled on Mars after it was terraformed by the X-Men during the first Hellfire Gala.
There are many differences between the demons who live in Limbo and those who inhabit Amenth, but the similarities between Magik’s ordeal and the Arrakoan mutant’s war are impossible to ignore, and each is reflective of the X-Men’s history. One of the elements of the X-Men franchise is that they fight to protect a world that fears and despises them for existing. Whether it’s the various models of Sentinels, aliens, demons, or human fanatics, the X-Men have no shortage of enemies who would love nothing more than to see mutantkind exterminated.
While a demonic horde may not be the first foe that comes to mind when most X-Men fans think of the team’s greatest foes, the image of an inexhaustible army of monsters bearing down on embattled mutants from all sides is a metaphor for the species’ struggle to survive in a world that hates them. The X-Men have made great strides in building a sustainable sanctuary where mutants can live in peace, but their right to exist will always be challenged by those who view them as threats, abominations, or both.
If the future Magik’s victory over S’ym is any indication, mutantkind has the collective strength to defeat any enemy. In both the ancient past and the far future, mutants have been shown overcoming seemingly unstoppable threats to their existence. While the future of mutantkind is uncertain, the X-Men will always be there to fight for their species.
Drew Kopp is a Comics Features Writer for CBR who holds a Bachelor’s Degree of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. As a die-hard fan of comic books, fantasy/sci-fi literature, and video games, he loves nothing more than injecting his love of storytelling into his writing, and he also loves nothing more than writing about all things nerdy. When he isn’t busy obsessively theorizing over comic book plots or drooling over the next big indie game, he can be found writing about those topics.