Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

By the Seven Circles

During a surprise party at X-Mansion, Nightcrawler received a sabotaged gift on his 21st birthday, triggering a mystical explosion that rendered him unconscious. Called in as a consultant, Dr. Strange diagnosed the condition: someone had taken Nightcrawler's soul (X-Men King-Size Annual #4). The story that followed played off many of the themes prevalent in the Defenders.

Although Dr. Strange initially pegged Nightcrawler as half-demon, the Eye of Agamotto revealed that there was nothing supernatural about the mutant's appearance. Accepting a metaphysical challenge to save the young hero, Dr. Strange accompanied members of the X-Men through a magic portal and into the Inferno from Dante's Divine Comedy.

The heroes fought harpies and other threats as they traversed down the Seven Circles. Yet all along Dr. Strange doubted they were in true hell, as he did not sense evil, just a strong anger toward Nightcrawler.

At the center of the Inferno, Dr. Strange detected that the giant creature calling itself Satan was part of an elaborate illusion created by Nightcrawler's foster mother, Margali. The powerful sorceress wanted to punish Nightcrawler for murdering his foster brother shortly before joining the X-Men. But Margali had a change of heart after discovering that her biological son had become violently crazed, prompting Nightcrawler to stop him.

The X-Men were glad to have their friend restored to health, and Dr. Strange pondered why he was only now learning of Margali, whose powers rivaled his own.

X-Men King-Size Annual #4. 1980. "Nightcrawler's Inferno." Chris Claremont (writer), John Romita Jr. and Bob McCleod (artists), Tom Orzechowski (letterer), Glynis Wein (colorist), Louise Jones (editor), Jim Shooter (editor-in-chief). The Nightcrawler image comes from The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe.


Anonymous said...

I had just started reading X-Men around this time and remember it as my first annual of theirs. My favorite scene is where Wolverine confronts the smirking, slickly-dressed devilish man sitting on that throne and threatening him. When you're just a kid, that seems tough!

Rick L. Phillips said...

I never knew about this book.Iwill have to keep and eye out for it.

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