Taking a Walk Through Time and Space With Ilyana Rasputin

So everyone who reads my ramblings knows I have a special place in my heart for complexity. And of course, my love for X-Men does not preclude opportunities to revel in the more bizarre aspects of the Marvel Universe’s tapestry. From Warlock to Longshot to Psylocke to Rachel Summers, it’s the really WEIRD stuff that I sort of study feverishly on wikis at three in the morning. I don’t know why.

I think Magik is my favorite example of this. The kinds of overlap into other comic books stories featuring Ilyana lend themselves too is just downright bizarre.

There’s a lot of confusion about Ilyana. I know that when I was a kid, her death and Colossus’ turn to Magneto was a big deal. Like any popular character, however, she’s been brought back to life. A lot of people might assume that Magik’s mutant power is the ability to use sorcery, like Dr. Strange or Baron Mordo.

Au contraire, X-Men fans! Let me explain.

The actual scope of Ilyana’s mutant power is that she can open portals (disk-shaped ones) in space and time. That’s right...space AND time. Consider this in light of Nightcrawler’s power. The guy can teleport through space only and only a limited distance.

See, Ilyana is to teleportation what Jean Grey is to telepaths. She is basically a walking doorway to anywhere and anywhen.

Unfortunately, this also made her the subject of much interested and unwanted attention. A bunch of demons actually whisked Ilyana away when she just a child, knowing full well that when her mutant power emerged it would allow said demons access to anywhere they wanted to go.

How did the demons know that Ilyana would have such a power?

Well, I suppose you could make an argument that they knew because, hey, they’re demons and they know stuff like that. Here’s another angle though.

The dimension Ilyana was abducted to--at age six--is called Limbo or ‘Otherplace’, and it’s chock full of weirdness. Time actually flows in a non-linear way there, so cause and effect is very unclear sometimes. Consequently, while Ilyana only spent a short amount of time there from the X-Men’s perspective, she returned a teenage girl who had, from her perspective, lived for years among demons and sorcerers.

Interactions with demons from Limbo, consequently, can be very confusing and strange. Sometimes they’ll seem to know an outcome is on the horizon before we, from a linear perspective, know it’s going to happen. The demons in Limbo actually eventually came to worship Ilyana as their ruler (or at least, one of them. Limbo has a bad tendency to fall into civil war and have rulers overthrown left and right).

But see, from the demons' perspective, when they went to abduct Ilyana as a young girl, they might have already known her as their ruler. Because the nature of time is so strange and cyclical there. But wait! There's more!

In Limbo, magic is just infused in the place, maybe even more so than in the Dark Dimension of Dr. Strange fame. Ilyana learned to use magic while growing u’ in Limbo and eventually she became that dimension's sorcereress supreme. See, like Strange and Clea, Ilyana is technically Limbo’s number one sorcerer and charged with maintaining the safety of an entire realm.

Unfortunately, it’s just not a very lovely place to be in charge of protecting. Limbo tends to have a corrupting influence on those who lived there and Ilyana didn’t exactly come home untouched.

There are plenty of fascinating items in the Marvel Unvierse and Ilyana’s soul sword is no exception. She could focus all of her magical energy (actually, her very soul, truth be told) to conjure it out of thin air. The problem was that she seemed to get a little bit darker and scarier every time she did so.

A few more interesting facts. I mentioned that Limbo had several rulers. Besides major X-Men bad guys Belasco, Sym and N’Astrith, Doom himself and the techno-organic monstrosity known as the Magus have made their bids to grab hold of Ilyana’s sword and/or rule of the realm at different times in the past.

So consider this. Ilyana is:

A. A mutant
B. A sorceress
C. Corrupted by demonic influences
D. All of the above

How can you not love a character like that?