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Sep 28

Realm of X #2 annotations

Posted on Thursday, September 28, 2023 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

“Lost Lamb”
Writer: Torunn Grønbekk
Artist: Diógenes Neves
Colour artist: Rain Beredo
Letterer: Clayton Crain
Design: Tom Muller & Jay Bowen
Editor: Lauren Amaro

COVER / PAGE 1: Magik fights Typhoid. Nothing very much like this happens in the issue.

PAGES 2-3. Flashback: Curse at the Hellfire Gala.

This is X-Men: Hellfire Gala 2023 from Curse’s perspective. We did indeed see her in that issue, and it wasn’t clear what she was doing at the Gala in the first place, given that she’s a child. She explains here that she snuck in with some friends.

On Curse’s account, when Professor X told the mutants to leave through the gates, everyone panicked, and Magik bundled her through the gate. Curse grudgingly accepts that she’s being forced to leave, but lashes out with her powers, apparently forcing her group to go somewhere different from everywhere else. This isn’t what we saw in the original story: in that issue, Curse is picked up and bundles through the gate by Marrow, Magik, Mirage and Dust, all of whom are apparently under Professor X’s control. Curse uses her powers to curse Professor X directly, just as she is forced to leave (“Damn you, Charles. Curse you, you bald piece of…”)

In this version, Magik is not under Professor X’s control – which makes some sense, since she’s supposed to be resistant to telepathy. Or maybe Curse just isn’t remembering it correctly. However, last issue, Magik did indeed say that Curse was “in my arms” at the last moment that she could remember.

Saturnyne is trying to get influence over Curse, presumably because Curse is such a powerful reality warper. Curse has been led to believe that the other mutants have given up trying to recover her. We still don’t know how Saturnyne wound up here.

PAGE 4. Recap and credits.

PAGE 5. Magik gets an idea.

“X weeks later.” We’ve seen this same time jump in other books. X-Men Red, in particular, makes clear that the “X” is 10.

Magik told us last issue that she didn’t have access to her powers, but that seemed to be a reference to her mutant powers being shut down by Orchis in Hellfire Gala. Evidently her magic doesn’t work here either, for reasons to do with something diverting all the magical power from Vanaheim itself. A repeated point in issue #1 is that Magik is marginalised in this story (at least so far as the characters themselves are concerned), and doesn’t even feature in the prophecy that everyone else is worried about.

PAGES 6-7. Typhoid and Vonos.

We saw Vonos last issue, as one of the House Mult warriors. He gets a brief scene on page 15 of that issue where he gives up his horse to Typhoid, though in the first issue the focus is mainly on Typhoid being petulant and annoying. He and Typhoid are much more obviously flirting here, and while her husband Kingpin gets a passing mention by the narrator, Typhoid certainly seems a lot less bothered about the separation than the Kingpin is over in X-Men.

PAGE 8. Magik visits the library.

The librarian, Frider Frostborn, is a new character; she writes the data page immediately following.

Telemark is the name of a region in Norway, and an odd place for Frider to say that she got the book from. Is there meant to be a Telemark in Vanaheim too? The name just means “Mark of the Thelir”, the Thelir being the people who lived in that area in ancient times.

PAGE 9. Data page. The “six weeks ago” timeframe places this between pages 3 and 5. Basically, Frider has been trying to interpret the cryptic prophecies of Joana Thornwood while there’s still time for them to be useful, but is somewhat resigned to the fact that Joana’s prophecies are never intelligible until it’s too late.

Joana has refused an offer of sanctuary for the coming war, saying that she “intend[s] to die laughing, upside down, watching the fools dance to the tune of fate’s fiddle.” We’ll see Joana towards the end of the issue, as a prisoner of Saturnyne. She is indeed suspended upside down, mocking Saturnyne’s efforts to avoid her fate.

PAGES 10-12. Saturnyne shows Curse the Vanir power source.

According to Saturnyne, this power source has been semi-hidden by the Vanir – it can be seen through the portal, but not accessed. Saturnyne wants to manipulate Curse into using her reality-warping powers to access it. Saturnyne is convinced that Curse needs to come up with the idea herself. However, we know that Curse can’t use her powers for good without causing harm to herself – Saturnyne seems to be intending to manipulate her into a grand sacrifice in which Curse nobly kills herself off, only to empower Saturnyne.

PAGES 13-16. Mirage, Marrow and Dust with bounty hunters.

Without Typhoid around, Marrow falls back into her traditional role as the awkward one.

I can’t find any references to the Verus ceremony, which I assume is an invention. The word is Latin for true, real, etc, which would fit with what the ceremony is supposed to involve.

The mutants are blamed for the inability to create new prophecies because, as explained last issue, older prophecies have previously linked them to an upcoming disastrous event, which none of the seers can see past.

PAGES 17-18. The cast discuss their lack of progress.

Typhoid obnoxiously blames everyone else for failing to achieve anything, when she’s done literally nothing other than hang around and flirt.

Dani (as a Valkyrie) confirms that she’s been trying to contact Asgard but “our messages go unanswered”. It’s not entirely clear how the messages are even being sent, but let’s assume there’s some sort of established magical postbox. At any rate, as we see in the next data page, nobody is sure whether the Asgardians aren’t getting the messages, or are ignoring them.

Everyone agrees that without her powers, Magik will be no use on this mission. As we’ll see later on, this isn’t true, because Magik is still the only one in the group who understands magic, and they’re going to a place with magical defences.

PAGE 19. Data page. House of Mult leader Trybin writes again to Thor (the current ruler of Asgard over in his own book) – presumably the letter gets shoved into some sort of magical portal and they’re hoping that it comes out the other side.

Trybin seems to be coming to the conclusion that Thor is ignoring Vanaheim and leaving it to its fate. Reasonably enough, he argues that Asgard should still intervene out of pure self-interest, even if it doesn’t care about Vanaheim.

PAGE 20. Joana mocks Saturnyne.

Joana’s basic point is that Saturnyne is unwilling to make the sacrifices – and personal changes – that are necessary to change fate. Presumably, if she won’t make those changes, someone else will. Because it wouldn’t be much of a story otherwise.

PAGES 21-22. The mutants approach the citadel.

The citadel has magical defences that bring nightmarish memories to the fore. We’re not told what Dani sees.

  • Marrow sees “Alexandria”. This is a storyline from X-Force vol 4 (2014) in which Marrow, while de-powered and pregnant, volunteered for an experimental procedure to restore her powers, and lost her child.
  • Dust sees something unspecified, presumably from the period of her life before Wolverine and Fantomex rescued her from slave traders in her debut (New X-Men #133).
  • Typhoid is remembering an incident where she killed a bunch of doctors. I’m not really up on Typhoid’s history, but I suspect this might be from one of her Marvel Comics Presents stories by Ann Nocenti.

The narrator explains that this isn’t just intended to deter people, but also involves someone watching their memories and taking something from them. If Magik had been there, she would have been able to explain that.

PAGES 23-24. Illyana heads off alone.

She leaves a letter for each of the main characters before she goes. Magik is not used to being ignored like this.

PAGE 25. Trailers. The Krakoan reads INTO THE LION’S DEN.

Bring on the comments

  1. The Other Michael says:

    It honestly feels weird to see Illyana portrayed as powerless and impotent and disrespected. Especially by someone like Dani, who’s known her for literally all of her adult life (lives?) and partnered with her on other missions.

  2. Si says:

    Dani, who was powerless herself until recently, and led the New Mutants for a time, while powerless.

  3. wwk5d says:

    Both Dani and Illyana (and possibly Marrow as well) should have all been able to resit Xavier during the Hellfire Gala.

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  5. Karl_H says:

    The writing’s really having some awful trouble with distinct voices. Typhoid Mary, this issue: “Wannabe Legolas”; Marrow, last issue: “Bargain-bin Boromir”. I also noticed while rereading last issue that both Marrow and Magik exclaim “Goodness’ sake, Mary!” at Typhoid at different points in the issue.

    I’m also struggling with the painfully generic setting and plot and supporting characters. Maybe it’s just that a place like Vanaheim is hard to make interesting (or something other than a “hand-me-down” Middle Earth”).

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