X-Men: Hellbound #3
This issue concludes a three-issue miniseries spin-off from the Second Coming story line. It is one of several “Revelations” issues that accompany the main Second Coming series but are not numbered chapters. Northstar appears significantly as a regular member of the X-Men, having joined up in Uncanny X-Men #508.
Illyana Rasputin (Magik) had been transported to Limbo by unknown means in X-Men: Second Coming #1 – a tactical move by Bastion’s forces to take out a teleporter. This miniseries is the self-contained story of how a small X-Men squad led by Cannonball rescues her. Northstar had been selected as part of the team in the first issue and, in the second issue, was transformed into Dark Northstar by a demonic Gambit, who had also transformed Dazzler after a confusing scattering and partial reunion of some team members.
Dark Northstar, Dark Gambit and Dark Dazzler find Cannonball and Anole in Limbo’s lava fields with the intention of attacking them. During the trash talk set-up for the battle, Gambit mentions that Anole’s limbs grow back when severed. Northstar then offers to help:
This disgusting little creature struck me once. I go first. I think I’ll take the arms.
This is of course a reference to the events of X-Men: Divided We Stand #1 (2008), when Anole popped Northstar in the mouth after he made an unsuccessful attempt to reach out to an extremely disaffected former student. That was actually in response to the events of X-Men #190 (2007) when a then-controlled Northstar sucker-elbowed Anole in the head, so technically Dark Northstar’s sense of retribution is misplaced. Either selective amnesia is a side effect of demonic possession or writer Chris Yost decided to put yet another chip on Jean-Paul’s shoulder.
We never get a chance to find out though, because Cannonball and Anole fly off. This brings Dark Northstar, Dark Dazzler and Dark Gambit into a final showdown with N’astirh, Pixie and Magik, only to have Cannonball swoosh down and blast everyone. Northstar is temporarily knocked over by this initial blast and is then completely taken out by Cannonball – a somewhat surprising outcome to a one-on-one battle between the two, except one has to remember that Northstar wasn’t exactly himself at the time.
Note Dark Northstar’s slightly modified costume has a starburst pattern positioned mid-thigh, lower down on his leg from the hip than the usual placement.
Northstar spends the rest of the issue unconscious, only to recover after Dark Gambit is turned back into Cajun Gambit again. Upon waking, Northstar realizes he had been knocked out, but still refuses to give full credit to Cannonball for getting them through the mission alive – another nice touch by Chris Yost to continue the same attitude we first saw in issue #1 when Northstar was arrogantly questioning Sam’s leadership skills.