New Mutants #16
No, there aren’t any of the New Mutants in this issue at all – a bold and impressive move by Zeb Wells to leave out the title characters that pays off big time. Sometimes these types of books turn out so gimmicky that they fail miserably, but certainly not this issue. It’s all backstory and character introduction and solid (though at times disturbing) storytelling, with a few flashbacky scenes all in a difficult but well-executed continuity, along with spot-on art by Leonard Kirk, just everything you want in a good comic book. Of course it doesn’t hurt that Witchfire appears as well!
The few glimpses of Project Purgatory we’ve seen have been teasing us along for a few issues, and we finally learn what the connection is with Limbo. Though it’s difficult to pin down the time frame because of the wacky way time works in Limbo, approximately three years ago, a soldier from Purgatory comes across a blonde girl’s skeletal remains (presumably Magik) and obtains the 3-bloodstone amulet seen last in the X-Infernus series from 2009. Witchfire then shows up at the gates, with an army of Limbo baddies to score the amulet.
There are a few nice touches in her little appearance. First, she introduces herself as Belasco’s daughter Ananym, a name not mentioned in the X-Infernus series, so good job on the research, Zeb. She also explains a plausible meaning behind the name Witchfire – “I take the name Witchfire for the pain it suggests”, but we have no way of knowing if this were the original intent of her creator, James P. Hudnall.
The entirety of her appearance is on one page in just a few panels. She’s wearing the awesome new costume worn in the X-Infernus series and she’s got the glowing eyes that Alpha Flight Collector loves! She utters the commands in Limbonic, “Dalcke! Carribit!!” and her army completely destroys the base.
So if you were wondering how Witchfire got her hand (get it?) on the bloodstone amulet, this solves that mystery. The only way this issue could be better would be if there were flames shooting out of her eyes, of course.