One of the strengths of the X-Men is that the mutants have never been limited to a single genre. X-Men stories can be grounded in reality and tackle themes like racism, or blast the heroes off into the far reaches of space for an epic sci-fi adventure. In the case of Extraordinary X-Men #19, they can even dip into the supernatural.
Extraordinary X-Men #19 (Marvel Comics)
First, let me just say that Extraordinary X-Men #19 by writer Jeff Lemire and artist Eric Koda is an Inhumans Vs. X-Men tie-in issue, which of course means it has nothing to do with IVX. As next month’s Extraordinary X-Men will be the series’ last, Lemire is using the IVX backdrop to wrap up his unresolved plotlines. That means this month, we’re dealing with the fate of Sapna.
Magik took the young Sapna, a Lemire creation, under her wing early on in this series. Just before IVX, however, Sapna became possessed by the World Eater, and Magik was forced to slay her protege to stop the dark entity. Fortunately for Sapna, her soul was transferred to Magik’s Soulsword (naturally!).
Or, maybe it wasn’t so fortunate, as we learn that Sapna’s really not having too much fun inside Magik’s Soulsword. She feels the best time to give Magik (or Illyana’s soul) a tour of her new digs is right in the middle of the X-Men and Inhumans’ final battle. But she’s young – she doesn’t know any better – so cut her some slack!
It’s Sapna’s youth that makes this story so interesting. Sapna’s lonely – very, very lonely in the creepy, dark realm that exists within the Soulsword. Koda does an excellent job of making you not want to stay too long in Sapna’s new home. It’s a cold, colorless world, and it’s almost as if Koda took white chalk to a blackboard to create these pages.
The imagery, along with Lemire’s writing, really make you feel for both Sapna and Magik. The latter understands Sapna’s plight, but needs to help the X-Men in battle. Sapna can’t comprehend Magik’s logic. I have a young niece, so I fully understand these types of circular debates (just not of the trapped-inside-a-Soulsword variety).
I suspect Lemire’s X-Men run will be remembered fondly by Magik fans. His work has truly cemented her place among the “main” X-Men and giving her a protege made her seem much warmer than she was under the pens of some of her previous writers.
You don’t need to read this comic book to understand the larger IVX story, but it certainly helps provide closure to an important part of Lemire’s overall Extraordinary X-Men run – which, surprisingly, spent a lot of time in the supernatural side of the Marvel Universe. But I guess that’s par for the course when Magik’s one of your series’ stars.