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Quote1 None commands Margali of the Winding Road. Quote2
Margali Szardos

Appearing in "Nightcrawler's Inferno"

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Synopsis for "Nightcrawler's Inferno"

It is Nightcrawler's birthday, and the X-Men are celebrating. While everyone enjoys the revelry, the newest X-Man, Kitty Pryde, still feels like an outsider among the group. When Kurt begins opening his gifts, one of them turns out to be a crystal statue of himself. As he examines it, it suddenly explodes in his face, enveloping him in a black cloud that knocks him out. Finding no vital signs, the X-Men rush Kurt to the infirmary where the Professor can examine him. However, despite his best efforts he reports to his students that Kurt is dead.

As the X-Men mourn Kurt's passing, there is a knock at the door. When Kitty answers it, in enters Dr. Strange, master of the mystic arts. He has been summoned by the Professor, as Xavier believes that the attack on Kurt was mystical in nature. Scanning Kurt's dead body with the Eye of Agamotto confirms this. Strange's probe also reveals that Kurt is not dead, merely in a state of suspended animation, and that some mystical force has stolen his soul.

Detecting a mystical presence, Strange demands it appear. Complying, the being responsible reveals herself to be Margali of the Winding Road, who accepts Dr. Strange's challenge. Demonic tentacles from the dark void she has come from ensnare Strange, Wolverine, Colossus, Storm and Nightcrawler's inert body, while Kitty and the Professor manage to escape into another room, closing the door behind them. When Kitty phases through it to see what happened to the X-Men on the other side, she finds that they, and the dark void they were pulled into had vanished, leaving them to wonder where their teammates had vanished to.

Dr. Strange, Wolverine, Storm, Colossus and Nightcrawler all revive to find themselves in a hellish realm fashioned after Dante's Inferno. Recognizing the place from the famous poem, Strange believes that Margali wants them to follow the same path as Dante and meet Satan himself. Opening the main gates of warning,[1] they come the shores of the River Acheron.

They are greeted by the ferry man of the dead, known as Charon, who warns the other X-Men that if they follow Nightcrawler, they will share his same fate of death. Unwilling to leave their friend behind, the X-Men and Dr. Strange agree to accompany Charon across the River Acheron to a massive palace. Inside, they are greeted by it's ruler, Minos, guardian to the Gate of Hell. The charismatic Minos explains to Kurt that he has been brought here to pay for his crimes on the surface world. However, before the demon can explain things further, he launches Kurt into the air to send him to the proper circle of Hell to pay punishment.

Storm flies after him to his rescue and catches him over the various circles. However, the winds blast them down to the Second Circle, a place of Stygian darkness where the souls of the damned are whipped about in powerful gale force winds. Storm and Nightcrawler are attacked by Harpies, and although Storm tries to defend both of them, she fails to stop them from taking Kurt away from her. She is struck down and falls deeper into the circles of Hell. Nightcrawler manages to teleport back to the others as well as the mocking Minos, who finds Storm's sacrifice amusing. Minos tells them that she will be transported to the appropriate circle of Hell, where she will spend all eternity unless someone gets her out. Wolverine accepts the challenge on behalf of the X-Men, and when he asks Dr. Strange if he will accompany them, the Sorcerer Supreme agrees.

As they descend deeper into the Inferno, on the third level they are attacked by Cerberus, whom Wolverine and Colossus manage to fight off into fleeing. While crossing a stench-filled bog in the Fourth Circle, they are attacked by a demon horde, and it takes all their mystical might and mutant powers to fight past them. When stuck at a gate, Colossus manages to pry open the doors with his massive strength, scarring away the demons on the other side. Wolverine eventually becomes sick of the slow progression and dives down to the Seventh Circle, where it appears that Storm is being attacked by a bunch of demons. As Strange and the others free this being, they are horrified to find that she has a slightly demonic form. However, Wolverine comes out of the fray with a snake creature and tells them that Storm and this demon swapped forms.

With Storm free, the X-Men and Strange travel deeper to the final circle of hell, a realm of frozen ice, where Nightcrawler suddenly is frozen into an ice block. When Colossus smashes it open, they unleash what appears to be Satan, ready to bring his final punishment on Nightcrawler. Dr. Strange, however, uses his magic to reveal that it was really Margali of the Winding Road. Margali is surprised to see these invaders, and it turns out that she had never met them before.

Just then, Margali's daughter Jimaine appears. She tells her mother that she posed as her to get the X-Men and Dr. Strange to go after her in order to save Nightcrawler's soul. Betrayed by her daughter, Margali uses her powers to incapacitate her daughter. When the X-Men demand to know what crime Kurt had committed, she tells them that he had murdered her son and must pay for it. Not believing that Kurt would willingly murder someone, the X-Men demand that she spare him. Dr. Strange uses the Eye of Agamotto to replay that fateful day for all to witness....

They learn that Kurt was found by Margali and her family when he was a month old and taken into their family, where he grew up as part of their travelling circus. Kurt would develop a love for Jimaine and become great friends with her brother Stefan. Stefan would have Kurt swear to him that one day, if he were to ever become evil, he will kill him. Years later in the city of Winzeldorf, Stefan would become evil and murder many innocent lives in the process, forcing Kurt to live up to his promise and slay the man that was like a brother to him. Kurt would be blamed for all of the murders and would be chased by an angry mob that he would eventually be rescued from by Professor X[2].

Realizing the truth, Margali ends her vendetta, apologizes to Kurt and reverses all the damage she had done while sending the X-Men and Dr. Strange home. Before departing, she tells Kurt that they shall meet again soon. Back at the X-Mansion, Kurt notices that Jimaine has been transported there as well, and she tells him that she has been closer to him than he thought, revealing that she was really Amanda Sefton in disguise. Reunited with his childhood lover, Kurt proclaims that this is the best birthday gift he could get. As the X-Men celebrate their victory, Wolverine notices Kitty standing off to the corner and asks her to join them as she is one of the X-Men also. Kitty joins them in their celebration.


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Links and References


  1. Through me the way to the woeful city, throught me the way to eternal pain, through me the way among the lost people. Justice moved my Maker on high. Divine power made me and supreme Wisdom and primal Love; before me nothing was created but eternal things, and I endure eternally. Abandon every hope, ye that enter.
  2. Giant-Size X-Men #1