Posted by:
Byron Brewer

What the D'ast? N'Astirh



(Editor’s note: This is another in a series of irregularly-scheduled columns by Managing Editor Byron Brewer, mainly dealing with Marvel Cosmic and its many denizens. Mr. Brewer’s opinions do not necessarily reflect that of He welcomes both raves and opposing views.)

By Byron Brewer


Marvel’s Limbo dimension, probably first seen in Avengers #2 with the appearance of the Space Phantom, is an interesting realm. For a place where time fails to pass from moment to moment, a lot of things happen there.

One of its most interesting – and terrifying – inhabitants is the demon N’Astirh, who made himself well known during my days of reading the X-books. A demon with vast magical powers, N’Astirh can generate mystical energy as force bolts and protective shields, increase his size and strength, regenerate his injuries and tap into the innate evil of humans and turn them into demons with a touch,. He also has the ability of flight due to his natural leathery wings. N’Astirh has a gifted intellect and possesses extensive knowledge of black magic gained through study of Belasco’s principal book of sorcery.

I first encountered the demon N’Astirh during the second greatest X-Men storyline of all time (IMO), Inferno! N’Astirh helped Madelyne Pryor, a genetic and physical doppelganger for the then-believed dead Jean Grey, get her baby (the future Cable) back from Mr. Sinister.

It was during Inferno that N’Astirh was infected by the Transmode Virus. This granted the demon the ability to alter his own shape; infect others with the virus, converting them into “techno-organic” beings; and absorb the life energy from converted beings, after which they would crumble to dust.

For years, it was assumed N’Astirh had been killed by Storm’s lightning bolt. But during the recent Second Coming event, N’Astirh and fellow demon S’ym -- also a well-known character from the saga of Magik (Illyana Rasputin), the sister of Colossus – cut a deal with the forces of Bastion (he who is a mystical fusion of Master Mold and Nimrod) and provided them with a “weaponized ritual” that sent Magik back to Limbo. When the X-Men sent a team to rescue her, S’ym and N’Astirh approached Pixie to make another deal: if the butterfly-winged mutant would kill Magik and bring her Soulsword to N’Astirh, he would return the missing piece of Pixie’s soul and free her from Limbo’s darkness forever.

As a post note, N’Astirh in Second Coming did not seem to possess the enhancements and abilities given to him as a result of his exposure to the Transmode Virus.

Of all those inhabitants of Limbo, N’Astirh is one of the most powerful. I am certain this cosmic creep will flap his leathery wings into the 616 universe again.