Limbo (comics)

Limbo (comics)

Infobox comics location
name = Limbo

imagesize =
caption = The DC Multiverse's version of Limbo. Panel from "Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #1", art by Doug Mahnke.
publisher = Marvel Comics
DC Comics
debut =
creators =
type =
residents =
races =
locations =
subcat = DC Comics
addpubcat1= Marvel Comics dimensions
sortkey = PAGENAME

Limbo can refer to multiple fictional places in either the Marvel universe or DC Comics universe.

Marvel Universe

In no particular order, the first Limbo is a magical dimension of demons which were historically ruled by Belasco and was primarily featured in X-Men comics. The second Limbo is a place outside of time historically ruled by Immortus and the location to which Rom the Spaceknight banished the Dire Wraiths.

Each Limbo shares some characteristics. None are explicitly intended to be the Catholic Limbo, but each is a sort of "pocket universe", whose physical and temporal scope are extremely limited compared to the universe that ordinary human beings inhabit. To those within each, it appears roughly analogous to a planet, with a solid surface at one earth gravity and a sky devoid of stars.

Limbo (True)

Temporal Limbo, also called "true Limbo," exists outside of time and is ruled by Immortus from his castle Tenebrae, which is the primary point of interest there. Its primary occupants are the giant Tempus, the Space Phantoms, and Immortus. Temporal Limbo has primarily been visited by the Avengers and their allies, such as Thor.

Thor once tried saving the planet Phantus, home of the Space Phantoms, from Limbo by expending all of Mjolnir's time travel abilities. It was later revealed in Avengers Forever that Phantus had just been a hoax.

Kang the Conqueror's city-base of Chronopolis was depicted as existing outside of time, and therefore could have been in temporal Limbo.

This Limbo first appeared in "Avengers #2".

Rom's Limbo

Instead of killing his foes, Rom the Spaceknight banished Dire Wraiths to a zone called Limbo. At first blush, this seemed as if it might have been a third limbo, but a canon reference to the Dire Wraiths as denizens of temporal Limbo was made in "Avengers" volume 1 #268 [ [ GCD :: Issue Details ] ] . Dire Wraiths were also depicted roaming the temporal Limbo in What If I #39, although this series by definition is not canon.

Demonic Limbo

This Limbo is also referred to as Otherplace. It first appeared in "X-Men #160". (It has sometimes been erroneously called Otherworld; however, in the Marvel Universe, "Otherworld" is actually the home dimension of the beings who empower and oversee the Captain Britain Corps, and should not be confused with Other-Earth, homeworld of Kang the Conqueror.) Limbo's physical laws are primarily magical, though laws of the ordinary universe (such as electromagnetism and gravity) normally apply within its bounds.

It has an ecology composed primarily of demons of various sizes, strengths, and intellects. It is said that its ether is much thinner than that of the normal universe, allowing for a greater spectrum of magical powers and effects. All demons within it are magical creatures that possess spell making abilities to a greater or lesser degree.

Although Otherplace has a linear history, time within it is not rigid. Many points in its past and future are connected through naturally occurring temporal rifts, and its present is relative to the individual. Its history can be changed by travel through these rifts, but for some reason this is rare.

Limbo is traditionally ruled by a Supreme Sorcerer, either a demonic native or an entity from another universe, often Earth's. Limbo's appearance and physical laws are highly variable, and determined by the power and personal taste of its ruler. It can take the form of an otherworldly paradise, or a rocky, sulfurous perdition. The demons of Limbo traditionally display an attitude of slavish loyalty to its sovereign, and act as his or her servants. They will even assume forms mandated by the sorcerer if he or she is sufficiently powerful. However, the longer Limbo's ruler spends away from the dimension, the weaker that individual's mystical thrall over it becomes, and the more autonomously the demons begin to act. Left to their own devices they will plot to betray and conquer whomever holds the highest position. They will also attempt to invade other realities if not held in check.

Otherplace generally has a morally and spiritually corrupting influence over its denizens. If human, a resident of the realm will slowly metamorphose into a demonic entity. This change enhances the magical powers of the individual at the cost of their soul. Persons of great moral courage and wisdom can stave off the change for decades, but it is considered inevitable. The transformation usually progresses in stages initiated by the evil acts Limbo demands for survival. Magic in limbo is fundamentally neutral. It is the social and political climate that leads to this process.

The reality of Limbo is generated by a single deposit of a magical metal called promethium. In Limbo it takes the form of a giant animal heart, hidden in a cavern deep below its surface. Removal of the promethium to another dimension will cause Limbo to vanish. The heart of Limbo was once sought by the supervillain Doctor Doom as an inexhaustible energy source for his nation of Latveria.

Rulers of Otherplace

The complete timeline of Limbo is unknown, but it has had several reigning sorcerers during its history with the Marvel Universe. These include:

* Belasco: Commonly referred to as "The Demon Belasco", he was primarily human in appearance, and may have been human once. Though wicked as any demon, Belasco lacked the savagery common to Limbo natives.

* Illyana Nikolievna Rasputin: Also known as "Magik" or the "Darkchylde", Rasputin was abducted by Belasco as a child and was raised in Limbo. Belasco employed her as an apprentice, and was eventually overthrown by her. In time her mutant power of teleportation emerged, allowing her to leave, although she remained Limbo's ruler in absentia.

* S'ym & N'astirh: Native demons of Limbo, this pair exhibited qualities far exceeding Limbo's average. S'ym was the most physically potent native of Limbo, while N'astirh was a powerful sorcerer. They were right-hand servants of Belasco and then Magik. They jointly seized power when Magik's hold weakened sufficiently due to her prolonged absence, then they tricked her into opening a permanent portal from Earth to Limbo. Their subsequent invasion caused the "Inferno" crossover. N'astirh was killed when their invasion was repelled, leaving S'ym the sole ruler, but without the Soulsword to strengthen his throne.

* Doctor Doom: Conquered Limbo during his attempt to claim its precious promethium.

* Darkoth: Wrested the Soulsword from Doom and slew S'ym. Assumed rulership of Limbo and wardenship of Soulsword. End of his rulership is unknown, but Soulsword was next seen back in Kitty Pryde's possession.

* Margali Szardos: Usurped the Soulsword from Kitty and used it to kill those ahead of her on the 'Winding Way'. She then took over Limbo.

* Amanda Sefton: Assumed control over Limbo from her mother and took on the identity of Magik. Lost control when Belasco returned.

Techno-Organic infection of Limbo

Limbo was also briefly controlled by The Magus, an alien entity of vast technological power. To save her teammate Warlock, Magik stranded the Magus in Limbo, where she hoped her demon vassals would subdue him. Instead he expanded to fill the entire dimension and radically transformed its ecology within a few days. A sizable percentage of Limbo's demons were infected by the Magus with the Transmode Virus, a techno-organic pathogen that transmogrifies carbon-based organisms into living electronic machines. Although the details are unclear, it is assumed he killed a large number of them by draining them of life energy. He then escaped by unknown means, leaving roughly half the remaining demons shape-shifting, techno-organic beings like himself.

While most living beings are immobilized by the techno-organic transformation, Limbo's demons are apparently immune to that effect. The infection can be transmitted intentionally, but most chose not to pass it on, and the ratio of “natural” to transmuted demons remained relatively stable. For example, at the time of Magik's overthrow, S'ym was a techno-organic demon, whereas N'astirh was not.

The domination of Limbo by the Magus was purely physical. Apart from the infections, Limbo remained unperturbed. Control reverted to Magik when he vacated, then to Belasco when Magik was de-aged and N'astirh was killed during "Inferno". He retained power until recently, when he was overthrown by Amanda Sefton, who had obtained Magik's soulsword and was now calling herself Magik.

Alternative Characters seen in Limbo

*Storm The X-Men Leader appeared as a sorceress. She first appeared in the Uncanny X-Men #160. She was older then her main counterpart version. She was mercy killed by Illyana in Magik #4.

*Nightcrawler He first appeared in Uncanny X-Men #160. He became the loyal servant of Belasco. He was killed by Cat in Magik #2.

*Kitty Pryde She first appeared in Magik #1. She turned to combat and became a warrior. She had been mutated slightly by Belasco to give her cat like features (Eyes, claws and Teeth) and she renamed herself Cat. She was later mutated further into a cat like creature with an animal like mind. She was killed by Illyana in self defense in Magik #3.

*Fantastic Four A demonic version of the Fantastic Four appeared in Excalibur #37-#39. They fought Doctor Doom and Excalibur for the Soulsword.

Limbo mixed

By a writer's intentional discretion or mistaken confusion, Limbo on occasion is presented as a mashup, inheriting characteristics of multiple versions. Stuart Vandal, aka "Loki", a contributor and editor of the "Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe 2005: Alternate Universes" stated that "the Limbo he "(Belasco)" rules is not Immortus' Limbo, as established in the Deluxe Edition handbooks and Excalibur." []

The Limbos were also been portrayed as one blended entity in Alex Ross's Earth X, but this has been declared officially non-canon.

DC Universe

Grant Morrison's "Animal Man" introduced another comic book limbo inhabited by old characters seemingly abandoned or forgotten by their publishers. The comic depicted such characters as the Inferior Five, Mr. Freeze and the Gay Ghost (who expressed a desire not to be revived). This comic was published in the wake of DC's "Crisis on Infinite Earths", in which many historic comics were removed from continuity. This "comic book limbo" is a metafiction, based on the notion that any character who has not been published recently can be said to reside in "comic book limbo". [Citation
last =Callahan
first =Timothy
date = May 2007
title = Grant Morrison: The Early Years
series = Sequart Journal, #1
place =
publisher = Books
page = 112
isbn =0615140874
url =,M1
accessdate =2008-09-03
"Comic Book Limbo, as a metaphorical idea, has been around as long as comic books have been around. Any character who hasn't appeared for a while could be said to exist in 'Comic Book Limbo'. Morrison takes that concept and turns it into an actual place."

This Limbo reappeared decades later in "Final Crisis: Superman Beyond", also by Morrison. [cite web |url= |title="Final Crisis: Superman Beyond" #1: The What is the Space What Now? |accessdate=2008-09-03 |last=Callahan |first=Timothy |coauthors=Chad Nevitt |date=2008-08-29 |work=The Splash Page |publisher=Sequart Research & Literacy Organization] Merryman of the Inferior Five was still resident, and described himself as the "King of Limbo". In "Superman Beyond", Limbo is shown to contain "the Library of Limbo", with only one book in it. That book was unreadable because it contains an infinite number of pages, all occupying the same space. One inhabitant of this Limbo (now called the Graveyard Universe of Earth-51), is Walker Gabriel, Chronos II, who seldomly appeared after the end of his own miniseries, or Hardhat, a villain only referenced once in an issue of "Starman" (both of them seen in this version of Limbo, referencing the above mentioned nature of the world).Cite comic
Writer = Grant Morrison
Penciller = Doug Mahnke
Inker = Christian Alamy, Rodney Ramos, Tom Nguyen, Walden Wong
Story =
Title = Final Crisis: Superman Beyond
Volume =
Issue = 1
Date = October 2008
Publisher = DC Comics
Page =
Panel =
ID =
] In both "Animal Man" and "Superman Beyond", Limbo is shown to contain an archway bearing the inscription "FACILIS DISCENUS AVERNO" ("the road to Hell is easy").


External links

* [ ""'s article on the magical Limbo that belonged to Illyana Rasputin]
* [ "MarvelDirectory"'s article on temporal, or "true" Limbo]
* [ "MarvelDirectory"'s article on Belasco's demonic Limbo]
* [ "Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe"'s article on the Council of Kangs, containing canon reference to the Dire Wraiths being denizens of temporal Limbo]
* [ Grand Comics Database article on the issue of Avengers containing canon reference to the Dire Wraiths being denizens of temporal Limbo]

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