Winx Club Forever
The Dark Dimension is the ninety-seventh issue of the Winx Club Comic Series.
The Winx's constant battles against Neruman and the Wizards of the Black Circle have finally been getting to them; making their stress build as Morgana's condition gradually gets worse. Heeding Ogron's words, the Winx decide to seek out a man named Balazar and make him take them to Neruman's lair so that they may put an end to his plans.
At their loft in Gardenia, the Winx's stress over Neruman begin to spill over. Aisha, Musa and Flora voice their concern for Tecna, as she has been cooped up in her room for over a week trying to complete her newest magical detector, the Searchix. Tecna assures them that she is almost done with it, but feels as though it is hard for her to focus thanks Timmy phoning her every hour. Musa insists that Tecna should not worry over that as it shows that Timmy cares for her. She then reveals that she and Riven got into yet another fight and that she has not heard from him in days because of it. Musa tells Tecna that Timmy is being considerate if he has been trying to check up on her every hour and that she wishes that Riven was as considerate. Tecna assures Musa that Riven really does love her, but is too proud to show it. As the two of them talk about their boyfriends, Aisha's mood begins to sink as she no longer has the opportunity to talk about her boyfriend without bringing up painful memories. Unbeknownst to any of the Winx, one of Neruman's shadows is observing them, excited over all of the problems each fairy carries with them on their own.
Meanwhile, Stella is prying Bloom with questions of how the reception was at Domino's Royal Palace. Bloom responds by asking Stella if she wants her to start by telling her about the time she tripped on the red carpet or the time she forgot the words to her speech out of embarrassment. She then sinks down into her bed, claiming that she is a catastrophe of a princess as she ended up doing the one thing she did not want to do: disappoint her birth parents. Stella tries to bring Bloom's spirits back up by assuring her that Oritel and Marion will be proud of her no matter what she does and offers to give Bloom advice on how a princess should behave on all occasions. Just then, Roxy slips into their room to see if Bloom had returned from her trip. Bloom asks Roxy about Morgana's condition and Roxy reveals that, unfortunately, Morgana is getting even weaker. Her magical energy is escaping her and it is safe to assume that she has slipped into critical condition. Bloom and Stella approach Roxy, ready to console her, as Stella tries to reassure her that they will retrieve Morgana's necklace and heal her mother. Just then, Musa rushes into the room, urging for them to come into the living room, as Tecna has now completed her Searchix.
Once everyone has gathered in the living room, Tecna proclaims that, with her newly completed Searchix, they will finally be able to locate Neruman's shadows from anywhere within the Magic Dimension. With the press of a button, the Searchix begins to go wild as Tecna realizes that the shadows are a lot closer than they originally thought. To be more specific, they are somewhere inside the loft! Roxy leaps from her seat, exclaiming that they need to stop Neruman as he must have sent his shadows over to their loft to spy on them. However, Tecna believes that this is the very opportunity that the need. Roxy asks what she means by this and Tecna asks if she remembers what Ogron told them in their last fight with the Wizards of the Black Circle on Solaria.
After a brief flashback to Ogron revealing the identity of Neruman's right-hand man, Balazar, Tecna concludes that, if Ogron were telling the truth then finding Balazar and the portal to the Dark Dimension takes priority if they wish to retrieve Morgana's necklace in time. She then claims that whatever shadows that may be spying on them can return to Neruman all they like as, thanks to her Searchix, she can trace its path back, thereby making the shadow lead them straight to the portal that leads to the Dark Dimension. Roxy demands that they prepare to head off for the Dark Dimension to get her mother's necklace as quickly as possible, but Tecna tries to get her to calm down by claiming that Neruman can and will use her anger against her. Aisha then places a hand on Roxy's shoulder as she insists that Morgana is the one who needs her right now. Bloom chimes in to tell Roxy that it would be best if she stayed in Gardenia with Klaus and Morgana and Roxy ultimately agrees to do so. Just then, Tecna alerts the girls about how she just found the portal's whereabouts. Surprisingly enough, it seems as though the shadow's signal came to a stop somewhere inside the Fortress of Light.
A short while later, the Winx arrive at the Fortress of Light and traverse the inside of the Fortress searching for the Dark Dimension's portal. They are accompanied by a group of templars who remain sceptical to the Winx's claims. They believe that no one would be able to breach the Fortress' walls and insist that the only ones who the exact position to each secret hallway and door are the Fortress of Light Council members and their fellow templars. Bloom agrees with one of the templars, adding on how their claims still hold up as the one they are looking for is Balazar, a Councilman-turned-traitor. The templars jump at the mention of Balazar's name as no one has seen him ever since his escape and Bloom further explains that she and the Winx have come to the conclusion that Balazar may be hiding in a section of the Fortress that has been protected by Neruman's shadows. Just then, Tecna stops in front of a door and alerts the group that the signal has stopped. Suddenly, the door disappears and reveals a skull-shaped door: the portal to the Dark Dimension
The templars are taken aback by how Neruman managed to deceive them for so long and one of them even admits that they never would have been able to find this secret portal without the Winx's help. In that moment, a haggard old troll-looking man appears just next to the portal and one of the templars identifies the elderly man as Balazar. Musa immediately spots that he also has Morgana's necklace within his grasp and urges for everyone to stop him. Bloom and Stella launch their Fire Arrow and Solar Storm at Balazar, landing a direct hit and knocking him into the ground. Bloom then approaches Balazar and snatches the necklace from his hands. Balazar, though defeated, still believes that the Winx are no match for the Lord of Shadows. In fact, he is very confident that Neruman will be making his return soon and will destroy them with ease, even if the Winx possess great power as the Magic Dimension's strongest Guardian Fairies. Tecna, on the other hand, believes otherwise as they can prevent his return so long as they close the portal shut. As the templars surround Balazar to apprehend him, Balazar laughs to himself, claiming that the Winx will not be capable of closing the portal as Morgana's necklace allowed him to open it and does not possess enough magic to close it again. Aisha then declares that their only option now is to defeat Neruman themselves, but she is held back by one of the templars, who insists that the Dark Dimension is too dangerous of a place for them to enter. Stella tells the templars that they will have to take the risk now that there is no other option left and Bloom hands Morgana's necklace off to one of the templars, begging for him to return it to its rightful owner on Earth if they are not able to make it back. The templars agree to their demands and wish them luck as they enter the portal.
Once inside the Dark Dimension, the Winx cannot help but be taken aback by the endless sea of darkness they find themselves in. They quickly take notice of a small purple planet that resembles a skull and conclude that Neruman's lair may be located on the skull-shaped planet as the portal to the Dark Dimension looked just like it. With no other way to be sure, the Winx land on the skull-shaped planet and storm Neruman's lair. They find the Lord of Shadows waiting for them in his throne room and are all engulfed within Neruman's darkness as he laughs at them for entering his domain without knowing the risks.
Suddenly, Bloom wakes up and finds herself back at the Domino Royal Palace in her bed with her parents by her side. As Marion tells Bloom that she and Oritel feared the worst, Bloom asks why she is back on Domino, as she was just fighting Neruman a second ago. Oritel claims that Neruman had been defeated but the portal closed behind her, making her the only one to escape the Dark Dimension. Marion adds onto this by claiming that the templars were able to save Bloom and bring her back to Domino, though, unfortunately, there was nothing they could do to save her friends, meaning that the rest of the Winx are trapped forever within the Dark Dimension.
In response to all of this, Bloom springs from her bed, determined to try and free her best friends. Oritel and Marion try to stop Bloom, insisting that she should not return to such a terrible place and suddenly, Oritel snaps at Bloom, believing that she would not only be needlessly risking her life, but also showing blatant disrespect to him, Marion and all of Domino in doing so. He insists that, as the kingdom's princess, Bloom needs to start acting like one and Marion chimes in to tell Bloom again that her friends are gone forever; the Winx Club is no more. Bloom retaliates by shouting at Oritel and Marion and accusing them over being fakes as the real Oritel and Marion are caring, noble, and would not fear doing the right thing even if it could cost them their lives. Oritel and Marion then lunge at Bloom and try to physically hold her down as Oritel claims that Bloom will have to stay with them forever whether she wants to or not. Bloom fights her parents back until everything around her begins to fade away, revealing that the Oritel and Marion holding her arms are two of Neruman's shadows. Flora appears from just behind the shadows, telling Bloom to be careful and, now that she is aware of the illusion, Bloom uses her Believix Power to destroy them.
Bloom is able to dispose of the shadows successfully, but it took a lot of her magical energy to do so and she falls to the floor as Flora rushes to her side. Bloom thanks Flora and assures her that Neruman's illusion feels like nothing but a bad dream now that she is fully awake. Neruman admires Bloom's willpower but points out that her friends are still under his influence. All of the Winx except for Bloom and Flora lie unconscious on the floor and Neruman explains that though they look like they are asleep, they are suffering as prisoners trapped within their own nightmares. He then directs their intention to Tecna, who is currently suffering a nightmare fueled from her anguish. Though she is a fairy with a brilliant mind, she fills her time working on various gadgets while ignoring her friends and lover.
Within her nightmare, Tecna is working on yet another invention as Timmy tries to get her to take a break. Tecna shrugs Timmy's offer off and Timmy tells her that he is only asking for a few minutes of her time as she has been working on that gadget for hours on end. As Tecna tries to push him away, Neruman boasts over how it is like Tecna has a heart of steel with how cold and unfriendly she can be. If Tecna continues to be this way, she will run the risk of losing those they love forever. Timmy remains adamant on staying by Tecna's side despite her protests and Tecna begins to hear a voice. The voice is coming from one of Neruman's shadows as it tells her that Timmy will only hurt her if she opens her heart to him as his love is insincere.
Flora rushes to Tecna side trying to wake her friend up and assure her that all of her friends and Timmy really do love her. Neruman laughs over Tecna's emotional detachment, finding her to pathetic as she is doing so out of fear. Enraged, Flora proclaims to Neruman that Tecna will break free of her nightmare, no matter how bad it is. Neruman insists that Flora should not place her hopes into her friends as they are now under his influence; suffering nightmares fueled by their jealousy, guilt and vanity. An evil smile then paints Neruman's face as he claims that Stella has been the easiest to terrorize out of the Winx, as all he had to do was give her a bit of glory and fame only to take it all away.
In Stella's nightmare, she has been forgotten about this whole time. With her fame completely overshadowed by the rest of the Winx, they have abandoned her and she is now all alone, left to grow ever envious towards her closest friends.
Flora then rushes over to Stella's side trying to wake her up and assure her that none of them would ever even think of abandoning her. Neruman interrupts Flora's pleas by directing her attention to Musa as he explains that she is the one who has been consumed by jealousy. In her nightmare, she is forced to watch Riven leave her in the dust for another girl at the Frutti Music Bar.
She runs off to cry to herself until Riven, who has parted with the other girl, confronts Musa for possibly spying on him. Teary-eyed, Musa points out how Riven was being close with another girl and all Riven has to say is that Musa should not have expected anything else as they do not do anything with their relationship. All they do is fight and, as a result, Riven no longer loves her. He tries to leave but Musa clings to his arm, believing that even though they have had more than their fair share of fights, there was always a special bond between them. Riven shakes Musa off as he begins to leave, telling her that that may have been the case before but, as of now, their story together is over.
Neruman sits himself back into his throne as he claims to find the pain to be delicious; the pain caused by Aisha's anger and guilt over losing her fiancé.
In Aisha's nightmare, she is battling Ogron within the heart of the Omega Dimension, ready to avenge Nabu. She launches her Andros Hurricane at Ogron with all her strength, but Ogron shrugs off the spell and mocks her for trying to avenge Nabu. Aisha cannot help but feel herself start to cry as Ogron accuses her over doing nothing to prevent Nabu's death and she falls to the ground as Ogron asks her why she chose to do nothing.
Flora rushes over to Aisha and tries to tell her that she should not blame herself for what happened; that no one could blame her for what happened. Having enough of all of this, Flora demands that Neruman free her friends from his spell, however, she is quickly cut off by Neruman suspecting that she may think that she is immune to his evil influences. He then asks Flora why she has not noticed why she is not in the same state as any of her friends and claims that she is not currently in a nightmare because she is the weakest and most insecure of the Winx. Bloom warns Flora to be careful as Neruman is trying to trick her, but Neruman continues to arouse her fears by pointing out how she is practically shaking like a leaf - that the terror in her eyes strengthens him. He then fires a blast of dark energy at Flora, knocking her into Bloom's arms. Bloom sets Flora down so that she does not drop her friend and Flora insists that Neruman is too powerful for her to fight alone. Bloom agrees with her, claiming that she is also too weak to fight, but promises to do everything she can to aid Flora in their fight.
Bloom instructs Flora to listen to her advice and not fear Neruman, believing that her friend can defeat the Lord of Shadows if she does so. Flora is barely able to get back on her feet, but she still tries to fight back by firing her Autumn Wind at Neruman as she insists that he does not scare her. Neruman scoffs at Flora attempt, revealing that her power over nature is useless within the Dark Dimension: a place where his shadows reign supreme. He launches a blast of dark magic at Flora, easily toppling the Nature Fairy over and into Bloom. As she is being blasted back, Flora apologizes to Bloom for not being able to do anything with the last of her power, but Bloom insists that Flora did great anyway as she tried to face her fears.
With Bloom and Flora too weak to pose a threat and the rest of the Winx still unconscious, Neruman calls upon his shadows to feed him all of the suffering they were able to gather from the Winx. The shadows do as they are told and fade into their master who, thanks to all of the Winx's suffering, is now able to regain his true form.
Power swirls around Neruman as his former body and powers comes back to him. He is confident that he now has the power to exact his revenge against all those who turned on him and his regeneration even scares Bloom, who is almost convinced that Neruman will return to the Fortress of Light with his newly regained body, leaving them to rot in the Dark Dimension, unable to do anything. Flora insists that they cannot lost hope and must remain confident that their friends can escape the nightmares casted upon them by Neruman. She then expresses her belief in her friends as she knows deep down that they will escape Neruman's nightmares and, lo and behold, the rest of the Winx begin to wake up. Bloom notices that their friends are surrounded by Believix energy as they get to their feet and Neruman is left surprised by all of this as no one has ever been capable of breaking through his spells before.
Now fully conscious, Musa claims that even though seeing Riven in the arms of another girl had been painful, she also knew deep down that it could not be real as the real Riven would never stop loving her, even after all of their fights. Stella then proclaims that Neruman had been all wrong about them. Admitting that she did think her friends abandoned her for a moment, Stella reveals that she was able to hear Flora's words and her words gave her hope as their friendship is the important thing to her. Stella approaches Flora to thank her for saving her as she could still feel that Flora was close by even while under Neruman's evil influence. Tecna, Aisha and Musa all approach Flora to thank her as well for her encouraging words, with Aisha insisting that Flora's words really did save them and with Tecna claiming that it was thanks to Flora that she was able to open her heart to Timmy.
Neruman realizes that he was wrong to underestimate the Winx and brandishes his sword, ready to take them down now that he has almost regained all of his ancient magic. Aisha turns to Neruman, declaring that he reopened a wound of hers that she thought she was able to heal. She knows full well that her guilt or thirst for revenge will never be able to bring Nabu back, but he will still continue to live on forever in her memories.
Bloom proclaims that Neruman's spells only strengthened them, making them all much more powerful than ever before, and Stella declares that, with their powers combined, this will mark the end for him. The Winx then gather behind Bloom as she brings out a bit of her Dragon's Flame, encouraging for them to combine their powers together into one attack. The Winx all focus their powers into Bloom's Heart of the Dragon and shoot the gigantic flame at Neruman. Unable to block the attack due to its large amount of positive energy, Neruman is forced to take the full brunt of it; ending in his demise.
With Neruman now defeated, the girls take notice of how his shadows have also disappeared. They are relieved that he can no longer pose a threat to the Universe anymore, however, they are fully aware that evil cannot be defeated completely.
Later, the Winx return to the Fortress of Light through the dimensional portal and are greeted with praise and gratitude from the magical templars. One of the templars informs the Winx that Balazar will now be spending the rest of his life within the Fortress' prison walls, though, the Winx are still worried about the Dark Dimension's portal, which remains open. The same templar admits that the portal will have to stay open for now but assures them that with the help of the other templars, the portal will be shut closed forever. As one of the templars hands over Morgana's necklace over to Bloom, he insists that the Winx's act of bravery has earned them a reward, however, Bloom believes that being able to return the necklace to its owner is reward enough as now Morgana's life will be saved; allowing for her powers to return as she becomes a healthy and powerful fairy once again.
- Fire Arrow - Used by Bloom to attack Balazar alongside Stella's Solar Storm.
- Solar Storm - Used by Stella to attack Balazar alongside Bloom's Fire Arrow.
- Andros Hurricane - Used by Aisha against Ogron in her nightmare.
- Autumn Wind - Used by Flora in an unsuccessful attempt at stopping Neruman.
- Heart of the Dragon Convergence - Used by the Winx against Neruman, defeating him.
- Roxy's yellow ombre streaks are missing from her hair and her top is missing the openings on both shoulders.
- The purple belt and green star that usually appear on Stella's dress are missing throughout the issue.
- Tecna's top is missing its checkered pattern.
- Rather than having their hair tied in ponytails, the Fortress of Light templars wear their hair down freely.
- The Winx's Believix attire holds some minor errors throughout their appearance in this issue.
- Bloom either has on full gloves instead of fingerless ones or no gloves at all.
- Aisha's glove and bracelet are missing.
- Tecna wears full gloves instead of fingerless ones, her knee-high socks are missing and a section of her sleeves are not translucent.
- Musa's gloves are missing.
- Stella's gloves are missing.
- Flora's bracelets are missing.
- On page 1, as Musa and Aisha try to get Tecna to leave her room, Aisha's green headband disappears in one panel.
- On page 5, as Roxy demands that they prepare to head for the Dark Dimension, the speech bubble is pointed towards Flora instead of her, making it seem like Flora is speaking Roxy's lines.
- Even though the Winx advised Roxy to stay by Morgana's bedside on the same page, Roxy still comes along for their confrontation against Balazar and Neruman. She is even seen during their raid on Neruman's lair but does not contribute to the fight or even speak, so it is safe to assume that the artist of this issue may not have intended to have Roxy get involved.
- On page 8, Tecna's hair reverts back to how it usually is in her civilian attire, even though she is still in her Believix form.
- The Winx Club
- Fortress of Light Templars
- Earth Fairies
- The Specialists
- This marks the end of the Neruman Arc.