16: NM 1 - 3 (Enter The New Mutants!)

What's Covered?

  • Marvel Team Up # 100 (Karma)

  • The New Mutants Graphic Novel

  • New Mutants 1 - 3

  • UXM 167.

This blog focuses on the introduction to the New Mutants Team (Cannonball/Sam Guthrie, Psyche/Dani Moonstar, Karma/ Xian Coy Manh, Sunspot/ Roberto DaCosta, and Wolfsbane/Rahne Sinclaire), primarily focusing on New Mutants # 1 - 3 and The New Mutants Graphic Novel (the real pilot for this series). We also touch on Karma's introduction in Marvel Team Up # 100 and UXM # 167.


Roster Watch


Creators

The New Mutants comic was created by Chris Claremont and Bob McLeod (on pencils at first). Claremont had the following to say about the origin of the comic in Comic Creators on X-Men:


We heard rumours that Mark Gruenwald wanted to do a new X-Men book that was based on the West Coast. He felt we had lost sight of the whole school aspect of the series and wanted to fill the vacuum. Louise Simonson and I basically said ‘Screw that, we’ll do our own X-title that focuses on the school.

Louise Simonson started out as Chris's editor and eventually became his successor. This comic is clearly designed to show what life is like for mutants in adolescence, as evidenced in another Claremont quote:


We could do stories about kids without putting them in the high level of jeopardy that we used in X-Men.

At the beginning of this run, New Mutants was completely intertwined with Uncanny X-Men, making both comics mandatory reading if you were planning on staying in the loop.


Well why don't we meet our founding members!


Meet the Characters


Cannonball - Sam Guthrie

We are introduced to Sam as a small town miner from Kentucky. This 16 year old is working in the coal mines to support his large family after his dad was killed in a cave-in. Sam's powers become active when he is involved in his own cave-in and he saves a fellow worker.

Cannonball's powers allow him to fly at incredibly velocity while protected by an energy field that makes his practically invulnerable. Unlike other mutants who can fly, he has a really hard time maneuvering and controlling his powers. I believe Sam remains as a member of the New Mutants for the entire run and I know he becomes a founding member of X-Force in the 90's.


Psyche - Danielle (Dani) Moonstar

Dani is a 15 year old member of the Cheyenne tribe (nation) who has the ability to pull people's fears out of their minds and display them for all to see. It was a little disappointing to see that this is the second straight Native American (Thunderbird being the other) who has a major chip on her shoulder and seems to severely distrust any white men.


Dani is actually the member that I am most interested in at first because her stubborn personality also seems to give her the potential to be team leader. She constantly struggles with her powers as she has a tendency to accidentally pull out people's greatest fears and put them on display.

As the series goes on, it's interesting to see her powers evolve a little bit and I find myself wondering if she will ever become a full fledged telepath.


Wolfsbane - Rahne Sinclair

Rahne Sinclair is a 14 year old metamorph from Scotland. She was raised as an orphan by a priest and has a very strict moral code, which plays a big part in her characterization. She has the ability to change her body into that of a wolf, however she can also stay in a more transitional form which is part wolf, part human. When we meet her, she is saved by Moira (who lived near her) because a religious mob has set out to kill her, thinking her shape changing is due to the devil.


Sunspot - Roberto DaCosta

Roberto is a Brazillian who has the power to absorb the power of the sun, giving him incredible strength and other developing solar powers.

Sunspot comes from a very rich family and is characterized as a spoiled womanizer. We do see moments of him having a big heart, but it's really hard to sympathize with him in these early issues.


Karma - Xian Coy Mahn

Xian (often referred to as "Shan,") is a Vietnamese refugee who has the ability to possess other people. Out of the original 5, she is the only who who got an entire issue to flesh out her origin. She stars in Marvel Team Up # 100 alongside Spider Man and the Fantastic Four.

This Marvel Team Up begins with us seeing a silhouette of Karma as she takes over Spider-Man. She recently came to America and saw a newspaper article depicting him as a villain, therefore she thought he would be a good person to possess to help her.

Shan's uncle has become a powerful business man and is at a fancy party with Shan's two younger siblings (who she wants to protect) and the Fantastic Four.

Shan believes her uncle is evil so she ends the possessed Spider-Man in to free her younger siblings.

Shan is overriden by her twin brother Tran who has the exact same power!

After a bunch of back and forth, Shan convinces the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man that her intentions are good. The 6 of them take on her brother and uncle, but Tran takes control of all of them.

In a stunning move, Shan takes over her brother himself to end the fight and ends up killing him. She is pretty distraught over this, however she is relieved to learn that her siblings are now free. Reed Richards calls Professor X to tell him that he met a mutant and ask if he would be willing to take her in.

UXM# 164: Remember the school concept?

Writer - Chris Claremont

Pencils - Dave Cockrum

There were a few panels from UXM #164 (The middle of the Brood Saga) that related to Shan and the new Mutants which I held out so I could put in here. When Moira first brings up the possibility of Shan coming to the mansion, Charles is quick to say no.

She uses reverse psychology to get him re-thinking his stance...

Just sit back and read this heated exchange between Moira and Charles.

I wonder why he's being so adamant about this?

The decision is made.


The New Mutants Graphic Novel: Meet the Lineup

Writer - Chris Claremont

Pencils - Bob McLeod


Similar to Giant Sized X-Men, Xavier goes across the country picking up the team from around the country. He was hesitant to bring Shan to the mansion, and Moira mentioning Rahne contributed to him changing his mind, but when he heard from an old friend that his granddaughter needed help he decided to start the New Mutants.


Shortly after Dani accidentally showed her grandfather his biggest fear of being attacked by Hellfire Club goons, the prophecy comes true and he is killed.

After giving Shan an exam and asking to see a display of her powers (She takes over Moira), Charles invites Rahne and Shan to go with him to the Cheyenne reservation.

The same Hellfire Club goons who killed Dani's grandaughter go after her, but Shan and Rahne step in to help her, helping to forge a bond between the three of them.

Remember when I said Dani has a chip on her shoulder. Yea, she literally tries to murder the Hellfire guy before Charles stops her. I just realized something. Do I like Dani because I grew to like Dany Targaryan from Game of Thrones. Do I just have a thing for girl's named Dany?

Ut oh, the Hellfire Club is in Brazil too?! It looks like they never figured out that Cerebro is bugged from when they tried to steal Kitty and Dazzler back during the Dark Phoenix saga.

A fight breaks out and take a look at what Dani pulls out of their heads! It's Wolverine! OMG, this cracked me up when I first saw it. Remember when Wolverine started tearing them up, also during the Dark Phoenix Saga. Well apparently they all remember him. Especially the guy he let go and the other guys who now have bionic arms because he tore them up.

A tragic event takes place as Roberto's girlfriend jumps in front of a bullet as one of the goons tries to shoot him.

Meanwhile, the Hellfire Club captured Professor X so it's up to the New Mutants to save him!

For some reason, Sam had been working with the Hellfire Club and he attacks Sunspot. However, he comes to his senses and ultimately helps them. The 5 of them come back to the mansion with him.

We see Xavier reflecting as his new band of mutants has joined him at the mansion.

The 4 members happily welcome Sam to the New Mutant club.

The New Mutants #1-3: The first adventures

Writer - Chris Claremont

Pencils - Bob McLeod


I originally didn't read the Graphic Novel and got really confused with this as the starting point. I didn't know who any of these characters were, yet they were already living in the Mansion hanging out together. Now it makes sense!


Stevie is here (told you she would be playing a bigger role) giving Shan a more modern haircut.

All of the kids are here hanging out having a good time until Dani accidentally reached into Shan's head and pulls out her history.

Between the Marvel Team Up and these memories on displayed, it becomes clear that Shan went through some pretty terrible stuff in Vietnam. We get the impression that her family was attacked by pirates (The pirates look like monsters, yet that is never explained) and it seems as though both her and her mother were raped. Her mother did not survive the experience, but she did.

We switch to England where Moira and Illyana are speaking to Gabrielle Haller, a former lover of Professor X. (Editor's Note: This was touched on in Issue # 161 which I plan to circle back to in a special Magneto centric post coming soon!) As someone who loved the show Legion, I had NO IDEA David Haller (AKA Legion) would be coming up in New Mutants. I'm currently up to issue #20 in my New Mutants read (I'm always a little ahead) and he still hasn't shown up...so this is a deep tease. Still have no idea how much of a presence he will have, but he's a kid so many he joins the team or something!? Also, Illyana is turning into one of the characters I'm most interested in so I love to see here. Spoiler, she joins the New Mutants eventually, but not for quite some time. We'll get there!

Dani is roaming around the mansion and stumbles into Kitty's room. This is actually very cool for a few reasons. First, it's cool to see this new group of kids directly interacting with the X-Men (or at least their house). Second, this was the first time that I was reminded of Kitty only being 13! Is she going to be demoted to the New Mutants!?

The New Mutants do some basic training in the danger room. Once again, Sam is terrible at maneuvering (and he still sucks by NM # 20).

Rahne goes through and fails in her own way, falling off a ledge.

Professor X knows that Sunspot tries to punch his way through everything, so in this case his arm gets stuck inside this robot training dummy.

Dani is about to enter her training room session, but due to how embarassed she was from earlier with Shan and being scared that her powers won't help her against robots, she runs away crying.

Rahne finds her out in the woods and checks in on her. I'm going to plant a flag here about these two. In the New Mutants movie these two were lesbians (or at least bye) and had a romantic relationship. They are the only two that develop a psychic rapport which I still don't understand why or how they are able to do that. So we'll keep our eye on this.

Dani decides to enter the danger room on her own, but something goes wrong and all the sudden it turns to the hard setting and becomes super dangerous!

The rest of the gang goes to the mall (because it's the 80's and that's all people did).

We get a flash to Sebastian Shaw and Henry Gyrich planning evil government things because that's what they do.

In the danger room, Dani runs into another monster, this time a Brood who starts threatening her.

Government agents come after the kids in the mall and it's time for Robert to solve more problems with his fists!

Sam cannonballs into a car, because that's his thing.

Eventually Sentinels show up and the battle gets more serious. So much for this group supposed to be regular kids and not doing super hero things. Also, why are the Sentinels blue? Did they run out of pink font?

Sunspot pulls off a Sentinel head.

Rahne takes care of some humans.

The next morning Dani thinks a monster breaks into her room and attacks her. She screams and wakes everyone up, but when others show up the window isn't broken.

Dani wonders if she's going insane, however after everyone leaves she finds that the knife has blood on it! Something is going on!

We check in quickly on Illyana. Hey, look, it's Banshee! Remember him!? I guess he's still hanging around. I wonder if he ever comes back as a superhero. I legitimately have no idea if he ever capes again or not. Excited to find out. Well anway, Illyana thinks she's alone and is doing some sort of spell. Keep in mind that she hasn't really told anyone what happened to her in Limbo. Everyone can tell she is weird, but no one knows the story yet.

But oh no! We learn that Professor Xavier has a Brood Queen inside of him! Ahhhhhhhh.

We actually learned that at the very end of the Brood Saga (UXM # 166), but I withheld that from you so this would be an even bigger shock! It was Xavier who made the danger room crazy hard , and has been haunting her dreams! This also explains why he was being such a jerk with Moira and refusing to help the New Mutants before he was basically left with no choice.

The kids start to grow suspicious and try to meet secretly. This is a cool scene where Sam is shaving and blacks out. When he comes to, someone had written him a message on the mirror. Shan possessed him and when he figures it out, he is pissed!

This is Sam mad, but not at Shan. The Brood Queen showed up and now they are fighting it.

I don't really understand why the Queen is so obsessed with Dani. Maybe she is a threat since she has psychic powers.

Sunspot gets into the fight.

Shan tries to take over Dani so she can find her, but the Brood Queen/Xavier pushes back.

The rest of the team find Dani, defeat the Queen, and save the day. The Queen escapes and they still haven't quite figured out that this is actually the Professor. We leave that story for the main comics line in Issue #167

UXM Issue #167

The X-Men get from their outer space Brood mission and charge in looking for Professor X. They were in space so they don't know that there are teenage mutants now living in the house.

Sam acts like he's never heard of the X-Men and is like "Rock on, it's fighting time!"

A mini battle ensues until Professor Xavier shows himself and turns into the Brood Queen in front of them.

The X/Brood Queen demolishes the X-Men, starting with Colossus.

Eventually Binary (Carol Danvers) shows up and knocks the X/Brood out for the count, stunning him long enough for Professor X's consciousness to surface.

Charles begs Cyclops to kill him. After weeks of resisting the urge to kill his X-Men friends, Wolverine is quite eager to snuff him out. Cyclops resists.

This gets anti-climactic really quick. They somehow contact the Starjammers and their alien robot medic guy starts working on Charles.

While they are waiting, Corsair asks Scott if he wants to meet his grandparents and they have themselves a little hug. Awww, Scott got his real daddy back. Who needs your adoptive daddy and his Brood persona anyway!

My side crush Gladiator shows up and is all like "Your sister took over the Empire. You're out of luck so you better stay here and hide. Also, it's a good excuse to make more appearances in the X-Men comic."

There is some weird scene where Lilandra appears as a ghost or something to Reed Richards and scolds him for helping Galactus in some other issue (This really seemed shoehorned).

Ok, ok ok ok ok. So Charles rolls up in his space wheel chair and then straight up walks over to them! What...the...hell...is going on? So apparently they had some DNA of his laying around so they just cloned his body, used his telepathy to transfer his consciousness and then killed the Brood? This is truly whack because I am like 20 issues ahead in my reading and the dude is still walking. I have no idea what's happening here. I know he's back in the wheelchair eventually. Is he going to get crippled a second time!? We'll have to read and find out.


My Connections


I'm sure you won't be surprised to hear that I am super pumped to be writing about The New Mutants. Of course, you know how much I love learning about new characters, but the thing that makes this special is that I genuinely know next to nothing about them. When it comes to the X-Men, I knew all of the characters going into into this journey and had a faint understanding of some of the big story points (Dark Phoenix, Hellfire Club, Sentinels, Magneto, Days of Future Past, Brood, Lilandra, etc.). I don't have a clue what is going to happen to the New Mutants. In fact, I had never even heard of more than half of the original 5 New Mutants. I read some X-Force in the 90's, so that made me familiar with Cannonball and Sunspot, but of the 3 ladies I am going in blind. Also, I've talked about how the jury's still out on whether I will continue reading the other spinoffs(Dazzler, Alpha Flight), but I am 100% sure that I will be reading (and covering in the blog) every issue of this run alongside the X-Men.


My Review - 6/10

I like that this comic introduces new characters (I love me some new characters!) but the writing is a bit flat. Claremont is clearly trying to tone down the X-Men vibe, but I'm afraid if he's actually muted the excitement as well.


Previous Post - 15: UXM 160 (Magik!)


Next Post - 17: AF 1 - 12 (Intro to Alpha Flight)


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