New Mutants 32 - 34 (June - Aug '85)
NM 32 - 34: Karma vs. a Tread Mill
Writer - Chris Claremont
Pencils - Steve Leialoha
Before we jump into Issue #32, there is some unresolved action from #30 immediately following the Beyonder turning Illyana into the Darkchild. Ok, so I hope there isn't anyone out there reading my blogs and rolling their eyes at how much I love Kitty. I mean, look at this badass.
Illyana is going evil and attacking the New Mutants, but Kitty is just like "Enough, Illyana! You've had your tantrum." Then she just literally steps up and rips the Souldsword out of her hand. Like a boss. This reverts Magik back to her human form and Kitty starts immediately manifesting the Eldritch armor herself. This is actually a theme for the future where Kitty can wield the sword herself if she needs to.
And Kitty is reflecting on her anger towards the Beyonder, reminding us that he is also responsible for Peter falling out of love with her while on Battleworld in Secret Wars 1.
Alright, back to the main course. The New Mutants track Karma to Cairo and begin infiltrating her base. It's quite the battle because Karma is able to control hundreds of people, all defending her.
Unfortunately, Karma is able to take control of the entire team except for Illyana (because her magic allows her to block telepaths), Dani (some psychic abilities) and Warlock (alien).
I really like that we have these two pairing again. If you recall, these two were paired off when Kitty and other New Mutants were captured by the White Queen and I think they make quite the dynamic duo.
Illyana tries to teleport but actually ends up hundreds of years in the past, where they meet Storm's descendant, Ashake. I get the impression that this is setting up something more significant and we'll see her again, but who knows!
Here's a really disturbing look at Roberto, Amara, Sam, and Rahne doing Karma's dirty work.
Dani, Warlock, and Illyana are about to stage a rescue mission when the real Storm shows up. She had been venturing in Africa and had come to Cairo to revisit where she grew up.
We get a bunch of flashes to Karma playing games with the captured mutants as she forces them to be her slaves.
The rescue mission is a partial success as Illyana uses her soulsword to "wake people up" and then Warlock takes them away.
Unfortunately, the rescue mission backfires and everyone ends up falling under Karma's control, including Storm, with the exception of Illyana and Warlock.
There was a period where Illyana disappeared and Warlock concludes that Illyana had turned evil and betrayed Dani and Storm.
There is a little skirmish between them but eventually Illyana is able to convince him that her intentions are good and they work together.
We eventually learn that Karma has actually been possessed herself by Amahl Farouk, the Shadow King. This explains why she suddenly became so evil and interested in crime. If you recall, we once saw a flashback to Xavier battling him on the Astral Plane in Cairo. He was also quite robust, so clearly he did all the eating he wanted while in Karma's body and didn't need to worry about what would happen.
There are a lot of times when the heroes come up with a "plan" to stop the bad guy, but this is one of the best comic books plans I've read to date. Warlock pretends to be Illyana and agrees to give herself willingly to Karma's control. While Karma is focused on the fake Warlock, Illyana secretly teleports each of her teammates away where Karma's control is broken.
The result is an all out assault on Karma before she has the chance to re-possess any of them.
When Dani uses her powers to bring out her fear, she realizes that Shan is back in charge.
Farouk ends up taking over Doug, but this time Karma fights him herself on the Astral Plane.
As you can see, she breaks out of the larger shell in the astral plane and is able to fully free herself from his control. He disappears, but I'm sure it's not the last we'll see of him.
I have to take a second to give credit to Claremont for playing the long game here. The idea of a strong telepath infecting Karma was laid around 30 issues ago when she first disappeared. I love this long form storytelling.
Claremont is still on hand for writing duties. Some guy named Steve Leialoha is covering pencils for this arc. I know nothing about him, and his art is average at best, but I am relieved to have more straightforward art.
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