New Mutants, Volume 1 # 38 - 40 (April - June '86)
The New Mutants have been brought back to life but are essentially Zombies while Magneto struggles with depression.
We start off here with the New Mutants eating breakfast and practically acting like Zombies. At first I wasn't sure if the problem was that the Beyonder brought them back to life without higher brain functioning, but we quickly find out this is the result of shared, extreme trauma.
Magneto has grown to truly care about this group, however he feels helpless and wonders what Charles would do in this position.
Of all people, Emma Frost shows up and offers help. The White Queen is another character, like Magneto, that started off strictly evil and will join the X-Men one day. I'm still unsure if this is part of that heel turn or if she's being evil. She's offering to use her telepathy to help the New Mutants heal. Is she doing that because she genuinely cares and wants to help, or is it just an opportunity to add super powered teenagers to her ranks?
Dani seems to be the only one in close to the right mental space. She's very sad, but she doesn't seem to be catatonic. Perhaps it's because she had seen the Valkyrie warning and was more prepared. Perhaps it's because she has psychic powers and has a strong mind. Or maybe it's just because she's such a natural leader and just mentally tough. Regardless, she's in a slightly better state than her teammates.
It appears that Empath has been hiding in the woods, messing with the team's feelings. Alright, so there are a few things to get into with this. First, Tom and Sharon discover him and he turns them loose with nothing but animalistic impulses, making them think about nothing but their love for each other. Eating, being warm, wearing clothes, etc are no longer a priority.
Second, in a way I don't like this because the kids are going through legitimate trauma. This is a great story beat to follow and it's cheapened a bit to think that some or all of it may just be attributed to Empath.
Third, this is supposed to help us understand why Magneto is moping a bunch.
Fourth, it's unclear whether Emma knows about this. It further complicates my questions about whether she genuinely wants to help or if she set Empath loose and showed up to capitalize on it.
Finally, more evidence that Empath is a real jag off.
After giving it a lot of thought (and being affected by Empath), Magneto decides to send the kids to the Massachusetts Academy so that Emma can fix them. The entire team, minus Dani, mindlessly agree. (What is up with the artistry of Doug's face!? Is that supposed to be a normal face?)
Dani really goes after Magneto and promises to leave. It leaves him feeling sorry for himself and crying, wishing Charles was there.
In Issue # 39, the New Mutants (minus Danny and Warlock who is also unaffected) report for training at the Mass. Ac.
Proudstar and the Cannonball clone are trying to talk to the guys in the locker room and noticing that something is clearly off. Doug utters a pretty impactful statement: "Doesn't matter. Flashy or quiet, strong or weak, our powers didn't save us. (From Death. And Life.)" Heavy stuff.
I also really like that we are shown that the Hellions aren't evil, they are just some misguided kids. Especially Proudstar, who seems to be trying very hard to be chummy. I know he'll join the other New Mutants and form X-Force one day (one of my favorite comics of all time), so I like to see him showing as a good person here.
Another scene I love. Empath strolls in the girl's locker room and starts using his powers to hit on the zombified members of the New Mutants. Dude is a real creeper! The three girls from the Hellions (Tarot, Roulette, Catspaw) show up and scream at him to get lost. Another solid example that most of them are good kids, with the exception of Empath. He's a jag.
A few things to dig into here as well. On the left you see that Emma is pissed to find Empath in the girl's locker room. So this is some evidence that the two of them are not completely aligned, however she could have been using him to impact the New Mutants but drawing the line at being a sexual predator.
Another point here is that Catspaw (Bless her simple soul) always tries to bond with the mutant Claremont copied her from, Wolfsbane.
Here is a cool image of the combined team.
Magneto compares this new picture with that of the New Mutants from a few months earlier when they were being silly.
It kind of bothers me that Dani is standing off to the side. Well, actually what bothers me is that she is co-leader with Sam. She's the true leader of the team, even though Sam is respectable. She should be the only leader and then I would feel more comfortable about her being off to the side, like Cyclops.
Emma lives up to her side of the bargain and uses her telepathy to get the team out of their funk. They all snap out of it and are very grateful to her.
Meanwhile, Magneto is getting drunk and moping around.
Emma couldn't quite get into Illyana's head, however she was never in as much of a trance as the others. She seems to be leaning harder and harder into her Darkchilde persona to help her get through it. Sam calls her out.
Tom and Sharon show up and tell Magneto about Empath.
LOL. He's like "Empath! I'm gonna kill that little fucker!"
This reminds me of the terrible movie Dirty Work with Norm McDonald where he goes to a bunch of frat boys and tells them to be aware that a bunch of fake cops are going around giving people a hard time. Then he calls 911 and says "Hello, Real Cops..."
Emma is like "Hello, Real Cops? Magneto is trying to kidnap my students. Can you send the Avengers to kick his ass?"
Magneto is flying in Warlock (disguised to look like the Blackbird) to get his New Mutants back.
For most of Issue # 40, Magneto exchanges blows with the Avengers.
Captain America, the saint that he is, figures out that Magneto is pulling his punches and going out of his way not to hurt them. It pushes him to listen to Magneto instead of punching him.
Cap issues a cease fire and they back off.
With Magneto back to claim them, the New Mutants agree to return to him.
This story arc immediately follows the conclusion of Secret Wars Volume 2 (as covered 37: UXM 203 - 204 (Secret Wars 2 Ends)). This is such a strong example of why I love the serializes storytelling that comes with comics. The New Mutants went through one of the most traumatic events imaginable. They were literally powerless as they watched their friends be killed, followed by being killed themselves. Not only do they retain all of those memories, but they recall being reanimated and then being forced to fight the heroes on behalf of the Beyonder. That's heavy shit and here we spend 3 issues with the team trying to get through it.
The only real character beat of note belongs to Magneto as the entire team are essentially mindless zombies following their death at the hands of the Beyonder. Magneto finds himself falling into a depression and decides that the best thing he can do is let the team fall to Emma Frost and become Hellions. When he snaps out of it and fights the Avengers to get them back, he is further earning his stripes as a good guy.
My Rating - 6/10
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