Posted: March 25, 2013 | Updated : August 24, 2015

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New Mutants

The New Mutants actually started out in Marvel Graphic Novel No. 4. The narrative is a straightforward and pleasing introduction of each new mutant and his or her powers.

We have Rahne Sinclair or Wolfsbane who can change to wolf or half-wolf form.

rahne sinclair

According to the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe (henceforth to be known as OHOTMU), when Wolfsbane is in her wolf form her abilities are far beyond that of a regular wolf - so she's a superwolf of sorts.

Next is Roberto da Costa, also known as sunspot.

bobby da costa

Bobby's power is super-strength. As per OHOTMU, he can lift two and a half tons which is pretty much the weight of a large car.

My favorite New Mutant is Sam Guthrie, known as Cannonball.

sam guthrie

Cannonball generates thermo-chemical energy which propels him through the air. He can attain speeds up to 150 miles per hour and can travel up to a mile. Best of all, while he's blasting, Sam is invulnerable.

The other two members are telepaths, boasting different powers of the mind.

First is Daniel Moonstar or Mirage.

danielle moonstar

Dani's power is the most fearsome and troublesome if uncontrolled. She can manifest a person's deepest fear or desire. Later on in the series Dani will get a major power upgrade as the images she manifests actually become real.

The oldest of the New Mutants is Xi'an Coy Manh. She actually got introduced in issue 100 of Marvel Team-Up, where she shared an adventure with both Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four.

xi'an coy manh

Shan, also known as Karma, has the ability to take over another person's mind. Actually, not just people, any creature with a brain - animals, aliens, sentient robots, you name it. Shan can control them.

This gathering of new mutants by Professor Xavier reminds me of of the original X-Men who were also teenagers when the Professor gathered them together. Part of the reason could be that the Professor was distraught. At this time, the X-Men have disappeared and are thought dead. They weren't, of course, they were off in space fighting the alien Brood. There is one key difference between now and then though. This time the Professor isn't forming a fighting team. The very first adventure the original X-Men undertook was to go up against Magneto, no less, as the villain attempted to take over an army base. No such dangerous forays for the new team, the Professor merely wants to teach them how to control their powers. Unfortunately for him, and fortunately for us action fans, the New Mutants are destined for adventures only a bit less risky than the senior team. I mentioned Magneto, well, he's going to be part of the series too. For now, the villain of the piece is one Donald Pierce. Also known as the White King of the Hellfire Club. Pierce is an android and his ambition has caused him to go rogue; using the resources of the Hellfire Club for his own ends. Lucky for him only the Black Queen, Tessa, knows of his activities. If either Shaw or Emma Frost discovers him he won't last a second.

From John Byrne and Chris Claremont's celebrated Uncanny X-Men run, you remember these stooges don't you?

hellfire club soldiers

That's the livery of the Hellfire Club's security force, now coerced by Pierce for his own ends. It turns out that these are the selfsame soldiers that Wolverine came up against. There was a bit of a debate on whether Logan killed these men. Evidently not, but they do mention that they lost some body parts that have since been replaced with bionic enhancements. Now in the heat of the battle, Mirage uses her power and calls up their greatest fear.

Cannonball (and Sunspot) have gone a long way since their New Mutant days. They have both been invited and have joined the ranks of the Avengers. But Sam Guthrie didn't begin that way. Pierce got to him first; offered him a nice stipend for his family and recruited him into the ranks of the rogue elements of the Hellfire Club. Here's Sam in the Hellfire uniform.

cannonball in the employ of the hellfire club

Poor Sam, initially he gets, well, you can see for yourself.

sam is left behind by the new mutants

What ultimately gets him invited to the New Mutants is his refusal to kill during the fight. And so here they are, a new batch of students for the Professor; in school "uniform" to boot.

the new mutants gather together for the first time

Right at the start of the series we have a very emotional incident getting inadvertently revealed : the brutal rape of Xi'an Coy Manh during her escape from Vietnam. What makes it even more terrible is that the revelation is courtesy of Dani's uncontrolled power - further proof that her's is the most burdensome power of them all. The rift seems plenty serious at first but these teenagers will bounce back from it in record time.

The New Mutants are then introduced to the Danger Room.

the danger room is introduced to the new mutants

Everybody fails there Danger Room exercises. Dani can't even find he courage to enter the room - not initially anyway.

Remember how Xavier was planning a more, oh, normal, life for this new batch of mutants? Issue number 2 pretty much puts a damper on that as the mutants encounter the Sentinels. Before that though, they take in a movie in a mall.

new mutants watch a movie in themall

Notice the movie ? That should date this issue of New Mutants nicely.

This move of Sam's against a Sentinel is why he's a big favorite of mine.

cannonball hits a sentinel

Bobby also shows up well against a Sentinel, but I really like the visual of Sunspot punching through this car driven by hostiles.

sunspot smashes a car

The battle with the Sentinels show up both Sunspot and Cannonball as the team's heavy hitters. Mirage and Karma have subtle powers that are very hard to defend against but useless against machines. Wolfsbane is the weakest member but she's also the most versatile.

I particularly love this shot of Sam destroying a Sentinel from behind.

cannonball destroys a sentinel from behind

New Mutants issue 3 and Uncanny X-Men 167 form a story arc that is itself a subplot of the X-Men's war with the alien Brood. Issue 3 involves the Brood's bid to takeover Professor Xavier's mind so we see the new Mutants going up against the mind warping abilities of the Professor. It's their second time to go into action as a team and their teamwork is improving.

Once again some of the best visuals are from Sam Guthrie. Here he is in the Danger Room were we learn about his key weakness: inability to steer during flight.

cannonball has problems steering during flight

Here's Cannonball blasting against the brood

cannonball attacks a brood creature

Going on to the fourth issue, I can't help but think that if this issue of the New Mutants was written now and we see Sam pretty much destroying a tree as he does here during a friendly game of frisbee, some sentiment would have been spared for the tree in our eco-sensitive time. I mean, that's how I felt when I saw this panel.

cannonball destroys a tree

This issue's story is centered on Stevie Hunter.

stevie hunter, dance teacher of the new mutants

She's the New Mutant's dance teacher and somebody is stalking her. It's the closest thing to a murder mystery that the New Mutants will get in their hundred issues and once again Dani's power manages to rip somebody's heartout by exposing their deepest shame. With Mirage around there are no more secrets.

Oh yeah, Sam learns to steer.

cannonball manages to change direction for the first time

Ha! I haven't seen these guys for sometime :

team america prepping for a show

These biker guys are an exhibition stunt team known as Team America. They used to be all over Marvel comics during the early eighties - I remember coming across them in both Marvel Team-Up and Captain America.

The one with the beard is Lobo, he's Bobby Da Costa's favorite but when Bobby approaches him this is the kind of fucked up attitude he displays to his fan.

lobo of team america snubs roberto da costa

What an a-hole. In real life the hapless fan has to swallow it and walk away. But this is the comics so later on Bobby is able to do this.

sunspot pins lobo to the wall

I love comic books.

Viper, the Silver Samurai and their henchmen soon disrupt the proceedings in which case we are again treated to an excellent Cannonball visual.

cannonball takes out hydra operatives

We also get a fantastic demonstration of how useful Karma's power can be

karma controls a hydra soldier

By the way, all that you see in this issue is Sal Buscema art, he takes over from artist and New Mutants creator Bob McLeod.

Everything's going fine with the New Mutants until the Silver Samurai joins the fray and shows them how inexperienced they really are. It's very lopsided as the Silver Samurai pretty much tosses everybody around. I think Claremont really wrote this right, these are the greenhorns of the Marvel Universe at the time, this just shows they aren't ready for the more veteran players. Not yet anyway.

At this time the Black Rider makes his appearance.

the team america black rider appears


The Black Rider always appears when Team America is around; its a heretofore unexplained occurrence. Later on, the Professor reveals that the Black Rider is a mutant manifestation created by Team America. According to Charles Xavier the team is a 'projecting gestalt' and the Black Rider is a combination of the combined abilities of Team America. The Professor then volunteers to teach Team America the use of their abilities.

Dani gets kidnapped by Viper and, while incarcerated, Mirage's power pulls out Viper's greatest fear. End result : Dani gets slapped around for the third time in the series. In this issue the Professor decides to focus first on teaching Team America rather than the New Mutants. I think he should teach Danielle first before anybody else. It's the third time Dani gets hit because she cant' control her minifestations.

So the mission in issue 6 is to rescue Dani. The Professor sends in Team America and the New Mutants go in on their own. As you read the series you'll notice that with the New Mutants, obedience to the headmaster is more the exception than the rule.

Very early on, the happy-go-lucky Team America finds out what its like to be under the tutelage of Professor X

professor x tells team america to behave

The New Mutants are improving, the second time they tangle with Silver Samurai and Viper, the heavy hitters Sunspot and Cannonball manage to land some blows on Silver Samurai and Shan is able to take control of Viper for a short period. The X-Babies are learning fast. The issue doesn't end well though as the castle or fortress the New Mutants are in explode.

Seven issues into the series the first New Mutant casualty is Xi'an Coy Mahn - lost amidst the explosion from the previous issue. This is a bit of a surprise since of all the New Mutants Karma got the longest buildup.

Also in issue 7 we see the X-Men in the New Mutants comicbook for he first time.

Sunspot shows how strong he is.

sunspot smashes a rock

He's not invulnerable, as has been stated time and time again. The logical question would then be how come Sunspot doesn't shatter his fist when hitting bare rock? The answer is that there is an incremental increase in Bobby's toughness when he morphs into Sunspot; far from invulnerable but tough enough to keep his body together when delivering those superhuman hits.

As the issue progresses the setting moves from the United States to Brazil, Bobby's home country. We join the mutants in the dinner table with Bobby's parents who begin to bicker, much to Bobby's embarrassment. Very realistic scene this one. Just look at how the New Mutants are reacting to it.

the new mutants react to a fight between bobby's parents

Chris Claremont scripts in yet another kidnapping - this time of Bobby's Mom. This is a good time to showcase Wolfsbane's abilities as a tracker and spy. Here she is eavesdropping in here transitional werewolf form.

rahne spies on axe and the hellfire club soldiers

Once again the culprits are the soldiers of the Hellfire Club. Here Dani shows that she too is growing in the use and control of her powers as, for the first time, she manifests a desire and not a fear. And here's what a Hellfire Club soldier desires.

this hellfire soldier is in the mood for women

Dani's really getting good. She's definitely doing the heavy lifting for the team. Here she is manifesting a series of fears.

mirage activates multiple fears at once

Here is a whole page that shows us what Sunspot can do as he goes up against a gigantic mutant named Axe.

sunspot teaches axe some manners

The second New Mutants collection features Kitty Pryde on the cover when it should feature Amara Aquilla, the New Mutant known as Magma. Issues 8 to 12 is about how the New Mutants stumble upon a lost, surviving adjunct of Ancient Rome and Tenochtichlan and how they return with one of its mutant residents, Amara, as their newest member. Let's see how this shapes up shall we?

Beautiful Sal Buscema splash page

rahne inside the amazon jungle

Dani getting sharp with her power. Here she's manifesting Rahne's desire in the middle of a tropical jungle

snow is what rahne wants most

Sam getting good at maneuvering. Trees are safe, this time.

sam steers safely through the trees

I spoke too soon.

sam hits a tree

The Mutants are in a boat going down the Amazon

a boat going down the amazon

Reminds me of the movie Anaconda.

Meanwhile, back in Rio de Janeiro, nothing brings home the avarice and decadence of the Hellfire Club like these two panels.

emmanuel da costa and sebastian shaw

Here's a wonderful landscape panel from Sal Buscema as the boat nears the location of Nova Roma.

new mutants nearing nova roma

The first panel appearance of Amara Aquilla without her disguise. At this point, she has no idea that she's a mutant.

rahne sees amara for the first time

The next issue takes us to Nova Roma itself were a significant X-Men villain is introduced. Here is the first panel showing Selene.

selene's first appearance

Keep an eye of for her, she's going to figure very prominently in this story arc and in other future story arcs in the X-Men family of books.

Both Sam and Berto have been enslaved and forced to be gladiators. With their powers it's childsplay.

sunspot the gladiator

cannonball the gladiator

I was half expecting that Nova Roma would have some super-powered gladiators of their own but that is not the case. Another approach would be Cannonball vs. Sunspot. Berto would be able to punch off Sam's attack but once his powers wear off Cannonball would have the upper hand.

Issue ten introduces us to Amara's mutant alter ego - Magma!

magma first appearance

Selene turns out to be a vampire who absorbs lives in order to be immortal. She's also a deadly sorceress as this amazing piece of enchantment shows.

selene works her magic

The creatures reminds me of the villains Thor fought during his introductory appearance in Journey Into Mystery

The super-strong Sunspot really comes to the fore in Nova Roma. Roberto pretty much sends opponents flying resulting in spectacular panels

sunspot punches

Buscema also does a wonderful panel-by-panel sequence of a death duel between two senators of Rome.

roman senators in a death duel

Emmanuel da Costa, Sunspot's father, has put the lives of both his wife and only child in danger. All for more money and power when he already has so much. Issue twelve begins with a confrontation between father and son that Claremont handles brilliantly. It is a very gripping three pages and Roberto's willingness to turn his back on all that wealth shows decisiveness, integrity, and yes, a bit of stupidity too (at least from the viewpoint of those of us who've struggled to pay the bills).

Amara has left Nova Roma to join the New Mutants and learn to control her powers. You'd think that with such volatile control and such dangerous powers the mutants would go directly to Salem. But no, they decide to do some R and R in Rio first, with devastating results. And where's Professor X's supervision through all of this? Anyway, in the beaches of Rio Amara has this encounter

someone gets overly familiar with amara

Is this for real? Will anybody really just approach anybody else in a beach and kiss them? I doubt it.

Look at this shot of Sam and Berto lifting (stealing!) an ice truck.

sunspot and cannonball lift an ice truck

My takeaway from this panel are (1) Berto seems to be beyond his 2.5 ton lifting limit mentioned in OHOTMU and (2) Sam's propulsion has no problem carrying massive weight loads. These two New Mutant heavy hitters just went up the power scale. All good.

The New Mutants return to school in issue 13 with Xi'an Coy Manh's place taken over by Amara Aquilla. They start things off with a little garden barbecue were Amara makes the social faux pas of dressing formal to a casual gathering.

amara dresses formally for an informal barbecue

Her embarrassment is short-lived as Sam eclipses her with a bigger faux pas of his own courtesy of his poor control of his powers

cannonball loses control and splashes soda all over amara

This is also Chris Claremont's umpteenth time to try to make Roberto sound like a hot Latino lover. Claremont just doesn't have the right dialogue. I'm not sure that there is a right dialogue. Berto is fifteen years old. At that age any attempt at sophistication comes across as a little boy trying to be a man.

For the first time we also see Doug Ramsey, a future New Mutant. At this point, he isn't aware of his power yet. He's hanging around with Kitty Pryde.

doug and kitty working the computers

The series is really making a point about how problematic powers can be for young mutants. Dani used to be the poster child for this now its Amara.

Here are the New Mutants sitting down to class.

the new mutants taking a computerized exam

For it to be 1990 and for the New Mutants to have computers during this year - that's extremely high tech.

This is even funkier: Ballet class. Sam and Roberto look really out of place in this shot.

the new mutants taking a ballet class

By issue 14, its time for yet another addition to the New Mutants. Illyana Rasputin, also known as Magik, is the sister of the X-Man Colossus. She's multi-powered; a natural mutant teleporter and a trained sorceress. She spent half her life in the demonic dimension of Limbo and has displaced its former demon lord. Because of her past, Illyana is a haunted young woman, she's also very mature for here age. These two new additions, Magma and Magic, are the new heavy hitters of the team, relegating Sam and Roberto to the second tier.

Illyana's mutinous lieutenant from Limbo, S'ym, makes an appearance in this issue.

the demon sym invades xavier's mansion

S'ym will be a part of a lot of New Mutants issues going forward but he's never more powerful than he is here (and yes, that includes when he's taken over Limbo in a future storyline). He manages to throw everybody around. Outmuscling Sunspot, standing still as Cannonball bounces off him, and, most of all, managing to swipe aside even Professor X. This is a particularly great shot of S'ym lashing out.

great sunspot punch

Another great development this issue : Charles Xavier can walk.

If you want to see what Emma Frost was like when she was a villain you should check her out in issue 15. She's got Kitty hostage. She's also wearing her old lingerie outfit. Normally, this would be very sexy but Sal Buscema just doesn't pull it off.

Issue 15 is the first appearance of the New Mutants' counterparts from the Massachussetts Academy - the Hellions.

First up is Thunderbird.

thunderbird of the hellions

Strange seeing him on the other side. Thunderbird is the younger brother of the late X-Man, Warpath.

Next is Roulette.

roulette of the hellions

I must admit that the New Mutants have no one as good-looking as her.

Empath is here too.

empath of the hellions

Easily the most hateful of the Hellions.

Here's an excellent panel of Sam taking out Empath

cannonball takes out empath

The fight with the Hellions ends with only Illyana and Dani managing to escape to Limbo.

Here's a great shot of all the Hellions

the hellions

Empath is absolutely amoral, watch him abuse his own teammate.

empath attacks jetstream

Here's Kitty giving Berto a relaxing massage during their encarceration at the Massachussetts Academy.

kitty pryde massages sunspot

I never noticed Dani's new outfit before. I wish she'd stick with this one.

mirage in a sexy new outfit

Ok, it's Hellions vs. New Mutants. First up Jestream vs. Cannonball.

With the arrival of artist Bill Sienkiewicz (pronounced sinkevitch), we have the most artistically satisfying set of New Mutant books. Sienkiewicz announces himself with style through his very first panel art for the New Mutants. Check this out.

great bear motif splash page by sienkiewicz

Claremont's nightmare sequence in the beginning was done in issue 3 with Dani, this time with Rahne, its a space-filling waste and its getting old but we do have this gorgeously drawn shot of Professor X getting shot (no pun intended) in the nightmare sequence.

professor x gets shot

The Danger Room by Bill Sienkiewicz.

the new mutants in the danger room

Dani, Illyana and Lockheed by Bill Sienkewicz. Beautiful.

dani, illyana and lockheed in the danger room

Check out the stuff of Dani's nightmare - a mystical bear.

mirage confronts the mystic bear

The issue ends with Dani being mauled to the point of death

Now we have a hospital scene. Dani is fighting for her life - just look at the yellow narrative blurbs below for the details.

surgeon's fight for dani's life

Roberto has always been portrayed as a hothead but sometimes he really crosses over to a-hole territory. Look at what he does to this poor cop.

roberto shows his bad attitude

I love this flirtatious conversation between Tom Corsi and Sharon Friedlander.

tom corsiand sharon friedlander engage in some flirting

These two aren't just one issue wonders. They will become de facto members of the X-family as we'll see later.

The New Mutants proceed to do battle with the mystic bear. The bear has also co-opted both Tom Corsi and Sharon Friedlander. Here's Sam taking some hard knocks.

the mystic bear hits cannonball

It is Illyana's soulsword that proves the most effective weapon. Here she cuts the bear's paws off.

illyana cuts the mystic bear's paw with her soulsword

The end result of this whole bear adventure is surprising. First, the bear's destruction releases Dani's parents, whom she had thought lost to her- killed by the bear. Next, both Tom Corsi and Sharon Friedlander come out alive but changed into Native Americans. Oh yes, and Dani recovers from her mortal wounds.

The Mutants invite friends to a slumber party.

slumber party at xavier's

Check out what celebrities the girls are going crazy for :

thinking of some celebrities of the day

It's an all girl affair so Sam and Roberto go out and take in a baseball game. On the way back they discover someone who will be the newest member of the New Mutants - the alien Warlock.

warlock arrives at the x-mansion

It's good that Warlock is tough because he's mistaken for an invader at first. This is also when Doug Ramsey - in lightning fast fashion - becomes a member of the New Mutants. His talent is languages, so he manages to communicate with Warlock. It's an extremely fast, and convenient introduction for Doug, who will have the code name Cypher.

cypher joins the new mutants

The issue ends symbolically with a handshake of welcome between Warlock and the Professor. Warlock is no mutant but he is potentially the most powerful member of the the team at this point. He can shapeshift, emulate anything and anyone and his ability to infect anybody and anything with the techno-virus effectively gives him a death touch.

With the next issue, we see the X-Men taking an active part in the training of the New Mutants. Here Nightcrawler gives Sam lessons on aerial maneuverability.

nightcrawler trains cannonball

Here Rahne's Catholic upbringing causes her to react negatively to Nightcrawler.

wolfsbane isn't very comfortable with nightcrawler

This is really rich, where does Rahne, who is a werewolf, get the gumption to make judgment calls based on looks?

Next we have Colossus training Sunspot.

colossus trains sunspot

Roberto's bad attitude and pride on full display.

robert still jerkberto

But a few panels later we are shown that Roberto, for all his braggadicio, has a good heart.

roberto has a good side

Now, surprise, surprise, we have the arrival of Selene, all the way from Nova Roma.

selene arrives in new york

Once again Claremont ends the story with a page wasting dream sequence. He loves this stuff.

Selene and Emmanuel da Costa are inducted into the Hellfire Club.

selene and emmanuel da costa join the hellfire club's inner circle

Sam looks in on Dani and almost gets lucky.

sam almost gets the money shot

Also in this issue is the second appearance of Magneto. His first appearance was very brief when Warlock's earthbound trajectory crossed the path of Magneto's asteriod base, destroying it. Fortunately, the Master of Magnetism has other bases, like this beautiful ancient Atlantean(?) structure.

magneto's atlantean base

At last Sam is able to be airborn long enough for him to utilize his power as transportation.

sam uses his power for transportation

Something is going wrong with both Rahne and Roberto based on a previous encounter with Cloak and Dagger. By the 24th issue their condition has degraded so much that Roberto is proving dangerous to have around and Rahne is confused and scared. I love this touching scene between Rahne and the Professor. I can really feel that Rahne is still very much a child and I can also feel how protective the Professor is towards her. Really great scene.

professor x comforts the youngest new mutant

As good as Sienkiewicz's art is, in issue 25 it is eclipsed by Claremont's writing. What an engrossing issue this is as Claremont focuses on the inner demons that are plaguing Tyrone Johnson known as Cloak - one half of the Cloak and Dagger duo. I can actually feel the inner struggle inside Ty as he makes his decision in this issue.

The next story arc is about Legion, Professor Xavier's son. Like his Father, Legion has very powerful telepathic abilities. Unfortunately, an accident during his youth forced the young Legion to kill. This trauma fractured his psyche creating multiple personalities. Legion has been under care in Muir Isle for sometime but things have taken a turn for the worst necessitating the arrival of Charles Xavier - who doesn't know Legion is his son.

Also in Muir Isle are Tom Corsi and Sharon Friedlander. When they were changed by the mystic bear they couldn't go on with their usual lives so the X-Men took them under their wing - only right. Here's a great shot of the Blackbird arriving on Muir Isle.

the blackbird arrives in muir isle

Back in the Massachusetts Academy, Empath has crossed the line by trying to control Emma Frost. Fortunately, Emma Frost is too strong to control.

empath fails to control emma frost

I was very happy with this development but Claremont, and then later writer Simonson, seems to have forgotten about it since in the issues going forward Empath seems to have full use, and abuse, of his abilities.

Most of issues 27 and 28 happens entirely in the mind of Legion, whose real name is David Charles Haller. We get to meet Legion's different personalities like Jack Wayne who wield's David's telekinesis.

meet jack wayne

Cyndi - pyrokinesis, the ability to set things on fire

meet cyndi

And Jemail, the strangest personality of all.

meet jemail

He's not an original part of David's psyche but the absorbed consciousness of one of the terrorists who set out to kill David. In a wry twist of fate the consciousness known as Jemail becomes David's greatest ally.

The arc ends with a reunion between father and son. But David isn't cured, all those personalities are still inside Legion.

The next story arc has links to a Marvel mini-series called Beauty and the Beast starring Hank McCoy and Dazzler. In that comic, Los Angeles is a setting for modern, and illegal, gladiatorial contests participated in by mutants. In a quest for new recruits they kidnap both Sunspot and Magma for the gladiatorial games. Sunspot I can understand, but do those guys really want a girl who can create volcanoes in their arena?

Anyway, both Illyana and Sam go in immediate pursuit, and I mean immediate, as both Magik and Cannonball are running around in a bikini and swim trunks. So they end up in L.A. to ask the help of intergalactic teleporter Lila Cheney and guess who answers the door?

strong guy of the x-factor as lila cheney's butler

It's Guido, the future Strong Guy of X-Factor.

Lila Cheney is a rock star but my attention is on one of her backup singers - the future X-Man, Dazzler.

Meanwhile, in the gladiatorial games, Sunspot encounter's an old friend, Axe - one of his mom's kidnappers from issue 7.

axe vs. sunspot round two

Here's a panel showing the secret 'master' of the gladiatorial arena.

who is the master of the gladiators?

I just love the layout and the attention to detail, particularly those two sumo guards.

There are some pretty powerful mutant gladiators here. Look at this guy shifting into a giant snake.

mutant gladiator turns into a snake

Suddenly, Magneto crashes the party.

magneto invades the gladiatorial arena

He's pretty much going to take out anybody who wants to be taken out. He can do it because he's Magneto and even the mysterious master of the games can't do anything about it. Sunspot and Magma choose to stay to everybody's surprise - they do so because the master of the games claims that children will be killed if they leave.

There's nothing in next issue about what Magneto does next because this little 'interruption' gets continues in Marvel's Secret Wars II maxi-series.

Issue 30 begins were Secret Wars II leaves off and we find Illyana in dire straits courtesy of the Beyonder - the impossibly powerful antagonist of Secret Wars. After sorting out Illyana, the New Mutants go back to save Bobby and Amara, but the Beyonder is still hanging around the heroes wanting to do who-knows-what.

the beyonder stalks the new mutants

Back in the arena, it all comes down to one big fight against a horrendous gladiator

a giant gladiator joins the fray

This giant gladiator is proving impossible to defeat because it is utilizing the power of a mutant trapped inside it's mechanized frame - Kitty Pryde! In the end it is Kitty who saves the day by escaping.

The shocker comes when the master of the arena reveals herself. It's Xi'an Coy Manh!

karma has put on a few pounds

The even bigger shocker is that she's morbidly obese. What happened to Karma?!

At this point we have to say goodbye to Bill Sienkiewicz together with a big thank you for the incredible art.

Xi'an escapes and the Mutants track her down to Madripoor. Madripoor is an Asian island created by Marvel and designed to be a modern day equivalent of a lawless pirate's haunt; a great setting for all sorts of adventures - occasionally by heroes not named Wolverine.

What follows is an assault on a guarded fort. I never knew how troublesome Karma's possession power could be; she's pretty adept, able to take over multiple hosts. Did I say troublesome? I meant unbeatable. Big Karma wins and enslaves her former teammates.

the new mutants become slaves to karma farouk

Even with the help of the then-powerless Storm the New Mutants are unable to beat/rescue Karma. Finally it's down to the two of the most powerful New Mutants : Magik and Warlock. Her long years trapped in Limbo has given Illyana a wisdom far beyond her years, with Warlock's help she crafts a tactic that finally defeats Karma with guile rather than force.

The Mutants finally learn why Karma is behaving this way : She has been possessed by Amahl Farouk, Professor X's old nemesis from the Claremont-Byrne run in the Uncanny X-Men. This nefarious telepath was indeed killed by the Professor but only physically. Farouk's consciousness survived in the astral plane and took over Xi'an Coy Manh. In a truly despicable act Farouk turned Shan into the extremely overweight person she is now. The last fight is one between Karma and Farouk. Victory for the New Mutant but the damage has already been done. What does she way? five hundred pounds?

One of the things that makes the New Mutants Special Edition special is because its illustrated by Arthur Adams. It all starts with Loki, currently the ruler of Asgard, being enamored of Ororo and commanding the Enchantress to kidnap her.

loki summons the enchantress

We find Shan absolutely suicidal because of her weight situation. Not to worry though, this Special Edition will take care of that as you'll see later.

Art Adams does an excellent Illyana don't you think?

illyana in a bikini

Even when she's in fighting trim she looks great.

illyana fighting in a bikini

Art Adams Warlock fighting mode is also fantastic

warlock in fighting mode

Check out this panel shot. Wow.

the new mutants in greece

Pretty soon the mutants are given an Asgardian 'welcome' by the Enchantress. Another excellent panel.

the enchantress 'welcomes' the new mutants to asgard

Illyana uses her teleportation power to help the team escape but things don't go as planned and the team is scattered.

Doug, already the least confident team member because of his non-combat powers, ends up a serving boy.

cypher becomes a serving boy in asgard

Rahne meets a legendary wolf prince.

Warlock ends up meeting Hela and entertainingly changes into the X-Man Longshot in this panel.

warlock transforms to longshot

Berto finds respect among the strength-loving Asgardians and has a roaring good time.

Amara gets taken advantage of by Dark Elves.

Sam cultivates the strongest friendship of all, with Lord Eitri of the Dwarves and his people.

Dani rescues a winged steed called Brightwind, an event that will eventually result in her becoming a Valkyrie

mirage rescues brightwind

The most momentous change if all is when Karma gets lost in the desert. Apparently time is also warped in that place because its long enough for Karma to lose all the extra pounds

karma gets her sexy back

The Warriors Three also make an appearance.

Beautiful panel of the New Mutants coming up against the Enchantress.

Once the New Mutants return from their Asgardian adventure they find Magneto has been entrusted with their education.

magneto becomes the new headmaster

Its outbursts like these that cause me to hate Bobby. I mean, picking on poor unpowered Doug?

bobby the asshole

On top of the near fight with da Asshole, Doug gets told by Magneto to miss the training room session. A reasonable request but it really gets to Doug.

cypher has trouble accepting his non-aggressive powers

This is all a great lesson on the multiplier effect of losing your temper.

The Danger Room exercise is simple, the New Mutants must beat Magneto. The end result is never in doubt.

So far the issue hasn't been stellar. The art isn't good, I'm pissed off at da Costa's behaviour; but from this point on, its about to get better. Look at this panel.

mirage takes moonlit walk while a bunch of rowdy college kids closes in

There's Dani going for a nice walk in the moonlight. In a Jeep a a bunch of rowdy college jerks 'out looking for a good time'. Dani would have gotten really hurt if not for the timely intervention of Brightwind. So Dani limps back home and when the other Mutants find out what happened they are livid. Only they find out that Magneto already left.

magneto commands brightwind to lead him to mirage's oppressors

They follow their new teacher, who has tracked down the culprits, and Magneto, well, acts like Magneto.

the wrath of the master of magnetism

What starts out as great reluctance on the part of the mutants ends with a grudging acceptance of their new headmaster. Very nice issue.

So the New Mutants have a night in (for once) and they're enjoying a movie.

the new mutants watching a movie

Look at the tv, its cowboys vs. indians - you know, the old stereotypical movies. You'd think they'd think twice specially with Dani, a Cheyenne, being their teammate.

I've been waiting for Bobby to get some well-deserved comeuppance and now I have my wish. Mr I'm-a-big-hero attempts to help out some pedestrians by doing some heavy lifting - his specialty. The only thing is, he fails! Mr. lose-my-temper-and-mouth-off fails! Ha!

sunspot meets the end of his strength

You finally got what you deserve Roberto da Loosah! But don't worry, the pedestrians are saved by a real hero - She-Hulk.I could frame this panel.

sunspot eats some humble pie

The rest of the issue is very distasteful, it's the Beyonder wiping the floor with the New Mutants. Why? I don't know. It's the most inane thing I've ever seen happen in the series but it will have an effect on these young heroes that will be the basis of a whole new story arc. Maybe that's the reason.

The next issue has the New Mutants pretty much losing their will to live as a result of their encounter with the Beyonder. Magneto is unable to do anything so he is compelled by Emma Frost to send the lot to the Massachussetts Academy were her psychic skills might better be able to help them.

What a treat! The next issues guest artist is Keith Pollard, the artist who gave us the incredible Eternals Saga from The Mighty Thor. Just check out this photo of the combined New Mutants and Hellions team.

the new mutants join the hellions

Great White Queen rendition but Glynis Oliver is being overly modest. Those thighs should be flesh colored.

pollard draws emma frost

The Danger Room by Keith Pollard.

pollard draws the new mutants in the danger room

Sunspot never looked so good.

a great shot of sunspot letting loose with a punch

Here's the typical Doug and Warlock team-up maneuver.

the classic cypher-warlock team up

I hate to burst Doug's bubble but there is no team-up. Warlock is doing all the work + protecting Doug. If I were Cypher, after High School, I'd get a course in languages, ace it, then go to work as a translator, maybe for the U.N. or travelling the world; with none the wiser that I'm a mutant.

This is the sight that shocked Magneto out of the shower.

tom and sharon are victimized by empath and go to magneto for help

These two are actually Tom Corsi and Sharon Friedlander. They've been living in the X-grounds. Since that time, they've become raging sex addicts then drug addicts all because of the villainy of Empath. After this Magneto flies into a rage, not so much because of what happened to them but on the suspicion that he too might have been manipulated into letting the New Mutants go. I'm anticipating a show of force from the Master of Magnetism. He should wear his old helmet so that Emma Frost and Empath don't get the better of him. We are given several panels displaying Magneto's awesome ability to bend metal to his will, such as this one:

magneto cuts loose with his power

The parade of incredible artists continues as we have Jackson Guice doing issue 40. The Avengers are prominently featured in this issue as they wrongfully pursue Magneto thinking he is a villain.

This is probably my favorite Wasp costume.

the wasp in nighties

And from another angle.

the wasp in nighties from the back

Even Emma Frost is sporting a new super-sexy costume

stylish new duds for the white queen

Check out Warlock's impression of the Blackbird - including bird feet.

Hercules and the Black Knight on the Knight's atomic steed. Look how big the Prince of Power is.

hercules and the black knight on the atomic steed

I never thought I'd read a comic were I'd side with Magneto rather than the Avengers, but here it is.

Soon enough, the New Mutants come to defend their Headmaster. Illyana's confiscation of Cap's shield makes me wonder why Captain America doesn't lose his shield more often. I mean, he keeps flinging that thing around.

illyana nabs captain america's shield

By the end of this issue the New Mutants decide to go back to Xavier's. Amazingly, Emma Frost is gracious enough to allow it.

Issue 41 showcases Dani. She and Roberto never came with the team to the Massachusettes Academy. Dani takes Brightwind and heads on home. Compared to when she first started Dani has better control of her powers and she also has some additional abilities from being a Valkyrie. The writers are not through with Mirage, she'll get a power up in a future issue.

This is a great visual as Dani arrives home.

wonderful landscape of mirage's home

Throughout the comic we are treated to wide open spaces and ranch country. A great treat from the comparatively cluttered setting of previous New Mutant comics.

On her trip to the mall, Dani gets treated to some surprising and harsh racist abuse.

dani runs into trouble at the mall

Not to excuse the guy, but it turns out he's a past victim of Dani's out of control power. Something about embarrassing him in front of his family by pulling out his greatest fear.

We also see a bit of Mirage's abilities as a Valkyrie which allows her to see death and have the chance to fight it off. Like in this panel.

mirage as a valkyrie duels with death

After showcasing Dani, Claremont now showcases Sam Guthrie as he heads back home. We meet Sam's family but the big thing is Sam's predicament of how he is going to introduce Lila Cheney, a hard rocker, to his rural family. It's a good story that underscores both Sam's and Lila's consideration for each other.

Bobby returns from his trip South and the New Mutants are complete once more at Xavier's. After initial greetings, they find out what Empath did to Tom and Sharon and, to their credit, they set out for some old fashioned revenge.

They pretty much break Empath in this issue

empath is taught a lesson by the new mutants

Even Thunderbird doesn't like his teammate at all.

thunderbird punches empath

Issue 44 takes us back to Muir Isle as one of Legion's multiple personalities, Jack Wayne, the telekinetic, takes over David. Jack Wayne plays at being suave but he's a psycho.

The team is definitely maturing as can be seen in how they approach the Jack Wayne problem. What resolves the issue is the threat of porting Wayne to Limbo.

jack wayne is threatened with limbo

The New Mutants attend a party, I think its called a High School mixer. Dani, ever the magnet for trouble, has some bozo bullying her at the dance floor. Warlock is definitely learning more about human society as this panel shows him coming to the rescue.

warlock comes to dani's rescue on the dance floor

This issue is about that old saw : Being a teenager and wanting to belong. I's almost cliche but it's a very well done 'sensitive' issue that involve a mutant as harmless as Cypher. Claremont really shines here. I think the issue effectively brings across how a person's private world is very different from what the person projects as his image. It is about feeling alone and compromising in order to get acceptance. This one ends in tragedy but its a very beautiful, quietly powerful issue.

The next issue ties in to the events going on in Uncanny X-Men where the Marauders have attacked the Morlocks, resulting in a horrendous massacre. It starts a bit jarringly as Illyana hurriedly transports Moira MacTaggart buck naked from the shower.

illyana transports a naked moira mctaggart

Pretty soon, the X-Men come into the mansion with the surviving Morlocks in tow

the x-men and the morlocks rush to the mansion for sanctuary

Everybody's pretty much beaten up. The Mansion is quickly converted into a hospital with the New Mutants helping out.

Here we see the Psylocke before her transformation.

betsy braddock alias psylocke

The New Mutants decide to explore the Morlock tunnel on their own. Check out this nice car creation from Warlock

warlock creates a car

All of a sudden, they have a bigger problem than the Morlocks, as Warlock's father Magus comes to kill his son.

The New Mutants decide to make a run for it by going off to Limbo but Magus is already there.

the magus in limbo

The presence of the Technark in Limbo will present a very big problem to Illyana in future issues. Another jump not only takes the Mutants to another place but to another time : The Scotland of Robert the Bruce.

the new mutants meet robert the bruce

It's amusing to note that the issue ends with Robert the Bruce wearing an X-Man belt.

robert the bruce wears an x-man belt

Issue 48 and 49 reminds me of the Days of Future Past story arc from X-Men. A volatile timejump from Illyana separates the New Mutants into two groups and lands them into two alternate futures. The first is a future where the Sentinels rule the earth. The second takes them to a future where mutants rule over humans. Let's check out issue 48 first.

Shan, Bobby, Amara and Rahne find themselves in a blighted Earth where they meet future versions of Cannonball and Mirage. This is a great shot of Wolfsbane saving Karma.

wolfsbane saves Karma

Here's an even better shot of Bobby taking apart a Sentinel.

sunspot tears the arm from a sentinel

In the other future, Sam, Doug and Dani find themselves in what at first seem a fantastic world were mutants rule. The problem is, humans are still around, with a different set of rights and opportunities. It reminds me of apartheid. The New Mutants do what they can.

the new mutanst help out the humans

Even more painful. This world is ruled by . . .

bobby and amara ruling an alternate future

That's Roberto da Costa and Amanda Aquilla.

Issue 50 brings us back to a Limbo now deeply corrupted by the techno virus. Magus has left but he has infected S'ym who is staging a rebellion against Illyana's rule.

s'ym rebels against magik

Magik is forced to flee and she finds herself on a planet where, coincidentally, Professor X and the Starjammers are hiding. A rescue attempt is staged by the Starjammers. Here's Binary looking really powerful.

the power of binary

The Professor really is the father of the New Mutants isn't he?

professor x comforts illyana

The future-lost New Mutants are quickly recovered with the Professor's guidance but not before Warlock takes out a Sentinel in style. Its the first time 'Lock tangles with these guys since he wasn't in issue 2.

warlock takes out a sentinel

Now for the big event of issue 50 : The final confrontation between Magus and Warlock. At last. That's not quite right. I should have said the final confrontation between Magus and the New Mutants, because his friends will not let Warlock face this situation alone. With the Professor directing their actions the New Mutants attain a new level of effectiveness.

First, Magma orders the earth to crush Magus.

magma uses her power against magus

Then Magik teleports part of Magus' body, effectively slicing him.

magik attacks magus

Then Warlock/Doug team up to destabilize Magus.

the cypher warlock team distabilize magus

Karma takes control of Magus.

karma controls magus

Sunspot takes care of some Magus automatons.

sunspot fights magus' automatons

Dani distracts the Magus with the thing he most fears : His son Warlock

mirage distracts magus with an image of of what he fears most - his son

In this way the team finaly deals with Magus. The ultimate lesson is friendship. If Warlock handn't met and been accepted by the New Mutants he would have died a long time ago.

Issue 51 is illustrated by Kevin Nowlan, it's quite distinctive. Here Nowlan gives us a two page spread of the Morlock tunnels during the Mutant Massacre.

the morlock tunnels

The Professor must now make a decision : To leave Lilandra and head back to Earth or stay with the Starjammers.

decision time for professor x

We get a wonderful demonstration of Magneto's power as he constructs a metal wall to protect a town from being swept away.

magneto creates a wall to protect a town from the sea

This is a great page of panels. Hepzibah is mouthing off against Lilandra and gets punched in the face for it.

hepzibah and lillandra fight

The Starjammers come under attack and the Professor shows his worth for these spacefaring rebels as he helps them dodge the enemy and anticipates tactics with his telepathic powers. It is a key reason why, in the end he chooses to stay with the woman he loves and with the Starjammers.

professor x aids the starjammers

True to their youth, the New Mutants see the lighter side of the situation.

the new mutants experience the rigors of a space fight

Personally, I wouldn't worry about the Starjammers. In the end, they have the uber-powerful Binary at their side.

And, oh yes, Magneto becomes the White King of the Hellfire Club.

magneto is the hellfire club's new white king

Back on Earth, and in the Danger Room with Magneto, the New Mutants test themselves against the Marauders. They all wind up dead. I like this shot of the fearsome Scalphunter.

scalphunter of he marauders

Core to this issue is Illyana's external struggle in Limbo and her internal struggle with the Darkchilde inside her. I can see that she feels scared and so alone. Alone, until she brings Magneto into her confidence and he gives her hope. Together with avenging Dani it's Magneto's finest moments as the Headmaster.

magneto comforts magik

Gorgeous art in issue 53 by Rick Leonardi. Look at the New Mutants dressed to the nines for a night out in the Hellfire Club.

magneto and the new mutants dressed for a formal night's out

I've never seen the facade of the Hellfire Club look better

street view of the hellfire club facade

Inside - a high society gathering

the gathering of the elite inside the hellfire club

I've been harping on Bobby a lot, but this page shows that Sunspot doesn't have a monopoly on being a jerk.

doug losses his cool - and his dignity

I think Doug's inferiority complex is getting the better of him.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. The New Mutants don't have anybody as sexy and alluring as the Hellions' Roulette.

roulette, the sexiest mutant of them all

Doug jerk move no. 2! I can't believe this guy.

doug crosses the line into being abusive

It's another contest between the New Mutants and the Hellions. First up, new costumes for our team.

new costumes for the new mutants

The only costume I like is Amara's. It's really too much for Doug to emulate Cyclops' costume. Doug, man, leave and become a translator for the U.N.. You'll be happier and you won't behave like a jerk anymore.

Also, with this issue, Shan leaves the team.

Warlock and Sunspot are also off on an adventure of their own in the mini-series Fallen Angels. Warlock gone? Doug has nobody to hide behind. This explains the asshole behavior. Doug is justifiably scared. Great characterization by Claremont.

This is the sexiest guard I've ever seen.

a sexy guard gets bored

Beautiful attack by Cannonball; a bit ruined by that costume though.

cannonball attacks the viper's henchmen

Bullets just bounce off Sam when he's blasting.

bullets bounce off cannonball

Just as I was about to give up on Doug he does the heroic thing.

cypher saves mirage

He's alright though.

cypher is protected by his bulletproof costume

In the end the game goes to the Hellions. Our team can't win 'em all.

Next: Claremont and Byrne's Uncanny X-Men