Thursday, 18 October 2012

New Mutants #1-#2: Read My Lips: No New X-Men

The New Mutants graphic novel apparently proved a success and so we get an ongoing series! This is the real start of the X-franchise, notwithstanding the Wolverine and Dazzler solo titles.

But first, a comic.


The first three issues of New Mutants lead up to the events of Uncanny X-Men #167, which is a bit odd because they were released several months after it, so we already know that Xavier is infected by the Brood and has brought the children there to infect too. How plausible that is we'll cover in a post's time, but for now I'll note this robs the end panel of #1 (where we see someone setting off the Danger Room, apparently trying to kill Dani - not enough to make a positive ID, but his sleeve matches the type that Xavier was wearing earlier in the issue) of its mystery.

This arc is the first serious look at the ethics of power use - and by that I don't mean the obligation to use them to help others, but whether some means are just tainted entirely, no matter the ends. Two of our new mutants have mind-based powers: Dani, who can make people see their fears; and Karma, who can mind-control people. Karma is upset when Dani (by accident, it seems), shows the group her trauma: her escape from Vietnam, her mother's death, and her attempt to protect her younger siblings (who are curiously absent - I wonder where they are living?). Dani is of course mortified, and spends much of the story running away, and then trying to prove herself.

Meanwhile, the other four (with Stevie - Moira and Illyana are in London, finding out that Xavier has an autistic, powered, son, by the Israeli ambassador, one Gabrielle Heller - which can go on the Chart now) go to the local mall. This is a ground-level view of the X-Men's small-town neighbours that we've never really seen before, and has something of the Broxton about it. They're being followed, by agents of Hank Gyrich (introduced a few years ago as a bureaucratic obstructionist character in Avengers), who is conspiring with Sebastian Shaw, mutant member of the Hellfire Club's Inner Circle. So, the attempt to wipe the information in #158 was a failure.

Shaw is using Gyrich. He doesn't want to see the New Mutants arrested or dead. He's willing to see them use giant mutant-killing robots - which he used before in the Ororo/Emma bodyswap story - to try and convince young mutants that it's a dangerous world and to sign up with him. For all that Magneto was evil, he's never staged a false flag operation, so far as we know. And although the guys (with Michael Rossi's help) take down the Sentinels and turn the day. Our issue of ethics comes up again, as Karma forces one of the goons to make a confession. It's all true, says, Rossi, but what's really going to happen here? The moment Karma breaks the control, he wakes up not knowing why he's been handcuffed. His masters will be able to spin this as an "evil mutants" thing quite easily and whisk him away from the local police department. The effect of this all has to be counted as a victory for Shaw, as he manages to sow mistrust on all sides.

The new holographic Danger Room is introduced in this issue. How it came to be holographic is not made clear, but certainly the mansion was rebuilt with the help of Shi'ar tech, so making it be of that origin is a natural fit. Oddly, the mansion has been rebuilt with the X-Men's rooms as they were (complete with mess!) and Storm's roof garden, where the plants are starting to get thirsty after several weeks of separation from their tender). That's some construction robots for you.

We get some ages of the team in #2. Rahne and Dani are 14. Bobby is 13. Xi'an is 19 (and is therefore older or a contemporary of Peter!). And Sam, as we already know from the graphic novel, is 16. And, they all get codenames: Dani is "Psyche", Rahne is "Wolfsbane", Sam is "Cannonball" (a word that had been used to describe him in the graphic novel), and Bobby is "Sunspot". Xi'an is already known as Karma. Where these names came from - whether they were self-endowed, or like previous codenames bestowed by Xavier - is left unstated.


  1. So, the attempt to wipe the information in #158 was a failure.

    We'll see later that it wasn't a failure; I think this is supposed to represent a more general targeting of mutants by Hyrich/the government, and not a specific attack on the X-Men.

    1. ...who just happen to be poking around Westchester County...?

      Well, by now it should be at least a local rumour that the X-Men are based somewhere in the area, so I suppose it could just be them following up leads from that.

  2. Well, Shaw knows where the X-Men are headquartered (in one of those details from the Hellfire Club story in #151-152 that tends to be overlooked), and since the whole Sentinel attack is an attempt on his part to lay the seeds for his eventual usurpation of Xavier's new students, it makes sense that he might direct the government in that direction, if the government doesn't quite make the connection.