Sunday, 11 November 2012

New Mutants Annual #1: Homesteading the Dyson Sphere

Today's second post is New Mutants Annual #1. The New Mutants are going to a Lila Cheney gig, in New York. Lila Cheney's look is seemingly based on Joan Jett.

Amara hasn't seen anything quite like the venue, the closest thing being the "Coliseum" at home in Nova Roma (a term that specifically refers to the one in Rome, by the way. How authentic is Nova Roma, anyway?) Bobby is able to use his rich-kid privileges to get backstage passes, so they can skip the queue and watch the sound check. Sounds thrilling. Unfortunately, they just can't have a normal day.

So, a Vrakanin bounty hunter is trying to assassinate Cheney. Firstly, by sabotaging a stack of speakers (Sam saves Lila and gets a kiss, which makes Bobby rather jeallous) Then, during the gig itself, they attack in person. The New Mutants do what they can. This gets out of hand, and the band (and Sam) suddenly vanish, through a stargate, apparently created by Lila's guitar playing.

Lila and the band (and Sam) arrive at Lila's home away from home: an abandoned Dyson sphere, that she's taken up residence in.

In order to get the full ludicrousness of that concept, you need to understand what a Dyson sphere is. In the form portrayed here, it is a solid sphere of matter around a star, in the "habitable" zone, which therefore captures all that sun's energy. If you built a Dyson sphere in our solar system, with the radius of Earth's orbit, it would have 550 million times the surface area of Earth. There could be quintillions (short scale) or trillions (long scale) of people. Lila thinks it's otherwise empty, though, which is a trifle arrogant of her.

Warlock reopens the gate, and they end up 'porting. To space, frustratingly, but he's able to save them by transforming himself into a spaceship himself. They catch up to the sphere, and someone find our people on its vast surface.

There's some nonsense about Cheney being an intergalactic thief who is going to steal the Earth for no clear reason (she's taken lessons from the Daleks, then). Who is going to want to buy the planet anyway? Because of some damage during fighting, the Earth-moving device is going to end up destroying the Earth instead. Until Cypher saves the day, with his reading-alien-languages-and-therefore-the-instructions power. Anyway, for some reason all this doesn't mark her as a supervillain. Well, the "some reason" being simply that she's romantically interested in Sam. They kiss, and she even makes him dress up, and the way that the scene cuts away after that I think we can add this to the Shag Chart.

They all get home courtesy of Cheney, who it turns out has some innate teleporting ability - over interstellar distances only. This is sufficiently useful that it has to be hobbled by the restriction that she can only reach places she considers "home" - in this case London, making possibly its first appearance in an X-Men comic (her being British was implied earlier, when she called Sam "luv"). Not clear how she got to the Dyson Sphere in the first place though.

I'm generally all very keen on the genre-mashups that we see in the pages of these books, but this strikes me as a mash too far. Sam now has a girlfriend. Fair enough. She's a rock star. Who looks like Joan Jett. And she's space thief. And resides on a Dyson sphere. At some point it crosses that line from interesting fiction to absurd levels of wish fulfillment. If this carries on, our New Mutants will cease to be ordinary characters with the twist of their powers, and start being as well, comic booky, as the X-Men proper.

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