There's no immediate stage of Liefield writing Simonson's plots: the book is changed from day one. If we look back at New Mutants so far, it can be divided into three main eras. Firstly, there is the period from #1 to #34, which is the original format of the New Mutants having wacky adventures while attending a school run by Professor X. From #35 Xavier went into space and was replaced by Magneto. The New Mutants then engage in increasingly outlandish adventures which they handle with aplomb, marred only by the killing of Doug and the loss of Magik, while evading the tyrannical Headmaster Magneto. This era ends when they decide to quit the school and join up with X-Factor (#75).
However, the problem that was present with the setup during the Magneto era is still present with the ship and X-Factor. They've had adventures while X-Factor were out on missions, and have got trapped in parallel dimensions. One team can't very well mentor the other when they both want to be off doing their own adventures. Eventually, the franchise will figure out how to do this reasonably acceptably, by swelling the student numbers and having the adult team as peripheral characters who can't give the juvies their full attention (i.e. copying the format of Buffy back). But for now, this is stagnant. It's the third attempt at this, and despite changing location this time, it still doesn't work.
Enter Cable. He turns up out of the blue, with a big but not yet ludicrous gun, looking to defeat Stryfe and the Mutant Liberation Front (who are violently protesting against the capture of Rusty and Skids by Freedom Force.) By issue #89 he's graduated to using weapons he can probably only carry because of his telekinesis. But it's not all just ridiculously stupid violence. There's also ridiculously stupid character scenes, as well (mind, the page or two where Rahne is looking at her mementoes are great). Oh dear. Cable's introduction and adoption as the team's mentor here is just so clumsy and rushed. Sigh.
I think my attempt at Reading All The X-Men ends here. Although there was no way I was going to read all the 1990s material, I'd hoped to get as far as X-Force proper. I can't. It's April now, and I'd started to draft the entries for this era in January, and I stopped. In part this was due to poor health, but there was also a component of not wanting to have to write about Rob Liefield pissing on the corpse of New Mutants. So, we'll concentrate on Uncanny, X-Factor and Excalibur only from now on...