Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Rise and Fall and Rise and Fall and Rise of The New Mutants

Here’s my heartfelt thanks and gratitude to Secret Wars II. You sucked…but you featured the The New Mutants. It was fascination at first sight.  Before Secret Wars, I was a collector of British comics, Get Along Gang and Masters of the Universe comics. I feel it was with The New Mutants that I graduated. Who was this small band of kids that the Beyonder used to take on the whole Marvel Universe. A few years later I picked up the X-Men: New Mutants graphic novel and the first issue of the X-Men: Mutant Massacre arc and was instantly hooked.

The Rise
Cannonball, Wolfsbane, Karma, Psyche and Sunspot were the original team, but it was only after Magma, Cypher Magik and Self-friend Warlock had appeared that I had started reading so there was a lot to catch up on in between that first New Mutants graphic novel and the issue I had picked up. I lapped up everything I could, the Demon bear and Nova Roma sagas, the wonderful, wonderful Legion, and the Hellions. I loved the New Mutants. I loved the youthful natures of the characters. I was in the same age group as most of them and just loved (and was a bit jealous) that they got into the adventures they did.  These were my New Mutants. I particularly liked Cannonball, Psyche, Cypher, Warlock and Magik. I was rapt by everything they did.

The Fall
“The Fall of the Mutants” arc brought us the first tragic death in the team. Up until this point people had died but never had it been so close and painful. Cypher saved Wolfsbane from a bullet which opened so much drama and mourning, especially for me. At that young age I had not really experienced the concept of death and this was tough for me especially the issue where a heartbroken Warlock is trying to process what had happened. By this point, the New Mutants were under Magneto’s charge and the fallout from their disobeying him ended in tragedy.
            More adventures of note brought the New Mutants to space to save Sam’s girlfriend Lila Cheney, To Asgard and also through the Inferno where they teamed up with the X-Terminators. Boom-Boom and Ricter subsequently joined the team, but then the “Big Fall” came. It was aided by several other, smaller fails falls.

1. Magic was de-aged and consequently left.
2. Psyche/Moonstar/Dani left and became a Valkyrie.
3. Cable arrived. I know he has his fans, I wasn’t one of them. It disturbed me to learn he’d be sticking around.
4. Rob Liefield. Now, Liefield actually increased the popularity of this book when he took it over, but his popularity whistled right over my head. I’m not going to rant about his art. Suffice it to say, I didn’t like it. Case in point; 13-year-old, big-breasted, Amazonian, Wolfsbane. What the Hell? I still have a problem with certain characters that should be a certain age, portrayed as older more athletic versions by some artists. Yeah I’m look at you Jubilee, Pixie and more recently Indra.
5. Warlock died and The New Mutants comic broke me. I don’t think I’ve ever been as upset over a comic book as I was with issue #95. I refused to read the book any longer. My focus now rested solely with the X-Men. Having perused the last five issues recently and the first few issues of (in my opinion) the truly dreadful X-Force; I now know I was correct in my decision and that it wasn’t worth my time.

The Rise…Again
When I first heard they were re-launching The New Mutants with the original cast I wasn’t interested at all, but then my curiosity got the better of me. Picking up the first issue I was nicely surprised. So many great things about this issue and so many emotions. I was instantly drawn in by Karma on active X-Men duty. I really enjoyed the dialogue and team dynamic between Cannonball, Magma and sunspot and the arrival of Magik.
I had this odd feeling of camaraderie with them as though I had survived alongside them and here we were together again. I was chilled by Magik’s conversation with Magma and then overwhelmingly excited when Legion popped out of the box. (In my mind, Legion = fantastic. I could have read a whole issue of him fighting Nimrod sentinels using different personalities. Those few pages in the Second Coming crossover just weren’t enough.) I was equally excited at both Warlock and Cypher’s return. The new take on Cypher is just genius. Now I can’t wait for the reunion between them all and Wolfsbane, but who knows when that will happen.

Fall of The New Mutants
I loved this arc and I have to admit, I always did wonder what happened to the Inferno babies. It’s unfortunate that this is their fate, indoctrinated slaves to the military having suffered through forced survival in Limbo. Zeb Wells is doing a bang-up job and I’m sad to read he only has two more issues.

Some things I have enjoyed.
1. Cannonball and Moonstar’s budding relationship, which I am afraid will not last due to some unforeseen tragedy.
2. The Inferno babies grown up. There are some really interesting characters there. I’m not sure if any of them will survive, but I am looking forward to seeing the defeat of at least three of them. Two of them are already dead thanks to Face and Karma. I don’t miss either of them.
3. The conversation between Magma and Magik from the first issue finally resulting in the Sunspot/Magik conversation about Magma’s future demise.
4. Cypher. His dialogue is great. I just can’t wait for him to gain the upper hand over Trista.
5. The revelation that Magik didn’t come back for the whole team, just Karma.

I have to say I have been antsy since I put down the conclusion to this arc knowing that I would have to wait a whole month to find out what will become of the New Mutants, The Inferno babies and Project purgatory. This is the excitement I felt as a child first reading The New Mutants. I just couldn’t wait and now I have the same problem.  While I consistently enjoy X-Men and X-Men Legacy I don’t always feel I am waiting with baited breath for the next issue. Not so with this arc of The New Mutants.

The Rise of the New Mutants 
So The New Mutants will rise again, but which ones? If Magik is to be believed, not everyone will survive. Magma is already on that list and while nothing is set in stone, things could very easily happen differently from the future Magik came from. And can she be trusted? Really? She hasn’t done anything truly noble recently that would make me trust her. I think Limbo has taken its toll on her. Also, if this arc is the whole reason she came back what will she do afterwards…if she survives?
I so want Cannonball and Moonstar to have some happiness together, but is their romance a doomed one? We know Moonstar can be a hard case, but she is outmatched more so than ever, has a broken arm and has been tortured.

Legion Legion Legion. Come on Legion show us the hero(es) inside. I so want Legion to come to The New Mutants aid. I actually want him to join the team. I think that would be an awesome dynamic to the team. I’m also hoping that maybe there is room for some of these Inferno babies to return to Utopia. I’m really intrigued by Bob and Toko.
Either way, I am definitely sold on this current run on The New Mutants. 

Okay heres a pic of Sunspot too.

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