The Small Lebowski:
New Mutants #1-3
Issue(s): New Mutants #1, New Mutants #2, New Mutants #3
Xavier makes it very clear that the New Mutants are not to be the new X-Men. He's training them just so that they learn to control their powers, at which point they can be integrated back into society. It's a bit contradictory for them to be wearing the original X-Men's uniforms (and given code-names, which we learn in issue #1)...
...and to engage in danger room sessions...
...but i guess that's all that Professor x really knows.
There's an undercurrent of danger, though, because Xavier has a Brood Queen egg in his belly (foreshadowed here in a Danger Room sequence)...
...and it begins to manifest itself, horror movie style, to the children.
The Brood plotline won't be resolved until the X-Men return home from space.
Meanwhile, Henry Gyrich has been working with Sebastian Shaw to establish Project Wideawake: a new sentinel program.
Gyrich intends for it to be used against super-powered villains. But Shaw wants to make the new mutants paranoid so they'll eventually be susceptible to the Hellfire Club's manipulations, so he activates the robots. With the help of Carol Danver's old boyfriend Michael Rossi, who was assumed dead until now...
...the New Mutants fight off the Sentinels (which doesn't say much for their efficiency - a few untrained mutant teenagers and a single soldier defeating sentinels?).
The Sentinel fight takes place at a mall, where the new mutants meet some of the local kids.
In a subplot, we meet Gabrielle Haller, who reveals to Moira and Illyana that she has fathered the son of Charles Xavier.
Bob McLeod's art seems better on these issues than the Graphic Novel. Not sure if it's due to the different levels of production quality, or something else.
Michael Rossi's appearance is unexplained and unresolved (he shows up in issue #2 and doesn't even appear in #3). For a character that has only existed as a supposedly dead background character from Ms. Marvel's past (and even that felt a little like an awkward and late addition), it's very unsatisfying for him to appear here in such an incidental way. But we'll give Claremont the benefit of the doubt on that for now.
Issue #3 is where we get into the Brood horror story for real...
...but while they fight the creature off, they don't defeat it.
During that issue, Dani also has a dream about the bear that killed her parents. It starts off with Dani thinking that she's using her own illusion powers on herself to project her greatest fear, but then she finds that the projection is solid.
She then unmasks the creature to reveal the demon bear.
When she wakes up from the dream, there's real blood on her knife.
Unsure if this means that i should tag the Demon Bear with an appearance for this issue, or if this is an early indication that Dani has the ability to produce "real" illusions that she'll later develop. Later in issue #3, the latter point is definitely demonstrated, with the Brood Queen tapping into her powers to create solid illusions.
She has Cannonball knock her out to prevent the illusions from appearing.
Quality Rating: A-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Takes place before Uncanny X-Men #167, which is when the X-Men return home and meet the New Mutants for the first time. Professor Xavier's Brood egg problem is resolved in that issue.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (6): show
The Xavier's son plot takes exactly 2 years to be picked up again.
Mike Gustovich kept showing up on Roy Thomas projects during the 1980s. He could ink OK, but the man couldn't pencil to save his life, especially women's faces. And yet Roy kept thrusting his art on us OVER and OVER again despite repeated complaints in multiple letter columns...
Posted by: Mark Drummond | September 18, 2011 12:57 AM
In an interview with Claremont & Louise Jones in late 1981, Karma was stated as being the team leader and taking Moira's place at the X-Mansion with regards to running the place, paying bills, etc. Danielle Moonstar was supposed to be outright telepathic, would "project dreams", and have better rapports with animals than people. Later students were intended to flunk out, get de-powered, and even turn evil. Claremont was also tossing around the term "X-Babies" before the graphic novel came out.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | October 21, 2012 9:47 PM
In late 1982, between the Graphic Novel and #1, Claremont gave an interview stating that we'd see a flashback story of Danielle Moonstar accidentally using her power on a teacher she liked, revealing him to be a local axe murderer(the vision would show him chopping her up) and causing him to get caught coming after her later. He also named as possible future New Mutants Jean Grey's nephew & niece, Willie Evans Jr. from Fantastic Four, Siryn, and--surprisingly--Firestar. That was probably the first public mention of bringing Firestar into the Marvel Universe. Legion was also supposed to be seen in #1, and he was supposed to be used to bring back Amahl Farouk.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | January 20, 2013 4:56 PM
@Mark: What was the interview in late 1982? Which magazine?
Posted by: Nathan Adler | January 20, 2013 11:55 PM
That axe murderer thing would have been really cool.
I'm one of those for whom the X-universe, at least, ends with X-Men (v2) #3 - ie, when Claremont is officially out. And even much of the stuff before then (pretty much X-Factor and X-Force as a whole, Fallen Angels, and Simonson's run on New Mutants) doesn't seem quite canon to me (or anyway not worth reading). Claremont's alternative ideas and interpretations, when not precluded by something someone else wrote in one of those other books during his run that he later had to acknowledge, always seems canon to me. By that I mean, Claremont would have to acknowledge that Jean Grey came back and all the Phoenix/Jean Grey nonsense. So that to me is canon because he had to acknowledge it in various books. And he acknowledged things such as Cypher's death. But there's some other stuff where I'm not sure his initial plans ever got tinkered with while he was on the books - Mr Sinister, for instance. He originally had Sinister as something completely different. I'd have to re-read the end of Claremont's X-run to see if he himself ever contradicted his stated origin for the character.
But anyway the Moonstar thing is great, so I'm choosing to believe it 'happened'.
Posted by: Paul | January 22, 2013 5:22 PM
This story is notable in that it is the first time we've seen Mike Rossi since his supposed death when investigating Steven Lang. He is next seen in Uncanny X-Men #182 infiltrating a SHIELD Helicarrier to uncover information on the Hellfire Club and Sebastian Shaw. Given Shaw is revealed to be funding Project: Wideawake, does this perhaps explain Mystique's earlier mission for the Hellfire Club on the SHIELD Helicarrier in Ms. Marvel #17? When you consider Claremont's later revelation that SHIELD had been infiltrated by the Consortium who are revealed to have been the ones behind the Sentinels throughout Marvel's history is this what Xavier had Mike infiltrating the SHIELD Helicarrier in Uncanny X-Men #182 to find out?
@Paul: Claremont never contradicted his planned origin for Nate/Lefty/Sinister in his original run. He never got an opportunity to take the character where he planned before getting forced off the X-titles, though.
When he came back to the X-titles and wrote X-Men: The End he at least gave later writers the courtesy they never gave him by respecting their alternative reveal that he was a Victorian geneticist, despite the fact he could've undone it and gone back to his original plan.
However, it has been contended that he did contradict quite a bit of his work, the biggest one being during X-Treme X-Men where he revealed Xavier had recruited Tessa to be his spy long before the Dark Phoenix Saga, going so far as to say she was his "First X-Man" but he held back from making her a public team member since he wanted their connection to remain "silent" so he could have her act within the Club as a 'sleeper'. However, Uncanny X-Men #208 has that interesting little scene at the Hellfire Club when Selene calls that meeting with the Inner Circle to inform them of Rachel's attack, and Tessa responds to Selene's warning to Shaw that "I merely observe, my lady, and relate what I have seen." It seems odd that she would attempt to defend herself against a complement by Selene, unless she was trying to be overly modest and subservient to Shaw. Either way it could also be seen as an attempt to alleviate any potential suspicion against her. This scene also has Selene warning Shaw to heed Tessa's wisdom/sage advice which is a nice little allusion to her adopted codename later on (and fnord a noteworthy scene worth highlighting when you come to issue #208).
Posted by: Nathan Adler | January 24, 2013 1:37 AM
But Nathan, in X-Men 189, Tessa thinks to herself that Shaw should force Magma and Rachel to murder Selene. It's weird that she would think that if she were a hero.
Posted by: Michael | January 24, 2013 7:51 AM
@ Michael: It would be interesting to check these slips Tess makes to see if Emma Frost is around each time she makes them. That is, perhaps she's putting the thought out there to prevent another telepath being suspicious!?
Posted by: Nathan Adler | January 24, 2013 4:21 PM
Nathan: Amazing Heroes #16, 10/82.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | January 26, 2013 5:31 PM
@ Mark: Thanks very much:)
Posted by: Nathan Adler | January 28, 2013 12:04 AM
In an interview in Comics Journal #107, Bill Sienkiewicz stated that Claremont deliberately held back showing Legion until the "right artist" showed up.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | March 17, 2014 7:12 PM
Thinking back to Gyrich's dialogue in New Mutants #2 (p.7) that "We're establishing a facility for the containment and extermination of mutants", that seriously sounds like the camps seen in Days of Future Past.
So Project: Wideawake was the start, and Shaw was involved in directly financing the extermination of his own kind.
But why call such a project "Wideawake"?
Posted by: Nathan Adler | April 8, 2015 5:38 AM
@ Nathan Adler - I don't know that they ever actually say it, but I would think the reasoning would be that they were "wide awake" to the "mutant threat" - as opposed to those who still were walking around with their eyes closed, oblivious to the danger.
Posted by: Erik Beck | April 8, 2015 6:22 AM
@Erik: Pretty blatant suggestion for a facility they'd likely want to hide from the general public!?
Posted by: Nathan Adler | April 8, 2015 6:26 AM
@Nathan - Has Gyrich ever struck you as a subtle person?
Posted by: Erik Beck | April 8, 2015 6:48 AM
@Erik: Gyrich never named it. It was dubbed so by the NSC.
Posted by: Nathan Adler | April 8, 2015 7:16 AM
As a Brazilian, seeing Roberto da Costa use Spanish words as opposed to Portuguese is a pretty huge letdown. Sunspot was Marvel's first major Brazilian character, and Claremont could've done a teensy bit of research on Brazilian idyomatic expressions. Saying "hombre" doesn't add anything to the plot so I assume it was just Claremont's way of pointing out that Roberto isn't American. But if he writes him as a Brazilian, just use "homem" instead, lest he defeat the purpose of inserting a quaint little vocative. Or at least "cara", the Brazilian equivalent of "dude". Oh, well.
Posted by: The Transparent Fox | August 11, 2015 11:38 PM
(responding to an old comment) Another funny Spanish/Portuguese misconception involving Sunspot happens in an issue of Ultimate X-Men, where he keeps calling people "cabrão." That's not something Brazilians usually call people (unless there's some state where people do and I've never heard of it) and is clearly the product of the writer intending to use a Portuguese equivalent to the Spanish word "cabrón".
Posted by: Enchlore | May 29, 2017 2:34 PM
The change in mood near the start of the first issue is pretty shocking. I can't think of a story where someone committed a worse faux pas with a new classmate than broadcasting images of a time she and her mother were gang-raped to everyone in school.
Posted by: Mortificator | May 31, 2017 8:42 PM
Idle thought: Could it be an attempt to approximate an embarrassing first day at school? Everybody expects everything to go right and the result is abject humiliation for reason of drama or humor? Very jarring, yes, but not 100% inappropriate for teenage female superheroes.
Might not be analogous to 'first day at a new school' examples, but "Karate Kid," "Animal House," "Carrie" and various Judy Blume books had some very humiliating experiences for new/outcast students at school.
Posted by: ChrisW | May 31, 2017 9:21 PM
There was a theme in the early issues of The New Mutants that the students did not have full control of the abilities, unlike the X-Men, hence their attendance at the Xavier school. The conceit was that, while the X-Men used the school as a cover, it was a true school for these kids.
That opening is an extreme example of this, setting the tone for the series, though the idea starts to slowly disappear sometime after Secret Wars II (when most of the kids are killed and resurrected by the Beyonder and have their skill levels reset).
Dani does this a few times in early issues, though never to this dark level.
Posted by: James | June 1, 2017 11:58 AM
The art is issue #1 is absolutely horrid.
And I agree with Transparent Fox, being Portuguese, it's a bit ridiculous seeing Roberto saying things like "hombre". That's just poor research.
Posted by: Bibs | July 10, 2017 6:12 PM
Eh, most of the X-Men characters are ethnic stereotypes. Strong but simple Russian, Native American saying mystical animal nature stuff, and so on.
Posted by: Karel | September 23, 2017 7:12 PM
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