New Mutants #15-17
Issue(s): New Mutants #15, New Mutants #16, New Mutants #17
Emma is trying to convince Kitty to join the Hellfire Club, on the grounds that if she doesn't do so voluntarily, the Emma will mentally manipulate her into doing so anyway, and in the meantime, the Hellfire Club will destroy the lives of her parents.
Oddly - Illyana is surprised - both Kitty and the White Queen can see her Illyana's astral projection. Emma blasts it. Back in the X-Mansion, this causes Illyana to release all sorts of minor demons from Limbo, which the New Mutants are forced to capture.
That's easy enough - merely touching them sends them back to the netherworld - but the fact that Illyana is conjuring demons increases their suspicion of her.
However, the immediate concern is rescuing Kitty. The X-Men are gone, so the New Mutants try to contact the Fantastic Four and the Avengers, but they're all gone as well (everybody's at Secret Wars), so they decide they have to do it themselves. However, no one (including Illyana) trust's Illyana's teleportation ability, and they have no other means of transportation, so they are reduced to taking a bus.
Cannonball and Wolfbane bond on the trip.
When they finally arrive, they infiltrate the White Queen's compound, but it turns out that Emma's been waiting for them.
Illyana teleports everyone away, but the New Mutants end up battling the White Queen's students - the Hellions. The team seems to be deliberately set up to be mirror images of the original New Mutants team.
Let's go through the team. We have Catseye. She's a changeling like Wolfsbane. The twist is that she prefers her cat form and affects a cat-like personality even in human form.
There's Empath, who controls people's emotions, forcing them to do what he wants so that they'll like him. Reminds me of Karma - one of the original New Mutants who's currently MIA.
There's Thunderbird, younger brother to the original. He's really the only enduring member of the group - he'll eventually change his name to Warpath and join X-Force. For now, though, he's the strong guy of the group, like Sunspot.
Jetstream is a super-fast flier, like Cannonball. Unlike Cannonball, he's got good control of his flight path, but he's not nigh invulnerable while blasting. Also
Per Walter's comment, Jetstream is a mutant, but his powers didn't include protection from the friction of high speed flight, so he wound up setting himself on fire, so the Hellfire Club had to rebuild him. His cyborg components also include upgrades that allow him to control his flight better than his New Mutants analogue Cannonball.
There's Tarot, who brings images from her Tarot deck to life. I think that's pretty similar to Mirage, except Tarot's images become physical. It was hinted in the early New Mutants issues that Mirage may eventually develop the ability to make her illusions real.
Finally, there's Roulette. She throws Wheel of Fortune discs of bad luck.
There's no real analogue to any of the New Mutants with her. So maybe that means the Hellions weren't really meant to be direct analogues. But some of the others (Jetstream and Catseye especially) are so obviously foils that it's hard to not look for similarities in the others.
Anyway, issue #16 does a good job introducing the characters one by one and #17 builds further on their personalities. It's hard introducing a whole new team, and these guys aren't as exciting right off the bat as Alpha Flight, but it feels like they had potential. Unfortunately, in the long run, only Empath and Thunderbird/Warpath will have any real longevity and most will get killed off when a creative team switch in the early 90s demands a large body count.
Anyway, all the the New Mutants are defeated, except Mirage and Magik, who flee to Limbo.
After healing up, Magik teleports back to the White Queen's school for a rescue, but it turns out that she's accidentally teleported over a year into the future as well. In the future, the New Mutants are all now happy members of the Hellions. She tries again, and this time she's only off by a week.
Their rescue attempt is botched, but the Hellions have an apparent change of heart and agree to let the New Mutants go if the win in a duel between Cannonball and Jetstream.
Cannonball wins, but Emma and Sebastian Shaw show up, and they never agreed to let anyone go.
However, the Hellions honor their agreement and help the New Mutants escape. Wolfsbane tries to get Catseye to go with them, but she declines.
Illyana then teleports everyone home, and does so successfully.
It's a good little arc. The Hellions are interesting enough, and there's some decent inter-team development as the group deals with Magik's dark past. The art is a little inconsistent. Wolfsbane especially looks pretty bad in a few places...
...and the intro shots for the Hellions don't really stand out all that well. The art seems to get better for issue #17, where i see that Sal Buscema had some help.
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: This story occurs after all the heroes have left for Secret Wars. Sebastian Shaw's appearance here takes place after Uncanny X-Men #182; basically the events in this issue span a period of several weeks (especially because of Magik's misadventures in time travel) that cause all events up to Uncanny X-Men #182 to be concurrent with this arc.
Continuity Implant? N
Reprinted In: N/A
Inbound References (5): show
Black King, Cannonball, Catseye, Cypher, Dani Moonstar, Empath, Jarvis, Jetstream, Magik, Magma, Roulette, S'ym, Shadowcat, Sunspot, Tarot, Warpath, White Queen, Wolfsbane
On a Sienkiewicz pinup page done much later, we find out Catseye spent nearly all of her pre-Hellion days in cat form.
In the announcement for #16 in some fanzines, the Hellions were called "the Newer Mutants".
The Official Handbook does describe Jetstream as a mutant, I believe: his power is to generate air currents, and he needs the cybernetic enhancements to channel them. (In this he's a bit like Pyro, who can control flame but can't generate it.)
Thanks Walter. I looked this up and apparently he can fly on his own but before the enhancements it wound up getting him burnt up. I've updated the description above.
Claremont never gets to explore it in depth, but there's an inchoate theme of mutant-technological co-evolution in characters like Jetstream, Forge, Pipeline (from Genosha), and Genosha as a whole.
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