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, then 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 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 they 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 Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (6): show
On a Sienkiewicz pinup page done much later, we find out Catseye spent nearly all of her pre-Hellion days in cat form.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | October 2, 2011 5:23 PM
In the announcement for #16 in some fanzines, the Hellions were called "the Newer Mutants".
Posted by: Mark Drummond | January 27, 2013 6:40 PM
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.)
Posted by: Walter Lawson | January 27, 2013 10:10 PM
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.
Posted by: fnord12 | January 28, 2013 10:18 AM
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.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | January 28, 2013 10:23 PM
In Amazing Heroes #39, Claremont states that Catseye is an alien with the mutant power to change into a quasi-human form. I'm guessing he changed his mind and used that for Warlock.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | June 1, 2013 3:34 PM
Is this issue definitive proof that Emma Frost has her hooks in Kitty's mind? We know that Kitty can be able to see Illyana because of their bond. The White Queen shouldn't because Illyana is using her mystical power and not psi-projecting, but if Emma can see everything Kitty sees, then Kitty's already been subverted unawares.
Posted by: Brian C. Saunders | June 27, 2016 3:35 AM
Brian, in that sequence, Emma is clearly reading Kitty's mind- she remarks that Kitty loves Doug and is scared. So if she's reading Kitty's mind when Illyana appears, she should be able to see Ilyana, even if Kitty isn't subverted.
Posted by: Michael | June 27, 2016 7:45 AM
Had Kitty ever seen Illyana's astral form before? I'm betting not, because Illyana has never been given as much screen time as she's getting now, as she becomes (arguably) the series' most prominent character. Looking up the actual comic, Illyana is surprised that Kitty can see her.
To me, it reads like the White Queen can see Illyana with or without reading Kitty's mind. "Kitty saw me! But how - uh oh! I can sense the White Queen's psi-powers - she can see me, too!" You're right that Emma should be able to see what Kitty sees if she (Emma) is reading Kitty's mind, it just comes off to me as more of an implied suggestion that Emma would have been able to see/sense her anyway. Either Claremont's being inconsistent or I'm inferring something that wasn't actually there.
Also interesting is that the Kitty/White Queen scene lasted three and a half-pages, which is surprisingly long for comics of the time. Illyana's astral projection took another page and a half, and that's not counting the opening splash page. That's six pages out of a 22-page comic just on the opening sequence, and Illyana's reaction to Emma's psi-blast takes another six pages, finally ending when Sam and the others come in with "some questions for Illyana."
But #14 is chock-full of story and characterization. There's no decompression. It takes the kids another three pages to figure out what they're going to do, a page at the bus terminal, and three more on the bus itself. Then there's three pages left to set up the cliff-hanger. It's not a story with a complete beginning/middle/ending, but that's about the worst thing to say. It builds on established plotlines [Bobby/Rhane and Cloak and Dagger, Illyana's mystic potential] sets up others [Illyana again, the rival school] and crosses over with the parent title and the Marvel Universe ["Secret Wars" obviously, but Xavier's first rule when the X-Men aren't available is to call the Avengers or FF, and Emma takes time to describe how she recovered from Mastermind's attack.] Good stuff.
Posted by: ChrisW | June 28, 2016 11:45 PM
You could say Roulette is slightly analogous to Magik, in that luck powers are almost indistinguishable from magic, and indeed, the closest other character to Rouelette in terms of powers is the Scarlet Witch. And, uhh... Rouelette has throwing discs that express her power and Magic has stepping discs. It's a loose parallel, but maybe something.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | December 10, 2016 7:06 PM
More Claremont newspeak in the scans above: "Intruder go hushbye!"
Posted by: JP! | January 31, 2018 6:59 PM
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