New Mutants #21
Issue(s): New Mutants #21
(That's former editor Louise Simonson holding the People magazine.)
The boys went to catch a Yankees game. On their way home, they see a meteor, which will turn out to be Warlock, who we saw last issue fleeing from his father.
Warlock is inert when they bring him in, but he wakes up and begins exploring the premises. Since there are so many civilians around, it's difficult for the New Mutants to contain him. Plus he's really powerful - any organic thing he touches turns into techno-organic material which he can then drain the lifeforce from. He derezzes one of Illyana's demons this way (this way Inferno lies).
Warlock actually doesn't know what he's doing. He's going around talking to the appliances (he's impressed with the refrigerator's idea of storing organic materials inside of it for later use) and assuming that all the organic forms attacking him are just the guardian-slaves of the place.
Unable to stop him or communicate with him, the New Mutants decide to make some big revelations to their neighbor Doug Ramsey. First, that they're mutants. Second, that he's a mutant, with the ability to decipher languages. Third, they've got an alien in their basement for him to talk to. Using the Danger Room computer, he's able to talk with Warlock, learning his backstory.
The New Mutants decide to help Warlock.
When Xavier arrives home, he takes the mess from the party in stride. But Warlock is something else. However, he decides to trust his students and invites him to join the school
As Warlock arrives on Earth, he passes Magneto's Asteroid M, destroying it. Surprisingly, this is never followed-up on (directly; as Mark notes, the debris from the Asteroid is relevant to the X-Men vs. the Avengers miniseries). Regardless of Magneto's current uneasy truce with the X-Men, you'd think he'd follow up on a UFO that destroyed his fortress and nearly killed him (granted he winds up floating in the ocean after this appearance until he's rescued by Lee Forrester in Uncanny X-Men #188).
Warlock still uses the proper pronoun "I" in this issue. But it's all internal thoughts. Once he starts speaking out loud more, we'll see the "self" business starting up. And i think from that point on, it's "self" even in his thoughts.
When Magik encounters Warlock, she gets infected by his touch and teleports away to Limbo. She returns towards the end wearing space armor and saying that she has a story to tell...
...and that story will be told in New Mutants #63, except the whole thing will be made out to sound like a dream. It originally seemed to me that from this sequence alone, the idea was that Magik went away to get gear to fight Warlock, not that she went off on some side quest, and the "story to tell" refers to the events of this issue, but obviously that's not correct since Claremont plotted the story in issue #63.
During the slumber party scene, Rahne is particularly uncomfortable with all of the teen debauchery (which is all completely G rated) due to her religious upbringing. But she submits to a makeover, and then gets mad when Sam doesn't recognize her.
Good characterization for her.
Overall, an interesting and fun issue. But i do think the Warlock stuff is dropped way too quickly. Last issue, Xavier was thinking about bringing in Dr. Strange to understand the Demon Bear better (not that he actually did that, it seems). After this issue, i think Warlock will basically just hang around in the background until his father shows up in the X-Men comic. You'd think Xavier would be a lot more proactive, bringing in Reed Richards to inspect Warlock or just getting more prepared for this upcoming attack. It just feels like Claremont was trying to juggle too many plots at once and things are getting dropped.
Anyway, great art!
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: Warlock's arrival on Earth here needs to take place before Marvel Team-Up annual #7, where the Collector detects him on Earth.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (7): show
One panel in the slumber party depicts Michael Jackson, Tom Selleck, Sting and a 4th guy I can't remember right now(Sylvester Stallone?).
The destruction of Asteroid M is followed up on(sort of) in Avengers Vs. X-Men.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | October 9, 2011 12:51 AM
Belatedly answering Mark here, looks like the fourth guy is John Travolta. Added the scan.
Hunks one and all, for sure.
Posted by: fnord12 | March 31, 2012 3:22 PM
No way would teenage girls be drooling over Travolta in 1984, despite the movies he was in then. At that point, he was just considered some leftover 1970s joke. Not sure what Claremont was thinking...
Posted by: Mark Drummond | April 1, 2012 2:18 AM
I hated the characterization of Illyana in this issue. She went from "They laugh so easily, while I've forgotten how to cry. I want to play but don't know how to ask." to this party obsessed girl who makes slumber parties no one else wants. There was nothing shown previously to suggest that the others had gotten over their fear/distrust/hatred of her that would have it make sense for her to feel comfortable enough to do what she does in this issue.
Posted by: Gary | May 5, 2012 3:43 PM
It was totally random, yea. It's kind of forgotten because this issue is so iconic.
Magik/Illyana was captured best in her debut as Magik, New Mutants 14 (or was it 15?), which she narrates. It's pretty much the perfect take on the character.
Posted by: Paul | May 9, 2012 9:19 AM
Claremont later stated that this issue started out as a slasher movie satire, and the title was supposed to disintegrate into bloody circuitry.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | December 7, 2013 4:31 PM
There's a panel with Amara talking with a girl called Diana holding a stuffed cat--"Diana" is Diana Schutz, Comico co-editor and Marvel staffer for about 4 days in 1984.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | July 11, 2014 8:33 PM
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