New Mutants #32-34
Issue(s): New Mutants #32, New Mutants #33, New Mutants #34
These issues have the New Mutants looking for Karma after she got away in the previous arc. Their adventure takes them to the nation of Madripoor:
Earth's version of Mos Eisley spaceport -- a modern day Tortuga, haven of world-class pirates, crooks and assorted lesser scoundrels. No extradition, and government security make this the perfect hideout, a sort of neutral zone where the deadliest of enemies can hang out in absolute comfort and safety, without fear of each other or foreign cops.
In addition to the reference points mentioned in Doug Ramsey's description, the city-state is likely based on Singapore and also seems to owe something to Robert Silverberg's Majipoor series which began in 1980.
The quest for Karma begins in disaster when most of the team is possessed by her almost immediately.
Magik is able to teleport away with Dani. However, her teleporting abilities are still not well suited for linear travel, so they wind up doing some time hopping. They start in the ancient past, and are helped by a sorceress, Ashake...
...who is a dead ringer for, and turns out to be the ancestor of, Storm. The scene is a page long and there isn't too much in the way of interaction, but this scene will be expanded upon (and modified) by Louise Simonson in 2007's Mystic Arcana event; Ashake and Magik fight a wizard called Heka-Nut. Ashake will also be revealed to be the creator of Tarot cards. But by all appearances right now, it's a pretty uneventful meeting.
Next, the Team Supreme wind up in the future, where the remaining New Mutants have been corrupted due to continued exposure to Karma.
They finally wind up back in the present. Dani is pretty distraught by their defeat to Karma, and the meeting with the future Mutants was a final nail.
Luckily, the cavalry arrives, in the form of Storm and Warlock.
It turns out Warlock was immune to Karma's possession ability, and he managed to escape and find Storm. Storm implies that there's more to this than just Karma: "I know something of your foe. The creature is a match for the best of heroes, far deadlier than you could eve be."
Issue #33 opens with a really twisted scenario where a happy couple is dancing at Karma's nightclub, called Pharaoh, and Karma manipulates things so that the woman abandons her husband to dance with Cannonball, who subsequently dumps her, leaving the couple's relationship in ruins, unaware they've been mind-controlled.
It's pretty messed up, and it ends with an even weirder twist:
To Pharoah's other patrons, this is merely part of the evening's floorshow. Some are grateful Karma didn't choose them. Others hope they're next.
Pretty clearly establishes the stakes in this conflict, even beyond the fact that the New Mutants themselves are possessed. The rest of the issue is full of twists and turns as various Mutants are possessed and unpossessed.
Magik and Warlock are immune to the possession, and Magik dumps Warlock in Limbo...
...while she makes a desperate ploy, delivering Dani and Storm to Karma in a seeming bid for an alliance.
Illyana herself is a bit unsure about whether it really is a ploy or not.
And Warlock, after getting the tour of Limbo from S'ym and seeing the dead Colossus wall-hanging (you'd think Illyana would have that taken down now that she's in charge), definitely gets the wrong idea.
Knowing what Warlock's dad will eventually do, i was alarmed when i saw Warlock converting Limbo's demons into techno-organic material.
But Magik is able to calm Warlock down and convince him that's she's got a plan. She uses her magic and time-travel abilities to learn the secret of Karma's possession; she's held by Amahl Farouk, the telepath that Xavier fought years ago. Magik and Warlock are then able to free the other mutants and set the stage for Karma to battle Farouk on the Astral Plane, which is depicted by Leialoha in a way that i can only describe as cute!
Karma is able to cause Farouk to flee, but despite her mental image of herself, she's still stuck in the body that Farouk abused.
She's also afraid that he'll find her again. And i imagine she's kinda scarred by all the sick things that she made people do while possessed.
But the New Mutants are able to convince her to not give up, and she leaves with them.
Karma's possessor is referred to as Farouk, not the Shadow King, in this arc, and despite later revelations it's still the intention here that he was just a powerful telepath that escaped to the Astral Plane after his defeat by Xavier.
This was a really great arc. Leialoha's pencils were wonderful, and i think really helped to focus Claremont, who was getting into some of his worst excesses in the previous arc by Sienkiewicz. Unfortunately Leialoha won't be sticking around, but i'm glad we got this story, which had a nice focus on Magik but not to the neglect of other characters (Dani has some nice moments, and Clarement and Leialoha make great use of Warlock).
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: We saw some of the New Mutants leave to begin the search for Karma at the end of issue #31, but enough time has passed by the beginning of this issue for the rest of the team to be gathered and a return to Big Sur, California, the place where Karma originally disappeared. This begins a tight sequence for the X-Books through their Asgard event in the annuals. So among other things, that means Storm's appearance here has to take place after her solo story in Uncanny X-Men #198 (it's also possible that Magik's time-traveling mishaps resulted in them not returning to the exact point in time that they've left, as has happened before, giving Storm more time to recover from that ordeal before Warlock finds her). Storm and the New Mutants next appear in New Mutants Special Edition #1.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (2): showCannonball, Cypher, Karma, Magik, Magma, Mirage (Dani Moonstar), S'ym, Shadow King, Storm, Sunspot, Warlock, Wolfsbane
It's not clear how Storm figured out it was Farouk posssessing Karma as opposed to the other zillion villains with mind-control powers in the Marvel Universe. (She also knows that Farouk is weakest when he first takes on a host body.) It seems to suggest that she and Xavier knew all along that Farouk was controlling Karma but didn't send any other heroes after Farouk because they were afraid of other heroes getting possessed. Bobby is angry that Xavier never tried to save Karma at the start of this arc but he never mentions it again.
Posted by: Michael | July 1, 2012 1:13 PM
I wonder if Leialoha wasn't instructed to make his art as Sienkiewicz-ish as possible; this wasn't his usual style.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | July 1, 2012 3:04 PM
This issue should remind others of my previous theory about the crystal Team America stole which coincided with the Shadow King's return.
In the Fat Karma story here, Xi'an wears a very large crystal ring, very prominently displayed on the cover.
I suspect Claremont was hinting to us that ring was the crystal, and it was very important to Farouk.
However, the outcome of the ring is never shown by the story's conclusion.
Posted by: Nathan Adler | May 31, 2013 4:09 AM
Considering it's importance to Inferno, I was sort of wondering if you could add a mention/point regarding Warlock infecting Limbo/S'ym with the Transmode virus here.
Posted by: Ataru320 | August 28, 2014 1:01 PM
I do mention it in the description but i think the real infection happened circa New Mutants #47 by the Magus.
Posted by: fnord12 | August 28, 2014 1:06 PM
Gotcha; it just seemed from the image that with Warlock's infecting of the demons of Limbo here that this was the source that would corrupt S'ym.
Posted by: Ataru320 | August 28, 2014 1:42 PM
There's an African Queen named Ashake in Claremont & Bolton's Marada the She-Wolf GN. Marada herself, given her personality and silver hair, seems like a probable Storm ancestor. The Ashake in that take is younger than this one, doesn't have silver hair, and isn't a sorcerer, so any connection is only speculative.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | September 6, 2014 10:13 PM
What, no Historical Significance point for being the first time the New Mutants split up into teams lost in time because of Illyana's lack of control of her power? ;)
Posted by: Erik Beck | June 1, 2015 6:41 PM
There's no problem with this story taking place some time after the New Mutants set out to find Shan at the end of the previous arc, as it's established in New Mutants #32 that they've already tracked down and spoken to General Coy, who is a fugitive after being framed for the Gladiators operation. That probably took a some time.
Posted by: Benway | March 8, 2016 5:36 PM
Last time the team was split up by Illyana's time travel, she and Dani see that the others have joined the Hellions, which was almost ready to happen by this point. This time she and Dani see that the others have been turned evil by Farouk. Next time they'll all see the others turning evil/morally dubious by fighting the Sentinels and associating with the Hellfire Club.
Posted by: ChrisW | July 11, 2016 2:43 AM
@ChrisW: Given Claremont had Magneto reveal the Shadow King was behind the Hellfire Club in Uncanny X-Men #275, wouldn't the New Mutants joining the Hellions and them being turned evil be one and the same thing?
Posted by: Nathan Adler | July 11, 2016 2:59 AM
And Xavier and the X-Babies' respective encounters with Farouk were immediately connected with a trip to the island Kirinos. [I can't find a chronology of Xavier's travels to Kirinos, Cairo and Israel, so I'm not sure what order that happened in. For that matter, was this the trip that ended with him meeting Lucifer? If so, that was quite an eventful world trip around the world.]
Posted by: ChrisW | July 11, 2016 3:13 AM
Yes, with a "but." There's be no reason to turn someone like Doug evil when he would have a brilliant career in any of the Hellfire Club's various international corporations, and never once think that he's working for evil mutants.
Mostly it's just strange that Illyana's timeslips keep showing us future evil versions of the New Mutants. The only exception I can think of is when she and Moira are trapped in Limbo for an extra ten or fifteen minutes in #46, and that's just an excuse for exposition about the Mutant Massacre.
Posted by: ChrisW | July 11, 2016 3:53 AM
The chronology was Kirinos-Cairo-Israel-Tibet. Yes, this was the trip where he was crippled. And later writers established that shortly after he was crippled, he met Tessa, Sebastian Shaw and Amelia Voght.
Posted by: Michael | July 11, 2016 7:56 PM
@Michael: The Himalayas was first mention in X-Men #20 written by Roy Thomas, however Claremont later changed the location of Xavier's crippling by Lucifer to Afghanistan, Tessa finding his broken body there directly after (cf. X-Treme X-Men #44).
Posted by: Nathan Adler | July 12, 2016 1:27 AM
He met Shaw??? Never mind Tessa and that chick I've never heard of (and Wikipedia tells me I don't want to know any more) he met Shaw on that trip? So basically Xavier's travels after Moira ditched him for Joe became the main pillar that the X-titles would build on after that. Well now I am depressed. [/Blazing Saddles]
Posted by: ChrisW | July 13, 2016 3:07 AM
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