New Mutants #5-7
Issue(s): New Mutants #5, New Mutants #6, New Mutants #7
The New Mutants are at a circus watching Team America...
...when Viper and the Silver Samurai show up...
...with a bunch of goons and attack the cyclists.
They are saved when another motorcyclist called the Dark Rider appears. (S)he, however, is defeated by the Silver Samurai.
I guess in the Team America book this mysterious rider would show up whenever there's trouble. Except when the Rider is unmasked by the Samurai, it turns out to be Dani Moonstar.
Professor X surmises that Team America may be mutants, with the collective power to transform a bystander into the Dark Rider whenever they are in trouble.
I haven't read the Team America book (it's coming!), but this doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
Team America is contacted by Viper and told that she has Dani. She wants them to steal something from an AIM base. They reluctantly agree.
Meanwhile, the New Mutants, annoyed that Xavier is helping Team America and not content to wait for the X-Men, decide to rescue Dani directly. They go to Karma's corrupt uncle General Coy to get information about Viper, and Karma feels forced to pledge to work for her uncle for a year in return for the information they are looking for. Seems unnecessary.
They then confront Viper and the Silver Samurai.
Colonel Rossi is just kind of hanging around again.
It's very odd for him to have shown up in this book with little explanation, and there's been no meeting between him and Carol Danvers or Wolverine, both of whom he's supposed to have had history with and both of whom, last we saw, think he is dead.
Soon after Wrench and Honcho acquire the crystal at the AIM base...
...the base is destroyed.
Immediately following that, Xavier detects a mutant presence...
...and Karma is attacked by a telepathic entity...
...and she is lost and presumed killed in an explosion during the rescue of Dani when Viper blows up her base as she's fleeing.
The presence is the Shadow King, and Karma's possession and disappearance will be addressed in a later New Mutants story. For now, at least it gets her out of working for her uncle.
The X-Men are brought in to help look for Xi'an, but they have no luck.
Roberto's mom also shows up.
She's an archeologist, and she's invited the New Mutants to go with her on a dig. Xavier thinks it's a good idea, mainly because he senses the (unnamed and unidentified) Shadow King's presence.
Despite some emotional protests from Sunspot, who wants to keep looking for Xi'an, they wind up going with her.
But all is not well in Roberto's family. Before going on the dig, they stop at his home in Brazil...
...and it's clear that his mother and father don't get along.
Indeed, Mr. Da Costa has agreed to allow the Hellfire Club to send a super-strong (i assume) mutant named Axe to kidnap his wife.
The New Mutants break the kidnapping without learning who hired the kidnappers.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Because the Silver Samurai learns about the death of his father and the engagement of Wolverine & Mariko in this arc...
...this takes place after Wolverine #4 but before Uncanny X-Men #172, when the Samurai and Viper show up to disrupt the wedding. Beginning with the end of issue #7, the New Mutants are off in the Amazon, which means they shouldn't appear anywhere until the end of that arc. While they're on their trip, the X-Men go to Japan for Wolverine's wedding.
Continuity Implant? N
Reprinted In: N/A
Inbound References (5): show
Axe, Black King, Cannonball, Colonel Michael Rossi, Colossus, Cowboy, Dani Moonstar, Emmanuel Da Costa, General Nguyen Coy, Georgiana Hebb, Honcho, Karma, Lilandra, Madame Hydra, Marauder, Nightcrawler, Professor X, R.U. Reddy, Shadow King, Silver Samurai, Stevie Hunter, Storm, Sunspot, Wolf, Wolfsbane, Wrench
Team America was another toy tie-in, and the short history of it is full of way too much creative team changes and editorial micromanagement(reportedly mostly from Shooter) to go into detail here. The Dark Rider was called by a different name in the book, and the presence here of the characters was an attempt to prevent the toy company from claiming ownership of them. I don't think Team America showed up again after these issues(certainly not in this title).
Axe was obviously a Mr. T knockoff, and was one of Claremont's most forgettable creations.
I don't think the Shadow King was called that title until much later in the main X-Men book.
Team America later showed up in a couple of Thing issues- they were renamed the Thunderriders.
The explanation in the Team America book was this- all the members of Team America were exposed to mutagenic substances by Hydra while still in the womb. Hydra did this to create an army of super-soldiers. They thought they'd failed but some of the subjects- Team America- could create a gestalt being- the Marauder. Since the host had to be a subject of that Hydra project, this raises questions about whether Dani got her powers from HYDRA.
I think the synopsis of NM 6 is off: Dani is held prisoner by Viper not AIM, and Viper uses Dani to force Team America to steal what's presumably a cavourite crystal from AIM. They do, but simultaneously Viper gets defeated by the New Mutants. When Team America steals the Shadow King is somehow released.
Not sure what Claremont might have had in mind with the crystal: maybe it was a power source to link the astral plane to earth, letting Farouk back? (Much as Farouk would later use Polaris as a battery to link the realms in the Muir Island Saga.) Maybe it wasn't cavourite, but was more like Kulan Gath's amulet and actually held Faouk's essence? Or maybe Farouk wanted to use the crystal to access all of spacetime, as he'd do in Claremont's unpublished plans for Gateway post-Muir Island Saga? All speculation, but Claremont tended to think things through, so it might be possible to read between the lines.
Updated the entry for, er, accuracy. Thanks, Walter.
Two bits of speculation on why Viper wanted Team America to steal the crystal, rather than doing it herself. First, she probably knew something about the team's origins thanks to her Hydra connections, and she may have known or suspected the Dark Raider's nature.
Second, if AIM was using the crystal to access the astral plane, presumably the Dark Rider's gestalt nature would have been useful either to resist or absorb any malevolent psychic influence emanating from the astral plane (like the Shadow King).
Also, in a more Nathan Adler direction, if Viper was once under Chthon's influence, and Chthon's was father of the N'Garai, and Shadow King was a NGarai priest or pawn or something, did Chthon prompt Viper to release the Shadow King, perhaps unwittingly? Normally I'm averse to anachronistic speculation--we wouldn't find out the Chthon/N'Garai connection until the '90s--but given that Claremont had worked with both demonic forces, maybe it was something he'd thought of but never put in print himself.
@Walter: only issue here is that Claremont didn't necessarily plan Chthon to be the father of the N'Garai (that came later after his departure from Marvel).
We'd need to determine what it was the Shadow King really wanted with Storm!?
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