New Mutants #88
Issue(s): New Mutants #88
Actually, the dialogue as we jump from panel to panel in this opening sequence is so disjointed it's hard to know what to make of it. I feel like i'm watching a badly dubbed movie, with the dialogue chosen to fit the movements of people's mouths instead of to tell a coherent story. After talking about Rusty, Skids, and the MLF, Freedom Force jumps to talking about how they found Cable wounded and paralyzed in a government facility where he had no clearance (which he surely knows), and then they jump to talking about Cable's "record" and his war with "certain elements of our government".
Then the Blob threatens to alert those elements in an attempt to get him to work with them. But that's called off when Mystique summons the group because of the return of X-Factor.
I guess there are a few solid takeaways from this. 1) Cable used to work for the US government, but he went rogue and is now at war with "certain elements" of it (although the creative team is not yet willing to commit to which ones. 2) Cable created his cybernetic arm, and he's been allowed to repair it while he's been in prison. 3) Cable is so awesome that Freedom Force wants to recruit him to go after the Mutant Liberation Front. We also learn that the MLF have been stealing nuclear components.
As we pan away from Cable to the New Mutants, we see Cable thinking to himself that he's going to need help. I guess when Mystique switched off the viewscreen, the TV turned on CNN or something.
As the New Mutants approach X-Factor's Ship, they see Archangel flying away, and he doesn't stop for them. But Jean, Scott, and Hank are there to greet them. And they learn about what's happened to Rusty and Skids (funny that Cyclops only asks about Dani, and not the two kids that have been with X-Factor much longer).
X-Factor catch up on events with Rusty and Skids watching the replay of the Blob beating up Rusty. They also hear about the MLF, and the New Mutants cheer when they hear that "somebody's looking out for our guys". The X-Factor adults yell at them for cheering. It's not the best executed scene, but it's a good idea, showing the potential that the MLF had.
X-Factor attempt to contact Freedom Force but they get the runaround from a secretary. But Freedom Force do get the message and are worried about how to respond. Did they think X-Factor were going to be away forever?
Also note that Skid's last name is "Blevins". I don't think we've seen that before. A tribute to former New Mutants artist Bret Blevins, i assume.
To escape prison, Cable pulls the oldest trick in the book.
Notice that, like Freedom Force, the guards here know Cable and think he's awesome. Although the guard probably thinks Cable is less awesome when he spits a strawful of acid at him (it was hidden in his bionic arm, which of course no one checked and they even let him repair).
The action this issue is all about Cable's escape, with the New Mutants themselves again being relegated to subplots.
Liefeld continues to borrow from other artists for his sequences.
You have to love the way he's built up, with Freedom Force admiring Cable's style even as he escapes them.
As for the subplots, it's back to Louise Simonson's themes of kids growing up. But it's Simonson's themes as drawn by Liefeld, so when Boom Boom gets a new dress to try to impress Rictor, it's... well, "shameful" is the word that Rahne uses.
Rahne defuses the subsequent fight between Rictor and Boom Boom by complimenting her dress.
The other plot relates to what's going on with Moira on Muir Island.
Moira tells Rahne that she's coming tomorrow to pick her up and take her back to Muir Island.
The positive side of Rob Liefeld, the enthusiasm that he brings, is most clearly seen in this issue in his depictions of the Blob. I don't think it's great, but i can see the appeal.
In many other cases, especially when the plot requires people to be standing around talking, the art is a complete disaster. Bob Wiacek inked last issue, and starting this issue Hilary Barta will be the regular inker. Both had been around for a while, and i'm assuming they are part of the reason the art doesn't look as dire as it will later on. But where Liefeld really needed help was with layouting. You don't need two giant pages with empty backgrounds and tons of crosshatching to show a conversation.
That space could have been devoted to more scenes of Cable being awesome or the Blob being grotesque or something exciting.
It's also noteworthy how the focus has really shifted over to Cable, but in my opinion that's not necessarily a bad thing at this point, if the scenes we do get of the New Mutants are anything to go by.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: X-Factor #51 takes place more or less between this issue and last one. In the scene with the New Mutants greeting X-Factor for the first time, note that Wolfsbane says, "so we left Asgard and came home and fought with some Atlanteans underwater and...". We're going to have to take that as Rahne running at the mouth and not necessary describing an exact sequence. As discussed in New Mutants annual #5, it's really not possible for the New Mutants' portion of Atlantis Attacks to take place after Acts of Vengeance.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Cable and the New Mutants TPB
Inbound References (1): showAngel, Beast, Blob, Boom Boom, Cable (Adult), Cable (Baby Nathan Christopher Summers), Cannonball, Crimson Commando, Cyclops, Iceman, Jean Grey, Moira MacTaggert, Mystique, Pyro, Rictor, Ship (Prosh), Sunspot, Super Sabre, Warlock, Wolfsbane
What is going on with their outfits in that last scan? I don't know if it is a trick of the lighting (since everyone is a odd shade of blue/green), but it looks to me like all three of them are naked?
Posted by: Dermie | April 20, 2015 6:16 PM
Skids was first referred to as Skids Blevins in the Official Handbook.
Posted by: Michael | April 20, 2015 9:28 PM
Will they hurry up and send baby Nathan to the future already so i can stop juggling two Cable tags?! Thanks Michael.
Posted by: fnord12 | April 20, 2015 9:41 PM
Liefeld's pencils are enthusiastic, but they are also mishappen to heck and back. To say nothing of ugly and exploitative.
It is sad that for all that, the book still seems to have more of a story to tell than it did recently.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | April 20, 2015 10:18 PM
Tritium is also a stablizing agent. It means portals won't collapse in on themselves like they did at SHIELD.
Posted by: ChrisW | April 21, 2015 1:18 AM
Apologies if this has been covered already, but is Cable's presence in the modern era, alongside his younger self, in contradiction with the Marvel U's time-travel policy at the time?
Posted by: cullen | April 21, 2015 1:22 AM
I don't know, but he made me mix up "Avengers" with "Spider-Man 2." Damn you, Cable!
Posted by: ChrisW | April 21, 2015 1:47 AM
@fnord12: Hey think how much more fun you'd have if they make my theory of Nathan Christopher becoming Immortus as canon. It'd be happy tagging then;)
@cullen: Cable's time-hopping should have drawn the attention of the TVA years ago. And what better driver for a new Cable series than his being arrested by the TVA's Minute Men for time violations, and during his trial some chronal wave begins attacking their citadel, so he offers to serve his sentence by becoming their agent. And who better to write and illustrate the series than Walt Simonson! So he basically becomes a "paratime" police officer and is given a group of recruits to help him, which provides the family he previously sought through the Wild Pack and X-Force. Or could the recruits be drawn from different timelines to suit each mission, much like Dr. Strange's approach in Secret Defenders? Just picture all those futuristic vistas under Walt's pen. Think Starslammers:)
Posted by: Nathan Adler | April 21, 2015 2:15 AM
Man, Simonson's writing is terrible in this issue. The dialogue is so haphazard and bland. It's as if she's just started out writing for the 1st time.
Posted by: JSfan | April 21, 2015 4:14 AM
Cullen, TVA stuff aside (which i think of as just a joke) the only rule about time travel that Marvel had at this time was the idea that you couldn't travel back and forth in your own timeline. You always go to an alternate future. And even this was often violated. But as long as we assume that when Cable went to the future it was really an alternate future, i don't think he's broken any rules. His situation isn't any different from Vance Astro. Both his future and present day selves were able to exist at the same time. Older Vance originally tried to stay away from his younger self to avoid a time paradox, but it was confirmed in Marvel Two-In-One #69 that that wouldn't happen.
Posted by: fnord12 | April 21, 2015 7:38 AM
The Blob seems to have developed the mutant power to have way too many teeth.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | April 21, 2015 11:09 AM
Speaking of time travel I was looking at old 60s issues of Marvel comics and I've always wondered if they ever did anything with the future where everything is destroyed? Avengers went there, Hulk went there, it seemed like no matter what the Marvel Universe on Earth would end with a war torn destroyed future. Since it was all done by Lee I wondered if someone cool took that concept and officially linked it to a super villain or story? Or did they tie it into Kang and I forgot the issue?
Posted by: david banes | April 21, 2015 7:12 PM
David, if you're asking if there's been a single explanation for the various dystopian futures seen in 1960s Marvel comics... no, not to my knowledge.
Posted by: fnord12 | April 21, 2015 9:20 PM
Well, if sabre has super speed, he should be able to detect the wire long before he reaches it because he would be seeing everything in slow motion
Posted by: Jay Gallardo | April 23, 2015 12:56 PM
It never really occurred to me that Boom Boom's dress was in any way in appropriate. Perhaps because I had already seen way worse in stuff like Jim Lee's Gen13 before I ever read these comics? Or perhaps because Liefeld doesn't make Boom Boom look like a teen at all.
Posted by: Berend | April 24, 2015 11:52 AM
or perhaps you were distracted because one of her legs was on backward.
Posted by: Bob | April 29, 2015 5:35 AM
Anyone else find Super Sabre's appearance here oddly...prophetic?
I think the scene with X-Factor was made to built up Cable as much as the MLF. See the New Mutants are cheering for a more "proactive" group compared the "strongly-worded-letter establishment" that X-Factor represents. So here's Cable being a (rolleyes) "badass" demonstrating to us that he's the answer to the the teenaged team's prayers.
Posted by: Jon Dubya | July 6, 2015 12:09 AM
I have to agree with Berend's comment above. Did someone not mention to Liefeld that Boom Boom is like 14 or 15? I get that the Image guys loved them some cheese cake shots but it seemed like they kept forgetting this book was (originally) about underage kids.
Posted by: Jeff | February 27, 2016 6:51 PM
Is Boom Boom even touching the floor in that picture? She seems to be hovering just above the floor while leaning on an invisible bar.
Posted by: Benway | March 4, 2016 2:07 PM
Skids first name of Sally was also in the OTHOTMU Update '89.
Posted by: Brian C. Saunders | March 16, 2016 12:29 AM
I don't find Tabatha's dress inappropriate. (Teens can wear mini-skirts.) I don't know that her leg is "on backward", since that could just be the inker botching the lines.
But why, oh why, is she crossing her legs at the knees while standing on tip-toes? Best explanation I have is that she has to visit the little mutants' room and is desperately trying to hold it in…
Posted by: Dan Spector | March 19, 2018 5:00 AM
IMO, there's no way that's the same girl who was introduced in Secret Wars II #5 only 5 years ago as of this comic's date. Obviously, she was replaced with a skrull and aged to better "fit in" with the rest of the New Mutants. (Unless the "sliding timescale" didn't fully take effect yet.)
Posted by: clyde | March 19, 2018 9:34 AM
Sure. Skrull. Forced aging. Anything to avoid admitting that Boom-Boom is just that awesome that she can handle anything, even being drawn by Liefeld.
Well, ok, I'll give you that one. But Boom-Boom's still kinda nifty in small doses, I guess.
Posted by: ChrisW | March 22, 2018 1:02 AM
She's like Jubilee, but without the annoying parts, but with other annoying parts. Yes, she's just like Jubilee!!!
Posted by: ChrisW | March 22, 2018 1:04 AM
Which is a slightly odd way of putting it as Boom Boom was around for a while before Jubilee showed up...
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | March 22, 2018 1:47 AM
Comments are now closed.
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