New Mutants annual #2
Issue(s): New Mutants annual #2
Spiral has already been a part of the x-books, both as a member of Freedom Force and as a purveyor of the Body Shoppe that turned Lady Deathstrike into a cyborg. She appears at the beginning of this story and kidnaps Psylocke for Mojo...
...replacing the eyes that Psylocke lost fighting Slaymaster with cybernetic ones.
Mojo then uses Psylocke's powers to create a hypnotizing children's television show that ensnares Wolfsbane, Sunspot, Karma's younger siblings Leong and Nga, and some of the kids that met Longshot in his mini-series.
Sunspot is replaced by a duplicate that dies during a tree-removing exercise at Xavier's school (i think someone ought to look into the fact that every time someone has some free time at Xavier's they are pulling trees out of the ground; trees must grow like weeds on Xavier's estate). Warlock detects that the Sunspot that died was really a fake, and the team traces Mojo down to an abandoned school in Alphabet City in Manhattan.
They find themselves facing the children that Mojo has ensnared, except they are now grown up and all have super-powers.
While it's worth noting that this is the first appearance of (a) Jubilee...
...the real concern are Karma's brother and sister, who are now called Template and have the ability to force the New Mutants to obey them as if they were their parents. Magma is interestingly somewhat resistant to this effect...
...but the coolest reaction is from Warlock, whose experience with parents is considerably different than the others (with his species, father and offspring must battle to the death), so he grabs Doug and flees.
Captain Britain had already been in Alphabet City looking for Psylocke, and when Doug and Warlock encounter him, he's been regressed to a much younger age by Template.
And so after lending him half a costume and boosting his morale, he joins their rescue mission. Magma was also de-aged, and with that she lost her powers, but since Captain Britain isn't a mutant and his powers are not dependent on his body having reached puberty, he still has his, although they are lessened to a degree.
Earlier, when performing the autopsy on the fake Sunspot, Doug and Warlock merged at a level much deeper than Warlock just forming battle armor for Doug to use...
...and they merge even further when rescuing their fellow New Mutants. It's said that Doug runs the risk of contracting the transmode virus while doing this, but the upside is that even at the secondary merge Warlock can make them invisible to Psylocke's bionic eyes...
...and when they're fully merged...
...they're able to jack into the virtual world where the New Mutants are being held.
They battle Psylocke, who turns out to be under the control of Spiral, and manage to free the real Psylocke.
Back in the real world, Psylocke finds that she still has the bionic eyes, but decides that she's going to keep them, while keeping them a secret to all but Doug and Warlock. She also decides that she's going to stay at the New Mutant's school. And there's also a romance budding between her and Doug...
...which seems so odd, especially in retrospect, but even based on the fact that she must be older than the New Mutants due to her having already had a career as a model and as a member of STRIKE in the Captain Britain series. She's also drawn to be taller and more adult looking.
The story ends on a happy note, despite the fact that Mojo and Spiral are active. The X-Men half of the story will follow up, but only due to the fact that Mojo makes another attack on the X-teams, not because anyone was actively looking for him.
Even though in the long run i'm not a fan of Mojo, his first appearance outside of the Longshot series here isn't bad. His role here is generic enough (it's one that Xemnu the Titan played before), but he's an interesting visual and the animosity between him and Spiral is fun, too.
The real treat for this issue is Alan Davis' art, which is very "cute" and pretty in a way that provides a contrast for disturbing scenes.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: This issue begins with a series of short prologues, the first taking place "Last year", then "Last month", "Last week", and "Last night". Meggan and Karma appear only in the "Last month" prologue that shows the characters watching Mojo, Spiral, and Psylocke's television show; it seems two other Bratpack kids, Eightball and Ralf, that don't otherwise appear in this story but do appear in future Daredevil issues appear in the background there too. The main story in this annual takes place between New Mutants #44-45, and Uncanny X-Men annual #10 takes place soon afterwards.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: X-Men: Danger Room Battle Archives TPB
Inbound References (3): showAlfy (Fatboys), Butch (Fatboys), Cannonball, Captain Britain, Cypher, Darla (Fatboys), Eightball (Fatboys), Karma, Leong Manh, Magik, Magma, Meggan, Mirage (Dani Moonstar), Mojo, Nga Manh Coy, Psylocke, Ralf (Fatboys), Spiral, Sunspot, Warlock, Wolfsbane
There's a panel where Warlock tries to alert Doug about a serious injury where the de-aged Captain Britain punched him, but this never gets followed up on.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | January 25, 2014 9:01 PM
Love love loved this issue when it came out. The artwork and the look of the kids was never better. Psychedelic and trippy. Whatever happened to that jubilee. She was so much cooler. Mall rat has bugged me since she showed up and was not necessary during the outback days. Useless little urchin. I loved Template and how Wolfsbane looked as an adult. Woof! Magic never looked better too. Alan Davis is sooo good.
Posted by: Wayne | July 22, 2014 1:05 AM
I was never comfortable with the Psylocke/Cypher "pairing". She seems several years older than him (not to mention the rest of the New Mutants), so it gave me the creepy vibes. I mean, she's an adult, right?
Posted by: Bill | November 3, 2014 7:55 PM
If Claremont's subtext doesn't disgust you on a personal level, then he's not doing his job. He's the best there is at what he does, and what he does isn't very nice.
Posted by: ChrisW | November 3, 2014 10:09 PM
Betsy was stated to be 28 in Captain Britain 1 (the second series).
Posted by: Michael | November 3, 2014 10:33 PM
So then a Cypher/Psylocke pairing is not only creepy but illegal too. Ick!
Posted by: Bill | January 29, 2015 10:41 AM
How is "a Cypher/Psylocke pairing" any different than a "Lila Cheney/Sam Guthrie pairing"? They both involve adult women being attracted to underage boys.
Posted by: clyde | May 29, 2015 1:52 PM
It's totally different because as a secret agent, Betsy would have a lot of use for someone who speaks any language, but Lila just couldn't do any better than poor Appalachian trash. :P
Posted by: ChrisW | May 29, 2015 2:07 PM
How old was Lila thought to be at this point? Cannonball is the oldest of the New Mutants. It never occurred to me that they were far apart in age.
Posted by: fnord12 | May 29, 2015 2:14 PM
Lila seemed to be based on Patti Smith, who was in her forties at the time of this annual.
Posted by: JP | May 29, 2015 2:22 PM
I don't think Lila is portrayed as a grizzled rock n' roll veteran at all (Patti Smith would have been 40 at the time of this annual, but I never thought of Lila as a Patti Smith type of rocker - more like Joan Jett, who would have been 28 at this time). I always thought of her as being in her early twenties. And I believe that Sam is supposed to be 19 (but that's just a memory - nothing specific to go on). So that's a lot different than Betsy and Doug.
Posted by: Erik Beck | May 29, 2015 4:28 PM
Regarding Lila's age, in issue 277, Lila refers to Xavier as "old-timer"- I can't see her doing that if she was in her 40s.
Posted by: Michael | May 29, 2015 7:49 PM
@ChrisW: Well Lila was Callisto's daughter after all;)
Posted by: Nathan Adler | May 29, 2015 8:23 PM
Oh, these two annuals drove me nuts, but I'll deal with that more in the X-Men Annual.
For now, I'll say I don't find anything creepy about the Betsy / Doug relationship, for a couple of reasons. First of all, nothing actually happens. It's made clear that Doug has fallen for her and that Betsy feels strongly for Doug. But, since nothing comes of the relationship, that renders it moot. Feelings spring up all the time between two people that society historically finds inappropriate, but in this kind of thing the lack of action is extremely important.
Second, I think it's quite realistic. Doug feels constantly overshadowed - he's much younger than Sam (and much less powerful), and Bobby has the charm and the power. Doug probably had a thing for Kitty (it's never made explicit) and he's on a team with a lot of good-looking girls, most of whom are also more powerful than him. His love for Rahne hasn't yet developed (that was what I really couldn't forgive about the timing of his death, that he and Rahne were finally falling for each other). Betsy is beautiful, and ends up naked in his lap (literally) and he feels protective and instantly falls for her. And Betsy responds to this (not physically). She's a telepath, so she knows how much Doug loves her and there is something to be said for feeling loved. Betsy's had a rough go of things lately and she feels strongly for him (she says she cares for him, but it's never said that she actually desires a physical relationship with him, just how much she cares).
Posted by: Erik Beck | July 4, 2015 7:06 AM
I don't see Magik on the "characters appearing" list. That is her at the end, right?
Posted by: Max_Spider | June 25, 2016 5:07 PM
Magik does appear. Thanks, Max_Spider. Added her.
Posted by: fnord12 | June 27, 2016 7:22 AM
No wonder Psylocke became one of those scantly-clad characters later on... First US appearance and she's already naked.
Posted by: will | September 27, 2017 9:15 AM
Could these annuals possibly fit better between X-Men# 206-207? Or am I missing something?
Posted by: Mquinn1976 | November 8, 2017 5:54 PM
The problem with putting X-Men Annual 9 in between X-Men 206 and 207 is that Wolverine is injured and the X-Men are in the Morlock tunnels between those issues. Really, there's no good place to fit X-Men Annual 9, as discussed in the entry and comments for that issue.
Posted by: Michael | November 8, 2017 8:20 PM
This is just a fanboy nitpicking because it's fun, but in theory it might possible to hand-wave the X-Men returning to the mansion for a weekend. No reason for them to do it, the continuity still doesn't work, but you can believe the X-Men can do the impossible. The real difficulty is figuring out where to put the annuals as far as the New Mutants, who were divided and switching schools and killed and brought back to life and going through multiple problems of their own. Around #45 is the first time the New Mutants are a united team at Xavier's School since they came back from Asgard and "X-Men" #201.
Any earlier than "X-Men" 210, Rachel would be on the team. Any later and Betsy would already be an active presence in both titles. And that's if we all agree to throw Michael's continuity out the window and jump up and down on it until it stops breathing. And we still have to ignore where Rachel was during these annuals and where Longshot was during the Mutant Massacre.
Maybe Maddie's latent Phoenix power tapped into Spiral re-writing time during the Storm/Cyclops fight in #201, creating this alternate universe where everything happened as we saw it, but not in chronological order. When the story ended, Mojo closed that universe and devoted himself to what he saw through Betsy's eyes. Cyclops wasn't there because he was living a happily-ever-after life through the power of Maddie, Spiral and Mojo. Longshot just appeared and the X-Men behaved like it was perfectly natural
Posted by: ChrisW | November 9, 2017 12:33 AM
That good old blurry alternate universe lens is often exactly what I need to get the most out of some of these mixed up crazy interwoven continuity multiple title crossover stories. Alan Davis' weird-ass but always smooth art really looks good here. I'd love to see the coloring cleaned up and done over-- but still, it's very different, odd-ball, bright, and nice as it is.
Posted by: Holt | November 9, 2017 1:12 AM
Storm and Cyclops enter the Danger Room to fight. Suddenly the universe blinks out. Rachel is in the M'K'Raan Crystal, Spiral is rewriting time, the Beyonder is creating a New Universe.
Suddenly it's an X-Men vs. Magneto Danger Room session. Longshot briefly appears and everyone treats him like a long-established character, then he disappears and no one notices. The X-Men are covered in Mojo's goop as we see. Across the Atlantic, Betsy Braddock gets kidnapped by Mojo.
The events in the annuals play out in the Beyonder's New Universe. Roma and the Adversary move pieces across the board. The main events of "X-Men" Annual #10 take place here, staring with Dani being awakened by Lockheed. By the end, Rachel is revealed to be a just another piece on the board, defeating Sir James Jaspers. In her universe, all the New Mutants die when the Sentinels attack the mansion.
Longshot appears to Cameron Hodge, leading him to Belasco's book which will eventually start an Inferno, before vanishing again. He also leads the Technarchy to Limbo, and vanishes again. The New Mutants rescue Betsy from Mojo, which leads him to focus on the X-Men, just as Roma planned. When the X-Men rescue Dazzler from Malice, she brings along her new boyfriend, and they treat him like he's always been there, no questions asked. Mojo and the Adversary are defeated, suddenly Storm has beaten Cyclops in the Danger Room and Maddie feels happy that her husband is finally free to leave.
Posted by: ChrisW | November 10, 2017 12:41 AM
And then a bolt of lightning crosses the sky, followed by loud thunder.
Posted by: ChrisW | November 10, 2017 12:43 AM
Happens on DC's Legends of Tomorrow every week. And we love it. Can't get enough of it.
Posted by: Holt | November 10, 2017 1:04 AM
So it's a JLA/Avengers duel you seek. You have fallen into my master plan. MWAH-HAH-HAH-HAHHH!
Um, by that I mean I was thinking of something amusing, a popular song or something of that nature. Just popped into my head, never mind, carry on!
Posted by: ChrisW | November 10, 2017 10:58 PM
Poor example I suppose. Clumsy of me. I probably shouldn't have interjected myself into the conversation, but, if I may explain, y'all were on the subject of Marvel annuals which had seemingly unresolvable continuity problems, a situation with which I'm all too familiar, as I imagine many or most of us are. A suggestion was put forward, or at least so it was perceived, by me, that an alternate universe might by the only last ditch recourse for resolving all the interwoven continuity knots. I thought y'all gave a good effort at it, an admirable one in fact. Admirable efforts all around. And worthy efforts, insofar as the annual at hand had many other, more redeeming, qualities, and that it might be a terrible shame to throw it all away, or under the bus, as it were-- a terrible shame-- like throwing the baby out with the bathwater, to use another tired old analogy. The bolt of lightning followed by loud thunder reminded me of a certain current television program whose regard for continuity is marginal (perhaps even non-existent), but which nevertheless seems to greatly enjoy a large following, providing great enjoyment to many, and yet, with no regard for continuity whatsoever. Really. So. There you have it. That's all I've got. That's the best I can do. Humble apologies, I withdraw & yield the mic back to y'all. Thank you. Pray continue.
Posted by: Holt | November 11, 2017 3:03 AM
Doug's and Psylocke's mutual attraction seems quite platonic to me. As pointed out above, it is ultimately just an infatuation with no consequences.
If nothing else, Claremont's X-Men stories were often read with clashing interpretations.
Myself, I find it almost funny that among tales of literal demonic corruption, brainwashing (Uncanny X-Men #131) and a casual killer with a thing for posing as father figure for young teenagers people complain about such things.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | November 11, 2017 1:45 PM
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