New Mutants annual #5
Issue(s): New Mutants annual #5
But the bigger problems with the story relate to continuity. Both the New Mutants' own as well as the continuity of Atlantis Attacks. On the New Mutants side, this is scripted to take place after the New Mutants have returned from Asgard. They mention Asgard, Dani Moonstar, Rusty, and Skids are no longer with the team, and they mention watching X-Factor's ship getting sucked up into space (which also suggests that this should have taken place after Judgement War). But the Asgard story is one that goes on for-eh-ver, through Acts of Vengeance and into 1990, in the issue that also features the debut of Cable. Because of the length of time involved and the tie-ins with X-Factor and Acts of Vengeance, the placement here gets difficult.
On the Atlantis Attacks side, this story ends with Atlantis "destroyed", but it will get destroyed again in a later issue. And the issue also leaves hanging the end scene from the previous part of this crossover, which showed U-Man leading an attack on Avengers Island.
The story pivots off of New Mutants #76, and has Ghaur discovering footage showing Namor helping the New Mutants fight the squid monster and reclaiming the Horn.
Notice that Llyra and Ghaur are talking like to get the Horn they'd have to fight Namor. As Jay notes, the opening sequence takes place "weeks" prior to the rest of the story.
To avoid fighting Namor, Ghaur selects three Deviants that have an uncanny resemblance to three of the New Mutants (String = Warlock, Coal = Sunspot, and Spike = Wolfsbane), and sends them after Namor.
The Deviants are afraid to go fight Namor, not aware of Ghaur's mistaken identity plan. And Ghaur says he wants the Horn so that he can summon a serpent to destroy Atlantis.
Meanwhile, the New Mutants are back from Asgard and unable to find X-Factor's ship, thinking it may still be away in space.
Later, we jump ahead until after Namor is dead, and the story is that he's handed the horn off to Namorita.
The members of S.U.R.F. (Sharkskin, Eel, and Undertow) show up to help Namorita out.
But Namorita doesn't know these guys, so she winds up fighting them too, and the Deviants get away with the Horn.
But things eventually settle down and the SURF guys explain that they are Atlantean mutants, fighting to protect an Atlantean society that hates and fears them.
Namorita says she has to get the Horn back from the New Mutants who stole it. She also slips in an explanation for why the Horn summoned a different monster than Giganto in New Mutants #76. But that wasn't really the problem with that issue. It was a) that the Horn was talked about like it wasn't seen since Fantastic Four #4 and b) the fact that everyone talked about that squid monster as if it was the same creature (Giganto) summoned in Fantastic Four #4.
Anyway, it's time for our second Misunderstanding Fight of the issue.
That mention to Avalanche is a specific reference to an event that was meant to happen just prior to the New Mutants going to Asgard, in New Mutants #78. But see the Considerations.
The fact that much of this issue takes place underwater contributes to the overall feel of messiness in the art.
Eventually, the nobility of the New Mutants becomes obvious based on various actions and comments during the battle, so the Misunderstanding Fight is ended and the groups team up to go after the Deviants that took the Horn. But by now, the Horn is in the hands of Ghaur.
And the Atlanteans and Warlock hear him blow it. Boom Boom apparently thinks one of the SURF guys is cute.
The two groups head to Atlantis to find it under attack by a bigger, more monstrous creature than the one they summoned in New Mutants #76.
Boom Boom's timebombs were instrumental in defeating the previous creature, so they try it against this one, but find that its blood is a poison.
So the creature wreaks havoc in Atlantis, destroying buildings and killing Atlanteans with its poison blood.
Some epic fail on Ghaur's part: he kept his submarine near Atlantis to watch the battle, and he ends up getting knocked around by the monster and the Horn is "crushed in the rubble of a destroyed city".
But you can see that he declares that his ritual sacrifice is complete thanks to all the dead Atlanteans, so he says it's a success and leaves.
The New Mutants and SURF eventually lead the monster to a deep trench called the Hudson Canyon and bury it. Namorita and SURF vow to stay together to do whatever.
The saving grace in terms of Atlantis Attacks continuity is that it's said at the end that while the city is destroyed and "not fit for habitation" due to the poison ichor, the two teen groups did manage to save "most of its inhabitants". So i guess we can say that the damage to the city wasn't total and the poison cleared out so that the people could return there to get blown up a second time in Web of Spider-Man annual #5.
At best this story is a rehash of New Mutants #76 except with messy Rob Liefeld art and a blatant attempt to push these personality-free SURF characters (and i'm not really big on the idea of mutant Atlanteans. I'm happy to say it's possible within the realm of the Marvel universe; i just think it's too much of a muddled concept). The fact that it's a repeat of a story that really has little to do with the mutant themes of New Mutants is definitely weird; between that and the long Asgard story it's clear Louise Simonson didn't want to be tied to those themes. But it does leave you wondering what the point of it is.
As a standalone story, it's not offensively bad (art aside). It at least makes some attempts at characterization for the New Mutants, more than was done in the Avengers annual, for example. It's not a good story by any means, and the characters' characterization at this point is so annoyingly bratty that i really can't stand it. But what makes it offensively bad is how it slips off the rails of the Atlantis Attacks plotline. It seems like Simonson was approaching this the way she approached last year's Evolutionary War saga: do a story that broadly connects with Atlantis and Ghaur but don't worry about an overall plot. But then, Atlantis got destroyed with a reference to the sacrifice that Ghaur is trying to accomplish for his larger plan. So in that at least it seems like Simonson was trying to follow a larger plot, albeit not the right one.
It's not clear to me how this could have happened. Writers don't just write whatever they want and hand it over to the artists. Plots are supposed to be approved by editors before they are written, and then when plots are done, they are given to the editors (or assistant editors) for review before they get handed over to the artist. So Bob Harras owns a lot of the responsibility for that, and i can't believe that on a high profile event like this that Mark Gruenwald and/or Tom DeFalco weren't also watching this stuff directly. You often hear stories about Jim Shooter as Editor in Chief going over individual plots in great details and forcing changes. So how did a piece of a major crossover get all the way to print without anyone noticing that it wasn't at all what was agreed upon (which, again, was seemingly a story about the New Mutants fighting U-Man at Avengers Island)? It's hard to fathom.
A back-up feature written by Judith Bogdanove and drawn by Jon Bogdanove is a Duck Amuck style conversation between Boom Boom and the penciler (although that's confusing since it's written by the writer). It starts off with a conversation between Boom Boom and Ship about the lack of cuteness among the boys in the New Mutants.
And then it has her falling asleep and then stepping out of the panels of her comic.
And then the penciler tries to hook her up with a cute guy. But it's worth remembering that Boom Boom is a teenager (also when thinking about that "One of my pleasanter tasks too. Mmmmmmm" line above). But for some reason, the penciler keeps trying to hook her up with older men, a couple of which are married (not shown are Captain America, Daredevil, and Sub-Mariner).
And then we move on to villains Doctor Doom....
...and Doctor Octopus, and then bad dude anti-heroes like Hulk, Wolverine, and Punisher.
Now granted this is all for a laugh, and in the end we go all the way in the other direction and offer up Franklin Richards.
From Jon Bogdanove's perspective, this was probably just an opportunity to showcase his talents with various Marvel characters. But i still think it's creepy.
That said, i'd rather have Bogdanove's art than Liefelds. And speaking of which, here's some pin-ups:
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: This is part nine of Atlantis Attacks; part ten takes place in X-Factor annual #4. Beyond that, i'm kind of throwing up my hands on this one, at least for now. Despite all the references i noted above (to Asgard, to X-Factor's ship going into space, to Avalanche, and even the current composition of the team), the MCP places this and X-Factor annual #4 prior to the New Mutants' Asgard story and Judgment War in X-Factor. And that's pretty much necessary. The Asgard story runs from New Mutants #77-85 and concludes in the middle of Acts of Vengeance, which definitely takes place after Atlantis Attacks. There'd be no way to fit in all of the Asgard story before Atlantis Attacks unless you want to do what Jay suggests in the comments and cut out all of the subplot scenes from those issues and assume that they took place later. So we just have to assume that the New Mutants in this story were having some unusual kind of deja vu or precognition.
Crossover: Atlantis Attacks
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (6): show
If you go through the discussion forum on the MCP, I have written extensively on how it is possible for the Atlantis Attacks conclusion to fit after the Judgement War and Asgard stories for X-Factor & New Mutants but it can only do so with extensive unpicking of the secondary story threads (Apocalypse & Caliban vs Loki & Rusty & Skids vs Freedom Force) from the main ones in both books. The MCP concluded it was too unwieldy therefore they chose to ignore certain dialogue and situation for the easier placement.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | October 20, 2014 4:53 PM
If it requires splitting out subplot scenes into separate entries i would have to rule it out too just due to the nature of my site, Jay. But i will keep it in mind as i read through the issues.
Posted by: fnord12 | October 20, 2014 5:11 PM
Yea, it was pretty involved. I always thought of scanning the comics and separating the panels of the two storylines to show how it would read but it's a lot of work.
Maybe I'll compile it and post it on my Jade Dragon wiki. lol!
Oh, and it should be the "Judgement War" storyline, not "Judgement Day". That's a different movie all together. ;)
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | October 20, 2014 5:15 PM
Whoops, thanks on the "Judgement Day" correction!
Posted by: fnord12 | October 20, 2014 5:18 PM
I guess you missed the "Weeks Ago" caption at the top of page 2 and the "The Present..." caption on the top of page 6. The opening section with Ghaur & Llyra must therefore be a flashback that takes place between Silver Surfer Annual #2 and Iron Man Annual #10.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | October 20, 2014 6:42 PM
Oh, thanks Jay. That's one oddity to cross off the list.
Posted by: fnord12 | October 20, 2014 6:46 PM
Characters standing on tiptoes, generic character designs, making an even more disturbing Birdbrain than ever thought possible...yep, this is classic Liefeld. I'm shocked they got him to do another Annual considering he already did the Spider-Man one with Shulkie.
Posted by: Ataru320 | October 20, 2014 6:54 PM
I just added my breakdown of how Atlantis Attacks could possibly fit for The New Mutants & X-Factor after the Asgard & Judgement War stories (but before Acts of Vengeance) to the end of my Inferno crossover analysis on my wiki. It's... tricky but possible. http://jade-dragon.wikidot.com/marvel-s-inferno-crossover
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | October 20, 2014 7:01 PM
Don't forget Ataru320 (as much as we wish we could) Liefeld also did X-Factor #40 (May 1989) & The Uncanny X-Men #245 (June 1989) too.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | October 20, 2014 7:07 PM
Yeah but this is the first which feels like classic Liefeld; the others at least had some stuff that didn't feel like he reached his "potential" yet :p
Posted by: Ataru320 | October 20, 2014 7:31 PM
I just re-read the opening pages of this and noticed that Ghaur mentions that he urged Attuma to attack the "surface dwellers" leaving his kingdom unguarded, as if it just happened. That throws a monkey wrench in the works again. I'm guessing that's meant to be a reference to Avengers Annual #18? That implies that "weeks" have taken place between then and "The Present..." section of this story. Aargh!
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | October 20, 2014 8:26 PM
My first thought when i saw the references to Namor being alive and then dead was that someone realized the problem but didn't go back and fix all the dialogue. Maybe that happened and they added the "weeks ago" part thinking it meant they wouldn't have to revise all of Ghaur's opening speech, forgetting they referenced Ghaur's urging of Attuma, which would have to be in Iron Man annual #10. I don't think i can squeeze New Mutants #76 (and therefore X-Factor #41-42) after Iron Man annual #10 since NM #76 has the New Mutants basically running on fumes directly from Inferno, so for my purposes i'll just have to ignore more dialogue after all.
Posted by: fnord12 | October 20, 2014 8:40 PM
It's worse than that. Ghaur says: "Were that Atlantean fool Attuma less trusting, he would never have heeded our urgings and attacked the surface dwellers leaving his own kingdom unguarded and ripe for destruction." Which seems to be talking about Avengers Annual #18 which would mean weeks of time took place between then and the rest of this story.
But then Ghaur says, as they're looking at the footage of New Mutants #76, "Still, I am well aware of Namor's abilities, but he cannot guard the horn forever, and he will soon be dead." He then orders Spike, Coal and String to follow and spy on the Sub-Mariner which to me only makes sense before Iron Man Annual #10, so Attuma couldn't possibly have already launched his attack, only agreed to do so (as talked about in Iron Man Annual #10?).
So the footage of New Mutants #76 has to be a recording and not concurrent with this flashback section.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | October 20, 2014 10:16 PM
I think the idea is that the monitor is displaying stuff that occured a while ago, so you don't have to worry about when New Mutants 76 took place.
Posted by: Michael | October 20, 2014 10:22 PM
If the ASM contribution to Atlantis Attacks was Liefeld's first Marvel work, even before X-Factor 40, maybe this issue was also done very early in the Atlantis Attacks planning stages and Liefeld wasn't able to draw a replacement in time for the finalized overplot, leaving Marvel to publish the ghost of a previous idea of the crossover (maybe before Gru got involved?). Clearly there was a plan for a different annual, and with Liefeld involved, I can believe that a screwup wouldn't have allowed time for a fix.
It's interesting that the New Mutants' Asgardian adventure and X-Factor's Judgment War seem to have been planned to be shorter. We know that the across-Time Caper got stretched, though even it's original dimensions were going to be about as long as Judgment War and the Asgard saga were. But maybe the caper was conceived later.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | October 20, 2014 11:30 PM
Michael, you wrote: "The dialogue in this issue implies that it takes place during New Mutants 87 but New Mutants 86 references X-Men 255, by which time Storm's already a kid. But an adult Storm appears in the finale of Atlantis Attacks. Plus, Wolverine 19-20, which feature the Acts of Vengeance cabal, take place before X-Men 255."
You must have missed the section of the breakdown on my Wiki page Michael because I do address that. The reference in New Mutants #86 to X-Men #255 takes place during the secondary plotline with Rusty & Skids, not with the group of New Mutants you see here in this Annual. You have to ignore the "Meanwhile" captions that connect the two stories (Asgard/Rusty & Skids and Judgement War/Apocalypse vs Loki) of both books. The references to X-Factor "just landing" in The New Mutants #88 (Rusty, Skids, Cable, Freedom Force) and X-Factor #51 (Apocalypse & Caliban) are a problem but again, if you rearrange pages/panels it can be worked. It's incredibly awkward, I agree but with some explanations, it can just be made to work. Barely. But that rearrangement preserves the intent of this Annual's placement during the final pages of The New Mutants #87 (and the conclusion of Atlantis Attacks during The New Mutants #88 after X-Factor appear there).
You're correct, the conclusion of Atlantis Attacks has to take place before Storm is turned into a child by Nanny in The Uncanny X-Men #248. I did go over that that in my break-down.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | October 20, 2014 11:53 PM
Add the Boom Boom backup to the "metafiction is a thing" list for 1989.
Posted by: cullen | October 21, 2014 2:30 AM
Walter, a couple pages of Marvel Age 78 were recently posted:
Posted by: Michael | October 28, 2014 9:33 PM
"...written by Judith Bogdanove and written by Jon Bogdanove..."
Posted by: cullen | October 28, 2014 10:24 PM
Posted by: fnord12 | October 28, 2014 10:29 PM
Alternatively -- and I realize it's against the rules of the project, but: Alternatively, one can simply pretend that this continuity wreck of an annual never happened. Omitting it altogether does not damage anything in the crossover or the main title. And it fixes the continuity.
Regardless, I too am surprised at how badly continuity was handled here. Between Atlantis Attacks and Acts of Vengeance, calendar year 1989 was a colossal continuity debacle. An embarrassing final year to an otherwise very good and at times even great decade for Marvel.
(In fairness, Secret Wars II was also a mess a few years before this. But even that seems less problematic by comparison. And the general quality of the whole line was higher at that time.)
Posted by: Matt | November 2, 2014 4:58 PM
Thanks, Michael. I saw the Marvel Age item before my post, my thinking was that they may have been uncertain about Simonson writing because they already had a Simonson-scripted issue they didn't want to use and were hoping for a re-do. Pure speculation on my part, but something clearly went very wrong with this annual, and even the set-up issue in the regular NM series seems odd. (Why bother with that? In New Mutants, of all places.)
I agree with Matt: I'd like to exclude this annual. We'll get to a point later on where annuals sometimes fail to count as canon, like that Hulk annual where John Byrne adds Skrulls to his origin. Maybe this Liefeld-drawn scramble of an issue should be taken as a sign if things to come in more ways than just the obvious.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | November 3, 2014 1:47 AM
Dude... anybody who thinks Liefeld sabotaged things isn't being honest with themselves, AT ALL. Looking at this issue (which I'm amazed I never had and never knew Rob Liefeld drew), it's just a thousand times better than the earlier New Mutants era. Even in 1989 (!) Liefeld was creating new characters and concepts like SURF. I don't think they are unrealistic because Namor himself picked up culture and slang from the surface world so who is to say other Atlanteans wouldn't do the same thing?
This art is dynamic and that's what its all about, telling a dynamic story. I think this shows theres a lot more depth to Liefeld then he gets credit for because you really feel the depth and weight of an underwater world from what I can see from the scans here. As for Atlantis Attacks as a story I can only follow it from fnords posts but I did have a Spider-Man Annual where he fought Abomination and couldn't really follow. I kept wondering why Sub-Mariner wasn't a bigger deal in that storyline.
Posted by: Brimstone | February 11, 2016 6:46 PM
Such dynamic and cool new creations like Surf who took the world by storm with their exciting one more appearance. Up there with Cable, definitely.
Posted by: AF | February 11, 2016 6:56 PM
The world just wasn't ready for an exciting concept like Surf.
Posted by: AF | February 11, 2016 6:57 PM
did SURF really only appear one more time? I thought I saw them in New Warriors but maybe it's just because the NAMOR comic wasn't doing well. I know Louise Simonson resented Liefeld's creativity and tried to make things harder for him so maybe it was that but I really just think it's that Liefeld had so many ideas and was creating so many characters that he didn't have the time to commit to them all and didn't want anyone else working on his babies. Maybe time for a reboot of these characters if Marvel is listening..? Underwater stories can be hard but I kinda got the impression that Surf would be leaving Atlantis...
Posted by: Brimstone | February 11, 2016 7:25 PM
AF I just checked out yr tumblr brah and I think it's awesome you are doing such work, it could almost be a companion site for what fnord is doing here but I have a few suggestions, the layout is kinda simple and "sparse" is the word, I would spruce it up and also, it's called Panels of Interest but seems like unrelated story excerpts from different eras. But otherwise very cool my man, it's like leaving one history project and going to another! Love seeing my comic bros spread the gospel!
Posted by: Brimstone | February 11, 2016 7:31 PM
Brimstone: Liefeld's Spidey annual: http://www.supermegamonkey.net/chronocomic/entries/amazing_spider-man_annual_23.shtml (admittedly the first pic he does of She-Hulk there isn't that bad)
Posted by: Ataru320 | February 11, 2016 7:53 PM
About the continuity I'm one that usually prefers to ignore some cameos or dialogue to keep the order smooth (for example I usually totally ignore crowd appearances, as they narratively can be read just as "there's a bunch of superheroes/supervillains", and wouldn't let those influence any character appearance order)... but I'm with Jay on this.
In this particular case, it seems like the creators are telling two different, parallel, but unconnected stories, and if you see it like that, you're free to arrange those two separately. (and I'd rather ignore some "meanwhile" captions, than dialogues between the characters)
I know it's impossible to do in this project, since you don't split singular stories, and maybe in the end it's pointless, but that does make all the characters' stories flow, so in my opinion that's how it's meant to be. You basically just have to pretend the main Judgement War storyline all happened tightly at the beginnning, but they showed it to us a bit at a time while also showing Rusty and Skid's Acts of Vengeance story, that actually happens later.
Posted by: KombatGod | September 27, 2017 10:39 AM
@KombatGod- if it was JUST assuming the storylines were happening at two different times, then I'd agree with you, but as I mentioned earlier, for Jay's idea to work, you also have to assume that Apocalypse was showing Caliban a recording of X-Factor landing when it was presented as happening right now, and Freedom Force's mentioning Ship's landing while interrogating Cable wasn't referring to X-Factor returning from space. It's just too much to assume.
Posted by: Michael | September 27, 2017 8:31 PM
@Michael- Ooh ok, I think I get it. I couldn't see any problem with Apocalypse's appearance in XF#51, it was a non-issue to me.
If I got it right, basically Apocalypse is first contacted by Loki in XF#49-50 and then sees the team's return in XF#51, so from his perspective AoV is before the teams return, and the theory doesn't work, unless we say that was a recording, which is a problem in its own right.
I still think it can be worked around by rearranging those Apocalypse clips (we first have apocalypse and Caliban watching the return in XF#51, then Apocalypse & Caliban vs Loki in XF#49-50, then Caliban leaving Apocalypse to attack Sabretooth in XF#51), but ok now I'm getting a headache.
About Cable I still don't see the problem, because shouldn't it take place after their landing either way? But ok, I'm probably missing something, and you proved it's not flawless either way.
Posted by: KombatGod | September 28, 2017 9:26 AM
Yeah, that's the problem with X-Factor 51.The problem with Freedom Force mentioning Ship's landing in New Mutants 88 is that in New Mutants 86, Freedom Force refers to Destiny's and Stonewall's deaths in X-Men 255 and in New Mutants 88 Mystique mentions Ship's landing like it just happened a few minutes ago. Storm's already a kid by X-Men 255 and Wolvie's own title has Acts of Vengeance happening before X-Men 251.
Posted by: Michael | September 28, 2017 7:45 PM
Oh ok gotcha. Yeah you're right, there are a lot of problems, and we gotta ignore something either way.
Posted by: KombatGod | September 29, 2017 5:51 AM
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