New Mutants annual #7
Issue(s): New Mutants annual #7
This story is about mutant villains that are trying to resurrect Proteus, Moira MacTaggert's ultra-powerful mutant son. The reasons the villains have for wanting to do so are, shall we say, overly optimistic. The method(s) of doing so are somewhere between confusing and ridiculous. And the number of characters that are accumulated by the end of this story are nothing short of overwhelming. So it's kind of a mess, and the story is pretty poor. In fact, of the stories appearing in these annuals, the back-up Freedom Force story is the better one.
The masterminds, so to speak, behind this plot are Gideon and the Toad. They are only seen in silhouette until the end of the story, but increasingly obvious clues are dropped while leading up to that, including Gideon referring to the Toad as "Ranidaean" (which wouldn't be strictly accurate but which would gave it away to anyone with a dictionary). Toad wants to recruit Proteus into his new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, and Gideon, well... it's something about wanting to get AIM to mass produce Proteus containers "as the ultimate tool in my control of this planet's economic structure". So Gideon is working through AIM, who in turn have hired the Alliance of Evil. Toad is somehow working through Genetech, the science corporation from the New Warriors' book. He's gotten them to try to reproduce through technology the self-replicating DNA something something that one of the new members of the Alliance of Evil is able to collect as part of his mutant powers. The story really focuses on that mutant in particular (and his mom), so whatever Genetech is doing and how Toad is able to manipulate them is left unclear (it seems that he's just hired them, but that leaves a lot of questions for me). Genetech really appears in the story to get the New Warriors involved. Technically Toad and Gideon are competing, but even ignoring the fact that Genetech is out of play early in the story, their goals really seem to be complimentary. Toad should still be able to recruit Proteus himself regardless of whatever technology and economic advantage Gideon gets out of it. I may be missing out on something since my eyes glaze over during the technical mumbo jumbo, and in any event Toad and Gideon just play chess and talk in chess metaphors the whole time. It's really hard to take Toad seriously as a mover and shaker even though he is being set up to be the leader of the new Brotherhood for the upcoming X-Force story. And indeed it's hard to imagine how his scheme here would have worked out to his advantage. How long did he expect to remain in charge of the Brotherhood after bringing in a super-powerful reality-warping mutant to play second fiddle?
The story starts with the Alliance of Evil making a raid on a school in Vermont.
This school happens to be the one that the younger members of the former X-Terminators are attending, and the kids make the reasonable but incorrect assumption that the Alliance is after them.
They go out to fight back, but get badly stomped. Literally, in Wiz Kid's case.
The Alliance is really there to start absorbing energy that will restore Proteus (although we don't know that yet). In charge of that are the two new members of the Alliance, Harness and Piecemeal.
We'll later learn that Harness is Piecemeal's mom. It will also become clear that Harness and Piecemeal aren't really members of the Alliance of Evil. The Alliance have just been hired as bodyguards. I'm a little disappointed by that. I liked their seeming turn towards being radical activists for mutant rights in X-Factor #33, and it might have been cool if the Alliance were acting to restore Proteus out of a misguided sense of altruism or something. But there's no inherent contradiction in them being hired thugs, either.
However, in retrospect, once you know what's going on here (it's deliberately not clear yet), this whole scene makes little sense. The Alliance show up and start a fight with a bunch of police, for what? So that a little boy can come here and absorb some ambient energy out of the air. If Harness had just shown up here out of costume with her son, Piecemeal could have absorbed that energy probably without anyone even questioning what was going on. The rest of the Alliance could have been waiting in the wings in case trouble arose, but they didn't have to charge in fighting.
It's also unclear why some of Proteus's energy have been scattered over the X-Terminator's school in Vermont, but i guess it's just a convenient coincidence.
Cable and his team hear about the attack on the school, and Wiz Kid wakes up in the hospital to find them there.
Taki tells them what he knows about the Alliance's attack, and Cable and team are able to connect the attack to a number of other assaults on random targets. They manage to figure out where the next target will be and they show up there to fight the Alliance.
Warpath's strength seems to have increased a lot since his early days. I've always thought of him as being like his brother, with good fighting skills and tracking abilities but not necessarily super-strong like Frenzy. But he's able to take a hit from Frenzy and then hit her back so hard that the detail falls off her face.
Harness and Piecemeal manage to get the energy they wanted at this site and teleport away, but X-Force manage to capture the rest of the Alliance.
Tower tells them that the Alliance was working for Genetech, which isn't actually true. Meanwhile, Genetech recognizes that the energy that the Alliance has been collecting has a signature that matches genetic material that they've been hired to reproduce, and they begin to make preparations for an attack.
As X-Force break in to Genetech, we see Shatterstar use the energy blast from his sword again.
With the idea that it will eventually be hinted that Shatterstar is the son of Longshot and Dazzler, it was suggested in the comments of Shatterstar's first appearance that the energy blast seemed to be generated as he shouted through his tuning fork of a sword. But here it's explicitly said that he's channeling his force of will through the sword. The effort exhausts him, which explains the shout.
After X-Force fight their way through Genetech's regular security guards, they find the special contingency that Genetech has prepared: they've asked the New Warriors to help guard their facility.
And that's where this part ends.
Guang Yap's art is not great. In addition to just looking kind of weird (Tower's pirouette in the first scan is a typical example), i have never seen X-Force looking so damn happy. But the art is serviceable, and the same can be said of the story so far. We're basically just moving through the mechanical motions of setting up a plot, and probably hoping that no one will come back and think about part one by they time they've read part four and understand what this is all about.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: This is part one of Kings of Pain. Part two is in New Warriors annual #1.
This takes place after New Mutants #100, based on the composition of the team. They do introduce themselves as the "new New Mutants" to Wiz Kid in this story, but they're referred to as X-Force (a name they chose for themselves at the end of New Mutants #100) later in this event. Nova is wearing his red/brown costume, placing this before New Warriors #14. We'll learn in the X-Men portion of this story that this takes place while the X-Men are in space and while the Muir Island group is still under control of the Shadow King, so i'm placing this between Uncanny X-Men #277-278.
Crossover: Kings of Pain
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showAndrew Chord, Artie Maddicks, Boom Boom, Cable (Adult), Cannonball, Copycat, Feral, Firestar, Frenzy, Gideon, Harmon Furmintz, Harness, Justice, Leech, Namorita, Night Thrasher, Nova (Rich Rider), Piecemeal (Gilbert Benson), Shatterstar, Silhouette, Speedball, Stinger (X-Factor villain), Toad, Tower, Walter Rosen, Warpath, Wiz Kid
Should Chord and Silhouette be listed as characters appearing? They're present at the start of New Warriors Annual 1, so they're probably nearby off-panel in this Annual, although Silhouette COULD have teleported in (but she would have to be in contact with the other New Warriors.)
Posted by: Michael | October 23, 2015 7:40 PM
I always placed this story between New Mutants #100 and X-Force #1, their first adventure as X-Force basically.
One of the editors may have had them referred to as "New Mutants" in this annual for no other reason than that's the name on the title of the book.
Posted by: Red Comet | October 23, 2015 7:43 PM
I forgot to mention it, but this is also effectively the last appearance of the Alliance of Evil, which makes sense given that they were supposed to be the Brotherhood for X-Factor and X-Factor is about to get folded into the X-men.
Frenzy becomes an Acolyte of Magneto and Tower gets killed, I believe, in an annual featuring the X-Cutioner. I don't think Stinger or Timeshadow (who isn't even in this story for some reason) have appeared since.
Posted by: Red Comet | October 23, 2015 7:56 PM
@Michael, agree on Chord and Silhouette. They must be just off panel. Thanks.
@Red Comment, to be clear, this story *is* placed between New Mutants #100 and X-Force #1 (or will be, once i review X-Force #1). And as i note, they are called X-Force during this event. So, we agree.
Posted by: fnord12 | October 24, 2015 11:49 AM
This is effectively the teams last outing as "New Mutants."(Boom-Boom explicitly refers to them as the "new New Mutantsto Taki.) By the next installment of the crossover, the naration then states that the team was not using that name anymore. Boom-Boom probably uses that line to justify being published under the "New Mutants" trade dress despite that team supposedly folding at the end of NM# 100.
Posted by: Jon Dubya | October 28, 2015 10:35 AM
I suppose in one way this is what annuals are for. After all, I never knew this storyline existed and I had NM #100 and X-Force #1 and it didn't matter. This whole storyline could just be ignored, and given the art and story, probably should be.
By the way, it's a good thing Tabitha is right there, because if I woke up with this freaky cat thing and several people with guns standing over me, I'd be freaking the hell out.
Posted by: Erik Beck | December 5, 2015 9:20 AM
Before actually reading the story, I thought the fat guy on the cover was meant to be blob...
Posted by: Bibs | January 4, 2018 8:25 AM
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