The Small Lebowski:
ROM annual #3
Issue(s): ROM annual #3
The story opens with a group of female Dire Wraith children, whose parents were killed or banished by ROM, and they are therefore immature and confused.
That doesn't stop them from terrorizing a classroom full of children, or mind-sucking and killing their teacher right in front of them.
ROM and Starshine intervene before any children are hurt (not counting mental trauma!), and continue their kill vs. banish debate.
As ROM banishes the final Wraith, something slips out of the opened portal. It's Hybrid, who manifests as a young human during a baptism in a small town in Kentucky.
"Several weeks later", the New Mutants arrive in town to visit Cannonball's family. This is the first time we meet the Guthries, including five brothers and sisters. One of them, Joshua, will later turn out to be a mutant, code-name Icarus.
Sam's other mutant sibling, Paige, aka Husk of Generation X, does not appear in this issue.
After a rather nicely done horror movie-ish plot, the New Mutants, ROM, and Starshine face off against Hybrid. ROM gets stuck in Limbo, and Hybrid removes the Starshine armor from Brandy Clark (he also puts her into a weird "sexy" wedding outfit).
Hybrid intends to use the female mutants for breeding purposes.
Magik teleports away to Limbo...
...where she encounters ROM. She initially recognizes it as "her" Limbo but wonders why she's never encountered all the Wraiths that ROM has banished there before (i'm also reminded, due to the (mis?)coloring of these female Wraiths, that now that the females have been introduced we simply don't see the males anymore. Limbo should be full of male Wraiths since that's what ROM fought for most of his series).
ROM responds that Limbo is "less a place than a concept".
Hybrid is defeated through a combination of Magik's soulsword...
...and a powerless Brandy Clark using ROM's Neutralizer, shielded from the pain (from the safeguards that prevent others from using ROM's weapon) by Professor X.
Mantlo really delivers with this one. It's a creepy story, and i like the side touching on the Limbo concept, even if the differences are explained with a bit of hand-waving. William Johnson's art is a nice break from Ditko; my one complaint is he never gives us a nice scary splash panel of Hybrid.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Brandy Clark loses her Starshine powers in this issue, placing it between ROM #60-61. The MCP places Xavier here before Uncanny X-Men #189, which fits with the New Mutants not knowing about Storm's power loss, which Amara, at least, should be aware of by UX #189. But if we accept that, this story has to also take place before New Mutants #23, since New Mutants #23 takes place after UX #189. See my comments on the New Mutants entry for more on that, since it differs from the MCP's placement.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (4): showCannonball, General Merriwether Locklin, Hybrid (Dire Wraith), Icarus, Jebediah Guthrie, Joelle Guthrie, Lewis Guthrie, Lucinda Guthrie, Magik, Magma, Professor X, ROM, Starshine II, Sunspot, Wolfsbane
When it comes to creepy, rapey Marvel supervillains, Hybrid makes the Mandrill look like a feminist!
Posted by: Oliver_C | November 23, 2015 4:07 PM
I think Mantlo's story is very ill-served by William Johnson's art. He makes Hybrid look like Tweety Bird! If this issue had been drawn by Bill Sienkiewicz (who did the cover), it would have been awesome.
Posted by: Tony Lewis | October 4, 2016 2:39 PM
Bill's Hybrid would have given readers nightmares!
Posted by: Vin the Comics Guy | December 15, 2016 11:25 PM
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