New Mutants #14
Issue(s): New Mutants #14
The New Mutants decide to throw a surprise party for Xavier to cheer him up since Lilandra has left Earth, but the demon S'ym appears on earth looking for Illyana, ruining the fun.
Professor Xavier considers contacting Dr. Strange or Nightcrawler's foster mother Margali Szardos for help on dealing with Illyana's magical abilities and history, but he's attacked by S'ym before completing the thought.
The New Mutants fight S'ym, to no avail...
...until Illyana defeats the demon with her Soulsword and makes him her thrall.
It's worth noting that Illyana is using actual sorcery while on Earth. Later, she'll says that her powers aren't very effective in this plane of existence. Now, her powers don't work too well against S'ym, but i thought that was because he's a demonic power in his own right, not because her powers are weak.
I guess to square it with later comments, we'll have to interpret this as her figuring out that her powers don't actually work that well on Earth.
The end result is a party scene that includes a car and a volcano in the X-Mansion's living room.
We first see Professor Xavier walking comfortably without his wheelchair in this issue.
Interesting that S'ym, originally a "tribute" to David Sim's Cerebus, continues to be used as a character.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: The beginning of this issue is a slightly different version of the framing sequence from Magik #1-4. A subplot from this issue, about Doug Ramsey getting accepted to the Massachusetts Academy, will be continued in Uncanny X-Men #180.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (2): showCannonball, Colossus, Cypher, Magik, Magma, Mirage (Dani Moonstar), Nightcrawler, Professor X, Rogue, S'ym, Shadowcat (Kitty Pryde), Stevie Hunter, Storm, Sunspot, Wolfsbane, Wolverine
The addition of Magik to the team seemed really forced to me at the time; I don't quite remember if she appeared(or was even mentioned) in the book before this.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | October 2, 2011 2:59 AM
She had appeared twice previously in the book, while on Muir Island/with Moira MacTaggert.
It didn't seem forced, to me, but the NM definitely got awfully casual about accepting teammates, and then Claremont got even more casual about writing about it. Illyana joining seems to just be assumed (it's never depicted), and Cypher gets even less than that. At least Magik gets kind of an induction issue here. Cypher's just on the team one issue.
Posted by: Paul | May 9, 2012 12:19 PM
It didn't seem forced to me at all and seemed long overdue. She had been around the mansion (we don't see much of her in New Mutants, but they are gone a lot before #14) and we knew she had powers. It's only natural she start being trained with the rest of the team, who aren't supposed to be a team of heroes anyway, but a class of students.
As for Doug, they know about his power, but since the class does end up as a superhero team and they know his power is not particularly useful in combat, Xavier has been reluctant to reveal this information. So, when they are finally forced to call on him for help, they arrange to bring him in.
Illyana is one of my absolute favorite characters, perhaps my second favorite after Kitty, and I think they never really knew what to do with her after Claremont left. She provided an interesting counterpoint in a few ways - she brings Kitty much more into this book as an ally, given their friendship - whereas she had been so antagonistic to the NM before this. She also has powers that sometimes the X-Men need to utilize (such as her bringing the team to the Morlock tunnels at the start of the Mutant Massacre). At times she becomes the real link between the two teams and her friendship with Kitty is really well developed, since Kitty looked after her when she was younger.
A great, great character. I had been pulled back into comics in 1992 with Executioner's Song, but her death the next year (a truly moving comic) followed the next issue by the return of Magneto, undoing his magnificent death in X-Men #3 put me so off that I didn't buy another X-Men comic until the Astonishing series.
Posted by: Erik Beck | May 16, 2015 12:36 PM
@Erik: Claremont cast Illyana alongside Jean Grey, as his most tragic character. In the end, Jean had to grapple with her own dark side, released by the corruptible influence of her vast power, ultimately succeeding long enough to sacrifice herself for the greater good. Unlike Jean, Illyana, as presented in his Magik series, was ultimately setup to fail in any effort to overcome her dark side. Her soul was corrupted beyond her ability to repair it, so much so that any attempts to do so are tainted and simply further the corruption. All she could do was hold out as long as possible, doing as much good as possible in the meantime. In the end, while that series in and of itself merely filled in some gaps, it positioned Illyana to become one of the most fascinating and tragic characters of Claremont's tenure, one who is unable to do good without further corrupting her own soul. Out of all the New Mutants, she was beautifully contrasted against his reforming Magneto, too. He firstly rendered her experience of childhood abuse through metaphor. That is, she could figuratively battle the figurative demons of her past by literally battling literal demons! This layer of indirection opened up vast storytelling opportunities. A reader uninterested in the subtext got to enjoy kinetic, visually arresting battle scenes, while the more clued-in audience got the rich story of a young person who had survived terrible things and who believed herself to be irredeemably, intrinsically evil struggled to move on from her past and re-narrativise herself as a hero. So, this is the story I think Claremont really wanted to tell - how do we deal with our past, and integrate it, and rise to its challenge instead of being defined by our traumas? This was Magneto's story too. And it's not one that Louise Simonson understood or was interested in. Just as she rolled back Magneto to a cartoony shade of villainy in her run on New Mutants, she consistently undermined the progress Illyana had made at defining herself as anything other than a rape survivor, culminating in this arc, where her entire character is erased in the name of "restoring her innocence". This is not how recovery happens, and it is not how human stories work, things Claremont understood! Can you imagine if someone had pitched a plot where the X-Men travelled back in time to rescue Magneto from Auschwitz so that he'd never have become a villain? It's too tacky to even contemplate. But that's what happened in the New Mutants chapter of Inferno by Louise Simonson, the assassination of one of Claremont's finest characters, Illyana Rasputin.
Posted by: Nathan Adler | May 16, 2015 10:05 PM
Personally I never thought too highly of Illyana, even though Claremont tries to change my mind with stuff like her "pwecious" friendship with Kitty or her sorcery/Darkchylde abilities, so I really don't give a hoot about what happens to her. I mean I realize she does have fans, but I'm not one of them.
Posted by: D09 | June 3, 2016 11:02 PM
This was one of those issues that left me scratching my head. Where did Claremont mean to go from here? To this day I doubt even he knew.
Illyana being an odd, vague blend of mutant and sorcerer seems cool at first glance, but it ends up being a dead end. You can never quite make the themes fit, and it shows. It was certainly innovative, but it was not workable. IMO "Inferno" was as much about the unenviable task of giving the Illyana plot some sort of resolution as it was about anything else. Although Inferno has plenty of problems of its own, it almost feels like they decided to throw in the Maddelyne / Jean situation for good measure and be troubled just once instead of twice.
Nor does the continued corruption theme quite work either. Not when Professor Xavier is supposed to be around and aware of the more overt signs of trouble. Logically, that would eventually lead to something akin to a team-up with Doctor Strange in a mission to expurge Illyana of her demonic influences. But that, too, is simply not what Claremont was pursuing at the time. I figure that was a major reason to put Xavier on a bus and have Magneto take charge, but that could only be done by ignoring the wider Marvel Universe's possibilities.
While the Defenders at their best were all about taking advantage of the zany possibilities of the weird place that the Marvel Universe is, Claremont's X-Men work best as their own thing without a wider MU raising questions that it can't very well answer.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | June 21, 2016 11:49 AM
So basically Claremont didn't give a hoot, more or less, about the wider MU and only concentrate on his pet projects without giving tangible connections to said wider MU? That would explain so much about his 1st run...
Posted by: D09 | June 21, 2016 1:51 PM
Wow, that's some incisive writing, commenters! I like Luis' point comparing Defenders & X-Men, as it generally bears out. And D09, there's little D9 Chris wrote without the broader MU in mind during, say, the World Tour, what with the mistaken deaths conundrum. He did help launch Dazzler and guest-starred Spider-Woman, but Alison didn't have a book yet initially and Jessica's book was his to write by #148.
I think the last two years of Defenders and the first three of New Mutants mark a good read to consider in the future.
Posted by: Cecil Disharoon | June 21, 2016 5:55 PM
To be fair to Claremont, making concessions for the wider MU is no small request, and tends to wreak havoc on ongoing plots (as the last 20-odd years of events have so painfully taught us all).
I have increasingly come to think of him as fine indie writer material who had the misfortune to begin his professional work some 15 years too early to fully take advantage of his skills. He may well have made the Image Exodus possible in ways not fully understood at this time. In that sense he was a pioneer, a precursor.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | June 21, 2016 7:00 PM
Comments are now closed.
|SuperMegaMonkey home | Comics Chronology home|