New Mutants #35
Issue(s): New Mutants #35
In story, it's frankly a brilliant move on Xavier's part. Magneto has been making incremental steps towards reformation, and making him responsible for the development of a group of young mutants is exactly what was needed to take him to the next level.
And for the kids, getting the opportunity to learn from someone who spent years diametrically opposed to Xavier is very valuable. Out of story, it's a logical but exciting way to shake up this book (and X-Men) while providing character development for Magneto. So it really was a great idea from Chris Claremont.
This issue and the next two also have the nice combination of Mary Wilshire on pencils with inks by Bill Sienkiewicz. Sienkiewicz has a distinct run as penciler on this title but by the end of it was distracting from the story. I think Steve Leialoha did a good job of keeping elements of Sienkiewicz's style while reigning it in a bit, and i wouldn't have minded if he continued on the book. But having Sienkiewicz return as an inker is another way to retain the basic look without letting form overrun function, and the underappreciated Mary Wilshire's more straightforward pencils keep things grounded. One thing Wilshire brings to teen book is a sense of fashion and posing that reminds me that she'll later be the penciler on Marvel's Barbie series (Magneto's unfinished face may also give some clues as to where exactly the split between Wilshire and Sienkiewicz's roles was).
This issue is about the New Mutants coming to grips with the fact that Magneto is going to be their teacher. As a part demon sorceress, Magik accepts Magneto straight away, and his inherent nobility wins over Magma as well. Cannonball believes that "everybody deserves a second chance". On the other side, neither Cypher nor Sunspot are so accepting (and also get into a fight when Cypher makes a "joke" about this being an opportunity for Sunspot to join his father in the Hellfire Club), especially after Cypher is sidelined during a training session since he doesn't have combat-useful powers. Karma is also against Magneto, especially after having already been controlled by another super-villain. Warlock is of course oblivious, and Dani Moonstar is too distracted by the fact that she's become a Valkyrie and Xavier isn't around for her to talk to about it. That leaves Wolfsbane, whose opinion isn't actually shown.
After the initial training session...
...the kids go to Harry's Hideout to hang out, and Dani leaves early, attracting the attention of some local hooligans. This leads to a Claremontian near-rape scene for Dani...
...interrupted only by the arrival of Dani's Valkyrie steed, Brightwind.
When Magneto finds out about this, he goes near-supervillain on the thugs, terrifying them with an explosive use of his powers and a sound effect borrowed from Walt Simonson.
The New Mutants secretly follow and watch, and this demonstration wins them over. While, as Magneto thinks to himself, he can't go to the authorities over this without risking the authorities learning the true nature of the school, his actions are decidedly different than Xavier's, so the students may be learning the wrong lesson here. And while there's nothing explicitly in the story saying so, that may be the point.
To be fair, the difference in how Magneto handles this over how Xavier might have is as much about the difference in their powers as their philosophies. I'm not sure how Xavier might have handled this exact situation, but he'd probably be more comfortable contacting the police and just mind-wiping any references to the flying horse.
Overcoming adversity through rape aside, a good set of topics in this issue.
Continuing my documentation of Magneto's quasi-psychic abilities, during the training session, Magneto is able to re-direct Karma's attempt to possess him, and force her to posses Sunspot instead (i'll also point out that he's not wearing his helmet in this scene).
I should note that it's after this scene that Karma becomes explicitly anti-Magneto and makes the reference to the Shadow King. Prior to this she just said she didn't share Magma's certainty.
Seems to be some de-nudification on the part of the colorist here, although it's hardly effective.
Quality Rating: A-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Magneto will be shown to be the accepted teacher of the New Mutants in Uncanny X-Men #201, so this issue should take place prior to that.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showBrightwind, Cannonball, Cypher, Karma, Magik, Magma, Magneto, Mirage (Dani Moonstar), Sharon Friedlander, Sunspot, Tom Corsi, Warlock, Wolfsbane
"Look, I'm Part-Demon Sorceress- as well as being a Mutant"- God, that's terrible stuff. I have never understood why Claremont is considered such a genius writer. He certainly influenced the badly written smuggishness of today's Marvel.
Posted by: George Gordon | March 1, 2014 6:33 PM
Magneto was the ONLY person Xavier could think of to teach the New Mutants? The man who repeatedly tried to kill the X-Men and enslave the world? Why not Cyclops? Or Moria McTaggert? Or Storm? Or even Captain America? Claremont jumped the shark with this one.
What Magneto needed to be in the next step of his development was to be in prison.
Posted by: A.Lloyd | March 4, 2014 2:15 PM
"Hey, Erik, remember a while back how you immobilized all my students in metal chairs, reduced them to psychological infancy, and left them to die beneath an active volcano? Good times. And just recently you sank a nuclear submarine with all hands on board? And then caused a volcano to erupt in the middle of a Russian city? Anyway, I hear you're all better now, so I'm just going to hand off my youngest, most vulnerable students to you. Actually, one's an alien, one was recently possessed by a spirit of pure evil, and one spent almost her whole childhood in Hell. Honestly, pretty much any one of them could go full-blown super-villain at any moment. Anyhoo, I'm going to go spend some time with my outer-space girlfriend. Don't do anything I wouldn't do. And no more volcanos, okay?"
Posted by: Andrew | February 16, 2017 8:10 AM
In a pub scene, Sunspot notes "things couldn't be worse if the school was taken over by White Queen..."
Well what do you know. Although when that happens, all current New Mutants will be god knows where.
(I frankly have no idea where any of them end up. Except for Canonball and that stupid Civil War thing)
Posted by: Karel | January 28, 2018 10:31 PM
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