New Mutants #46
Issue(s): New Mutants #46
The rest of the team is much more fragile.
Sunspot exhausts himself carrying equipment for the survivors, and when he slips and Magneto chews him out, he angrily storms off.
Karma is unable to retain a mental lock on Sunder, who needs to be mentally sedated because his leg need to be amputated. Psylocke steps in where Karma fails.
Dani is just incapacitated with the vision of death all around her.
And Sunspot starts a fight with Wolfsbane, who has been busying herself making sandwiches.
Even though there's a lot of points to demonstrate the New Mutants' relative youth, Claremont writes it well and it doesn't feel like he's hitting you over the head with the idea. But their adolescence and lack of experience does come across, and it is a good use of the crossover to distinguish the students from the actual X-Men.
That is really it for the Mutant Massacre itself. The remaining part of the story is about Karma finding that her two younger siblings are not picking up the phone, so Magik teleports her over to their apartment to check things out. And when they don't return, the rest of the team disobey orders and use the Morlock tunnels to travel to Karma's apartment, where they witness firsthand the Marauder's atrocities.
They arrive at Karma's apartment to find that it's exploded. Karma and Magik turn out to be ok, but her siblings are nowhere to be found. The assumption is that the Marauders were responsible for the bomb but the thread of Karma's missing siblings is one that will be strung out for many many years (X-Force #62 is their next appearance although we'll see Magneto and Karma looking for them in New Mutants and Wolverine's solo book prior to that).
Warlock had also been acting funny all issue...
...and it turns out to be for reasons unrelated to the Massacre. He has detected the return of his father, Magus...
...and Magus attacks them at the end of the issue.
Illyana teleports the team out of his grasp.
This story doesn't move the Mutant Massacre forward but instead serves as a kind of downtime issue that lets the New Mutants children reflect on the horrors of war, letting us look at the recent events through a different set of eyes.
Quality Rating: A-
Chronological Placement Considerations: This takes place soon after Uncanny X-Men #211, with the X-Men returning from the Morlock tunnels with their wounded. Despite what Illyana says, the New Mutants don't actually make it home at the end of this issue, and they will wake up in Limbo at the beginning of next, which i'm allowing to take place an indefinite amount of time later.
As Scott notes in the comments, a Morlock looking a lot like Plague is among those rescued by the X-Men...
...but since Plague was taken by Apocalypse in X-Factor #10 while she was still in the tunnels, it wouldn't make sense for her to appear at the X-Mansion. The MCP don't list Plague as appearing here, so we can assume it's just a different Morlock in similar garb.
Crossover: Mutant Massacre
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (5): showBanshee, Callisto, Cannonball, Colossus, Cypher, Karma, Leong Manh, Lockheed, Magik, Magma, Magneto, Magus (Technarchy), Mirage (Dani Moonstar), Moira MacTaggert, Nga Manh Coy, Nightcrawler, Psylocke, Rogue, Shadowcat (Kitty Pryde), Sharon Friedlander, Storm, Sunder, Sunspot, Tom Corsi, Warlock, Wolfsbane
When issue 211 ended the X-Men were in Manhattan. This issue, they're in Westchester. Did the X-Men really walk all that distance with seriously injured people?
Posted by: Michael | February 7, 2014 10:50 PM
There's a dropped plot line around this time involving Sara Grey and her children going missing as well as Karma's siblings. A bomb destroys Grey's house as well. I think The Right or some unnamed human extremist group is hinted at as the culprit, but whatever Claremont and co. were building toward never materializes. (Both Nanny, who turns out to have Grey's kids, and Mr. Sinister would have motives for stealing mutant children. So might The Right.)
Is it Sunder's legs Moira wants to amputate? When we see him during the Reavers' attack on Muir Island a couple years from now I believe he's in one piece.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | February 8, 2014 1:39 PM
I double-checked and it's actually just "leg", singular, but yeah he will appear to be fine in the Muir Island saga. We don't actually see Moira amputating anything.
Posted by: fnord12 | February 8, 2014 1:46 PM
Walter Lawson wrote: "There's a dropped plot line around this time involving Sara Grey and her children going missing as well as Karma's siblings. A bomb destroys Grey's house as well. I think The Right or some unnamed human extremist group is hinted at as the culprit, but whatever Claremont and co. were building toward never materializes. (Both Nanny, who turns out to have Grey's kids, and Mr. Sinister would have motives for stealing mutant children. So might The Right.)"
Erm... you're getting a few issues ahead of things. Jean's sister's house bombing and kids going missing hasn't happened yet.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | February 8, 2014 10:06 PM
Belatedly @Michael - surely they traveled most of the way via Magne-Car!
Posted by: fnord12 | February 11, 2014 10:53 AM
Well they* say that every comic is somebody's first, and this was mine. I somehow convinced my grandmother to buy it for me from a discount store (they had only two comics, the other was a Spider-Man). It was an older comic by that time, and is way earlier than the new 1987 comics that my aunt bought for me later that summer.
I had been determined that if I was going to get comics, I was only interested in the "Spider-Man" universe, not the "Superman" universe. The X-Men being on the cover let me know it was related to Spider-Man, as I had a vague recollection of them from the Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends cartoon. I have no idea now why I had that determination - I liked the Spider-Man and Hulk cartoons, but I'd also liked Super Friends. I'd had an activity book with Spider-Man, Spider-Woman and the Fantastic Four, but I'd had a few DC things as well. Mostly I was fascinated with meeting new characters, and this issue delivered in spades.
One might wonder if the darkness of the Mutant Massacre didn't affect me or put me off comics. But despite Dani seeing Death everywhere & the whole trauma ward, I don't remember finding this book "dark." Somber, certainly. Maybe not actually seeing any deaths or bodies "on-screen" had something to do with it. I found my first Spider-Man and Daredevil to be much darker. In fact, with many of my first issues, it seems to have been an interesting time in comics.
My first Fantastic Four had Reed and Sue leave the team and two new people take their place.
My first Hulk had a strange intelligent, grey Hulk captured by Iceman and X-Factor (probably bought it because I knew Iceman) and ended with the destruction of Gamma Base. (Doc Samson pushed over two pillars. I wonder how many times he's done that.)
My first Avengers had several members severely injured and fighting Zeus and Hercules, who had apparently been an Avenger. The team was huge this issue, which also rewarded heavily on the new characters front. That might be part of why this is still my favorite title.
My first Captain America had the title character having given up that role & wandering the country in a van. (And poor Brother Nature never appeared again.)
My first X-Men was the beginning of Fall of the Mutants. This might seem to be notable, but actually not much besides a fight with Freedom Force in this issue. Now if my first issue had happened to be two issues later... (Still, again, lots of new characters.)
And then we get to the darkness...
My first Daredevil centered around a boy who was obsessed with nuclear annihilation. Daredevil himself has had his life torn apart at this time.
And my first Spider-Man had Spidey, having just dug himself out of a grave, beating up a scared Vermin & in the end Kraven commits suicide with a shotgun to the head. Wooo-ee!
The artwork itself was pretty dark & moody in those two issues, which probably amplified the darkness in the story material. I never did collect very much Daredevil or Spider-Man.
I hope I didn't bore anybody with my nostalgia-trip. I've been thinking of writing this post before fnord even got to this issue, but its taken me a while to get around to getting it down.
(* - "they" being Jim Shooter, at least. On this front, I think it did well. I don't remember being confused by anything in the issue. I didn't know what a Valkyrie was, but apparently being one let you see looming Death. Cool. I think Doug disappeared into the background, but otherwise I got pretty quickly who everybody was and what their schtick was.)
Posted by: Erik Robbins | March 26, 2014 1:27 AM
Erik, thanks for sharing this. I like hearing people's remembrances and firsts so it's not boring to me. It also helps me remember that different people have connections with different stories so what may feel like a random fill-in one-off waste of a story to me is someone else's favorite comic because it's the one they read a hundred times on summer vacation. Although all of your firsts were pretty significant!
It's ironic how the Kraven Spider-Man story's subject matter may have kept you away from that title since Spidey is usually people's entry point to the Marvel universe.
We'll be getting to all of the stories you've mentioned soon.
Posted by: fnord12 | March 26, 2014 8:20 AM
Fnord, my first Marvel book was one of those bad Wolfman Spider-Mans. Rocket Racer and Big Wheel. No wonder I didn't come back and get into collecting for several years. I have no sentimental attachment to it (you gave it a low grade here). My main memory is of being perplexed at the idea that I would have to get another issue in a month to find out what happens next. Thirty days is a long time for a little kid, and I was thinking, "Yeah, like I'm going to remember to do THAT." I wanted it to be self-contained. Also, there was marriage-proposal drama with Mary Jane that I was too young to get into, and I knew it.
Posted by: Todd | March 26, 2014 4:37 PM
Thinking back, it wasn't like I was avoiding Spider-Man. I had a subscription to Spectacular and possibly Web for a while. (I was never fond of MacFarlane or Larsen, so not Amazing). They were just never top tier titles for me.
Posted by: Erik Robbins | March 29, 2014 12:58 PM
Daredevil always had the stigma of being The "dark" Marvel title, at least when I was growing up reading comics. Had I been reading comics in the 1970s, I might have thought differently....
Posted by: ChrisKafka | March 29, 2014 5:44 PM
A little surprised that no one has commented on the continuity issues between this and X-Men #211. There, Illyana teleports away with Kurt, but here he is dragged back by Rogue (not a great way to carry someone that injured) and Illyana doesn't seem to have been part of the events. That bothered me then and it still bothers me.
Does anyone think that Magneto's style as headmaster of Xavier's could be an allegory for Shooter's reign as EIC? Has that been mentioned elsewhere?
Posted by: Erik Beck | July 5, 2015 9:58 AM
'Does anyone think that Magneto's style as headmaster of Xavier's could be an allegory for Shooter's reign as EIC? Has that been mentioned elsewhere?'
That would have awkward implications, if so, given the timing of Magneto's reversion into classic villain mode coincided with the early part of DeFalco's tenure as EiC, continued nuanced depiction by Claremont notwithstanding. And it would also blur the lines, unnecessarily in my opinion, between John Byrne being so eager to run with Magneto as a villain (in West Coast Avengers, say) because he genuinely preferred the character this way (which I would believe to be true), or because it was an opportunity to indirectly vent about Shooter after his depature. Byrne had already had an ersatz Shooter over at DC in Green Lantern, I don't think he'd mess with a character from his beloved Silver Age X-Men iconography just to score points.
Posted by: Harry | July 5, 2015 12:13 PM
Nitpick/continuity error: Plague is seen among the Morlocks when Karma fails at sedating Sunder, despite her being recruited by Apocalypse in X-Factor #10.
Posted by: Scott | January 1, 2016 8:14 AM
(in the panel not posted where Cypher and Warlock comfort her)
Posted by: Scott | January 1, 2016 8:15 AM
I've added that scan and a note in the Considerations. Thanks Scott.
Posted by: fnord12 | January 5, 2016 12:59 PM
@Scott: Yep there's not much question that it happens after UXM #211/ X-Factor #10. The teams were returning home from the initial massacre. I expect it was the result of imperfect coordination between the two creative and editorial teams at the time (UXM and NM were edited by Ann Nocenti and written by Chris Claremont, X-Factor was edited by Bob Harras and written by Louise Simonson).
Posted by: Nathan Adler | January 5, 2016 7:38 PM
Although that's obviously Plague who's been drawn, there's plenty of ways you can get around it.
Maybe it was a fake created by Apocalypse to throw people off the scent so they wouldn't notice Plague's absence.
Or maybe he didn't immediately take her to his Ship and instead that sequence showed him only protecting her to instill some loyalty for him.
Maybe he wanted her to see the extent of the Morlock massacre to further give her drive that would make her more prime a candidate to be made into Pestilence.
Maybe he discarded Plague's clothes while remaking her and another opportunist Morlock rushed to sport the latest old homeless woman chic.
But, yeah, that's another slip-up like the case of Sunder appearing on Muir Island after he died.
Posted by: AF | January 6, 2016 6:22 AM
In "New Mutants" #15, we learned that the first rule of not being able to contact the X-Men is to call the Avengers or Fantastic Four. So why doesn't anybody do that?
This is where Claremont's X-titles were so insular that it became self-defeating. Never mind that "Illuminati" nonsense, if nothing else, shouldn't the Avengers be informed that there are mass-murdering superhumans roaming New York? Not too long ago, they helped the Avengers against Kulan Gath, and not too long before that, they called the Avengers about Madelyne turning out to be Dark Phoenix after all, and they fought together in "Secret Wars" I and II. And they would soon turn to the FF for help with Kitty's problem.
So what, exactly, keeps them from calling Captain America and saying "We've got a serious massacre here, we need help, ASAP"? From calling Tony Stark and saying "We need supplies, lots of them"? From calling Reed Richards and saying "We're not sure how to perform surgery on this particular Morlock and could really use your biological experience, and some of your other machines too"? Storm doesn't think to call Wakanda? Or Latveria? Wolverine doesn't call Mariko or Nick Fury? Magneto doesn't call any of his former henchmen? Or the Hellfire Club which he just joined? Bobby and Amara don't call their parents? Betsy doesn't call Brian and Meggan for help, or even the Mastermind computer? Or Otherworld?
For such a major problem, they sure aren't acting like it. They're just going to drink some water, take a lap and walk it off, no matter how many Morlocks die.
Posted by: ChrisW | August 8, 2016 3:51 AM
To be fair, things get complicated with the continuity at this point- the FF was stated to be in outer space during the Massacre. As for the Avengers, fnord discusses how complicated the various continuity issues relating to them are. Basically, Spider-Woman's appearance in X-Factor 9 has to take place before Avengers Annual 15 and West Coast Avengers Annual 1 but Thor's appearances during the Massacre have to take place after the Avengers Annuals. So it's likely that the Avengers were on the run from the government during part of the Massacre.
Posted by: Michael | August 8, 2016 8:41 AM
I'm not so much concerned about the specific continuity - i.e. where everybody else is at the exact time this comic book is set - as I am irritated that the X-Men always pick isolation and secrecy over the much more rational calling anybody available for help and keep doing so for as long as it takes. "Keep calling the Avengers hotline until somebody answers," "Dr. Strange must know healing spells," Heather Hudson, that sort of thing. I'm aware that Doc was frequently in another dimension at this point, and not too far away from losing his magical gear to Urthona, but at least calling and making the attempt would be something, even if it's just an "I'm sorry, I'm not... a healer these days."
Why did they wait until Magneto read an article about Reed Richards' new doo-hickey before deciding to ask if he could help Kitty? He's Reed freaking Richards! If he doesn't have a doo-hickey available, he can build one. By bringing the problem to him (as it were) he can make his solution specific to Kitty's situation, rather than hoping the doo-hickey Magneto read about will do the trick.
Not to mention that there's no evidence these hardcore superpowered murderers are simply going to ignore all the other superheroes. Why not warn them first, and see if they can help you out at a time when you desperately need help, like now? Anytime's a good time for better human-mutant relations, right?
Posted by: ChrisW | August 9, 2016 12:01 AM
A year later in publishing time, X-Factor would be public heroes. Is there any reason on Earth Cyclops wouldn't be demanding a meeting with the Avengers and FF to share information that those other teams would really need to know, and get information that X-Factor might be able to use? I'm not saying the other teams would know anything that X-Factor could use, but Cyclops is smart enough to realize that they might, and he's smart enough to want that information made available to everybody who might need to know it.
What If the Wasp is going home one night and runs into the Marauders? Her chances of surviving and warning the Avengers will be much higher if she knows the Marauders exist and is informed about their powers and abilities. Spider-Man, Power Man, Daredevil, Dr. Strange, etc. What If the Mandarin, HYDRA or Dormammu is behind all of this? Better be informed earlier rather than later. Is the Punisher a good guy or a bad guy? If he's a bad guy, he might join the Marauders. If he's a good guy, he needs to be warned.
Obviously this would do massive damage to the Marvel Universe as we know it - rational thought and superheroes not really being able to coexist - but it's Marvel's own fault for teaching us to think of this stuff as rational.
Posted by: ChrisW | August 9, 2016 1:50 AM
Blame Claremont and his increasingly isolationistic tendencies toward keeping the X-Men/New Mutants away from everyone else involved in the Marvel universe. Thankfully the damage seems to have been reversed after he left, though it got worse again after Morrison and Bendis got involved with Marvel comics (along with all the other teams/independents like the Avengers), but I digress...
Posted by: D09 | August 9, 2016 2:20 AM
Oh, I totally blame Claremont. Editors were the ones making the final call, but they would have made different decisions if it were Roger Stern or Steve Englehart writing [just to pick random names.]
Someday, I hope to do a very long list of how the X-Men [New Mutants/Excalibur, etc.] made their lives worse by keeping so many secrets and never once calling for help, even it would have really avoided future problems. Illyana's problems and Wolverine going so long without ever revealing his name, or that his claws were part of his body being only the most obvious examples. It's frightening how those two are only the most obvious examples.
Posted by: ChrisW | August 9, 2016 3:25 AM
Why did Illyana just leave a note for Banshee? This is the sort of situation where waking someone up might actually be justified. He might be able to help. For all Illyana or the X-Men know, he might know something about the Marauders. Illyana could be a Marauder kidnapping Moira and leaving a note to distract Sean.
Posted by: ChrisW | April 27, 2018 11:54 PM
Banshee didn't have powers at the time, so he wouldn't have been much help. The Morlocks needed medical help and so she left Sean home. Simple as that. The Marauders weren't kidnapping humans, but killing mutants. There was no reason for Sean to assume the worst. And if he was worried, he could call the mansion and find out.
Posted by: Brian C. Saunders | April 28, 2018 3:47 AM
Banshee can't make sandwiches and put on bandages? He has no brains or skills that could possibly be useful? He doesn't have a right to know what's going on?
Illyana's jaunts across distances like the Atlantic Ocean have a tendency to drop her into different centuries. If something happens there, she and Moira will be lost forever.
And except for Vertigo, the X-Men have never met the Marauders and have no idea who they are or what they want. Betsy gets a mental image of super people massacring everything in the Morlock tunnels, that's all they know. No dialogue during the fight suggests the Marauders are anything other than psychopathic murderers.
I swear, Xaviers School must hold classes in bad decision-making and critical reaction skills...
Posted by: ChrisW | April 28, 2018 5:47 PM
One point I forgot to make is that it is somewhat in character for Illyana to be that thoughtless. It usually gets buried among the superhero stuff, but I've been skimming a few Claremont "New Mutants" books lately and there is a clear subtext of her not being nice or considerate, much less making good long-range decisions. In "X-Men" #211, she's the kind-hearted teenager who's going to get extra medical help because boy they sure need it. Here she's kidnapping Moira to Limbo from the shower and leaving a note for the sleeping Banshee as the only explanation.
Posted by: ChrisW | April 28, 2018 8:34 PM
Well, you are right about Illyana's power being unreliable. So she should have risked Sean's life as well as Moira's so he could make sandwiches and bandages? I'm pretty sure Sean was needed at Muir. Who keeps an eye on Legion while both adults are away?
Posted by: Brian C. Saunders | April 28, 2018 10:54 PM
Why don't you think Sean deserved to know what was going on?
And maybe he knew something about the Marauders. He has a lot of experience from Interpol and Factor 3. If they get into a habit of asking their teammates if they know anything about the Marauders, they might avoid nasty surprises in the future.
Jus' saying, Sean deserved to be woken up and informed of the situation and only Illyana's callousness remotely justifies what happened here. As for Legion, bring him along, dump in Limbo or leave him in a cage on Muir Island.
Posted by: ChrisW | April 29, 2018 9:22 PM
Well, the boring answer to why the Mutant Massacre storyline seems rushed and inconsistent is that Claremont wrote it in a rush. His original plan for the story was for Nimrod/Fury to be the perpetrator(s) of the Morlock attack. Everything was then changed at the last minute.
My personal gripe is that Magneto is left behind to defend the mansion - I mean when has anyone ever been left behind to defend the mansion before? It is so glaringly obvious that he is left behind because he would have made mincemeat of the Marauders - the whole saga would have been over in three pages.
Posted by: Bernard the Poet | April 30, 2018 9:10 AM
Oh I have that gripe too. Send Magneto and Wolverine into the tunnels, that would solve the problem. You're right, Magneto alone would be effective, but no way Wolvie would be left behind on a job like this. Have Betsy monitor the situation and when Magneto or Wolverine single out a live prisoner for interrogation, Betsy and Illyana teleport in and grab them, then leave.
Posted by: ChrisW | April 30, 2018 7:29 PM
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