New Mutants #5-7
Issue(s): New Mutants #5, New Mutants #6, New Mutants #7
The New Mutants are at a circus watching Team America (just Wolf and R.U. Reddy, helping Cowboy raise funds for his riding school)...
...when Viper and the Silver Samurai show up...
...with a bunch of goons and attack the cyclists.
They are saved when the Marauder shows up (called the Dark Rider here). (S)he, however, is defeated by the Silver Samurai.
In the Team America book this mysterious rider would show up whenever there's trouble. And in the end it was revealed that s/he was a mental projection created by members of the team, transforming (per issue #12 of that series) Wrench's girlfriend Georgiana into the Marauder.
Except this time, when the Rider is unmasked by the Samurai, it turns out to be Dani Moonstar.
Professor X surmises that Team America may be mutants (something we already know), with the collective power to transform a bystander into the Dark Rider whenever they are in trouble.
It really had to be any bystander, not just Georgiana, just to make some of the Team America stories work. But confirming that element also adds the detail that the Team America, as untrained mutants, are essentially putting innocent people at risk by unconsciously transforming them into the Marauder/Dark Rider. What happened to Dani (defeat and capture) could happen to anyone. This is the hook that gets Xavier to invite Team America to join his school and get trained by him.
By this point Honcho had been contacted by Viper and told that she has Dani. She wants them to steal something from an AIM base. And he's gathered Wrench and Georgina.
The group reluctantly agrees to work with Xavier. The goal is to do what Viper wants, delaying her while Xavier summons the X-Men.
Meanwhile, the New Mutants, annoyed that Xavier is helping Team America and not content to wait for the X-Men, decide to rescue Dani directly. They go to Karma's corrupt uncle General Coy to get information about Viper, and Karma feels forced to pledge to work for her uncle for a year in return for the information they are looking for. Seems unnecessary.
They then confront Viper and the Silver Samurai.
Colonel Rossi is just kind of hanging around again.
It's very odd for him to have shown up in this book with little explanation, and there's been no meeting between him and Carol Danvers or Wolverine, both of whom he's supposed to have had history with and both of whom, last we saw, think he is dead.
Soon after Wrench and Honcho acquire the crystal at the AIM base...
...the base is destroyed.
Immediately following that, Xavier detects a mutant presence...
...and Karma is attacked by a telepathic entity...
...and she is lost and presumed killed in an explosion during the rescue of Dani when Viper blows up her base as she's fleeing.
The presence is the Shadow King, and Karma's possession and disappearance will be addressed in a later New Mutants story. For now, at least it gets her out of working for her uncle.
The X-Men are brought in to help look for Xi'an, but they have no luck.
Roberto's mom also shows up.
She's an archeologist, and she's invited the New Mutants to go with her on a dig. Xavier thinks it's a good idea, mainly because he senses the (unnamed and unidentified) Shadow King's presence.
Despite some emotional protests from Sunspot, who wants to keep looking for Xi'an, they wind up going with her.
But all is not well in Roberto's family. Before going on the dig, they stop at his home in Brazil...
...and it's clear that his mother and father don't get along.
Indeed, Mr. Da Costa has agreed to allow the Hellfire Club to send a super-strong (i assume) mutant named Axe to kidnap his wife.
The New Mutants break the kidnapping without learning who hired the kidnappers.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Because the Silver Samurai learns about the death of his father and the engagement of Wolverine & Mariko in this arc...
...this takes place after Wolverine #4 but before Uncanny X-Men #172, when the Samurai and Viper show up to disrupt the wedding. Beginning with the end of issue #7, the New Mutants are off in the Amazon, which means they shouldn't appear anywhere until the end of that arc. While they're on their trip, the X-Men go to Japan for Wolverine's wedding.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (6): show
Team America was another toy tie-in, and the short history of it is full of way too much creative team changes and editorial micromanagement(reportedly mostly from Shooter) to go into detail here. The Dark Rider was called by a different name in the book, and the presence here of the characters was an attempt to prevent the toy company from claiming ownership of them. I don't think Team America showed up again after these issues(certainly not in this title).
Axe was obviously a Mr. T knockoff, and was one of Claremont's most forgettable creations.
I don't think the Shadow King was called that title until much later in the main X-Men book.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | September 26, 2011 12:09 AM
Team America later showed up in a couple of Thing issues- they were renamed the Thunderriders.
Posted by: Michael | September 26, 2011 12:13 AM
The explanation in the Team America book was this- all the members of Team America were exposed to mutagenic substances by Hydra while still in the womb. Hydra did this to create an army of super-soldiers. They thought they'd failed but some of the subjects- Team America- could create a gestalt being- the Marauder. Since the host had to be a subject of that Hydra project, this raises questions about whether Dani got her powers from HYDRA.
Posted by: Michael | August 30, 2012 7:36 PM
I think the synopsis of NM 6 is off: Dani is held prisoner by Viper not AIM, and Viper uses Dani to force Team America to steal what's presumably a cavourite crystal from AIM. They do, but simultaneously Viper gets defeated by the New Mutants. When Team America steals the Shadow King is somehow released.
Not sure what Claremont might have had in mind with the crystal: maybe it was a power source to link the astral plane to earth, letting Farouk back? (Much as Farouk would later use Polaris as a battery to link the realms in the Muir Island Saga.) Maybe it wasn't cavourite, but was more like Kulan Gath's amulet and actually held Faouk's essence? Or maybe Farouk wanted to use the crystal to access all of spacetime, as he'd do in Claremont's unpublished plans for Gateway post-Muir Island Saga? All speculation, but Claremont tended to think things through, so it might be possible to read between the lines.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | February 12, 2013 2:27 AM
Updated the entry for, er, accuracy. Thanks, Walter.
Posted by: fnord12 | February 12, 2013 10:30 PM
Two bits of speculation on why Viper wanted Team America to steal the crystal, rather than doing it herself. First, she probably knew something about the team's origins thanks to her Hydra connections, and she may have known or suspected the Dark Raider's nature.
Second, if AIM was using the crystal to access the astral plane, presumably the Dark Rider's gestalt nature would have been useful either to resist or absorb any malevolent psychic influence emanating from the astral plane (like the Shadow King).
Also, in a more Nathan Adler direction, if Viper was once under Chthon's influence, and Chthon's was father of the N'Garai, and Shadow King was a NGarai priest or pawn or something, did Chthon prompt Viper to release the Shadow King, perhaps unwittingly? Normally I'm averse to anachronistic speculation--we wouldn't find out the Chthon/N'Garai connection until the '90s--but given that Claremont had worked with both demonic forces, maybe it was something he'd thought of but never put in print himself.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | March 30, 2013 10:52 PM
@Walter: only issue here is that Claremont didn't necessarily plan Chthon to be the father of the N'Garai (that came later after his departure from Marvel).
We'd need to determine what it was the Shadow King really wanted with Storm!?
Posted by: Nathan Adler | March 31, 2013 2:09 AM
This will porabably burst some bubbles, but according to Claremont in the Amazing Heroes 1984 Preview issue, the Shadow King's only action in #6 was to possess Karma. The exploding crystal gave birth to an entirely new mutant(detected by Xavier) made up only of energy. Claremont announced a 2nd New Mutants graphic novel drawn by Bob McLeod which would show the energy mutant hiding in phone lines and other power sources, and then attacking the X-Mansion, populated by only the New Mutants, Xavier, and Kitty Pryde. Obviously, the GN never got published(no idea why; New Mutants immediately became one of Marvel's top 10 best-selling titles) and I have no idea if this story got pursued elsewhere.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | May 31, 2013 4:00 PM
@Mark: Do you have a copy of the interview you could send?
Posted by: Nathan Adler | May 31, 2013 9:04 PM
Unfortunately I don't, but it's in Amazing Heroes #39.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | June 1, 2013 3:32 PM
Posted by: Nathan Adler | June 2, 2013 5:20 PM
For quite a while after this, the fanzines did operate under the belief that Karma was just plain dead.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | October 5, 2013 2:24 PM
I wonder if the energy mutant idea got translated into Malice, a bodyless mutant who seemed to be energy-based enough to fuse with Polaris.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | November 15, 2014 12:14 AM
What a set-up that only took TWO AND FRIGGIN YEARS to pay off before the return of X'ian and Fahrouk.
The Team America part of the book just sucked; it was such a complete distraction from a key moment in New Mutants.
Posted by: Erik Beck | May 12, 2015 7:34 PM
Does anyone know why Claremont chose to remove Karma from the team so early in its run? Did Claremont think her inclusion was a mistake for some reason and a character like Magma would be a better fifth New Mutant? Or was he originally planning to resolve the Karma Possessed storyline much earlier and got derailed by the likes of Magik, the Demon Bear, and the arrival of Warlock?
Posted by: Peter Niemeyer | August 30, 2017 1:38 PM
Good question. I always assumed the meta reason behind dropping Karma from the team was because Claremont and/or whoever else found her abilities way too overpowered. If it wasn't that, it's still likely Claremont had some difficulties writing her or some bigger plan because he did it again around 50 issues later. It's like nobody could care to find a middle ground between Karma automatically winning a fight once she took control of her opponent and always contriving ways to take her out of the fight early.
Posted by: Nate Wolf | August 30, 2017 2:00 PM
Claremont writing out a mind-control character is bizarre in itself.
Posted by: bigvis497 | August 30, 2017 3:11 PM
My guess is that Claremont wrote her out because 'anything can happen' in the most dramatic sense. He was at his peak as a writer. The "Brood" storyline had just ended, and he was starting (arguably) the most awesome year of the X-Men ever. Anyone could be lost at any moment.
Shan could be written out as the most unworkable character, with plans to bring her back once he figured out how. Events got in the way and Shan didn't return for years, and when she did she had a subordinate role despite still being the oldest and most experienced of the X-Babies. I wish her appearances in "Wolverine" were as good as Jessica and Lindsey's, but I still like them.
Posted by: ChrisW | September 3, 2017 12:34 AM
Reading this now, with no knowledge of Team America book. And yeah they do suck.
Bunch of vaguely defined bikers (how many of them are there anyway?) and the plot treats them as superstars we should care about...
The black Rider gimmick is fun though. But the whole story doesn't make much sense.
Too bad Karma won't return for a while. I liked her (and Dani) the most.
Posted by: Karel | October 11, 2017 8:53 PM
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