New Mutants #62
Issue(s): New Mutants #62
Art this issue is by Jon J Muth (usually written without a period after the middle initial), probably best known at this point for his work on the non-Marvel universe Moonshadow with J.M. DeMatteis. He'll also later draw the Wolverine/Havoc Meltdown miniseries. His art here is vaguely Bill Sienkiewicz-ish. It doesn't look like Sienkiewicz exactly but more like when Stephen Leialoha followed Sienkiewicz and was trying to maintain a similar look, or when Sienkiewicz was inking Mary Wilshire or Rick Leonardi on this title. I like it as a special issue. It's certainly a major shift in tone from Bret Blevins (i couldn't imagine him drawing a story like this).
After finding that she's not really fitting in with the Hellions, who still consider her to be a "mutie" (i.e., a New Mutant, and i'd prefer if they'd called her an "X-Baby" since i'm still not comfortable with "New Mutants" being the actual team name). She manages to hold them all off during a training session...
...during which Empath hesitates to use his powers on her. He does use them on Tarot when she harasses him for not attacking Magma, and Magma doesn't like the way Empath manipulates Tarot's emotions and nearly runs away until she's stopped by their teacher, White Queen. The White Queen gives Magma a letter from her father, which includes a request to return home to Nova Roma, the weird hidden ancient Roman city in the Amazon jungle.
The White Queen has a discussion with Empath, where he explains that he won't manipulate Magma because she "hates being controlled... not like Tarot". The White Queen says that Empath has been subtly influencing Magma, and i'm not sure if that's a reference to him making her want to join the Hellions or fall in love with him, but Empath seems to not know what she's talking about.
In any event, she sends Empath home with Magma so that he can manipulate Magma's father, the powerful Senator Lucius Aquilla of Nova Roma, to be favorable towards the Hellfire Club.
Magma and Empath's private plane crashes on the trip to Nova Roma, and the pilot is killed, leaving the two teens to fend for themselves in the Amazon jungle. This allows the two to get to know each other better and also for Magma to show off her knowledge of the area. But it eventually comes out that Magma is considering just staying in the jungle (she definitely refuses to create a big flare to call for help) because her father has actually called her home to force her to get married. They fight about this.
It also comes out that Empath doesn't just have the ability to manipulate emotions. He also feels the emotions of others, and actually has as much trouble blocking them out as we've seen with telepaths having to deal with other people's thoughts. And the reason he manipulates people is so that he can control the influx of emotions being thrown at him.
There's no doubt this explanation is at least somewhat self-serving. We've seen Empath being explicitly evil, and enjoying it. But if the idea was to begin developing Empath into a more ambiguous character, this is a good start. You could see how a teenage boy with the ability to manipulate emotions, at least at first basically because he was forced to, would eventually start to justify and enjoy it, especially considering his elitist upbringing and the tutelage of the White Queen. Unfortunately, though, there really won't be any further development of these characters. They'll next appear in the New Mutant's Evolutionary War tie-in, but only enough to repeat some of the themes shown here, not to develop them. And then they next appear in New Mutants #81 and then not until New Warriors #31.
Empath and Magma do manage to make it to Nova Roma.
The rest of the New Mutants only appear at the beginning of this issue. They are sitting around, depressed after the death of Doug Ramsey.
That's actually kind of a surprise. Issue #61 ended with the New Mutants seemingly rejecting Magneto, creating new costumes for themselves (implicitly rejecting their graduation costumes) and talking about striking out on their own and pick up the work of X-Men (who are thought dead). Which actually would have made a lot of sense. But with this issue we see that's obviously not going to be the direction. Both this issue and next are... not fill-ins but breaks in the regular story, and then we have Doug's funeral (which in this issue is said to be "tomorrow") which leads into the story of Magik seeking vengeance against Forge.
Statement of Ownership Total Paid Circulation: Average of Past 12 months = 317,933. Single issue closest to filing date = 212,800.
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: This story takes place over the course of "several days", and the scene with the New Mutants, which includes the reference to Doug's funeral being "tomorrow", takes place after the main story. Considering that Doug's funeral is "tomorrow" and that doesn't occur until New Mutants #64, both this issue and next must take place in short succession. The MCP also has the New Mutants' appearance in the Spellbound mini-series between this issue and next.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): showCannonball, Catseye, Empath, Jetstream, Lucius Aquilla, Magik, Magma, Mirage (Dani Moonstar), Roulette, Sunspot, Tarot, Warlock, Warpath, White Queen (Emma Frost), Wolfsbane
I didn't like the idea of reforming Empath at all. Remember, Empath is a RAPIST. Turning a rapist into a sympathetic character and having a woman fall for him is just disgusting. (Although Empath subconsciously manipulating Magma would explain a lot.) So he ruins other people lives to relieve his own discomfort- that just makes him a Dirty Coward. I don't feel sorry for him, I feel sorry for Tom and Sharon.
Posted by: Michael | June 19, 2014 9:35 PM
I didn't like it when this issue came out, but John J. Muth's art looks really really good.
Posted by: ChrisW | June 29, 2014 2:40 PM
Because Empath was a teenager I was more open to him slowly starting to reform than I was to say, Emma's later reformation where she goes from the villain who brutally tortures the X-Men in her first appearance and that Jean basically has to fight to the death to the one person Logan will trust in House of M. I absolutely never bought into the reformation of Emma or the Emma / Scott relationship.
Back to a more relevant to this issue note - when I first started reading fnord's site, I had no idea what that Statement of Ownership thing was and eventually had to figure out. I mention it here because I've made it clear this is the stretch of NM that killed me and where I dropped the book. Well, a most recent single issue that's over 100,000 copies lower than the 12 month average? Seems like I wasn't the only one who hated where the book was going.
Posted by: Erik Beck | July 27, 2015 10:22 PM
@Erik I think I bought into Emma's reformation a lot more because I read all of Generation X in real time, as a kid. By the time it started, I had already read the Dark Phoenix Saga, so I knew her as a villain, but I feel like we see a totally different Emma in that series (and its leadup). In fact, it felt like she took a bit of a step back under Morrison. But I can buy that, by House of M, Wolverine trusted her as much as he does there.
Now her relationship with Scott was another thing entirely. I never could get behind that. Especially while Jean was still alive. But now, having read some of X-Factor, it makes sense. Scott is just a douche sometimes. (I still like Cyclops as a character up until AvX, but he shouldn't be married or in a relationship with anyone like ever.)
Posted by: J-Rod | May 25, 2017 5:43 PM
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