New Mutants #8-12
Issue(s): New Mutants #8, New Mutants #9, New Mutants #10, New Mutants #11, New Mutants #12
...leads to the discovery of an ancient Roman outpost called Nova Roma that's still going about its business as if it was still 200 BC.
We've got political intrigue...
...and gladiator fights...
...and all that you would expect.
It's done well enough, but it's an odd setting for the New Mutants. This story does introduce the witch-mutant Selene who accepts virginal sacrifices from the Romans...
...draining their life-force and using their energy to cause inanimate objects to come to life.
It also introduces Amara Aquilla (not yet given the code-name Magma, except in the comic title)...
...a young mutant Nova Roman with volcanic powers.
Selene intends to turn Dani Moonstar into a "creature like her".
The Mutants are able to fight her off.
After leaving Nova Roma (taking Amara with them), the New Mutants return to Rio De Janiero. Sunspot confronts his father over the assassination attempts on his mom.
The altercation is enough to push Emmanuel Da Costa into accepting the invitation to join the Hellfire Club's inner circle.
Meanwhile, Amara has a little trouble adjusting to modern city life.
Her state of mind causes her to lose control of her powers and she nearly destroys the city with earthquakes and volcanoes...
...but the New Mutants are able to stop her and convince her to return to get training from Xavier.
Professor X is shown to still be training Team America.
Thank goodness that never went anywhere.
Issue #11 is part of Assistant Editors' Month, but instead of affecting the main story, it only contributes a single jokey comic strip in place of the usual letter column.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: In order to make the New Mutants available for Cyclops and Madelyne Pryor's wedding, this arc has to take place before Uncanny X-Men #174, but after the X-Men get back from Japan after #173, since Professor X is back at the Mansion training Team America in this arc. Issue #13 is the first time that Magma meets Professor X, but that has to take place later because Lilandra leaves to deal with problems in the Shi'ar Empire in that issue, and she (Lilandra) is still around for a bit longer in the X-Men comic. So after issue #12, Amara may have gone back to Nova Roma for a bit; we do know that a lot of her personal effects were brought from Nova Roma to the X-Mansion, so perhaps she went back to determine what to pack.
Crossover: Assistant Editors' Month
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (5): showBlack King (Sebastian Shaw), Black Queen (Selene), Cannonball, Cowboy, Emmanuel Da Costa, Lilandra, Lucius Aquilla, Magma, Mirage (Dani Moonstar), Nina da Costa, Professor X, R.U. Reddy, Sunspot, Wolf, Wolfsbane
Wasn't Magma's name Amara Aquilla?
The panel depicting Selene's true death looked more symbolic than anything; if it got explained at all it was quite a while after this.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | September 26, 2011 12:51 AM
Re: Magma's civilian name - yeah, for some reason i had mixed it up with Nightcrawler's girlfriend Amanda Sefton in this entry. I fixed it. Thanks.
Posted by: fnord12 | September 26, 2011 9:12 AM
For introducing some long-lasting things (Selene, Magma, Nova Roma), this sure is a dull story arc. Just never seemed to end. Then when you think it's ended, there's an extra issue in South America. Obviously nowhere near as bad as Claremont's "X-Men round the world" storyline (right after Byrne joined) or the time Simonson kept the New Mutants on Asgard for a full year, but still - boring.
Generally speaking, whether we're conscious of it or not, we like our heroes to have a home base and not stay away from it for too long.
Posted by: Paul | March 23, 2013 4:30 PM
Halfway through this, Bob McLeod was announced as doing a 2nd New Mutants graphic novel.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 10, 2013 1:09 PM
In Comics Interview #11(5/84) John Romita Jr. stated that Selene was a vampire.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | September 6, 2013 4:00 PM
A lot of Selene's schtick in these issues--her talk about blood when she's slashes Dani, her remark that she can't be killed by mortal weapons--is reminiscent of what we'll hear from Bloodscream a few years from now. Selene's psychic vampirism also seems to be transmissible and may not be a mutant power but something else.
Ok, so where was Claremont going with Nova Roma, a concept he invests quite a lot in here, one the Hellfire Club will talk about without ever acting upon for ages, and some Claremont returns to in X-Treme X-Men and New Mutants Forever? I think he planned a tie-in with his Marada the She-Wolf mythos and maybe the N'Garai and whatnot.
Domitius remarks that Rahne's red hair suggests she's a descendant of Julius Caesar, and her wolf metamorphism indicates she's connected to the she-wolf that sucked Rome's founder, Romulus. Well, Marada is Caesar's actual illegitimate daughter, according to Claremont's lore, and her epithet is "she-wolf." Her hair is white (like Storm's), though, rather than red because if it were red it would be even more clear that Marada is a stand-in for Red Sonja. Like Sonja, Marada battles a priest if the N'Garai who is pretty clearly Kulan Gath, although for copyright reasons (Marada is owned by Claremont/Holton and Sonja is owned by Roy Thomas) the evil sorcerer Marada fights is called something else. The master demon he serves, though, is the same Y'Garon that Clatemont created for Tomb of Dracula.
Maybe Marada is actually the founder of Nova Roma, or perhaps there's magic stuff there that can aid or defeat the N'Garai. But I think this is a bit of the backstory Claremont had in mind.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | November 16, 2014 12:18 AM
(She-wolf that suckled Romulus, that is. That one letter makes a difference.)
Posted by: Walter Lawson | November 16, 2014 12:21 AM
@Walter Lawson: to the best of my understanding, while Roy Thomas did create Red Sonja, he overemphasized the inspiration from REH's Red Sonya and never actually had the rights to the character. Check http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2011/12/16/comic-book-legends-revealed-345/
Kulan Gath, however, was used by Kurt Busiek in Avengers at a time when Marvel no longer had the rights to any REH properties, so I assume it is a Marvel-owned character much like Shang Chi or most of the Galador Spaceknights.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | November 16, 2014 1:32 AM
Thanks, I erroneously thought Red Sonja LLC represented Thomas.
I think there some legal thickets surrounding Gath that Marvel's 1998 use of him don't resolve, though. Gath has lately been appearing in Red Sonja comics and not Marvel Comics, and my guess is that Red Sonja LLC (or maybe Conan Properties?) has staked a claim to him. He's definitely treated as a Red Sonja character nowadays.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | November 16, 2014 2:29 AM
That he is. On that matter: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Kulan_Gath
Posted by: Luis Dantas | November 16, 2014 6:15 AM
I see famed editor Diana Schutz is listed as "consultant" on #10. I wonder what her role was. According to Wikipedia, Claremont recommended her to become Ann Nocenti's assistant editor, which she lasted four days, but Nocenti didn't start editing "New Mutants" until #16.
Posted by: ChrisW | November 16, 2014 2:21 PM
Surprised no one caught on to Roberto's mother's mention of "Hovito". That's the fictional (somewhat based on Jabitos) tribe of native Peruvians in the opening of Raiders of the Lost Ark. These constant mentions of Raiders, like the previous constant mentions of Star Wars, are of course, partially because Marvel did the comic adaptation.
Posted by: Erik Beck | May 13, 2015 10:09 PM
I never really accepted Nova Roma because it just seems so absurd. It is a lost civilization. Transferred several thousand miles away across an ocean not actually crossed until 1500 laters. And there's been zero change in it, it's been static all that time.
I am willing to believe any one impossible thing. I have trouble accepting multiple impossible things though to justify one concept. There is no problem with there being some kind of lost civilization in the middle of the Amazon. Marvel has many such concepts. But I think it would have been far stronger if it was based on something more local to the area. Some lost civilization based on the El Dorado legend (and perhaps tied to the very old Eternal Flame civilization of Avengers 30-31) would have been just as good. It would have seem more natural and built on existing Marvel lore, and would not have required much changes to anything of substance even to Selene and Amara.
Posted by: Chris | September 9, 2017 7:34 PM
I don't know. I found the plot so absurd and crazy that it's actually good. I enjoy it more than any Savage Land stories that I usually have to grind my teeth through.
Posted by: Karel | October 20, 2017 8:54 AM
But - yeah, the writing on New Mutants is so far more boring than on X-men.
The Father-Son dynamic of Sunspot and his father, and the whole substory of his father (former slave that got rich and evil in the process, almost indirectly murdering his wife) is by far the most interesting thing here.
Posted by: Karel | October 20, 2017 8:58 AM
I wonder if Claremont was in part influenced by Paul Feval's 1867/1875 novel Vampire City, about an invisible city called Selene, which is full of vampires who absorb their victims, and is said to be a melange of various ancient architectural styles.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | December 3, 2017 9:32 AM
Tom Mandrake came over from DC (and the Kubert studio) to finish Sal's roughs. He ends up on Batman for a year in 1985 before GrimJack, Firestorm, the Specter...anyway, he says he was asked could he basically finish like McCleod, and doesn't recall how he got the Marvel gig!
Posted by: Cecil Louis Disharoon | April 12, 2018 4:24 AM
It also occurs to me that Selene is introduced around the same time -- in terms of publication dates, if not continutiy chronology -- that Marvel is wiping out all vampires. And Claremont had used Dracula and is daughter Lillith in Uncanny. Maybe he had some "vampires vs. the X-Men" stories that he wanted to tell?
Posted by: Omar Karindu | July 10, 2018 7:23 AM
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