New Mutants #87
Issue(s): New Mutants #87
Reading through the version in the trade without the New Mutants really highlights how much the book is changing. The version included in the trade is a complete story unto itself, and it's a story about a mutant terrorist organization and a government cover-up, a very political story that feels more in-theme for the X-books than, hell, the majority of the X-books to date. Going back to a scan of the original issue and seeing the scenes of the New Mutants goofing around in Asgard and fighting Mindless Ones on their way home just demonstrates how lost this book has been. So i actually have a confession to make: i think Rob Liefeld joining the creative team, and effectively taking over, is the best thing that happened to this book in a long long time. Now, this won't really be reflected in my Quality Rating. I can't imagine handing these issues to a non-comic book reader and saying, "Look! Comic books are an artform!". The art is as close as you can get to being objectively bad (although he clearly had and still has fans), and while Louise Simonson's writing has not exactly been reaching heights of glory on this title anyway, at this point she and Liefeld are at odds with each other, and editor Bob Harras was siding with Liefeld. Liefeld was introducing all these new characters, with "mysterious" backgrounds that had not been defined. That makes plotting and scripting pretty difficult. The two also had different ideas about the themes of the book. From Sean Howe's Marvel Comics: The Untold Story, quoting Fabian Nicieza, who will come on to replace Simonson as scripter when Liefeld wins out and becomes the plotter for the series:
"Rob had a million ideas, and no filter, and no maturity to know how to best present those ideas," Nicieza said. "So he started to flood ideas t the point where, I guess it was starting to choke Louise's ability to create the book. He wanted it to be muscle and power - and she wanted it to be about a group of kids growing up. And those two things are hard to reconcile."
Then, quoting Simonson herself, who put the blame on Bob Harras, not Liefeld:
He would change plots, and blame it on the artist. He would change dialogue, and then say, 'I'm sorry, but I tried to call you and you weren't home' or 'I'll be sure to tell you the next time'. He would change some of the dialogue, but not other parts, so the things people said wouldn't make sense. It was his way of letting you know he was wishing you'd go away.
With this issue we're just at the beginning of all this. Simonson will remain on the title another 10 issues. And it's worth recognizing that the government cover-up part of this plot was all Simonson - it started in X-Factor with the handing over of the Inferno babies to the government. But that storyline had already been sidelined by the interminable Asgardian adventure. Liefeld introducing a group of mutant terrorists worked really well to bring that back into the spotlight by refocusing the book on the political angle (what Nicieza calls "muscle and power", but it had the potential to be more than that), but at the same time that story will continue to go nowhere. Liefeld will introduce a paramilitary theme to the book, but he isn't able to make it go anywhere.
So that's the yin and yang of this book. It had been floundering down weird pathways for a long time, and even the overt surgery of Inferno didn't help get it back on track. Rob Liefeld's ideas and style pull the book back to what it should be at this point - it's worth noting that Simonson teased the idea of the New Mutants growing up and becoming the next generation of mutant heroes a couple times already but never pulled the trigger - but the transition is clumsy as hell and the execution is equally terrible.
We begin with a proper introduction to the Mutant Liberation Front, who we only got glimpses of last issue. The first thing we learn is that triangle hair guy keeps a grapefruit in his pants in case he gets hungry later.
The next two pages have a spread across the top giving us the characters' names and powers. I'm cutting it in half for readability.
I've probably read this comic a dozen times and i still have trouble remembering that triangle hair guy - Wildside - actually has invisibility powers. I always think of him as a Wolverine/Wild Child clone. I also have a friend who is offended by the very existence of Forearm. Not just that he's ridiculous with a ridiculous name. But we already have Barbarus; did we really need another guy with
Frankly, when it comes to Liefeld's anatomy, i think we should be careful about what's meant to be intentional.
Another complaint about my trade is it just drops words at random. For example, Thumbellina's name is blanked out. She's just "the incredible shrinking". I wondered if they later found out after printing the individual issue that Thumbellina was copyrighted or something, but that doesn't seem to be the case. The more interesting thing about Thumbellina is that she doesn't seem to actually shrink all that much.
The super-power to avoid having to inconveniently bend over to reach things at waist level! (I know i'm actually just not getting the "perspective").
I do like the idea that Tempo's power helps them run rings around the guards but it comes at a cost.
Showing up to stop the MLF, but arriving too late, is the guy that we saw in the next issue blurb last issue. Cable.
The MLF continue to say that their attacks are about the fact that Rusty and Skids are in captivity. Rusty (still unconscious from the Blob's beating last issue) and Skids are currently in a hospital room in the custody of Freedom Force. Mystique believes that Rusty and Skids are actually in cahoots with the MLF.
From what we've seen so far, the MLF seem too violent and nasty to really be altruistic freedom fighters. And that becomes more apparent when we get a full look at their leader, Stryfe.
Still, it's not entirely clear that Stryfe and the MLF are just straight up villains. True, their demands for Rusty and Skids to be released are a "smokescreen" for their "real objective", but at this point it's not clear what their real objective is. It would have been a good idea to have these guys be on the level and let them really be a group interested in taking violent action for mutant rights. It might have raised an interesting dilemma for the various X-teams.
In any event, we don't find out what their "real objective" is now, and the MLF (sans Wildside and Thumbellina) are sent to "rescue" Rusty and Skids.
This time, though, Cable is on their tail.
He waits until they drop out of accelerated time and attacks.
It actually doesn't go that well...
...and his "cyborg" arm is reduced to slag by Strobe.
It's worth noting that Cable was able to identify the members of the MLF but they don't recognize him.
Unimpeded by Cable, the MLF make it to Rusty and Skids' room. The guards there are on orders to shoot their prisoners if they try to "escape", so when the MLF arrives Rusty is shot by a guard. That plus the MLF's rhetoric convinces Skids and her "famous" deflection shield to join them.
Cable winds up a prisoner himself, although he seems less bothered by that than the fact that he has to admit that he needs to get help in his fight against the MLF.
Now let's give a little attention to the nominal stars of this series. They start off still in Asgard, under the impression that they are stuck there since the Rainbow Bridge was destroyed. But then, while at a banquet with the Asgardians (already you can see why this feels like an entirely different comic book), they get a delivery from Tiwaz (aka Buri, Odin's grandfather). The package includes a potion that restores Karnilla's subjects from the stone forms they've been trapped in.
And it includes a map that will allow Warlock to navigate home without the Rainbow Bridge. Mirage, however, decides to stay behind.
Their journey takes them through the Mindless Ones' dimension.
Here's the thing about Rob Liefeld's art. In a certain sense, i don't care if it's "good" or "bad" or if he can draw "feet". My real concern is why can't he stay on model? The Mindless Ones are an awesome Steve Ditko concept. They are big and bulky and have a distinct look that other artists have been able to reproduce while retaining their own style. What Liefeld has drawn here is unidentifiable as Mindless Ones without the dialogue. He never even has them shoot energy beams from their eyes (in, granted, the five panels in this issue that they appear in). They are just generic, slender looking faceless things. They look a lot like Zero, actually.
The Mindless Ones prove to be no threat and the New Mutants make it home just as X-Factor return from their multi-issue time away from Earth, conveniently enough.
Like i said, you can strip out all of the New Mutants stuff except for them actually arriving home (which is what my trade did) and have a coherent and arguably better story. There really is something to the main story that makes this a compelling set-up if you can see past the art. And of course Cable will turn out to be one of the biggest characters to be introduced in a long time.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: As Michael notes, the intention was for New Mutants annual #5, a chapter of Atlantis Attacks, to take place during this issue, right after the New Mutants land in the water after returning to Earth...
...but before they see X-Factor return at the end of the issue. But that's impossible for a variety of reasons; see the Considerations on that entry (and Michael's comment below) for more. Freedom Force's appearances during Acts of Vengeance are hard to square, but the best sequence of events seems to be that between last issue and this one, the Blob, Pyro, and Avalanche attempted to strike out on their own and after their defeat(s) at the hands of the Avengers they've come back into the fold now that Mystique is back from making her peace with Destiny's death. X-Factor's return to Earth is also seen in X-Factor #51, so i'll be covering that next before returning to this book.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Cable and the New Mutants TPB
Inbound References (4): showBalder, Boom Boom, Cable (Adult), Cannonball, Eitri, Fandral, Forearm, Hogun, Hrimhari, Karnilla, Mirage (Dani Moonstar), Mystique, Reaper, Rictor, Rusty Collins, Ship (Prosh), Skids, Strobe, Stryfe, Sunspot, Tempo, Thumbellina, Volstagg, Warlock, Wildside, Wolfsbane, Zero
The Atlantis Attacks New Mutants Annual is supposed to take place between pages of this issue after the New Mutants got back from Asgard but before they notice X-Factor's ship, but that's impossible since this issue takes place after Uncanny X-Men 255, and Storm's an adult in Atlantis Attacks.
Posted by: Michael | April 16, 2015 9:16 PM
Thanks, Michael. For now i've just changed it here to the (Time Travel) tag and i can always rename the tags at some point.
Posted by: fnord12 | April 16, 2015 9:36 PM
I agree with FNORD12 that as bad as Liefeld can be, he was a bdly needed shot in the arm for this title. There is nothing wrong with Simonson wanting to focus the book on kids being kids while living in this weird mixed up mutant world. That can work.
What isn't working are the main plots. They are retreads of old Claremont concepts (and excesses). There is a lot of treading in the water and no progression. There isn't a good mix of old New Mutant characters and the X-Factor kids. Things have not been working out for several years now. Quite frankly, I found the title boring.
Liefeld needed a strong hand to control him, and he doesn't get it. But at this specific point in time and in this specific book, if I had to pick between Louise Simonson and Rob Liefeld, I think I'd make the same decision Harras did.
Posted by: Chris | April 16, 2015 10:03 PM
@fnord12: So Wildside was able to make them invisible through his power to "distort reality". So is his power akin to Sue Storm's, Mastermind's or… perhaps be thankful John Byrne never wrote a saga revealing he could fold space around them;) Although now that you think about it, that white hair might suggest he is the Scarlet Witch's other brother;)
And re: Forearm, perhaps he is a clone of Barbarus made by Mister Sinister;)
At this point the MLF appear to be being set up as a new Brotherhood, what with Freedom Force now working for the government, but Louise doesn't appear to have twigged to that here enough to infer it in the dialogue (or didn’t want to)!
Posted by: Nathan Adler | April 17, 2015 2:20 AM
I'm ambivalent about this. I agree that "New Mutants" was completely flatlined and something needed to be done. It's just... was this the only option?
And it's not just the art. The characters have become so generic and formless that they're light years away from the people we knew. Interchangeable mutants whining about being mutants and getting into fights. Does Sam still have a family? Dani just abandoned hers. Nobody misses Doug, Illyana or Amara [and Shan was dropped like a bad habit.] Boom Boom reminisces about "OUR mentor"s dream, when she never met Xavier in the first place. He was leaving the planet when she first appeared. Then Rictor's the one responding to her about how noble that dream was? Yeah, there's a guy who'd be real receptive to peaceful coexistence. Skids doesn't remotely resemble the cute Morlock chick we use to know, although I guess it's believable that she'd immediately join the mutant terrorists. And why is Mystique there? Doesn't she have government organizations to infiltrate? Or at least a group to lead? Nope, just generic horrible dialogue. The fact that X-Factor returned from space at the moment the New Mutants returned from Asgard kind of proves the theory we've been tossing around here that both storylines were planned to get them out of the way for a while.
The new villains are just stupid as well. Generic powers, simple names, kindergarten-level characterization at best. Stonewall, Super Sabre and the Crimson Commando may not have been much - and it's not clear why they were ever introduced in the first place; did Freedom Force need plussing up that badly? - but they were a lot more three-dimensional and we knew much more about who they were, what they did and why. They weren't just trashing some prison and fighting a new character we know nothing about before reporting to a shadowy boss we've never seen before.
Why was the MLF even attacking that secret energy station in the first place? Because of Rusty and Skids? Wouldn't a non-secret energy station have served that purpose better? They'd still have the same chance of bringing the Avengers or the Fantastic Four down on their heads, but at least people would know about it.
Then there's Cable. I never liked Cable. The ultra-violent guy only works if he's in the minority and not the leader. He doesn't even have superpowers and he's leading a superhero team? He's little more than the Punisher with a stupid costume. [Although I see that the prison disagreed, and left him with his spiky armbands, boots and belt in the last scan.] He would have been tolerable if he'd just lasted one adventure against the Mutants I'd Like to F*ck, but nooooooooooo...
And then there is the art. God save us, there is the art. The facial expressions and the unwillingness to draw backgrounds are bad enough, but the lack of thought going into this stuff is astounding. Look at the splash page, crowded with five characters, with details thrown in behind them after-the fact. Tubes that are just there, not even plugging into the wall, circling around the teleportal. In her first appearance, Tempo's legs are going a different direction from her hips which are going a different direction from her upper body. The angles are constantly tilted for no reason, making it feel like a story told by a five year old on a sugar rush. Constant close-ups and crowding the panel with bodies, leaving no sense of space or context. Cable's firing guns which not only don't have trigger guards, they don't even have triggers.
But for all that, it was clearly the direction comics were going at the time.
Posted by: ChrisW | April 17, 2015 3:08 AM
@ChrisW- regarding the attack on the secret energy station, the problem is that next issue Cable concludes they attacked the station because they were stealing stuff needed to create a bomb but in issue 93-94, the MLF's plan involves POISON, not a bomb.
Posted by: Michael | April 17, 2015 7:57 AM
I get the need for a new direction with how the comic became with the generic adventures and at least this tries to maybe bring in the idea of a new group of mutant liberation/antagonists. The problem...is that Liefeld is the type who just does stuff "because its cool". He doesn't care about rhyme or reason, he does it because he wants to do it. Massive battle armor, strange looking Mindless Ones, a guy with four arms literally named "Forearms" (then again Ben 10 did that better...and he was an alien)...if its awesome, Liefeld draws it. For the most part we're just in for the ride at this point.
Heck for all we know, he could just randomly draw some other company's mercenary character and claim it as his own...but we'll get to that issue soon enough.
Posted by: Ataru320 | April 17, 2015 8:44 AM
Wouldn't Stryfe's giant helmet wings bang against his shoulder spikes whenever he turns his head?
Posted by: Mark Drummond | April 17, 2015 2:02 PM
"Heck for all we know, he could just randomly draw some other company's mercenary character and claim it as his own...but we'll get to that issue soon enough."
Actually we'll to it sooner than that, as the new MLF recruits (yes there are MORE of them!) are blatant ripoffs of existing characters. Hell we are already seeing it NOW, as fnord already pointed out the Forearm/Barbarous similarities and Wild side is basically just a miscolored Wolverine (and get used to seeing the Wolver-mane as we head into the 90s.) I think Cable was the only "original" character Liefeld created.
And besides being "off-model" expect to see numerous inconsistencies as well with costumes, hairstyles, general design etc.. For instance, Rictor ALREADY look different than he did in NM#85, even factoring in artistic differences.
Posted by: Jon Dubya | April 17, 2015 3:16 PM
What, doesn't everybody get an ugly mohawk when they're coming home from a trip to Asgard?
Posted by: ChrisW | April 17, 2015 3:54 PM
@jon dubya: Yeah was sort of being funny there. If there's one thing you have to think about with Liefeld, its that really its the writers that define his characters...because he can't.
Posted by: Ataru320 | April 17, 2015 4:13 PM
Seriously, Ataru. Most of the characters he creates won't become interesting until they're taken out of his hands.
That being said, let me make a confession that will get me kicked out of the Comic Coalition of Good Taste and say that when I was a kid I TOTALLY ate this $@&% up! Seriously, for the pubescent in me, this issue and this artwork was the Coolest. Thing. Ever! And even as an unabashed "Liefeld-hater" I still think this issue isn't "that bad" (relatively, mind you.) It shows promise and would be a good direction for a floundering series, if followed. Ironically enough, Weezie's writing seems a bit sharper than it's been in the past. Even though they reportedly didn't get along with each other, they made a decent team somehow minimizing each others flaws.
Posted by: Jon Dubya | April 17, 2015 5:14 PM
Jon I doubt any of us would want to be judged based on what we liked when we were kids. And yes, as a kid I also loved Liefeld's work. I was never really a New Mutants fan but Liefeld's art and obsession with everything being "cool" took a book that I was barely aware was still being sold and suddenly made it one I was buying every month (continuing into X-Force). It didn't last more than a few years before all I could see were the flaws (and there are so many). That plus as I grew older I started to learn more about the creators than I had cared about as a kid. As soon as I got to know more about Liefeld, my dislike of him on a personal level began to color my enjoyment of his work.
Posted by: Robert | April 17, 2015 6:11 PM
The artwork of Liefeld, and even that of Jim Lee later on, was probably the biggest deterrent for me when trying to get into the X-books as a kid. I adored the animated series (which, funny enough, featured a lot of the costumes designed by Lee), but every time I picked up the books the art just made me sick to my stomach.
Posted by: TCP | April 17, 2015 6:35 PM
@Jon Dubya: Liefeld had plagiarised Cable from Walt Simonson’s "Valance the Hunter" character from his run on Star Wars. So no original characters by Rob it would seem!?
And wow you were part of the early 90s Coalition of Cool;)
Posted by: Nathan Adler | April 17, 2015 9:12 PM
They have cut panels from middle of the Thumbellina bit, even my foreign print shows her wrestling with some wires inside the bomb and we're no strangers to hackjobs. You kind of see where they did the cut and pasting.
In other words, someone has found a way to ruin Rob Liefeld art.
Posted by: Teemu | April 18, 2015 12:45 PM
This was the first issue of New Mutants that I ever bought. Rob Lifield got me into this. I loved his art back then, but can't stand it anymore.
Posted by: Steven | April 19, 2015 6:36 PM
Marvel's original Star Wars series has been added to the Marvel Unlimited library, so it's easy now to read Valance the Hunter's appearances, as well as to look at a couple of 1981 issues where Claremont uses the names Jubilee, Alisande, and Longknife, which would soon become familiar to X-readers.
Valance has a scar over his right eye and a cybernetic left arm, face, and body, so the inspiration for Cable is clear. But they dress differently, have different hair, and notably Cable appears older. (Not just because of the thinning white hair.) So if Valance was the only model Liefeld was drawing on, Id say this is more a legit derivation than a straight-up ripoff. Theyre basically different characters with the same gimmick.
But that's not to say Liefeld's originality is all that great. Stryfe looks to me a lot like a design Art Adams once used for Colossus in an X-Men annual, and as Michael notes, the panel in which Stryfe holds Wildside aloft is swiped from/inspired by a Silvestri panel of Sinister doing the same thing to Sabretooth.
I did enjoy these comics at the time, and the sheer energy and enthusiam Liefeld brings has a certain appeal. I wouldn't credit him too much for the comparison with the mind-numbinglyndull Asgard arc, though, as I'm sure Harras was responsible for putting all the secondary X-teams on ice for the better part of a year. If Weezie had been free to pursue her New Mutants vs. gov't conspiracy story, it may not have been a classic but it surely would have been better than the Asgard diversion.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | April 20, 2015 12:40 AM
If you think "Forearm" is a bad name, in Image's Bloodstrike, he had a "Fourplay."
I don't believe I was a fan of Liefeld's art. I think I had a subscription to the New Mutants and let it slide when it expired, because though I have this issue, I never read the stories that led to Sunspot, Wolfsbane, Warlock, and Rictor leaving the team and I picked it up again with the creation of X-Force.
Posted by: Erik Robbins | April 20, 2015 1:01 AM
I read somewhere that the appeal of Liefelds' art is down to the way it looks like any teenager could draw it. There's the problem right there. The man needed guidance but instead he was let loose, still it hasn't hurt his career...
Posted by: JSfan | April 20, 2015 6:38 AM
Personally, I think Marvel completely botched the opportunity glimpsed in X-Factor 41: to have the original pupils now become the teachers. Could've been good. Even with Liefeld's art (for a while). Oh, well. The dark times be upon us at Marvel.
Posted by: Matt | April 20, 2015 5:04 PM
@Matt: Are you sure you mean X-Factor #41 or do you instead mean #40, as the former was part 1 of the Troll saga illustrated by Art Adams?
Posted by: Nathan Adler | April 20, 2015 8:20 PM
Of course, having hated Blevens art so much it drove me off the book, I'm with the group that thought this was a good thing. And it lead to the inevitable X-Force, which was, at this point, a better direction than the aimless meandering that Weezie had the kids on.
I do wonder though, at what point Cable' background was planned out. I remember getting back into the X-books with X-Cutioner's Song and being told who he was by a friend and being flabbergasted.
Having had the Valance Star Wars issues since they originally came out (still have my Star Wars issues - never getting rid of anything Star Wars), I absolutely agree that Cable is ripped straight from him.
Posted by: Erik Beck | October 1, 2015 6:36 PM
Liefeld's art and the hype got me onto this and X-Force. I enjoyed it for the time he was on the title.
Posted by: Grom | October 1, 2015 8:36 PM
Erik, as we discussed in the entry for New Mutants 98-100, Cable's background was probably decided on sometime around New Mutants 98, since that's the first time he was called Nathan.
Posted by: Michael | October 1, 2015 9:49 PM
I BOUGHT THIS ISSUE IN DEC 1989
Posted by: ANDRES L | January 27, 2016 4:58 PM
Clam down, Andres. We believe you.
Posted by: kveto | January 27, 2016 5:16 PM
I was genuinely curious to see if Fnord was going to try to solve the absolutely impossible chronology of the New Mutants finally returning from Asgard in this issue, which is set after "Acts of Vengeance," and then immediately after having their adventure in Annual #5, which was right in the middle of "Atlantis Attacks."
If you *really* want to get creative, you could always argue that right after returning to Earth in this issue, the New Mutants slipped through a time portal that was accidentally left open by Cable, which sent them back to the events of "Atlantis Attacks," and a few seconds after the Annual ended they somehow phased back to their proper chronological location in this issue.
Hey, if anyone else has a better suggestion, feel free to contribute :)
Posted by: Ben Herman | March 1, 2016 10:42 PM
Ok, the Anti-Monitor was destroying all the alternate universes, see, and the Spectre suddenly intervened and said everybody needed to go back to the beginning of time to prevent...
Why are all of you looking at me like that?
Posted by: ChrisW | March 1, 2016 10:48 PM
Superboy Prime punched reality :P
Posted by: Ben Herman | March 2, 2016 8:53 AM
Ben Herman- I decided to attempt to unpick the continuity knot of Atlantis Attacks & Acts of Vengeance since I first read them when they came out. A few years back I finally sat down & worked it out. My breakdown of how it would have to work (a few "Meanwhile" type captions and footnotes needed to be ignored of course) is at the end of my Inferno crossover analysis here: http://jade-dragon.wikidot.com/marvel-s-inferno-crossover
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | March 3, 2016 1:50 PM
I loved Simonson's mutant books way more than Claremont's at this point. I thought that both the X-Factor Celestial thing and the Asgardian story in New Mutants were much more exciting than whatever was going on in X-Men. And, yes, Liefeld's art blew my wee mind at the time, moistly his dynamic action sequences, but there were so many little red flags about his stuff that it made me real worried about the future of the X-books at the time. X-Men #1 made my heart sink--I hated the costume designs, the waving-off of simmering side-plots, heck, even Jim Lee seemed to be developing a laziness I'd never seen before with that book. I maintain that Jim Lee was terrific in Uncanny and fairly dull ever since. I wonder if he looked at Liefeld's work and popularity and wondered to himself "why am I working so hard?" X-Force was the first X-Men book I dropped, follwed quickly by the two main X-Men books. Only X-Factor remained. Weird how so many people blame it for Uncanny's decline, while I consider it one of the most consistently entertaining titles Marvel ever put out.
Posted by: Adam Dale | April 4, 2016 8:13 PM
Adam,when people say "X-Factor was responsible for Uncanny's decline" what they mean is "X-Factor's existence caused Claremont to have to make changes to his plots (contrivances to keep the X-Men and X-Factor apart, Maddie being turned into target practice for the Marauders, Maddie being turned evil,etc.), Claremont's writing suffered as a result and it never fully recovered". This is debatable but it's independent of how good or bad a book X-Factor was.
Posted by: Michael | April 5, 2016 8:17 AM
@Adam Dale As I read the your time line, you were dropping books leaving only X-Factor which had entirely new creators and relatively unused characters. X-Factor was just getting started, while the other X-books, with creators quitting left and right were running out of stream and ideas. So, really, there's no connection between these occurrences other than X-Factor had a new artist with PAD and weathered the X-oidus until PAD was told he was going to have to put his story lines on hold for a new crossover every time the sales dept said so and said "I'm out of here."
Posted by: Brian C. Saunders | April 5, 2016 10:25 AM
There's a lot to say about this issue and what it represents, isn't there? One thing that interests me is the role that editors played in shaping and then reshaping the x-line. New Mutants came about in the first place because Shooter wanted an X-Men x-pansion team and also wanted Claremont to stop writing stories about the X-Men living on a haunted island and fighting aliens and sorcerers. So Weezie and Claremont created a school-based book, and while the X-Men themselves went back to the school setting, they didn't actually have to go back to class (as Shooter might have been contemplating).
The X-Men and New Mutants stayed in the school setting as long as Shooter was editor, in sharp contrast to the direction X-Men took as soon as Shooter was heading out the door: once again they started fighting sorcerers and demons, lived in a haunted base that was nothing like a school, and eventually headed into space again. It's as if Claremont picked up right where he had left off, in genre terms, before he was so rudely interrupted by Shooter's edict to return to the series's premise.
Of course, those Claremint school-setting stories, both in X-Men and New Mutants, are also considered some of his best character work.
Louise Simonson stuck to the school-like premise of X-Factor and this book, but Harras seems not to have valued the schooling premise much, even though he would return the X-Men to the mansion. So New Mutants ceases to be about school kids (and their Massachusetts Academy rivals), and these characters who were not meant to be superheroes, just regular kids with powers, become more conventional representatives of the spandex set, and with this issue we get a paramilitary theme already, along with a shift in tone that takes the Mutant Massacre as its model: the MLF are an attempt to give the NMs a bunch of villains as cool, and almost as violent, as the Marauders. The Reavers, too, whose storyline is running contemporaneously in Uncanny, are a model, and I'd say Cable's inspiration owes a little to them as well as to Valance the Hunter.
Even though X-Force is a year away (counting from NM 98-99), in a sense this book is already committed to becoming what it will be. School's out, and paramilitary clashes between mutant factions are in.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | May 11, 2016 10:39 PM
'Tis a wonder indeed that Robbo didn't "illustrate" a medical textbook called "Liefeld's Anatomy", attempting to show that pouches and ammo clips ARE actual parts of the human form, as well as showing that feet are extraneous, some might say expendable body parts.
Posted by: Brian Coffey | September 30, 2017 12:35 AM
Comments are now closed.
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