New Mutants #98-100
Issue(s): New Mutants #98, New Mutants #99, New Mutants #100
In addition to the change of direction, another important factor for this book is the influx of new characters. In Sean Howe's Untold Story of Marvel Comics, Howe makes the point that a lot of creators held back on contributing new characters to Marvel after the Jack Kirby and Steve Gerber controversies of the 80s. But Liefeld has been contributing new characters: the already popular Cable, and Stryfe and all of the Mutant Liberation Front. And now that he's given full control of this book, we get more: Shatterstar, Feral, Domino, Gideon, and a character destined to become one of Marvel's most popular: Deadpool. Like Cable, these characters are not necessarily fully baked yet, and many of them are derivative. But they still inject freshness into a series that had been stagnant for a long while.
I wasn't reading New Mutants regularly at the time, but i did buy issue #100 in realtime and i stuck with X-Force, defending it to my friends as the Rob Liefeld bubble began to deflate (i later replaced issue #100 with X-Force Megazine #1, which reprints #98-100, since by the time i decided to fill in my New Mutants issues, Deadpool was already super-popular and his debut in issue #98 was too expensive). In realtime, seeing the New Mutants grow up and become a paramilitary force was awesome. I think i always thought the art was weird, but the "story" (by which i really meant more the "premise") was great. The fact that the team will soon be on the run, pursued by "G.W. Bridge" of SHIELD, made them a true outlaw group in a way that the X-Men always seemed like they ought to have been.
All that said, the actual execution of this stuff is poor. These three issues are probably Liefeld at his most ambitious, but everything the world hates about Liefeld is in these issues: feet that taper off into infinity, random crosshatching, lip-less mouths unable to hold back endless gritted teeth, missing eyeballs, impossibly proportioned figures (especially teenaged girls), and pouches. Oh god, the pouches.
We start off with one of the less important new characters in these issues: Gideon.
In the opening scene we learn a lot about him. First of all, that he is awesome enough to awesomely defeat hordes of Shaw Industries robots in his training room. Secondly, that he has the "power of super human-enhancement assimilation". To defeat the robots, he assimilates their "flight, maneuverability, computer-coordinated reflexive responses and... strength!". Third, he is a Mover and a Shaker, with a busy agenda of business and charity work:
12:00 - the Taylor Foundation. More charity works.
We also learn that he likes his assistants in skintight clothing. And there's the Liefeld teeth.
The Eve discussed in that panel assassinated Emmanuel Da Costa, Sunspot's father, by posing as his secretary and poisoning his coffee.
Meanwhile Cable and Cannonball are also in a training session fighting robots. Cannonball has developed the ability to fly quietly, although it requires his full concentration. It's good to see the characters develop, but it also seems like the wrong development. Throughout his existence, Cannonball's ability to fly with precision was the thing that plagued him; cornering and the like. The fact that he made a blasting sound when he flew... i can't say for sure that it never came up, but it wasn't something that was ever presented as a problem. And it seems to take away from the uniqueness of the character; i mean his name is Cannonball, not Stealth Bomber. Cable next wants him to work on expanding the field that protects Cannonball while he's flying into a forcefield that can protect the entire team. We are really losing sight of Cannonball's original concept.
To be fair, Cable is working on new powers too, starting with a hand that shoots lasers.
Cable and Cannonball get into an argument about whether they are soldiers or a family. This is similar to the argument that Cable had with the X-Men in Uncanny X-Men #273, but it's also basically the argument that Liefeld had with Simonson. Needless to say, the idea that they are soldiers will win out. But it's not a decision that the whole team with agree with. Rictor, especially, is upset about the fact that they left Wolfsbane in Genosha (he also looks like he's in a lot of pain because of whatever is happening to his junk).
Boom Boom doesn't think that there's much that "Rictor, the post-pube earthquake" can do about Wolfsbane, and isn't interested in helping him.
In a sense, while the art here is awful, the storytelling is better than, say, Todd McFarlane's debut in Spider-Man. The actual pictures aren't as good - for the most part they are terrible! - and i'd rather have a poster from a random panel in McFarlane's Spider-Man than anything here. But at this point Liefeld is still trying to tell a story, showing the action flow from one panel to the next. And at least Nicieza is scripting things to tell a coherent story.
Next up is the highlight of issue #98, the first appearance of Deadpool.
He's been sent by "Mr. Tolliver" to kill Cable.
We of course don't actually learn who Mr. Tolliver is or "what went down" to get him to send Deadpool after Cable. As Vincent notes in the comment, this is the first time we get Cable's "civilian" name of Nathan.
Cannonball's new power pays off right away.
Everything that becomes popular about Deadpool is really here right from the start. The irreverent humor, the humorous parenthetical aside, the fact that he talks too much in general.
And he definitely seems to have a healing factor.
In design, Deadpool "borrows" a lot from DC's Deathstroke the Terminator. Personality-wise, though, they are opposites. I've seen it said that Deadpool was always meant as a parody of Deathstroke. It's also very possible that Nicieza scripted Deadpool as a jokester to distinguish him from the DC character.
Cable is rescued by another new character: Domino.
Actually, muddying things up a bit, this is not Domino. It's a shapeshifter named Copycat (very original!) who is posing as Domino. It's an unusual case where a character poses as another character for about a year without us ever having met the original. But since Cable is fooled by Copycat, we can assume that the characteristics we see in Domino are accurate. In addition to her being a badass, it's noted that she makes Cable actually smile, and Boom Boom describes them as "kinda cute -- romantic -- like Bonnie & Clyde".
Deadpool is tied up and "mailed... back to Tolliver", which i guess means that Cable knows where Tolliver is, or at least potentially how to track him down.
Cable then review a list of the missing New Mutants. Rusty and Skids are with the Mutant Liberation Front and "too difficult to liberate right now", plus Skids' powers are "pretty useless in battle" (especially once Cannonball develops his forcefield powers!). Karma is "not a team player and "has her own agenda anyway". Magma is in Nova Roma. She's "powerful, but she's not worth the effort". And explaining how Mirage is a valkyrie in Asgard makes Dominio's head explode and Cable quickly says "forget about it, forget about her". On the upside, Cable says that he's "already taken steps" to remedy the team's dwindling membership. That will seem ominous when we see the circumstances under which Thunderbird joins the team. It also seems to be overstating things, given that Feral and Shatterstar will join the team due to no special effort on Cable's part.
Speaking of the dwindling team, Rictor runs away to try to save Wolfsbane on his own. And Gideon shows up in Sunspot's bedroom to inform him that his father has died of a heart attack (Sunspot and Gideon apparently already know each other).
Issue #99 gets to the business of introducing the new members of the team to be. That includes Feral, a catlike Morlock suspiciously similar in design to Liefeld's interpretation of Wolfsbane. She's on the run from Masque's Morlocks.
I've commented on this before, but it's worth repeating how the Morlocks have evolved. They started off as a metaphor for the castaways of society, mutants that could not integrate into the human world. Post-Mutant Massacre they've become a horde of generic bad guys. That makes a kind of sense; the ones that survived the Massacre would be the toughest and would be hardened by the experience. But it's not an idea that's developed so much as just there.
Our second soon-to-be new member is Thunderbird, who has "recently severed [his] association with Emma Frost's Massachusett's Academy". Cable meets him at the popular Cross Hatch restaurant in a recruitment bid...
...but Thunderbird is only interested in returning home to his reservation. Thunderbird does let slip that he's been getting pressure "bordering on threats" from the Academy for him to return, another factor that will contribute to the suspicion when Thunderbird does join the team.
Before we get to the third new member, we continue to see Gideon convincing Sunspot that it's time to leave the team and take over his father's business. And when Cable hears that Rictor has gone after Wolfsbane, the fact that he's not interested in running after him causes outbursts from Cannonball and Boom Boom.
But let me jump back to the Thunderbird story. Thunderbird arrives at his reservation and finds it destroyed, with a Hellfire Club goon mask conveniently laying in the dirt.
Given the fact that the mask seems like an obvious plant plus Cable's previous comment about taking steps to recruit new members and the fact that Thunderbird told Cable about the threats, it's easy to suspect Cable of actually being behind the massacre (if that's what it was; aside from some smoking dirt, we don't see any evidence of any wrong doing). But did Cable actually have time to get from the meeting in New York to the reservation in Arizona before Thunderbird? Well, the scenes helpfully come with time capsules. The meeting in the restuarant is said to be on December 14th at 12:34 pm. We then see Cable fighting with the New Mutants about Rictor at 3:13 pm. And Thunderbird arrives in Arizona on December 7th at 4:22 pm. Wait, what?
Anyway, if you're suspicious of Cable at this point, the next scene will solidify that. But at the same time you will not be able to resist the guy's fashion sense.
I can't help but laugh at Cable in those clothes and the ridiculous way that he's acting towards Sunspot. Cannonball is less amused (maybe because he's turned into a zombie).
In my reprint, the colorist has attempted to resolve the situation of Boom Boom's feet by coloring those... things at the bottom of her legs pink.
Sunspot says his goodbyes, with Nicieza writing a nice line: "Magnum's in reruns, Guthrie. Life goes on." Thunderbird shows up to join Cable in return for getting help against the Hellfire Club. And, on the final page of #99, we see Feral lurking around the X-Men's subbasement (for once those aren't cross-hatches) and a new character having appeared on the floor of the Danger Room.
Issue #100 starts with Cable, Domino, and Thunderbird reacting to the arrival of the new guy.
Before we even get to Shatterstar, take a look at those pouches. Cable has them, Shatterstar has them, Domino has such huge pouches i don't know how she can bend at the waist. Thunderbird has pouches and he's not even in costume. Cable's, at least, come and go as needed, which is convenient.
But Thunderbird's go all the way around. I don't even like keeping my wallet in my back pocket; i don't know how this guy sits down.
For what it is worth, i have never - never! - seen someone take something out of one of those pouches.
As for Shatterstar, the first thing to note is his similarity to Longshot. That will be noted. But Longshot never had swords. Two double-bladed swords.
If you don't hear the shrieking high note from the awesome conclusion to an awesome guitar solo every time you see those swords, you are not drinking enough Mountain Dew. Whatsamatter? Having two blades on your sword would have no value and would just get it stuck in stuff all the time? Man, it must suck to be old and cranky and unable to appreciate the kewl things in life.
Oh did i mention the swords shoot lasers? They shoot lasers.
My god, people. Are your hearts made of stone?
(As Jay and Nathan say in the Comments, maybe he's humming through his double-sword, using it like a tuning fork to focus the sound, because he's Longshot and Dazzler's son!)
Cable knocks Shatterstar out and has him taken to the infirmary. They learn that Shatterstar is fleeing Mojo V, and he's come here to recruit the X-Men, who once helped his people a hundred years ago, in the days of Longshot.
But armored guys show up in the Danger Room after they leave.
And Masque invades the X-Men's basement with some of his goony generic Morlocks.
And Feral is discovered in the kitchen.
So soon the New Mutants and company are fighting off two separate groups, starting with Mojo's goons.
This portion of the fight culminates with another demonstration of Shatterstar's badassery, as he stabs an opponent through his own body.
Sometimes i'll see a scan of that panel above and forget what it was exactly and wonder when Magneto became a vampire.
The Morlocks show up after that, but it really isn't much of a fight. Because you see unlike wimpy super-heroes, Cable kills.
These are not your older brother's X-Men. But really, the stupidity of the above scene should be apparent. The ease at which "Brute" is defeated shows that these guys aren't powerful enough to be fighting the New Mutants. It doesn't matter if Cable shot him with a bullet or a stun ray. Masque's powers are not useful in a fight, and the other two Morlocks are just strong guys. If Masque was going to surrender when one of his goons was defeated, there was no point in him being there in the first place, regardless of whether or not the goon was killed.
After Masque leaves, Cable makes the pitch that the group should stay together. Each member of the group has an agenda that they need the group to help with, including Cable (Tolliver). But not necessarily Cannonball and Boom Boom. For them, it's about taking the powers that they've been trained in using, and actually using it to fight for Xavier's dream. "An X-Force? A little crude, but it's got some possibilities...".
It's surprising to see Boom Boom persuaded by that, but she does confirm to Cannonball privately that it is the case.
In a "prologue" at the end of the issue, we see the Mutant Liberation Front, including a Rusty and Skids that seem to be questioning things enough that the idea that they've been brainwashed seems less likely.
And then the big shocker at the end. Stryfe, alone, removes his helmet to reveal that he is really Cable!??!
Look, we know that these stories are going nowhere in particular. We know the art is, if enthusiastic, bizarre and often awful. But if our comparison point is to the last few years of the New Mutants, right now the book feels like it is being revitalized almost as much as it feels like we're watching a train going off the rails.
Statement of Ownership Total Paid Circulation: Average of Past 12 months = 182,499. Single issue closest to filing date = 194,300.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: It's been "weeks" since Wolfsbane was left in Genosha.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: X-Force Megazine #1
Inbound References (12): show
Hey, that professor outfit of Cable is probably the most normal thing he's ever worn.
Sort of happy you made mention regarding the whole matter of the "Domino switch" since its probably a while (long after Liefeld's at Image) before they finally do that. I do wonder if that was Nicieza's idea or part of Liefeld's original intent. Feral is obviously making due with the fact that Wolfsbane was out of the reach of this team considering what was done in X-Tinction Agenda and how she would ultimately end up in PAD's X-Factor. Shatterstar...eh, Liefeld character #83 probably.
As for Deadpool...yeah, this is probably a situation where we'd have a modern version of "whose creation is it anyway?", though Wade himself probably likes disassociating himself with Liefeld as you can see with movie trailers currently out. (surprisingly that movie will be out the 25th anniversary of New Mutants 98) My assumption: Liefeld just wanted to have a Deathstroke character, Niecieza made him the "Merc with a Mouth".
Posted by: Ataru320 | September 14, 2015 12:38 PM
"And when Cable hears that Rictor has gone after Wolfsbane, the fact that he's not interested in running after him causing outbursts from Cannonball and Rictor."
I think you wrote Rictor twice there by mistake.
Posted by: Bob | September 14, 2015 1:50 PM
One could tear this art apart for every panel, but my favorite unintentionally hilarious Liefeldism here is Boom Boom sitting on top of the dresser for no apparent reason.
Somewhere along the way, Rob got it in his head that really, really kewl people don't stand or use chairs. They perch on random pieces of furniture not designed for sitting.
I remember a letter published in the book described the change as "The candle that was the New Mutants has gone out to help Cable scream at the darkness." I think that's a fair assessment.
Posted by: Bob | September 14, 2015 1:58 PM
Here you start to see Liefeld's excruciatingly annoying tendency to draw "Shannon Doherty eyes", where one eye on a person's face is lower than the other. How does Liefeld ever not notice this?? He still does it to this day!
Posted by: Vincent Valenti | September 14, 2015 2:34 PM
Oh, and fnord12, I think you might want to note that Deadpool's intro panel is also where readers first learn that Cable's first name is Nathan.....which will be significant in a few years from then.
Posted by: Vincent Valenti | September 14, 2015 2:37 PM
Thanks Bob and Vincent.
Posted by: fnord12 | September 14, 2015 2:47 PM
The "Brainless Brothers" Brute and Hump seem to be a bit of a riff on the Kirby DC creations, Brute and Glob: http://www.writeups.org/fiche.php?id=5311
Posted by: cullen | September 14, 2015 2:59 PM
Also that stabby panel is a massive steal by Rob from Frank Miller's "Ronin"
Posted by: Bob | September 14, 2015 3:25 PM
Gideon's hair ignores the laws of time and space...how can you be bald, have a ponytail, and sport a mullet all at the same time???
Posted by: Vincent Valenti | September 14, 2015 4:44 PM
@Bob, wow thanks for that link.
Posted by: fnord12 | September 14, 2015 5:22 PM
The panels of Cable and Cannonball training in the Danger Room appear to be inked by Joe Rubenstein.
There were numerous cases of uncredited inkers helping out during X-FORCE (Erik Larsen inked some pages, for instance).
Posted by: Vincent Valenti | September 14, 2015 5:36 PM
Liefeld started out having a lot of potential. I actually thought his earlier stuff was quite good, he just needed to work at it more, but this is £%*$"!@? awful! How was he allowed to get away with it.
I must admit how the book would have been awesome to teenagers in 90s as it was quite bad-ass. Funny enough, I remember walking into my local comic book shop as I was trying to get back into comics and I thumbed through an X-Force book. I hated the art and told the guy that artists were better in the 80s and he told me that this stuff was much better. Weirdo. Ha ha.
Posted by: JSfan | September 14, 2015 6:21 PM
I've never read these comics. I must say that what I see here looks... pretty terrible, really. I can't believe that this used to be popular...
Posted by: Piotr W | September 14, 2015 6:26 PM
No Piotr W, 80's hair used to be popular. This comic is just atrocious. All this time from the handful of X-Force covers I'd seen I thought Feral was Dani all this time.
Posted by: david banes | September 14, 2015 8:54 PM
I forget my source, but I've heard it said that Liefeld designed Deadpool after McFarlane told him how great (i.e. easy) it was to draw a full-face mask like Spider-Man. Liefeld wanted in on some of that, so made his own full-face mask character. I think that's where the blabbermouth joking aspect of Deadpool came from, in that he was inspired by Spider-Man.
Posted by: Erik Robbins | September 15, 2015 12:42 AM
I thought it was GIDEON, not Cable, who killed Warpath's people when I first read this story, since Liefeld showed Gideon monitoring the conversation. Of course, it eventually turned out to be neither.
Posted by: Michael | September 15, 2015 5:57 PM
Oops I mean Rahne, yes.
Posted by: david banes | September 15, 2015 6:52 PM
Actually when Shatterstar hums, his power causes a concussive blast, not a laser. It's probably sonic based and the double bladed sword acts as a tuning fork to amplify his power further than the single bladed sword.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | September 16, 2015 3:05 AM
@Jay: I similarly proposed Shatty's sword as a tuning fork on the Comixfan boards years ago, so yes agree with your suggestion that his powers are sonic-based. I'm surprised Rob and Fabes didn't use this to further push their original plan for Dazzler as his mother given her similar abilities to use sound for concussive effect!?
Posted by: Nathan Adler | September 16, 2015 5:59 AM
Deadpool's parenthetical asides weren't limited to him. Everybody's doing them. Sam, Bobby, Cable, Boom-Boom, Domino. One gets the impression that it was a technique Nicieza developed to do something interesting with an idiotic story.
As it was, it's not bad. At the time, I was just learning that people wrote/scripted comic books, and it was a good instruction of what a scripter could bring to a page that he had nothing else to do with.
Posted by: ChrisW | September 16, 2015 10:35 PM
FabNic was using it on New Warriors too, so it was definitely something he was developing. But it definitely helped make Deadpool more than a generic merc.
Posted by: fnord12 | September 16, 2015 11:35 PM
The Stryfe reveal is very reminiscent of the ending of ATARI FORCE #12, where the Dark Destroyer takes off his helmet and reveals himself to be a physical copy of Martin Champion. But the art isn't a swipe from there.
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | September 17, 2015 8:20 AM
Oh yeah that final panel reminds me:
Was it decided at this point that Cable was Nathan Summers all growed up? I heard through the grapevine that The Powers That Be didn't figure that connection out until the end of the "old" X-Factor, which is think didn't come out until a few months after X-Force already started (although maybe a little later than even that.) In addition, did they use this "twist ending" as an early hint that Cable had a clone of did they really intend for this as a sign that Cable was inexplicably playing both "sides" against each other (even though a few earlier scenes have already shown that as rather implausible and problematic)? I was wondering if there was any planning involved with such "twists" or were Liefield and Nicieza pulling Cable-related stuff from you-know-where that just happened to cross a lucky and timely coincidence that was able to tie everything up.
Finally, have Liefield or Nicieza ever mentioned what their original intentions were regarding Cable in general, and the final panel of NM #100 specifically? Given how much it strokes our nostalgia boners to hear old relics share "insider stories" on decades old gossip, i'm surprised this hasn't been clarified further since this is (arguably ) Liefield's most famous creation and all.
Posted by: Jon Dubya | September 18, 2015 2:29 AM
@Jon Dubya: This page answers a lot of Cable questions: http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2009/04/02/comic-book-legends-revealed-201/ We're only a few months away from Scott sending his baby into the future, so it does seem possible Harras had decided Cable was Nathan by now. (Liefeld was against that idea though.) It could just be a coincidence but it is convenient that he's called Nathan and lost his father at a young age (as vague as that is).
Posted by: jonathan | September 18, 2015 7:14 AM
I wasn’t reading much DC so I was completely unaware of Deadpool being a rip off at the time, I’m pretty sure I found out from a letters page where they responded to people pointing out the similarity. At the time it seemed strange to me that Marvel were ripping off one of DC’s characters, as I generally wrote off DC stuff as lame. It’s kind of amazing how blatant it is though, if you’re going to lift another character you’d think the editors would say “maybe we should disguise it a bit by making the name less similar, that won’t look good in court”? There was a fun Superman-Batman annual number 1 which referenced the Deadpool similarity. Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne and Deathstroke are all stuck on a cruiseship together where they meet alternate versions of themselves, and Deathstroke's alternate is an unidentified character that is clearly Deadpool: https://scans-daily.dreamwidth.org/1346854.html . Also, the fact Liefeld wanted his own version of Deathstroke makes me wonder if the whole “Domino being a mole” plot was Liefeld’s less successful version of the famous “Terra being a mole” Teen Titans plot that was Deathstroke’s most famous story?
Posted by: jonathan | September 18, 2015 7:35 AM
But we'd already seen Cable and Stryfe in the same place at the same time in issue 94, so Stryfe was almost certainly intended to be a duplicate of Cable.
Posted by: Michael | September 18, 2015 7:53 AM
Also, X-Factor 68 came out in July 1991. X-Force 1 came out in August 1991. So Nate got sent to the future before X-Force 1.
Posted by: Michael | September 18, 2015 8:13 AM
Great, somehow the factor of Liefeld and Grudenwald both being DC fans and wanting to use their ideas on Marvel is etched in my head from Johnathan's comment.
Admittedly, I think that Deadpool's saving grace in the short term (pretty much from here until we get further into his development) is he is a smart-ass instead of a badass like Deathstroke. From his first panel up there, you can tell that he really is someone who works through his words as much as with his assassination abilities. If it weren't for that, I do wonder if he would have been forgotten as just some random ripoff that Liefeld wanted to do because "it'z kool".
Posted by: Ataru320 | September 18, 2015 8:42 AM
Michael, I think the idea was supposed to be that Cable would eventually go bad, become Stryfe and then go back in time and opposed his past self in the NM 100 time period....as convoluted as that sounds.
Posted by: Bob | September 18, 2015 11:18 AM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the original point of Longshot that he was an early version of the character in his limited series, who literally had not had that adventure yet? And Ricochet Rita would eventually go through time to become Spiral? Plans for "Longshot 2" had fallen through at this point, as well as whatever Claremont intended, but I could see Bob Harras discussing this with Liefeld and one or the other deciding to incorporate it into Cable's backstory.
I would guess [purely speculation] that the decision was made when Cable was given the name "Nathan," but it's entirely possible that he was given the name and then someone noticed that it was the same as Scott and Maddie's kid, who was already tied to Mr. Sinister and (by implication) "Days of Futures Past." Considering how long it took to name the kid in the first place, it's one of those things that makes you nod and go 'this stuff was written long before.'
Posted by: ChrisW | September 19, 2015 5:24 PM
I posted this on the "New Mutants" #93-94 page, and just look at how much Cable's backstory has changed since then:
'At this point we know that Cable's tracking the MLF [fine, he's a soldier-type and these are the villains he's currently chasing] he knows Stryfe, the MLF and their targets Rusty and Skids [ok, we'll go with that] he has a government dossier a mile long [well, those secret types all know each other] he created his own cybernetics [ok] he was a secret operative who went rogue a long time ago [in case we didn't get the idea yet] he fought with "certain elements of our government" who would be willing to torture him [unless the Blob was just making threats, entirely possible] he's a legend among the soldiers guarding [so he's probably not that secret; do you think the Blob has memorized all the government's secret agents?] he only knows the New Mutants from television [have they ever been recognizably on tv?] he knows Moira MacTaggart from the old days [when she wouldn't hesitate to fling herself into danger if she saw a wrong that needed righting] and she trusts him enough to hand over her ward and a bunch of other kids [damn you, Farouk!] he has a history with Rictor as well [got his father killed] he lost his own son [did this ever get explained?] he knows about the The Case of the Corrupted Carnival [because he knows everything he needs to know about people he works with, but he doesn't know what's wrong with Rictor] he might be Ahab from the alternate future world, he always fights with Wolverine and he knows Sunfire well, Sunfire's father knew him well and Sunfire knows what happened to Cable's son.'
Doesn't seem to require a huge leap of imagination to make him the alternate future child of one of the existing X-Characters - but not one of "The Twelve" as then-currently constituted - and Cyclops/Maddie's kid best fits the bill.
This is the true parody of Claremont, a character who is all backstory that constantly changes and we never learn any of it except insofar as they interact with other characters.
Posted by: ChrisW | September 19, 2015 6:16 PM
@ChrisW: Annie Nocenti advised that Rita becoming Spiral was never her intention. So as to who Spiral was, it's still up in the air as to who originally.
Posted by: Nathan Adler | September 19, 2015 8:02 PM
I don't think Nocenti intended Spiral to be anyone but Spiral? I can't remember the original Longshot mini making her identity a mystery in any way, she was simply Mojo's henchwoman. The mystery was added by later writers.
Posted by: Tuomas | September 20, 2015 10:29 AM
Gotta love the sound effect when the armored guys appears: "Mrmrsshzzakk"? I'm trying (and failing) to figure out how that could possibly sound in real life.
Posted by: Cucumber Khan | September 20, 2015 2:48 PM
That link clarifies some things about the intentions with Cable (basically Liefield had none outside of "look how XTREME this cyborg is!) without answering too much. (Has this "time-traveler" even mentioned anything related to "the future?" Even in internal monologue?) And Michael has already given one of many examples of Cabke's motivations and goals and past exploits being contradictory to each other.
For instance, one aspect that IS apparent here is that Cable has become an unfeeling jerk!The same guy who just 7-8 issues ago was worried about Rictor roaming the Morlock sewers by himself is now just coldly telling him to not to let the door hit him in the @$# on the way out? The guy who emphasized that he didn'the want to treat his charges like mere foot soldiers is now doing just that? Ugh! It'seems funny because, as mentioned when NM #87 was reviewed, I mention that I at first thought Cable was "Teh Awesome!" Yet little under a year later, I concluded he was on each of the worst thing about comicsand loathed him (and X-Force) with passion. I know Weezie'so work wasn't always "good", but at least she gave Cable SOME humanity.
By the way, Nathan, one of your theories actually came to pass...sort of. (The one about Shatterstar and Dazzler. Although in true x-book status, the truth turned out to be a lot more complicated that that.)
I love how it's pointed out that Feral "reminds me of Wolverine" just in case we couldn'the "get" which character Rob was shamelessly ripping off.
Posted by: Jon Dubya | September 20, 2015 10:23 PM
Was it a retcon? Am I completely wrong? I hate Longshot and never read his original series, but my impression was that Rita eventually became Spiral, and the Longshot appearing in "X-Men" was a younger version who had not yet had the Nocenti/Adams miniseries.
Maybe it wasn't the original intention for the character, but I'm less concerned with the original intention than the point that by now, Longshot was intended to be someone who hadn't had that original adventure yet. Nor was Rita. And I think the basic idea was transferred to Nathan/Cable. That's all.
Posted by: ChrisW | September 20, 2015 11:46 PM
Tolliver's name means "metalworker" so I wonder if Liefeld initially intended him to secretly be Magneto?
Posted by: Nathan Adler | November 6, 2015 11:21 PM
* - Since Liefeld's females aren't attractive, his cheesecake is just women in skimpy clothing, unlike say, Erik Larsen.
* - It felt weird at this point for Bobby and Rictor to drop out and just leave two people standing. But it felt weirder that Tabitha is constantly referred to as if she were a student of Xavier's.
* - Feral's hair reminds of the line from Fletch: "He's 6'5", 6'9" with afro."
* - Deadpool was always annoying. Is still annoying. Only perfect that he's played by Ryan Reynolds.
* - Fnord, I know you mock Liefeld for only having one pose. But he does have a second one - when someone in mid-air kicks someone. Domino does Liefeld pose #2.
Posted by: Erik Beck | December 3, 2015 11:37 AM
Forgot to mention - how does Deadpool not already have a history with Cable? Everyone else certainly does.
Posted by: Erik Beck | December 5, 2015 12:31 PM
Hey this Deadpool sucks and is little like the one in the movie! The one with the shewn shut mouth in X-Men Origins was waaaaaaaay better!
Posted by: david banes | February 15, 2016 6:05 PM
Over the years I have heard a couple of possible explanations for what Liefeld might have intended with the last page reveal of Stryfe unmasked in New Mutants #100.
Possibility #1 - Liefeld wanted to end the issue on a shocking cliffhanger. When h decided to unmask Stryfe to show he looked exactly like Cable, he didn't actually have an explanation for why they were identical. He just decided to do something that he thought was cool, and decided that he'd come up with some sort of explanation later. I can certainly believe that, since during the year that Liefeld, Lee and Portacio were running the X-Men books, that's what they did quite a bit, toss out cool stuff without any thought as to where it was all supposed to end up.
Possibility #2 - Liefeld decided to make Stryfe an future version of Cable who at some point goes bad and travels back in time to become his own arch enemy. I can *also* believe this. A couple of years later at Image, in the Prophet series, Liefeld introduced a mysterious villain named Crypt who was eventually unmasked and revealed to be (Shock! Horror!) a future version of Prophet who had turned evil and traveled back in time to become his own arch enemy. So obviously Liefeld had a fondness for this particular plot.
It may even be that both possibilities are correct. Liefeld unmasked Stryfe to look like Cable purely for a dramatic scene, and then subsequently came up with the "evil future version" to explain it.
Mind you, I'm glad that Marvel decided not to go with that. The whole concept never seems to make sense to me. If you are going back in time to fight your younger self, how could you possibly lose, since you already know what you previously did before? Unless you are not able to alter time, in which case why even bother going back to fight yourself in the first place, since you're inevitably going to lose?
Besides, Stryfe unmasked doesn't look any older than Cable. But, then again, who can really tell from Liefeld's art?
Besides, the whole "fighting your evil future self" was already done years before with Adam Warlock and the Magnus. A variation also appeared in Avengers, with Rama Tut and Immortus being semi-reformed future incarnations of Kang the Conqueror.
Of course, the way Marvel eventually went with Stryfe, namely "evil clone," is even more clichéd. But I guess they were stuck with coming up with some sort of explanation with what Liefeld had left behind.
Posted by: Ben Herman | February 17, 2016 1:45 PM
By the way, Fnord, regarding those innumerable pouches that Liefeld gives his characters, many years later in the Death of Wolverine: Deadpool & Captain America special, we DO get to see some of the stuff that Deadpool keeps in his...
Posted by: Ben Herman | February 17, 2016 1:53 PM
Deadpool's neverending array of ephemera and gag props makes him probably the one case where the pouch trope was legit justified, even if it was well after-the-fact.
Posted by: cullen | February 17, 2016 2:18 PM
Ben, I think 'evil future version' was probably one of the few places where Liefeld really did have a clue where he was going. Such time travel things were already part of the X-titles (Rachel and Nimrod) and Portacio/Lee had already sent Nate Summers into the future. They also brought Bishop back in time. Bob Harras was also part of that 'Days of Future Present" series of annuals which suggested Cable might grow up to be Ahab.
"Terminator 2" was only a few months from release - I understand James Cameron wrote the first "Terminator" after reading "Days of Futures Past," so how's that for a time loop? - and the evil future concept would have been in the air anyway. Don't hurt yourself trying to overthink how this would actually work. We're talking about Liefeld/Lee/Portacio comics that are trying to be in line with Chris Claremont comics. I could never do what fnord is doing.
Posted by: ChrisW | February 17, 2016 6:22 PM
PAD/George Perez' Hulk "Future Imperfect" must have been well underway by this point as well. Like I say, future evil versions were in the air.
Posted by: ChrisW | February 17, 2016 6:23 PM
I have to complain again that Liefeld clearly forgot that the New Mutants (besides maybe Sam at this point) were teenagers. So let's send Bobby to RUN HIS FATHERS COMPANY (and who wouldn't want to work for a 16-year-old CEO) and put Boom Boom on a paramilitary force. Warpath is probably also barely 18 since he's coming from the Massachusetts academy.
X-Force was kind of cool at the beginning but they could have made it a spin-off and completely separate from the New Mutants, not an integration. I'm still kind of amazed that post-X-Cutioner's Song the X-Men didn't try to keep Sunspot, Boom Boom and Rictor when they let X-Force go.
Posted by: Jeff | February 28, 2016 2:36 PM
When was the last time Emmanuel Da Costa appeared or was referenced? According to this site, it's been 6 years since New Mutants # 23-25. Wow, that is a long time in comics history. Especially since Sunspot's relationship with his father, his membership in the Hellfire Club, and Sunspot's supposed tendency to turn evil was supposed to be so important.
It really shows how Claremont just loses his subplots, and how Louise Simonson failed to follow up on them. In the hundred issues of New Mutants, after setting this up in the first year of stories, there has been no resolution. It just ends. Lame. In a strange way, at least Liefeld should get credit for doing something.
Posted by: Chris | June 26, 2016 11:19 PM
Well, he had a one-panel cameo in X-Men 272...
Posted by: Michael | June 26, 2016 11:30 PM
Probably not worth adding to references, but in New Mutants 48, Sunspot notes that Dys of Future Past Canbonball has learned to fly silently. So there is precedent for Sam gaining that skill.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | November 19, 2016 9:36 PM
Liefeld was every one of us back then. He just happened to be making real comics.
Posted by: MindlessOne | June 17, 2017 5:30 PM
Yeah but I can't say all of us had the same mentality that Liefeld had:
Liefeld: "Hey, I got this new idea for the revamp: I'm going to create this awesome guy with a ponytail and pouches and name him Shatterstar because it's awesome! And so what if I can't get that werewolf girl, I'm going to make a cat on my team! And there's going to be a white haired guy with a ponytail cause it's awesome. And there's going to be a merc, and he's going to be Deathst...that's taken? Well then, Deadpool. Same thing."
Marvel: "Just let him do what he wants. He's selling out books and none of these guys will last after he's gone."
Posted by: Ataru320 | June 17, 2017 6:51 PM
I love how the last New Mutants to appear in an issue of the original series were Rusty and Skids, who were barely even on the team at all.
Posted by: J-Rod | June 20, 2017 3:19 PM
And after 12 issues of being treated like an afterthought, no less. I think it would be comical if either Weezie, Liefeld or Nicieza stumbled on all my comments complaining about their mishandling of two insignificant characters. It's just that this was probably the first time someone from the X camp defected to the other side, and this angle could've been more interesting than it was.
Also, having not been very familiar with the original Youngblood until watching Linkara's reviews, I can't help but roll my eyes thinking how in the second storyline with Stryfe, Rob didn't even bother with the existing MLF and had to bring out the "Away" team.
Posted by: iLegion | June 20, 2017 5:21 PM
Something that bugged me about #100 when I read it - Sam names every member of The New Mutants in his monologue to Tabitha, except Illyana (if I remember correctly). Probably just a minor mistake editorial didn't notice, but I've never forgotten it.
Liefeld definitely wasn't one of "me;" I disliked what the x-books became in this era, and I stopped reading them consistently after this, never to fully return.
Posted by: James | June 20, 2017 11:04 PM
Well, he doesn't list Rusty or Skids either - or Bird-Brain or Kitty if you want to get thorough - so I don't think he was being particularly comprehensive.
Posted by: AF | June 21, 2017 1:53 PM
What a mess, art-wise. I like the story, as its own thing. It's jarring to see how different the first and last issues of New Mutants are. I had the feeling of reading another comic. X-Force #0, basically. Though I agree that for better or worst, the change was much needed.
I was a bit bothered by the line about Skid's power being useless in battle. She can shield her teammates, that should count for something. But it looks like everyone prefers to develop Sam's power in weird ways.
Mojo's henchmen look so much like fantasy action figures with those bright colors and asymmetrical armor. Actually, all that red and purple and those helmets make me think of Magneto. I wonder if it was intended or if Liefeld was just ripping him off for no reason.
The cover of issue #99 looks really good, though. Better than the interior art for sure. Maybe because it's an homage to UXM #138.
What is it with Liefeld and stabbing people in weird places? First we have Deadpool throwing a knife to Cable's thigh, and then Shatterstar stabs this hechman through his stomach... and butt?
While I dislike Liefeld's faces (who doesn't?) I have to say it works for Masque, being the ever-changing mess he is.
Finally, Sumo seems to be missing from the Characters Appearing.
Posted by: Nate Wolf | November 9, 2017 3:07 PM
Yes, by #100 is totally a different book from #1. Never mind the only remaining original New Mutant is Cannonball. Team books can survive personnel changes, but this is entirely a brand new time. It's heart are characters created a year ago or even only a few issues ago: Cable, Domino, Shatterstar, and Feral. Warpath at least has some ties to the New Mutants because he was a Hellion, but you might as well not even know it from the way he's written.
New Mutants was never a great book, but Claremont at least kept it concise. Louise Simonson's period was well intentioned, but she she quickly lost her way on the title, just like she lost it on X-Factor after her first year and a half. She crafts perfectly adequate single stories, but fails to bring the magic and make you excited. She doesn't understand how to build a mythology around the characters.
Posted by: Chris | November 9, 2017 6:13 PM
There were several critical errors concerning the New Mutants in my opinion, whose damages became more apparent after Claremont left.
1) They have no rogues gallery. The Hellions were there, but they were more foils than villains. Granted the book's concept made it hard to build repeated villainous antagonists when they are NOT supposed to be superheroes. But something was needed.
2) Too many characters were coming and going, and it disrupted the feel of the team. Karma was there and then she wasn't. New characters like Magma, Cypher, and Warlock show up, and then sometimes we wouldn't see them again. Sunspot quits for a while. Simonson's kid characters from X-Factor show up and join the team. Over time, this gets disruptive.
3) Claremont disrupted the general theme of the book with all his strange ideas that clash with it, yet don't add anything long term to it. The plots with Limbo, Asgard, Magus, and Lila's space stuff usurp the book now and again. Too often the team's members seem incidental except for Claremont's pet characters. Likewise Simonson's detour with Gossamyr. The book really needed to be "grounded" into its own reality before departures like this should be done.
4) Too many unresolved plots. Magma's association with Nova Roma, and Sunspot's relationship with his father (and Hellfire Club's intent to recruit Sunspot through him) originally seem like they were going to be a big deal, but go undeveloped for years.
Posted by: Chris | November 9, 2017 6:27 PM
Added Sumo. Thanks Nate.
Posted by: fnord12 | November 10, 2017 11:33 AM
We all already know Rob Liefeld's art sucks on various levels, but there's one thing he does that I've never seen anybody else do, so even if it's just one bad thing among his many bad things, I feel like it's a special thing: he draws anus-armpits. Look at that first appearance of Shatterstar, or ever better (and by better I mean worse) the cover for #95! At first I thought somebody shot Wolfsbane and she shattered or something.
Posted by: KombatGod | December 16, 2017 3:48 PM
How limited is Liefeld's imagination?
I mean, look at the Morlocks he draws, they all look the same, except for Masque who was already created and Feral who is a giant ripoff of Wolfsbane.
I remember when I was a kid, I started reading comics around this reboot era and I would always mistake Feral with Wolfsbane
Posted by: Bibs | January 4, 2018 4:00 AM
Oh and one more thing to pile up on the Liefeld hatewagon:
What's with everybody wearing gloves on their normal day-to-day affairs?
In #99 everybody wears gloves all the time! I guess that, in addition to feet, the guy couldn't draw realistic hands so he made everyone just wear gloves all the time.
It's rather amazing how someone so bad has achieved so much in the CB industry
Posted by: Bibs | January 4, 2018 4:46 AM
Having flipped down this page, that fellow with fangs in the Magneto helmet (is it supposed to be Magneto?) looks like a vampire version of DC's 'mazing Man.
Posted by: The Small Lebowski | January 6, 2018 7:54 PM
Judging by what can be seen on panel, the bad guys went A-Bomb on Warpath's people, as there's nothing but dust when he gets there...
Posted by: Bibs | January 8, 2018 7:15 AM
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