New Mutants annual #4
Issue(s): New Mutants annual #4
The Evolutionary believes that "Those powers that will endanger the survival of the human race must be removed... if my great plan for humanity's advancement is to succeed". I guess this illustrates another difference between him and Apocalpyse that i didn't pick up on in the X-Factor annual. Apocalypse thinks mutants represent the next phase of humanity, whereas the High Evolutionary apparently sees these super-power mutations as a detriment to humanity, or at least incompatible with the accelerated evolution that he has in mind. Based on that, i can see more clearly why Apocalypse originally thought that the High Evolutionary's actions might be too close to actual interference with his own plans, but as we'll see here the Evolutionary will once again be thwarted after creating a conflict that results in a mutant's powers increasing, making her one of the strong.
It's also worth noting that the High Evolutionary hopes that he can remove Bulk and Glow Worm's powers without ending "those wretched creatures' lives", which seems to be in contrast to the way his Eliminators were wantonly mowing down random civilians in Bogota in the Punisher annual. This seems to support the idea that the Evolutionary doesn't know exactly who he's got working for him and what exactly they get up to.
Meanwhile, Wolfsbane interrupts a training session to announce that they've received a new letter from Magma in Nova Roma.
Magneto is upset at the interruption, and he's especially focused on training Mirage since, now that Doug is dead, she is the "least useful".
Meanwhile, the High Evolutionary's men turn their attention to Magma. It's again interesting to see the attitudes of the characters that i assume are the Evolutionary's top lieutenants (considering they are the only other named characters in the Evolutionary War).
The High Evolutionary may "have his own morality", but he sure has attracted some scumbags.
Magma recaps and expands slightly on her current situation based on her last appearance. She's being forced into marriage by her father, a powerful Senator in the hidden Nova Roma society.
Louise Simonson continues to tease the idea, without outright confirming, that Empath is unconsciously manipulating her.
Purge and Stack teleport into Nova Roma with some armored goons and manage to kidnap Magma while resisting Empath's abilities, and then Empath goes to Magma's father, who contacts Magma and Empath's teacher, the White Queen, interrupting her filming of Sexy Schoolteachers IV.
She contacts the rest of the Hellfire Club, including Magneto, and they head to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where the High Evolutionary's men are holding the mutants. But the New Mutants hear about what's happened and they decide to go rescue Magma themselves, in defiance of Magneto's orders, as usual.
Magik continues her trend of banishing souls to Limbo.
You'll notice that Mirage is actually doing a pretty good job of disproving Magneto's claim that she's useless. And it's worth remembering that in addition to her most desired/most feared illusion powers, she also has the senses of a Valkyrie.
But she gets into a fight with Dr. Stack...
...and he tosses her into the equipment that was going to be used to remove Bulk and Glow Worm's powers.
Instead, the radioactive mutants flip the switch in the opposite direction before dying...
...and the effect of that is that Mirage's illusions now become reality.
The problem is that once she creates an illusion, she can't get rid of it without creating a new one.
So she eventually recreates her Spirit Lance.
After pretty much all the ass kicking is done, the Hellfire Club's Inner Circle finally show up...
...and the New Mutants teleport away with Mirage to avoid being seen.
Will someone design a costume for Sebastian Shaw, please?
Magneto says that the Hellfire Club have their own plans for Magma.
This may be a reference to the plan of getting Senator Aquilla and and the resources of Nova Roma under their control, but the New Mutants hear about it and don't know what it means.
The story continues pretty much directly in the back-up, which is by the same team as the main story, except with Roy Richardson swapping in for Bob McLeod on inks. Although the art looks more like McLeod's early work on this series in the back-up than elsewhere.
The back-up has Mirage figuring out how to deal with her new powers, especially after accidentally summoning a lady pegasus that Brightwind dumps her for.
Poor Brightwind has obviously been lonely during his time away from Asgard.
She eventually figures out that she can create something smaller than the Spirit Lance to carry around.
I say the back-up continues directly because it occurs while Magneto is still on his way back from the High Evolutionary's base. He returns at the end.
Magneto and the Hellfire Club seem surprisingly incurious about the people that kidnapped Magma. Did they search the base and find evidence that other mutants were being abducted too? Did they find the bodies of Bulk and Glow Worm? Maybe they're still investigating and they're just not telling the kids (but it's not like we see them in future parts of this story), or maybe the High Evolutionary literally teleported everything away and left no trace behind for investigation. Or maybe we can say that there's a big behind the scenes hunt or battle that ultimately causes the High Evolutionary to abandon the thread of de-powering mutants, since, like with all of his actions in the various annuals of this event, it's not something we see him pursuing any further.
So the big change for this issue is Dani Moostar's powers. I guess it's clear that writers found her original powers pretty limiting, with Chris Claremont turning her into a kick ass fighter and then a Valkyrie and then Louise Simonson finding even all that not enough and giving her this major upgrade. I'm all for powerful female characters, but i thought her original powers were unique and cool and if i wanted to improve upon the character i'd emphasize her potential to be a great tactical leader like Captain America and Cyclops. I think the Valkyrie move already overloaded her and this new power set is going to make things more complicated.
I cover the Saga of the High Evolutionary back-up in a separate entry.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: This takes place between New Mutants #66-67. This is part four of The Evolutionary War; Amazing Spider-Man annual #22 is next.
Crossover: The Evolutionary War
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): showBlack King (Sebastian Shaw), Black Queen (Selene), Brightwind, Bulk, Cannonball, Dr. Stack, Empath, Glow Worm, High Evolutionary, Lucius Aquilla, Magik, Magma, Magneto, Major Purge, Mirage (Dani Moonstar), Sunspot, Warlock, White Queen (Emma Frost), Wolfsbane
This was my first foray into the Evolutionary War and I was completely lost but I do remember enjoying it more than the regular New Mutants books at the time, possibly due to Brigman's art.
Posted by: Robert | July 9, 2014 9:28 PM
Note that the New Mutants consider the possibilty that Amara's affections for Empath might be a result of his powers but do nothing about it. Really heroic of them not to care about their friend being raped.
Posted by: Michael | July 9, 2014 9:31 PM
The Evolutionary War seems like it could have used a stronger central creative hand. The Evolutionary's plans and motivations are all over the place and sometimes maybe even contradictory.
Posted by: Erik Robbins | July 10, 2014 12:35 AM
As Fnord has suggested, though, a benefit to the loose structure of the Evolutionary War is that you can follow the story without having to buy every annual: in fact, most of the stories, including the first part in X-Factor and last part in Avengers, are enjoyable enough as done-in-one stories, which is quite an accomplishment with a crossover of this scale. Atlantis Attacks would go for tighter coordination, and it was successful by just about every measure.
The High Evolutionary's inconsistency is partly the price of letting the individual episodes stand on their own.
Fnord has brought out something I didn't realize at the time, though: I always thought the X-Men chapter was unusual in presenting a moral gap between the Evolutionary and his ruthless troops, but that actually seems to be a theme during the crossover, if a somewhat muted one.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | July 10, 2014 3:24 AM
"Atlantis Attacks would go for tighter coordination, and it was successful by just about every measure."
Posted by: Michael | July 10, 2014 7:47 AM
Thanks: I meant to type "less successful" by every measure.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | July 10, 2014 11:59 AM
It seems they mis-coloured Emma & Selene in the panel where you say: "After all pretty much all the ass kicking is done, the Hellfire Club's Inner Circle finally show up...". Emma is throwing out some kind of energy blast from her hand and Selene is mind blasting a goon there.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | July 11, 2014 1:30 AM
You also didn't mention this is the only other appearance for Bulk & Glow Worm who previously appeared in X-Factor #7... and they die.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | July 11, 2014 1:32 AM
I guess if Emma and Selene have to charge into battle wearing lingerie, it's fair enough if June Brigman makes Shaw wear a diaper. Maybe we should just be thankful Magneto rejected the Club's dress code a few issues back.
The idea of the Inner Circle charging in as a rescue squad in the first place, like they were the Fantastic Four or something is ridiculous in itself. Magneto, sure, and maybe Emma would tag along to show she's his equal as headmistress of the Massachusetts Academy or something, but Selene would just as soon eat the captured mutants as liberate them, and Shaw would hardly get personally involved over something like this: that's what the Club has all those armored goons and commandos for b
Posted by: Walter Lawson | July 11, 2014 4:34 AM
@Jay, i didn't really think a reference was necessary since there isn't even an implicit reference to their previous appearance (unlike, say, Daredevil #259 where even though there's no footnote it's shown that all the characters Typhoid's recruiting were observed by the Kingpin's surveillance people). But i've added a reference now; can't hurt!
Posted by: fnord12 | July 11, 2014 10:28 AM
No worries. It's kinda odd that there wasn't a reference considering they were a big part of X-Factor #7, being on TV and all... I wonder if any New Mutants fans who hadn't been reading X-Factor were wondering who these two weird radioactive mutants were.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | July 11, 2014 6:55 PM
OK, I'm confused. If this takes place between New Mutants 66 and 67, why were they in their ORIGINAL costumes?
And to be fair Emma Frost always dresses like a "sexy schoolteacher". Indeed she's actually wearing MORE clothes in that panel than she usually does.
Posted by: Jon Dubya | July 11, 2014 8:18 PM
Jon, if you're referring to the scenes at the top, they still wear their training costumes in front of Magneto. They haven't officially graduated and aren't even supposed to be using their powers outside of his supervision, so their Blevins designed costumes are their outlaw costumes that they wear when they sneak out of the Mansion. They are wearing those when they go to rescue Magma, lower down in the entry.
Posted by: fnord12 | July 11, 2014 8:50 PM
I wasn't reading "X-Factor" during Bulk and Glow Worm's appearance, but there had been enough flashbacks and references that I wasn't confused when this annual came around. Ok, those references were in "X-Factor," but I'm just saying... There's probably no way of knowing how many people read "X-Factor" but didn't read "New Mutants" or vice-versa, but my hunch is that it wasn't a huge number.
In my opinion, this is where Simonson's "New Mutants" truly jumped the shark. Between some of the problems that fnord and the other commentators have mentioned, this is where it's trying too hard to be like Claremont's "X-Men" with none of the benefits.
Until this point, the book was at least carrying on the tradition. Illyana's turning evil, Magneto's turning into Dean Wormer, Doug died as a sudden shock to the readers. Those developments may not have been good, but at least they worked with the characters as we knew them. But now the ostensible character/plot developments are senseless.
Amping up Dani's powers for no good reason and pretending that Amara and Empath are part of some long-running storyline added nothing. I could be wrong, but I don't recall even a reference to Magma during the Gossamyr story, "Inferno," Asgard, X-Tinction Agenda... I have a vague memory of Empath being in "Uncanny X-Men" #281, but no idea how he returned.
Posted by: ChrisW | July 11, 2014 8:52 PM
Actually, Chris, in New Mutants 73, the Lords Cardinal try to cut a deal with N'astirh and Amara is mentioned. In New Mutants 75, Emma allows the New Mutants to overhear about Selene's plans for Amara in order to lure the New Mutants into destroying Selene. Hilariously, Emma's plan fails because the New Mutants do nothing about Amara for the remaining two years of Simonson's run.
Posted by: Michael | July 11, 2014 9:27 PM
Ok, but that's barely more than *a* reference. Two very minor references which I had forgotten about, and as you point out, weren't followed up on through the rest of Simonson's run anyway.
I would guess that Simonson intended Amara's fiance to be a Selene-type vampire [and had forgotten that Dr. Strange's brother was a vampire at all; I got bored with Roy & Dann Thomas/Jackson Guice's "Dr. Strange" run around the time the vampires came back, but the first dozen issues or so are wonderful and I'm eagerly awaiting their appearance on this site.] A Selene-vampire would be more in line with the continuity that Simonson (with Claremont) had developed for so long, and not interfere with the 'vampires no longer exist' rule.
Unless they knew it was coming. I was always amused at the way the Skrulls got their shape-changing powers back over in "Silver Surfer" and within a year or so, the X-Men were fighting Skrulls in the Shi'ar empire. It's possible Amara would have been engaged to a traditional vampire, but I would definitely suspect a Selene-type instead.
Posted by: ChrisW | July 12, 2014 8:20 PM
By the way, I really like June Brigman's art here. The characters are on-model [which is difficult enough to find these days] but she handles the superhero/fantasy sequences as well as the normal-people-doing-normal-things parts. The look on Rhane's face as she turns human with a letter from Amara, the way Dani is in normal clothes, wiping her face and leaning against a tree, and then standing next to a sports car... She communicates body language and chooses good angles very well.
Hell, I'd probably pay for a title about Emma Frost wearing that outfit drawn by Brigman, a lot sooner than I'd pay for any other Emma Frost comic anyway. ;)
Posted by: ChrisW | July 12, 2014 8:30 PM
Especially with Bret Blevins' overly-cartoony style on the main series, and knowing the horrors Liefeld would soon be inflicting on the X-Babies, I really wish more superhero comics had this kind of natural style. Real people doing real things, superhero people doing superhero things, and the ability to shift gears. It's a style too few comics artists have, and too few comics have ever even tried.
Posted by: ChrisW | July 12, 2014 8:34 PM
ChrisW, i interpreted Michael's comment to be agreeing with you, in that ok, it is actually mentioned once, but in a way that highlights the fact that her thread was basically ignored.
I agree on June Brigman's art. She's one of my favorites thanks to her Power Pack run. I was a little unsure about her Magneto faces in this issue, though, especially in the McLeod inked portion.
Posted by: fnord12 | July 12, 2014 11:23 PM
Magneto and the other superhero sequences looked generic. That's really the worst thing I have to say about June Brigman's art. It's not really a criticism. She does normal people well, she does superheroes well, paces the story well, the drawing looks nice, but how dare she not be brilliant in the action sequences??? Magneto looks like any other hero/villain with gray hair! She must be punished!!! THIS I COMMAND!!!
I didn't interpret Michael's comment as agreeing with me, mostly because he started off with the word "actually." He's correctly corrected me on continuity before, so I just assume he remembers this stuff far better than I do and have to re-think what I'm saying, in case something somewhere proves me wrong.
In an era where the ordinary person has an opinion on whether or not Captain America could beat Iron Man, it's just fun to talk about this stuff with people who knew these characters long ago, and wished there was an internet so we could share these thoughts.
Posted by: ChrisW | July 12, 2014 11:48 PM
I guess I was both correcting ChrisW AND agreeing with him- he was wrong in the specifics (Emma did make a big deal in issue 75 about Amara causing a conflict between the New Mutants and Selene) and absolutely right in his general point that Simonson dropped that plot completely and left Amara and Empath in limbo.
Posted by: Michael | July 13, 2014 9:03 AM
Can you even imagine how different your life would be if you had access to Wikipedia when you were 9 or 10 years old?
Posted by: ChrisW | July 13, 2014 5:41 PM
I actually like that Sebastian Shaw's 'costume' is just as skanky as the female Inner Circle members'.
Posted by: Jono | July 30, 2014 2:01 AM
Emma refers to 'kidnapers' when speaking with Amara's father. Not sure how that got through.
Posted by: Harry | July 7, 2015 12:14 PM
"Kidnaper" is an acceptable formation of the word.
For at least a period of time, the single-p version seemed to have been Marvel's editorial preference. (There were a few letters-to-the-editor in response to this Spidey cover as well: http://www.comicvine.com/the-amazing-spider-man-308-dread/4000-30301/)
Posted by: cullen | July 7, 2015 1:34 PM
"interrupting her filming of Sexy Schoolteachers IV"
That is definitely one of your best lines, fnord. It reminds me of Kitty in Astonishing, sniping at Emma: "I'm sorry I'm late. I was busy remembering to put on all of my clothes."
Posted by: Erik Beck | August 7, 2015 11:32 AM
Erik, that outfit is actually quite demure by Emma Frost's usual standards!
I do recall reading most of the annuals in "The Evolutionary War" and also thinking that the High Evolutionary was written as extremely inconsistent from one chapter to another. Several years later this was actually addressed in-story in the Heroes For Hire / Quicksilver crossover. We learn that the Evolutionary was for some time unstably evolving and devolving. One minute he'd be a super-advanced human, the next he'd be regressed to an ape-like creature. That's why he's so schizo during this crossover.
As for the Evolutionary not knowing what his people in the field are up too, yeah, he has a dangerously laissez-faire management style. That comes back to bite him in the rear end in the conclusion to the crossover in the Avengers annual. It turns out that the Evolutionary never bothered to tell his goons that the New Men were actual evolved animals rather than just escapes from a furry convention. The Avengers use that knowledge to trick the human Eliminators into turning against the New Men.
Magneto describing Mirage's powers as "the least useful of any of my remaining students" is a good example of why he was such an awful teacher. I mean, Xavier was a manipulative jerk, but he was nowhere near as condescending as this! No wonder the New Mutants hated him.
Anyway, I really did enjoy June Brigman's pencils on this annual. Except, y'know, for that bit with Sebastian Shaw in a loincloth.
Posted by: Ben Herman | August 7, 2015 1:38 PM
Ben, I fully agree that by Emma's standards, those are Victorian dresses. Doesn't change the hilarity of fnord's line.
In fact, ironically, I think that outfit is by far the sexiest Emma has ever been dressed. Too many artists conflate "barely clothed" with "sexy".
I also agree about the art - they're actually drawn like teenagers, unlike the scrawny little kids that Blevens was drawing in the regular title at this point.
Posted by: Erik Beck | August 7, 2015 3:08 PM
Oh, I agree, fnord's comment is hysterical. He writes the best reviews. I don't agree with most of them (talk about having extremely high standards) but they're almost always humorous!
Posted by: Ben Herman | August 7, 2015 6:18 PM
Hey, don't knock "Sexy Schoolteachers IV." I loved that scene where Jennifer (that bitch) creates trouble for Marie and Haroum, and then Emma calls her in for corrective training.
It was so much better than "Sexy Schoolteachers III" where they're going up against the rival school. I mean, *yawn* James and Dani again? We didn't even get a fun scene with Illyana and her roommate, how boring can you get?
Posted by: ChrisW | August 8, 2015 8:04 PM
And don't get me started on "Sexy Schoolteachers II" which introduced the spunky young Angelica.
Posted by: ChrisW | August 8, 2015 8:35 PM
Main story wasn't bad, but I think I enjoyed the backup with Daniel more. Most of the characters here don't come off as very likeable.. the kids are brats and Magneto is a dick.. I can see why that arrangement didn't work out!
Posted by: RikFenix | May 30, 2016 7:53 PM
Comments are now closed.
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