New Mutants annual #6
Issue(s): New Mutants annual #6
Daryl Edelman & Suzanne Gaffney - Assistant Editor
The net effect of this, beyond the two pencilers and four inkers and all of the high quality that implies, is that this book came out late. This was supposed to be part two of Days of Future Present, and it does start sooner than X-Factor annual #5 and that issue does have a note in it saying, "This annual takes place after the New Mutants Annual. Why is it on sale first? Go Figure!" But what's weird is that the X-Factor annual is labeled part two, whereas this is labeled part three. I guess at one point they were just hoping to pass off the X-Factor annual as the second part, and then didn't update the trade dress when they reversed courses again. Or maybe it was to prevent people buying these in realtime from thinking they had missed something.
They almost could have pulled off keeping the X-Factor annual as part two without ever admitting that there was a problem. The coordination between titles isn't very smooth no matter what order you read them in, and the story actually has the Fantastic Four and Forge and Banshee, all from the first part, splitting up into two groups to look for adult Franklin Richards. Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman, and Banshee (with young Franklin in tow) are in this part and wind up at the ruined X-Mansion where the New Mutants and Cable are staying, while the rest of the FF and Forge stay in Manhattan and encounter X-Factor. The groups do reunite in the X-Factor annual, but for at least part of the issues, events are happening concurrently.
Anyway, this part of the story can be broken up into two parts. The first is when adult Franklin shows up and "fixes" the X-Mansion to be how it was when he was a student there (in his future timeline). That means that the New Mutants have to fight a group of unknown New Mutants from the future, including Franklin himself, Rachel Summers, a resurrected Doug Ramsey, and three new characters.
Doug's resurrection is thanks to the techno-virus, and he's now called the Magus.
The blue one is a teleporter, perhaps implying a connection to Nightcrawler, but the characters aren't really given backgrounds.
We also meet an old Banshee.
Franklin's powers in this sequence are specifically about creating more dream versions of himself, an advancement over his powers in Power Pack but not full grown reality warping (of course the whole thing is really a reality warp, but at the time that he's pulling from, i guess this was his power).
The characters fight for a bit, and then argue about which group is in the wrong time period. Eventually adult Franklin has another freakout, and the future characters disappear. Then Reed, Sue, young Franklin and young Banshee show up.
I guess Mr. Fantastic is one person who hasn't met Cable before the readers did.
There's a decent moment where Sunspot recognizes that Franklin might be upset to learn about an alternate future of himself that isn't quite right.
But before he can say anything to Franklin, we get to the second half of our story. That is about Ahab having sent more of his mini-sentinels, and also a "hound", after adult Franklin.
Ahab's comment about running Franklin to ground (i.e. killing him) will be important to the resolution to this story. We'll see more of Ahab's relationship with the hounds in the X-Factor portion.
The actual fight with the sentinels is a montage-y mess.
The defeated hound gives up the dirt on Ahab. It's said that they've been sent back in time after Franklin. Note that Ahab was "bred" to stop mutants.
Ahab shows up to shut up his hound, and then teleports away.
The art takes a sudden turn to the cartoony, presumably when Chris Wozniak takes over.
Adult Franklin, meanwhile, is in a museum where he's re-playing a scene of himself with Rachel Summers. Ahab sends a Sentinel after Franklin, and this time i mean a real Sentinel and not a little remote control airplane.
Accounting for art styles and general sloppiness, it looks like a regular Sentinel to me, but everyone else identifies it as a new kind.
Louise Simonson is trying her best to develop character arcs during the course of all this, so she earlier showed that Rictor is still harboring feelings of resentment towards Cable, and also that he's taking it hard when people die around him. He blamed himself for Ahab killing the hound, and this time Rictor holds back while fighting another hound...
...only to see Cable gun it down.
Adult Franklin also starts killing hounds, causing young Franklin to get upset, observing that they were once ordinary mutants.
Adult Franklin realizes this too, and to prevent it from happening again, he removes young Franklin's powers.
The action puts young Franklin in a coma and also, according to adult Franklin, ensures that his dystopian future will come true.
The story ends with Rictor talking about the futility of trying to change your fate, based on his own experience trying not to kill only to see Cable shooting his opponent down. Rictor also notes Ahab's similarity to Cable.
For the Days of Future Present plot, i guess this issue accomplishes putting Franklin in a coma and develops the mystery of Ahab a little bit. But you really could remove this issue entirely and it wouldn't affect the larger plot of that story. As for the ongoing impact to the New Mutants, you'd think maybe someone would want to start looking up those future New Mutants or at least just go check on Doug to see if there's evidence of it being infected by the transmode virus. In practice, the only thing that is at all relevant is the continued work on Rictor's character. And it's all buried in a sloppy story that relies on the fact that both Days of Future Past and Franklin Richards are already interesting in their own right.
The back-up in this is a much cleaner affair, and a pretty nice, if quiet, story. It shows the ghost of Cypher sitting at his grave, lamenting that no one comes to visit him. The ghosts around him counsel him to end his own grieving, which will in turn free up the people that loved him to let go.
Then Wolfsbane comes to visit him.
But Cypher won't let her go.
The kicker is that she's here to ask his permission to date "Victor".
Rahne has to turn into werewolf form to fight some thugs in the cemetery, and in that form she seems to sense Cypher's ghost.
And while she's in that form, he does give his blessing for her to date Rictor.
It's a sweet story. It's called "Tribute the second" because Peter David wrote a similar "Tribute the first" for this year's X-Factor annual, but due to the publishing snafu they came out in the wrong order (not that it matters). David's "Tribute the third" will appear in next year's X-Factor annual, and there will even be a "Tribute the fourth" in the 1996 X-Force annual, but that's not by David.
Rob Liefeld's first pin-up is "a glimpse into the future". We get an early glimpse of Shatterstar, and we also see Magik as well as a blond woman that i can't identify (Magma? Skids?).
The second pin-up is of Cable, whose shoulder pads, and indeed entire body, seem to expand to fill up the panel.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: See the notes at the top of this entry, but this is effectively part two of Days of Future Present. Let's say that Rahne's appearance in the back-up takes place right before the main story. I'm listing Cypher as a character appearing, with the idea that his body is in the ground even if he isn't actually manifesting as a ghost.
Crossover: Days of Future Present
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (2): showAhab, Banshee, Boom Boom, Cable (Adult), Cannonball, Cypher, Franklin Richards, Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic, Rictor, Sunspot, Warlock, Wolfsbane
I think Franklin appears here during the X-Factor Annual. After he disappeared Ship and before the New Mutants show up so it's almost concurrent I guess.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | May 18, 2015 6:23 PM
I think Rachel has said in other comics that Nightcrawler and Amanda Sefton were married in her timeline, so that might explain "Blue's" parentage.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | May 18, 2015 7:36 PM
"Back, devilspawn! Die!" ...that doesn't sound much like Cable. He's usually a bit more stoic, isn't he?
I always liked those "glimpse into the future" pin-ups that appeared in X-Men comics during the 90's. Unfortunately they almost never entirely came true thanks too the every shuffling creative teams.
Posted by: Berend | May 18, 2015 9:29 PM
I always thought the blonde woman was Skids.
Posted by: Michael | May 18, 2015 9:31 PM
"The net effect of this, beyond the two pencilers and four inkers and all of the high quality that implies..." Certainly higher than if Rob Liefeld had drawn the whole thing.
Posted by: Morgan Wick | May 18, 2015 10:33 PM
The hound that Ahab impales...does he die from the spear through his chest, or from the back-breaking position his body is in?? Its like he's trying to make his butt checks touch his shoulder blades!
Posted by: Dermie | May 18, 2015 11:47 PM
@Dermie: Come on, flexibility is this Hound's mutant power! Ahab recruited him from Mesmero's circus gang;)
Posted by: Nathan Adler | May 19, 2015 1:23 AM
How is Cable twice the size of Roberto in that pinup? How does Shatterstar not fall over on his spindly legs? Why do the girls have the same crotchbulges as the boys? What does it mean that this art was ever seen as fun? How come characters in the back tend to be bigger than those in the front? Why was nobody trying to teach Liefeld anything, was he that stubborn? Worst of all is how 25 years later his improvement is nil. Compare, say, Dan Panosian. It is maddening.
Also, what a terrible story, but the pinup is what will stick with me 😵
Posted by: PeterA | May 19, 2015 3:44 AM
@PeterA: I'd suggest the bulges are codpieces that Cable has forced the whole team to wear;)
Posted by: Nathan Adler | May 19, 2015 5:49 AM
I see a Manga influence in Liefeld's work, which can work but this looks awful. I still can't understand how the editor hasn't given him back the pages to redo. Imagine Liefeld under shooter. He would be reduced to fill-ins or at least be told to redraw them six million times until they looked decent.
Posted by: JSfan | May 19, 2015 1:58 PM
Hilary Barta is male.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | May 22, 2015 4:56 PM
Oops, thanks Mark.
Posted by: fnord12 | May 23, 2015 11:06 AM
The funny think is that this otherwise sloppy and unremarkable story is oddly prophetic. "Blue" almost seems like like an early prototype of Nocturne, and Banshee DOES wind up as a teacher of super-powered teens. Even Rixtor's complaint about how overtly violent Cable is will echo a lot of real life criticisms of the character as we get further into the 90s.
Rictor Hairstyle Watch alert: Rictor is now wearing his Mohawk again, even though his hair grew out after NM #91 (and was long by NM #93.) Oops!
Posted by: Jon Dubya | May 24, 2015 12:44 AM
The Doug and Rahne story almost makes up for the rest. I remember in another issue where Rahne is upset that the X-Men always seem to come back from the dead but poor Doug is still dead.
Posted by: Erik Beck | October 29, 2015 1:06 PM
Here's a bad writing alert. When Roberto remembers meeting his future self, he didn't. He was in the other issue of New Mutants seeing the Days of Future Past future, not the mutants oppress humans future. Now you could say the others told him all how what a real evil jerk he was and that he resolved never to oppress humans for the rest of his life, but somehow, I doubt that's what Chris Claremont had in mind when he wrote it.
Posted by: Brian C. Saunders | March 14, 2016 10:49 PM
I saw the blue girl and immediately thought of Nocturne, not that this was who that was supposed to be. I don't recall this issue, but if she wasn't named, one could just assume it was her without it being a big deal.
Posted by: Andrew Burke | May 21, 2016 9:33 AM
@Andrew: In the issue her name is revealed as "Blue" and she's either Kurt's daughter with Amanda or perhaps Wanda.
Posted by: Nathan Adler | May 21, 2016 8:07 PM
Warlock seems to be the only character who looks really good in this pin-up. The others look really weird at best, just terrible at worst. Liefeld should have been given a Warlock solo book with rules against including human characters.
Blue is obviously Nightcrawler's daughter and her teleportation has a magic-ish look so it's safe to assume her mom is Amanda. Not sure about the guy with the sword-bow. The big one with the staff looks vaguely Aboriginal (he looks like a distorted version of Manifold) so I assume he was meant to be a descendant of Gateway.
Posted by: Nate Wolf | October 24, 2017 8:09 AM
The blonde woman in the pin-up would almost certainly have to be Magma; she doesn't like a thing like how Liefeld drew Skids. Of course given that many of Liefeld's characters tend to look everything like each other, that's not saying much.
Posted by: iLegion | November 1, 2017 8:04 PM
Going deep into Liefeld era and reading all these comments on how bad his art is (I agree) I'm wondering If he ever addressed this Subject in an interview. I mean, does the guy even realizes his art suck?
Posted by: Bibs | December 29, 2017 4:47 AM
He did an interview in the Comics Journal (conducted by Hart Fisher of Boneyard Press) where he claimed it was just his style, and he's taken art classes and can draw anatomy. No evidence was provided, but he at least claimed to know something about good drawing.
Posted by: ChrisW | December 30, 2017 9:07 PM
To cleanse the palate after the mention of Liefeld, here's a page of the great Lou Fine's work: http://jmwetheringtonsr.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/lou_fine_black_condor325px.jpg
The old greats like him, Mort Meskin and Mac Rayboy - they were artists.
Posted by: The Small Lebowski | December 30, 2017 9:33 PM
...And then let's dirty up the palate again with a collection of The 40 Worst Rob Liefeld Drawings:
40 more if your palate is particularly strong:
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | December 31, 2017 9:30 AM
To be honest, I'd much rather see someone dive into his body of work and presenting the 40 best Rob Liefeld drawings.
I can really only think of two. And it took me at least 10 minutes to think of the second.
Posted by: AF | December 31, 2017 10:02 AM
Posted by: The Small Lebowski | December 31, 2017 1:46 PM
That splash of Cable
Posted by: Brian Coffey | December 31, 2017 2:25 PM
Excuse me, that splash of Cable after an all-day binge at Golden Corral features what looks like tribute-to-early-Barry Windsor-Smith skinny ankles as well as the usual Liefeld era "highlights", like the flipper feet. Also, NFL linemen wear less padding than this guy.
Posted by: Brian Coffey | December 31, 2017 2:29 PM
"Nurse, this man's been exposed to high levels of Liefeld art. Get me some Reed Crandall prints stat!"
Posted by: The Small Lebowski | December 31, 2017 2:30 PM
@Lebowski- Thanks for the concern, but I have some Paul Gulacy Black Widow prints, plus enough Mike Ploog and Russ Heath around to settle my system down.:-)
Posted by: Brian Coffey | December 31, 2017 5:48 PM
That's good to know. If you feel any after-effects or trauma just keep reminding yourself that most real peoples' left legs aren't twice the circumference of their right ones.
Posted by: The Small Lebowski | December 31, 2017 6:16 PM
The two best Liefeld drawings? Pix or it didn't happen!
Posted by: ChrisW | January 1, 2018 12:20 AM
Comments are now closed.
|SuperMegaMonkey home | Comics Chronology home|