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New Mutants #5 (1983, July)

June 29, 2014

This issue of New Mutants has a group of very special guest stars. By Claremont and Buscema, “Heroes.”

Heroes

Viper’s a bit of a showwoman.

Xavier tries to stand up and walk, but the pain makes him collapse. As a result, he loses his mind-link with the New Mutants. They’re at a fair with Stevie. Bobby and Dani go up in a little bi-wing plane, where the pilot does some fun little flips, and Dani clings to Bobby. He’s a lady’s man, no doubt about it. Later, the Mutants see a trio of stunt motorcyclists working on their bikes. It’s Team America! Or three of them, anyway. They had a series. It lasted a year, and ended May 1983. It was terrible. These are the very special guest stars I mentioned. Bobby asks for their autographs, but the Wolf refuses, which annoys Bobby. Team America doesn’t realize they’re being spied on.

They put on a show, and then get attacked. The Mutants figure no one will notice them in all the excitement, and get involved. The Silver Samurai jumps down, and takes out Xi’an. Then he takes out Cannonball. Wolf grabs a gun, but he hesitates, and the Samurai takes him down, too. Then the Dark Rider appears. In the Team America book, he always showed up to save the team when they were in trouble. This time, Silver Samurai takes him down easily. When his helmet’s taken off, it’s Dani beneath it. The Samurai grabs her and leaves.

Dani wakes up in a room with a bike. Some giant wheels roll towards her, but she can’t figure out how to use the bike. The wheels stop before she’s killed. She’s taken to see Viper. Dani gets worked up, and accidentally draws out Viper’s greatest fear – the woman she used to be.

Back at the Mansion, Xavier is trying to find Dani, with Colonel Rossi’s help. This is the last time Rossi appears in New Mutants, and he’s only got a couple more appearances for the rest of the ’80s as a whole. Meanwhile, Viper’s gone to see the guy who was head of Team America – a CIA agent named McDonald – and tell him to break into a secret facility on her behalf. He gets Team America together, and then Xavier shows up. He tells them they’re mutants – a projecting gestalt, able to project their combined abilities into a host to create the Dark Rider. Xavier’s going to teach them how to use their powers, while they do Viper’s mission. The New Mutants are angry about him spending time with Team America when he should be rescuing Dani. Xi’an says they’ll rescue Dani themselves.

This isn’t really a great issue. It’s only OK. Team America was always such a goofy book that their presence here feels off. Claremont does a reasonably good job with them, but unfortunately, they take some focus away from the New Mutants, which is a shame. This is only the fifth issue – way too early to do that. Bobby doesn’t come across too well, with his anger at the Wolf. Xi’an, on the other hand, comes across quite well, especially at the end, taking charge and saying they’re going after Dani. It’s a shame that this arc winds up with Xi’an seemingly dead, and not reappearing for a couple years. She’s a great character. Really interesting, really compelling. It would’ve been nice to see more done with her. Rossi’s appearance here also winds up being something of a dropped plot, I think. I have a hunch that Claremont had originally intended for Rossi to be a recurring character, and then changed his mind.

Buscema’s art is good. He gets to flex a bit with some action scenes, and they look very good. Still, even the art can’t really do much to elevate the story. All in all, this is one of the weakest issues of the entire run of New Mutants.

And the song of the day: Better by Regina Spektor.

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  1. New Mutants #54 (1987, August) | xmenxpert

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