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New Mutants #10 (1983, December)

July 26, 2014

I’m still not talking about SDCC until Tuesday. Today, from Claremont and Buscema, “Betrayal!”

Betrayal!

Cannonball looks like he’s pouting.

The New Mutants are being paraded through the streets of Nova Roma, with Wolfsbane in a throne, as the descendant of both Julius Caesar and the wolf who nursed Romulus and Remus. The guy leading the parade, Gallio, plans on using the crowd’s love of him to become emperor. Bobby’s still worried about his mother, but doesn’t want to let the others know.

After the parade, they’re shown to the palace where they’ll be staying. Rahne doesn’t think it’s proper for the Nova Romans to call her a goddess. Gallio suggests that maybe the gods were just mutants in the first place. Food is brought in by slaves, which makes them all uncomfortable. Sam asks about Aquilla, and Gallio says Aquilla’s a plebian, and a dishonest Senator wanting to become emperor. Sam immediately distrusts Gallio’s explanation, finding it a bit too slick. Sam mentions that Amara told them differently, but Rahne snaps and asks why they should trust her. She offers to help Gallio, or Nova Roma, if needed.

Gallio leaves, and Bobby uses his strength to shatter the armour he’s wearing and then collapses on a couch. Apparently, the armour wasn’t very comfortable. Sam and Rahne start bickering, and Bobby gets annoyed and goes for a walk, figuring Dani can handle them. He feels sorry for himself, and thinks about all he’s been through. Juliana’s death, his failure to save Karma, and his mother going missing. As he looks out the window, he sees a woman who looks like his mother. He rushes out, but some soldiers stop him. He gets ready to kick their asses, but stops himself.

That night, Dani sneaks away from the palace. But someone finds her. Rahne worries about her, and Bobby tries to cheer her up. Rahne mostly feels guilty for how she acted earlier. Yelling at Sam, and blaspheming with the parade. Someone behind some curtains shoots Bobby. It’s Castro, the agent working for Bobby’s dad. Castro names Aquilla as the man who hired him to attack the kids.

Dani wakes up in a cave, in just a bra and a thong. Amara and another girl are there, too. They’re brought to what looks like a volcanic pit. Selene uses her mental powers to summon the first girl. Dani tries to use her own power, but Selene blocks it. The girl is thrown into the pit, and Selene says the girl’s death gives her life. Then she asks who’s next.

Sam and Bobby help Gallio in an assault on Aquilla’s mansion to arrest him. They make sure Aquilla’s arrested, rather than killed. Gallio and Aquilla exchange some brief hostilities in Latin. Gallio doesn’t realize Bobby actually understands Latin.

Back to the volcano, and Amara is about to be tossed in. Dani breaks free of the two goons holding her, and tries to rush Selene. Selene catches her, and says she and Dani are the same, and starts to take control of her. The struggle allows Amara to break free, but Selene just slaps her into the magma. Outside, an earthquake starts. And in the cave, Amara is less dead than Selene had expected.

This is a really good issue. There’s some nice intrigues with Gallio manipulating the Mutants. Selene is creepy and evil. The final splash page is pretty badass. Most of the characters get some really nice characterization here. Rahne’s torn between her faith and her love of being a wolf, and her hatred for Amara’s neat. Sam’s scepticism is really cool to see, especially his reasoning for it – he remembers the company rep who would make offers to the miners at contract time. Bobby’s ongoing fear for his mother, and guilt about Juliana and Xi’an, is also nice. We don’t see too much of Dani here, but we do get a glimpse of her determination. I also like her idle thought wishing she had a rifle or her bow – a nice reminder that she actually knows how to hunt and to fight. It actually would’ve been cool to see more of that side of her throughout the book, but she very seldom used a bow and arrows. She did take to using a spear for a while.

The issue’s got plenty of tension, but also a couple moments of good humour. The art is very good. A lot of this issue rests on the expressions characters have, and Sal Buscema captures the expressions well. The panel of Dani being slowly taken over by Selene is really, really creepy. And, as I said, the final splash is wicked cool. It kinda makes me want to see what it would look like under a more modern artist; or, even better, in animation, because I feel like Magma’s skin would flow a lot.

Song of the day: Stars by Au Revoir Simone.

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