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New Mutants #16 (1984, June)

September 7, 2014

I’ve started reading Wonder Woman Unbound for a Goodreads club. I’ll talk about it when I finish it. For today, by Claremont and Buscema, “Away Game!”

Away Game!

It’s the Hellions! Yay!

Emma Frost is welcoming the New Mutants, and saying they now belong to the Hellfire Club. Magma causes an earthquake that knocks out the power. By the time the emergency lights come on, the Mutants are gone. Emma tells the guards not to search for them, and says she’ll deal with it herself. Kitty’s sitting in a chair, unable to move because of psychic blocks Emma’s placed on her. Emma claims to have already succeeded in brainwashing Kitty. Then they talk about the Hellfire Club’s goal being power, and mutants a means to that end. Emma also mentions that mutants have no freedom except death.

The Mutants are hiding in a storeroom, and they come up with a plan to take out the main generator, find Kitty and escape. A couple female guards are walking by, and the Mutants grab them. The women refuse to talk, until Dani conjures their greatest fear – the White Queen. The women are scared enough to talk, but one does say that Dani’s as bad as the White Queen is. Dani feels awful, but Illyana brings her a uniform. The two girls are the only ones who will fit in the uniforms, so they’re going to be partners. Sunspot and Wolfsbane make another team, and Cannonball and Magma the third team. Magma burns through the floor, and Cannonball’s impressed. They reach the generator room, and Magma knocks it out. Then they slip out to look for Doug. Someone’s watching from above.

In the tunnels, Dani and Illyana are looking for Kitty. They don’t notice something trailing them, either. Sunspot and Wolfsbane come to a door, and Sunspot tears it. But he’s blinded by a flare, then knocked out with a punch from Thunderbird. Wolfsbane attacks him in wolf form, and he grabs her, but she changes to her were-form, and manages to knock him down. But then Roulette causes some shelves to fall on her. Sunspot gets up, but before attacking Thunderbird and Roulette, he lifts the shelving unit. But Roulette’s bad luck causes him to pull a muscle in the process.

Dani feels Rahne’s pain, and cries out. Illyana tries to quiet her, but Catseye grabs her and slams her into the ceiling. Then Tarot brings a Devil to life from a card. Outside, Sam talks to “‘Mara’,” and she tells him not to use that nickname. It’s too intimate. They run into Empath, who momentarily takes them over. Doug shows up and distracts Empath, allowing Cannonball to punch him. Jetstream flies in and slams into Cannonball, smashing him through a wall. He tries to slam Cannonball into a tree, but Cannonball ignites just in time to avoid it. Empath uses his power to make Magma attack Sam. Jetstream gets hit by a stray lava blast, which hurts him, and Cannonball has to save him, smashing into the ground in the process. He’s fine, though, and he gives Empath another smack. Sama and Amara stand triumphant, and Doug rushes out, excited to learn they have powers. The White Queen steps in to take over all their minds. Sam sees her as a southern version of Amara, and Amara sees her as her mother.

Back in the complex, Dani’s losing against the Devil, as she starts transforming into one herself. Illyana summons her Soulsword to get free from Catseye, then to disrupt the Devil spell. She goes after Tarot, who summons a Knight of Swords, riding a horse, which knocks Illyana down. Emma shows up to use the same trick she used on Sam and Amara, but Illyana’s mind is closed. Instead, Illyana grabs Dani and bolts through a lightdisc.

Great issue. It’s very action-heavy, and the action is really exciting. It’s well-written and well-drawn. There’s a couple awkward panels, but nothing major. Claremont also includes some moments of characterization, with Dani and Sam getting the best of that. Sam’s attraction to Amara gets a fair bit of focus. It occurs to me that, if this comic had come out today, Sam would probably complain about being “friendzoned.” Dani’s main bit of characterization comes from how she feels about her powers. She hates revealing the fears people have, invading their privacy and making their secrets public. Interestingly, her power really does seem better-suited for a villain. It’s part of what made her interesting in the early days.

This issue is also notable for being the first appearance of the Hellions. I like the Hellions. They’re really cool. We don’t see much of them here. We do see Thunderbird, who would later grow up to be Warpath. We get a bit of an idea of his personality – specifically, that he’s got a sense of honour and pride. Roulette is shown as being arrogant and a bit sadistic. Empath is a manipulative jerk. The others aren’t as clear-cut yet. For the record, my favourite is Catseye. She doesn’t do much in this issue, but later on, we’ll see more of her, and she’s great. Of course, in the ’90s, she and the other Hellions – except for Thunderbird and Empath – will be killed. Damned shame. They’re really cool.

Song of the day: Bipolar by Charlene Soraia.

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