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New Mutants #23 (1985, January)

November 28, 2014

I swapped shifts with a girl at work. So I work tomorrow, instead of today. So here, by Claremont and Sienkewicz, is “Shadowman.”

Shadowman

Yay for Cloak and Dagger!

Emanuel DaCosta and Selene are both introduced into the Inner Circle of the Hellfire Club. Back in Salem Centre, Colossus is playing chess with Harry, owner of the local tavern. There’s a reference to Harry having a mysterious past. One of the waitresses comes in and tells Colossus that Bobby’s acting weird. Colossus tries to talk to him, but Bobby punches him, then turns to Sunspot. He looks messed up, so Colossus psi-calls Xavier. Xavier wakes Sam and Dani, with Sam accidentally walking in on Dani as she gets dressed. She says he’s cute when he blushes, and adds that he’s cute, period. Colossus tries to grab hold of Sunspot, but finds himself getting absorbed. Colossus manages to land a punch, and both are knocked out.

Down in the Bermuda Triangle, Lee is amused at Magneto, Master of Magnetism, one of the most feared mutants on the planet, getting seasick. They head to his old base, the one where he nearly killed Kitty back in UXM #150. He thinks Xavier and the X-Men were stupid for abandoning it to go back to the school. He tries to use his power, and it hurts him, and he pushes Lee away when she tries to help him, but she tells him off and helps him anyway.

Back at the school, Bobby and Colossus are both comatose, but Xavier and Moira can’t figure out why. Sam and Dani try to figure out why Bobby went to Harry’s, and the phone rings. Dani rushes to Rahne’s bedroom, but Rahne’s not there, so Dani and Sam rocket to New York. They walk into a fancy hotel, and Dani uses her illusions to make them look like ideal guests. They head for the elevator, not noticing Inspector Clouseau. Cute little Easter egg. Anyway, they head up to the penthouse, and Dani replays a memory she pulled out of the clerk’s mind. That’s a new trick. Not one she uses often. Anyway, a beautiful red-headed girl had walked in and demanded the best suite in the hotel. Dani recognizes the woman, Sam doesn’t. When they get to the penthouse, they’re met by Rahne, wearing the same clothes the illusion girl had been. Rahne’s upset, and the three go home. Dani takes the necklace that Rahne found last issue.

Once Rahne’s in bed, Dani tells Sam about a dream she had, walking the streets of New York. In the same clothes and the same hotel they found Rahne in. She was getting impressions from the psi-link she shares with Rahne’s wolf-form, even though Rahne wasn’t in that form. Lots of questions. She’s frustrated at not being able to figure out the answers. Sam sees a newspaper headline that ties into it. A few nights earlier, a young couple was attacked by a wolf at Lincoln Centre. The girl was mauled, but when the paramedics arrived, she didn’t have a mark on her. They recognize the girl in the photo, and go to the hospital to talk to Cloak and Dagger.

Turns out, when Cloak and Dagger had previously purged the drug from the systems of Bobby and Rahne, it must not have been permanent. In fact, Bobby and Rahne have now taken Cloak and Dagger’s powers. Cloak – Tyrone – doesn’t want to help them. He doesn’t want his power back.

Back at the school, Bobby wakes up. And he seems hungry.

There’s also a Xavier journal entry on Warlock.

This is a really, really cool issue. It’s cool seeing Sam and Dani try to work through the mystery of what’s going on. Anyone who read the story where the New Mutants first encountered Cloak and Dagger would obviously figure out pretty quickly what was happening, but you never feel smarter than the characters. Their struggle to work through it is done very effectively, and is very reasonable, given the circumstances. This also provides some solid character work.

The art is fantastic. Sienkewicz is a perfect fit for the story. It’s weird and dark and fantastical and just looks great. He brings a creepiness, a spookiness, that does a lot to enhance the story. He also does a very nice job with expressiveness. Facial expressions and even simply body language convey a lot of emotional effect. Sienkewicz really did some absolutely amazing work on this title.

Also this month, Marvel Team-Up #149, by Louise Simonson and Bret Blevins. It features a team-up between Spider-Man and Cannonball. Sam’s in the city, shopping for a hat for his mom. He thinks about how being at the school has kept him from earning money for his family, and that he’s doing so poorly he might end up flunking out. As he walks out of Saks, he sees Spider-Man swinging around, and admires him. As he walks back towards the bus station, some people fleeing a rampaging monster run past him. Sam rockets into Times Square to help with the fight. He knocks some cops out of the way of an electric blast, and smashes a fire hydrant. The water causes the monster to shrink a bit, but Sam gets distracted when a dog starts chewing on his mom’s hat. Spider-Man grabs Sam out of harm’s way, and Sam manages to grab the hat, too. Spider-Man remembers him as Cannonball, and notes that Sam was doing a pretty good job. The monster starts absorbing more power from Times Square. A helicopter drops a net on it, and the wind blows the hat away again. Sam catches it. He hands it to Spider-Man to keep, then grabs the monster from below and flies it out to the river. He even manages to pull a quick acrobatic move to turn around. The woman who was piloting the helicopter explains the whole deal to Spider-Man and Cannonball. She mentions the Incandescent Man was her twin brother, and she wants to use him to destroy Project Pegasus, the place that created him. Spider-Man mentions that Sam will probably be famous, and some reporter probably got pictures of him, but Sam says he hopes not, because he might be recognized as one of Xavier’s students, and the anti-mutant hysteria would cause problems. So Spider-Man tosses the photos he took of Sam in action. Which seems silly to me. Blur his face, man. That’s all it would take. Also, I still object to the whole idea of fighting for mutant rights by avoiding publicity. It’s a stupid, backwards idea. A lot of the problem comes down to the nature of the genre, and the need to follow various superhero tropes, including things like secret identities. Still, it’s a fun issue, and a good showing for Cannonball. The running gag with the hat was fun. Oddly, Louise Simonson repeats the bit in Web of Spider-Man #2 (from May 1985), with Spider-Man trying to keep hold of a hat he bought for Aunt May while fighting some flying goons called the Vulturions. I guess the idea just really amused her. Interestingly, the Incandescent Man never does show up again. No one ever followed up on this story.

Song of the day: Pull Shapes by the Pipettes.

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