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New Mutants #28 (1985, June)

February 15, 2015

I work tomorrow, so that’s when I’ll do my pull list. But for today, by Claremont and Sienkewicz, “Soulwar.”

Soulwar

OK, that’s actually kinda unsettling.

Xavier and Jack Wayne are climbing the mountain in David’s mind, and Xavier slips. Wayne catches him telekinetically, and thinks he can’t afford to lose Xavier yet. They stop to rest, and chat. Wayne says that because the Arab controls David’s telepathy, he controls the landscape of David’s mind. The New Mutants catch up to them. They’re all attacked by jets, but Cyndi burns them and Wayne throws the wreckage at the mountain. Then he has to protect the Mutants from the avalanche he just caused. He also calls Dani “Hiawatha,” which annoys her. He reminds her of the heroes in Westerns, killing Indians all over the place. Rahne also mentions to Moira that something about Wayne smells off, and she doesn’t trust him. A storm kicks up, and spikes start growing out of the mountain.

On Magneto’s hidden island, Lee is swimming. She’s worried about what happened with Magneto the night before, when he shows up with breakfast. She’s tense with him, and he wants to know what’s wrong. She wonders if he used his powers on her in bed. He says he didn’t, but she doesn’t know why she should believe him. He talks about how much it hurt him when Magda became scared of him, and says he needs Lee. She turns away, and he walks away, heartbroken. Aw, poor Maggy.

Back in David’s head, they’re almost out of room to back up. Cyndi promises to keep Doug warm. She’s got a clear crush on him, which raises a thought. Cyndi is a part of David, so does that mean David secretly had a crush on Doug? Anyway, Jack keeps them up on a telekinetic platform, and Xavier comes up with a plan of attack. He has Dani use her power on the Arab. We finally learn his name, Jemail Karami. The mindscape goes screwy, and everyone falls off Wayne’s platform, but it’s only a few feet, so no one’s hurt.

The mountain’s gone, but the dome is still there. Wayne says he was never able to damage it, and Doug remembers an episode of Star Trek – I’m pretty sure it’s “The Menagerie” – where aliens used illusions to keep the crew from seeing that their phasers were working. Then Xavier walks through the dome, and enters David’s inner mind. David’s thoughts and memories take the form of crystals, linked by energy chains, but there are fewer than there should be. The others follow Xavier in, and Wayne warns them the Arab’s going to be more dangerous, and it’s kill or be killed. Gaby sees some of David’s memories of her, filled with love, and Dani wonders if Xavier could help her walk through her own memories of her grandfather. A nice character beat, that. Some of the crystals are broken, and Xavier notes that it seems as if some of the crystals have been repaired. The only one who could’ve done it is Jemail.

Speaking of whom, they see Jemail in his own crystal clutter, and he smashes into David’s, sending shards all over the place. Gaby sees a memory of Jemail’s assassination of her friend, and near-murder of David himself, and she snaps and attacks Jemail, urged on by Wayne. Xavier stops her, but gets hit by a bunch of crystal shards thrown by Wayne. Wayne’s ready to kill Jemail.

In the Hellfire Club, Empath is talking to one of the women who works there. He wants revenge against Emma and Xavier. He gives the woman files on Sunspot and Magma, and offers them to the Gladiators that the woman represents. Claremont did like his subplots.

Back to David’s mind. Doug interrupts Wayne before he can kill Jemail, and then Dani draws out Wayne’s greatest fear, which is Xavier and David together. He’s defeated, but Rahne and Xavier are both in bad shape, and there’s only one telepath who can get them back to their bodies. Dani wakes Jemail. And now it’s time for some explanations.

All these years, Jemail’s been trying to heal David. He initially hated David, for what he is and what he did, but eventually, he realized David was just an innocent boy. He overcame his hate, and found love, instead. He wanted to fix what he’d done, so he started working to repair David’s damaged psyche. Unfortunately, by attacking Jemail, they’ve undone all the work, and he has no time to do it again. In order to keep David’s talents from causing any more problems in the real world, Jemail figures he’ll have to regain control. Dani asks if he and Wayne working together can fix it, and they both agree.

Xavier wakes up, after almost two weeks in a coma. Doug explains how Dani saved the day, and we also find out she was the last to leave the mindscape, and had almost killed herself as a result. Later, Xavier pays a visit to Gaby and David. Xavier finally get to meet David, and it’s really awkward. Jack Wayne, Cyndi and Jemail all say hello. Turns out they’re all still in there. Xavier and David have a heartfelt hug. Later again, Xavier and Gaby walk and talk about David. And Xavier also thinks about how he sensed the return of the Beyonder. Yep, Secret Wars II is about to start up, which is uuugh. Not a good event.

But this was a great issue! Really good. There’s a lot of really nice character stuff all through. We see Xavier’s determination, and a little bit of his intelligence and insight. Dani comes across really well. Doug and Cyndi have a fun chemistry, with her flirting and him acting sarcastic. It’s cute. It’s kind of a shame Cyndi never really shows up again, because she was fun. Jack Wayne and Jemail don’t really show up again, either, as Legion’s later appearances generally don’t make use of those split personalities. Oh well. At least this issue had a Star Trek reference. I always enjoy those. Though I didn’t like the Original Series. I watched it as a teenager, at the height of my love of the Star Trek franchise, but I thought TOS was just too cheesy. It was very much a product of its time, and I’ve never much liked the “great for its time” line of thought. It feels like a very backhanded compliment. “It’s awful, but hey, people used to be idiots, so you can’t hold its awfulness against it.”

Sienkewicz’s art remains excellent, and does a good job capturing the weirdness of the mindscape. However, I’m not really satisfied with the stuff inside the dome, with the crystals. I feel like a lot more could’ve been done with that, and Sienkewicz wound up half-assing it. Sienkewicz wasn’t really a “fine detail” kind of artist. He was more abstract. And it worked for a lot of what he did, but there are times where a blend of the abstract and the detailed would’ve worked better. This issue was one of those times.

Song of the day: Bethamphetamine (Pretty Pretty) by Butch Walker.

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