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New Mutants #30 (1985, August)

March 2, 2015

I forgot to do this earlier. Oops. Oh well. By Claremont and Sienkewicz, “The Singer and Her Song.”

The SInger and Her Song

Lots of light on this cover.

Illyana, Sam, Kitty, Rachel and Dazzler are all in Limbo, with Illyana in Darkchilde form. She’s crazy, and Limbo’s in chaos as a result. She starts screwing with the others, too, until Kitty gets involved. Illyana summons her Soulsword, which is pitch black, but Kitty wrestles it away, and it switches back to silver, and covers her with silver armour. Kitty wonders what the hell’s going on, then slashes Illyana to see if that puts things back to normal. Illyana’s calm, but Kitty’s pissed at the Beyonder. The first Secret Wars resulted in Colossus no longer loving Kitty, and now Illyana’s been hurt, and Kitty aims to make the Beyonder pay for both.

They pop back to the normal world, but find no sign of the X-Men, the Avengers or the Beyonder. Illyana suggests they go back to helping Bobby and Amara. They’ve got a plan for finding them, and Kitty plans on infiltrating the Gladiators to learn what hold they have over Bobby and Amara. Alison volunteers to do it, but Kitty refuses.

Meanwhile, Bobby’s in a fight. He wins, but isn’t particularly happy. He heads to the back and powers down, and learns he’s hurt. Flynn tells him it’s a badge of honour. Bobby expresses his joy.

Elsewhere, Alison is trying to infiltrate the Gladiators, much to Kitty’s annoyance. Rachel talks to her telepathically, and Alison says she has to do it, to prove that she’s not addicted. Sam doesn’t think they should let her, but Kitty says it’s her call. Alison heads inside, and she’s given a flask that’ll lower her inhibitions, and told to drink it if she wants in. She does. The Master of the Gladiators is pleased, but prudent, and calls General Nguyen Ngoc Coy.

Kitty infiltrates the Gladiators in the guise of a techie looking for work. Alison’s show starts. First, she sings. Then, as her power builds up, she eventually releases it to knock out a bunch of Gladiators. She loves the cheers. Kitty also gets a job as a techie.

Bobby wakes up to see Alison. The situation is explained, so now Kitty knows about the kids being held hostage. She calls Sam to set up a plan.

In training the next day, Amara and Bobby both mess with Alison to scare her, and she gets mad. Outside, Sam and Illyana talk about the Beyonder. They’re scared of him. Back inside, Kitty disables the surveillance systems so she can let Bobby know there are no hostages. The plan is to have Illyana, Rachel and Sam cause a big enough ruckus to force the cops to make a bust. But the Beyonder shows up. Illyana tries to attack him, but Rachel instead tries to communicate. She learns he’s just curious.

Back inside, Kitty finds Alison, apparently sleeping, and finds a notebook where Alison wrote about not being a Gladiator. Kitty’s proud, but Alison’s not actually asleep, and she’s got a very odd look on her face. She dazzles Kitty. Kitty finds herself being held by a very fat person, who calls her “cherie.” Kitty recognizes the voice, and whoever it is is also a telepath. Bobby and Amara are about to have their bout, and are wondering where Kitty is. A monstrous opponent comes out, and Bobby and Amara figure it’s kill or be killed against it. The Master muses that the foe is actually Kitty in a robotic shell.

Much like with UXM #196, this is a great issue pulled down by a forced Secret Wars tie-in. There’s even more Beyonder content here than in UXM #196, and hurts the issue even more. The Limbo opening is cool, at least, and it does hint at a connection between Kitty and Illyana. (Interestingly, the exact nature of their connection has never been explained, even though there have been a few occasions where it’s been a major plot point.) But the scene between Rachel and the Beyonder just doesn’t work. It feels tacked-on and pointless, with no real bearing on the story. A description that applies quite nicely to most of Secret Wars II, frankly.

Kitty is arguably the star of this issue, which I’m mostly fine with. It is a bit weird that the New Mutants title was so thoroughly taken over by a couple of characters who aren’t New Mutants. Kitty’s experience does make her the right choice to lead the mission. She shows her intelligence and cunning, and comes up with a pretty good plan. Alison is less compelling here – she’s a bit of a whine-ass, frankly, a little too full of self-doubt, and the “addiction” angle pushed maybe a bit too hard. And, of course, the amount of focus she gets is a bit of a problem. It wouldn’t be a problem if she was the only guest star, but with Kitty already getting a lot of focus, too, it means even less space for the New Mutants. They do get some – the animosity that Bobby and Amara feel towards her is a nice touch, and Illyana, of course, gets a pretty decent amount of focus – but the New Mutants still end up feeling like guest stars in their own book, and that’s a problem.

Sienkewicz’s art continues to be excellent. I have no complaints about that. He makes the mysterious Master very intimidating. Speaking of the Master, we get some interesting hints about who it is. It’s very exciting.

Song of the day: Modern Girl by Sleater-Kinney.

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