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New Mutants #39 (1986, May)

July 6, 2015

It’s too damn hot these days. Ugh. By Claremont and Keith Pollard, “Pawns of the White Queen.”

Pawns of the White Queen

Emma always dressed so professionally.

The White Queen welcomes the New Mutants to the Massachusetts Academy. They show absolutely no reaction. She sends them to get changed, and wonders what happened to them, and whether even she can repair the damage. She decides it’s a risk she has to take, to strengthen the Hellfire Club. The Hellions notice how weird the Mutants are acting. When Doug’s asked about his power, he casually says their powers didn’t save them from death, or life. In the women’s changing room, Empath uses his power on the female Mutants, to absolutely no effect. Illyana pops in and terrifies him. The female Hellions come in and he runs away, though Roulette makes him slip on a wet patch and slam into the wall, right in front of Emma.

Later on, the full group of Hellions are in the training room for a class photo. A week later, Magneto looks at the photo, and one of the Mutants as they were. In the Danger Room control booth, Dani uses her illusion ability on herself, to see a Mutants training session. A memory of how it should’ve been. It makes her sad.

Back at the Academy, Emma approaches the sleeping Rahne, the last of the team to get the psychic surgery. It takes a lot out of her, but she succeeds, and Rahne wakes up happy. Back at Xavier’s, Dani enters Magneto’s office, which is a mess, and Magneto is drinking. She chews him out for quitting on the Mutants. She says goodbye to Stevie, and then heads home. She feels bad for running out on the Mutants herself, but she knows she can’t take on the White Queen.

At the Academy, Rahne wakes up screaming from a nightmare. Catseye tries to comfort her, but Rahne bats her away. Luckily, she’s neither hurt not angry. Cannonball and Jetstream explode through the wall, because apparently they’re too good for doors. Catseye leads Rahne outside, byu having them smash through the window. Because apparently they’re also too good for doors, or for opening windows. Sam also had a nightmare. Illyana pops in, shifting to her Darkchild form. She’s avoided nightmares by not sleeping.

Back at Xavier’s, Magneto swims and takes a shower, and a couple people slip in. It’s Tom and Sharon, who’ve been missing for a while. Their clothes are weird. It’s not really punk, too skimpy to be bondage, but it’s obviously supposed to be along those lines. They pass out. Later, in the infirmary, Magneto and Stevie asked what happened. She says that they found someone outside the house, and then they started kissing, and found themselves insatiable. They kept looking for more and more stimulation. They almost wanted to die, but didn’t want to give Empath the victory.

Magneto gets pissed. He storms into the Danger Room, forms a steel sculpture of Empath’s face, and then explodes it. Then he reshapes it into Emma’s face, and explodes it, too. Emma knows he knows. She decides to call the police.

This is a pretty good issue. It’s well-written. I actually would’ve liked just a touch more ambiguity to Emma. There are moments where it seems like she’s genuinely concerned for the Mutants’ well-being, but these moments are always followed by her thinking something much more self-serving or villainous. It would’ve been nice if there were stronger hints that she wanted to help them because they needed help, not just because she wanted tools.

The art is OK. It doesn’t do anywhere near as good a job at capturing the emptiness of the Mutants. Leonardi made them look bored and apathetic. Pollard makes them look like they’re under mind control or something. He gives them wide eyes that just stare straight ahead. It’s far less effective, far less unsettling. The art improves after the psychic surgery. Once they get some life back, the art looks really good.

Also, I really, really want Catseye to be brought back. Every time I see her interact with Rahne, it’s great. They have such a fun chemistry.

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