New Mutants #46 (1986, December)
The Massacre continues! By Claremont and Guice, “Bloody Sunday.”
The New Mutants hear Lockheed making a racket, and start to follow him to the training complex. Dani goes first to check on Brightwind, but when she’s outside, she looks back and sees a massive spectre of death over the entire mansion. On Muir Isle, Moira’s taking a shower, when Illyana teleports in and grabs her. She shows Moira what’s going on at the mansion – Sam, Warlock and Doug catching up with Lockheed in the hangar, in time to see the X-Men bust in with some Morlocks. That’s when Illyana pops back in with Moira, to help treat the injured. The X-Men explain what happened in UXM #211, for anyone who hadn’t read it yet, but really, why would anyone who was reading New Mutants not also be reading UXM? Especially considering anyone who wasn’t reading it was probably being told how amazing UXM #211 was. Anyway, Storm tells the Mutants to follow Moira’s orders while the X-Men set up a security perimeter.
Hours pass, and the Mutants are all pretty shaken up by what they’re seeing. Bobby almost drops a life-support module as his strength fades, so Magneto yells at him to stay out of the way. Sunder starts freaking out, refusing to let his leg be amputated. Karma tries to possess him, but his pain’s too strong, and Psylocke breaks the connection to calm Sunder herself. Karma compares the whole situation to Vietnam. Of course, with the sliding timeline, she no longer would’ve been around for the Vietnam War, so she wouldn’t have seen the same suffering. That’s actually kind of a shame. Her background was fairly important. I suppose there’s a workaround to it, a way to keep her background as tragic. Dani’s huddled in a corner, terrified by all the death she keeps seeing and unable to do anything about it.
Bobby goes into the kitchen, pissed at Magneto, and sees Rahne making sandwiches. He picks one up, and Rahne slaps his hand and says they’re for the people who need them. Bobby knocks the table over, and Rahne gets ready to attack him. Dani and Sam head up to yell at them both for fighting when there’s people dying in their basement.
Later on, Doug sees Warlock scanning for something, but Warlock won’t talk about it. Shan tries to call her little siblings, but they don’t answer. Illyana teleports in, upset at not being able to help Kitty, and they ‘port over to Shan’s place so she can check on the twins. When Shan turns on the light, there’s an explosion. A little later, the Mutants are worried about them, and decide to head into the city to check on them. Doug and Bobby bicker a little first, because they really don’t much like each other at times.
They go into the tunnels, where Warlock turns into a car. He refuses to fly to the city. As they drive off, they’re unaware of the Magus following them. We pick up with the Mutants as they leave the tunnels, all deeply shaken by what they saw. They see Shan’s apartment in flames. Luckily, Illyana and Shan are in an alley nearby. Illyana got them out just in time. The Mutants get ready to begin a search for the twins, but Warlock grabs them and flees back into the sewer. Then he falls apart. And that’s when Magus makes his move. And Illyana’s forced to ‘port them all away.
This is another excellent issue. It really shows that a special mindset is needed if you’re going to be involved in emergency services, especially medicine. You’re going to lose a lot of patients, and that’s tough to deal with. A lot of people can’t deal with that kind of failure. The Mutants, obviously, can’t, which drives the main conflict for the first half of the issue. They want to help, but it all seems so helpless, and it hits some worse than others. Bobby is particularly frustrated, as usual. He’s the kind of guy who doesn’t deal well with being helpless. It makes him act like a total prick. Seriously, Bobby, knocking over those sandwiches was a dick move.
The second half of the issue moves away from that, and actually feels like it could’ve been tightened a bit more. We’ve got Shan being worried about her siblings, then we’ve got the Mutants worried about Shan and Illyana, then we’ve got the Mutants worried about Warlock and the Magus. It’s hard to say what Claremont should’ve done about it. He had the scene of Shan’s apartment blowing up only 2/3rds of the way through the issue, and I’m not sure padding the issue out more before that would have been the best approach. But, well, I can’t help but feel he should have padded the issue out more. Spent a little more time on each of the Mutants, maybe. Or something. I don’t know. The addition of the Magus in this issue just may have been a little too much, and it maybe should’ve been saved for the next issue. Except then it would mean that issue would need to be practically nothing but padding. So, yeah, I don’t know what the solution is. But I do think it created a little too busy an issue.
This issue starts a subplot involving Shan’s brother and sister. This plot lasts for a full decade. It gets resolved in, of all places, a Beast mini-series in 1997. That is a long-ass time for the twins to be missing. It’s actually a little frustrating. I don’t know if Claremont just had no idea what to do with the plot, or what. He eventually uses it to write Karma out of New Mutants again. She doesn’t even last another year. Which sucks. Because she wasn’t part of any books by the time Claremont left the franchise, I guess none of the writers felt like bringing her back, so her plot ends up being abandoned until Keith Giffen decides to resolve it. Probably after re-reading some New Mutants and realizing the plot was left dangling. That’s what I’m assuming.
Anyway! This issue! Guice does a great job on the art. It could’ve done with a little more tension in the style – either close it in or pull it back, to give a sense of either closeness or emptiness. I suppose the emptiness is accomplished by not bothering with backgrounds, but that’s not quite what I’m talking about. Still, he does a very nice job on the art.
It’s a great issue. The arc it leads into is . . . odd. But also good.