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New Mutants #52 (1987, June)

January 16, 2016

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Today, by Claremont, Leonardi, Green, Scotese and Orzechowski, “Grounded Forever.”

Grounded Forever

This Sienkewicz cover makes me miss his New Mutants interiors.

It starts with Bobby and Amara, in costume, running through deserted New York streets, and into the subway. He rips a gate open, and Amara reminds him to be careful since his strength is fueled by the sun. We know, Amara. Man, that was one of those once-an-issue lines. Anyway, Bobby gets shot and killed by Scalphunter. He says Amara’s next, which gives Amara a chance for an epic comeback:

New Mutants #52

Amara’s a badass.

I love that line. Anyway, she gets taken down by the teamwork of Vertigo, Scalphunter and Scrambler, with Scrambler causing her powers to burn her up. The rest of the New Mutants – for some reason, Dani only sent Bobby and Amara off on their own, while the rest stuck together, which is weird planning – see the explosion. Illyana gets bored and leaves before Sabretooth can get her. The rest of the Marauders start attacking, too. And they kill the Mutants, with Dani being the last one standing, as she should be, because Dani’s awesome. She still dies.

But it was all a Danger Room simulation! They’re all alive. And Magneto has a chance to chew them out. They lasted barely 5 minutes and didn’t do any harm to the Marauders. Sunspot points out it was an X-Men training sequence, and Magneto reminds him of his own boasts that the Mutants are the equal of the X-Men. Magneto’s just trying to teach them that, when they’re told to stay behind, they should stay the hell behind. Karma takes the blame, since they only left to find and help her. Karma’s good that way. Always willing to take responsibility. Magneto still grounds them all, before noticing Illyana’s not there.

She’s in Limbo, fighting Techno-organic demons. And she’s looking a little more demonic herself. She’s got cloven hooves, and a tail, and horns. And her costume is completely replaced with mystic armour, which, because she’s a woman, obviously has to leave her midriff totally bare. I mean, come on, that’s just how armour for women works. What else are they going to do, wear armour that provides protection to places other than their boobs? Be realistic. (Side note: I’m looking forward to getting the Women In Practical Armour anthology in a few months.) Anyway, she finally manages to destroy S’ym, and then leaves her sword behind as she returns to Earth. Of course, S’ym’s not totally destroyed. Because Inferno has to happen first. But that won’t be for a couple years yet. Illyana returns to the school, is shocked at her appearance, and misses Kitty. I want to note that it’s Kitty she’s missing, not her brother. I really do think Kitty and Illyana should just be lovers. Come on, Marvel! Kitty/Illyana series where they become a couple!

Moving on, Dani is grooming Brightwind while reflecting on the previous arc, and the Bad Future she saw. Rahne comes in to mention the Bad Future she saw, and the two decide to go for a flight. And can I just say that Dani looks really good in a cowboy hat? She pulls it off really well. They fly past Sam and Bobby with Bobby teaching Sam soccer. He reminds the girls of their game for that afternoon. That game, of course, will be the one in Fallen Angels. Karma visits Magneto in his office, with some correspondence requiring his signature. He says he couldn’t get along without her. I’ve said this before, but I love that Karma has an actual job at the school. She’s the oldest of the students. She was already an adult when she came to the school – she’d already held a job. So I like this reminder of what she does at the school. She’s not a student attending classes. She’s an administrative assistant, getting real-world job experience. I wish more writers would remember that about her, and use her in that sort of role. For the entirety of Wolverine and the X-Men, she was absent, despite being literally the only person in the entire comic with even the tiniest bit of applicable experience to running a school. What the hell do Wolverine or Storm know about running a school? Hell, at least Scott had Emma helping him after Xavier’s death, and Scott’s also just a naturally organized guy. So I wish we’d see more of Karma keeping the school running.

Anyway, she tells him her siblings are still missing, and Magneto says he’s looking for them. She says she wants to conduct the search herself, and when he refuses, she’s upset.

New Mutants #52

I just really like Karma.

I think her reactions here are great, and a great depiction of the kind of person she is. She doesn’t scream or shout. She doesn’t get irrational. She even sees his side of the argument. But the two most important people in the world tp her are missing, and she’s not satisfied to stand by feeling helpless. It shows how mature a person she is, while also showing that she does still have some fire inside her. I just love Karma, and I only have so much longer where I’ll be able to talk about her before she pretty much disappears for a while, so I’m taking the chance now to showcase a couple reasons why I love her so much.

With that confrontation over, Magneto goes to visit Illyana, who’s laying in darkness with her back to the door. She is such a teenager. He offers to help her, and she lights up her room to show how dark and creepy it is. Lots of horror stuff. She says she’s getting tired of hiding what she is, and that Kitty and Peter dying will mean there’s no more point to hiding it. She takes Magneto to Limbo, and she mentions Peter and Kitty being her anchors to humanity. Let Kitty and Illyana be a couple, Marvel! S’ym shows up, and Magneto offers to kill him for Illyana. She says it’s her responsibility, and she has to deal with him herself. Which . . . why? Like, I get the idea of learning to take responsibility and all that, but if you have no idea how to do something, there is absolutely nothing shameful about asking someone else to help you do it. Illyana doesn’t know how to deal with S’ym, Magneto can deal with it easily, let him do it and she can handle the next big problem on her own instead. Especially since she’s, you know, a kid. What’s wrong with a kid letting an adult handle another adult who’s bullying her? Because that’s basically the situation here. A big, jerky adult is bullying a teenage girl, and she’s telling another adult not to help her. It’s a weird choice, I find.

Regardless, Magneto delivers a speech about overcoming one’s demons and being better, and then Illyana heads down to join the soccer game.

On an amusing note, on the letters page, there’s a mention of Claremont taking “a leave of absence” from New Mutants, with Louise Simonson “temporarily” taking over. That “temporary” assignment lasted for the rest of New Mutants’ run. Just kinda funny.

This is a really good issue. The opening Danger Room sequence with the Marauders was great – really intense stuff. Downright scary. The scene between Dani and Rahne was really nice – I liked Dani just deciding to throw off her gloominess and be happy. Dani’s such a great character, and that’s part of the reason. She’s got a real wild side to her, a sense of adventure, which makes it easy for her to have fun. I always love seeing Karma, and I talked plenty about that scene, so I won’t say more about it. And then the Illyana stuff was great. Showing her sliding further and further into the darkness, and then Magneto helping to pull her back a little towards the light. I still think the resolution is a little questionable, but whatever. The key part was Illyana going from feeling hopeless and lost, to her feeling like she had a chance. It was some powerful writing from Claremont. Really good stuff. Plus, Magneto gets to have a good day! He never got many of those as headmaster of the school.

The art’s OK. As shown above, in the Karma panels, his faces can be a bit weird, a bit vague. It’s better in the early part of the issue, during the Danger Room sequence. The second half of the book isn’t as good. I’m wondering if he was rushed to meet the deadline. Still, it’s mostly fine. Maybe that Sienkewicz cover just raised my expectations too high. The colours are good, at least.

Overall, it’s definitely a great issue, worth reading.

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