New Mutants #65 (1988, July)
Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Happy Canada Day! To celebrate, I’m talking about a comic with no Canadians in it. Hmm. I could change the order a bit and talk about Alpha Flight, but . . . no. I’d rather talk about something enjoyable. So, by Simonson, Blevins, Austin, Oliver and Orzechowski, “Demons!”
Illyana wants to kill Forge. She tells Magneto that Forge should die for killing the X-Men. Magneto says the X-Men weren’t his problem, the Mutants are. Illyana says Xavier shouldn’t have left him in charge of a bunch of hamsters, then teleports away. Magneto tells the Mutants they’re not allowed to use their powers or leave the house without his permission, and if they don’t obey, he’ll give them no choice but to obey. Dani wonders what he means by that. Poor Magneto. He wanted so much to help the kids, but he’s slipping back towards villainy because they drive him so nuts. Let that be a lesson, people: Kids will drive you to supervillainy.
Anyway, Illyana’s teleported to Muir Isle, to see Kitty. Awww! And I can’t not post this panel:
It’s a good hug. But the good feelings don’t last long. Illyana expresses her anger at all the death around them, with Forge still being free. Kitty tries to tell her to let it go. Illyana gets angry and teleports away again. I think this is the last time they’ll see each other before Illyana gets de-aged and gets the Legacy Virus. Wow, I just made myself really sad with that realization. The next time these two see each other is when Illyana is a child on her deathbed.
Back at the school, Dani and Sam find Bobby and Rahne suiting up in their ugly “graduation” costumes. They think that they should help Illyana when she gets back. When she does pop up, grabbing her own costume, the others all jump into her stepping disc. They’re shocked at how bad Limbo’s gotten. Remember that Limbo reflects Illyana’s own soul. So she’s in a really bad place right now. Dani and Sam try to talk her out of going after Forge, but Bobby demands they help. Bobby points out that Dani’s Deathsight should keep them all out of danger, but Dani says it’s not useful in battle, as it comes and goes as danger gets greater or lesser. Which is . . . odd. That doesn’t really make much sense, given the whole job of the Valkyries was to collect the souls of people who die in battle. It’s pretty clearly Weezie justifying why Dani couldn’t predict Doug’s death previously, though it’s worth noting that the very next line actually justifies it better: She never looked at him.
Regardless, everyone agrees to help Illyana, and she draws the Soulsword, and I gotta say, I love how Blevins, Austin and Oliver do her armour:
With the Soulsword gone, S’ym prepares to expand his power in Limbo, and continue his plans to create a portal. Guys, Inferno is coming.
On Earth, Forge and Freedom Force are waiting for the Mutants, having been warned by Destiny. Destiny says that Illyana will bring disaster to the world. Then the fight, which initially goes poorly for the Mutants, which makes sense. The Brotherhood are all a lot more experienced, and more powerful. Things turn a bit when Sunspot attacks Spiral, and smashes the wall behind her, which then topples on top of Spiral, Stonewall and Avalanche. Honestly, it’s kinda funny. I love Sunspot acting as though he intended for it to happen, but even better is this from Destiny:
That is just the best. After that, the fight starts to turn the Mutants’ way more, but they do all fall. Spiral gets really creepy:
Actually, it occurs to me that Spiral should probably kinda like Illyana, at least at this point. Spiral is all about chaos, and Illyana was very chaotic at this point. I’m not sure if they’d get along right now, though. I’d like to see them meet up. The Kitty/Illyana series I want could have a run-in with Spiral. That’d be cool.
Anyway, Destiny’s visions end up interacting with Dani’s mirages, allowing everyone to see Destiny’s vision of New York overrun with techno-organic demons. Destiny warns Illyana that it’s coming, and the only way she can stop is to learn. Bobby and Illyana are both sceptical, and Forge finally shows himself, so Illyana attacks him.
On a side note, the letters page mentions that Leong and Nga were going to be part of an upcoming Fallen Angels sequel. A shame that never came about. Especially since it meant it was the mid-’90s before they actually ended up being found again, in a Beast mini, of all places.
So this issue! It’s great! Illyana’s grief, and her reactions to everything that’s happened, is really sad, but makes for a compelling story. I like that other Mutants are so worried about her, too. They keep saying that, after losing everyone else, they don’t want to lose her, too. It’s also interesting that Bobby and Rahne are the ones jumping to help her. Bobby, of course, has always been reckless and aggressive. So the fact that he wants to punch things makes sense. But the way Rahne has become so loyal to Illyana is one of my favourite things about the New Mutants. Rahne started off hating Illyana, seeing her as wicked and evil. But now, she cares about Illyana probably more than anyone else on the team does. It’s really sweet to see.
The fight is cool. It’s fun. You get the feeling that Freedom Force isn’t really taking it all that seriously, so the fact that the Mutants do so well is a little more believable. And they do still lose the fight, as they really should, given they’re fighting X-Men foes.
The art is great. I find Blevins’ expressive style really effective here. And he does action well, as there is a sense of motion. The colours are gorgeous. Oliver might be doing even better work here than she does on the main X-title. There are a lot of panels that serve as reminders that she really was one of the best colour artists in the industry.
Simonson has really hit her groove on the title at this point, and is doing fantastic work. Divisive as he was, I find Blevins a great match for her, complementing her writing wonderfully. This is a great issue in a great run.