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New Mutants Annual #5 (1989, October)

September 23, 2017

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Oh, joy, an Atlantis Attacks Annual. And it gets worse. By Simonson, Liefeld (ugh), Dzon, Vincent, and Rosen, “Here Be Monsters!”

Here Be Monsters!

SURF do not become the success Liefeld hoped.

Ghaur and Llyra look terrible.

New Mutants Annual #5

Frigging Liefeld.

Anyway, they’re watching footage of the New Mutants and Namor fighting a giant squid. Ghaur has three of his followers – who look like Sunspot, Wolfsbane and Warlock – to follow Namor to find the Horn of Doom and steal it. Meanwhile, the Mutants have returned to Earth, minus Dani, but X-Factor haven’t gotten back with Ship yet. So they land in the water to wait a bit. Rahne goes swimming, which turns out to be a questionable idea.

New Mutants Annual #5

Aw, poor shark. He got boomed.

In Atlantis, the three Deviants sneak into Namorita’s room to steal the Horn, with a few Lemurians. As they flee, three Atlanteans watch. Two chase the Deviants, the third checks on Namorita. Undertow, who inexplicably wears suspenders, Sharkskin, and Eel. Undertow can create water funnels, Sharkskin is tough, Eel is bendy. The three are Atlantean mutants, hated and feared by society. Because of course they are.

New Mutants Annual #5

Liefeld was not great at designs.

They were loyal to Namor, and with him seemingly-dead, they’re also loyal to Namorita. She thinks the Deviants who attacked her are actually the New Mutants, because they match the descriptions of three of them. So, fight! Which leads, obviously, to a team-up. But in the meantime, Ghaur’s gotten the Horn, and blown it. And a gross monster attacks Atlantis.

New Mutants Annual #5

Well that sure is a thing.

So time to fight it!

New Mutants Annual #5

Boom-Boom only supports traditions where things explode.

Unfortunately, damaging the tentacles just releases an ichor into the water that poisons Atlanteans, and I have now learned that WordPress’ spellcheck doesn’t recognize “ichor” as a word. It’s a real word, WordPress. It’s a blood-like fluid. Anyway, they can’t hurt the monster, so they just try to evacuate Atlantis. Ghaur tries to attack them in his ship, but gets whacked by the monster, and the water rushing in sucks out the Horn. Even so, he decides enough Atlanteans have died to declare the ritual sacrifice to Set complete. Which feels kinda lazy. Like, just letting a bunch of dudes get accidentally poisoned? Not much of a ritual. Whatever happened to the days when madmen put effort into ritual sacrifices. Where’s the showmanship!

Anyway, the heroes still need to stop the monster, and when Namorita suggests leading it to a deep trench, Sam comes up with a plan. Sam heads down with Boom-Boom, with the SURF dudes leading the monster after them. Eel takes the bomb into the creature’s mouth and slips out before it explodes, then the others collapse the cliff face on it. The day is saved, aside from a bunch of dead Atlanteans, and the rest having fled because the city’s now uninhabitable. So, a Pyrrhic victory. (Oh, the spellcheck recognizes “Pyrrhic” but not “ichor”? Jeez. Also, side note, I spelled “Pyrrhic” correctly on the first try, and I’m rather proud of that.)

So this issue is not great. It’s a mandated tie-in to a shitty event. They do their best, but that definitely drags it down. Reading it on its own, without the context of the rest of Atlantis Attacks, changes it, but I honestly can’t tell if it makes it better or worse. On the one hand, it makes it feel like only part of a story, robs it of some context. On the other hand, Atlantis Attacks sucks, so reading this issue separate from that actually lets readers imagine something so much better for the larger story. I think I do prefer this on its own rather than in the context of Atlantis Attacks.

Either way, though, it’s a weak story. Simonson’s dialogue is often clunky and exposition-y. The characterization often falls a bit flat. And then there’s the art. Rob frigging Liefeld. Do I even need to talk about it? It’s Rob Liefeld. Everyone knows what his art’s like, and it’s very Liefeldian here. The book is full of those classic Liefeld poses that have never existed in real life. And those Liefeldian faces that are almost mesmerizing in how off they are. It’s exactly what one expects of Liefeld art. It’s unnatural and off-putting. In short, it sucks. And it makes a mediocre story a bad one.

There’s also a back-up! By Judith Kurzer Bogdanove, Jon Bogdanove, Barta, Buccellato, and Rosen, “A Case of the Cutes.” First off, Boom-Boom is an ’80s fashion queen.

New Mutants Annual #5

Hell yes.

She wants cute boys. Rictor comes in, and flirts.

New Mutants Annual #5

Subtle, Ric.

She gets rid of him, then falls back and falls asleep. And in her dream, she meets Jon Bogdanove, when he talks about drawing her. He offers to hook her up with a cute guy. He starts with Spider-Man, but:

New Mutants Annual #5

Does Boom-Boom want to hook up with MJ?

Next is Mr. Fantastic, and, um, is he really one of the cutest guys in the Marvel Universe? Well, Boom-Boom likes him. Sue doesn’t like that she likes him. Then a scene of her married to Captain America, with kids, and it doesn’t go well.

New Mutants Annual #5

I love Boom-Boom.

There’s Daredevil, but he’s too serious. Namor, who’s too full of himself, with Boom-Boom saying he doesn’t need a woman, he needs a mirror. She’s not wrong. The only one who can truly appreciate Namor is Namor. Doom, and I can understand her refusal, but her reason makes no sense to me:

Baroness Boom-Boom Von Doom

Why would she NOT want to be called that?!

Baroness Boom-Boom Von Doom! Amazing. Best name ever. Anyway, after that, the artist tries Dr. Octopus, Hulk, and Wolverine.

New Mutants Annual #5

The pink claw polish makes this panel.

I refuse to acknowledge Logan as cute, though. Regardless, Punisher’s next, and:

New Mutants Annual #5

That narration! And Boom-Boom rocks the skull.

And then, finally, she gets to meet the cutest guy in the entire Marvel Universe.

New Mutants Annual #5

Awww.

So this story is a thing. It’s fun. Are there things about it that are deeply weird? Sure. It’s a teen girl – not even 18 – being hooked up with all sorts of heroes who are in their 20s, 30s, and some even older. That’s weird. And it ends with that teen girl getting a kiss from a 4-year-old boy. Weird. But, you know what? Screw it. The story’s just too much fun to let that bother me. It’s a cute, fun, good-natured story. I love it. The Bogdanoves clearly had a blast making it, and it shows through, and makes it a blast to read. So, yeah, great back-up.

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