Tuesday, 20 March 2012
New Mutants #1: "Initiation!"
(Meanwhile, back at the ranch...)
Before we get down to this issue, it's worth noting how strange the publication schedule for the opening issues of New Mutants seems to be. This debut issue was published the same month as UXM #167, in which the X-Men finally return home to deal with Professor Xavier's infection by the Brood. Despite that latter issue wrapping up that storyline, and showing that the New Mutants are all unhurt and unchanged, the Xavier/Brood shenanigans continue for three months here. I presume there was some kind of delay in getting NMU up and running.
Onto the book itself, and we open on our neophyte heroes watching Shan as Stevie Hunter attempts to re-style her hair. So an African-American human woman has declared a Vietnamese mutant girl's hair stands out against the cultural grain and needs to be changed, and has let a veritable cornucopia of mutant children watch and make fun. Which is now being commented on by a white guy. What a minefield of cultural insensitivity, huh? And doubtless very confusing for Shan. No wonder she turned into a lesbian.
(Also, issues of individuality and social pressure aside, if a teacher can't stop her charges from following them into the bathroom, they need to find themselves a new job j. quick.)
Stevie is so intent on playing salon mistress that she fails to take Roberto to task when he starts flirting with Rahne, even though she's well aware that coming on to a exceptionally repressed puritanically-raised girl is like feeding heroin to a rhino - it can't possibly recognise what it is, and it'll be dangerous once it inevitably goes crazy. I'd suggest Ms Hunter was the worst teacher at the mansion, if Xavier didn't keep getting his students nearly killed, and wasn't about to turn into a giant killer bug.
Anyway, either because Shan is unusually fixated on her past right now (another reason why demanding she change her look might not be the best idea), or because Dani's busy laughing at 'Berto's generally cheesiness, the young Cheyenne accidentally manifests Shan's greatest fear; that she'll relive the horror that killed her parents and cost her her innocence at the hands of pirates, following her family's flight from South Vietnam (interesting that Claremont calls it that, despite Vietnam having been unified almost eight years earlier ). Shan is incensed, and tries to first murder Dani and then possess Stevie. Only Roberto physically striking her snaps her out of it. It is not, as the young Brazilian notes, the most auspicious of beginnings.
Dani wanders through the mansion in something of a daze after the attack, finding first Kitty's room, and then Storm's attic garden. She spends some time watering the plants (who must be pretty grateful for the attention after all this time), until she and her team-mates are summoned by Xavier. Their first session in the Danger Room awaits.
Across the pond, Moira MacTaggert, with Illyana in tow, have come to London to visit the Israeli ambassador, Gabrielle Haller. Clearly, Gaby's made a name for herself after Xavier broke through her post-Holocaust catatonia in UXM #161. It's not all sunshine and matzoh balls, though - Gaby's son is both autistic and a mutant. The ambassador thinks the two are linked, and would like Moira to give him the once over. Moira points out that Xavier would be a more logical choice, but Gaby shoots that idea down in flames: Charles is the boy's father.
Back in Westchester, Shan models her new hair (which I do not like, for what it's worth) and the Professor demonstrates the workings of the Danger Room. Whilst he's exceptionally clear on the point that the New Mutants will neither replace the X-Men or become superheroes, there's still a need for the team to be able to handle themselves should the worst come to the worst.
The mutant's task is a simple one: make it from one end of the Danger Room to the other. None of them succeed, but Psyche refuses even to try. She's gripped by the utter conviction that entering the training simulator will result in her death (Karma's attempt to strangle her mere hours earlier probably hasn't helped her nerves any, either), and she flees the mansion rather than chance her arm.
Wolfsbane finds her first, lazing by the lake and trying very hard not to think about anything in particular. Rahne is very smart here, actually, responding to Dani's desire to lose her powers entirely by doubling down on her own love of being a wolf, reminding Dani of the bond only the two of them share, and which is only possible because of the Native American's abilities. That covered, Rahne listens as her friend tells the sad story of her parents' deaths, and Black Eagle's after that.
Lastly, the younger girl reassures her classmate that Shan is not the sort of person to hold a grudge, or at least not a murderous one. It's not enough to bring Psyche back yet, but the danger of her fleeing entirely seems to have passed, and Rahne rejoins the others. Stevie's taking them out for an evening on the town.
Even that isn't liable to go smoothly, though. Stevie's car is being tailed by two shadowy agents, answering to the equally shadowy Agent Gyrich.
While her friends head off for an evening which will surely be eventful in one way or another, Dani returns to the mansion, and to the Danger Room. This time she screws up her courage, and completes the course, doing what none of her peers could. Her elation is short-lived, though, as someone knocks her unconscious, and drags her back inside. When at last she comes to, the program running is most definitely above her pay-grade, and there's something nasty coming out of the jungle that's looking far hungrier than one would want...
This story takes place over a single day. We'll assume it beings the day after Sam's arrival - the group's first glimpse of the Danger Room certainly suggests they haven't been around too long.
Wednesday 6th of July, 1983.
Catholic zealot and all-around worthless shit Pat Buchanan calls AIDS "God's revenge on homosexuals." Twenty-nine years later, MSNBC fire him for after (accurately) concluding he's a racist, and the American right goes crazy over his "victimisation."
So, to Pat Buchanan and every one of his defenders: fuck you guys. Fuck you 'til you bleed out the maggots that have replaced your blood.
"If he reads my mind, I hope my thoughts make hin blush."
I'm a big fan of 13 year old Roberto and his constant horniness. Who says comics are unrealistic?