icon_uk: (Katie Cook Doug)
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I got a happy posting the Alan Davis New Mutants Annual from 1986 a few days ago, so here goes with the companion piece X-Men Annual #10, this time with none other than Art Adams on art!



This is a 42 page issue, so I've trimmed it to 14 pages near as I can (which has meant trimming out a LOT of fun stuff). It's also, like most of my scans, from my original copy of the comic, so it's a little past it's prime, and Lord knows the printing process did delicate work like Art Admas no bloody favours at all... If you can find it in cleaned up TPB form, my suggestion is to go for it, it'll look better than this does.

We start with a Danger Room session, Magneto (Who was running the School, and mentoring the New Mutants, under the assumed name of Michael Xavier, Charles' distant cousin (Charles being offworld), at this point in time). It's Magneto vs Wolverine, Shadowcat, Rogue, Storm (non-powered though she is at this point), Nightcrawler AND Colossus and Magneto is winning nicely thank you very much. To be honest, whilst pretty, you've seen such things before (and my pagecount needs some sacrifices), so we'll cut to a discussion which underpins the annual.

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An interesting question, especially at this point in time, when the New Mutants have a whole heap of fieldwork under their X-buckled belts.

In another dimension, the Danger Room session is being broadcast is full 3D to a huge crowd of the aliens known as "The Spineless Ones", and who is arranging for this footage, why... THIS fine fellow...

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Art Adams created and designed Spiral and Mojo in his Longshot series, and I LOVE the Samurai styled outfit he gives Spiral.

But the appetites of his audience are insatiable, and Mojo needs MORE excitement, new thrills... but without repeating himself, he IS an artiste after all. So what can he do to... stir the pot? Well, he has one idea up his... well, I can't say sleeve, is "arm fat" more appropriate?

So he pushes a big shiny button....

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Arriving in a splurge of magic bubble sparkly goop (So many smutty comments I could make, so little time)

Umm... actually, I've just realised that my trimming has excised any images of the character in question at this point, so here, just to make sure I don't go over the limit, is a link which will tell you, at least, what Longshot looks like.

Betsy goes running down to the Danger Room with a first aid kit (I think that's the first time I ever saw any suggestion that the Xavier School even HAD one of those... perhaps it's Betsy's own). She tries to mindscan Longshot but gets almost nothing, his mind is in complete psychic shock... She recommends that they take him to the infirmary (Why waste their only first-aid kit?) though she does note that he is DESPERATELY pretty.

Kurt is in analytical mode...



Magic sparkly goop which evaporates into nothingness... How handy... though Betsy has a BAD feeling...

The next morning... Storm awakens early, as is her habit... and oh god the Claremontian mode of speech... ARGH!

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There's a yell from elsewhere which she goes to explore, as do the New Mutants, since it's Illyana doing the yelling, ans she doesn't freak easily.

The whole gang of thm arrive in Magik's room to find Kitty Pryde, looking about 10 cowering in her bed and not understanding why everyone is screaming at her...

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"Holy Jumping Beezers"? Really Doug? (Also, Art has a delightful habit of, when Doug and Warlock are in a scene together with not much to do, Warlock will copy whatever his selfsoulfriend is doing because that's just a fun thing to do) I also like short, not terribly massive Piotr there.

Down in the Briefing Room, Doug and the New Mutants try to explain to the X-Men how they have changed, but the X-Men don't believe it, they've ALWAYS been this way as far as they know... Even holographic comparisons don't convince them.

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I like Warlock warning Doug about the dangers of doing what they are doing, it's clearly something that Doug really enjoys, being more than just the normal kid with the talent for languages, being Douglock makes him MORE as far as he's concerned.

It's perhaps worth comparing and contrasting Davis' Warlock with Adams. Davis' version always looks like he's made up of thousands of tiny components that he pulls into whatever approximate shape he wants to at any given moment (For some reason looking at him makes me imagine that whenever he moves he'd sound like large quantities of sand pouring... or a rainstick). Art Adams Warlock is a lot smoother and slicker... and more mech-ish which is just as valid, but once he Douglock's up... the texturing is more or less the opposite, all fine detail.

But I digress....
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"...colloqiual referent. Bratpack". (Who of course we met in the New Mutants Annual). Doug realises EXACTLY who must be behind this and runs to tell the others, which proves unfortunate, as he distracts the New Mutants at just the moment that Magneto (who is still old enough to have his powers) blasts them all with an electromagnetic blast because he and the X-Men want to leave and Sam and Dani were dead set against it.

The X-Kids (for wont of a better term) steal the school limo, and given their size and age, driving is sort of a mutual effort...

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There's something big and bright on the horizon, something they were drawn to. But the arguing about who gets to do what sets in immediately...

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They get to where they're going and find....

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This is going to end well, isn't it?

Meanwhile, back at the School

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Dani intercepts the Police who have arrived to report that the school's limousine has been found abandoned...

The now vaguely awake team try to use Cerebro (Mirage's powers are psionic, that's enough for her to be able to use it) but can't find them. Doug notes that that makes sense, if they are all still de-aging, then their mutant genes will have regressed past the point of dormancy so they won't register. (It could be argued that Nightcrawler should still register since his physical appearance is the result of an active mutation, but we'll gloss over that).

Sam decides that their course of action is clear, they have to try and find and locate what's left of the X-Men, but not as the New Mutants... Thye're having to step up to fill in for the X-Men, and that means it's time for...

xma10_ 013

They get some stick, but I've always loved those costumes, a couple of cultural clichés to one side). Sam with a crash-helmet, Magma and Sunspot's striking outfits, Wolfsbanes rather demure outfit, Cyphers eminently sensible costume with protective, possibly bulletproof, padding (oh the irony) and Magik's robes (Which would reappear in later stories, but always coloured a more striking red).

Dani's fringed outfit might be a touch OTT, but I will give a slight pass for Karma's yin/yang logod costume because that has a certain precedent in her life, it was the symbol that showed up in her first ever appearance where we met her evil twin brother (Yes, she had one) and the symbol was shared between them, ending with her taking on both aspects. I think I still have a copy of that somewhere). Also that Warlock's entire costume is a Superman cape. :)

The team use Illyana's stepping disks to go to Central Park, where the limousine was found, but instead of that, they find themselves on stage at the Delacorte Theatre in Central park, in the middle of a production of "A Comedy of Errors". Magik's magic has been hi-jacked, and by none other than Spiral

I really have to apologise for the fact I'm having to slash the following sequence as completely as I have, there's a LOT going on and a lot of cool fight scenes (and ooddles of little easter-eggs in the audience at the play, from Clark and Lois to the Bratpack kids, to a certain gentleman with a fixed grin from Gotham (who LOVES Mojo's smile) and so on), but the 1/3 rule applies. As I've said, I recommend hunting this issue down, I really do.

The X-Men have been slightly re-aged again, but now under Spiral's control and with the older members having their powers active (Wolverine, Magneto and yes, even Storm has her lost weather-powers again). In a typically tasteless move for a Mojo plot, Magneto is now wearing a variation on Nazi stormtrooper gear. Wolverine is naked apart from a Mojo-style mask. Spiral has spelldanced the entire audience, so they HAVE to watch what's going on.)

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If I didn't know better I'd think that Piotr still has issues with Kitty's friendship with Doug.

Magneto fries Warlock (because of the scale of his powers) and Psylocke takes out Dani (because of her tactical skill. Sam at this point was co-leader, but not in the field, he was still more of the "den mother/big brother" at the time)

Colossus, Nightcrawler and Shadowcat target Wolfsbane and Longshot targets Magik.

Mojo shows up to gloat and to tell the New Mutants that the aging process of the X-Men is picking up speed, but when they reach their true ages they will be under his control FOREVER (cue threatening music... or given that this is a Claremont story, cue "No, no, really, what a shock", from the readership)

Spiral is tired of Longshot stealing her glory so starts to target him herself, which pisses Mojo off, to the extent that he knocks her out himself.

Magma tries to raise a volcano to unseat Mojo, but Storm creates a rainstorm to cancel it out.

Colossus and Sunspot are now slugging it out, with Bobby noting that since it's night time he has only limited reserves of solar energy to power his strength (Does he still have that limitation, I always liked it... this is also the first time we've seen him in clothing which DOESN'T go jet black when he's in Sunspot mode) but though he deals with Piotr, he hasn't paid attention to...

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Karma targets Wolverine, and she tries very hard to possess him, but there is a LOT of anger in him and he resist strongly. When all else fails she tries pleading with him to remember and it all manages to achieve the desired result... sort of...

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And what's the first thing the reawakened and now ENTIRELY nude Wolverine does?

And what HAS Doug been doing?

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Whilst a gutsy, and clever, move by Doug one has to wonder how many of us would have wanted to use our horny adolescent mindsets as a means to stop an angry telepath?

The younger X-Men now also have their powers, even Kitty and she and Magik's fight leads to Kitty phasing through Mojo's support chair...

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Now freed, Storm blasts him with concentrated lightning distracting him for long enough for Rogue to try and leech his power from him, only to find that he has near limitless power, and along with his warped mindset she starts to develop pustules and tumours growths that I shall not include in the scans.... She collapses from the strain but it's given Magneto time to yank his support chair down to ground level and for a now fully powered Colossus to punch him slightly harder than an artic lorry impact would. Finally, Kurt steals one of Spiral's swords working on the theory that if they are from Mojo's world they'd probably affect him, and leaps to stab him.

Mojo has finally had enough and vanishes back to Mojoworld without another word.

But even with him being out of the picture, things are still not as they should be, but they do have one ace in the hole, someone Mojo left behind, and who is still unconscious.

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Storm is very specific in the bargain she makes. Spiral will go free (Over Betsy's strenuous objection, she feels they should just kill her while they have the chance), but only if she returns everything in the theatre, and the X-Men themselves, back to the way they were before Mojo started interfering. Spiral double checks that Storm REALLY means that, and she does, so Spiral does her little six armed ballet and the magic reverts everything to the way it was.

Back at the mansion, the next morning, the New Mutants put their graduation uniforms away. Doug is disappointed, Xian is relieved and so it goes on. Sunspot feels they accomplishes nothing since the X-Men had to save the day, but Dani points out that they couldn't have without the New Mutants help.

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"Splash!"

Storm is above the school on a promontory, with Logan and Betsy... Betsy notes that Storm has cut her hair again, Storm says that she likes the style, it suits her and if she wants to grow her hair out, she'll be the one to make that choice, not Mojo. Spiral also made sure that when she did her dance she DID revert everything back to how it had been.

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Now this part of the discussion I do have a LOT of issues with, and it highlights the problem that Marvel had with the New Mutants (DC had much the same with the Teen Titans). When do they get to grow up and move to the senior team, or graduate at least?

How do you keep a popular youth-oriented franchise going and still have them grow up? (Claremont originally intended to New Mutants to have a high turnover of characters and students graduated, or left, and new ones joined, but the success of the team meant that that was too risky, saleswise.)

Psylocke is being a pass straight into the X-Men because.....? Well, that's not made clear at all. (It would have been interesting to have an adult member of the New Mutants, but one with less field experience than the kids, what sort of dynamics would that have set up I wonder?) (And her keeping quiet about her eyes is also a major strike against her. I appreciate that she enjoyed being able to see again, but she spends AGES angsting over the fact that they are Mojo-implants and dangerous but does nothing at all about it, putting the team in danger every time she opens her eyes, giving Mojo insight into the team, and she's already noted that her powers mean she can see through the eyes of others any time she wants)

Storm also overlooks the fact that the New Mutants were chosen by Xavier too. What DOES Kitty have that Sam and Dani, or even Doug, don't? Nothing much IMHO. They just come over as smug, superior and somewhat entitled, IMHO at least.

(Consider thought, that NONE of the New Mutants graduted to the X-Men for many more years. Sam made it, but only after several years of leading X-Force, he returns to be treated by the writer as a fairly amateur hick with no tactical contributions to make, and constantly being dazzled by the wonderfulness which was the senior X-Men just because they were the older... it got old really quick)

We finish on Mojo world, his latest epic is raking in more money than even he has dreamed of. He preens a little, since the X-Men CAN'T be heroic without someone suitably evil to fight against...

His plan to put Longshot into the X-Men will not only increase figures directly, but also inspire Spiral to ever more dangerous actions against them as she will resent it more than anything. Everything is going how he has planned, the audience love him, the ADORE him....

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Now, wasn't that fun? :)

Date: 2012-09-25 08:33 pm (UTC)
auggie18: (Default)
From: [personal profile] auggie18
Boy, Psylocke really liked going to murder a lot back in the day. I remember when Havok stumbled upon this iteration of the X-men and Betsy was "let's kill him. I think we should totally kill him."

And huh, high waisted belts were really a thing. I like the costumes in a sorta slap-dash, throw-on-what-you-got way. The costume that comes off the best for me is Karma's.

Naked Wolverine was more of a thing back then too. It seemed like he couldn't go more than a few issues without ending up in the buff.

Aw yeah, Longshot!

Date: 2012-09-25 08:34 pm (UTC)
crinos: (Default)
From: [personal profile] crinos
Mojo has always been one of my favorite X men villains.

Date: 2012-09-26 12:48 am (UTC)
amaniwolf: (Yay!!!)
From: [personal profile] amaniwolf
Wow, this brings back great memories for me. I really loved these stories, you actually felt something for the characters and watched them grow and mature, it wasn't all...fight, fight, fight. And i still enjoy Art Adams Art, even after all this time.

Date: 2012-09-26 06:45 pm (UTC)
amaniwolf: (Galactus)
From: [personal profile] amaniwolf
Guess not, it's just been so long since i've seen it. How i've missed it so.

Date: 2012-09-26 03:09 am (UTC)
halloweenjack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] halloweenjack
Psylocke is being a pass straight into the X-Men because.....?

Because Chris Claremont used to write Captain Britain, of course, and he seems to have a hard time letting go of any character he's ever written. (I can't remember if he wrote Betsy in the series when he was doing it; I remember her mostly from Jamie Delano's time, when she was Captain Britain for a short time (in between almost getting raped by an alternate dimensional doppelganger of her brother--ugh--and getting her eyes ripped out by Slaymaster--double ugh).

Date: 2012-09-26 07:18 am (UTC)
kusonaga: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kusonaga
I just want to say I love me some New Mutants and I'm happy you're posting this. MOAR!

Date: 2012-09-26 12:56 pm (UTC)
alexanderlucard: (Default)
From: [personal profile] alexanderlucard
I always loved this annual. I assumed Betsy got the pass in to X-Menhood due to the fact she had been a member of STRIKE and a very bad attempt at being Captain Britain. So she had experience, just not as a mutant superhero. Plus you probably don't want to upset her larger, (at the time borderline alcoholic) brother with a bad temper,

Date: 2012-09-26 03:56 pm (UTC)
alexanderlucard: (Default)
From: [personal profile] alexanderlucard
I almost wrote in my response that I don't think betsy should count as a mutant at all. After all, years of exposure to otherworld and machinations by Merlyn and/or Roma at the very least had to be part of her power origins.

As for the power suite I am thinking either bad memories from the last time she wore it, wanting to stand on her own from her brother or "caused her eyes to malfunction." Where's my no-prize? :-P

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