icon_uk: (Katie Cook Doug)
[personal profile] icon_uk posting in [community profile] scans_daily
Firstly please excuse the quality of the scans, the comics themselves are 28 years old and have been much read! :)

So this is another of my "Accentuate the Positive" posts, a glimpse into the past at some story or concept I thought was well presented, to prevent me making another angry post about current comics (Though I'll still post about the good ones of those I find too of course)

Quick recap (Well, this is a Claremont story, so quick is relative)

Emma Frost (Still the unrepentant White Queen of the Hellfire Club) has offered Kitty's friend Doug Ramsey (Who is as yet unaware of his own mutant nature, though Kitty and the others are not) a scholarship at the Massachusetts (Which I can't believe I just spelled correctly first time) Academy. Unaware of her evil nature, Doug is slightly delighted by this, but remembers that Kitty had mentioned being a student there briefly (very briefly, LONGER story) and asks her to join him in checking the place out before deciding whether to accept or not. Unwilling to let her friend walk into a possible trap unaided she agrees.

Of course, it IS a trap for Kitty (though Emma may well have had plans for Doug as well). Magik discovers this and alerts the other new Mutants (They may not like Kitty that much, but they don't want to see anything bad happen to her or Doug). Alas, the X-Men have just disappeared because of the Secret Wars and no one left on Earth has any clue where they've gone.

So the NM's have no choice but to go to the rescue themselves. They arrive, but are cornered by Hellfire Club guards, and still manage to escape

(This may not be the most coherent post because I've chosen to focus on the Hellions rather than purely on the narrative, with one or two exceptions, but bear with me. Also, the Sal Buscema/Tom Mandrake art has never been my favourite, but it's serviceable at least)

So it falls to the guards to inform their boss of their failure. One thing I love about Claremont is that he goes out of his way to make even his background characters people, rather than (with no offence to Doug) cyphers. They may wear costumes, or uniforms, but they clearly have lives beyond that, and friends too, even if they are "the bad guys".

This next page is a nice little glimpse into pre-reformation Emma's outlook on the world. It's more than just being arrogant, or having a nice line in acid-drenched one-liners.

Nice recruitment speech there....

The Mutants split up, Sam and Amara go to take out an underground generator (and all the backups) to cause as much confusion as they can, and will then seek out Doug, who isn't being held captive like Kitty, Emma still wants to recruit him voluntarily if she can)

Dani and Illyana (in stolen Hellfire Club gear) as one team and Rahne and Berto as another go looking for Kitty.

This also has my favourite excuse for the New Mutants costumes EVER! :)

Jetstream? Now that's a new name (Well, in context it is)

Dani suggests to Magik (Sorry, but it's easier to spell than Illyana) that they could use her powers to teleport rather than sneak around, but Magik says no, her power has drawbacks (We'll see them later).

Oooh! Spooky!

Meanwhile Berto and Rahne have come across a locked door, which Berto is able to force open as Sunspot but on the other side...

Rahne leaps at the newcomer (Thunderbird II, in case you hadn't guessed) but finds that someone else is picking on her...

But Jenny, or Roulette as she is also known, does interfere and throws a black light disk at Sunspot whilst he is busy lifting the shelves off of Rahne. He instantly collapses in agony, and Roulette muses that, though she can never be sure what effect her luck powers will have, she wouldn't be surprised if he's pulled a muscle in his back, or pinched a nerve. She's not VERY sorry about hurting him as she thought it was fun. Thunderbird is LESS amused.

Back at Dani and Illyana's mission... Dani collapses because her mindlink to Rahne (always strongest when Rahne is in wolf-form) has just sent a wave of pain at her she wasn't prepared for, and whilst the two of them are distracted...

And as it that weren't bad enough, on with the Sam and Amara show, as we meet perhaps the most loathesome of this new team....

Doug, with exquisite timing, arrives breaking Empath's already split concentration, and freeing Sam from his control. He punches out Manuel Alfonso Rodrigo De La Rocha (Who for the sake of my typing, we'll just call Empath) but hasn't got time to catch his breath before he's attacked by a guy flying in through the window, the last member of our little team, Jetstream....

Emma watches Jetstream and Cannonball smash through a dormitory wall, and sighs, she'd hoped the Hellions could manage this with a little finesse, but clearly she's going to need to take matters into her OWN hands.

Sam and Jetstream tussle in mid-air, whilst Empath takes the chance to make Magma's friendship for Sam become complete and utter hatred. Cue several flaming magma blasts being aimed at him. A stray blast hits Jetstream and Sam, ever the straight arrow realises that he'll be badly injured falling from such a height, and swoops to catch him whilst still rocketing and so invulnerable.

The impact as he hits the ground breaks Empaths hold over Amara, who is about to roast the skin from his bones (probably) when Sam rockets back OUT of the ground, punching Empath's lights out.

A rather stunned Doug has been trying to take all this in (his friends have SUPERPOWERS?) but he, Amara and Sam all fall prey to the arrival of the White Queen, she discreetly mindwipes Doug so he'll go back to bed and remember nothing, and controls Sam and Amara enough to make them docile enough to get indoors.

Which leaves only Dani and Magik, where Dani is still fighting Tarot's Devil, who in a typical Claremontian move is also transforming her into a devil herself.

Luckily that's enough to reverse the transformation of Dani.

A terrified Tarot tries another card (She sort of relies on them) and pulls out the Knight of Sword whose horse catches Illyana a glancing blow on the head. With Emma arriving on the scene too, even though Magik's immune to all psi-powers, it's all she can do to summon a stepping disk and take Dani through it with her.

Emma is.... not pleased, but there's not a lot she can do...

And so we head into part two

We open with the Hellions having a little... discussion about the night before. eg Jetstream punches Empath very, very hard for his stupidity risking his life. (and now we see some fun dynamics and an overview from their boss which tells us a lot about the team)

Now this whole set up fascinated me, these aren't powers with cool names, they're kids and they all have different reasons for being there and how they relate to reach other.

Their entry in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe (Which I can't find in my boxes at the moment, sorry about that) expands a little further.

We have
  • Thunderbird (James Proudstar), whose there because he has a personal vendetta against Charles Xavuer, and the Hellfire Club say they will help.
  • Catseye (Sharon Smith), who genuinely thinks she's a cat who can turn into a human, having spent most of her life being raised by a cat in the Massachusetts Underground system. She stays because it's fun. Emma notes that Sharon's intellect is actually enormous, but her mindset is a little more feral than the norm.
  • Jetstream (Haroun ibn Sallah al-Rashid from Morocco) is a member because he owes them a debt. His power is to fly, but his body has no protection against impact and friction and he burned most of his skin off the first time he flew. The cybernetic implants the Hellfire Club paid for saved his life, and now he owes them.
  • Tarot (Marie-Ange Colbert) is there because her cards tell her to be.
  • Roulette (Jenny Stavros) is the daughter of a... legitimate businessman in Atlantic City. She's there because she chooses to be, but again, isn't really evil, more.. somewhat nasty, in a hgh school sort of a way, and finally
  • Empath (Manuel Alfonso Rodrigo De La Rocha) Now he IS evil, a sadistic, malevolent little wretch who plays with people emotions and breaks lives just for fun. I'm all for a villain with some depth, but every now and again it's nice to have someone you can just "Booooo!" with a clear conscience. (A lot of this was later undone, to the characters detriment IMHO, but that's a post for another day)

So we have a variety of outlooks, a variety of motivations, all united, like the New Mutants, but their powers.

But back to the plot... there was one, remember?

In Limbo, Sym has found Dani and illyana and "takes care of them" which includes new clothes and a bed in early demonic. Illyana feels the need for a healing spell.

This is the first time that Dani has really see Illyana do magic and is a little confused by the mixing of black and white magic (Sort of Magik's whole schtick)

Recovered, they return to Earth, and we're about to discover the problem that Magik had with her powers in the early days...

Oh dear... Kitty and all the New Mutants (Except no sign of Doug) as Hellions? That was quick. As it turns out it wasn't. Magik teleports through space AND time, and whilst she can be fairly good with the spatial, the temporal is a PAIN, the two of them have accidentally arrived more than six months in the future, during which time, in the absence of the X-Men, who knows what might have happened.

They decide to try again, and this time arrive less than a week after their starting point, which is the best that Illyana can manage. They get into Emma's office and try calling the X-Mansion, but get no answer, and instead had down to the holding cells.

They find the others all there (again, apart from Doug, who one hopes went on his way home after his planned weekend, presumably with some sort of memory implant of Kitty wanting to stay ot catch up with old friends or the like), but are ambushed by the Hellions, for a rather surprising reason...

Since Emma is in New York she knows nothing of this. A duel is declared, Sam vs Haroun, Cannonball vs Jetstream, in the confines of the Combat Room (An early Danger Room analogue)

Sam is pleased to note that the Hellions are playing fair, with Jetstream just as much a target as he is...

Well, that's just embarrassing!

It falls to Sunspot to yell out a strategy that Sam has practiced before which leads him to be able to brake in mid air for long enough to, basically, kick Jetstream in the face.

Alas, we'll never know how sincere the Hellions were, as the scene is interrupted by Emma returning, with a surprise guest, Sebastian Shaw, the Black King of the Hellfire Club.

Good though the New Mutants are, they're still pretty much rookies, and against a psi of Emma's class, and Shaw's ability to absorb any impact and turn it into strength they are pretty much hosed. Luckily Kitty is able to phase through the Combat Romo's controls sending them wild and, in the confusion, Illyana teleports out, but not before Rahne has a chance to offer what she sees as redemption to a mutant with a similar power to her own...

And thus ended the first meeting of the New Mutants and the original Hellions. They would go on to have many more meetings over the years ahead, usually as rivals, but sometimes as allies. Magma even left the New Mutants to join the Hellions as she felt their more privileged lifestyle was perhaps better suited to her than Xaviers more laissez-faire approach (Another of Louise Simonson's plot twists I never warmed to)

Alas apart from Thunderbird (who had already left to join X-Force) and Empath (Who ended up with Amara in South America), they were all killed to make a frighteningly two-dimensional and boring new villain Trevor Fitzroy appear badass. Le sigh....

Several other teams took on the name; A group of villains who made a one-off appearance in Generation-X, another which made a one off appearance in X-Force (And which included Tarot, who apparently returned from the dead under her own power via means that were never elaborated on), and the name of Emma's short lived (in some cases literally) class cadre at Xaviers school in Young X-Men, but these were the first and IMHO the best, a shame we never got to see how they developed and grew up, but that was the 90's for you :( )

Date: 2012-05-07 07:55 pm (UTC)
werehawk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] werehawk
I always get suckered in by the visual nature of a character first. So I end up with Swarm and Venom as my favorite villains and Booster Gold as one of my favorite heroes (Why do you like that jerk my wife says all the time).

Date: 2012-05-08 03:22 am (UTC)
werehawk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] werehawk
I don't even feel like his Nazi aspects make him particularly hatable (not that Nazis aren't, just that after the first two appearances, the writers have not played up that aspect). In fact, like many villains passed around books and writers for short stints, his personality seems particularly mutable. But fun, yes, I definitely agree.


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