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Dec 12

New Mutants #3 annotations

Posted on Thursday, December 12, 2019 by Paul in Annotations

As always, page numbers go by the digital edition, and this post contains spoilers.

PAGE 1 / COVER: Armor, Glob Herman, Maxine and Manon arrive at Beak and Angel’s door.

PAGES 2-3. Armor is troubled by the mutants who aren’t on Krakoa.

After two issues of the New Mutants in space, this issue returns to Krakoa for a story about some of the mutants for later generations of trainees – and by a different creative team, at that. No doubt it’ll all come together down the line…

Armor. Hisako Ichiki was introduced in Joss Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men run in 2004. She’s another character who made it to main-team level for a while before drifting back into comparative obscurity – though she was used quite prominently in the Age of X-Man: NextGen miniseries, alongside her co-star Glob Herman.

Glob Herman. Glob was introduced in Grant Morrison’s New X-Men run in 2001, originally as one of Kid Omega’s hangers on. His memorable character design made him a recurring background character, and he’s been used increasingly often in recent years, often as a gentle character quietly yearning for a relationship. (He’ll start harmlessly pining for Pixie later in this issue on the basis that she danced with him for one panel.) Writer Ed Brisson has taken a particular liking to Glob – as well as NextGen, he also features as a major supporting character in Brisson’s Old Man Logan run.

The mutants at the party. Krakoa really does seem to be in permanent party mode, and once again it’s being laid on so heavily that you have to wonder if something’s going on here. Most of the partygoers seem to be generics, but visible among the group are three of the Stepford Cuckoos, Pixie (with the insect wings), Anole (talking to her) and Rockslide (the big… well, rock guy).

PAGES 4-5. Recap page and credits. This is “To the Grave” by Ed Brisson and Flaviano.

Most of the X-books have kept their credit-page small print the same from issue to issue. But previous issues of New Mutants had “Let’s go to space, good times in space”, which obviously wouldn’t fit this. Instead, New Mutants #3 gets “Search, find – Krakoa is calling – answer?”

At first glance, the common theme of the two storylines – other than the fact that they feature training-level characters – is that they both involve looking for missing colleagues.

PAGES 6-8. Armor starts looking for missing mutants to investigate, and settles on Beak.

Sage is running the Krakoan computers here, but we’ve discussed her before, and she’s really just serving as a generic mid-level Krakoan authority figure here.

Krakoan records. If those books that Hisako is working through are an official Krakoan record then apparently they’re keeping records in hard copy – which seems odd but might fit with the general hostility to technology. Then again, Hisako does seem to have some form of internet access in her home, which is the first time we’ve had it confirmed that the people on Krakoa can access outside media. It’s a not a conventional laptop, though, but some sort of projection from Krakoa itself.

Bishop is “accounted for” because he’s in the cast of Marauders, even though he’s not on Krakoa itself.

Dazzler is indeed on the island; we’ve seen her before.

Beak (Barnell Bohusk) is another Morrison-era character, introduced in New X-Men #117 (2001). He was a likeable student of somewhat inhuman appearance, whose mutant powers were of no real practical use – he’s a bit bird-like but he can’t really fly very well. In Morrison’s run, he winds up having kids with fellow student Angel Salvadore (we’ll see her later). Beak went on to have a stint in the Exiles, before getting depowered on M-Day, along with his wife and all but one of his kids. That led to a period where he looks human and joins a bunch of depowered mutant tech-users in a best-forgotten incarnation of the New Warriors. Beak got his powers back – if “powers” is the word – in X-Men: Blue #26, when the Mothervine scheme caused widespread mutations throughout the USA.

Beak was indeed previously established as coming from the Netherlands.

Angel Salvadore debuted in the issue after Beak, New X-Men #118, and she’s got insect powers which are rather more useful. She was in the depowered New Warriors incarnation too, but presumably she (and the kids) got their powers back in the same way.

Sage seems to have no particular interest in tracking down either of these minor characters, and largely regards them as busy work to keep Armor off her back.

PAGES 9-10. A very bored Boom-Boom signs on for a trip to Nebraska.

Boom-Boom (Tabitha Smith) started off as a supporting character in Secret Wars II (1985) before being added to the cast of trainees in X-Factor, from where she wound up becoming a tail-end member of the New Mutants. (Yes, one of them is actually in this issue.) She went on to a long stint in X-Force, calling herself Boomer and Meltdown. Boom-Boom was always somewhat flaky and reckless, but those traits have really been played up heavily since her period in Nextwave, a more-or-less parody book (its overhaul of Machine Man stuck too). The recent New Mutants miniseries suggested that her behaviour was partly attributable to heavy drinking.

Note that while Boom-Boom apparently helps Armor to get the pharmaceuticals to help Beak’s father, Armor doesn’t bring her along to Nebraska – or Boom-Boom finds something shinier to look at instead.

Sunspot’s room has two pictures of himself looking businesslike, a tennis racket, and a set of golf clubs. Presumably that’s a huge TV opposite the bed.

PAGE 11. A data page on MMD.

A page of text about a variant of dementia – which as far as I can tell is entirely fictional. “Munus motricium” is just Latin for “motor function”. Basically, it’s a real-world-sounding disease that the Krakoan drugs can be allowed to cure without opening up a can of worms by curing anything really high profile. The name of celebrity sufferer “Taylor Ellis” doesn’t seem to have any particular significance.

PAGES 12-13. Maxime and Manon insist on tagging along to Nebraska.

Maxime and Manon are psychic twins who were introduced in the Extermination miniseries (2018), the deck-clearing exercise that preceded the Hickman relaunch. Extermination was also written by Brisson. In that miniseries, they’re basically mind-controlled pawns of Ahab, and something of a plot device, so it’s interesting to see them sticking around. Extermination‘s time-travel plot logic is not exactly easy to follow, but they appear to come from a near-future timeline which would, a few years after their abduction by Ahab, have collapsed into a dystopia if the original X-Men hadn’t set the timeline right by returning home.

Extermination #5 mentions that Maxime and Manon are the children of other X-Men students, but the identities of their parents – who may well already be on the island – haven’t been revealed. Without Ahab’s influence, they seem to be well meaning, but remain vaguely creepy through their failure to properly grasp boundaries.

PAGES 14-19. Armor, Glob, Maxime and Manon visit Beak and Angel and provide Krakoan drugs to cure Beak’s father’s dementia.

Pilger, Nebraska. This is a genuine Nebraskan village. It’s a couple of hours drive from Omaha.

The kids. As in previous stories, they’re all combinations of Angel and Beak’s character designs, in different proportions. Not all of them have been named; the ones that have are Axel, Kara and Tito.

Charles and Kathy Bohusk. Believe it or not, we have seen these two before (with those names and basically these character designs), in a flashback in Exiles vol 1 #69 (2005). It shows them as supportive parents enrolling Beak in the X-Men’s school – which probably fits with the idea that they came to the US to get him help.

PAGE 20. A data page on the Akademos Habitat, the buildings where the “younger generation of mutants” live – apparently meaning members of the established training teams. Most of them are called things like “Sigma House” or “Delta House”, with obvious fraternity overtones.

Akademos was a hero of Greek mythology. His main claim to fame was saving the city of Attica by telling the invaders Castor and Pollux where they could find their sister Helen. But he’s better known because a grove outside Athens, supposedly his burial site, was named after him. Those are the “groves of Academe”, where Plato set up as a teacher, hence the name “Academy.” So basically it’s a very roundabout way of saying that this is a place of study, though of a very communal, mutually-reinforcing sort.

The pods are:

  • Delta House, belonging to Generation X – the trainee team of the 1990s, presumably.
  • Zeta House, belonging to “the New X-Men”. While that name has been used for various series, the actual team called “New X-Men” was the surviving trainees who kept their powers after M-Day: Anole, Dust, Elixir, Gentle, Hellion, Mercury, Pixie, Prodigy, Rockslide, Surge and X-23.
  • Beta House, belonging to the Frost Academy presumably covers Emma Frost’s old students from the Massachusetts Academy, the Hellions.
  • The Pod, belonging to the Five – we’ve seen them plenty of times.
  • Something called Lifedeath, which is “communal”. “Lifedeath” was the name of several Storm solo stories in 80s Uncanny X-Men, but it’s not obvious what the connection is.
  • Sigma House, belonging to the Jean Grey School – presumably the trainees from Wolverine and the X-Men.
  • Omega House, which is “redacted” but might have something to do with Kid Omega.
  • Alpha House, belonging to the New Mutants – Alpha because they were first, presumably. (The Hellions as Beta would also fit with this.)

PAGES 21-25. A bunch of thugs show up at the farm demanding drugs.

These guys appear to be new, but there’s something very odd about all this. Beak and Angel have been there for ages. Now Armor and co show up and suddenly these guys appear within hours – armed to the teeth with specialist anti-mutant weaponry. They claim to be interested in Krakoan drugs, but how do they know anyone’s there who can help? No doubt all this gets covered in future issues.

More questionably: why do they think that the mutants are withholding vital drugs from them? The whole point of the Krakoan trade deals was that countries who recognised Krakoa would be supplied with drugs, and from everything we’ve seen, the USA has been very (suspiciously) happy to play along with all this. Maybe it’s a case of the drugs not getting to the people who need them thanks to the vagaries of the US health care system… but the spokesman here seems smart enough that when he says “Your kind have refused our people access to important medicines”, he presumably means what he says.

PAGES 26-27. Trailers. The Krakoan reads NEXT: TUMULO, which doesn’t mean much.

Bring on the comments

  1. Dave says:

    No bad wee issue, miss the artwork from the previous 2, but quite serviceable. Anyone else getting a transformers vibe from this relaunch? Like, when brainstorm or hoist would pop up in a story, then sink back into limbo. I haven’t read a story with armour or beak in years and I suspect they will drift away once a new writer comes on, but always good to see old friends again.

  2. Ben says:

    A little confused on some of the details but a good issue.

    It’s nice to see characters acting like human beings.

  3. Chris V says:

    I was wondering if maybe there’s something in the trade deals which makes it so that the government cannot provide their drugs to anyone who is known to be involved in anti-mutant activity.
    It’d be a way for Krakoa to attempt to entice anti-mutant bigots to give up their ideology.

    Didn’t the leader of the thugs have an arm tattoo that looked the same as the villains from X-Force?
    I thought they were involved with that anti-mutant group.

  4. SanityOrMadness says:

    No Gamma House? Gen X (not to mention everyone else) didn’t want to risk association with the Hulk, eh? 😉

    OOC, has anyone explained yet WTH Chamber & Mondo are doing with the New Mutants, especially if they’re otherwise keeping the old teams separated like this? Didn’t Paul’s annotations for #2 mention that they didn’t exactly join in the Cannoball reunion?

  5. ASV says:

    Is there a gate in the middle of Nebraska farm country?

  6. Luis Dantas says:

    “Tumulo” is portuguese for “grave, tomb”. Artist Flaviano seems to be Italian as opposed to Portuguese or Brazilian, but of course he (and Ed Brisson) may have learned the word anyhow.

    There may well be a connection to the current storyline in Fallen Angels, which happens to be in Brazil (and featuring some perfect and perfectly translated Portuguese sentences).

  7. Evilgus says:

    Quite a fun issue, and more world building with mutants-who-havebt-quite-made-it-to-krakoa. There’s plenty of quite memorable characters who this seems to include.

    It New Mutants focuses on the ‘younger’ characters on rotation, with some unusual pair ups, I’m all for that.

    The art was solid and the data pages contributed, without feeling like they could have been better on panel.

    Odd things: a house called ‘lifedeath’? A bit much, and I thought that was a story title, not an in-panel reference.

    And Sage saying “hmm”. Should a computer brain *ever* say “hmm”? Or maybe she was just processing an emotion 🙂 I hope her and Bishop get some reunited time together, their serious detective shtick was enjoyable!

  8. Arrowhead says:

    Agreed with Dave and Evilgus about seeing the younger characters back in rotation. Since the Morrison era the X-Books have quietly built up a sizable cast of solid, likable student characters. I’m sure everyone has their favorites. Maybe it’s time for another swing at a Titans/Young Avengers-style teen book.

  9. Moo says:

    “I hope her and Bishop get some reunited time together, their serious detective shtick was enjoyable”

    District X could have been a hell of a lot better had it been Bishop and Sage as partners solving crimes together in Mutant Town.

    I’m still annoyed about what M-Day did to Mutant Town. What a waste of potential. Mutants and humans living together relatively peacefully. Okay, so maybe they were bound together more by mutual poverty than by mutual understanding and acceptance, but it was a start. A “fixer-upper” version of Xavier’s dream. Xavier should have been *very* invested in Mutant Town. Instead, he went off to try to rebuild Genosha, which made no sense.

  10. Michael says:

    It seems to me that if the stated goal of resurrecting and reimpowering all mutants continues to take place, the Academy area is going to need to expand to cover the rather sizable student body.

    Because the New Mutants, Generation X, Hellions and even New X-Men all kept to manageable rosters of 6-10 characters, depending on who, exactly, chooses to live with their particular generation/roster.

    (Like, does Jubilee live with Generation X? Do Boom-Boom and Rictor consider themselves New Mutants? Or would they feel more comfortable living in an old X-Force or X-Factor themed house along with Warpath and Feral, or Skids and Rusty?) When you have characters who’ve lasted through multiple generations and been on various teams, do they get a choice of where they feel most comfortable, or is it assigned living space?

    But once you open it up to the pre-Decimation era, you’re talking dozens of students who filled something like 10 training teams (including versions of the New Mutants and repurposing of the Hellions name…) Sure, some of those fall into the New X-Men category, but what about the others? It’s just like with Beak and Angel–they were part of the school during the same relative era, but they were never part of a specific training group other than Xorn’s “special class.”

    And then the Jean Grey School era, where we got Eye Boy and Nature Girl and Shark Girl and so on–dozens more of students. Will they all fit in Sigma House?

    Because the relative sizes of the houses via the infograph don’t make sense either. Generation X has the biggest (5 hexes) but one of the smallest class sizes. The New X-Men get a slightly smaller one, but theoretically, their student body might be massive. The Frost Academy seems big to house a whopping 8 people, max.

    And where will they house the students who don’t identify with a specific generation? Like the rest of Cyclops’ recruits (aside from Goldba-Egg and Tempus, who are living in the Pod) or all the random students they’re picking up now?

    And Omega House… as usual, Hickman loves his “to be revealed later” mysteries. Kid Omega gets his own pad? Or something weirder?

    I love the idea of setting up different dorms/communal spaces for the different generations, but it does open the way to so many questions about logistics.

    And then I start thinking about where everyone -else- on Krakoa lives, and where they’d stick someone like, say, John Proudstar once they bring him back.

    Good going, now I’m gonna obsess over the details.

  11. Mark coale says:

    I figured the disease was named after Warren.

  12. Paul says:

    “Is there a gate in the middle of Nebraska farm country?”

    Hmm, good point. We see them going into the gate on Krakoa, but not actually emerging on the other side. I agree it wouldn’t seem to make sense for there to be a gate randomly sitting around in rural Nebraska, so either (a) Beak planted that one but never had a chance to use it, or (b) they went to the nearest gate and travelled from there. Option (b) presumably means Omaha and hiring a car…

  13. Brian Michael Caffrey says:

    @SanityOrMadness: I think it’s in part why Chamber was a part of Scott’s team pre-House of X. He spent a fair chunk of time with the New Mutants there, so there was a reasonable amount of bonding going on. With Jubilee off in Excalibur, Husk in Fallen Angels, and Synch and Skin now a lot younger than him, he doesn’t necessarily have many peers to hang out with. (it’s always been kind of a shame that they didn’t much with him and Penance post-reveal)

    As to Mondo, he didn’t ever really spend time with Gen X (unless this is meant to be the plant clone Black Tom said he made waaaaaay back in Gen X 25), so I think he’s around more because more Doug was recruiting him as a potential back-up for Krakoa-work (Krakowork?).

  14. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    I’ve enjoyed a lot of Brisson’s writing in the last year or so – he has improved a lot since his first issues of Old Man Logan. He still messes up sometimes – the ending of this issue felt very rushed and chaotic, and not in a ‘the characters don’t understand what’s happening, and neither do the readers’ sense, more in a ‘how does this is supposed to make any kind of sense’ sense.

    I think it would have worked better if the peaceful scene in the house filled a couple more pages, with the arrival of the bad guys being just a last page cliffhanger. The additional three pages with them don’t add anything here and only muddle things up.

    But! Everything preceding that was fun and enjoyable. I hope this sort of attention will in turn be given to other characters eternally stuck on trainee level – Armor and Glob actually had a lot of screen time in the last year. Meanwhile I’m still waiting for the nostalgia wave the writers are surfing to catch up to around 2007 for my New X-Men: Academy X reunion book to appear. All I’m asking for is give me Dust, Hellion, Mercury, Rockslide and Anole.

    Anyway. The housing question raised in the comments is interesting, especially with regards to how the sliding timescale applies to these characters. Are they actually different ‘generations’ anymore? Both the New Mutants and Generation X characters have been written as at least young adults for years now. Obviously the New Mutants have been published years before Generation X, but is there really an age difference between them now? The Wolverine and the X-Men kids are recent-ish additions so they’re obviously younger. Of an age with the previous, ‘Xavier’s as a mutant Hogwarts’ Academy X era characters, perhaps? Except wasn’t X-23 mentioned to now be over 20 some time ago?

    And then there are the resurrections. Shouldn’t Skin and Synch be quite younger than their Gen X friends? And the Hellions a lot younger than the New Mutants?

    My point, if I even have a point at this point anymore, is that housing characters by the comic book they were associated with makes some sense from the writers’ perspective, but in-world it should just be grouped by age… except then somebody would have to assign specific ages to the characters and Marvel stopped doing that a long time ago since down the line it just complicates things.

    Oh, I actually remembered another point. I get Glob being a longtime friend of Beak and Angel – they were in the special class together, afterall. But Armor having any sort of relation with them must be a ‘it all happened off-panel’ sort of retcon, doesn’t it? Were they even shown to still be at the school after Morrison’s run?

  15. CJ says:

    Ever since Dawn of X started, I wondered if we would ever see a story about mutants who decided living on Krakoa just didn’t interest them. Like, maybe some mutant just likes their current life the way it is, more or less. Or better yet, someone decides to opt out after a bit.

    It would be a good idea to establish some variance of thinking in this brave new world.

    In any case, I enjoyed the issue–I always love Beak. Has Angel ever been portrayed this happily? I only remember her acerbic and mistrusting self from New X-Men.

    I too was surprised that Gen X wasn’t “Gamma House”. The first issue of New Mutants is “Second Genesis” and the first of Gen X was “Third Genesis”…

    @Krzysiek Ceran
    I assumed Armor and Glob’s relationship in AoX NextGen is the basis for their friendship, at least recently.

  16. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    Yes, sorry, I wasn’t clear – I meant Armor’s supposed relationship with Beak and Angel, who welcome her very warmly here. I thought that was weird, I don’t recall them ever appearing in a book together before.

    The Armor and Glob team-up started in the run-up to AoX, in Uncanny.

  17. ASV says:

    Wondering if was just meant to be random coincidence that Krakoa had produced a (seemingly) one-shot, instant cure for this incredibly rare disease that was keeping Beak from coming over. Nobody can communicate with Krakoa at the moment, and anyway it’s not like they have a bunch of expertise on this disease, nor the ability to test a drug.

  18. Chris V says:

    CJ-Apparently, Emma and Shaw are not living on Krakoa, although they have homes on Krakoa when they need to stay there, for Council meetings I would guess.
    I think there’s still ambiguity as to how much time mutants are expected to spend on Krakoa.

    Are Emma and Shaw given special privileges that someone like Boom Boom is not allowed?

  19. Arrowhead says:

    Glob had a throwaway line about being too shy to ask Pixie on a date… the idea that mutant standards of beauty on Krakoa might be different than ours is interesting. Maybe Glob Herman is a 10 there.

  20. Paul says:

    “Wondering if was just meant to be random coincidence that Krakoa had produced a (seemingly) one-shot, instant cure for this incredibly rare disease that was keeping Beak from coming over.”

    I don’t think Krakoa is meant to have produced this for anyone in particular. House of X #1 identifies three drugs made from Krakoan flowers. This is presumably Human Drug M, which “cures diseases of the mind (in humans)”. For reasons as yet unexplained, none of these drugs apparently work on mutants (or at least there are some other reasons for not giving them to mutants, which would be even more sinister).

  21. Dave says:

    “If New Mutants focuses on the ‘younger’ characters on rotation, with some unusual pair ups, I’m all for that.”
    I’d even say a book that does this is overdue. Should’ve been the next go at a younger generation X-book after Young X-Men flopped.

  22. Suzene says:

    @Dave – Yeah, except editorial seems to think that teen books keep flopping because they’re teen books, not because writers keep throwing uninspired mixes of randos (and a couple new pet characters) together and expect people to care.

    As for this issue, I really couldn’t find it in me to care. I have no idea what it is about Glob that Brisson finds so appealing, which is something of a concern, considering how many appearances the kid’s had under that writer.

  23. @Michael – I suspect the X-Terminators might come later – Rictor is busy with Excalibur, but maybe, after Beak and Angel, Boomer might look at contacting Skids – who was apparently last seen as a member of SHIELD. Rusty is currently dead, so a good candidate for a resurrection. Leech and Artie will presumably crop up in the forthcoming X-Men/Fantastic Four title. And Taki brings the obvious tech problem with Krakoa.

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