RSS Feed
Feb 29

New Mutants #8 annotations

Posted on Saturday, February 29, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition. By the way, the original version of the digital edition omitted the data pages – a corrected version was issued literally minutes before I was about to post this. X-Force, which has the same issue, still hasn’t been corrected at time of writing.

PAGE 1 / COVER: Magma fights the weird Brazilian monsters.

PAGES 2-3: Recap and credits. We’re continuing here from the Ed Brisson issues. The story is “A-Hunting We Will Go”, by Ed Brisson, Marco Failla and Carlos Lopez. The small print has changed to “Nova Roma – mutant hunting quadripeds”. I assume that’s a misprint for “quadruped”, not their name.

PAGE 4. Maxime and Manon tell Sebastian Shaw about the Bohem Cartel.

Blackstone is Shaw’s home on Krakoa, most often seen in Marauders.

Maxime and Manon are seemingly trying to atone for the mess that the New Mutants B-squad made of their encounter with the Bohem Cartel in the previous issues, and they offer their assistance to Shaw. Shaw is rather abrupt in turning them down, but he has a point – these two have been totally unreliable, and as it turns out, he doesn’t really need their help.

“Playing in the fields or whatever it is you children while away your days doing.” Officially, the kids are supposed to be engaged in some sort of hippy-ish mutual education commune, but we’ve really seen very little evidence on the page – in any book – that the children are doing anything other than what Shaw describes here.

PAGES 5-6. A Brazilian mutant is hunted down by a weird red creature, and rescued by Nova Romans.

We’ve seen these things before – they’re somewhat reminiscent of the Warwolves from Excalibur, but in brighter colours and seemingly lacking the intelligence. They first appeared in Marauders #2, while Marauders #4 also features the hostility of the Brazilian authorities to Krakoa. Everyone seems to agree later on that they haven’t seen anything like these things before, so apparently they’re new.

PAGES 7-10. Magma, Boom-Boom and Armor arrive in Nova Roma to meet the rescued mutant.

Magma is the last major character from the classic New Mutants line-up to make an appearance in this book. She’s probably meant to have been recognisable in some of the crowd scenes on Krakoa, but this is her first significant appearance of the current era. Before that, she had a supporting role in Age of X-Man: Amazing Nightcrawler, and she popped up in X-Men: Gold. As you might expect, she has magma and lava themed powers.

Nova Roma. Magma is from the hidden city of Nova Roma, which first appeared in New Mutants vol 1 #9 (1983), and gets explained somewhat in a data page on page 10. It’s basically a city created by colonists from the Roman Empire who have been preserving their ancient way of life for years since. In fact, the idea was meant to be that Nova Roma was a hybrid of the ancient Roman and Incan cultures, but that never really came across on the page.

The data page uses a map from Marvel Atlas, hence the proliferation of micronations around the edge, none of which need concern us. The text acknowledges that Nova Roma’s continuity has become rather muddy over the years. Basically, Nova Roma is an idea that never really worked. New Warriors vol 1 #31 tried to detach Magma from her Nova Roma back story by having Empath reveal that the whole place was fake, and actually filled with modern people who had been brainwashed by Selene. After Selene moved on, Empath had supposedly been trying to hold the place together with diminishing returns.

However, in X-Treme X-Men vol 1 #46, Chris Claremont attempted to reverse this retcon, by having Magma claim that she had woken up realising that the original back story was true all along, and that Empath had been lying for… some reason or other. In fairness, this was the final issue of the series and featured a lot of hasty wrap-up. Nobody has actually used Nova Roma since then, but the current state of continuity seems to be that Nova Roma was (probably) real all along.

Our heroes use a plane to get to Nova Roma, so evidently it doesn’t have any gates. Boom-Boom names the plane as the “Pac-Rat II” later in the issue.

Magma’s father. This is presumably meant to be Lucius Aquilla, though he’s a bit off model.

PAGES 11-18. The heroes go into the jungle and encounter the weird creatures.

“We probably have a drug for that.” This might be an error. House of X #1 was very clear that the pharmaceutical drugs are specifically for humans. Why don’t they work on mutants? (Or why are mutants kept away from them?) Who knows, but it’s presumably a story point for the future.

Magma seems to suggest that she brought Armor and Boom-Boom here to try to break them out of their post-Nebraska funk. She doesn’t really know either of them (Boom-Boom was in the New Mutants, but way after Magma’s time), so it’s odd that she chooses to focus on them. Is Glob Herman dealing with it better? At any rate, Boom-Boom has no interest in being inspired, but Armor is on board.

If I remember right, strictly speaking, Magma shouldn’t be in fire mode when she’s not in contact with the ground.

PAGES 19-21. Sebastian Shaw deals with the Bohem Cartel.

The Bohem Cartel explained in previous issues that they wanted to make contact with someone in Krakoa who would supply them drugs on the black market. As shown in Marauders, that’s Shaw’s role. But he’s not up for being blackmailed, so instead he does a deal with the Carrasco Cartel in order to drive the Bohems out of business. As far as I can tell, the Carrasco Cartel are new.

It’s not entirely clear why the gang members don’t open fire on Shaw. It probably wouldn’t work, given his power to absorb kinetic energy, but they seem to think the guns are a real threat.

PAGE 22. Our heroes fly home with the rescued mutants.

PAGE 23. Data page – an entry from a diary which Tabitha has started keeping, at Jean Grey’s suggestion. Reflection does not come naturally to her.

“That’s where Cyclops and Havok grew up, right?” Scott and Alex did indeed spend some time in an orphanage in Nebraska, which was secretly under the control of Mr Sinister.

“Theft of X-Force name.” Wolverine started using the X-Force name for unrelated strike teams during the Utopia era.

PAGES 24-25 The monsters’ creator mourns the death of one of her creations.

I don’t think we’re meant to recognise her. She has a bunch of these creatures, all with the signature four eyes, but based on different animals – one of them seems to be a mammoth. Strangely, she seems more interested in avenging the death of her creation than in any wider anti-mutant agenda.

PAGES 26-27. The Krakoan trailer text reads NEXT: COSMAR. Your guess is as good as mine.

Bring on the comments

  1. Chris V says:

    Were these monsters meant to be Dire Wraiths?
    They looked like Dire Wraiths to me.

  2. Col_Fury says:

    I love that high school dropout Tabby Smith doesn’t know how to spell “melancholy.”

    I get they’re sticking with the aesthetic, but I kind of wish Tabby’s diary entry was hand written instead of in typeface, but whatever.

    Fun issue!

  3. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    It’s a bit weird that Armor says she’s never seen anything like the quadrupeds, considering the ones they fight in this issue are basically red Predator Xes. Right down to ‘destroy from the inside’. But whatever, completely new it is.

  4. Michael says:

    I also got a Dire Wraith vibe from the critters.

    At some point prior/around M-Day, Amara had developed the power to fly, so I suppose that might explain her ability to maintain a fire form when not in contact with the ground. Maybe she got a Krakoan upgrade along the way.

    Nova Roma remains such a gloriously goofy Claremontian concept.

    I want to say that the Pac-Rat II is either a holdover or a nod to the original X-Force days. (Research tells me it actually didn’t appear until last year’s X-Force series… written by Ed Bisson, of course, but maybe the original Pac-Rat?)

    I’m convinced that Bisson is literally the only writer who cares about Maxime and Manon.

  5. Moo says:

    “Nova Roma remains such a gloriously goofy Claremontian concept”

    It’s pretty silly, yes. Maybe he was on an Indiana Jones kick or something. Whenever Claremont comes up with crap like this, you can see where he got in from in the pop culture of the day. Werewolf movies (An American Werewolf in London, The Howling, Wolfen) were the rage in 1981. Rahne turned up a year later.

  6. neutrino says:

    From reddit, “In Serbian, “košmar” means “nightmare”.”

  7. Voord 99 says:

    Lost colony of X ancient civilization is a big pulp trope, so yes, I think Indiana Jones sending Claremont back to the pulps is plausible. That being said, Claremont was (probably still is) a big reader of science-fiction, so it wouldn’t surprise me if he was already steeped in all that.

    But this is something that I love about classic Marvel in general: the wonderful avidity with which they seize on whatever’s in pop culture and say, “Right. Let’s do that.” The Punisher, the Son of Satan, Luke Cage, the Brood – this shameless willlingness to just go for it and give a child a superhero version of a movie that the child is too young to get into,

    I have a crazy theory that losing that script is part of what went wrong in the ‘90s. Because when you think about what’s stereotypically “90s!” In superhero comics, it feels more ‘80s to me. Not in detail, but the overall aesthetic of explody posey bigness – it’s trying to capture the feel of Rambo at a time when it should be trying to be like Face/Off.

  8. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    Are there recent example of such bandwagon jumping in Marvel comics? Avengers Arena was very much riding on the coat tails of Hunger Games (and Battle Royale, but let’s be honest, it was Hunger Games that brought attention to the trope at that time), but I can’t think of other examples at the moment.

  9. YLu says:

    You could argue that now that superheroes movies are pop culture, it’s all gone full circle and comics have gone back to borrowing from pop culture, in the way Marvel’s frequently chasing movie synergy.

  10. Voord 99 says:

    That’s a good point. I suppose I’d feel that this is why the comics have come to feel a little surplus to requirements. One upon a time, adaptations in other media felt like adaptations. Arguably, the MCU versions are now the “real” versions – they don’t feel ersatz.

    (Although, as Krzysiek Ceran pointed out in another thread, the comics have stopped drawing so much on the films lately. Cynically, I would attribute that to the fact that it didn’t do much to arrest the erosion of sales. I think the films did make a real long-term impact on the characterization of comics Tony Stark, though.)

  11. Chris V says:

    Yes, the Tony Stark of the comics is definitely the movie version of Tony Stark, rather than the original comic presentation of Tony Stark.

    The comics do tangential tie-in stories to work with the synergy of the movies now.
    So, when the movies were doing an adaptation of Civil War, suddenly there was a pointless and gratuitous sequel to Civil War in the comics.
    I’d say that’s as far as it goes with the movies now.

    More than just Indiana Jones, Nova Roma was one of the last times that I felt that “anything can happen” craziness of the Silver Age with comic books.
    Marvel Comics were filled with “lost worlds” and “hidden races” during the Silver and Bronze Ages.
    You never knew what concept was going to appear in the next Marvel Comic story.
    Nova Roma plays in to that. It was a concept that you could see showing up in a random issue of some comic during the 1960s or 1970s.
    Like when a colony of Conquistadors who had really found the Fountain of Youth popped up in an issue of Gerber’s Man Thing.

    Comics began to get more realistic and serious starting in the 1980s, and a lot of that zest was lost.
    Not that it hurt the story-telling in the ’80s. Just a sense of whimsy I didn’t feel anymore.

  12. Moo says:

    Byrne’s face reference for Kitty Pryde back when he designed her was Sigourney Weaver (who was already thirty by this point, but he tried to imagine what she might’ve looked like as a teenager) which was what led to the “Alien” homage in issue #143.

    Incidentally, if you Google “Sigourney Weaver teenager” you should come across her high school yearbook photo, and boy… she’s Kitty Pryde alright.

  13. Chris V says:

    One Alien homage wasn’t enough for Claremont though.
    He then saw the sequel, and decided that the N’Garai were too steeped in the Lovecraftian, and he had to create the Brood.
    Just in case someone missed the reference in #143.

  14. Chris V says:

    My mistake. Aliens wasn’t released until 1986, apparently. I thought it was earlier.
    Claremont created the Brood in 1982.
    So, Claremont actually beat the movie franchise.
    By wanting to make his references to Alien more obvious, he also introduced the idea of an entire species of the parasitic aliens.
    Maybe reading the Brood convinced Cameron that there should be a sequel to Alien, only with a whole colony of the aliens.

  15. Moo says:

    Cameron didn’t “decide” there should be a sequel to Alien. The producers of the original film (that Cameron had nothing to do with) wanted to do a sequel straight away, but things got delayed, and when they were eventually able to go forward, they hired Cameron after reading his screenplay for The Terminator.

    Cameron’s inspiration for his story wasn’t the Brood. It was the Vietnam War.

  16. Chris V says:

    Partly inspired by the Vietnam War.
    There’s still the fact that it’s a bunch of Xenomorphs from the first movie, while in the original movie, there was only one.

    The idea of a group of soldiers in a strange land was based on Vietnam.
    You stretch the metaphor any further and you get in to some very dicey territory…

  17. PersonofCon says:

    @Voord 99″Not in detail, but the overall aesthetic of explody posey bigness – it’s trying to capture the feel of Rambo at a time when it should be trying to be like Face/Off.”

    If I remember correctly, there was a 90s X-Men Unlimited issue where Wolverine and Sabretooth did a body swap that was explicitly framed as Face/Off in the marketing.

  18. Moo says:

    @Chris V

    If you want to continue to stubbornly insist that Cameron must’ve got the idea of having multiple aliens from reading X-Men comics based on no evidence whatsoever, go ahead, I guess. You’re pretty sure he read them, huh? Source?

    I prefer to stick to facts. He wanted to depict a technologically superior force going into a hostile environment and getting their asses handed to them by an enemy they underestimated and didn’t fully understand. That was what he did and that was the extent of the metaphor. He wasn’t likening the Vietnamese to creepy – crawly things. Jesus Christ.

  19. Chris V says:

    Yeah, that’s why I’m saying you don’t want to stretch the metaphor out too far with the Vietnam War.

    You seem to have misunderstood that I was being facetious about Cameron specifically basing the idea of multiple Xenomorphs on Claremont’s Brood story.
    I simply pointed out that Claremont actually got to that story first.

    You also seemed to miss that I was joking about Colossus’ brooding behaviour in the X-Force thread.
    Maybe you need to tone it down a little bit, so that it’s easier for people to have a conversation with you, ok?

  20. Moo says:

    I don’t know what you’re talking about with the X-Force thread. You didn’t annoy me there. You’re certainly doing it now, though.

    You ‘Maybe Cameron did this because…”
    Me “Actually, he didn’t”
    You “But I could still be right”
    Me “Oh come on already”
    You “I was being facetious. Calm down!”

  21. Chris V says:

    Do you want to hear that you are right? Is that it? Does winning a meaningless internet debate about something from over 30 years ago make your day?
    Wow! You were right! James Cameron didn’t base Aliens on the Brood!

    Me:Chris Claremont actually did it first.
    You:Well, actually let’s look at the logistics of how Hollywood works versus the comic book industry so that we can do the correct quadratic equations and point out when and where Claremont and Cameron stood during the period in time in which said creation versus implementation of such a direction would have been triangulated.
    Oh, and Vietnam War!
    Me:Uh-huh. Whatever. Still, many Xenomorphs and many Brood. Claremont first.
    Plus, that metaphor can be eerie.
    You:Jesus Christ!
    Me:Calm down. You’re taking everything way too seriously.
    Still, that metaphor can be eerie.

  22. Moo says:

    Suddenly, I’m feeling nostalgic for Dazzler’s posts.

  23. Chris V says:

    The best part of Dazzler’s posts was that he/she knew how to stay on topic.
    You knew it was going to be about Hickman’s X-Men. He/She was very singularly focused.
    You know, rather than trying to impress thirty or so X-Men internet fans with your vast, yet often tangential, knowledge.
    My mistake was to take your bait. I should know better. I thought discussing the days of X-Men past would be fun.
    I should have realized better.

  24. Moo says:

    Okay, so far that’s:

    1) Stop trying to impress people
    2) Tone it down
    3) Quit smoking (I added this one myself)

    Anything else? Also, if I promise to work on these, would you perhaps be willing to work on your inability to concede a point to anyone?

  25. Mark Coale says:

    If Claremont didnt love Steed and Mrs Peel, we might not have gotten the Hellfire Club. 🙂

  26. Dimitri says:

    Paul, since no one’s mentioned it, I just wanted to let you know that I really like that you added the comic book covers to your posts.

    It spruces things up nicely and does provide a nice visual aid.

    Thank you for taking the extra time!

  27. wwk5d says:

    For what it’s worth, Moo is right about about Cameron’s inspiration for Aliens, though.

  28. Karl_H says:

    The gates have been used very hand-wavingly in DoX, as casual plot devices to move characters around without much consideration of logic (reminding me of the Blackbird being used to get around NYC in the Guggenheim years). Why do some tasks require boats? Why can’t Wolverine use them to get booze? How are they tolerated in landmarks like Washington Square Arch, or sitting ignored in city parks?

    This issue raises more. Why is there a gate randomly placed a six hour hike from Nova Roma? If it’s because of NR then why not closer? Are gates literally sprinkled around the world in such numbers that you can find one nearby an isolated jungle area? And leaving aside the gate distribution issue, if you’re not flying the plane to the gate for stealth reasons, why not um go back to Krakoa and then come *out* of the gate from the other side…?

  29. ASV says:

    Now that XM/FF has provided a population number for the island, it would be nice if somebody coughed up a measure of area. It seems like they must have tons of gates, but it doesn’t appear that there is a central “gateport” on Krakoa where they’re all located.

  30. Jason says:

    Still, it seems what we can all agree on is that James Cameron ripped off X-Men over and over again.

    Terminator = Days of Future Past ripoff

    Aliens = Brood ripoff

    Terminator 2 = Nimrod ripoff

    The Abyss = ripoff of that issue where Scott and Maddie are flying to their honeymoon, and then they crash in the ocean and have to fight a shark

    True Lies = ripoff of one of those issues that had SHIELD in it.

    Titanic = ripoff of … that shark one again, I guess.

    It’s all been right in front of us the whole time, people.

  31. JCG says:

    Why are you talking about Dazzler in past tense?

  32. Chris says:

    Because disco is dead

  33. Adam K says:


    Magneto and the cuckoos showed a “hub” of gates to the ambassadors in HoX #1. I think we’re just supposed to assume that the hub would expand as needed. I’m also assuming the #6 “transit” designation on the Krakoa map is referring to the hub.

    I haven’t read this issue yet, but bringing back Nova Roma is a definite dark side of the coin that is the “let’s include all of the concepts and characters” nature of the relaunch that, so far, has made me very happy.

    I can’t recall any story involving Nova Roma that was worth the paper it was printed on. You could chalk that up to personal taste, but I’m fairly certain it’s not a well regarded concept. At least wait until after you have exhausted all the other story possibilities…

    Or, maybe bring back Lila Cheney’s Dyson Sphere while you’re digging that deep for concepts that make no sense.

  34. Dave says:

    Avatar, then, is inspired by how many mutatns happen to be blue. And Sigourney’s in it because she’s like an older Kitty.

  35. Moo says:

    Say what you will about Nova Roma, but their baby back ribs are outstanding.

  36. ASV says:

    Titanic is a pre-emptive ripoff of Marauders.

  37. Peter Singer says:

    The only thing that really bothered me about Nova Roma was that the name’s wrong!

    “New Rome” would be “Roma Nova”!

    Been bothered by it for decades at this point. *shakes head*

  38. Luis Dantas says:

    In Brazilian Portuguese? It could be “Roma Nova”, but “Nova Roma” would work just as well.

    For community names, it works better.

  39. Dimitri says:

    I think Peter means in Latin.

  40. Moo says:

    Maybe it was an editorial suggestion? Rearrange it to Nova Roma because of the existence of Natasha Romanova? Yeah one’s a person and the other’s a place, but I can see editors making decisions like that. Maybe for branding reasons or maybe someone genuinely believed it would cause some confusion.

  41. Voord 99 says:

    In Latin it could be either order or even separated by intervening words. Latin is full of sentences like “I the large yesterday in the garden elephant saw.”

    That the Nova Romans still speak identical Latin after more than two thousand years…

  42. Kriselda Gray says:

    I wonder if perhaps the drugs that are referenced the most are strictly for humans, but that they’ve also gone ahead and made additional medications from Krakoan flowers that are usable by the mutants. Given how miraculous Krakoa is supposed to be, I’d be surprised if those three drugs were the only ones that could be made from the Krakoan flowers.

Leave a Reply