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Sep 23

New Mutants #30 annotations

Posted on Friday, September 23, 2022 by Paul in Annotations

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

NEW MUTANTS vol 4 #30
“Still Classic”
Writer: Vita Ayala
Framing story art: Alex Lins & Bryan Valenza
Moonstar art: Justin Mason & Bryan Valenza
Karma art: Jason Loo
Wolfsbane story art: Emma Kubert, Roberto Poggi & Antonio Fabela
Letterer: Travis Lanham

Design: Tom Muller & Jay Bowen
Editor: Sarah Brunstad

COVER / PAGE 1. Members of the cast pose – specifically, that’s Galura behind the logo; Warpath, Magik and Karma in the top tier; X-23, Anole and Dani Moonstar in the middle tier; and Cosmar, Wolfsbane and Sunspot at the bottom.

PAGE 2. Letter from the author. This issue is an anthology special celebrating the 40th anniversary of the New Mutants’ debut. It’s not connected to wider storylines and I wouldn’t have done annotations for it if it had been a one-shot, but it’s part of the regular series, so we’ll run through it quickly.

PAGE 3. Recap and credits.

PAGE 4. Data page. Sunspot invites us to the 40th anniversary celebration (or whatever it is in continuity).

PAGES 5-6. Sunspot is unhappy about the preparations for his party.

Cidade do Paraíso.” “Paradise City.”

Leo Eng is what you might call a recognisable background character in this series; Sunspot has evidently taken a very expansive view of who he’s inviting to the New Mutants’ anniversary party, since even the likes of Anole, also present here, were never actually in the New Mutants.

“How long have you been friends?” The running joke is that because of Marvel’s sliding timeline, nobody will give us a straight answer.

PAGES 7-13. Flashback: Dani’s story.

Since Karma isn’t around and Magma hasn’t joined yet, we’re in the gap between New Mutants vol 1 #6-7 (1983). However, at that point in history, Kitty shouldn’t be on good terms with the New Mutants – they were still barely speaking to one another as of New Mutants #13.

Dani’s belt. Dani’s belt was a plot point in the early issues of New Mutants – she insisted on customising her uniform and asserting her Cheyenne identity. Professor X eventually had to back down on it. She was the only team member who refused to just wear the regular outfit.

“My grandfather’s memory.” Dani’s grandfather, Black Eagle, was murdered by Donald Pierce’s men in her debut, Marvel Graphic Novel #4.

Stevie Hunter, for any newcomers, was Kitty’s dance teacher and a recurring supporting character in the 1980s.

Kitty Pryde. Her Star of David necklace was present from her earliest appearances, though it wasn’t usually drawn quite this large.

PAGES 14-15. Shatterstar and Rictor arrive, and Karma begins her story.

Shatterstar has Liefeld-style pouches on his speedos. Of course he does.

PAGES 16-22. Flashback: Karma changes her look and meets a girl at a music festival.

This is a prequel to X-Force vol 1 #75, where Karma debuted with the look seen here – not strictly an issue of New Mutants, but a New Mutants reunion story. Shatterstar wasn’t in X-Force at the time – he quit in issue #70, planning to Mexico with Rictor. So quite what he’s doing with Karma at a music festival is less than clear. The only Karma gives for her new look in X-Force #75 is that a doctor who was treating her siblings “convinced me to try to reclaim my life.”

Echidna Faire is a thinly disguised Lilith Fair. Echidna is the mother of all monsters in Greek mythology; Lilith is sometimes billed as the mother of all demons. I assume “Sharon Corvid” is probably a reference to a songwriter I don’t recognise.

Colossal Exploding Man was the music festival in X-Force #75 – well, “Exploding Colossal Man Shindig and Hullaballoo”, but close enough. It’s Burning Man, obviously. The two women with Karma in the final panel are identified in that story as “my girlfriends Simone and Jessikah [who] are documentary filmmakers”.

PAGES 23-24. The introduction to Wolfsbane’s story.

The Blob is presumably here as the barman.

PAGES 25-32. Flashback: Wolfsbane takes Warlock shopping.

This is tricky to place. I’m not sure why Warlock is shown here speaking in pictograms – he could speak broken English from his first appearance, and everyone else seems to understand him. It may just be an attempt to make his overly familiar speech tics seem alien again. If so, I can see the idea, but it absolutely kills the story for me – it turns the most basic dialogue into a cryptic slog and I still can’t decipher the speech that Wolfsbane describes as “beautiful”.

PAGES 33-34. Sunspot addresses the party.

PAGES 35-37. Letters from creators.

PAGES 38-46 are a back-up story serving as a trailer for November’s Deadpool #1, in which the New Mutants kick Deadpool off the island for letting kids play with grenades. Seems an odd way to write him out of X-Force, so I suspect that won’t stick. Anyway, Deadpool isn’t an X-book and this isn’t an X-story.

PAGE 47. Trailers.

Bring on the comments

  1. Rob London says:

    “Sharon Corvid” is likely a reference to Sheryl Crow, who was really big for a couple years in the mid-‘90s.

  2. Si says:

    Warlock spoke in pictograms at the beginning. When he was alone he spoke in English, so we would know what was going on, but when he was around people actually speaking English it was all beautiful Sienkiewicz scribble-blob pictures. And he spoke like that from time to time after that, too. One scene that sticks in my mind is when he first saw the Blackbird plane and his voice bubble held a picture of an actual blackbird.

    The reason Cypher was dragged onto the team was they couldn’t communicate with Warlock. In the end he did nothing, it was Wolfsbane who somehow broke the language barrier. So that ties together more or less with this issue, by the sound of it.

  3. The Other Michael says:

    What an odd celebration of the New Mutants. I mean sure, we get a story about the OG team, and a story about the friendship between Karma and Shatterstar that was never really a thing of note, and a story about the deep friendship between Rahne and Warlock which was never really a big thing to my recollection…

    and a backup story about Deadpool and the newest generation and I can only assume he’s here because of his debut in the New Mutants, in which case where’s Cable?

    Meanwhile, of the -classic- New Mutants, we get everyone but Amara, who’s basically just mentioned on the cast page and I guess she’s a blonde in the background with… does she get any speaking lines? Oh yeah, like one. They really did her dirty for being one of the very first recruits to the team. (She’s not even in the team picture at the end, nor is Doug! Why… why would you do a picture of the OG New Mutants and leave out several of them?)

    We get Rictor and Shatterstar representing the late additions to the original team, but I guess everyone has forgotten altogether about Rusty and Skids, Boomer’s busy and no one likes Feral.

    Oh, and the later Academy X era New Mutants team is pretty much ignored altogether in favor of Anole, who wasn’t actually part of that squad.

    But hey, at least Vita Ayala’s pet characters like Galura and the Lost Club and Leo (who???) get speaking appearances. I mean okay, I’m all in favor of introducing and showcasing new queer characters of color like Leo, but this just felt like a showhorned in “Hi, I exist and I’m at this party for the New Mutants for literally no reason because I’ve never been associated with the team…” moment.

    All in all, between practically shutting out an early core team member and doing a tight focus on a few moments, this felt like a really clumsy and underwhelming way to celebrate the New Mutants as a team or as a legacy.

  4. Michael says:

    The Deadpool story is a perfect example of the problem with Krakoan resurrections. Why did Wade do a bad thing by letting the Krakoan kids play with explosives? The reason why we don’t allow kids to play with explosives in real life is they might kill or permanently injure themselves or others. But the Krakoan kids can just be resurrected if something happens. Yet everyone acts like Wade did a horrible thing.

  5. Chris V says:

    It adds more names to the resurrection queue. Krakoa is waiting to resurrect all the still-dead, and Deadpool would add more dead mutants. Mutants aren’t supposed to risk their lives, unless it’s in service to the nation (X-Men, X-Force). If they die, they die for a purpose.

  6. YLu says:

    Plus, if they survive and are only maimed, it’s still gonna be an incredibly painful experience.

    Or, from a different angle, it’s not okay to set Scout on fire just because she has a healing factor that’ll let her survive it.

  7. Paul says:

    “Warlock spoke in pictograms at the beginning.”

    No, he didn’t. Cypher certainly is brought in to help communicate with Warlock, but in issue #21 Warlock starts off communicating with the New Mutants by using the Danger Room to show them pictures, and he’s already speaking in broken English by the end of the story. So far as I could see on a quick skim, the only time he uses pictograms in speech in the early issues is in #26, where it’s apparently indicating a series of chirps that he uses to try to communicate with the Blackbird – but he’s talking in extended sentences in that issue too. Besides, the plot of this story hinges on Wolfsbane being able to understand what Warlock’s pictograms mean.

  8. neutrino says:

    I can’t believe they didn’t ask Chris Claremont to contribute anything.

  9. Ryan T says:

    It seems worth noting that Ayala is leaving the book and a creative team I don’t immediately recognize the names of is taking over next issue. They mention it in the concluding statement.

  10. JD says:

    New Mutants #31-33 are to be an explicit follow-up to a 20-page story from this year’s Marvel Voices – Pride, by basically the same creative team (just one more artist attached), all featuring new character Shela Sexton/Escapade.

    No clue yet whether they’re sticking around (or the book will even continue) past that, but it’s called a “guest arc” in the Voices one-shot’s teaser text, so…

  11. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    Charlie Jane Anders is the cofounder of io9 (now part of Gizmodo) and an author of several novels. I’m not sure if she has prior comics work other than the short story in a recent Marvel Pride oneshot that introduced the character Escapade that she’s spotlighting in the upcoming arc.

    The artist apparently did some of those digital comics on Unlimited, but not one that I’ve actually read.

  12. Thom H. says:

    I’m surprised Marvel hasn’t done more for the New Mutants’ anniversary. I would have at least considered buying a one-shot that starred the O9.

    At this point, I’m resigned to the idea that they’re the Gen X of the X-books, doomed to standing in the background while the Baby Boomers and Millennials yell at each other.

    I would love for Zeb Wells to get another crack at them. But that’s…geez, 12 years ago now.

  13. Bengt says:

    They should have done stories with the New Mutants in their 50s.

    I don’t remember if I read any of the marvel one-shots she’s worked one but I like Charlie Jane Anders’ prose work. All the Birds in the Sky and The City in the Middle of the Night are good.

  14. Drew says:

    “At this point, I’m resigned to the idea that they’re the Gen X of the X-books, doomed to standing in the background while the Baby Boomers and Millennials yell at each other.”

    No, I think that’s Generation X. (Apropos, I suppose.) The New Mutants still get a book every few years and wear variations of their original team uniforms, and the most popular ones (Magik, Cannonball, etc.) get used in other books. I guess technically that last point is true of Gen X too (Jubilee, M, Chamber), but they get far fewer revival books, their uniforms/color scheme don’t tend to get re-used, and they rarely drive plots. (I know, Synch is in the X-Men, but that’s the exception to the rule.) Hell, a plot point in Hickman’s New Mutants arc was that Synch and Mondo don’t know what they were even doing in the book.

    However, what JD described above definitely sounds like trouble for the book. Nothing against new characters, obviously, but a new creative team kicking things off by devoting a story arc to a new character that most fans of the current book probably don’t know, when the book is already one of the lower sellers of the line, doesn’t inspire confidence. I’ll be rooting for the creative team’s success, obviously, but if the classic Muties aren’t prominent, I may be skipping those issues.

  15. Drew says:

    “Hell, a plot point in Hickman’s New Mutants arc was that Synch and Mondo don’t know what they were even doing in the book.”

    (Er, CHAMBER and Mondo, that is. D’oh.)

  16. Mike Loughlin says:

    What a weird way to end a critically acclaimed run. Nothing from Rod Reis, the main artist on the book to-date. No connection to any ongoing storylines, or to the themes of teaching and growing. If Vita Ayala’s name wasn’t in the credits, I would have thought the book had a different writer.

    This would have been less of a head-scratcher if it was a stand-a!one special.

  17. The Other Michael says:

    When it comes to Generation X, everyone loves Jubilee because she was an X-Man first and had cartoon cred as well. And Monet is popular because she’s your classic pretty, powerful, bitchy character. Husk and Chamber come and go depending on which writer has a fondness for them, and of course Synch and Skin were dead for many years.

    It doesn’t help that some of the Generation X cast is mired in confusion–Mondo and Penance especially, whose original stories were radically changed between conception and eexecution. (Him, a laidback Samoan who turned out to be a plant-based traitor; her, an orphaned refugee from Eastern Europe who turned out to be (mumble mumble, twins, Monet, Emplate, empty shell of a body…))

    I’m looking forward to Charlie Jane’s guest run, as it seems like her story is going to take her new characters, pair them with established ones, and actually explore some of the social/cultural aspects of Krakoa that we’ve been asking to be developed for a while.

  18. Michael says:

    @Mike Loughlin- I think that what happened was that Vita planned on continuing stories with Maddie and Illyana after issue 28. There’s hints in issue 28 that Illyana’s stepping disks have changed, Illyana notes that she’s continuing to teach Maddie magic, Illyana taks about opening up a magic school on Krakoa. But then Vita lost Illyana to Duggan. and Maddie to Dark Web and decided to quit the book. So Vita just agreed to do the anniversary issue as her last issue.

  19. Mike Loughlin says:

    Michael – that tracks. It’s a shame that Ayala is quitting because (based on what you wrote) Gerry Duggan gets to use a character being shaped by a better writer and Madelynne is going to Spider-Man. I hope Charlie Jane’s story is enjoyable. New Mutants won’t have much of a future beyond that unless another writer invested in the characters takes over.

  20. Si says:

    @Paul I haven’t read the above reviewed comic, so I don’t know what the pictograms are there, it may well be completely different, but in the 1st volume issue 21, Warlock definitely speaks in pictures. Throughout he repeats a symbol for energy that looks like a bit like a sun, and on page 27 (digital) he speaks a symbol that’s a cool cross between Magus’ face and a skull.

  21. YLu says:

    @Mike Loughlin

    That sounds unlikely to me, based on how collaborative the X-writer’s room is, by all appearances. It doesn’t sound like a place where someone could just steal out a character from another writer. Even more so, I don’t think the Spider-Man office would have the ability to just steal an X-character.

  22. YLu says:

    Er, that should’ve been @Michael.

  23. Allan M says:

    The creative turnover has really sunk this book. Everyone except Dani, Rahne, Karma and Illyana just come and go, usually without explanation much less payoff, and I guess Illyana’s gone too, now? At least she got a significant spotlight before she went. I guess Cosmar’s been fairly consistently in it since she was introduced.

    There have been way worse series in this current Krakoan era, but New Mutants stands out as just being profoundly aimless. I really can’t come up with an explanation what the basic concept of the series is that’s true across Hickman, Brisson and Ayala’s runs. And now we’re headed to another.

  24. Paul says:

    @Si: You’re right, he does use some pictograms in issue #21, but not to speak to other characters – they come across more as expressions of emotion, since he has extensive thought balloons in regular English throughout. But when he’s actually addressing other characters, he uses broken English right from the word go, beyond the first few pages when he doesn’t know any.

    In issue #26 he has speech balloons showing a stylised bird when he’s trying to talk to the Blackbird; other characters tell us that what they’re hearing is a chirping sound.

  25. Si says:

    Yeah fair enough. I always took it as a representation of an alien language, but it could just as easily be emotional noises or even trademark artistic flourishes from Bill Sienkiewicz that aren’t meant to be voice bubbles at all.

    I did always find it strange that he learned English (and how power cords work) just by touching a girl’s hand, so maybe he already knew. It’s quite unclear to me, on rereading.

  26. ASV says:

    I really can’t come up with an explanation what the basic concept of the series is that’s true across Hickman, Brisson and Ayala’s runs.

    I think Ayala’s run has been fairly consistent (20-something X-people dealing with early adulthood and mentoring the kids), but has really missed out on the opportunity to be a platform for exploring Krakoa more. Nothing about it couldn’t have been done at basically any time when the mansion was around. It’s surprising, because newly activated mutants coming to Krakoa and trying to form both their own identities and a broader culture seems like a prime Ayala setup, but this series (like all the others) has done nothing with the 200K other Krakoans. It does have Cosmar, but that’s only noteworthy because she is the only new mutant to get significant story time in the last three years.

    Before Ayala, yes, no clear reason for the series to exist. Hickman used it to drop in some ancillary setup that could’ve easily been in his X-Men. Brisson told a basically disconnected story that just served to illustrate something of the Krakoa setup early on. But neither needed to be an ongoing series.

  27. Uncanny X-Ben says:

    Allan M-

    Yeah it was just “a book about some characters who do stuff and some of them used to be New Mutants.”

    There are worse things, but I’d be hard pressed to recommend any if it unless the person was a huge Dani/Magick/Sunspot fan.

  28. YLu says:

    “I think Ayala’s run has been fairly consistent (20-something X-people dealing with early adulthood and mentoring the kids), but has really missed out on the opportunity to be a platform for exploring Krakoa more. Nothing about it couldn’t have been done at basically any time when the mansion was around.”

    I don’t know. I’d say both the Shadow King and Maddie stuff, which together span the entire run, come out of the “Now all the villains live with us and are nominally allies” premise of Krakoa.

  29. Mike Loughlin says:

    During Ayala’s run, there were consistent themes of teaching (older characters to younger), learning about oneself (younger characters, plus Magik & some of the older characters), personal growth through dealing with trauma (Magik, Warpath, Farouk), and the importance of communication & listening to others (Dani & Cosmar, Scout & her friends, Rahne & Dani, Dani & Karma in Otherworld). I agree that Hickman’s run was a dumb comedy and Brisson’s lacked focus, but Ayala’s issues had coherence and consistency.

    I wish there were more stories and more space devoted to some of the cast, but to me that’s separate from thematic concerns.

  30. ASV says:

    Sure, but there have been reformed or semi-reformed villains in the X-Men pretty consistently for quite a while. It is true that the color of these stories came from the application of the amnesty principle, but that too is an echo of how previous reforms happened, e.g., the range of how different characters responded to Rogue being welcomed in by Xavier. I guess the stuff about clones is tied closely to the characteristics of resurrection, not just another “Who is really the real Peter Parker?”-type story.

  31. Loz says:

    I’ll be interested to see whether Rahne ever remembers she had a kid again in the Krakoa era.

  32. Jdsm24 says:

    Actually , it was a big deal in the first half of Ayala’s run that Rahne couldn’t get her kid resurrected because he wasn’t dead anymore , as per XFactor’s reports , of course they never bothered to elaborate on this tsk tsk tsk they never never bothered to follow-up update on whatever happened to Karma’s brother (as well as show Galura’s brother) after he and Karma got resurrected after she died during Crucible in order to have the two of them separated again (they already did in New Mutants Dead Souls) but this time in such a way that he wouldn’t be an evil psychic entity I.e. a male counterpart of the Marauder’s Malice (who got similarly redeemed in Excalibur via resurrection to her original form)

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