Mighty Week of Marvel #29

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An old series gets a new outing from Marvel this week, and it’s just like the eighties all over again. Welcome back, the not so new New Mutants…

The relaunch of New Mutants has annoyed some of the fans of the recently canceled Young X-Men title, which it effectively replaced. However, judging by this first issue it was well worth the sacrifice; the Young X-Men are still around after all, though the focus is firmly on the original New Mutants squad, now reunited (minus Wolfsbane, who’s off in X-Force). 

With Karma and Moonstar missing Cannonball, Sunspot, Magma and Magik follow them to a strange town full of mutant hating locals, where Cannonball finds Karma catatonic in a locked room. Unfortunately, Magik and Magma believe they’ve also found her, locked in a box-but when the box is opened and its occupant released, in a shocking final page reveal it proves to be none other than their old foe Legion, who has seemingly absorbed Karma’s mind! Maybe the hick locals had a point, after all…

Continuity: The New Mutants first appeared as a team in Marvel Graphic Novel #4 (1982), though Magma didn’t join them until New Mutants #8 (1983). Legion, David Haller, is the schizophrenic mutant son of Charles Xavier, first seen in New Mutants #25 (1985). He was apparently killed by former X-Man Lucas Bishop in X-Men: Omega (1996) at the conclusion of the Age of Apocalypse storyline, so his reappearance here is a bit baffling. But then, this is Marvel!

Elsewhere in the Marvel mutantverse the latest crossover ‘The Messiah War’ reaches its fourth chapter in Cable #14. Hope, the mutant child Cable has been trying to protect, has fallen into the hands of Stryfe and his ‘ally’, Lucas Bishop.

When Bishop tries to kill the girl, Stryfe finally realizes who and what she is-potentially, the future savior of mutantkind-and uses his resemblance to Cable to trick her. Meanwhile, elsewhere in the corrupted future Cable, Deadpool and X-Force are on Stryfe’s trail, while Archangel has a fateful encounter with his ‘creator’, Apocalypse!

Continuity: Apocalypse transformed Warren Worthington (AKA the Angel) into Death/Archangel back in X-Factor #17 (1987), granting him metallic wings to replace his original feathered wings (which had been amputated due to injury) but also conditioning his mind. Stryfe, the deranged clone of Cable, first appeared in New Mutants #87 (1990). Although apparently killed in X-Force #18 (1993) he has seemingly returned a couple of times since then, so his current status is unclear.

Deadpool is pretty much everywhere at the moment it seems! Following his recent crossover with the Thunderbolts, Wade Wilson is of course currently appearing in the ‘Messiah War’ crossover in Cable and X-Force, but that hasn’t stopped him from getting into even more trouble in Deadpool #10!

Deadpool has made an enemy of his former employer, Norman Osborn, who has tasked one of his ‘Avengers’-Hawkeye-to take the mouthy merc out. Unfortunately for Deadpool, Norman’s ‘Hawkeye’ is of course actually Bullseye, the deadliest hit man alive-and a man with whom Deadpool has past history…

Continuity: Deadpool annoyed Norman by surviving his assassination attempt and robbing him of his Gold Card in Thunderbolts #131 (er, this month, as it happens).

Outside the confines of the mutant books-and, indeed, the confines of Earth, War of Kings #3 continues the ongoing cosmic saga which is tying up pretty much all of Marvel’s space-bound characters right now. The Guardians of the Galaxy and the Starjammers take on the Shi-Ar Imperial Guard to rescue former Empress Lilandra, while back on Attillan, Crystal begins to have grave doubts about the Inhumans’ ‘Uplift Program’, supposedly intended to help the Kree overcome the genetic deadlock which has stalled their evolution for millennia.

Plus, the Imperial Guard gains—and loses—yet another ‘Smasher’ and Kallark the Gladiator finally decides whose side he is actually on; Lilandra’s! The question is, will the rest of the Imperial Guard follow his lead and turn against Emperor Vulcan, too?

Continuity: The Kree have attempted to overcome their evolutionary deadlock before, notably when their Supreme Intelligence deliberately wiped out 90% of the Kree race in order to force the remainder to evolve (during the Operation: Galactic Storm crossover in the Avengers titles in early 1992).

This led to a number of the Kree evolving into shape-shifters called the Ruul (in the 2000-2001 crossover series Maximum Security), though they appear to have been forgotten since then. Gladiator first appeared in Uncanny X-Men #107 (1977) and has always (until recently) been fiercely loyal to Lilandra, so his betrayal of Emperor Vulcan is not that much of a surprise. In fact, his apparent loyalty to his oath of office until now has seemed a little out of character, if anything.

Mockingbird and Hawkeye…uh, Ronin…uh, Clint Barton…whoever, you know who I mean…are on the trail of AIM and a group of missing scientists in New Avengers: the Reunion #3, but the real story here is what happened to Mock while she was supposedly dead and actually in the hands of the Skrulls. The flashbacks to her time in captivity continue, as we learn that the Skrull impersonator of Hawkeye was actually obsessed with Mock and hunted her for sport after she escaped custody on the Skrull Homeworld.

This may in part account for the fact that she is now trying to distance herself from Clint’s attempts at reconciliation.  The ‘Hawkeye’ who forgave her for deceiving him and killing a man was actually a fake who was trying to use her. Perhaps she fears the real one is, too?

Continuity: the event which tore apart Hawkeye and Mockingbird’s marriage was her letting the deranged Phantom Rider fall to his death after he drugged and possibly raped her (West Coast Avengers #23, 1987). Hawkeye considered that despite the Phantom Rider’s actions she had gone against the Avengers code never to take a life and this moral dilemma drove a wedge between them.

The pair were reconciled shortly before Mockingbird’s ‘death’ in Avengers West Coast #100 (1993), but it has since become apparent that the Mockingbird who reconciled with Hawkeye was a Skrull. It remains unclear precisely when the substitution took place, however.

Confusion abounds in Agents of Atlas #4, in which the Agents take on the new Captain America. This causes Bob Grayson to recall their final mission for the FBI in 1958, in which, in the course of investigating a time/space corridor being used by the Soviets, they discovered what appeared to be the original Cap and Bucky trapped in cryogenic capsules.

Back in the present day though, Bob has implanted information in the new Cap’s mind which will almost certainly result in the New Avengers trying to take Atlas down. Why do the Agents want this? Hey, who knows-but it’s one of the best written books Marvel has out right now, so then again, who cares? No doubt all will be revealed…

Continuity: Longtime Marvelites will have worked out that the Cap and Bucky our heroes saw in suspended animation were actually the unstable 1950’s versions later revived in Captain America #153 (1972). While Jack Monroe (later Nomad), the Bucky of the 1950’s, has since died (Captain America #3, 2005), the fifties Cap remains at large following his recent escape from the clutches of the Red Skull and Dr Faustus (Captain America #42, 2008).

Panel of the week: New Mutants #1, page 40

Our name is Legion, and we are many: an old foe returns!

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