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Thursday, August 9, 2012

X-amining New Mutants #3

"Nightmare"
May 1983

In a Nutshell 
The New Mutants come face to face with one of the Brood. 

Writer/Co-Creator: Chris Claremont
Penciller/Co-Creator: Bob McLeod
Inker: Mike Gustovich
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Dani is haunted at night by visions of the Brood, the Demon Bear which killed her parents, and her dead teammates, though when she wakes up, she discovers the knife she used to attack the bear in her dream has blood on it. When she goes to tell this to Professor X, she overhears him talking with Moira MacTaggert, saying he believes Dani may be suffering from extreme paranoid schizophrenia. Despondent, Dani contemplates whether she should even go on living. On Muir Isle, Moira hangs up with Xavier, frustrated he hasn't used his telepathy to accurately diagnose Dani's condition. Banshee comforts her, even going so far as to propose to her, but Moira turns him down. The next morning, Banshee finds Illyana singing a song to the rising sun, as though she's praying. He believes she is honoring the missing X-Men, but she is really singing for the X-Men she saw killed while growing up in Limbo. Back at the mansion, Dani discusses her situation with her teammates, all of whom believe her. Suddenly, as the landscape around them turns alien, they are attacked by a Brood Queen.


The Brood Queen captures Dani, knocking her unconscious. When Dani awakens, she realizes the Brood Queen is using Dani's own power against her, and the Brood Queen explains she is augmenting Dani's power to its full potential, making her visions real. Just then the rest of the New Mutants find Dani, and Dani orders Sam to knock her unconscious. Once he does, the Brood Queen disappears and everything returns to normal. That night, Dani contemplates leaving the team, worried that the Brood could once more use her power against her friends, but Roberto tells her they are teammates and friends now, and they'll stick together. Dani worries that Professor X might be under the alien's control, not realizing that the Brood Queen is gestating inside Xavier and had been using his telepathy to control and augment her power. The New Mutants settle in to watch Magnum, P.I., unaware that the X-Men are about to return home.  

Firsts and Other Notables
This is the first appearance of the boathouse on the grounds of the X-Mansion. It will eventually serve, for a time, as the home of Scott and Jean as well as Gambit. 


As the issue ends, the New Mutants are sitting down to watch Magnum, P.I.; this becomes their favorite show, and they will reference it several times in the course of the series.

We get our first glimpse of the Demon Bear which killed Dani's parents, though technically this is not the bear's first appearance, as it's technically a manifestation of Dani's power. 


A Work in Progress
Banshee's back! With Moira on Muir Isle, Sean pops up once again, and even proposes to Moira, suggesting they try to start a family. She turns him down off panel, but Banshee makes it clear she's still haunted by Proteus and her first husband.


Illyana is staying with Moira as well, and Banshee mentions it's because Professor X is introducing the New Mutants to the school, but it doesn't really explain why Illyana isn't just part of the team in the first place.


This issue takes place on Kitty's birthday, as Illyana is singing a song, taught to her by the Storm who lived in Limbo, in memory of Kitty; those events will eventually be explored in the Magik limited series.


Like Storm, Dani apparently swims in the nude. 


It's established that Sam has trouble turning when he's flying, which becomes his chief weakness, one he's constantly trying to overcome, throughout the series.


Via the Brood Queen, it's revealed that Dani has the potential to use her to power to make the images she creates real.

I Love the 80s
In case this is your first issue, Dani helpfully thinks everything you need to know about her on the first page.


Banshee is still seen smoking his pipe. 

Roberto is apparently a Star Trek fan. 


The New Mutants settle in to watch Magnum, P.I. It doesn't get more 80s than that.   

Teebore's Take
With this issue, Claremont and McLeod wrap up the title's initial story arc, and set the stage for the first meeting between the New Mutants and the X-Men in X-Men #167. Despite taking place light years away, Claremont manages to tie the New Mutants in with the ongoing Brood story, while at the same time, use that story to continue to build the characters and relationships of his new team. Likely because I came to New Mutants after it had become X-Force, I've always considered New Mutants to be primarily about Sam. Re-reading these early issues, however, makes it clear that, in these early goings at least, Claremont is most interested in Dani Moonstar. Her power allows Claremont the most opportunity for angst, and her hostility towards Professor X works well in a story in which Professor X is unknowingly possessed. Other characters will, of course, get time in the spotlight, but at this point, it's very clear that Dani Moonstar is already a Claremont favorite. 

Next Issue
Next week, the New Mutants come face to face with the returning X-Men and Professor X stands revealed in Uncanny X-Men #167.

After that, Dracula returns in X-Men Annual #6.

8 comments:

  1. Is it true that the part with the masked bear was lifted from an old episode of Yogi Bear?

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  2. "It will eventually serve, for a time, as the home of Scott and Jean as well as Gambit."

    Huh, I remember the newlywed Summers' moving into the boathouse, but I have no recollection of Gambit living there. When was that?

    "As the issue ends, the New Mutants are sitting down to watch Magnum, P.I...."

    As I read the first fifty or so issues of this title in the Classics trades recently, I noticed a ton of references to Magnum, and I wondered how long it was on the air. It turns out it ran for basically the entire decade of the 80's -- pretty much the entirety of the New Mutants series!

    I feel like you should have a category for whenever someone (usually Sunspot) mentions Magnum... maybe it could be called, "My Hero, Thomas Magnum"? I believe Sunspot uses that exat phrase at some point.

    "We get our first glimpse of the Demon Bear which killed Dani's parents"

    I love that it's just a normal bear. I don't know why, but I crack up every time I see that picture. There's nothing demonic about it. It's just... a bear.

    "Banshee's back!"

    Hooray! Though I have to say that the fact that Claremont occasionally remembers Banshee is somehow even more frustrating to me than if he had totally forgotten about him altogether.

    "Re-reading these early issues, however, makes it clear that, in these early goings at least, Claremont is most interested in Dani Moonstar."

    Told you!

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  3. I think I only bought 1 or 2 New Mutants (a crossover: Fall of.. or Inferno?) so I know little about them. Let me get this straight: Was the Brood Queen an actual Brood Queen who tapped in to the 'breeding' Xavier & Dani's power; or was the BQ just a manifestation of Dani's power? Great blog as usual.

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  4. @Anonymous: Is it true that the part with the masked bear was lifted from an old episode of Yogi Bear?

    Ha! It certainly looks that way, doesn't it?

    @Matt: I have no recollection of Gambit living there. When was that?

    Shorty after the whole "Trial of Gambit" when we (and the X-Men) learned about his involvement in the Mutant Massacre. Once he returned to the team, he ended up living in the boathouse for awhile since everyone was still kind of wary of him. I don't think it lasted very long, as was the case with most subplots at that time.

    ...maybe it could be called, "My Hero, Thomas Magnum"?

    Good idea. Done.

    I love that it's just a normal bear.

    Me too. Though at the risk of jumping the gun/re-hashing old discussions, one of the things I like about Sienkiewicz is the way he portrays the Demon Bear: still just a bear, essentially, but demon-y and scary as hell.

    I have to say that the fact that Claremont occasionally remembers Banshee is somehow even more frustrating to me than if he had totally forgotten about him altogether.

    Agreed. It's the lack of consistency that is the most frustrating.

    @Pete: Was the Brood Queen an actual Brood Queen who tapped in to the 'breeding' Xavier & Dani's power; or was the BQ just a manifestation of Dani's power?

    The Brood in this issue is the actual Brood gestating inside Xavier. Because she's still growing/hasn't taken over Xavier's body yet, she uses his telepathy to amplify Dani's power so that the Brood can take physical form independent of Xavier.

    So the Brood the New Mutants are fighting is just a physical manifestation of Dani's power, but it's being created by and as a representation of the actual Brood that is growing inside Xavier.

    If that makes it any more clear...

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  5. Sean!

    "Ah, Darlin'... Ye know it gets me all green in th' shamrock when ye start talkin' about when you 'n' Charley were in love."

    I get the sense that Moira and Sean have discussed marriage before, based on the way this conversation goes, and I'm not inclined to consider this a proposal (except by the unromantic, bottom-denominator definition of "an offer of marriage") couched as it is in a larger argument.

    @Matt: I have to say that the fact that Claremont occasionally remembers Banshee is somehow even more frustrating to me than if he had totally forgotten about him altogether.

    Word up. Uh, I mean, That's no blarney, me boyo.

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  6. I now want to see Yogi Demon-Bear so effin' badly.

    Title card: "He's smarter than the average bear..."

    Jump to a shadowy Yogi Demon-Bear rising into frame with its mouth open.

    Title card: "Because he eats..."

    Jump to campers fleeing.

    Title card: "... our..."

    Jump to one of the campers, a nubile teen girl, tripping and looking up: "Oh God. Oh No."

    Title card: "... brains!"

    Piercing scream from the girl against a black screen.

    "Yogi Demon-Bear. Summer 2013."

    Rustling of barely-glimpsed creatures through the woods, as we hear a childlike voice: "I don't know, Yogi. The ranger might find out."

    A black screen again, then the typical scare shot to make the audience flinch.

    "Boo." (pause) "Boo."

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  7. Teebore -- "...one of the things I like about Sienkiewicz is the way he portrays the Demon Bear: still just a bear, essentially, but demon-y and scary as hell."

    True. While I'm not a big fan of Bill S.'s New Mutants era artwork, I will admit that he's a pretty good fit for the Demon Bear and the trip into Legion's head. It's the "real world" stuff that I'd rather not see him draw.

    Blam -- I'm approvingly slow-clapping your Demon Yogi trailer. I'm getting weird looks from other folks in the office, but you deserve it.

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  8. @Blam: I'm not inclined to consider this a proposal (except by the unromantic, bottom-denominator definition of "an offer of marriage") couched as it is in a larger argument.

    That's fair. I definitely didn't read it as a "traditional", on bended knee, ring in hand-style proposal, and called it as such more or less out of linguistic simplicity.

    I now want to see Yogi Demon-Bear so effin' badly.

    And after your spot on breakdown of the trailer, now *I* want to see Yogi Demon-Bear!

    @Matt: It's the "real world" stuff that I'd rather not see him draw.

    Fair enough. I definitely like his trippy, "uneal" stuff more than the real world stuff.

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