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Thursday, June 12, 2014

X-amining New Mutants #69

"Bad Company"
November 1988

In a Nutshell
The New Mutants learn the truth about Gosamyr. 

Writer: Louise Simonson
Artist: Bret Blevins
Inker: Al Williamson
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
As the forces around Spyder's planet prepare to fire on the New Mutants' ship in punishment for their bribing of an official, Spyder calls off the attack, telling the admiral the ship contains his cargo, giving them permission to land on the planet. Once the suspicious New Mutants have landed, Dani, fed up with Gosamyr, runs off the ship and bumps into a group of thugs looking to sell her to Spyder. Back on the ship, Sam and Roberto continue to fight over Gosamyr, while an unaffected Warlock tries to get a sulking Illyana to help them. Outside, Dani fights off the group of aliens, only to run into another group. When Rahne transforms into a wolf, she senses Dani's distress, and the New Mutants teleport to an increasingly dark Limbo. On Earth, Magneto discusses his missing students with the White Queen, and leaves the mansion to join her at the Hellfire Club. Back on Spyder's world, the New Mutants emerge from Limbo to help Dani.


They fight off Spyder's thugs, but when Illyana attacks one of them, it becomes demonic. In the wake of the battle, Warlock and Illyana are able to expose Gosamyr's true nature to the rest of the team, and everyone seems to come to their senses. Roberto still defends Gosamyr, saying they can help her use her powers for good, and she joins the rest of the team as they fly off to rescue Lila from Spyder, with Illyana saying that Lila is now their only way home, as she no longer trusts teleporting via Limbo. The New Mutants easily penetrate Spyder's lair and discover the captive Lila, only for everyone but Gosamyr to be caught in a large cage. As Spyder emerges from above, he welcomes them to his parlor, and thanks Gosamyr for bringing them to him.

Firsts and Other Notables
This issue ends with Limbo having grown so strong and overrun with evil that Illyana is unable to shed her Darkchilde form, and she tells the New Mutants they must rescue Lila so she can return them to Earth, as she fears that if they enter Limbo again, they may be unable to leave. All of which is setup for "Inferno".


The New Mutants learn of Gosamyr's unintentional ability to sow discord amongst those around her this issue, and even see a manifestation of her true, adult form via Illyana.


Blevins work continues to sag. While his figure work and panel composition is roughly on par with what's come before, his backgrounds continue to devolve, with the characters more often than not simply standing in front of single color backgrounds.

A Work in Progress
This has always been the case, but this issue emphasizes the fact that while Dani can now physically manifest someone's greatest fear or desire, she has no way of knowing what that thing will be before she creates it. This is why she didn't know the bribe she created last issue was a bribe.


Illyana tells Warlock that she can feel herself growing more evil as she loses more and more control of Limbo.


Magneto has obviously realized the New Mutants are once again missing, and is told by the White Queen that they may be involved in an alien attack (the Hellions had heard reports of the attack on Lila's concert). He leaves the school to join her at the Hellfire Club, ominously donning his helmet for the first time since the X-Men vs. the Avengers miniseries.


When Illyana attacks an alien robot with her Soulsword, it becomes demonic, leading Illyana to believe that Limbo's curse (that whatever she does in Limbo is tainted by darkness), has followed her out of Limbo.


It's not clear why Warlock, who reveals in this issue knowledge of Gosamyr's race and their affect on people, is only mentioning this now, and not two issues ago when the New Mutants first met her. 


Young Love
Sam and Roberto spend most of this issue jealously fighting over Gosamyr, until Illyana and Warlock reveal her true nature. Then, Roberto, chump that he is, continues to stick up for her, insisting that the New Mutants can help her use her powers for good.



Teebore's Take
When it's down to Warlock acting as the voice of reason, you know you're in trouble. This is another issue that amounts to little more than the New Mutants squabbling amongst themselves. Roberto and Sam are jealous over Gosamyr, Rahne is stuck in the middle, Dani is mad at Gosamyr, Illyana is sulking, and Warlock is trying to make everyone realize how ridiculous they are acting. Granted, there's an explanation why everyone is behaving so out-of-character, and it's an explanation that the characters are made aware of in the course of the issue, but that doesn't make their subsequent actions any more pleasant to read.

Worst of all, like last issue, the plot continues to move forward at a glacial pace. The biggest development is that the New Mutants land on Spyder's planet and fly to his castle to rescue Lila, all of which takes three pages to depict. If anything, the upcoming "Inferno" arc is moved along further than the plot involving Spyder, with Illyana losing what little control of Limbo she had left and finding herself unable to shed her Darkchilde form. It's interesting that while both X-Men and New Mutants head into "Inferno" with a pair of four part story arcs, those arcs couldn't be more diametrically opposed in terms of quality. While it's perhaps unfair to compare nearly any story to the metaphorically-charged Genosha story, one which has lasting repercussions on the entire X-narrative, this series certainly isn't doing itself any favors with this material, regardless.   

Next Issue
Tomorrow, Death fights Cameron Hodge in X-Factor #34. Next week, Uncanny X-Men #238, followed by Excalibur #2.

7 comments:

  1. "It's not clear why Warlock, who reveals in this issue knowledge of Gosamyr's race and their affect on people, is only mentioning this now, and not two issues ago when the New Mutants first met her."

    Because then we would've missed three issues of "wacky" misunderstandings.

    I'd love to know what in Louise Simonson's mind thought Gosamyr was a good character. I won't lie, I find her design interesting, but her actual character is like every bad stereotype of teenaged girls rolled into one. She stirs up trouble & is catty because "why not", she flirts with all the guys to use them - it's like the worst sitcom writer in the world was asked to design a teenaged daughter character & the script got sent to Marvel by accident. The character is insulting enough, but to see her added to a book that had such varied & interesting teenaged female characters before (that are henceforth largely dragged into the mire with her) always struck me as particularly awful.

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  2. Come on, Mela, you're being awfully unfair to the writers of That 70's show for Eric's sister Laurie.

    Granted, sitcom is a thing different from a comic book with a variety of teen characters who used to have distinct voices.

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  3. "It's interesting that while both X-Men and New Mutants head into "Inferno" with a pair of four part story arcs, those arcs couldn't be more diametrically opposed in terms of quality."

    So of course, while I dropped X-Men after the Brood arc, my subscription copies of the execrable New Mutants still arrived every month. *sigh*

    Planning to read the Genosha arc this weekend for the first time ever, be interesting to see if it lives up to the hype.

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  4. "Blevins work continues to sag. While his figure work and panel composition is roughly on par with what's come before, his backgrounds continue to devolve, with the characters more often than not simply standing in front of single color backgrounds."

    Actually, while his backgrounds are disappearing, I think his figure work has improved. The characters head-to-body ratio looks normal now, as opposed to the bobble-heads we got before.

    "ominously donning his helmet for the first time since the X-Men vs. the Avengers miniseries."

    I have to admit, Blevins draws it more like a mask then he does a helmet, but it does look great.

    "It's not clear why Warlock, who reveals in this issue knowledge of Gosamyr's race and their affect on people, is only mentioning this now, and not two issues ago when the New Mutants first met her."

    Because Contrivance Jones said so.

    "Then, Roberto, chump that he is, continues to stick up for her, insisting that the New Mutants can help her use her powers for good."

    Hey, you have to give him credit for not kicking her to the curb once he saw her real form. Character growth or inconsistent characterization for Roberto?

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  5. "the plot continues to move forward at a glacial pace."

    You want glacial, wait till the Asgard story!

    "Come on, Mela, you're being awfully unfair to the writers of That 70's show for Eric's sister Laurie."

    Hey, at least we got some laughs from Laurie...

    Ah, the awfulness that is Gosamyr and Spyder continues. One of the worst storylines we've gotten from the title up until this point.

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  6. It's certainly ironic that as the New Mutants switch to wearing their individual costumes permanently rather than in one-off annual adventures their characterization goes from distinct to as blandly generic as the old student/training uniforms (and less appealing).

    That shot of Magneto is nicely ominous. Sam's hair, meanwhile, is ridiculous.

    Warlock loves the '80s by turning into one of the AT-AT walkers from Empire.

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  7. @Mela: I won't lie, I find her design interesting, but her actual character is like every bad stereotype of teenaged girls rolled into one.

    Yeah, she does have a nifty design, which makes the fact that it was wasted on such an uninspired, insipid character all the more disappointing.

    @chasdom: So of course, while I dropped X-Men after the Brood arc, my subscription copies of the execrable New Mutants still arrived every month. *sigh*

    Ouch.

    @wwkd: The characters head-to-body ratio looks normal now, as opposed to the bobble-heads we got before.

    That's a good point. And heck, the lack of backgrounds is just getting us primed for Liefeld. :)

    Character growth or inconsistent characterization for Roberto?

    Oh, I think it's consistent characterization, in that he'll standby anything pretty that shows an interest in him.

    You want glacial, wait till the Asgard story!

    I've only read it a couple times, and I don't deny that it drags on way too long, but for whatever reason, this story has always felt even longer than the, what, seven issues they spend in Asgard?

    One of the worst storylines we've gotten from the title up until this point.

    I'll have to wait til I finish re-reading the Asgard arc, but right now, it's easily my contender for the book's worst multi-part arc, even ahead of all the Bird-Brain crap.

    @Blam:
    It's certainly ironic that as the New Mutants switch to wearing their individual costumes permanently rather than in one-off annual adventures their characterization goes from distinct to as blandly generic as the old student/training uniforms (and less appealing)


    Ironic, and awful. But yes. That's a really good point. Another one I wish I'd made...

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