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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comics – Day 169

Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

Today we take a look at an acclaimed one-off issue of New Mutants, by Chris Claremont, Jackson Guice and Kyle Baker…

Enjoy!

The set-up for the issue (#45) is that the New Mutants are invited to a spring mixer at a local high school (the students don’t know, of course, that the New Mutants are, well, mutants).

So anyhow, Dani Moonstar is pissed about having to hide the fact that she’s special, so she takes off. And a student sees her and realizes that she is a mutant – just like him!

Larry and Kitty have some fun, but while getting punch, a kid at Larry’s school makes a joke that he must be a mutant and Larry freaks out, leading to the following prank…

Larry is now all freaked out, so when the New Mutants ask him to hang out later that night, well, he decides to cover it up by acting all anti-mutant (which you can imagine does not translate well to his company)…

Wolfsbane tracks him to his house, though, as she got the feeling that something wasn’t right about Larry…

she goes home to tell the others that morning, but the timing isn’t great…

Being the person who (sadly) knew him best, Kitty Pryde gave a speech at his memorial at the high school.

While Claremont perhaps relied a bit too much on the whole “Kitty saying the n-word to get a reaction” trope, the speech as a whole is still quite touching.

Guice and Baker did a really great job on the artwork. Very heartfelt issue – one of the best New Mutants issues.

13 Comments

So did the kids that were harassing Larry ever get their comeuppance?

Not as far as I know. There’s a scene with Wolfsbane nearly attacking them but the other New Mutants talk her down.

So, what issue is this? I don’t see that mentioned anywhere, unless I missed it.

This is issue 45 (with the 25th anniversary banner around Magik on the cover).

I only first read this a couple of months ago when I was filling in gaps in my collection (I had bought 44 and 46 when they first came out about 24 years ago, but missed this one). It’s wild that you happen to be profiling it now. This one really stuck in my mind.

I agree that the issue was great, and the funny part is I bet I wouldn’t have felt that as strongly if I got it iwhen it originally came out (I can imagine I’d find it a bit hokey and would have preferred some fight scenes).

Now with way more life experience, I really appreciated the awkwardness and the loneliness and the desperation to connect (and the embarrassing gaffes that can result from trying too hard or over-thinking)

I didn’t even mind that Claremont’s “young people’s” dialogue doesn’t always sound that genuine, as the sentiment expressed by his words really rang true.

Again, great timing on this write-up. I opened this issue expecting by-the-numbers Mutie angst and melodrama to be read and stuffed in the long-box, closing a collector’s gap. Instead I got a real pleasant surprise and (as you note) one of the best issues of this series.

Sorry to be trollish here, but that was just awful. Seriously.

Bad writing, Bad art. Ham-handed. Obvious. Anvils dropping from the sky.

Just really, really bad.

Has any teenager ever in the history of the world called somebody “chum?”

Ugh.

Stephane Savoie

June 19, 2010 at 6:17 pm

I treasure that small run of books Baker did inks on. Beautiful, all of them. (Although out of place on those early Transformers.)

By a strange coincidence I also bought this issue a few months ago. I only got it because it was dirt cheap, and I had no idea what the story was about (those anniversary covers tell you nothing). Once I began reading it, though, I recognised the story from a later letter page.
It is ham-handed and obvious. Very special episodes usually are. But it’s still a decent story. And I like Jackson Guice’s art.

One thing I really appreciate is the criticism of X-Factor, in their original ‘Mutant-hunter’ phase. (Their true identity was still unknown to the X-Men and New Mutants.)
That really was possibly the worst premise ever for a Mutant series. I remember how shocked I was the first time I read an X-Factor issue and discovered that was the premise for the team. Fighting prejudice by encouraging it!
Who came up with that idea? Was it Layton or Shooter? Someone else? I’m glad that Louise Simonson led the team to finally realise what a disastrous strategy it was, but I get the impression that it was originally intended to be the permanant concept for the series and that the people at Marvel thought it was a cool idea. But it seems other Marvel writers were wise to the error of the series from the beginning. The very same month that Claremont criticised X-Factor in this story, Tom DeFalco was doing it in Amazing Spider-Man.

Just before her speech, Kitty says this is her first time wearing glasses in public. I wish she would wear them again sometime. I always liked her glasses. (But Alan Davis’s version looked better.)

Even if the story was obvious and the approach ham-fisted, Kitty’s speech at the end of the issue was a life-line for this young fag growing up in small, rural Iowa when he read it. That was the first time I ever “heard” someone essentially say that it wasn’t cool to pick on the gay kids. Kitty rocked my world!

I was never much of a New Mutants fan – because I don’t think Claremont was good at teen dialogue/interactions at all – and yes, this story did have sort of a ham-handed after-school special feel to it. That said, it’s still probably one of the best issues of that series. The Larry character was fleshed out really well, and I found the tragic aspect of his story rather poignant. Also, I agree with Mary Warner about X-factor – using their paranoid and hateful promotional campaign as the leitmotif underlying much of the story was brilliant.
By the way, I don’t remember, once the X-men learned of the true nature of X-factor and the teams came together, did Kitty, or any of the other New Mutants, ever confront the X-factor guys about the actual consequences of their publicity campaign?

funkygreenjerusalem

June 20, 2010 at 2:42 am

While Claremont perhaps relied a bit too much on the whole “Kitty saying the n-word to get a reaction” trope, the speech as a whole is still quite touching.

She did that in God Loves, Man Kills as well…. I think Ms Pryde seems to be taking any opportunity to drop a certain word into conversation.

Ooops! Sorry, that anonymous post up there is mine…

warrenellisrulez!!!11!!omglulz

June 24, 2010 at 8:52 am

omg you positively reviewed a comic featuring kitty pryde! don’t you know that makes you a child molester! MARY SUE MARY SUE!!!!

The X-Factor mutant hunter idea was attributed to the machinations of Cameron Hodge in-story, and the members of X-Factor questioned the approach often. By the time the x-men and new mutants learned of the original team’s existence, X-Factor the mutant hunters was dissolved.

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