New Mutants

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New Mutants is the name of two comic book series, published by Marvel Comics. Both are offshoots of the popular X-Men franchise and both featured a team of teenaged, mutant superheroes.

The first New Mutants were created by Chris Claremont and Bob McLeod and were featured in their own series from 1983 until 1991, when it was reinvented as X-Force. Like its parent title, New Mutants highlighted interpersonal and group conflict as much as action and adventure, and featured a large, ensemble cast.

The second New Mutants series featured another group of teenaged mutants, tutored by members of the first group. In 2004, after thirteen issues, it was relaunched as New X-Men: Academy X.

Contents

The New Mutants, Vol. 1

Template:Superteambox By the early 1980s, Uncanny X-Men, under the authorship of Chris Claremont, had become one of the comic book industry’s most successful titles, persuading Marvel to launch The New Mutants, the first of many spin-offs, deemed "X-Books".

The New Mutants were teenaged students of the telepathic Professor X, much like the original X-Men, who debuted in 1963 and had since grown into adulthood. The New Mutants, however, more resembled "All-New, All-Different X-Men," who debuted in 1975, in ethnic diversity. The original team consisted of:

  • Cannonball (Samuel Guthrie), a mild-mannered Kentuckian who became nigh-invulnerable when rocketing through the air
  • Wolfsbane (Rahne Sinclair), a Scot who transformed into a wolf-like creature
  • Psyche (also called Mirage and Moonstar), a Cheyenne who could create visual illusions of others' greatest fears or greatest desires
  • Karma (Xi'an Coy Manh), a Vietnamese girl who could mentally possess other people's bodies
  • Sunspot (Roberto da Costa), a Brazilian who gained superhuman strength in the presence of sunlight

The team debuted in Marvel Graphic Novel #4 (1982), which continued a plotline from Uncanny X-Men. The group was formed by Professor X, when he was under the control of the menacing alien race the Brood. The youths were intended to be hosts for Brood embryos, but the X-Men returned and set matters straight.

The five youngsters remained at Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters to learn to control their powers. But, predictably, they were thrown into a series of adventures in The New Mutants monthly series.

The series was originally written by Claremont and illustrated by McLeod, the team’s co-creators, but McLeod soon passed artistic duties onto Sal Buscema and then Bill Sienkiewicz, who often painted covers for the series. Claremont gave the series an oddly dark tone. In addition to very seriously-toned depictions of teenage angst and growing pains, the series featured themes of mysticism and psychic boundaries. The New Mutants battled various demons, a cult-like villain group called The Hellfire Club and their young apprentices, the Hellions.

Although The New Mutants never reached the popularity of its parent title, the series gained a loyal following among many readers.

Missing image
Newmutants11.png
New Mutants #11, featuring Magma.

As typical with X-Books, new characters were frequently added to the team. Early new recruits included:

In 1986, Professor X was written out of the series. Before he left, he made the X-Men’s one-time nemesis, Magneto, headmaster of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. Not trusted by his students, Magneto struggled in his new role and eventually joined the Hellfire Club.

In 1987, the series was turned over to writer Louise Simonson and illustrator Bret Blevins. Simonson controversially killed off Cypher. She also folded the X-Terminators, a group of young wards of X-Factor into The New Mutants. The X-Terminators added to the team were:

In 1989, Simonson crafted a saga in which the team journeyed to Asgard, the home of the gods of Norse mythology. The storyline wrote Dani Moonstar out of the series and was essentially the last gasp of the high-flying, mystic-minded version of the team.

Sales of the series had dropped in recent years and Marvel turned the series over the penciler Rob Liefeld at the end of 1989. Liefeld introduced a new mentor for the group, the mysterious mercenary Cable. In the final year of series, Simonson and Liefeld wrote out Warlock, Wolfsbane, Rusty and Skids and replaced them with harder-edged characters such as:

  • Domino, Cable’s pale-skinned, black-garbed mercenary lover
  • Shatterstar, a swashbuckling warrior from an alien dimension
  • Thunderbird (James Proudstar), an Apache who possessed super strength and speed
  • Feral (Maria Callasantos), who possessed a beast-like temperament and appearance

In 1991, with key characters and plot elements from the series gone, The New Mutants became the platoon-like X-Force, a series that would last until 2002 and incorporate many members of the New Mutants.

In 1997, a three-issue reunion series, New Mutants: Truth or Death, featured the surviving New Mutants, traveling back in time to meet their younger selves. Template:-

New Mutants, Vol. 2/New X-Men: Academy X

Template:Superteambox In 2003, Marvel launched a second ongoing New Mutants series with writers Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir. The series featured a handful of the dozens of teenagers attending the Xavier Institute. The kids were instructed by the X-Men and Dani Moonstar and Karma, among others, while Wolfsbane and Magma also appeared in several issues.

After 13 issues, this series was relaunched as New X-Men: Academy X in 2004. Ironically, it was only after the name change that the main group of characters was formally dubbed the New Mutants and received codenames.

The current members of the New Mutants, advised by Dani Moonstar, are:

  • Prodigy (David Alleyne), the team’s co-leader, who can utilize the skills and knowledge of those near him
  • Wind Dancer (Sofia Mantega), the other co-leader, who can create winds, fly via said winds, and hear faraway conversations
  • Wallflower (Laurie Collins), a shy girl, who generates pheromones that usually cause people near her to match her moods, although she is learning to control this
  • Elixir (Josh Foley), who can heal himself and others
  • Surge (Noriko Ashida), who absorbs electricity which she can release as blasts, or use for super-speed, but requires mechanical gauntlets to prevent overcharge
  • Icarus (Joshua "Jay" Guthrie), who flies on red, angel-like wings, heals rapidly, and possesses a voice that can mimic sounds

The current group of Hellions is another squad at the school advised by Emma Frost, and the antagonism between the two teams plays a significant role in the series. The Hellions' Wither was previously a New Mutant, and Icarus was previously a Hellion.

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Other media

The animated TV series X-Men: Evolution (2000-2003) featured a group called the New Mutants who, like their comic book counterparts, were a junior team living at the Professor X’s school concurrently with the X-Men. The team featured Wolfsbane, Cannonball, Magma and Sunspot. Other members, such as Iceman, Jubilee and Multiple Man were not New Mutants in the comic book series, but were featured in other X-Men comics.

See also

External links

Writers talking about New X-Men: Academy X (http://www.comixfan.com/xfan/forums/archive/index.php/t-17199.html)

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