TITLE: The New Mutants vol. 1, issue #1
YEAR: March 1983
COMPANY: Marvel Comics
Co-Created and Written by Chris Claremont
Co-Created and Penciled by Bob McLeod
Inker: Mike Gustovich
Leterrer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
From 1982-1993, Marvel Comic produced a series of graphic novels known as “Marvel Graphic Novel”.
As a child, I was able to purchase several of these upon release but there was one that was released that would eventually become a popular comic book series.
And that was The New Mutants, who made their appearance in Marvel Graphic Novel #4.
With Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter wanting another mutant comic book due to the success of “The Uncanny X-Men”, “The New Mutants” would be released in 1983 co-created by writer Chris Claremont and penciller Bob McLeod.
Thew new comic book was known for its ethnic diverse characters:
Cannonball (Sam Guthrie) – A 16-year-old kid from Kentucky who becomes invulnerable when he rockets into the air.
Karma (Xi’an Coy Manh) – A 19-year-old Vietnamese girl and the team leader who can mentally possess other people’s bodies.
Mirage/Psyche (Danielle Moonstar) – A Cheyenne Indian who can create visual empathic three-dimensional illusions.
Sunspot (Roberto da Costa) – A 14-year-old Brazilian billionaire who gains superhuman strength fueled by sunlight and could store solar energy in his body to use his strength at night.
Wolfsbane (Rahne Sinclair) – A 13-year-old religious Scot who can transform into a wolf-like creature.
The first volume of the comic book series would last for 100 issues and then would relaunch as “X-Force”. A second volume featuring a new group of mutants that were students of the Xavier Institute would be released and the title renamed to “New X-Men: Academy X” and later to “New X-Men”. In 2009, the original members would reunite for a third volume and a theatrical live-action film was announced in 2015 and is scheduled for release in April 2018.
But what I loved about “The New Mutants” is that it didn’t have the happy superhero vibe that you read with most superhero group comic book series, The New Mutants, they have skeletons in their closet. There are members who are faced with anxiety, depression and not knowing if they could fit in, be normal. They are also students who do not know how to use their powers all that well.
As the X-Men at the time were “gone”, Professor
The first issue features the group watching as teacher Stevie Hunter (who was Kitty Pryde’s dance teacher in “The Uncanny X-Men”) is giving Xi’an Coy Manh a new hairstyle. But by accident, Danielle accidentally triggers her psi-powers and shows everyone of how Xi’an’s father was killed, how her mother was killed and hwhat happened when she tried to protect her brother and sister.
Enraged at Danielle, Xi’an threatens to kill her and she takes over Stevie until Roberto slaps her.
With Danielle depressed of what her powers did and thinking she is an outcast, Professor Xavier introduces each of them to the Danger Room to test each one of them.
Meawnile, in London, Moira and Illyana Rasputin meet a woman named Gabrielle Haller about her mutant, autistic son. As Dr. Moira MacTaggert recommends that she talk to Professor Xavier, the woman said she doesn’t want him involved and that Moira is her last resort. She then drops the bomb…her son’s father is Professor Xavier.
Needless to say, this was a wild and deep storyline. You don’t find stories that deep for young superhero comic books let alone superhero group titles. But “The New Mutants” was a title that was wonderful for its time. I loved every issue that I read and along with “The Uncanny X-Men” back in the ’80s, there were two of my favorites and were must-purchase titles back when I was in junior high.
Reading it today, I’m discovering how awesome Chris Claremont and Bob McLeod did with this series and I look forward to re-reading more stories which I had long forgotten.