Friday, May 22, 2009

1985 - Asgard ... that sunny and friendly tourist destination

The New Mutants Special #1 & Uncanny X-Men Annual #9
Summer 1985

The New Mutants Special #1 
Writer: Chris Claremont 
Art: Arthur Adams/Terry Austin 

There's just not enough I can say about this comic book. This issue stands out as one of my favorite New Mutants stories and perhaps my favorite 1980's story. This issue spotlights Chris Claremont at his peak, in my opinion. He's all about characters and his characterization takes center stage in this issue. He took the New Mutants and put them in an unfamiliar setting and forced them to change and to adapt. This isn't your run-of-the-mill character change either. These events and shifts in attitudes, particularly with Mirage (Dani Moonstar) and Karma, forever changes them. Claremont did a spectacular job isolating each member of the New Mutants, which allowed him to explore their character in depths and then by the end of the story brings them all back to together after they've changed.

This issue established Arthur Adams as a great artist. His rich and detailed pencils are truly beautiful and breathtaking. Add to it, the veteran inking of Terry Austin and you've got some of the best 1980s art. Unfortunately, the only detriment to the art was the weak colouring. It's probably due to the horrible colouring techniques of the 1980s. I should probably pick up a copy of the trade paperback and see if they've recoloured it.

Story: After his humbling defeat in the X-Men and Alpha Flight miniseries, Loki dispatches the Enchantress to capture Storm and the X-Men. The Enchantress and her demon warriors capture Storm and the New Mutants, who are mistaken for the X-Men. Illyandra frees the New Mutants, but her spell is disrupted by the Enchantress which scatter the New Mutants throughout Asgard. 

Karma spends awhile in the desert shedding her unwanted girth. Sunspot befriends the Warriors Three and enjoys the Asgardian lifestyle. Cannonball earns the respect and friendship of the Dwarf King. Mirage finds her fate intertwined with the Valkyrie and assumes her place among their ranks. Magma gets mixed up with the fairies and actually became one for awhile. Wolfsbane meets the Prince of Wolves and falls in love. Cypher has a rough time until he met up with Warlock and they team-up.

The Enchantress tracks down the New Mutants, but the New Mutants regroup and defeat her. Illyandra leaves the Enchantress in her Limbo at Sym's mercy. They then decide to return to Asgard to rescue Storm. Meanwhile, Loki has forged a new hammer for Storm which grants her powers over the weather once again.

Which leads us to... 

Uncanny X-Men Annual #9 
Writer: Chris Claremont 
Art: Arthur Adams/Terry Austin 

This annual picks up where the New Mutants Special #1 ended and certainly didn't waste any time.

Illyandra gets a message back to Rachel (Phoenix) about their predicament. The X-Men make their way to Asgard and catch up with the New Mutants. The infiltrate Loki's castle. Wolverine and Kitty confront Loki and he has Storm attack them. Wolverine finally gets through to Storm and she turns the tide of the battle. She rejects Loki's gift and destroys the hammer. Loki capitulates and returns them all to Earth.

Arthur Adams' art continued to show his versatility in handling a rather large cast of characters in a alien environment. His detailed pencils are well suited to lavishness of Asgard. Unfortunately, the poor colouring just doesn't do his art justice.

Claremont is forced to give over a bit of the spotlight to the X-Men which pulls away a bit from all the character development he did with the New Mutants. I would have liked to them earn the victory on their own rather than having to call upon the X-Men for help.

One note though, these issues, upon re-read, do seem a bit dated with a lot of references to the 1980s, like a cameo appearance by Remington Steel and Ms. Holt.


  1. agreed. the NM special in particular is an all-time favorite. but did austin ink that one? i don't have the issues near me to check, but i was always under the impression that adams inked himself on that one (and his art has never looked better).

  2. Yeah, Austin inked the NM Special. Austin was tied to a lot of Adams' work, especially Longshot. Thanks for posting!

  3. Actually, Adams did some of his own inking in X-Men Annual #9 along with Terry Austin and Mike Mignola!

  4. Hey Brad, thanks for the clarification.



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