Writer: Chris Claremont & Bob McLeod
Art: Bob McLeod
Colors: Glynis Wein
Letters: Tom Orzechowski
Release Date: 9/7/1982
Ladies and gentlemen, it took me years to read a New Mutants comic. It was not until the omnibus came out in early 2021, that I finally bit the bullet and truly dived into them. Wow, have I missed out. Written during the time of Madonna and Duran Duran, Marvel Graphic Novel #4: The New Mutants showed the dedicated readers of Marvel (and predominately the X-Men) that there was more to mutants than just…well…the X-Men! Let’s take a look at the debut of Chris Claremont’s New Mutants.
If you’re interested in this comic or any of the others mentioned, simply click on the title/link to snag a copy through Amazon.
Who are they?
During this time in Marvel history, it was not safe to be a mutant. This was especially evident as these kids were discovering their powers. Case in point the Brazilian mutant Roberto Da Costa (aka Sunspot), discovered his powers while in the middle of a very public soccer game. Once his powers began to emerge, the entire arena evacuated leaving a scared preteen with his soon-to-be murdered girlfriend. Meanwhile in Scotland, Rahne Sinclair (aka Wolfsbane) was being hunted by an angry mob of religious fanatics who believed she was a product of something evil. Lastly, Sam Guthrie (aka Cannonball) discovered his powers in a mining accident deep in the Appalachian Mountains. No one was worshipped as a goddess. No one was able to stop a run-away tracker and peacefully went to the States. True trauma took place with each of the New Mutants, and it is demonstrated throughout this graphic novel.
Throughout the graphic novel, we are constantly reminded that the New Mutants are all starting at ground 0. The finesse and skill that the second class of X-Men…or even the first-class …brought to the table is missing. Realizing this, Prof X makes it crystal clear that this team will not be used the same way the X-Men were (aka furthering Xavier’s Dream). This team will be treated more like students and not young soldiers. However, in typical X-Men fashion, they are hunted down by the Hellfire Club, Prof. Xavier is kidnapped, and they have to work as a team to combat the various goons of the Inner Circle. That is a lot to deal with over a short period of time.
The Hellfire Club:
I believe that the Hellfire Club is one of the scariest and most underrated foes of the X-Gallery of villains. In a nutshell, they are a gentlemen’s club that dresses take the Stanley Kubrick film “Eyes Wide Shut” to the next level. Behind closed doors, they are a secret society of evil mutants known as the Inner Circle, who plan to take over the world. Money is no object to them, and their influence stretches far and wide to include politicians and various businessmen. The dreaded Inner Circle that consists of members such as Sebastian Shaw, Selene, and the greatest of all time, Emma Frost.
The Inner Circle has orchestrated events such as the emergence of the Dark Phoenix (shout out to Mastermind) and arguably the gathering of the New Mutants. It would be wonderful to see the Inner Circle in the MCU as some type of Illuminati (not the Marvel version) secret society that orchestrates multiple events of the MCU version of the X-Men. Random villain destroying Times Square? The Inner Circle. Mutant kids are kidnapped? The Inner Circle. A toilet is clogged? The Inner Circle. There is so much that can be done with them.
The New Mutants are one of the few X-Teams that have truly lasted over the years. Various members such as Illyana Rasputin and Cannonball, have gone on to be members of the regular X-Men Team. Perhaps one of the most enduring legacies of the New Mutants was the introduction of the Merc with the Mouth aka Deadpool. Marvel Graphic Novel # 4: The New Mutants was what I call a steppingstone comic. It launched the next iteration of mutants and added emotional depth to the X-Men. Lastly, it provided a more grounded experience of mutants if you were sick and tired of the X-Men’s constant space adventures. At the end of the day, I would defiantly recommend reading this via Marvel Unlimited or any other e-reader site. It truly provided a new take on the Mutant Universe.