A super-hero team published by Marvel Comics.

In the early 1980's, Marvel Comics decided to cash in on the runaway success of their superhero team The X-men. The premise in the comic was that Charles Xavier, the leader of the X-men, gathered his original team together to teach them to use their amazing powers. As the new X-men were older and more experienced, the idea of Xavier as a teacher had gone more by the wayside. So in an effort to renew this storyline, Marvel Comics came up with the New Mutants.

First appearing in one of Marvel Comics graphic novels, the New Mutants was made up of a group of young teens who powers had just appeared. With the exception of one character, all of the members were brand new characters offering the writers and the fans new characters to explore.

The storyline of the original graphic novel involved the Hellfire Club, a perennial X-Men enemy, pursuing these young mutants. Xavier sought to outrace the Hellfire Club contingent, lead by cyborg Donald Pierce. In the end, Xavier had brought five youngsters into his care: Mirage, Cannonball, Wolfsbane, Sunspot, and Karma.

Mirage was a young Native American girl name Danielle Moonstar. She possessed the ability to telepathically communicate with animals and to draw from the mind of those around her their greatest desire or their greatest fear. Cannonball was a teenager name Sam Guthrie from Kentucky. Sam had the ability to fly while surrounded by an invicible force field. Wolfsbane was a young Scots girl named Rahne Sinclair. Rahne had the ability to change into a wolf or midway to a werewolf-like form. While in her wolf form, Rhane could communicate telepathically with Mirage. Sunspot was a Brazilian boy name Roberto DeCosta. He possessed superhuman strength by metabolizing sunlight. He absorbed light while using his power, so he would turn black during those times. Finally, Karma was a Vietnamese girl named Xian Coy Manh. She had the ability to possess others telepathically. She was the only New Mutant to have appeared before in a comic, having appeared in a Spider-Man annual some years earlier.

The team became the focus of its own monthly comic in the early 1980's. The group's membership varied over the years, adding a number of interesting characters like the living machine Warlock.

Toward the end of the 1980's, the New Mutants underwent a radical change. The team gained a new leader, the mysterious Cable and became an edgier group, having lost their direction of a good number of years. Finally, the title itself folded with the characters from the book becoming a new team X-Force.

THE NEW, NEW MUTANTS
Writers: Nunzio Defilippis and Christina Weir
Cover: Joshua Middleton

In July 2003, Marvel Comics released the first issue of the new New Mutants as part of the new Tsunami line (Runaways, Sentinel, Namor, Mystique). The comic runs along the lines as the first New Mutants, in which teenagers are recruited to become students at the Xavier Institute of Higher Learning. These students are mutants, or those born with special abilities. There are two very important differences this time however. First, the X-Men, in addition to being super heroes, are now regular teachers. They not only teach such classes as self-defense, but also Biology, Math, and other typical high school classes.

What made me pick up the first issue was the beautiful cover by Middleton. Middleton, who is currently working on Nyx, has done a beautiful rendition of all the original New Mutant females.

The comic so far (at the time of this writing is Issue 6) has followed the efforts of an original New Mutant, Dani Moonstar or Mirage, to recruit new students for the school. Her current recruits include: Sofia Mantega, a Venezuelan girl with a rich, neglectful father who can control the wind; Laurie Collins, a slightly shy girl with the power to emanate strong pheromones; David Alleyne, who can copy the skills, not powers, of anyone close to him.; Kevin Ford, who killed his father accidentally with his death touch; and Josh Foley, whose healing power exhibited its self when he was part of an anti-mutant group under the leadership of Donald Pierce. Even though he is a mutant, he still hates them.

To assist Dani Moonstar with her task of training these youngsters is her former teammate, Xi'an Coy Mahn, or Karma. Also, the comic will probably feature Magma, or Allison Cresmere, who is currently in a coma, (even though she walked around in an earlier issue) after an attack by the Church of Humanity. The last of the original team to be featured will probably be Wolfsbane, or Rahne Sinclair, a lycanthrope. The reason I suspect this is due to Marvel's weird, "covers have absolutely nothing to do with what is in the comic" policy, which has featured Wolfsbane on the cover twice.

So far the plot has mostly revolved around recruiting new students, but the writing and art are solid (though the inkers and pencilers have changed a few times). The comic looks very promising, even if there are a few continuity issues. This mainly involves the fact that in New X-Men the school was destroyed, and Professor X lost his ability to walk and was captured. In New Mutants, he is still prancing about two months later in a perfectly intact school. Of course, if continuity were an issue, then Wolverine, would not be dead, in another dimension, teaching a class, in a bar fight, and on a distant planet all at once, but that is straying from the subject. All in all, the comic is a solid one and I hope that it will not be canceled, like so many other good Marvel comics.

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