So, you may be asking: What’s with the Legion character that I see on TV these days?  Is he an X-Man, or something else entirely?  We got your back!  Your Major Spoilers (Retro) Review of New Mutants #26 awaits!

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Bill Sienkiewicz
Inker: Bill Sienkiewicz
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Editor: Ann Nocenti
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: 65 Cents
Current Near-Mint Pricing: $20.00

Previously in New Mutants: When his X-Men were believed lost in space, dead on some asteroid somewhere, a devastated Charles Xavier swore that he’d help another generation of young mutants, only this time without the costumes and fighting and such.  Thus were the teens and tweens of the New Mutants assembled as Xavier’s Academy to learn how to use their powers and co-exist in a world that hated and feared them.  But for Charles, at least, the most important mutant teen of all was left out of the team’s lineup.  We open at on Muir Isle, near Scotland, where Sharon Friedlander and Tom Corsi (two friends of the X-Men who have been recently transmogrified into perfect human specimens who are also Native American thanks to a Demon Bear, which is the king of thing you have to write when you review a Claremont joint) are interrupted while trying to come to terms with their new physical selves…

The strange apparition screams at them in Arabic before raising what seems to be telekinetic havoc, and Tom and Sharon run to make sure that someone named David is okay in the midst of the madness.  Upon arriving in his room, Corsi is stunned to discover that David is actually the CAUSE of what is happening, but is unfortunately terrified by his new abilities…

Poor Tom and Sharon are once again trapped by a terrible attack, forced to stay as David shifts through powers and alternative personalities, some of whom seem to enjoy the idea of burning them.  It’s a testimony to the creative team that we feel as much sympathy for the boy as we do for his maybe-victims, but before we have to see anything terrible, we cut to the next morning.  Moira MacTaggart, head honcho of the Muir Island facilities has called for help with David’s plight, help that comes in the form of Professor Charles Xavier himself…

This story falls during one of Charles’ mobile periods (his body was implanted by an alien Brood egg, and to save his life, his mind was transferred into a non-infected body that could walk, and again I have to wonder what the hell I just typed), in case you were wondering why he is up and about.  In other continuity news, Sean Cassidy is currently injured, unable to use his Banshee sonic powers, there’s an alien shape-shifter among the New Mutants and also Wolfsbane, whose heart is broken when her adoptive mother Moira greets Banshee first.  Fortunately, Moira realizes this, leading to a heart-warming moment…

Warlock, the aforementioned shape-shifter, has taken it upon himself to thank their aircraft for her hard work in transporting them across the ocean, because he’s a kind-hearted cybernetic alien guy.  As for the dispensation of poor Tom and Sharon?  They really need to consider avoiding any book called ‘New Mutants…’

I also love the idea that Charles Xavier was a handsome, active, hot adventurer guy before becoming the staid, stoic old professor type, as not only is Moira one of his exes, but David’s mother is also a former paramour.  Roughly-the-same-number-of-years-ago-that-David-is ago, he said significantly, Charles and Gabrielle had a torrid affair, but now she is worried about her son’s mental state.  I’m always torn about this particular set of New Mutants stories, in that it’s kind of a fascinating idea to see a telepath who is autistic, but the agglomeration of multiple personalities, possible schizophrenia and autism into one big ball marked “Mental Problems” gets more and more distasteful as time passes.  While Charles tries to assess David’s state, Rahne/Wolfsbane takes her friends on a tour of her home.

Sadly, she has forgotten her home is in many ways a terrible place that she fled for a reason, full of close-minded bastardry and hate.  So, that’s fun…

The world’s most powerful telepath enters the mind of the frightened young man, expecting that there is little that David could do to keep him out.  Xavier worries instead that he might harm the boy’s psyche, but finds things aren’t as simple as he thought…

Incredibly, Professor X is forcibly ejected from David’s mind, followed immediately by a telekinetic wall of force that throws him out of the boy’s room.  Xavier tries to hide his shock (and also the fact that something is wrong with his heart, another plot thread that plays out later), but has to rethink his approach.  After a brief interlude with Magneto (who also gets to be a sexual being in these pages, which was freaky to my 14-year-old self, but kind of comforting now that I’m nearing the age he and Xavier are in this story), we find out a little more about Charles and Gabrielle’s shared past…

There’s very clearly something that Gabrielle ISN’T saying here, something that knowledgeable readers will already realize, even though this issue (and thus my review) haven’t revealed it, but we’ll get to that in a moment.  Instead, we follow young Wolfsbane, who has awakened in the middle of the night missing her adoptive mum, and seeks out Moira, hard at work in her lab.  They have another truly sweet mother/daughter moment before another psychic scream interrupts their bonding…


And a maddening one at that, indicative of Claremont’s intricate 80s plot-building.  Most Faithful Spoilerites know already the secret that Gaby is hiding: David isn’t just her child, but Charles’ son as well, and his psychic might is thus inherited, genetics be damned.  As for how he learned Arabic?  He actually absorbed the mind of a young man who sought to kill his mother (who was involved in diplomatic relations in the Middle East at the time), and the rest of the arc involves discovering the Legion of personalities who inhabit David’s mindscape and figuring out which are malign and which aren’t.  New Mutants #26 is just the first chapter of that tale, but it’s a corker of a start, with lovely, stark abstract art and engaging dialogue and character moments throughout, earning a very impressive 3.5 out of 5 stars overall.  I remember being utterly flummoxed by Sienkiewicz’s work when he took over this book (especially with him taking over from Bob McLeod, whose clean, rounded linework is the polar opposite of Bill’s artwork) but in retrospect, we’re clearly seeing a talent artist creating a whole new style in these pages, and the book is better for it…



A fascinating, stark art job by Sienkiewicz, combined with Claremont at the peak of his prowess... It's only a chapter of a larger tale, but it's a darn good chapter.

User Rating: 5 ( 1 votes)

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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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