Comic Book / New Mutants

The New Mutants are three series featuring an eponymous group of teenaged mutant superheroes-in-training. The three series, two of which are now defunct, are spin-offs of the popular X-Men franchise published by Marvel Comics.

A film adaptation of the team, directed by Josh Boone (the director of The Fault in Our Stars), is in the works for 20th Century Fox's X-Men Film Series.

New Mutants

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Characters from left to right - Mirage, Cannonball, Wolfsbane, Sunspot and Karma (on the second plan). And Professor X's giant flying head.

The first team of "New Mutants" was created by Chris Claremont (long-time writer of Uncanny X-Men) and artist Bob McLeod; they first appeared in 1982's Marvel Graphic Novel #4 and were subsequently featured in their own title from 1983 until 1991. Initially consisting of invulnerable flier Cannonball, fear-inducing Mirage (usually just called "Dani"), werewolf Wolfsbane, mind-possessing Karma (a character from a Claremont-written "Marvel Team-Up" story) and super-strong Sunspot, it was unusual in that the heroes were not only young (ranging from thirteen to nineteen), but absolute amateurs who could barely use their powers (Dani's Fear-powers often manifested without her desire, and Cannonball could barely control his flight). The book highlighted interpersonal and group conflict, as well as action and adventure, and featured a large ensemble cast.

Various plotlines include the team opposing Dani's fearsome foe The Demon Bear, a trip to Nova Roma — an offshoot of the last of the Roman Republicans in Brazil (where they picked up new member Magma and new enemy Selene, the life-stealing immortal sorceress), Colossus' younger sister-turned-demon-sorceress Magik, a team-up with Doug Ramsey aka Cypher (a language-translating mutant), a rivalry with The Hellions (a Rival School formed by X-adversary The White Queen), and a meeting with Warlock (a shape-changing techno-organic alien running from his evil father, The Magus, a creature capable of destroying stars in his rage), Karma's disappearance (and takeover by The Shadow King), and Magneto taking over as Headmaster of the school from Professor X. By issue #50, the team defeated The Magus, and Chris Claremont soon left, and Louise Simonson took over.

Doug Ramsey was killed, four new team members were added (Rictor, Boom-Boom, Rusty & Skids, from Simonson's own "X-Terminators" team), and things soon fell apart for the team. The fabled (and notorious) Rob Liefeld shot some new energy into the book, and a horde of new characters started showing up, as Liefeld's creative energies (there was nothing else like him at the time — his extreme linework, flashy cyborgs and armoured characters were very unique in the era before the Iron Age Of Comics) would quickly overwhelm the pages. A new cyborg character named Cable showed up — preaching a more militaristic and extreme approach to heroics, Moonstar left for Asgard, Rusty & Skids were brainwashed by the new villain team (The Mutant Liberation Front), and the team soon fell into the X-Tinction Agenda, which resulted in the loss of Warlock (to Cameron Hodge's energy-drain) and Wolfsbane (who became a mutate and left to join the new X-Factor).

Eventually, Louise Simonson was replaced by Fabian Nicieza as head writer, and the book was transformed into X-Force, renewing the gutted team with Liefeld creations Domino (a gun-toting former ally of Cable), Shatterstar (a dual double-bladed sword-wielding arena gladiator from Mojoworld), Warpath (former Hellion member Thunderbird) and Feral (an Expy of Wolfsbane). Various teams and backstories were introduced, as they brawled with Liefeld's never-ending cavalcade of new character designs (the MLF, Weapon: P.R.I.M.E., The Externals). Liefeld would leave a year later (in the Image Exodus), and Nicieza would take the helm, forming a much more stable book, though still firmly a 1990s-style book. It ran for over one-hundred issues, before quietly disappearing.

New Mutants Vol.2 and New X-Men: Academy X

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Characters clockwise from the bottom: Wind Dancer, Elixir, Surge, Icarus, Prodigy, Wallflower

The second New Mutants series, launched in 2003 and written by Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir, featured another group of teenaged mutants - air-controlling Wind Dancer, skill-copying Prodigy, super-fast energetic Surge, healer Elixir, emotion-controlling Wallflower, and flying Icarus - but unlike the original New Mutants, they were only part of a huge cast of students at the Xavier Institute. At first they were notable for their drive to become superheroes, but soon rival groups played a large role in the series. The main cast of original New Mutants had become teachers at Xavier's Institute and had problems coming to terms with the fact they were now the "old guard” in the eyes of the new generation. In 2004 the comic was relaunched as New X-Men: Academy X, after which the central group was formally dubbed "The New Mutants". In 2005, the series was taken over by X-Men: Evolution writers Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost, who changed to a new Darker and Edgier status quo in the wake of the House of M event. In 2008, New X-Men was canceled and replaced with a new series, Young X-Men, written by Marc Guggenheim. The title was part of Marvel's attempt to launch a second "Young ____" title in line with "Young Avengers.'

For more on this volume and it's tropes, please see New X-Men: Academy X

New Mutants Vol.3

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Old school is back to kick some butts

The third New Mutants series written by Zeb Wells, reuniting most of the original team, launched in May of 2009. This new series incorporated a few elements from both New X-Men and the limited series X-Infernus, beginning with the return of Illiyana and the New Mutants being reassigned to help her blend back into mutant community. This was problematic, considering that, after their last two encounters, the youngest generation of X-Men hated her guts. The team roster quickly expanded with addition of Warlock and return of Doug. After his defeat at their hand, Legion became their supporting character and unofficial member of the team. The series has been focusing on a larger Myth Arc about upcoming threat from Limbo, with occasional tie-ins to various X-overs and one guest-written tie in to Siege.

After Wells' departure, this series was taken first by Mike Carey, as a part of his Age Of X storyline, during which he introduced an alternate reality with a much darker history which was later revealed to be a Lotus-Eater Machine all present had been dragged into by one of Legion's personalities, and later by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. In face of all their accomplishments Cyclops decided to not disband the team (despite three members leaving as Karma lost a leg, Cannonball was traumatized by events from Wells and Carey's runs and Magik had to be restrained after she manipulated her friends and almost got them killed for personal vendetta) and to make their new mission taking care of all the loose ends that remained unresolved after the threats the X-Men faced and making sure they won't come to haunt them again (in other words, he made them a less lethal and more moral version of the third X-Force). This started with the retrieval of Nate Grey, who'd been trapped in the Omega Machine since his encounter with Norman Osborn and was being tortured/used to open portals by Sugar Man. He was rescued, but underwent a significant De-Power that chopped his formerly near cosmic levels of power back to 'residual telekinesis'. Lacking other options, he joined the team. This volume lasted until issue 50 where it was cancelled. In the Marvel NOW! relaunch, Sunspot and Cannonball are confirmed to be new members of The Avengers, Magik is on the new roster of Uncanny X-Men and Dani is part of the cast for the Fearless Defenders.

The series contains examples of:

  • '80s Hair: Lila Cheney and Gosamyr...dear God, Gosamyr...
  • '90s Anti-Hero: X-Force was the signature team for this before Youngblood. Somehow, X-Force actually managed to survive.
  • Aborted Arc:
    • Towards the end of the 1980s, Louise Simonson was building up a plotline involving Selene and the Hellfire Club having dark plans for Magma, plans that ultimately got dropped after the "Inferno" arc.
    • The Externals was another famous aborted arc that got shut down once the thread ran too long and the writers wanted to go in a different direction (this was done so quickly and clumsily that many to this day believe it was due to a threat of lawsuits from the Highlander people for ripping them off) — most Externals were quickly killed off, and Cannonball was Retconned into not being onenote .
  • Aborted Declaration of Love: In the original series, Dani 'Mirage' Moonstar is comforting gal-pal Rahne 'Wolfsbane' Sinclair on a clifftop in Scotland; '—he's an old man, filled up with hate; without you those people would be dead. You're not alone. Moira loves you; and I—' 'I know' says Rahne. '—but that doesn't make me ache any the less.' A follow-up 20 years later is also aborted by a simple interruption.
  • Academy of Evil: Emma Frost used to be headmistress of the Massachusetts Academy — a front for the Hellfire Club that produced the Hellions, rivals to the New Mutants.
  • Aliens Made Them Do It: Empath on Tom and Sharon.
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: Wolfsbane and Catseye.
  • Apocalypse Maiden: Magik .
  • Arc Words: The "Highlord Ascension" got tossed around a lot in the early years of X-Force.
  • Bad Future: Illyanna could teleport in time as well in space. When she botched it, she often visited one of these by accident. The latest series even begins by her coming to save Dani and Shan from a Bad Future we never see.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: In issue number 47 (entitled "My Heart for the Highlands"), several of the team find themselves in 14th century Scotland and fight on behalf of Robert the Bruce. Afterward, Doug Ramsey has a question, and the answer implies this trope:
    Doug: Pardon my asking sir, but—Aren't you afraid of us? We pop up out of nowhere, wielding fantastic powers. You've only our word that we're not demons or worse.
    Robert the Bruce: True Douglas—But any hadesspawn able to assume so young an innocent, an' noble a seeming deserves our respect rather than our fear—for that demon has become more human than most men.
  • Becoming the Mask: Copycat was sent into the team while impersonating Domino so that she could help Deadpool and Toliver kill the team. But they didn't count on Copycat losing herself in the "role" she was playing, leading to her turning against Deadpool and Toliver and rescuing the real Domino.
  • Big Bad: Selene and Emma Frost.
  • Black Magician Girl: Magik.
  • The Blank: Zero.
  • Break the Cutie:
    • Illyana in original series with all Belasco did to her, Inferno and Legacy Virus. Most of the characters from New X-Men got it in one way or another after Kyle and Yost took over but the crown goes to Pixie, who got part of her soul stolen. TWICE.
    • Age of X crossover has broken both Pixie and Cannonball. To explain, in that story we see alternate reality, that is terrible Crapsack World and all mutants are fighting for their survival until it's revealed that it's actually pocket reality created by one of Legion's personalities and all those people are members of 616 X-Men dragged into it. Everybody have now different history and Sam and Megan have ones of the most depressing ones and once everything goes back to normal they are devastated and demands their memories about whole thing erased. Oh, and Pixie counterpart from that world, Nightmare, apparently survived as Superpowered Evil Side inside her mind.
  • Came Back Strong: Amara's powers as Magma don't manifest until Selene throws her into lava as a sacrifice. (Strangely enough this is never tied in to the Externals, even though it appears to be a textbook case, and would provide a decade-old precedent to justify the storyline.)
  • Chekhov's Gun: The last panel of the original Marvel Graphic Novel has an oddity in it; Professor Xavier is looking on as the New Mutants team is assembled for the first time. The narration boxes say how proud he is, but Chuck has got an awful evil grin on his face. We find out why a few issues later, when it's revealed that the Brood that was living inside/controlling Professor Xavier at the time had assembled the New Mutants to provide her (it was a queen, after all) with a new set of host bodies.
  • Chick Magnet:
    • Doug Ramsey, who has had a grand total of five love interests even though he was only around for about 50 issues in the original run. Information about the upcoming Age of X crossover suggest he's one even in an alternate reality.
    • Hellion is always being described as good looking, and is genuinely charming and charismatic when he wants to be.
  • Christianity Is Catholic: Averted; Xi'an and Roberto are Catholic, but Rahne and Sam are Presbyterian and Baptist respectively.
  • Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: New Mutants vol. 2 opens thusly: Dani Moonstar is meeting a new boyfriend at an upscale ski lodge. Bad guys try and hold the guests hostage. Dani scares the bad guys into submission with her powers. Boyfriend breaks up with Dani immediately for being a mutant.
  • Cosmetic Catastrophe: Employed in the 1990 New Mutants Summer Special where Rahne is given a makeover by one of the residents of Megalopolis to seduce her over to Consumerism. The "mirror" shown to her is a glamor shot. Her actual makeup consists of childish scrawling and a badly fitted wig.
  • Country Mouse: Sam Guthrie a.k.a Cannonball.
  • Darker and Edgier: The entire transformation into X-Force.
  • Dating Catwoman: Pretty much all the female Hellions wanted Doug.
  • Defeat by Modesty: Back when Genosha was a country where mutants were enslaved, the New Mutants were teleported there by a character whose powers didn't affect clothing, then had their powers neutralized. Most of them were a little embarrassed, but Wolfsbane (a devout Presbyterian) was paralyzed with shame.
  • Delusions of Doghood: Catseye of the Hellions; thought she was an actual cat.
  • Demoted to Extra: The ultimate fate of anyone who's ever been in any of the various incarnations of the New Mutants; even Cannonball, who seemed to have escaped it by joining the X-Men, ended up being cast off into limbo.
  • De-Power: Nate undergoes this during his rescue in Unfinished Business. One moment he's a Reality Warper and nigh cosmic level psychic, the next, he's barely bending spoons with his 'residual telekinesis'. Needless to say, he does not adjust well.
  • Divine Race Lift: Dani Moonstar, a native american, when became a Valkyrie.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything? : Doug and Warlock fusions could be sexual metaphors.
  • Empty Shell: The New Mutants become this at one point during Claremont's run. The Beyonder murders every single member of the team (for once, not hyperbole, the members are each killed as they are trying to escape). He then brings them back to life, complete with memories of their death. The resulting characters are incapable of feeling and only barely interact with the world. The storyline makes the sixth season of Buffy look like Sesame Street, and is considered by many to be the most evil thing Claremont ever did to his characters (which is saying something, considering the Mutant Massacre).
  • Evil Counterpart: The Hellions to the original New Mutants had this going on, though some were more clear than others: Jetstream=Cannonball, Catseye=Wolfsbane, Tarot=Moonstar (illusion-casting), Empath=Karma (mind control), Roulette=Magik (kinda), Thunderbird=Sunspot (super-strength). The trend wasn't continued with the New Mutants' later members, however.
  • Evil Mentor: Cable started out this way, but he got better with character development/retooling.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Sunspot, Mirage (though neither stayed evil for long, and Dani's heel turn was retconned as being undercover), Feral.
  • Fanservice: The original book loved to show the team in their skivvies, particularly during Bret Blevins' run as artist; on top of that, he also seemed very fond of showing the effect of cold weather on girls wearing skintight suits, even when they were surrounded by lava.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Five-Token Band: With Dani Moonstar the Native American, Rahne Sinclair the Scot, Sam Guthrie the Southern coal-miner's boy, Xi'an Coy Manh the Vietnamese immigrant raising her younger siblings, and Roberto da Costa the Brazilian rich boy, it's fairly diverse.
    • The original Hellions also qualify: Thunderbird is Apache; Empath is a Spanish nobleman; Tarot is French; Jetstream is from Morocco; Roulette is American, and Catseye's precise origins are never specified.
  • Future Me Scares Me: Cypher after discovering due to interfacing with a sentient alien computer he will eventually conquer the world and have everyone with techno organic armor that allows him to control them.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: One of the most ludicrous examples. The New Mutants go to Hell in one issue and fight demons. Some of the demon language is translated. If you followed each letter precisely, you can make out them saying words like "Hey dick-breath" and "Fuck nuts". Dead Serious.
  • Internalized Categorism: In Marvel Universe, it is a social stigma to be a mutant. That is, to have superpowers. One issue of New Mutants had a boy hanging himself in shame of being able to create beautiful sculptures of light.
    • Well, those anonymous threats to sic mutant-hunters on him that some other kids kept sending his way as a prank — while blissfully unaware that he actually was a mutant themselves — might have had a little something to do with it, too.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Julian Keller lives this trope - he will act like a horrible person to everybody, but can be really sweet to people he cares about and is willing to go to insane lengths to protect them.
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind:
    • Legion has the habit of absorbing people into his mindscape. Which is... crowded.
    • Nate helps Doug with one of these.
  • Legacy Character: Right after Thunderbird died, he passed the mantle to his brother Warpath. Since then, Warpath has grown from this trope into a character all his own.
  • Likes Older Women:
    • Cannonball towards Lila Cheney.
      • Recently there were some subtle hints about Cannonball having possible crush on Rogue.
    • Briefly, Cypher to Psylocke.
  • Messianic Archetype: Sam Guthrie a.k.a Cannonball was destined to lead the Mutant race by combining Magneto, Xavier and Cable's dreams into something better. It didn't take once the "External/High Lord" thing ran its course and got tired during a change in the creative team.
  • Metamorphosis Monster: Gosamyr's race. At first, they're cute, delicate, winged creatures (although with the annoying ability to empathically — and involuntarily — cause conflicts among male humans), but then they enter the cocoon phase (which lasts centuries) which turns them into their adult form: gargantuan abominations.
  • Mind Rape: Used by Empath on Magma and pretty much anyone who comes across him.
  • The Mole: Copycat pretending to be Domino.
  • Ms. Fanservice:
    • Pretty much the whole purpose of the Gosamyr character, both in-universe and out.
    • Sometimes Surge and X-23 would be this, depending on the artist.
  • Not So Different: While some of the Hellions were right bastards, most of the team were generally nice people who just so happened to be working for the bad guys.
  • Opposing Sports Team: The original Hellions came across as very much this trope — a bunch of prep school kids whose fights with the New Mutants were usually fuelled by school rivalry more than anything else. In their first appearance, Sam even compares the New Mutants (and their opponents by extension) to "high school varsity".
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Rahne. She's a genetic mutant who can shapeshift from human to wolf. Eventually, she gained the ability to take on a variety of "transitional" half & half states, and during the 90s she spent some time unable to change fully back to humans. Eventually, she was retconned as having a Healing Factor, and after her pregnancy with Tier, she gained Nigh-Invulnerability and Super Strength.
  • Psycho Rangers: The Hellions.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Shatterstar from Mojoworld.
  • Rape as Backstory: Xi'an and her mother were both raped while escaping from Vietnam. Claremont was careful to only make vague allusions to an "assault" for several years, as the established timeline would have made Xi'an 12 or 13 when it happened.
  • Rescue Romance: of a sort with Nate and Dani. She led the team that rescued him and beat up Sugar Man, who had imprisoned him. That said, the actual romance aspect didn't kick off for a while.
  • Ret Gone: In a storyline, the New Mutants were Ret Goned by the Beyonder. The only one to remember their existence was Kitty Pryde, who had a magical connection to one of the New Mutants that even the Beyonder's godlike powers couldn't erase.
  • Sapient Ship: The shapeshifting Warlock often turned "him"self into a starship to transport the New Mutants around.
  • Sci Fi LGBT
  • Shout-Out:
    • On one very memorable occasion, Warlock turned into the starship Enterprise.
    • Mephisto is drawn suspiciously like David Tennant when he goes on a date with Magma, complete with the Tenth Doctor's outfit.
    • Magik's main henchdemon in Limbo is named S'ym, and shares many qualities with Dave Sim's Cerebus the Aardvark.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Feral, replacing Wolfsbane (later, her older sister Thornn briefly served as this for her) and Douglock for Warlock and Cypher.
  • Taking the Bullet: Doug died doing this for Rahne (who didn't even realize what had happened until the fight was over).
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman:
    • In the first annual, Cypher, whose superpower was the ability to learn languages really really fast, ends up saving the solar system because he's the only one who can read an alien instruction manual.
    • With his recent resurrection, Cypher has turned this into Heart Is an Awesome Power, in addition to vindicating numerous fan theories about how his powers would work in the age of modern computers.
  • To Hell and Back: Magik rules her own region of Hell called Limbo, meaning she and her teammates technically go to Hell and back at least once an issue.
  • Token Minority Couple: Danielle Moonstar and James Proudstar, had bits of romantic tension for no other reason but one...
    • One wonders whether this trope counts, considering both teams were made up entirely of token minorities. Sure, Dani and James were both Native Americans, but they also both happened to be the leaders of their respective teams, both were fiercely competitive, and both displayed a lot of respect for the other team.
  • Token Religious Teammate:
    • Wolfsbane.
    • In one of the later iterations of the series, there is Dust, a devout Muslim who still observes niqab.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl:
    • Boom Boom and Siryn. Rahne and Danielle Moonstar.
    • Kitty Pryde and Magik were a subversion. Both were kick butt girly girls.
  • Touch of Death: There was Wither, whose power was decaying any living (or once-living) thing he came into contact with. He eventually left the institute and fell in love with Selene, who was immortal and couldn't be affected by his power.
  • Tragic Dropout: In the original New Mutants Graphic Novel, Sam Guthrie was obliged to quit high school and give up his hopes for college to work in the local coal mine after his father died of black lung. His first day on the job was marked by being caught in a cave in, his powers kicking in, and the owner of the mines finding another use for him....
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway??:
    • Poor Cypher had the mutant power to understand languages. This made him useless in battle, forcing Chris Claremont to have to come up with the plot point of Cypher being able to safely merge with Warlock to get him involved in fight scenes.
      • Not so much now in the new run of New Mutants since he seems to have had a decent boost in the scope of his powers.
    • Subverted with Domino. Originally a generic gun-carrying Action Girl, she had the uber-generic "luck" power that no one ever mentioned until 1996's Amalgam Universe comic X-Patrol, which used Domino's luck powers alongside Elasti-Girl and The Wasp to reinvent her as an uber-lucky super-heroine. Years passed again and it took Matt Fraction coming up with the idea of her being an UBER-lucky Action Girl, capable of always showing up by chance when evil is going down, let alone always able to make her shots no matter how hard they are, to make her powers useful.
      • Actually, she was always implied to have it by her "ability to make things fall in her favor" (hence the name "Domino," get it?), Fraction just turned it up to "11."
    • Shatterstar's energy blast power, used once and required so much power-up time he may as well have been a Super-Saiyan.
  • You Are Not Alone: Danielle Moonstar to Rahne Sinclair after a battle alongside her: "Without you those policemen would have died. You're not alone. Moira loves you, and I..."
  • Your Heart's Desire: Rare hero example: Danielle Moonstar, AKA Mirage, could create a mental illusion of your worst fear, or your heart's desire. She could choose which one, but even she couldn't know what her victim was seeing.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/ComicBook/NewMutants