Child’s Play (First Move) – With A Roll of the Dice
Credits: Fabian Nicieza (writer), Tony Daniel (penciler), Jon Holdredge (inker), Chris Eliopoulos (letterer), Marie Javins (colorist)
Fenris kidnap Magma, a former member of the New Mutants and Hellions, in Brazil. Their other target, Empath, turns their soldiers against them and flees. When Fenris finally reach Empath, Moonstar uses her psychic powers to stop them. In Kentucky, Cannonball’s sister Paige tells Cable how Cannonball and Boomer were kidnapped by Siena Blaze. She tried to use her budding mutant power to stop her, but could only turn into a bird. That night, Fitzroy arrives to kidnap Warpath and Rictor. Gamesmaster holds a meeting of the Upstarts, telling them that he’s invited Fenris on their hunt for former members of the New Mutants and Hellions. In New York, Shinobi Shaw tells Justice that if he doesn’t bring him Firestar, one of the Upstarts will abduct her.
The Hellions were intended to be the archrivals of the original New Mutants. Magma, Empath, Warpath, and Firestar were all Hellions. Justice is Firestar’s boyfriend and fellow member of the New Warriors.
Paige Guthrie, later to be named “Husk”, makes her first full appearance. She turns into a bird in this issue, which doesn’t reconcile with the way her shapechanging powers will later be portrayed.
Domino infers that she’s married. I believe this does come up later.
This is the first part of the X-Force/New Warriors crossover. Both titles were written by Fabian Nicieza and both teams featured former members of the Hellions, which becomes the basis of this crossover. Nicieza introduces the idea organically, without using the old cliché of having the two superhero teams coincidentally stumble across the same villain. The pasts of the characters (in some cases, dating back ten years at this point) are used as the impetus to get the story moving. This is the type of continuity-heavy comic that Bill Jemas seemed to hate so much during his reign at Marvel. While there is a certain amount of fan service in reuniting the various Hellions and New Mutants characters, the first chapter is told clearly and offers a proper introduction for most of the characters. I had only a vague idea of who the Hellions were when I first read this story, but that didn’t hinder my enjoyment of it. It is true that it’s hard to get too excited about seeing characters you don’t know get reunited, but if the main story itself is interesting, the use of past continuity is just a bonus to long-time fans. Using the Upstarts as villains, rather than bringing back old foes from the New Mutants days, ties together the new continuity with the old, so the story comes across as more than just a nostalgia exercise. I don’t remember how this crossover turned out, but the first issue is a decent start.