Wednesday, November 28, 2012

NEW MUTANTS #88 - April 1990

The Great Escape
Credits: Louise Simonson (writer), Rob Liefeld (penciler), Hilary Barta (inker), Glynis Oliver (colors), Joe Rosen (letters)

Summary: Freedom Force orders Cable to join them, or be labeled a member of the Mutant Liberation Front. He rejects their offer and plots his escape. With minimal effort, he’s able to break out of his cell and escape in one of the government’s helicopters. Meanwhile, the New Mutants are reunited with X-Factor. When Wolfsbane contacts Moira MacTaggert, she’s stunned to learn that Moira is on her way to take her back to Muir Island.

Continuity Notes:
· Moira is currently under the influence of the Shadow King, which ties in to a long-running subplot in Uncanny X-Men. Presumably, the Shadow King wants Wolfsbane on Muir Island to join the other mind-controlled mutants there.
· Cable tells Pyro that he built his mechanical hand, which he’s now repaired. Later, in an internal monologue, Cable states “Hand’s good as new. Great. I’m gonna need it.” (Cable’s even convinced himself that his mechanical parts aren’t just a cover for his techno-organic disease!) Cable also keeps vials of acid hidden in his “bionic parts.”
· Freedom Force, and the guards in this prison, repeatedly refer to Cable as a rogue government agent. One of the guards even declares that it’s an honor to be guarding a legend like Cable.

I Love the '90s: When Crimson Commando remarks that Cable has style, Mystique responds, “So does Khadafi!”

Review: It’s only his second appearance, and already this book is turning into The Adventures of Cable. While the New Mutants spend a few pages returning to their old status quo, recapping recent events, and advancing a few romantic subplots, Cable actually gets to do something. And his elaborate escape from prison is fun, as he’s able to use Freedom Force’s powers against them and make a pretty easy exit. Liefeld’s storytelling does let the scene down in a few places, like when Cable jumps out of a window and conveniently locates a cannon that’s just sitting on the ground, but for the most part the sequence works rather well. If Liefeld’s art suits any character, it’s the Blob, and Liefeld goes out of his way to represent the insanely corpulent mutant during the fight, while downplaying the more human members of Freedom Force.

When characters aren’t fighting each other, we’re left with a few dull “catching up” scenes that can’t help but to reveal more of Liefeld’s shortcomings. Boom Boom’s entrance in a revealing dress is handled competently (if you ignore the fact that she’s floating on her tippie-toes), but Liefeld’s unable to convey little things, like Cannonball turning his head to actually look at her. His neck (the few centimeters we see of it, at least) is growing out of the middle of his chest, and his facial expression reads “I’ve just seen the most psychologically damaging event of my life” instead of “Boy, that’s a pretty girl in a dress.” This is a character book, and I can absolutely understand why existing fans of the title couldn’t believe the new artist’s inability to draw the teen drama elements.


Teebore said...

Boom Boom’s entrance in a revealing dress is handled competently (if you ignore the fact that she’s floating on her tippie-toes)

I remember being quite taken by that image as a youngin', reading this for the first time. I was too distracted/ignorant to notice the whole floating thing until it was pointed out to me, but now like most of Liefeld's anatomy problems, I can't not see it.

Mela said...

The continuity notes bring up a question: Will you be tackling "The Muir Island Saga"? I tried reading summaries of it from various sources, and not a one makes any sense. Wasn't it the unofficial sign that Claremont wasn't the shepherd of the X-books?

Teebore said...

@Mela: Wasn't it the unofficial sign that Claremont wasn't the shepherd of the X-books?

It was more or less an official sign as well; the Muir Island Saga ran through issues #278-280 of Uncanny, and Claremont left halfway through issue #279, with Fabian Nicieza stepping in to finish the story.

Claremont hung around to do X-Men vol.2 #1-3 of course, but the Muir Island Saga made it pretty clear he'd lost his clout and was on his way out.

wwk5d said...

The Muir Island Saga was something of a mess. Even though it was only 4 parts, they couldn't keep it coherent behind the scenes as well. 2 examples: Rogue changes outfits in every part in-between issues, and Colossus doesn't join X-factor in the assault on the island in part 3...but somehow shows up on the island magically in part 4.

wwk5d said...

With that said, the epilogue/part 5 was written by Peter David, and is a great issue.

G. Kendall said...

And, twenty years after its publication, "Muir Island Saga" went on to create even more confusion when Chris Claremont decided most of it didn't count in X-Men Forever continuity.

I might get to "Muir Island Saga" one day.

Anonymous said...

@ G Kendall

But before that, you HAVE to do the Hero Reborn books! Seriously, how awesome would that be? It fits with your stated purpose of the blog, doesn't it?

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