Living -- A Nightmare!
Credits: Chris Claremont (writer), Al Rio (penciler), Bob McLeod (inker), Tom Orzechowski (letterer), Guru eFX (colorist)
Summary: Warlock recognizes Cypher’s fighting style and realizes the truth. Magma, still brainwashed, arrives and attacks Warlock. He retreats and reunites with Cannonball and Magik. They join Selene and the Nova Roman rebels in battle against the Red Skull’s genetically altered army. After stopping one wave of soldiers, Warlock returns to Cypher’s room and encourages him to make a move against the Red Skull. While sneaking through the Skull’s guards, Cypher is joined by Tiberius, who claims that he’s also rejected the Red Skull’s programming. Cypher uses his newly enhanced reflexes to defeat the Red Skull, but is soon ambushed by Magma. Tiberius reemerges at Magma’s side, places Cypher on a chain, and declares the future is his.
Continuity Notes: One of the rebels tells Cannonball the story of Spanish explorers arriving in Nova Roma in the 1500s, who were later killed by Selene when they attempted to conquer the land. He also claims that Selene had her son, Magma’s father, placed in prison years earlier as punishment for his political actions.
Review: So, Tiberius turns out to be a sleeper villain. I suppose that’s a legitimate use for the character, and in all honesty, I didn’t see that ending coming. However, it’s hard to deny that this storyline is starting to drag. I can understand why Claremont would want to use Nova Roma again in a New Mutants retro-project, but did the entire miniseries have to be about Nova Roma? The first issue made a point to feature all of the cast and at least pay some acknowledgment to most of the ongoing storylines. Instead of following up on Magneto and his uneasy alliance with the Hellfire Club, or Mirage’s new role as a Valkyrie, or the team’s feelings about Magik’s connection to Limbo, the miniseries has turned into all Nova Roma all the time. Even the new plot introduced in the first issue, Wolfsbane’s serious injury and Mirage’s attempts to keep Hela away, has been ignored in favor of more Nova Roma material. Judged on its own merits, this issue isn’t so bad -- Cypher has a nice, angsty monologue about his new appearance, past Nova Roma continuity is clarified a bit (as Claremont reveals that some people did discover Nova Roma over the years; Selene just killed them) and I like back-from-the-dead Warlock’s redesign. By the standards of a Nova Roma story, not bad material, but Nova Roma was never the strongest aspect of New Mutants, and it’s disappointing that other elements of the title aren’t being addressed.