Writer Chris Claremont
Artist Bob McLeod
Inkers Bob McLeod and Tom Palmer
Colorist Bob Sharen
Letterer Bob McLeod
Cover by Bill Sienkiewicz
Cover Dated 1984
So fun whenever the creators of a title come back as McLeob was only with New Mutants for their first appearance in Marvel Graphic Novel 4 and the first three issues of the series proper.
Issue opens with Cannonball using his blasting power to keep a pile driver from crushing him in the Danger Room.
Watching him in the booth is Xavier, Dani and Magik. For some reason, Dan is drawn very unattractive for these first two pages, not sure what that is about as she is drawn how she normally is in the subsequent pages.
Xavier is testing Cannonball’s ability to focus today. He has Dani pull a nightmare image from Sam’s mind and he sees a Brood Queen and freaks out. Luckily, he was blasting up on the side that in indented, so he isn’t crushed to death.
Sam is mad at Dani for pulling what he thinks is a prank. Xavier tells Sam that he told her to do it so Sam should be mad at Xavier. Xavier was testing Sam’s concentration, as his power to blast as if he was a human cannonball is great but if he doesn’t concentrate, he could lose that invulnerable aspect and be seriously hurt in a fight. As the oldest New Mutant, it is up to him to set a good example for the other students.
There are times I wish we got to see Dani using her powers to bring what people’s desires are, as it is far easier to do fear aspect of her power.
I like how in the captions, Dani is introduced as the unofficial leader, I always thought of Sam and Dani as good co-leaders, with whomever coming up with the plan or next step being the leader of the moment.
Cut to New York City, a strange green alien dude shows up, with mutton chops and sees a poster for Lila Cheney and tears it off the fence. That’s an entire page. What could it be!?! At this point, who is Lila Cheney?
Which, of course, this is Lila Cheney’s debut! Only four short years after Dazzler, Marvel realized that both, the New Mutants needed to have their own singer debut in their pages and they needed a singer of the 80s. Which is weird as Dazzler debuted in the 80s but I’m not exactly sure when Disco was officially dead (or if it ever really died). Lila Cheney is a fun character, and I had forgotten what she was like during this issue. When I was buying back issues, I read these things in all types of wrong orders so I’m not even sure if I knew it was her first appearance – I should have with how it is written and her interactions with characters but who knows.
Back at the Mansion. Stevie Hunter is giving Dani some physical therapy. I really do miss Stevie Hunter, I tried to do a quick Google search on whatever happened to her, and it seems like when the X-Men went crazy with crossovers in the 90s, she got lost in the shuffle. She last big appearance was during the X-Cutioner’s Song crossover, where she escaped the mansion being blown up. I apparently own her first appearance in Uncanny 139 and her last appearance in Uncanny X-Men Annual 18. She was at Scott and Jean’s wedding too. Really glad that no writer has dusted her off just to kill her. That’s something!
They don’t mention it but Dani is still recovering from her injuries from the Demon Bear Saga.
Sunspot comes running into the room, shouting that he has tickets to the Lila Cheney concert, her last show of her current world tour.
The Day of the Concert. The team gets to the concert and see how the fans are dressed like would be biker gang groupies. Warlock is in a human disguise, making him look like the designated adult. They are worried they won’t get through the line in time to see the show. Sunspot tells them not to worry, his tickets are for the sound check and the concert, so they jump to the front of the line. Sunspot being the son of a billionaire doesn’t come up that often but it is fun that we get to see the few positive sides of Roberto’s father’s wealth.
The team is amazed by the band. Doug points out Lila Cheney when she shows up for her mic test. Roberto claims he is in love, to which Sam tells him he thinks that about every new girl he sees.
The band does one song, the team likes what they hear. During the song, a speaker begins to fall onto Lila. Warlock transforms into his proper form and Sunspot does the same, as they fly up to stop the speaker. Half of it is stopped, and the other half continues to fall. Sam blasts his way towards Lila, and shuts off his mutant power so that it appears he is just diving from stage left and tackles Lila out of the way, right as the speaker falls. Great use of Sam trying to keep his mutant power a secret and having him be a hero at the same time.
Sam helps Lila up to her feet, once she sees that he isn’t a crazed fan but a hero she thanks him with a mighty long kiss. Sam is in love. I really do enjoy these two as a couple, and it is extremely fun seeing what a country boy being the object of a world famous rock star, it seems like one of those couples that only works in fiction but it really does work. Probably because Sam is a supehero and not just a guy who lives in a small town waiting for his big city girlfriend to show up and give his life purpose.
Also fun is how jealous Roberto is that Sam got kissed by Lila.
Warlock, back in human form, informs the team that the rope holding the speaker was cut. Cut! Wolfsbane shifts to her animal form and follows the trail. Since Dani isn’t useful in a fight (due to her injuries and her power being only defensive right now) and neither is Doug, as his power isn’t offensive at all, they stay behind as the rest of the team investigates. I would have liked a few panels of Doug talking to Dani, as that is something they have in common at this point.
The concert is going on during this time.
The team up in the rafters come across that alien fella, he is green so of course he speaks like Yoda, which may be easy to hear but reading it, can cause a headache. Luckily, he only speaks with a sentence at a time. The alien is from the race, Vrakanin. Cannonball and Sunspot attempt an attack but the alien dismisses them pretty easily. In Magik’s moment of hesitation (her soulsword only works on magical beings or spells) the alien knocks her back. I do like how they treat her soulsword now like a proper sword, that does +10 damage to magic.
Also, as Charlton Heston taught us all on Space Ghost Coast to Coast – thou shall out hesitate! It is the eleventh commandment! It’s from the episode, Dam. Which was way back in December 5, 1997 – is how long I’ve been saying it. Mostly in Mario video games, where hesitation can get you killed or eat up all of your time. Ooof, that was 17 years ago!?! That quote is old enough to graduate high school! If it was born early enough.
I tried to embed the video but it didn’t work out
There’s the link.
Lila finally notices, she is the only one, that something above her is happening. Cannonball renews his attack against the alien. Lila stats to glow. The fans love the special effects, as apparently the band is known for their superb special effects in their show. So in the Marvel Universe, they have two artists that use light in their shows, no wonder no one ever questioned Dazzler’s light effects – it is the ever-lovin’ norm!
The light hurts both the alien and surprisingly, Warlock.
The alien disappears as does Lila, her band and Sam. Leaving Magma to look on in horror as she just watched her teammate get swallowed by light.
The crowd loves it and wants more. As many Dazzler concerts end this way (almost all of them that we are ever privy to see) they must be cool with that being in the end of the show. Hopefully more than one song was played but I get the impression it was early in the show’s playlist, maybe two or three songs were played – at most. I’m not sure what the 80s tickets policy was, but hopefully they don’t have to reimburse the fans for their tickets. Though I get the impression that Lila doesn’t really need the money.
Meanwhile, Warlock is withering in pain. He is telling anyone who will listen that he has absorbed stargate energy. He needs to get rid of it or he will die. Dan tells him to go ahead and do so, in hopes that they can follow Lila’s trail. Which turns out, is in deep space as the team is left to die due to lack of oxygen and being in outer space.
Lila, her band and Sam are at her place. Lila tells Sam that she is sorry she had to leave his friends behind, Sam isn’t sure about that. Sam is sure, once they step onto the balcony, that they are on a Dyson Sphere. Which is a concept I still don’t quite get. It is like a fake planet that can absorb the energy off of the nearly star. I’m trying to watch the Star Trek The Next Generation episode, Relics, to see what one is like in motion. BBC America airs enough ST:TNG that I imagine the episode will come on again as I did see it listed earlier in the week. It is the episode with Scotty from Original Trek. It was a pretty decent episode.
Cannonball references Larry Niven’s book series, Ringworld, as he is a fan of science fiction. Which I like, as if I had a full time job of being a superhero, I’m not sure I will read science fiction, maybe westerns or some historical fiction. Maybe that’s Watchmen’s influence on me.
Good thing Sam is so well read as it impresses Lila and she starts nibbling on his ear. She also does this to not answer his question about how she has a place on a Dyson sphere.
Here is the Wikipedia page about Dyson Spheres :
It seems like a simple concept but I think it is the scale of it that confuses me or how fictional it is.
Lila straight tells Sam that if a lady is being forward, a gentleman takes advantage of that. She then sends Sam with two of her band mates and tells them to get Sam dressed appropriately, as he is still wearing his New Mutants uniform.
Just then, one of those alien guys show up, via hologram call, and warns Lila of a threat on her life. She tells him it has already been taken care of. Next, we learn that Lila is selling the planet and offering the inhabitants up as slaves, for a price. Which is crazy! Imagine if someone did just sell the planet to a race, minus the enslaving part? We wouldn’t even know it! I wonder what the price would have been?
Meanwhile, Dani wakes up, she is stiff and is surrounded by black walls. Dani and the rest of the New Mutants are inside of Warlock, who made himself into a ship so that the team wouldn’t die in space. That’s pretty thoughtful of him!
Warlock explains to Dani what Lila did. She purposely teleported into space itself and then teleported to a second location, just in case anyone followed, they would die. Dani doesn’t like the idea of that. Warlock can’t get them home, but the second location isn’t too far off.
Back with Sam, who is now dressed in the leather outfit that Claremont likes to put his characters in, whenever he can. He feels awfully silly in the outfit but gets made out with by Lila, so a guy gets use to such things.
One of the band members, is a double crossing snake and contacts the alien race and tells them the location of Lila’s home away from Earth.
We get a nice time cut as the New Mutants are on the Dyson sphere as well, they landed on the wrong side (we know this) and are trying to make their way to were they hope Lila is. Doug, who is not in his uniform, nor is Dani. Doug is looking at some hieroglyphs that are capturing his attention. I really like this scene as it is one of the few times Doug and Illyana get to chat. Doug confides in her that he has been missing for two days and wonders what Xavier is going to tell his parents. Illyana tells him not to worry. I imagine Xavier always as an excuse ready, or just doesn’t answer the phone during times like these.
The team starts walking across a bridge with a ten mile drop. Doug gets scared and wants Illyana to hold his hand, the dog! Good for him, if he isn’t going to make a move on Dani, might as well go for Illyana. Though that isn’t his motivation here, he just got scared of the idea of falling. Which I get, as I don’t fear heights just the idea of falling from heights. I just don’t want to break my legs ever, and thus far, been doing a good job of it!
The team gets attacked by a slew of Vrakanins. if that is how you plural it. Magma goes on the first offense, nice that her powers work on this planet. Kept expecting her to make a comment about being weaker here but it never comes up.
The bridge is destroyed and Dani falls and Wolfsbane tries to catch her but ends up falling with her. Warlock makes himself into a raft and catches the two of them. Unfortunately an electric net was cast and now all three are captured. Sunspot tries to take over one of the gliders but he doesn’t know how to work them and just flies away from the fight.
Dani, Wolfsbane, and Warlock (back into his human guise for some reason) are brought to where Sam and Lila, who are also chained up are located. Dani and Wolfsbane make fun of Sam’s ridiculous outfit.
Charasulla, the head alien, zaps Hoyannes, the traitor within the band, and like the Captain America film, the gun instantly kills and disintegrates his body. Which was one of the biggest problems for me in that film (besides the giant Chris Evans head on a little body that lasted way to long of film time) was the instant deaths of soldiers on either side. At least make it so that if the blast hits an arm or leg, that the soldier only loses that limb and not instant dies. So horrible!
The alien is about to throw a switch that will begin the process of teleporting Earth into the Dyson sphere. Before he can, there is an earthquake like shake. Lila explains how that isn’t possible as the sphere doesn’t have geologic plates – so who knows how Magma using her powers? Maybe she is using her reserves?
Magma and Magik come into the room, M&M for the save! No one has ever called them that, and it really is a missed opportunity. That’s one of those things that in RL, would just happen but since it is a licensed property, Marvel would have had to get permission and all of that nonsense.
Magik comes at one of the aliens with her soulsword, taking a swipe at him. He freaks out and by the time he realizes that he isn’t cut or dead, Doug has tackled him to the ground. Which I don’t get about Doug not being able to be a use in a fight, he still has his kicks and his punches, he just needs to work out more. But stupid Xavier doesn’t want him doing that, which is silly.
Magik grabs the alien’s gun and shots him with it. He doesn’t instant die, but Doug finds it pretty shocking nonetheless. She turns the gun and frees Sam, making a joke about his outfit as well.
Sunspot comes into the room finally as well, and the New Mutants start winning the fight! Sam is celebrating with his team, when Lila explains that Earth is still doomed. Lila doesn’t know enough about the machines to be able to stop the process. Doug realizes that the hieroglyphs along the wall are instruction manuals for the machine and he is able to stop the teleportation of Earth. That is right, everybody, Doug just flipping safe the entire planet, on his own – with his power. Yeah boy!
While he was doing that, Magik wonders how many people she could save with her stepping discs. Even though we all know that with that use distance to travel, her powers would be all over the place. If she could even get to Earth from that distance. It is the thought that counts though.
Dani is not happy that Sam’s new friend almost destroyed Earth. Lila explains that she is a thief, that is what she do. Since Lila owes the New Mutants her life, she promises to never do it again. Which really, how often does that scheme come up?
Doug wonders how they will get home now, without a ship or a teleporter. Turns out that is Lila’s power, she teleports at a stellar level, but only at that level. She can’t just teleport from state to state, it has to be from planet to planet. So she and her band are not just world famous, they are clearly intergalatic famous. That isn’t implied here but with future appearances, it becomes apparent. I was going to state her mutant power but I wasn’t sure if she was a mutant but Wikipedia states that she is. It also states that this is her first appearance and her second appearance is New Mutants 25. I own her first four appearances, from there it is pretty dicey but she was a recurring character in Spurrier’s X-Men Legacy run, so I also own her latest five appearances as well.
Lila is limited on how much or how many people she can teleport as well. She mentions in the comic about how she can also only teleport to home locations, which I imagine is just using the logic behind Nightcrawler’s powers. Her home on Earth though, is London.
How mad Dani gets with the reveal that this is as far as Lila can take them is pretty terrific! She immidately goes to call Xavier. They don’t have spare clothes, any ID on them and they are across an entire ocean – he is going to be thrilled.
Doug asks Illyana why she can’t teleport them to New York, which is pretty insulting but maybe he doesn’t really know how her power works at this point. He’s only been in the series for a few appearances, since issue 13 but only really been part of the team since issue 21, which I believe this annual takes place between 21 and 22 (thanks to UncannyX-Men.net for the confirmation!) so I guess it stands to reason that he has to ask to learn. Regardless, she explains that with the greater the distance, the less control she has over her power, plus she has the ability to teleport through time so they could end up in the right space but wrong time. Which will be a regular thing with poor Magik.
The team heads inside so that Lila and Sam can have a moment. Sam wants an explanation. Apparently Lila was sold from Earth and that’s all she is going to say about that. I’m not sure if we ever really get more of her backstory, we must right? I’ll keep track of that. How does an entire planet sell a baby? Do we all vote on it? I would have voted, no.
Lila assures Sam that she would never sell him, which is nice. He can’t believe she really wants to date him, as she can have any guy she wants. Lila likes him and they kiss some more. Oh Kentucky, you got the moves! If he ever wants to see her again, all he has to do is call.
Issue ends inside Lila’s house. Roberto is all types of hurt and upset and confused, how could a lady like Lila want a guy like Sam?
The last caption of the issue is that three months later, Lila releases a love song titled, Sam. aw!
Back cover ad is for Montezuma’s Revenge for the Atari.