New Mutants (1st series) #22

Issue Date: 
December 1984
Story Title: 
The Shadow Within

Chris Claremont (writer), Bill Sienkiewicz (artist), Tom Orzechowski (letterer), Glynis Wein (colorist), Ann Nocenti (editor), Jim Shooter (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

Nightcrawler is trying to help Cannonball with his maneuverability problems in the Danger Room, where they are joined by Wolfsbane. Cannonball tries to copy Nightcrawler’s moves, but fails, although Kurt consoles him that he just needs practice. Kurt then uses the Danger Room holographic technology to trick Rahne into believing he is Sam and dances with her. When he shows her the truth, she calls him a demon and runs away. Sunspot in the meantime is training with Colossus and in a fit of rage almost hurts the X-Man, while noting that his hands briefly become non-human. Rahne is looking for someone to talk, first Dr MacTaggert, then Mirage, but eventually shares her problems with nobody. In her room, she writes down a fairy tale about an enchanted princess living an idyllic life in the forest. When her true love Duncan falls under a spell by an evil sorceress, princess Alystraea changes into her wolfform, and leaves for the big city, where eventually she finds the sorceress and her companion and attacks them. Later at night, while asleep, Rahne has an identical necklace as the sorceress of her story. In the meantime, the villainess Selene searches out her high priest Friedrich von Roehm, because she needs both a powerbase and a residence. Von Roehm suggests the Hellfire Club. Sunspot’s father, Emmanuel DaCosta, is about to join the Inner Circle of that club, but expresses some doubts about the club’s rituals and its dress code. The Black King, Shaw, calms him and DaCosta is determined to join.

Full Summary: 

Nightcrawler is working with Cannonball on his maneuverability in the Danger Room. Bantering a little with the boy, the X-Man goes through a series of saltos and turns on the trapeze, which Sam is supposed to copy with his flying power, so he can learn to change direction in mid-flight. Finished, Kurt teleports back to Sam. Cannonball admits that he understands the process rationally, but his body doesn’t follow. Kurt tells him to stop worrying and just try, but to make it easier for Sam, he installs a net below them, in case he falls. Sam broods. As the oldest, he is supposed to be a paragon for the other New Mutants, but he’s the only one who hardly improves in the use of his powers. As Kurt reassure him, the door opens and Rahne enters. She blows Sam a kiss for luck, and silently wishes it wasn’t Nightcrawler teaching him, because of his demonic looks.

Sam starts the exercise and goes into Cannonball-mode. He copies the moves Nightcrawler made, but is too close to the wall to turn in time. Nightcrawler realizes that, and teleports him away before he hits the wall, which would have cost the Professor a lot of money. Sam is furious with himself until Nightcrawler confides that he didn’t make it the first time either. Those moves need practice – anything worthwhile does. He tells Sam to climb up again – he’ll join him soon and transforms the Danger Room into a circus arena, with all people transformed into clowns. Then he asks Rahne for a dance. The girl is reluctant, she doesn’t know how, but his charm wins her over and they dance, until Nightcrawler switches the illusion off. Rahne didn’t realize she was dancing with him instead of Sam and angrily calls him a demon. Kurt tells her he just wanted to teach her not to judge people by appearances – it’s their souls that matter. Rahne angrily calls him a liar. If that were true, everything she was ever taught – maybe even her faith – would be false. Confused and angry, she storms out.

Further down the hall Colossus and Sunspot are also going through a training exercise. Piotr is to teach the younger boy fighting techniques. He pontificates on Roberto’s weakness – the fact that he hasn’t got invulnerability to go with his strength – angering the young Brazilian. Sunspot is momentarily diverted by Rahne running past them, and Colossus hits him with the bo-staff for his lack of attention. A foe would not be so gentle, he points out. Sunspot is furious. He tears the training mat away under Colossus’ feet and starts wrestling with him. He wants to know who’s stronger. Colossus suddenly screams out in pain. Sunspot stares at his hands, which suddenly seem darker and no longer human, before they change back. Unaware of this, Colossus assures Sunspot that he wasn’t hurt and assumes he probably just caught the flu.

Rahne in the meantime is looking for Dr. MacTaggert – her foster mother – and sees her and Xavier in one of the labs, examining the newest addition to the team – the alien Warlock. Xavier telepathically asks the girl whether anything is the matter and instead of answering she runs away. Xavier and MacTaggert turn their attention back to Warlock and marvel at his ability to change organic matter into living circuitry and then absorb its lifeforce.

Rahne races back upstairs and into Dani's room. Dani is just phoning her parents and has them describe their ranch to her. She suggests that the New Mutants could visit soon, and asks Rahne what she thinks about that, but the younger girl runs away and Dani wonders, what’s been wrong with her and Sunspot lately.

Park Avenue, New York. A very exclusive shop owned by Friedrich von Roehm is visited by a mysterious darkhaired veiled woman, who imperially tells von Roehm that he is to dismiss the staff for the day as she wants to talk to him. Von Roehm is angry about her arrogance and about to throw her out. She calmly shows him a gem, asking him to appraise it. The gem is unique, she adds, and at a certain angle a face can be seen. The gem shows her face, which von Roehm recognizes as that of Selene. Von Roehm kneels down and prostrates himself before her. He is the high priest of a sect worshipping Selene, that has existed for more than two thousand years. Selene tells him that she needs both a residence and a power base. Von Roehm has the ideal solution – the Hellfire Club.

Meanwhile, in that institution, Sunspot’s father Emanuel DaCosta is being prepared for his admission into the Club’s Inner Circle. He complains to Sebastian Shaw that he feels silly, dressed in those 18th century style clothes that are typical of the Club. Those clothes signify their abandonment of modern society and its rules, Shaw explains, in favor of a simpler, more primal age, where individualism still counted. He warns DaCosta that this is his last chance to decline, but the other man feels ready for the initiation that is to come.

Back in Westchester, unaware of his father’s decision, Roberto is lazing away his time at the pool with Magma, while Rahne sits inside, doodling hearts (with her and Sam’s initials) and writing a fairy tale.

(Rahne’s fairy tale)

Her heroine is an enchanted redheaded princess (not too mention an idealized version of herself) named Alystraea, who like Disney’s version of Snow White lives in a cottage in the forest, surrounded by cute cartoony little animals who help her with her chores. Their idyll is disturbed as her love, the heavily wounded prince Duncan, stumbles into the cottage, crying that he is possessed by a ravenous shadow, before collapsing, the work of the evil Silver Sorceress. Alystraea swears she will break the enchantment and changes into a wolf. In her wolfform she follows Duncan’s trail to a horrible place, the (surreally deformed) city of New York. Alystraea gets accosted and threatened by a sentient cab, but it finally tells her what she wants to know – the location of the Sorceress. Alystraea find the sorceress – a gleaming figure of silver light, with a spectacular golden necklace and her darkly armored protector, the Black Baron, in the park. Alystraea realizes that the Sorceress’ glow is that of stolen lifeforces and that she has no chance. Nevertheless she attacks the two in wolfform, hurling the baron aside, and threatening the sorceress, growling that she will show her the same mercy she showed Duncan.


Later that night, Rahne lies asleep in her bed, her hand cradling a necklace identical to the one the Sorceress from her story wore.

Characters Involved: 

Cannonball, Magma, Mirage, Sunspot, Warlock, Wolfsbane (all New Mutants)

Colossus, Nightcrawler, Professor Charles Xavier (all X-Men)

Dr. Moira MacTaggert


Friedrich von Roehm, Selene’s High Priest

Sebastian Shaw

Emanuel DaCosta, Sunspot’s father

In Rahne’s fairy tale :

Princess Alystraea


a cab

Silver Sorceress

Black Baron

Story Notes: 

Selene was shown to have left Nova Roma and prowling New York instead in Uncanny X-Men #183-184.

This issue marks the first appearance of Friedrich von Roehm.

Von Roehm introduces Selene to the Hellfire Club in Uncanny X-Men #189.

Emanuel DaCosta was shown to have ties to the Hellfire Club and Sebastian Shaw in New Mutants # 7-12.

This issues includes three excerpts from Xavier’s private journal on several New Mutants along with pin-ups by Bill Sienkiewicz.
Wolfsbane : Xavier notes that Rahne was the first New Mutant and in many ways, the cause to form the team. She is both the youngest and most immature member of the New Mutants, shy and insecure due to her cruel, reactionary upbringing and has a hard time dealing with her new life. Xavier hopes, he can help her realize both her potential as a person and as a mutant and fears that she is starting to enjoy the less complicated life as a wolf more than her human existence.
Mirage : Xavier notes that Dani automatically takes the lead in any combat situation and strategically is almost on a par with Cyclops at her age. Her pride and stubbornness have caused several rows between her and Xavier in the past, but Xavier admits to admiring her outspokenness and her ability to realize and admit when she is wrong as well. Despite their past fights they have gained each others’ respect, and while she originally didn’t want to attend his school, she chose to stay at the school when her parents offered her to return home.
Magma : Amara spent her life in a culture of first century Rome and now has to deal with life in the late 20th century. To Xavier’s surprise she is adapting with astonishing ease and he suspects that her IQ is on a par with Kitty Pryde’s genius level IQ. Her powers are rather hard to explore as any accident can trigger an earthquake, yet they must be brought under control.
Xavier notes that Amara is very formal and reserved and hopes that her association with the other students will cause her to relax, which in turn might solve her control problems.

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