New Mutants (1st series) #39

Issue Date: 
May 1986
Story Title: 
Pawns of the White Queen

Chris Claremont (writer), Keith Pollard (guest penciller), Dell Barras (guest inker), Tom Orzechowski (letterer), Glynis Oliver (colorist), Ann Nocenti (editor), Jim Shooter (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

The White Queen summons the former New Mutants to her study to convince them she is looking out for their best interest. Then she sends them to their separate locker rooms to try on their new costumes. Thunderbird and Jetstream do their best to help Cypher and Cannonball feel at home, while Empath does his best to charm the new girls in their locker room. However, his powers do not work, as they are emotionally numb. Illyana appears and brings Empath to Roulette’s and Catseye’s attention. The girls throw him out in front of the White Queen. Emma has a class photograph taken of the Hellions and the former New Mutants dressed as Hellions. She sends Magneto a copy knowing this will deepen his personal sense of failure. The White Queen individually conducts a sort of physic surgery on each of the former New Mutants. When she is done, they are animated, smiling and happy, more like their normal selves. Later Rahne has a nightmare and wakes her room mate Catseye as well as the boys. They are all relieved to learn she is ok and Catseye and Wolfsbane go for a midnight run. Sam realizes he is still having the nightmares too and wonders if he and Rahne are the only ones. Illyana appears and it is very evident that the dark side of her soul is slowly taking over. The White Queen watches this psychically from her study, and hopes this is a problem she can deal with.
Back at Xavier’s Dani uses her power on herself to discover that her hearts desire is for her friends to be well and happy, and make Magneto proud. A vision she knows can never happen.
Dani goes to Magneto to tell him of her decision to return home. She leaves in tears and Magneto in emotional turmoil. On her way out she runs into Sharon. As she is saying goodbye, Warlock appears to report that Tom and Sharon are missing. Dani leaves anyway, feeling guilty but knowing she must return home to find herself again.
Magneto, unable to sleep, takes a midnight swim and hot shower. Two intruders who turn out to be the missing Tom and Sharon interrupt his shower. Magneto wakes Stevie and they care for their friends in the infirmary. Sharon regains consciousness and tells Magneto about their meeting on the mansion grounds with the hellion known as Empath. Magneto flies into a rage and takes his anger out constructively in the Danger Room. The White Queen psychically feels his rage and makes plans for the coming confrontation between herself and Magneto.

Full Summary: 

White Queen’s Study

Emma Frost welcomes the new students in her full White Queen costume. She tells them that she cares about their health and well-being as much as Charles Xavier or Magneto ever did. She tells them that Magneto chose to push aside his pride in order to have Emma help them with their current situation. She tries to put them at ease by telling them she will do her best to be worthy of his trust. They clearly couldn’t care less. She dismisses them by telling them to go try on their new uniforms and meet the other Hellions in order to get better acclimated to the Massachusetts Academy.
After they leave she thinks to herself that they are way to well-behaved and devoid of the restless energy that used to characterize the New Mutants. She wonders what has happened to them to traumatize them this badly and hopes she will be up to the task of helping them get better. She hopes her efforts do not end in their and her destruction. Emma Frost believes that the benefit of adding the new children to the ranks of the Hellions far outweighs any risk to herself or to them.

Hellions Boys Locker Room

Cannonball and Cypher stride in dressed in their New Mutants uniforms. They are greeted by name by their former archenemy Thunderbird. He introduces himself as James Proudstar, leader of the team, and Jetstream just in case they don’t remember from the first meeting between the Hellions and New Mutants so very long ago. Cypher and Cannonball introduce themselves as well. James tells them he thinks Charles Xavier is a good man and expresses sympathy that he had to leave the school. Jetstream tells Cannonball that he is looking forward to a rematch between the two of them since they have similar powers. Cannonballs voice is devoid of all emotion when he replies that a rematch sounds like fun. Proudstar wonders if the White Queen has drugged them or manipulated them to cause them to be so unanimated. Then he thinks that she would not do something that would so easily point to her tampering. James wonders if they are sick, as they are not acting anything like their normal selves that he remembers. Jetstream inquires about Cypher’s gift of languages not being as flashy as his teammates powers and he does so in his native tongue, Arabic. Cypher replies in Arabic and says a weak, or strong, or quiet power did not save them. Proudstar asks “From what?” and is given the simple answer of “Death and life”.

Hellions Girls Locker Room

Empath picks this particular moment to make his presence known as he considers himself a ladies’ man. He is very interested in trying out his power on Amara, X’ian and Rahne. Imagine his surprise when his best lines are met with absolutely no emotional response whatsoever. He stares at them as they leave in utter astonishment. From as long as he has been able to utilize his power, he has never met anyone so emotionally numb that he could not get a reaction from them, with the exception of these girls.
Illyana suddenly appears behind him, having just returned from Limbo. One look into Magik’s eyes sends him reeling backwards onto a changing table. Roulette and Catseye pick this moment to approach a warning their own team member for trespassing in the girls locker room. Catseye changes to violet tiger form and chases him past the door and into the hall. Roulette throws a bad luck energy Frisbee that causes him to slip on a wet floor that was dry moments before. Unfortunately, Empath falls directly in front of his headmistress, the White Queen. Emma puts her hands on her hips and asks Empath if he has a good explanation for this behavior.
Catseye greets Rahne with a friendly hug telling her that she is glad they are finally friends and on the same team where they will be happy. Tarot agrees but checks her cards and notes silently to herself that they say something quiet different.

Training Hall, Massachusetts Academy

The team of Hellions is gathered, both original and former New Mutants, for a team photograph. They are all interspersed together in Hellion costume and posed before a photographer. The White Queen explains that this class photograph is proof that the New Mutants are no more, and they are all Hellions from this moment on.

Magneto’s Study, Charles Xavier’s Mansion

It has only been a week since the children departed and Magneto sits at his desk reading a letter he has just received from Emma Frost. Included is a copy of the photograph that the students have posed for. Magneto mourns Xavier’s dream, how bright it was, and how quickly it turned to ashes.

Danger Room

Dani Moonstar is dressed in her New Mutants costume looking at herself in a mirror. She has tried her power on others, but never intentionally turned it on herself as she plans to do in a moment. The emptiness of the Danger Room closes around her. She knows that she refused the transfer and is confused why the others accepted. Dani pulls her hearts desire from deep within herself. It is a danger room training session with all her former teammates present. Amara creates a lava wall and Sam smashes it as Roberto uses his power to smash the pieces before they can hurt anyone. Doug and Warlock are training together as a fantastic team. Illyana appears with a creature she has brought with her from Limbo. Karma’s challenge is to possess him despite how creepy she finds his mind. But it is Rahne in Wolfsbane form that attacks first knowing that her fangs will not even scratch the creature. However, Karma is not far being and succeeds in her challenge. Illyana returns the demon to Limbo with a fond farewell before further mischief can be done.
Dani is in the control center with Magneto who is critizising the team’s performance. She can tell by his hidden smile that he is proud of them even though he tells her their performance is only satisfactory. Dani returns to reality and understands that this is her heart’s desire. This is a vision of the way things might have been if they had never encountered the Beyonder.

White Queen’s Study

Emma Frost is feeling exhilarated and exhausted at the same time. Rahne is lying on the couch waiting her turn for the help the White Queen has to offer. Emma marvels at the many experiences these children have endured for their age. Even though she experiences the events second hand she needs a full days rest to recuperate and be able to continue helping them. She finds that the defenses that Charles Xavier placed in their minds have been severely weakened due to the trauma of being killed and then resurrected. When she is finished with Rahne she thinks to herself that Rahne’s chaotic, elemental passion, loneliness, and pain, place her mind closer to the Hellfire Club that any of the other mutants. She psychically leaves Rahne with the command to be happy and whole when she awakes. Emma wakes her and Rahne gives her a huge smile and hug, as well as a thank you. Rahne is once again animated and her eyes shine with life. She asks if her friends are ok too? Emma tells her to go see for herself and notes that Rahne dos not react at all to the way Emma dresses where she would have before. Rahne opens the door to another room to find her friends smiling and happy. The new Hellions promise the White Queen that they will not let her down, especially after what she has done for them.

Magneto’s Study

Dani opens the door and storms in, commenting that the study is now a pigsty. Magneto asks her to knock next time and not comment on the condition of the room. She tells Magneto that she has decided to return to Colorado, to her parents’ home. Magneto says he is sorry to hear that. Dani tells Magneto that since the school is closed she has no place and no reason to stay and that she will never join the others in their transfer. Magneto tries to convince her that he did what he thought best for the kids. She tells him that in reality he quit when they needed him most. He says that her view is not true. She tells him that if she could get through it, then they all could have if he had just tried a little harder to reach them. After all, Professor Xavier would have found a way no matter the circumstances. He apologizes for his weakness and his failure.
Dani tells him of a time when all the New Mutants were prisoners of the White Queen except for Illyana and herself. They were accidentally transported into the future and saw the New Mutants and Hellions working together. Dani swears that neither of the girls told anyone about this incident so no one knew. Now, Magneto has helped that future come to pass. Dani runs from his study upset and in tears.
Magneto asks her forgiveness for his weakness as he dashes an empty bottle of liquor against the far wall of the study. The bottle shatters into a million pieces as it hits the wall just below Charles Xavier’s picture.

Mansion Foyer

Dani is on her way out when Stevie opens the front door and steps in from the cold outside. Stevie greets her with a hug and asks if she is really going. Dani says yes and asks Stevie to look after Magneto because he is in such a state about everything. Stevie tells her that Magneto is not the only one who is going through emotional turmoil regarding the closure of the school and the students leaving. Stevie asks if Dani just intends to leave her friends to their fate and Dani says that she doing just that, no matter what anyone may think of her for doing so. She tells Stevie that if she fights the White Queen and loses, then she will be a pawn as she was for the Beyonder. Dani has made up her mind that she would rather die than go through that ever again. As they are talking they walk outside toward Brightwind who is packed and ready to go. Dani also tells Stevie that she has left messages for the X-Men everywhere she could think of as they are the senior team and they will know what to do. Dani tells Stevie that she feels she must go home before it is too late for her. Before she can leave, Warlock stops by and tells both her and Stevie that he has scanned the entire estate for signs of Sharon and Tom, but is unable to locate them anywhere. Dani gives Warlock a goodbye hug and says she hopes that nothing is wrong. Then she mounts Brightwind and heads for her parents’ ranch in Colorado. As Dani leaves the ground, she realizes that she feels bad about leaving, but she must go home to find herself, as she does not know who she is anymore: Valkyrie, Cheyenne, or ordinary girl. Dani knows this a necessary journey that she can only make for herself.

Massachusetts Academy, Wolfsbane and Catseye’s room

Rahne screams “no” so loud in her sleep that she wakes herself and finds herself already transitioning into wolf form. Catseye also wakes and moves quickly to comfort her roommate only to be attacked and thrown across the room by Rahne. Rahne finally wakes from the nightmare and sees what she has done to her new friend. She leaves her bed to go to her friend’s side and make certain Catseye is ok. Catseye tells Rahne that she is fine and that she never gets mad, only even. The girls are beginning to recover when the boys come in led by Cannonball and Jetstream blasting through the window. They are relieved to find that it was just a nightmare and none of the girls have been harmed.
Catseye convinces Rahne to transform to wolf form as she shifts to tiger so they can go play outside and work off the adrenaline rush in their own unique way.
Empath tells Cannonball that the White Queen will not be very pleased about the broken window. Cannonball gives him a smart reply even though he realizes Empath is right. Sam thinks quietly to himself that at least he wasn’t the only one to have the nightmare. He wonders silently if they were the only two. He asks Thunderbird if someone shouldn’t follow the girls in case they run into trouble and then he realizes that Illyana is missing from the informal gathering.
Illyana appears at the mention of her name but she is dressed as the Sorceress from Limbo. Sam thinks that she looks like she is shifting more to the dark side of her soul regardless of Emma’s help. He updates Illyana on Rahne’s nightmare and mentions that he has noticed she is spending more and more time in Limbo. She tells Sam that she likes her pets and she has not had any bad dreams. Then she tells them that she has found a solution to the problem, give up sleeping.

White Queen’s Study

The White Queen is sitting in a chair sipping a glass of wine while psychically spying on her charges. She is upset when she finds Magik’s mind closed to her as it always is. Emma is beginning to realize that something is seriously wrong and she does not have any idea how to deal with it.

Outside on Xavier’s Mansion Grounds

Two dark figures sneak stealthily through the night toward the mansion.

Inside Xavier’s Mansion

Magneto finds himself unable to sleep and settles for a quick swim in the indoor swimming pool. After he has worked off a lot of nervous energy, he leaves the pool for a hot shower to wash off the chlorine and hopefully relax in order to get some sleep. On his way to the shower, he thinks he has heard a door open somewhere in the mansion. He stops to listen to the silence for a few minutes and hears nothing further so he continues toward his objective. Through the fogged over shower door he sees a figure emerge into the bathroom. Magneto knows that clothes don’t make the man so he opens the shower door and orders the intruders to stand where they are. After all, he is still the master of magnetism and more than capable of defending himself.
He stops short, dripping water all over the floor, when he realizes that before him stand Tom and Sharon. Only, their clothes are literally ripped to shreds, what’s left of it seems to be some kind of fetish wear and Sharon’s skin is like ice, as if she has been frozen. They look exhausted, as if they have been walking for miles and even appear to have lost weight. Tom hands Sharon to Magneto with a request for help as he slips into unconsciousness and finds the floor. Magneto observes that they seem to be locked into the tattered clothes as if they are some sort of costumes and they are someone’s slaves.

Later in the Infirmary

Stevie tends an unconscious Tom as a now dressed Magneto converses with a conscious Sharon. She tells him that their disappearance was not their idea. She fills him in on their meeting with Empath on the mansion grounds while he was conversing with Doug Ramsey’s parents in his study. Sharon tells him that she and Tom have always cared for each other, but that feeling was magnified to a monstrous stage and overtook their conscious minds. They were addicted to this craving to the point where death would have been a relief but neither wanted to give Empath the final victory.
Magneto suddenly screams “EMPATH” and throws his hands in the air. Stevie asks him who Empath is. He tells Stevie that Empath is the Hellion that can manipulate emotions. Such as Tom, Sharon’s, the New Mutants, and worst of all, his own. Magneto runs to the Danger Room and Stevie follows. Once there, Magneto utilizes his power to build Stevie a picture of Empath and his mentor, the White Queen. He is angry and destroys the images more violently than he created them. He vows that he will be a rat in noone’s maze. He vows to teach the White Queen the full power of the Master of Magnetism.

White Queen’s Study

From far away at the Massachusetts Academy, Emma Frost is able to detect Magneto’s anger at having been emotionally manipulated. She realizes that the coming confrontation will be a severe test of her new students’ loyalty. A test she is not sure they are up to facing. She also knows that if she summons help from her Hellfire Club channels it will cost her a loss of status. Emma does the only thing left to her. She calls the Snow Valley sheriffs department, as Headmistress of the Massachusetts Academy, and reports that she has confirmation that the international terrorist, Magneto, is planning to kidnap a number of her students. She tells the sheriff she has no idea why such a thing has been planned, but she is scared and request lawful protection for her students

Characters Involved: 

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

Brightwind (Dani’s winged Valkyrie Steed)

Magneto (Headmaster of the School)

Stevie Hunter (Dance Teacher at Xavier’s School)

Sharon Friedlander (Mansion Staff and School Nurse)

Tom Corsi(Mansion Staff)

Snow Valley Sheriffs Department

White Queen

Catseye / Sharon Smith, Empath / Manuel de la Rocha, Jetstream / Haroun al-Rashid, Roulette / Jennifer Stavros, Tarot / Marie-Ange Colbert, Thunderbird II / James Proudstar (all Hellions)

Story Notes: 

The New Mutants met and fought the Hellions in New Mutants #15 - 17.

The New Mutants' last battle with the Beyonder occurred in New Mutants #37.

The New Mutants were killed, resurrected and forced to fight Earth’s heroes in New Mutants #36 - 37 and Secret Wars II #8 - 9.

For the longest time James Proudstar hated Charles Xavier and blamed him for the death of his older brother John. However, his actual confrontation with Xavier in Uncanny X-Men #193 made him change his mind about the man.
Dani and Illyana were transported to the future in New Mutants #17.

Issue Information: 

This Issue has been reprinted in:

Written By: