New Mutants (1st series) #42

Issue Date: 
August 1986
Story Title: 
New Song For Old

Chris Claremont (writer), Jackson Guice (breakdowns), Kyle Baker (finishes), Elaine Lee (colorist), Tom Orzechowski (letterer), Ann Nocenti (editor), Jim Shooter (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

Cannonball goes to visit his family in Kentucky. His brother, Joshua, is not happy to see him. Sam plans to leave the New Mutants to help his family and guide his brother. He then goes to visit his girlfriend Lila in Charlotte. He plans to introduce Lila to his family and Lila has a present for his mother, but when he accuses her of stealing it, they get into a fight and Sam blasts off.
The next morning back in Kentucky, Josh ignores Sam again. Sam flies after him and his brother expresses jealousy and resentment.
Sam wanders around the town after his brother leaves, ending up in a café, where his mother finds him. She tells him to live his own life, and not to leave the New Mutants.
Then, Josh runs up to tell them that there is a call for them on the Guthrie truck CB. It turns out that Lila and Dazzler went up in a plane after Sam and Lila’s fight, and the plane is missing. Sam and Josh fly around looking for the wreck. During the flight, Josh begins to see the benefits of being a mutant.
They find the crashed plane at sunset. Josh crawls into the wreckage and finds that Dazzler is okay, but Lila and one other are hurt. Josh sings to give Dazzler the power to blast out of the wreck. Dazzler tells Sam that the gift Lila had was made by hand, not stolen. Sam apologizes to Lila, who forgives him.
Later, Sam is waiting on the porch when Lila teleports in wearing an outrageous outfit. While inwardly expressing misgivings, he asks if she is ready to go inside. Once he does that, she disappears and reappears wearing more conservative clothing. She says that she would never shame Sam, but she wanted to know that he was not ashamed of her. Mrs. Guthrie comes out on the porch and they are introduced.

Full Summary: 

(Cannonball’s dream)

On an alien world, Cannonball, assisted by Sunspot and Magma, struggles to defend a temple from a Vrakanin airforce. Inside the temple, Lila Cheney and her band play. However, the Vrakanin lord Charasulla sneaks up on Lila. Just in time, the New Mutants break into the temple. Wolfsbane stops Charasulla while Cannonball swoops Lila into his arms for a kiss.
Suddenly, a yell of “SAMUEL ZACHARY GUTHRIE” breaks the reverie. It was all a daydream; Sam and Lila are actually kissing on his family’s porch. His mother is offended, asking, “Who is this person? What are you doing?… How could you have hurt me so?!” Mrs. Guthrie locks Sam out and when he turns to tell Lila this, she too is gone. However, this too is a dream.


Sam is on a bus on his way home to Cumberland, Kentucky. He is anxious about what his mother will think of his girlfriend whom he plans to introduce to her.

Sam arrives in Cumberland and thinks how small it is compared to New York, and how it hasn’t changed since he left. He stops in a phone book to call Xavier’s school to let them know he arrived, and leaves a message on the answering machine. He then calls Lila, who is in her tour bus heading north on I-85. He asks if she’s still on for dinner on Sunday. She comments that she’s nervous about meeting his parents and questions if it means their relationship is serious. She also tells him to meet her in Charlotte that night while he wonders what he’s gotten into.

After getting off the phone, Cannonball decides to blast home since it’s still early and no one is out in the streets. As he soars over the farms, he thinks about how much he has missed home. He wonders if, with all the changes the team has gone through lately, he still belongs on the New Mutants. With his grades, he could transfer to a college, with a scholarship or a loan from Professor Xavier’s trust fund. He’d get a good education at Xavier’s too, but there is the danger of injury or death that comes with being a New Mutant.

He lands on his family farm and says hello to his father’s grave. He tells his father about the recent changes at the school, such as the new headmaster, Magneto. He asks how they can trust him, even if he swears that he’s reformed. He also tells him about his girlfriend and his fears that she will not like his family, and that they will not like her.

At this point, a voice from behind Sam notes that “She must be a nice girl, Samuel, else you wouldn’t like her.” It’s Sam’s mother. She notes that if Lila is good enough for Sam, why wouldn’t she be good enough for his mother? They begin to head in to breakfast, with Mrs. Guthrie saying that she knew Sam had arrived because she heard him blasting. At first he fears he may have woken her, but she notes that this is the country and “nobody lollygags in bed”.
She asks more about Lila; if she sings gospel or country, has she played the Grand Ole Opry? Sam, not surprisingly, believes she has not.

They arrive at the house and Sam greets his siblings: Joelle (who has made the prep squad), some unnamed ones asking if he brought any presents and complaining about the lunches their mother packed. Finally, Josh heads out the door without acknowledging Sam’s presence, despite Sam talking to him. When Sam asks, Mrs. Guthrie says that he’s been doing poorly in school and becoming very moody lately. He’s afraid of turning out to be a mutant. He does not want to have to leave his friends and family like Sam did. He hears on the radio how mutants are bad, and he has no father figure to guide him. Sam says how he also has no big brother, because he is off in New York. He decides that he will stay in Cumberland.

Later that night, he blasts into Charlotte, North Carolina to visit Lila. He arrives just as the concert is over. He sees the crew loading out and thinks how he could never live the wandering life. He runs into Alison Blaire, and comments on her dark hair color. She is in disguise, she explains. Sam thinks how he’s happy for Dazzler as she had been through some rough times before Lila brought her into the band.

He sees Lila and asks her if she’s still drinking in the applause. Upon seeing him, Lila leaps into his arms, taking both their breaths away. She says she has something to show Sam and teleports away. Sam wonders what would happen to her career if she was exposed as a mutant, like Dazzler. Lila returns with a crystal sculpture of a winged woman. She remembered how Sam mentioned that his mother likes to sing and when she does, this sculpture will provide accompaniment.
Sam, however, becomes angry, exclaiming “All ah want to know is where you stole it from?!!” He is mad at her for given his mother something stolen, especially after she swore she would not steal anymore. Lila becomes angry herself now, asking how dare Sam judge her and saying it was a gift of love. Sam says that love is meaningless if it is built on lies. Their yelling causes the sculpture to fracture. Lila comments that what Sam says also applies to trust. She says that they’ve had a fun ride which should have lasted longer and ended better. As she says goodbye, Sam blasts off.

In the morning, Sam’s mother comments on how dreadful he looks and asks if anything is wrong, but he brushes her off. Sam offers to do some chores, but it turns out there is not much to do, thanks to Josh. Just as Sam tries to talk to him, Josh walks out the door again.
Sam flies after Josh. Upon catching up with him, he asks why they are not pals anymore. Josh just tells him to figure it out and tries to walk away again. Sam pushes him to the ground, making Josh tell him what is bothering him. Josh is angry because he and his mother held things together while Sam was at school. Sam comments that he’s back now to help, but Josh says that he is not needed.
Sam asks if that means he does not belong with his family, but at that point Josh pushes him off. As he walks away, Sam asks if Josh is angry because Sam is not needed, or because he’s afraid Sam will steal his thunder. Josh says maybe both, and that he needs to get to school. Sam offers a lift, but he refuses.

Sam wanders around the town, reminiscing about his time on the Cameron Cougars baseball team and his father, while also regretting what he said to Lila the night before. He thinks how he is no longer the mountain kid he once was. He’s been to space and met gods.
While he sits in a café, some of the kids from the school come in for lunch. Josh is there with many friends, and he plays his guitar for them.
Then Mrs. Guthrie arrives, and Sam tells her how the town is like an old shoe that hasn’t been worn in a while: when you put it back on, it’s not as comfortable as it once was. His mother says that he, like her, has too much of a thirst for knowledge to return from school the same as he left, whereas Josh, like his father, is content where he is. Mrs. Guthrie tells Sam that it is important he live his own life, and that right now that is not with his family.

Suddenly, Josh interrupts them, saying that there is an emergency call on the truck’s CB. It’s Ben Locklin, from Lila’s band, and Lila’s plane is missing.
Sam, Josh, and their mother head to the truck to talk to Locklin. Apparently, Lila stormed out right after her fight with Sam, Alison went with her, and they took the plane up in stormy weather.
Sam decides to go help in the search, and Josh offers to come along. He climbs up on Sam’s back and they take off. Josh loves the feeling of flying. Sam says how moments like this, he’s glad he’s a mutant. Even if people are afraid of him, he can fly and they can’t. So, Josh asks, if he turns out to be a mutant too, it may not be that bad.

For most of the day, they keep searching, finally finding the wreck at sunset. Josh wriggles through the wreckage to look for survivors. Sam thinks this is his fault because Lila was upset due to him.
Josh sees a light, created by Dazzler. She’s okay, but Lila and fellow band member Conal Duran were hurt in the crash. Dazzler asks if he has a radio so she can generate her light power. He does not, but he sings instead. Dazzler blasts out.
Sam compliments Josh’s voice. Josh says it happened when his voice changed, and that their mother says it is his special gift, like Sam’s blasting. Josh wonders aloud what powers the other Guthries will get.
Sam asks Ali how Lila is. Alison asks if he really cares, after the cruel way he treated her earlier. It turns out, Lila made the statue; she did not steal it.
Before Sam can process this information, the cliff overhead begins to collapse. Luckily, Sam is able to blast all of them to safety, though he notices that he had a hard time taking off, despite having carried much heavier loads in the past.
Lila awakens and Sam apologizes profusely. Lila comments that he is lucky she’s the forgiving sort when it comes to the man she loves.
That Sunday, Sam is nervously waiting on the porch, thinking about returning to the New Mutants the following week, giving the younger members someone to turn to, and simultaneously keeping tabs on Magneto.
Lila teleports in wearing the full 80’s outfit: multi-colored hair, tube-top, chains, etc. She asks Sam how she looks, and he says “Ah… love you, Lila”. However, he afraid that his mother will kill him and his siblings will laugh. She has brought the statue, which she thinks may be better flawed, since no one is perfect.
Sam asks if it is time to go in when she suddenly disappears again. Sam first thinks he said something wrong again, but then Lila reappears much more conservatively attired in a dress. She says that she needed to know he would go through with it anyway. She would never shame him, but needed to know that he would not be ashamed of her.
Sam’s mother opens the door, and Sam introduces her to Lila.

Characters Involved: 

Cannonball (New Mutants)

Lucinda Guthrie

Joelle Guthrie, Joshua Guthrie, other unnamed Guthries (Elizabeth, Jebediah, Melody, and Paige)

Lila Cheney


Conal Duran and other members of Lila Cheney’s band and crew

Unnamed passengers on a bus

Unnamed Cumberland townsfolk

In Dream

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

Lila Cheney

Lila Cheney’s band
Varaskulla (a Vrakanin)

Story Notes: 

Cannonball’s father’s grave says “Thomas Zebulon Guthrie”. The years of his life are obscured by grass. In future comics, Sam’s father’s name is often different, e.g. Ty or Zach.

The changes in the New Mutants that Sam mentions are mainly centered around Magneto replacing Charles Xavier as headmaster and being killed off and resurrected by the Beyonder. The latter is probably also the reason for Sam’s regression in skill, as the other mutants faced similar problems after their traumatic experience with the Beyonder.

Cannonball’s doubts about Magneto were well-founded as he did eventually return to his villainous ways. The New Mutants ultimately reject him in New Mutants #75.

Dazzler has disguised herself as part of Lila Cheney’s band since she was outed as a mutant in the Dazzler Graphic Novel and her own solo series. She’s been with Lila since New Mutants #29.
The Vrakanin were alien monsters Lila and the mutants fought in New Mutants annual #1.
Lucinda Guthrie, Josh and the rest of the Guthrie Brood first appeared in Rom annual #3.

Issue Information: 

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