New Mutants (1st series) #5

Issue Date: 
July 1983
Story Title: 

Chris Claremont (Writer), Sal Buscema (Penciler), Bob McLeod (Finisher), Tom Orzechowski (Letterer), Glynis Wein (Colorist), Louise Jones (Editor), Jim Shooter (Editor-in-Chief)

Brief Description: 

While at the Fair, the New Mutants decide to watch a motorcycle show put on by Team America. To their surprise Team America is attacked by armed goons, who are led by the Silver Samurai and the Viper. Together with Team America they hold their own against them, until who Viper was looking for appears, The Dark Rider. After a fight with Silver Samurai, the Dark Rider is knocked unconscious, and turns out to be the New Mutants member, Psyche. Kidnapping her the Viper use her life to force Team America into agreeing to do a mission for her. With the help of Colonel Rossi, Xavier discovers that Team America are mutant gestalt as well, that when in danger they create The Dark Rider, who possesses a host and has the abilities of the team put together Xavier offers to help the team before another innocent person is harmed, and the New Mutants are angry at his decision of helping Team America and not directly rescue Psyche. They set out to rescue her with or without Xavier’s help.

Full Summary: 

At Charles Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, Xavier cries out in pain. When he tried to stand up, there was no pain, until he took his first step. He falls to the floor as his lover, Lilandra, empress of the alien race Shi’ar bursts inside the room after hearing his outcry. She frantically asks what is wrong as he tells her that he had tried to walk, but he should have known better. She rises his back, comforting him as he tells her that he does not understand: being a telepath his awareness of his own mind is near-absolute. But he is crippled by a phantom, psychosomatic pain. Agreeing that he should be recovered, she adds unless they overlooked some physical problem.

Sweating and petrified, Xavier tells her that he has lost his mind-link with the New Mutants, leaving him unable to hear their thoughts. She tells him to relax, that he does not need to worry as they are under Stevie Hunter’s watch and will soon return. He supposes she’s is right but hates feeling so helpless. She tells him it is not them she is concerned about, but him.

The New Mutants and Stevie Hunter are at the fair for a well deserved reward. There is a ferris wheel in the background, as well as a merry-go-round, and lots of booths with games. At one of the fun booths Roberto proves himself to be a crackshot much to the owner’s annoyance and wins a teddy bear for Shan. Danielle is eating popcorn, Sam is eating a hotdog, Rahne an ice cream cone, Roberto cotton candy, as Shan is displaying her stuffed bear. Seeing an airplane, Roberto asks the others if they want to go for a ride. Rahne declines, but Danielle takes him up on his offer. Watching them take off with the pilot, Sam asks if Miss Hunter wants to give it a shot when they’re done. She passes as well. In the air, Roberto brags that his father owns planes, bigger than the one they’re on, jets too, but not as much fun to fly. Danielle begins to regret her decision. As the plane goes in a few loops, he asks what makes her say that. Screaming with surprise, Dani asks if the pilot is going to do that again. Roberto tells that he might just do worse. With a mix of fear and excitement, she shrieks again placing her arms around her class-mate for dear life, but he doesn’t mind.

Later on, the group sit on a nearby fence, watching three motorcyclists prepare the bikes. One of them, Cowboy, tells his partners he’s set, and asks if they are as well. El Lobo replies that he is ready. R.U. Reddy says the same. Roberto is excited as he recognizes them as Team America, unlimited class motorcyclist, possibly the best in the world. He recalls seeing them race back home in Rio, before he joined Xavier’s school. He announces them as the red headed one as R.U. Reddy, their motor-cross expert , the blond is Cowboy, the stunt rider, and the Wolf riding faster than anyone Roberto’s ever seen. He wonders what they are doing here, after all they broke up and retired months ago.

R.U. Reddy asks Lobo if he has a screw driver he could borrow. When Lobo curtly replies no, R.U. tells him that time hasn’t mellowed him out at all. Cowboy tells R.U. he can use his, and he tells them both to ‘throttle back’, they’re supposed to be putting on a show and enjoying themselves. Roberto walks over to them to get an autograph for his sister, as she is a huge fan of theirs. Cowboy signs his autograph and asks if Roberto wants one for himself. Roberto replies "Obrigado, senhor". Cowboy asks if he is Spanish like their big brash friend. Roberto tells them he is from Brazil and Lobo tells him to go away. He has no time for such foolishness when there is work to be done. "Your pardon, senhor," Roberto says, annoyed by his rudeness, perhaps later he could get an autograph, or perhaps not.

As Roberto walks away, Cowboy tells his partners that he is glad they answered his call, even if Honcho, Wrench and Georgianna couldn’t make it. That their show will not only bring in money for charity, but also bring customers to his new cycle school. El Lobo tells him that he is his friend, and el Lobo always stands by his friends. Agreeing R.U. tells them it feels good to be in their Team America costumes again, even if it’s only for a day. El Lobo curtly tells him it’s not how he looks that counts, it’s how you ride. R.U. challenges the other man that he is a match for him anytime. El Lobo tells him to prove it.
As Roberto’s rejoined his friends, Rahne tells him that she and the big man may share the "wolf" name, but she doesn’t like him. Hating to say it, he agrees with her. Stevie tells them hurry up to grab their seats, that the show is about to start.

Unknown to Team America, they are being watched through binoculars by the Viper. She wanted all of them there, but half the team is what she will have to make do with. She tells Keniuchio AKA the Silver Samurai to notify all units, that the mission will proceed as planned. But they are to remember that she wants all targets alive.

On the field the crowd cheers as Team America roars onto the field. In the crowd the New Mutants cheer as well when Roberto boasts that he told them they were the best. Rahne is terrified, afraid to look as she believes that they will be killed by their death-defying stunts. For the next half an hour, the continue their daring stunt, each more dangerous and hair-raising than the last. As they prepare for their finale, a fifty lap race around a one mile lap. R.U. tells the Wolf to be prepared to eat his dust, because he plans to cross the finish line first. As the Wolf laughs at him, the Cowboy adds that he might surprise them both. The three men gun their machines down the runway, until all of the sudden the world blows up in their face. With an explosion, all three men are thrown of their bikes. An army of men appear on the field with green uniforms and face eye wear, disguising their true identities. The soldier in front shouts for squad two to cover the grandstand, and for the others to move in on Team America. He adds that if anyone gives them any trouble they are to gun them down.

Stevie panics as she tries to mind-call Xavier for assistance, and finds they are on their own. She admits that the crowd is panicking too and she doesn’t know what to do. Sam says that he doesn’t know about the rest of them, but he’s not going to stand around while three men are getting stomped by a bunch of goons, especially when he has the power to stop them. Shan warns him that they are not in uniform, that they may be recognized. But Sam claims that everyone has or is moving towards the exits, and with all the confusion, they won’t notice anything. Thinking for a second, Shan nods in agreement, and Sam blasts into action as the mutant known as Cannonball, plowing through a group of the goons.

The Wolf notices, asking his partners if they saw it as well. R.U. asks them since when did Team America let someone else fight their fights for them, and that it looks like they are still on some creep’s hit list. Daring to make them regret it, they mount their bikes and charge into more of the goons.

While the cyclists join the battle below, Karma uses her possession powers and forces one of the gunmen to use his weapon on his teammates. The stun gun takes an impressive toll, until Shan’s host body himself is shot down, leaving her very shaken and groggy via their rapport. With an ear-shattering Skram a missile almost hits the two women. Stevie shouts that it’s like they ‘re in a war. She confesses that she is merely a dance teacher, not a super hero, and this is not her style at all. Shan agrees, as Rahne Sinclair transforms nearby from human to wolf, scattering more of their seemingly numberless enemies. Doing this she gives Team America the chance they need to finish them off. Roberto does his part, becoming the super strong solar powered Sunspot. R.U. asks just who these kids are, but Cowboy is unsure, and adds that he won’t complain as long as they are on their side.

Above the field, Viper tells her partner, the Silver Samurai, so much for the best-laid plans. That their attack on Team America was to flush out their guardian angel, the Dark Rider, not a gang of super powered children. She claims that a defeat by their hands is most unacceptable, that he is to do whatever it takes to prevent it.

Holding up pieces of falling rubble, Stevie asks Karma how she is. She replies that she is scared, but that is nothing new. She notices a huge shadow coming from behind them. Karma tries again to form her psi-link, but is too weary for it to take effect. She proves no match for the Silver Samurai, he whacks her with his sword across the shoulders, knocking her down. Cannonball appears threatening him that if she is hurt, he will take it out of his hide. The Silver Samurai threatens back that he can certainly try, smashing Cannonball into a wall with a swing of his blade. The Wolf stands over top of Cannonball and orders the Silver Samurai to freeze or he will fire. He has picked up one of the goon’s gun, and he wonders if it is set on stun or kill. He remembers back to a battle not long ago, where a man died at his hands. This uncertainty causes him to hesitate, and gives the Samurai time to fling one of his Shuriken (throwing stars) at Wolf, exploding the gun in his hands.

Then out of nowhere, the roar of a massive ultra-high performance engine marks the arrival of the Dark Rider. Without hesitation, the bike soars through the air aiming directly at the Samurai who faces it with a drawn sword. At the last second, the Samurai steps aside, slashing his energy blade across the front of the bike, cleaving the front of his bike. The Dark Rider amazingly recovers in mid-air and lands. His bike flies through the air once more, as the Samurai throws Shuriken into the engine and rear wheels. The Dark Rider crashes to the ground as his bike is destroyed. Amazed that the Dark Rider still lives, the Samurai unmasks him only to discover that it is a girl, known as Danielle Moonstar. As Sunspot and Wolfsbane charge the Samurai, he mutters he would love a rematch with them to teach them proper respect, but he is Viper’s man, sworn to obey her. As he picks up Psyche, Sunspot screams he’s got Dani, and leaps towards him. Threatening that he shall keep her for as long as he wishes, and Sunspot will not be able to save her or prevent his escape, the Samurai uses his teleportation ring, leaving the New Mutants gathering their wits.

Cannonball digs himself out of the rubble, thinking he has to get better with his powers or he won’t be worth spit to anyone. He wonders why it’s taking so long, and why mastering his powers is so hard. From the look of the grandstand, now in ruiins, he is thankful that he is invulnerable when he is in his blast field. As he notices Stevie Hunter propping Shan up, he screams Shan’s name. He asks Stevie if she is hurt. Stevie replies that she may be concussed, she has tears in her eyes as she continues, she notes that she can see Roberto and Rahne but she can’t find Dani. When she asks Sam where Dani is, he looks surprised and simply replies that he doesn’t know.

Later, Psyche asks herself the same question. She is in a strange room, wearing a green form-hugging sleeveless uniform –unknown to her a version of Viper’s outfit. The last thing she can recall is Team America being attacked, and she can remember nothing after that besides waking up in the weird outfit. She winces in pain as lights come on around her so bright that they hurt her. She notices that she can at see where she is going, and finds a motorbike against the wall. Curiouser and curiouser, she jokes to herself, wondering what comes next, a rabbit in gang colors?

She hears a sound and spins around in fear. She hears a voice telling her that this a test, and if she does not pass, she will be killed. He sole means to do so is the bike, and good luck. Three huge spiked wheels roll directly at her. She thinks, "thanks a lot lady," she’s never ridden on of those beasts in her life. She looks at all the controls and levers, not knowing how to start or accelerate the bike at all. The wheels get closer, she leaps from the bike as it’s smashed to pieces. Diving, she thinks she’s in a lot of trouble if that bike was her way out. As the wheel turns at rolls towards her again, she cries out to her deceased Grandfather for help. Looking up with tears of fear in her eyes, she is astonished as all the wheels have stopped. She doesn’t get it, she did not pass the test, yet she is still alive.

The Silver Samurai tells her to rise and follow him. Walking ahead of him she wonders if he knows she is a mutant, while he is big, she bets she could outrun him with help from her spirit forms. She decides not to make her move yet , not knowing the place at all, the surroundings, or how many goons are around. although it will be hard, she must be patient.

The Silver Samurai takes her to Viper. She asks if the ‘little one’ has a name. Psyche tells her Danielle Moonstar. Viper tells her she is a fascinating child , while her ignorance of motorcycles seems true, yet she handled one like an expert at the Fairgrounds. Psyche tells her she’s crazy. Viper asks Psyche what her connection to Team America is. Why did Danielle appear as the Dark Rider? Psyche has no idea who the Dark Rider is and tells Viper that she cannot remember anything that happened at the Fair. Angered her concentration slips, as she unintentionally pulls 3-D-images from Viper’s mind. Psyche’s power results in showing Viper the woman she once was, vulnerable and helpless wandering the streets of a war-torn Europe. The reminder infuriates Viper, as she backhands Psyche calling her a witch. Psyche slams against the wall, as Viper threatens that she will pay for that in full measure and eventually with her life!

Back at Xavier’s, Xavier tells the group that he cannot re-establish the psi-link with Dani, even with Cerebro’s enhancements, indicating she is very far away or heavily shielded from his probes. Lilandra asks if she could be dead. Xavier tells her no, that he would have sensed that trauma no matter what. While Rahne holds her head down in sadness, Roberto is angry and exclaims he is tired of waiting; he wants to do something about it.

Michael Rossi agrees but tells Roberto to hang loose, they will get their chance. Xavier thanks Rossi for his help with his files, but Rossi offers that he may not say so when Xavier hears him out. From the kids’ description they were up against Keniuchio Harada AKA the Silver Samurai. He is Viper’s right-hand man, with his primary weapon an energy sword - he is a master of martial arts.

Viper, formerly Madame Hydra, was the first woman to ever achieve that position. Brilliant and ruthless, she’s as deadly as her namesake, with an uncanny knack for survival. She was believed to be blown up in Hartsdale Illinois weeks ago.

Finally The Dark Rider. Whenever Team America is in serious trouble he appears, only when needed and only for as long as he’s needed. He is a champion rider, electronics expert and thief. You name it, he does it, surprisingly well.

Xavier explains that Psyche is none of those things, yet Roberto recalls seeing her in the Rider’s costume. Sam asks why Dani would try to be this guy, as Xavier offers maybe she had no choice. That he has an idea, a long-shot, but worth investigating. The real question is not how Dani came to play this role, but how she came to possess skills and abilities that she does not possess. He dons Cerebro, his face lightened by the energies. Sam is impressed as Stevie Hunter wonders how Xavier can be so powerful and not be corrupted. She thinks that watching him is like watching the demon in Fantasia’s ‘ Night on Bald Mountain’. As Roberto announces that he’s found something, Xavier claims that he has the solution. It was obvious, he wonders why he did not think of it sooner.

In Washington D.C. Viper announces it’s rise and shine for "Honcho" McDonald – another member of Team America - pointing a gun at the unsuspecting man now rudely awakened. She has the pistol that was underneath his pillow, to avoid any unpleasantness. She tells him her name, and makes him an offer he cannot refuse. That he is to gather Team America and break into a fortress deep in the Sierra Mountains and steal a certain object. Asking why he should do such a thing, she warns that a young guest of hers, a fan of his, will meet her untimely end otherwise. Honcho replies she is bluffing, and Viper is sorry that he feels that way, and she is sure that Danielle will be sorry, too. As she turns to leave, he yells "wait" asking why use Team America and not her own operatives. She asks why she should use her own operatives when she can get someone else to do it for her. He demands proof that the girl is still alive, she tells him he has to take her word, for all she knows, he could be bluffing, but it’s a risk he’ll have to take. He agrees to go along, but he cannot speak for the rest of Team America. Not good enough, Viper replies. The mission she has in mind requires their combined skills. She has notified his teammates. They have till dawn to decide and 24 hours from then on to complete the mission.

Within the hour, the team arrives, the three men from New York, the group’s mechanic Wrench, his wife Georgianna. McDonald them all her ultimatum. Cowboy tells them what had happened at the Fairgrounds, and this only heats the discussion. McDonald asks Wolf if the Dark Rider could have been a girl, since he was the closest to the them. Wolf replies he was stunned, he did not see for sure, and in truth he does not care either way. He claims the Viper is playing them for a fool, she has no real hostage. As McDonald asks if they can take that risk, Georgianna adds that an innocent girl’s life is at risk, and does he really want her blood on his hands? McDonald offers that it may not be that simple, that if they complete Viper’s mission, there is no guarantee she will release the girl.

There is a knock at the door, as Wolf hits the lights, they draw guns for fear that it may be Viper returning. Opening the door, Charles Xavier tells them there is no need for firearms, that he is only here to help them. Xavier introduces his students, as he gathers that McDonald’s guests are the rest of Team America. Wolf recognizes them as the kids from the Fair, and states that’s just what they need . He tells Xavier to get rid of them. They have work to do. Roberto raises his fist and asks if Wolf wants to start with him as Xavier tells Roberto to calm down. Wolf agrees before he has to take him over his knee. McDonald tells Wolf to cool it, he’s acting no better than the kid. He adds that Xavier is a scientist and a teacher, probably the worlds top expert on¼ mutants. Xavier agrees telling him that him and his students are all mutants, as are Team America.

Xavier reveals that Team America is a projecting gestalt. In moments of extreme danger any of them can project the combined abilities of the team onto another creating the entity known as the Dark Rider. It’s a form of possession where the host consciousness is submerged underneath the team persona. This is what happened earlier to Danielle Moonstar. Wolf interrupts that they can handle this on their own, and they don’t need any help from Xavier’s nursery school. Enraged Roberto solar-charges and grabs Wolf by the collar, asking if he even cares that their teammate might possibly be dead because of them. Xavier reinforces what Roberto says telling them they are responsible for Danielle’s predicament. They have powers that they do not yet understand, and are a threat to everyone around them. They must learn how to cope with who and what they are, and it will his job to teach them.

McDonald asks it doesn’t sound like Xavier’s giving them an option, as Xavier adds he is correct. Georgianna tells Xavier that he’s not being fair. But Xavier shoots back what’s not fair is what has been done to Danielle, and he intends to not let this happen to anyone else. Powers such as theirs comes with a great deal of responsibility, and if they don’t use them responsibly they will end up worse than the Viper. The Wolf tells Roberto that they are not done, after his cheap shot, and Roberto tells him to name the place and time. The Wolf tells Xavier that while they talk business that it might be a good idea for his students to take a walk. Xavier notes it would probably be a good idea considering the tension between him and Roberto.

Outside Sam doesn’t quite get it, while Dani is their friend and Xavier’s student, he seems more worried about Team America than them. Shan adds that he cannot be in two places at once, wondering how he can help with their mission and rescue Dani. Roberto leaning against the wall admits that the Wolf was his favorite when he was young, he wanted to be just like him when he grew up, but now he sees that he was a fool.

Xavier talks to them through their psi-link, telling if Team America is successful, then they’ve bought time to summon the X-Men, who would better handle Viper, if she betrayed them. At the moment Team America’s needs are great, and he must give them priority so their random power will not harm any more innocents. Roberto is angry telling Xavier that when he asked them to attend his school, they trusted him putting their lives in his hands, and this is they way he repays Dani for her loyalty. Xavier responds that he does what is necessary, and it’s never easy, that he will live with the consequences no matter what they might be. Roberto jabs at least Xavier will be alive, Dani might not be so lucky. He sarcastically thanks Xavier for showing them where they stand, and how little their lives mean to him.
Shan asks how dare he talk to Xavier in such a manner, but Roberto asks if he should keep silent or lie, if he believes Xavier is wrong and says nothing: where then is his honor? Shan adds that he does what’s best, and they should too. If they wait for Team America or the X-Men, then they will be too late, and they will save Dani with or without Xavier’s help. Xavier hears their thoughts and notes how brave they are ready to rush into danger, not aware of what awaits them. While he has seen two X-Men die, and he hopes to save the New Mutants from a similar fate. He will do his best to help them, and Team America, and if any life is sacrificed by doing so, let it be his.

Characters Involved: 

Cannonball, Karma, Psyche, Sunspot, Wolfsbane (All New Mutants)
Professor Xavier


Stevie Hunter

Cowboy, El Lobo (the Wolf), Georgianna "GeeGee" Hebb, "Honcho" McDonald, R.U. Reddy,"Wrench" Hebb (all Team America)

The Dark Rider

Colonel Rossi (an associate of Xavier’s)


The Silver Samurai

Story Notes: 

In 1982 Team America had their own series (cancelled after 12 issues) depicting the exploits of this group of motorcross riders fighting against evil corporations, racist groups and the Ghost Rider, always protected by the mysterious Dark Rider.

The New Mutants needed this break at the Fair . They have already faced Sentinels in #2, a Brood Queen in # 3 and discovered the sad truth about a severely abused student in #4.

Sunspot claims he is getting an autograph for his sister, but it actually is for him. He never had a sister, and it was a story he occasionally used to get autographs and such when he was too embarrassed to ask for himself.

Before this appearance, the Viper was believed to be blown up in Captain America#283.

When Dani thinks "curiouser and curiouser," and refers to a rabbit in gang colors she is of course thinking of Lewis Carrol’s famous Alice books.

Psyche’s Grandfather Black Eagle was killed in Marvel Graphic Novel #4.

Colonel Rossi helped the team when they were attacked by Sentinels in New Mutants #2.

The two dead X-Men Xavier refers to are Thunderbird and Phoenix.

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