New Mutants (1st series) #54

Issue Date: 
August 1987
Story Title: 

Chris Claremont (Writer), Sal Buscema (Penciler), Terry Austin (Inker), Glynis Oliver (Colorist), Tom Orzechowski (Letterer), Ann Nocenti (Editor), Jim Shooter (Editor-in-Chief)

New Mutants Created by Chris Claremont & Bob McLeod

Brief Description: 

At the Hellfire Club, Karma possesses Tessa so that she can use her to search for information on her missing brother and sister. Unfortunately, she does not find any results, and even worse, Sebastian Shaw discovers her using his personal assistant in such a way, and attacks her. Shaw is furious, but is somewhat calmed down when Tessa assures him that Karma meant no harm. Magneto, the White Queen and Selene show up on the scene, and Magneto chides Karma for what she did, but assures her that he is personally going to do what he can to find her siblings. Mirage and Thunderbird argue about the mishaps of the night involving their two teams, and decide the rules of the contest which is going to decide which of the two teams is the winner. Magik teleports to the school and back, returning with the New Mutants’ graduation costumes. Cannonball puts Cypher into the shower to try and sober him up, while Rahne contemplates how much she as a person has changed since she joined the New Mutants, and Magma hopes that what Selene said about them being related is not true. Karma regroups with her friends and informs them that she will not be joining them on their adventure, as her priorities have changed significantly. The New Mutants leave the party, and begin to sniff out the trail of the people that gave van Ostamgen the fake Selene Statue - who they learn was Viper and the Silver Samurai, while Karma covers for them back at the party. The Hellions are also tracking down Viper, and the New Mutants spy on them using Magik’s powers, eventually finding out where the Hellions are headed. The New Mutants arrive at Shooter’s Island, and splitting into two teams begin taking down as many guards as possible. Cypher is shot by one of the guards, angering Magma who wants to kill the guard, but Cannonball prevents that from happening. Cypher is alive however, thanks to his costume’s protective padding. After the New Mutants round up all the guards, the Hellions make their presence known, and reveal that they have captured Viper and the Silver Samurai. Mirage declares that the Hellions are the winners, and after dropping Viper and her cohorts off at the local precinct, they two teams return to the party, where Mirage and Thunderbird are about to kiss, until Tessa interrupts them, handing Dani a letter from Karma. The letter informs Mirage that Karma has quit the team and has gone to search for her brother and sister, that she doesn’t want any of the New Mutants to try and find her. The New Mutants discuss whether they should try to find Karma or not, but Dani points out that Karma is a grown woman and made her decision, while realizing that she personally has a lot to learn as a leader, and hopes no one else suffers in the meantime.

Full Summary: 

The Hellfire Club…the most exclusive, elite establishment in the world, open only to the very rich and very powerful, who, this evening, are celebrating the Winter gala. However, far beneath the venerable mansion fronting Manhattan’s fashionable Fifth Avenue are secret catacombs that are the province of those very few members who belong to the Inner Circle. One such is Tessa - constant companion of Sebastian Shaw who is President of the Club and Black King of the Lords Cardinal who rule the Inner Circle. Because of who she is and where she walks, the last thing Tessa expects is an attack - until Xi’an Coy Manh better known as “Karma” steps out of the shadows and tries to possess her!

Usually, the process is instantaneous - only the rarest of minds - the strongest of wills - can resist the young Vietnamese mutant’s psychic onslaught. Xi’an is surprised that Tessa is fighting back, as she thought that since Tessa is Shaw’s slave, she would be an easy target. But Karma realizes that none of her fellow New Mutants - the future X-Men - can match such ferocity that Tessa is exhibiting. But Karma is a determined young woman, and the founding member of the New Mutants declares that she will not be denied on this night, when finally, she has possessed Tessa as intended.

Karma holds Tessa in her thrall, and commands Tessa to walk down the hall, knowing that she is in complete control of her mind and body, but nevertheless she must still take care, for the tigress may be caged, but the slightest misstep on Karma’s part, and Tessa will break free. Entering a computer chamber, Xi’an thinks that she was victorious only because she caught Tessa by surprise, and doubts that she should be so fortunate a second time. Karma thinks that Tessa’s courage shames her as much as her own dishonorable actions.

Karma knows this is wrong, but that she has no choice as she thinks that her power allows her to tap into Tessa’s knowledge and thoughts. Xi’an thinks that Tessa’s thoughts are sharply focused, ordered and honed as a computer. ‘This woman is far more than she seems!’ Karma hoped that since Tessa is Shaw’s aide that she would know the computer access codes, but judging from what Tessa has done thus far, it appears that will be the least they can do. Karma discovers that through Tessa she can access all public and government data networks with an unlimited search program, and believes that it should be precisely what she needs.

Karma thinks that someplace in this electronic labyrinth there has to be at least a clue as to the whereabouts of her brother and sister. Xi’an recalls that her teacher, Magneto said that he did everything possible to find them, and she does not doubt his word, but she must see for herself, she has to do something! Karma wonders if perhaps Magneto did not look hard enough, or maybe missed something - there has to be an answer! But the computer ends its search, with Search Ended…subjects Manh, Nga… Manh, Leong…unlisted…no data available….

‘No! No! No!’ shouts Karma, wondering if it is possible that her siblings are so well hidden. She declares that they must keep looking and orders Tessa to begin again, trying harder this time, when suddenly, ‘That, young lady…will be quite enough of that!’ declares Sebastian Shaw as he comes up behind Karma and grabbing her, slams her against a wall. Shaw holds onto Karma by her neck and warns her to not even think about using her power on him, or else it will be her last thought! Tessa, free from Karma’s thrall, gets to her feet and tells Shaw not to hurt Karma, as she is unharmed.

Shaw asks Karma if she dare play her accursed mind games with Tessa, and boasts that he has broken far better than her for less, before asking what Karma wanted here and why she possessed Tessa. Tessa informs Shaw that Karma sought some word of her missing siblings, assuring Shaw that Karma meant no harm and that she was simply desperate. Tessa adds that it is a pity all Karma’s efforts were for nothing.

Suddenly, ‘Let Karma go, Shaw!’ declares Magneto as he, accompanied by Emma Frost the White Queen and Selene Galio the Black Queen, enters the chamber. Shaw looks at the White King menacingly, before reminding him that Karma is his pupil and suggesting strongly that he teaches her her proper place. Magneto tells Karma that if she wanted information then she needed only ask. Karma rubs her neck and Magneto goes over to her, telling her that there was no need to play the thief and take information.

Xi’an asks Magneto if it wasn’t so long ago that these Lords Cardinal he says are their allies and friends were instead their deadly foes - ‘Sworn to our destruction!?’ Karma admits that she could have asked, but believes that she would not have believed the answers. Tessa informs Karma that, either way, the answers would have indeed been the same, as Magneto had her try this very same search program weeks ago, and constantly update it. Tessa sincerely tells Karma that she is sorry, that she wishes she could tell her differently, but that there is no trace of her brother and sister!

Karma’s face remains a proudly stoic mask at Tessa’s news - while the White Queen smiles ever so-slightly as she telepathically heats the young mutant’s silent psychic cry of anguish - wondering how best to take advantage of her grief. Meanwhile, upstairs, more and more club members have donned the 18th Century costumes that signify their rejection of the modern world for the attitudes and mores of that more passionate vital age. Not everyone, however, is bent on having a wild time….such as the New Mutants and the Hellions!

‘No way, Mirage! You’re not laying this dust-up on the Hellions!’ declares the leader of the Hellions, James “Thunderbird” Proudstar to the co-leader of the New Mutants Danielle “Mirage” Moonstar. Dani exclaims in reply ‘If Cypher and Wolfsbane hadn’t been tempted!’ But James points out that nobody forced them to say “Yes”. James admits that some of his Hellions aren’t angels, and remarks that some of the New Mutants aren’t any better. James tells Dani that laying blame is pointless, and points out that they have decided to let this contest between the teams settle things.

Pointing to the broken “Selene Statue” on the table, Thunderbird reminds Danielle that some crook sold it, a forgery, to one of the Club members, costing him a lot of money and even more “face”. James declares that the deal is both teams hunt down the creep responsible, and losers apologize - publicly - for any insults, and take the rap for any trouble with their teachers. Thunderbird adds that the deadline is sunrise, to which Mirage agrees, before asking James if there are any rules. ‘Whatever you like’ James replies. ‘Typical!’ mutters Dani as she leaves the room, exclaiming that this way the Hellions will not have to worry about cheating. ‘May the better team win!’ Thunderbird calls after her. ‘That’ll be us!’ Dani boasts. ‘So Custer said, little Cheyenne…before he met your ancestors on the Little Bighorn!’ James reminds her.

At that moment, further upstairs in one of the sumptuous residential suites, Illyana “Magik” Rasputin teleports in, carrying two suitcases, as she has just bee on a brief round-trip home to Professor Xavier’s School to collect everyone’s uniforms, as they cannot go traipsing around the city in their party clothes. The New Mutants co-leader Samuel “Sam” Guthrie a.k.a. Cannonball applauds Magik for her good thinking. Illyana replies that it was no problem, before asking how their prodigal poker-prince is doing. Looking down at his friend and teammate, rather intoxicated and slumped on a sofa, Sam replies that Cypher will be fine.

Doug “Cypher” Ramsey wearily mumbles ‘No I won’t!’ and tells his teammates to quit yelling. ‘My poor head!’ Sam smiles, ‘How are the mighty fallen’ he remarks, before telling Douglas to wait until the morning - then he will feel even worse. Doug’s good friend and teammate Rahne Sinclair a.k.a. the lupine Wolfsbane sits on a bed and thinks to herself that Doug looks dreadful. Rahne is somewhat confused, as she thought Douglas was a gentleman, yet she found him in his cups, carousing with the “tramps” in the Hellions.

Rahne wonders if she is any better herself, for when Catseye invited her to play, she was only too happy to go. Rahne realized that she has changed so much since joining the New Mutants - but wonders if it is for the better. Rahne looks out the doors that lead onto the snow-covered balcony and wonders why Magma remains outside, as she must be extremely cold. But in truth, Amara “Magma” Aquilla does not feel the cold, because she is warmed by the fires she pulls from Earth’s own core. Unfortunately, the comfort her body feels does not extend to her heart.

Amara thinks to herself that the forged statue was of the Goddess “Selene”, and its real counterpart resides in her fathers house - the representation she was told of her grandmother, many times removed. Amara recalls how the ancient, immortal goddess Selene - who also happens to be the Black Queen of the Hellfire Club - says she and Amara’s grandmother are one and the same - which means they share the same blood. Amara prays to the gods that this is not true.

Back inside, Magik goes over to Doug and suggests to him that she take him to Limbo and whip up a spell to cure him. Wide-eyed, Doug leaps out of his chair and makes a horrible noise. Magik asks Sam if he makes this often, but as Doug runs away, Sam tells Illyana that he appreciates her offer, but that on this occasion, he figures the hard way is better, for hopefully, Cypher will remember the experience a whole lot more strongly and perhaps think twice the next time he is tempted.

Sam enters the bathroom where Doug is vomiting into the toilet and Sam remarks that this did the trick with him when his daddy used it on him. Sam adds that the body is a wonderful machine, but that when you abuse it, it will make you pay. Dani leans against the doorway and declares that it serves Cypher right, seems as how this is mostly his fault anyway. Suddenly, Doug screams as Dam holds him under a hot shower. Doug begs Sam to stop, but Cannonball tells his friend to relax, and assures him that the water will be ice-cold in a minute. Cannonball then suggests to Mirage that they can still back down - eat some crow and call it quits before things get anymore out of hand.

But Magma has other ideas, ‘No, Cannonball!’ she exclaims as she re-enters the room, pointing out that the Hellions have insulted them, so are they to let that pass unanswered? Magma declares that the New Mutants’ pride has been earned - paid for with sweat and blood - not a thing she personally would cast aside - especially with the honor of a comrade at stake. Magik agrees, even if said comrade has acted like an idiot. She adds that Magneto has already grounded them for forever, so what more can he do to them?

Mirage remarks that she would rather not find out, and points out that rationally, she knows they are making a mistake, but the idea of wimping out in front of those Hellions makes her blood boil. Mirage tells her friends that she can live with losing, but not with giving up before they even start. ‘That’s the spirit!’ Illyana exclaims as she hands Mirage an outfit from the suitcases. Dani takes the outfit and is surprised at what she holds in her hands - ‘Illyana - these are our graduation costumes!’ Dani exclaims.

Magik explains that she figured that since they were going to be breaking school rules that it would be smarter not to wear their regular uniforms, reminding everyone that Magneto only saw these costumes once, so he might not remember them. ‘He remembers everything!’ Rahne declares as Illyana points out that their regular costumes do not have masks, while their graduation costumes do, adding that it is better to hide their identities in public. Danielle is torn, she thinks to herself that these costumes were meant to signify their maturity as individuals and as a team, but instead they use them to prove the reverse. ‘How childishly irresponsible can we be?’ she wonders, before handing Cannonball his and Cypher’s costumes so they can get changed in the bathroom.

Before Sam heads back into the bathroom to get changed, he tells Mirage that, for what it is worth, as co-leader of the New Mutants, he shares responsibility for this, so they are in it together, all the way. As Danielle and the other girls begin to get changed, she tells Sam that she is grateful, adding that they should all hope this will not come to anything bad, before tossing Wolfsbane a chunk of the “Selene Statue”, explaining that if Rahne shifts to her lupine form, she might be able to sniff out some clues.

Wolfsbane does as she is asked, reshaping her flesh into that of a half-wolf half-human transitional form, blending the best of both species. Rahne notes to herself that there is a striking resemblance to Amara in the statue, and wonders if it could be true what the Black Queen said - that she and Amara are actually related. ‘Poor lass! That’d be awful!’ Rahne thinks. In her current form, Rahne’s senses become fantastically keen - sight so sensitive she can perceive patterns of heat, smell so sharp she can follow the faintest trails, even though the heart of the city.

Suddenly, Karma enters the room, shocked to see her friends in their graduation outfits. ‘What is this!?’ Xi’an asks. Everyone is dressed, and stand together as Cannonball informs her that it is a caper. ‘Us against the Hellions!’ Magik hands Xi’an her costume, ‘We’ll boogie down as soon as your dressed!’ Karma replies that she will not be going, to which Illyana declares that this is a team effort - a team that Karma is part of, so she cannot drop out on them. Karma takes her costume, before cryptically remarking that she has other - more important priorities. Xi’an assures her teammates that she will not betray them to Magneto, but she cannot accompany them, as her heart would not be in it.

Karma confesses that her heart has not been with the team ever since her brother and sister were kidnapped. Mirage and Karma hug, and Danielle tells Xi’an that she understands, and not to worry about it, before asking her what she plans to do. Xi’an replies that she is not sure yet, to which Mirage tells her that whatever she decides, their hearts are with her.

Across Fifth Avenue in Central Park, shortly after sneaking out of the Club, the New Mutants stand in the snow, and Magik points out that this clearing is where they arrived a few hours ago when she teleported them all to the party. Magma uses her powers to “glow” so that she will keep them all warm, to which Mirage thanks her, and that when this caper is done, someone needs to remind her to add some pants to her outfit, as her legs are freezing. Danielle then turns to Wolfsbane, who is sniffing around, and asks her if she has found anything, when suddenly, Rahne reverts back to her human form, and is thrust backwards, knocking Dani to the ground as she screams ‘NO!’ over and over.

Cannonball and the others come running as Danielle asks her best friend if she is okay, pointing out that she sounded terrified. Rahne exclaims that she was - and with good reason! Rahne reveals that the Hellfire gentleman, Van Ostamgen, received his statue at this location, and that she recognizes the scents of those who gave it to him. ‘It was the Silver Samurai…and Viper!’

Back at the Hellfire Club, Karma stands out on the snow-covered balcony and thinks to herself ‘They are my friends! I owe them my life and soul - how can I desert them?’ However, Xi’an tells herself that her teammates are not her family, and her brother and sister are all she has left. Xi’an reminds herself that her young siblings are her responsibility, therefore she cannot abandon them. ‘This is no place for you Xi’an - especially dressed like that!’ Magneto exclaims as he comes up behind her and places a pink robe on her.

Karma thanks Magneto, who points out that she is freezing. Karma remarks that it is merely cold, and reminds Magneto that she has survived far worse. ‘In Vietnam, you mean. During the war’ Magneto replies. ‘And…afterwards’ Karma points out. Magneto remarks that he too has lost family, and as he leads the founding New Mutant inside, he assures her that he knows what she is going through. Magneto gives Xi’an his word that he will find Leong and Nga, adding that he only wishes to keep her safe while he does so. Karma thinks to herself that Magneto’s offer is so tempting and that it would be so easy to let him.

Inside, Magneto remarks that he has not seen the New Mutants or the Hellions in quite some time, and asks Xi’an if she knows where they have gone. Karma replies that she believes they are off by themselves, as the party may be exciting for adults, less so for the rest of them. Magneto remarks that he trusts the New Mutants will behave themselves, to which Xi’an replies she is sure of it, adding that Danielle and Sam will keep the New Mutants out of trouble. Anxiously, Karma prays silently that her friends will also be kept out of danger.

Meanwhile, on New York Harbor, the Staten Island Ferry plods its weary way from the Southern tip of Manhattan across to St. George and back again, all day, all night, rain or shine, it is the cheapest ride in New York City - and the best. Standing on the deck, with long coats covering their uniforms are Roulette, Empath, Jetstream and Catseye. Jenny “Roulette” Stavros mutters that this is a radical way to waste an evening, and asks whose stupid idea this was. Jetstream tells the sultry blonde to cease her complaining, as he knows she is as eager to settle this score with the New Mutants as he is. Inside, Marie-Ange Colbert, better known as Tarot is reading her trusty tarot cards, and informs Thunderbird that the cards are generous, meaning their prospects are bright. James just tells Marie-Ange that she shouldn’t let those cards rule her life. ‘You have to trust more in yourself!’

Meanwhile, ‘Be still my wicked heart - T-Bird is such a cutie!’ Illyana exclaims as she uses her powers to open a portal, showing her teammates the current location of the Hellions, and what they are up to. Cannonball tells Magik to ‘Can the commentary’ while Wolfsbane remarks that it does not seem right to spy on the Hellions. Dani assures Rahne that it is for the Hellions own good, and that they wouldn’t do it otherwise. Illyana adds that here in Limbo, her sorcerous powers are active so she can create this scrying pool to keep tabs on their opponents, then use her teleportation ability to take the New Mutants anywhere in time and space that they need to go.

The New Mutants continue to watch as Jetstream tells his teammates that their investigation has borne rich fruit, and once they reach their quarries hideout on Shooters Island, they will be able to smash them with ease, and thereby teach their New Mutant rivals a lesson they have long deserved!

Mirage asks Magik if she can find that island and get them there before the Hellions do. ‘Child’s play!’ Illyana replies as Dani informs everyone that they will scout out the place first and determine what they are up against before moving in. ‘Why bother?’ asks Cypher, to which Cannonball asks him what he means. Doug remarks that the Hellions are on their way, ‘So why risk our butts to save theirs?’ he asks, pointing out that the Hellions wouldn’t do the same for them. ‘They figure they’re so hot, let them fight their own battles!’

Danielle asks what would happen if any of the Hellions are hurt - or worse - because of the New Mutants’ inaction. ‘I can live with that!’ Doug replies. ‘Better them than us, I figure!’ Rahne is shocked by that comment and exclaims that she has never heard Cypher talk like that. Angrily, Doug turns to Wolfsbane and exclaims that maybe it is because he has never felt so scared, before asking Rahne if she is happy that she knows his secret that he is scared.

With that, Cypher angrily storms off and Mirage asks where that came from. Cannonball points out that Cypher has been on a tear since Warlock took off after Sunspot, and remarks that he knew Doug was upset, but didn’t realize it was so bad. Sam asks Danielle if she thinks it is best they leave Doug behind here in Limbo, to which Dani points out that it would only make things worse, as she thinks he should stay with the team all the way, and assures him that she and Rahne will keep an eye out on him.

Shortly, on Shooter’s Island - a privately owned patch of land in the Kill van Kull, hard by Staten island. ‘Boring night. They’ve all been, lately’ a blonde guard thinks to herself as she lights a cigarette. She wishes that something would happen, just to break the monotony, when her wish comes true, surprisingly, in the form of the Easter Bunny who hops past her scattering Easter Eggs around. Standing off to the side, is Mirage who has obviously used her powers to create the illusion of the Easter Bunny, which only the guard can see.

Cypher and Wolfsbane stand with Mirage, and Doug motions to the blonde woman grinning, and he wonders what Mirage is making her see. Danielle goes over to the blonde guard and uses her nerve pinch to knock her out while explaining to Doug and Rahne that she simply made the guard see the image - real to her as life - of her heart’s desire. Mirage points out that she could have manifested the guard’s greatest terror, but then she would probably have cried out, so this way, sheer delight has kept her silent.

Nearby, at another sentry post, ‘Hi, sailor…!’ exclaims Magik as she materializes before a guard. ‘New in town?’ she asks the man before punching him over. Magik announces that this is the last of the guards and tells her teammates that the coast is clear. Magma and Cannonball appear from Limbo and Amara remarks that her power could have dealt with these swine more easily - by burying the entire island in molten lava! ‘Were the “Good Guys” Magma - we don’t kill!’ Cannonball exclaims, to which Amara replies that it makes no sense, for sometimes, it is necessary.

Sam declares that this is not one such time, and remarks that the island is full of oil and liquid natural gas and chemical refinements, so if Amara got careless with her fire, it could trigger a catastrophe. Magik motions to a warehouse and exclaims that most of the bad guys are in there, to which Cannonball declares that it is time he let them know that the New Mutants are here, and blasts off towards the factory. In just a moment, Cannonball bursts through the warehouse wall, reminding himself that his power acts as a force field so that he cannot be hurt when he uses it and thinking that it is still so weird crashing through things, as he keeps expecting to bust himself into pieces.

A group of guards are surprised by Cannonball’s sudden appearance. ‘Intruder!’ one of them shouts. ‘Gun him!’ cries another - but Cannonball just keeps blasting through them, knocking them all over. ‘Lets see you outrun bullets, flyboy!’ another guard exclaims as he picks up a machine gun and begins firing at Cannonball. ‘Don’t have to!’ Cannonball calls back as the bullets bounce off of him, thinking that his heart still jumps at times like this, for he always wonders if this will be the time that his power lets him down.

Suddenly, Wolfsbane enters the fray, ‘Cripes - a dog!’ exclaims one of the guards, only for Rahne to shift into a transitional form and correct him ‘I’m a wolf you spalpeen!’ she exclaims, before realizing she sounds so proud of that. Tossing one of the guards into another, Rahne thinks to herself how she enjoys being fast and strong in this form, and admits to herself that sometimes she wishes she could remain in it always.

Mirage decides that it is time to add to the gunmen’s confusion by using her powers to confront them with the spirit-forms of their greatest terror. As large images of Viper and the Silver Samurai appear, frightening the guards, Dani is not at all surprised that the two villains are the guards’ greatest fear. Mirage however is unaware that another guard has her in his sight, ready to be shot. Cypher rounds a corner and sees what is about to happen, so he cries out to Mirage to look above her, as there is a sniper - but it is too late, as the sniper shoots - just as Cypher rushes in front of the blast, knocking Dani aside.

‘Murderer! If our comrade dies, I swear you’ll burn!’ Magma screams as she sends a small blast forth to knock the sniper from his platform, while Wolfsbane cries ‘Cypher! No!’ Cannonball realizes from the tone in her voice that Magma is serious, and flies over to the sniper to rescue him from the fall, not that he can blame Amara, but how can he stop her? Sam promises not to drop the sniper as he catches him. Magma uses her powers to surround the guards - whom she calls animals - in a ring of flames, and Amara knows that the heat of the molten rock will keep the guards a distance from the edge of the fire. Cannonball swoops down holding the sniper and drops him into the makeshift cage. Amara tells Sam that he should have let the sniper fall, before she turns to the sniper and exclaims ‘I hope, dog, you try to escape. I will enjoy stopping you - permanently!’

Wolfsbane opens Doug’s shirt and sees a large scorching on his chest, while noticing that his breathing is shallow. Rahne tells herself to calm her wolfen senses so that she can better asses her dear friends condition. ‘Don’t hurt me! I’m sorry!’ exclaims a guard that Magik harasses. ‘Please! I beg you! I don’t wanna fry!’ the guard exclaims. Illyana smirks and tells the guard that he should stop worrying about Magma and worry more about what she is going to do to him. Doug quietly remarks ‘If it hurts this much…I guess I’m not dead!’ ‘CYPHER!’ shouts Rahne as she hugs Douglas, who is annoyed that his new costume is ruined. Rahne points out that his costume saved his life, just as he saved Mirage’s.

Magik tosses the soldier into the ring of fire, pointing out that they have all of Viper’s goons, so what are they going to do about Viper? Amara asks if Viper was not supposed to be here, to which Danielle remarks that she thought Viper was going to, before exclaiming that it is no problem, as they will simply “persuade” one of their prisoners to lead them to Viper.

‘That won’t be necessary, Mirage!’ exclaims Thunderbird. The New Mutants follow the sound of the voice as James Proudstar declares that if they wish to find Viper and the Silver Samurai they need only look up. ‘Surprise!’ a smug Jetstream exclaims as the New Mutants see their rivals standing on a balcony with Viper and the Silver Samurai tied up. Jenny jokes that she so loves dishing our a hearty meal of “crow”. As he jumps off the balcony and onto the ground, Thunderbird notes the New Mutants new costumes, ’Very classy threads’ and asks them if they robbed a circus or something, before declaring that since the Hellions caught the villains, it means that they win the competition.

Mirage asks Thunderbird if he would mind telling them how the Hellions won, and so he does, beginning with how they scoped out who was behind this caper probably as quickly as the New Mutants did, and that he knew the New Mutants had tangled with Viper before, and figured that they would be worried about the Hellions tackling someone as formidable as Viper. James asks Dani if she thinks the Hellions are babies, and points out that their training is as tough as the New Mutants, and their powers just as good. ‘We’re just as sneaky!’ Motioning to Illyana, Thunderbird adds that he knew the New Mutants would spy on the Hellions courtesy of Magik.

Looking back at Mirage, Thunderbird explains that he made sure everything that the New Mutants overheard would point them in the direction they wanted them to go. Dani declares that she knew this was too easy and is annoyed that the Hellions used the New Mutants as their stalking horse to clobber Viper’s goons while they went after her. Mirage points out that if it wasn’t for the New Mutants, then Viper would have summoned her guards the moment the Hellions showed their faces. ‘That’s right. Worked like a charm, too’ Thunderbird replies as he takes Dani’s hand. ‘We took the lumps, you get the glory…’ Dani mutters, to which Thunderbird tells her ‘Them’s the breaks’ and reminds her that they agreed upon no rules. ‘Winner?’ he asks. ‘Winner’ Dani agrees shaking James’ hand. The rest of the Hellions cheer in joy, while the New Mutants stand dejected.

Back where it all began…after a brief side trip to the 120th precinct to drop off Viper and co. Magneto and the White Queen stand side by side and watch their respective students interact. Emma remarks that her students look indecently pleased with themselves, and that his look a trifle glum. Magneto suggests that perhaps it is better the two of them do not know why.

Thunderbird puts and arm around Mirage and tells her that their teams work rather well together. ‘Especially considering we can’t stand each other’ Mirage agrees. James suggests that it might change - if they try it more often. The two stand close, and their lips are about to lock as Dani mumbles ‘Anything’s possible’ only for Tessa to approach them, pardoning herself for the intrusion. ‘Not hardly. Perfect timing, Tessa’ Mirage mumbles as Tessa announces that she has a note for Mirage - from Karma!

Mirage takes the note, wondering what is going on she figured that as she hadn’t seen Xi’an here at the Club still, she figured she went home. But Danielle gasps as she begins to read the letter:

Cher Danielle -

I have given this much thought…and prayer…I can see no other way. I cannot sit idly by safe and obscure while others search for those I love. My uncle is a crime lord. If anyone has the means of discovering Leong and Nga’s fate it is he. Therefore, I have decided to return to his household. And his service. Do not follow or attempt to contact me. I shall return when I am able. Until that day I wish you well. I love you all.

- Xi’an Coy Manh

‘Blast!’ shouts Mirage before Thunderbird asks her what has happened. Dani announces that Xi’an has left the team to go and look for her brother and sister. Cypher asks his teammates what they are waiting for - ‘Let’s go help her!’ Cannonball declares that it wouldn’t be right, to which Doug angrily exclaims ‘The heck you say!’ and points out that it is the same stupid line Sam told him when Bobby and Warlock ran away. Sam, addressing Doug as “boy”, states that if Karma wanted their help she would have asked for it. ‘Don’t call me “boy!” and I thought we looked after our own! Wasn’t that what tonight was all about?’ Cypher exclaims.

Illyana remarks that Doug has a point, and suggests that Rahne can follow Xi’an’s trail and then she can teleport her back. Dani reminds everyone that Karma is the oldest of the New Mutants - a grown woman - and this was her decision, so they owe it to Xi’an to respect her decision. Mirage is obviously upset and declares that tonight was a mess - they got so caught up in busting the Hellion’s chops that they forgot to look after someone who really needed them. Mirage declares that she may be war chief and co-leader of the New Mutants, but that she still has a lot to learn. ‘I only hope nobody else suffers while I do…’.

Characters Involved: 

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

Magneto (New Mutants Headmaster & White King of the Hellfire Club)

Catseye, Empath, Jetstream, Roulette, Tarot, Thunderbird II (all Hellions)

Black King / Sebastian Shaw, Black Queen / Selene, White Queen / Emma Frost (all Hellfire Club Inner Circle)

Tessa (Shaw’s personal assistant)

Various Hellfire Club patrons and staff


Silver Samurai

Guards on Shooter’s Island

As Illusions :


Silver Samurai

The Easter Bunny

Story Notes: 

Karma’s comment about Tessa being much more than she seems is perhaps a reference to the hidden powers Tessa possessed, and would reveal once she became Sage, years later.

Cypher and Wolfsbane got up to mischief with Roulette and Catseye in New Mutants (1st series) #53.

Selene revealed her blood-connections to Magma in New Mutants (1st series) #53.

An error occurs on page 10 when Magik hands Karma her costume, Magik’s speech balloon comes from Mirage.

Aside from New Mutants (1st series) #81, which is a flashback issue, this marks the final appearance for Karma in the original New Mutants series. Karma next appears in Wolverine (2nd series) #2, where she goes on to become a member of Wolverine’s supporting cast. Karma appears alongside other former New Mutants and Hellions in the “Child’s Play” x-over, before finally finding her missing siblings in the Beast mini series. She later goes onto to return to the Xavier Institute as a teacher in New Mutants (2nd series).

Sunspot and Warlock are off starring in the “Fallen Angels” mini series alongside Siryn, Madrox and Boom-Boom.

Issue Information: 
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