New Mutants (1st series) #56

Issue Date: 
October 1987
Story Title: 
Scavenger Hunt!

Louise Simonson (Writer), June Brigman (Penciler), Terry Austin (Inker), Tom Orzechowski (Letterer), Glynis Oliver (Colorist), Ann Nocenti (Editor), Jim Shooter (Editor-in-Chief)

Brief Description: 

At breakfast, the New Mutant discuss the dance from the previous night when Mirage pulls from Magma’s mind an image of her heart’s desire, which is apparently Empath of the Hellions. The New Mutants are puzzled, while Magma is angry at Mirage for her careless use of her powers, and storms off to her room where she reads the letter from her father telling her that he wants her to return home and marry. The Hellions are at the Hellfire Club and also having breakfast, where Empath lets it slip that he fancies one of the girls at Xavier’s, whom the others work out to be Magma. Tarot teases Empath about liking the stuck-up New Mutant until a news article comes on about the Bird Boy, whom the Hellions decide to go and catch for themselves. They try to hide this from the White Queen, who isn’t so concerned about what they are up to, more about Empath and a certain New Mutant. Tarot over-hears them talking about a plan that the White Queen has had since the New Mutants stayed at the Massachusetts Academy, and doesn’t want Empath to stuff it up. The New Mutants also see the news article, and grabbing Magma, they take Brightwind and track the Bird Boy. The Hellions are flying one of Tarot’s creatures she creates from her cards, so a mid-air fight begins as the two rival groups of young mutants battle for the Bird Boy. Both teams try equally hard to get the Bird Boy, but Magma ends up being the deciding factor as Empath’s plan comes into play also. Cannonball catches Bird Boy, who is kept busy with a ton of fish that Magik collected, then Magik teleports her teammates and the Bird Boy to the Danger Room, where after finding an environment to suit Bird Boy, Mirage apologizes to Magma for pulling Empath from her mind earlier - then Magma announces that she is transferring to the Massachusetts Academy!

Full Summary: 

Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, it’s breakfast time for the young heroes known as the New Mutants. ‘It’s too bad you were sick, Amara! Lila’s party was incredible!’ Illyana “Magik” Rasputin remarks to Amara “Magma” Aquilla, adding that Lila actually sent a Rolls-Royce to pick them all up, and that the club was amazing. ‘Balconies and food and music…’ ‘And guys, incredible guys!’ Danielle “Mirage” Moonstar” adds. Illyana asks Amara if she wants to see what she missed out on, and tells Dani to pull out the image of her heart’s desire.

Mirage uses her powers to project Illyana’s heart’s desire, and both Dani and Illyana smile as they see the dudes that they were dancing with. Illyana exclaims that if Rahne and Doug hadn’t interfered, then they would still be dancing with them. Mirage points out that as it is they didn’t even get their phone numbers. Samuel “Cannonball” Guthrie enters the small dinning room and tells his New Mutants co-leader to not blame Rahne and Doug as they broke up the dancing so that he could be saved, informing Amara that aliens drugged him. ‘You drugged yourself, dope!’ Doug “Cypher” Ramsey reminds Sam.

‘Don’t remind me!’ Cannonball exclaims, clutching his head as he pulls up a chair he declares that he thinks he flew through a building as his head feels like he used it for a battering ram. Amara takes a bite of her toast and remarks that she is glad her teammates saved Sam, as it wasn’t that big a sacrifice, for those guys weren’t that cute. ’Not that cute? Let’s see your idea of cute!’ Illyana exclaims. Mirage agrees, and tells Magma to show them her heart’s desire.

Suddenly, the young man Manuel de la Rocha - better known as the Hellion Empath - appears before everyone. All the New Mutants are shocked. ‘He’s one of the bad guys!’ Doug exclaims, nearly falling off his chair. Rahne Sinclair transforms into her Wolfsbane form declares that Empath is the worst of the bad guys, and asks Magma if he is really her heart’s desire. Magma looks at Dani, annoyed, and mutters that she thought DanI could control her power. Wiping her mouth with a napkin, Amara suggests that Dani latched on to her greatest hate by mistake, before getting up off her chair and storming out of the room, declaring that pulling images from people’s heads without asking first is hateful.

Dani shouts out that it was all in good fun, and she didn’t mean for this to happen, but Amara isn’t listening. Rahne supports her best friend, Dani, assuring her that they all know, and points out that Magma has been acting odd ever since their confrontation with the Hellions, before suggesting that it might have something to do with the letter from her father that was waiting when they returned. Illyana declares that, whatever it is, Amara should still lighten up and asks what her problem is anyway.

Mirage reminds Illyana that Amara is from an ancient-Roman culture in the Amazon where they do things a lot different from here. Illyana points out that she, Rahne and Dani are all not from here also, but they don’t go around acting like jerks. Illyana declares that perhaps she does know what Magma’s problem is - boys - for all the guys around here - all two of them - are either babies or taken. ‘Babies?’ asks the single Doug. ‘Boy, she’s so starved, even villains are starting to look good to her!’ Magik exclaims. Mirage remarks that she knows how Magma feels, before reminding her friends that midterms are coming up and asks who wants to work out in the Danger Room before they hit the books.

In Amara’s room on the floor above, the fiery young woman reads the letter from her father.

…I am grateful, beloved daughter, for the information on modern civilization that you have sent to me in Nova Roma…but it seems you have learned all that is necessary. It is time for you to return home and marry. Already your cousin Maya has a son and she is younger than you are…

Sitting on the edge of her bed, Amara thinks to herself that she is indeed homesick here, but wonders if that is she really wants - forced betrothal to some local noble? Amara throws herself down onto her Roman-style bed, thinking ‘No! Never!’ and that no matter what her father thinks, she does not belong in Nova Roma any more, yet she feels that she doesn’t belong here either. ‘I get so lonely sometimes!’ Amara recalls how her power to transform into a fire-being and to control heat, call lava from the earth frightened her father, who practically forced her to come here and learn the ways of the “other world”.

Amara picks up a photograph and thinks to herself that Miss Frost’s Massachusetts Academy - where the Hellions go - with its servants and its luxury is more like home, and she actually felt comfortable there. Looking at the photo of the Hellions, Amara concentrates on Empath, for like she, he is also an aristocrat and can trace his family’s lineage back to Ancient Rome. ‘I know he likes me, I can tell by the way he looks at me!’ Tears streaming from her eyes, Amara destroys the photo in a burst of flames, while thinking that her friends are right, that Empath is the worst of the Hellions for he uses people, indeed he is a villain! Amara thinks that she shames her family and friends by even considering a liaison with him.

Meanwhile, in New York City, at the infamous Hellfire Club, the Hellions are also eating breakfast, although in much more extravagant surroundings than the New Mutants. The six young mutants watch and listen intently to the reporter on television who announces that the creature dubbed “Bird Boy” has escaped from the tower where he was quarantined last night. ‘Bird Boy? I thought this was supposed to be the news!’ mutters Jenny Stavros a.k.a. Roulette. One of her teammates asks one of the Hellions’ more nasty members what she expects between Saturday morning cartoons.

Sharon Smith, dubbed Catseye, exclaims ‘Wingboy fly high is news! TV tells! Why you not listen?’ Jetstream asks his slightly-odd teammate why she would bother, as television tells you nothing. The reporter informs viewers that the bird creature was found by scientists, starving and half-frozen on ice floe in the North Atlantic. Empath points out that it is said the Bird Boy is a monster, and suggests that he might be a mutant like them. Marie-Angle Colbert, the comely Hellion known as Tarot replies ‘You’d be a monster, Empath, even if you weren’t a mutant!’

Lila’s party promoting her new album appears on the news, as it was widely covered by the media, and Jetstream declares that he wishes they could have attended. Roulette tells her teammate that they are lucky Miss Frost brought them to New York instead of leaving them at the Massachusetts Academy. Tarot exclaims that they are having a weekend off for good behavior, then back to the Academy for finals.

Empath exclaims that he cannot believe Lila really dates “that jerk” Cannonball, before pointing out that there are girls at Xavier’s School who are better looking than Lila, yet they wouldn’t give Sam a second look. ‘They, Empath? Any girl in particular?’ Marie-Ange asks. Biting into a sausage, Empath replies ‘Certainly not the blonde one, or the skinny one, or the baby…’ Tarot glances at Empath and points out that it only leaves the stuck up one. ‘Amara is not stuck up!’ Empath snaps back, declaring that she is simply an aristocrat, used to the finer things as is he.

Empath uses his powers on Tarot, ‘You admire her, don’t you? In fact, you love her…’ Empath says to Tarot. ‘I…I…’ Tarot replies, when James “Thunderbird” Proudstar tells Empath to leave Tarot alone and be quiet. Everyone’s attention is turned back to the news, which shows a telephoto shot as a rocket smashed through the tower housing the Bird Boy. The announcer informs viewers that the creature escaped and has been flying around Manhattan.

Thunderbird declares that it is no rocket, and Jetstream agrees, exclaiming that it is his rival Cannonball’s blast, meaning it would seem Sam broke the Bird Boy out. While the other Hellions all rush from the table, Catseye is still eating, so Jetstream grabs her and pulls her along as Roulette remarks that it is foolish of Cannonball to let himself be filmed and at letting the Bird Boy escape. Thunderbird tells his teammates that if the New Mutants want that creature then the Hellions want him to. ‘Get your uniforms on, we’ve got work to do!’

But rushing through the halls of the Hellfire Club, the Hellions soon run into Miss Frost, their headmistress, otherwise known as the alluring White Queen! Emma Frost greets her students and asks them where they are hurrying to. No one answers, while Roulette thinks to herself ‘She’s a telepath! She’ll know!’ Getting no response, Emma tells her prized students to run along, as she too was young once, but warns them to keep out of trouble, before telling Empath that she would like a word with him about his tendency to use his power without subtlety or discretion. ‘Ha! Now you’ll catch it!’ Tarot exclaims.

With the Hellions out of sight, although Tarot is eavesdropping around the corner, Emma tells Empath that his recklessness must stop, for there is more at stake in this proposed “scavenger hunt” than they yet realize. Emma informs Manuel that she has laid the bait - when the New Mutants visited the Academy sometime ago, and more recently at the Hellfire Club party. Emma puts a hand on Manuel’s face, remarking that as an empath, he can read the feelings of others as well as project his own feelings onto them, and warns Manuel to use both gifts wisely. ‘Spring the trap! Bring me the prize!’

Emma turns and walks away from Empath, telling him that if he fails her, it will be at his own peril, reminding him that he, more than the others, know how very painful such a failure can be. Tarot whispers to Empath that he needs to hurry up and get dressed, adding that it sounds like he needs to get the Bird Boy…or else! ‘Tarot, my dear, your infinite capacity to misunderstand astounds even me!’ Empath mutters to his teammate.

Back at Xavier’s School, Mirage, Illyana and Rahne are in their standard training uniforms and Mirage informs the boys that they are ready for their work out, and that they are going to program the Danger Room for a “Star Wars” sequence. The boys aren’t listening, instead they are watching a small television intently. Trying to get their attention, Illyana exclaims that the sequence is going to be complete with Hans Solo and Luke Skywalker, and that if they rig it right, they can try and get Princess Leia in too. Rahne begins to say that it will be gun, when Cannonball tells the girls to all hush.

‘As the hunt for the Bird Boy continues. Do not panic! The creature is gentle and recapture is imminent’ a newscaster announces to viewers. Rahne, concerned for the creature, asks Doug if he can understand what Bird Boy is saying, as the Bird Boy can be heard squawking on the television. Doug replies that if it is a language it is unlike any he has heard before, but that Bird Boy does sound upset. Sam jokes that you don’t need a mutant ability to decipher languages to know that, before pointing out that it is his fault Bird Boy escaped, so they should go after him.

Rushing from the dining room, Cannonball reminds his friends that the television showed him blasting through the tower, ‘I screwed up royally!’ Rahne feels sorry for Bird Boy and tells Sam that she is glad he freed Bird Boy, even if it was an accident, except that now he is wandering around, hunted and afraid. Rahne points out that Bird Boy may be a mutant, to which Mirage declares that they have got to save him. But rushing toward their quarters, Dani points out that they know what not studying is going to do to their test scores. ‘Forget tests!’ Cannonball exclaims, while Cypher asks if they are going to tell Magneto. Illyana suggests against it, for if he knows what they are up to, then he is bound to stop them.

Dani tells everyone to go and change, while she checks in on Magma. Entering Amara’s room, Mirage tells her that they are going to rescue Bird Boy. ‘Bird Boy?’ Amara asks, unaware of who Mirage is talking about. Dani replies that she will explain later, before telling Amara to get her costume on - if she is feeling okay that is. Grabbing her standard uniform, Magma replies that she is okay, but Danielle tells her to get the special costume she wore when they went up against the Hellions. ‘Why not just pull a picture of it out of my head, so you’ll know I understand?’ Amara replies coldly.

Danielle rushes out back down the hall, telling her team to get the special costumes on. Magik reminds Mirage that they are their special costumes, to which Dani points out that they do not want to get recognized. ‘What if they film us?’ Danielle then tells everyone to meet her in the pasture in ten minutes. ‘The pasture…?’ Sam asks curiously.

At the same time, back at the Hellfire Club, the Hellions are dressed in their pink costumes and trying to sneak out - but a butler is in their way. Jetstream tells his teammates that if the butler sees them, he will tell Miss Frost, ‘Our heads will roll!’ Thunderbird asks how they are going to get rid of him, as it looks like he will be tending to those dishes for ages, when suddenly, Roulette tosses something towards the butler. Standing beside Tarot, Empath thinks to himself that the rest of the Hellions are jerks for thinking that they have to sneak around, not realizing that in fact the White Queen knows everything.

Roulette exclaims that her bad luck psi-disk will place the odds definitely in the Hellions’ favor, and as it strikes the butler, he drops the dozen or-so plates that he is holding and they smash when they hit the ground. The butler wonders how that happened, as he was sure he stacked them right! ‘Better get the broom. They’ll take it from my salary!’ he mumbles leaving the area. The Hellions dart past him and Thunderbird orders everyone out the back door and over the fence. Catseye transforms into a large purple cat to leap over the fence, while Thunderbird uses his own enhanced physical abilities to propel himself over the fence. Jetstream picks up Roulette and flies her over with him, while Tarot and Empath stand and talk.

Tarot tells Empath that she has been thinking, and that while he might like that stuck up New Mutant Magma, the only way Magma would ever like him is if he made her. Manuel asks if he is so unlikeable, to which Marie-Ange replies ‘What do you think?’ Manuel asks Tarot if she is sure of that, to which the French mutant replies that she is absolutely sure. Empath once more uses his powers on Tarot, asking her what she will give him when he proves her wrong. Tarot falls to her knees, ‘I…I will give you…’ she begins until Thunderbird reaches over the fence and exclaims ‘Empath - I said cut it out!’ James turns to Tarot and tells her to stop baiting Empath, before informing her that she needs to use her cards, as they need transportation - something with wings.

Tarot pulls out her deck of tarot cards, ‘Among many more gruesome possibilities, the cards throw up…the lover!’ Marie-Ange announces, adding that this is no doubt in Empath’s honor. The giant manifestation of the lover picks the Hellions up, and they rest on its shoulders and arms. ‘Giant-wing-being comes from nowhere! Now fly away?’ Catseye asks. Flying alongside the lover, Jetstream asks Tarot if she can control this, to which Tarot replies ‘No problem!’

Shortly, the New Mutants, all decked out in their “graduation costumes” have gathered in the pasture. Mirage, Magik, Cypher and Wolfsbane are all sitting on Dani’s winged horse, Brightwind when Cannonball drops down with Magma. ‘Oh, honestly, Dani, you’re not bringing your horse!’ exclaims Magma. Mirage points out that Bird Boy can fly, to which Amara replies that so can Cannonball. Mirage points out that Sam can only carry one of them, so Brightwing can carry the rest if he needs to - which he does. Danielle then asks Illyana to teleport them away, and in an instant, the New Mutants reappear in Manhattan.

The six young heroes and the large horse stand on the top of an extremely tall building. ‘No! Illyana! What have you done? Where are we?!’ Amara exclaims. Magik grins and reveals that they are on top of the World Trade Center, and asks Amara if heights bother her, before explaining that they needed a place to look around from, so she figured they may as well start at the top. Rahne points out over the river and up to the sky where a figure can be seen. ‘Can that be him?’ she asks. Sam tells Rahne that she has “good eyes” and that it might be Bird Boy, so picking up Magma again he blasts off into the air, with Mirage and the others on Brightwind close behind.

Mirage tells everyone to look at how Bird Boy is wheeling around, and wonders what he is doing, when suddenly the bird-creature dives towards the water, then submerges itself in the water, reappearing moments later. ‘Oh, gross! Look what he has in his mouth! A fish!’ Magik exclaims, disgusted, before pointing out that Bird Boy will not be able to swallow it whole, and therefore choke. But as Bird Boy darts past the New Mutants, Mirage points out that Bird Boy has swallowed the fish and dodged them at the same time.

Amazed, Dani wonders how Bird Boy ever managed to get captured to begin with. Rahne explains that the radio said he was exhausted and nearly frozen, before remarking that he is beautiful, and yet horrible, at the same time. Rahne then asks Dani if Bird Boy can really be a mutant like they are, to which Dani replies that he isn’t much like them, pointing out that he is at least half animal. Mirage explains that she can establish a tenuous psychic rapport with him, but she cannot communicate with him, and all she gets from him is hunger - and fear!

Mirage suggests that they see what Bird Boy wants the most, and pulls from his mind an image of his heart’s desire - ‘Fish and worms! Bird food!’ Magik exclaims. Cypher wonders how Bird Boy can be hungry when he just ate, to which Danielle explains that birds have an incredibly fast metabolism, and Bird Boy does seem to be a kind of bird - a big bird. Dani adds that his thought’s aren’t human, that is for sure, but then they are not like any bird’s she has encountered before either. Wolfsbane points out that Bird Boy is reaching for the food image and trying to eat it.

Suddenly, ‘Yo, muties! You know what they say about a bird in the hand?’ shouts one of the Hellions as they arrive on the scene. Thunderbird tells Tarot to make her creature reach for the Bird Boy, while Magma gasps ‘Manuel! Empath!’ and Mirage wonders what the Hellions are riding. Magik supposes that it is one of Tarot’s monsters, when Rahne is knocked from Brightwind. As Dani lowers Brightwind to the dock, Illyana tells Wolfsbane to hang on, while Cypher mutters ‘Great idea Dani! Fabulous mode of transportation!’ pointing out that he can Rahne could have been killed.

With everyone safe on the dock, Rahne agrees with Doug, telling Mirage that more than a couple of people simply do not fit. ‘Ha-ha! So long, suckers!’ shouts one of the Hellions high above the New Mutants. Rahne comments on Bird Boy being chase, and likens it to when she was chased once by men who thought she was a demon. Cannonball and Magma drop to the dock and Sam reminds his friends that the Hellions won last time they squared off, so they need to even the score now.

Mirage remarks that more importantly the Bird Boy’s life may be at stake, and exclaims that she has an idea, telling Sam to put Magma up on Brightwind with her, so they can fly after the Hellions and fight them - or at least distract them. Sam agrees, and lifts Magma up onto Brightwind, before asking what he can do, ‘Round up the Bird Boy?’ Mirage agrees, and is about to say something else when Magma interrupts, ‘No debate! We just do what you say, whenever you say…just like that?’ Mirage asks Amara if she has a better idea, but Magma does not answer.

As Mirage, Cannonball and Magma take off, Magik asks what the rest of them are supposed to do. Mirage suggests they figure out a way to lure the Bird Boy, and Sam offers to drive Bird Boy back down this way so Magik can teleport him back to the School. ‘Lure him? Swell, where’ll we find half a ton of fish?’ Doug mutters.

Mirage congratulates her horse for catching up to the Hellions, while Sam points out that Bird Boy is diving into an alley. Magma tells Mirage that it is too narrow for Brightwind’s wingspan and suggests she get him out quickly. From Tarot’s creation, Thunderbird orders Jetstream to stop Cannonball while they deal with the others. Jetstream does as he is commanded, telling Cannonball to give it up, ‘You Can’t match my maneuvrability’. ‘And let the six million dollar cyborg at him? Not a chance!’ Sam replies, blasting as fast as he can away from Jetstream and towards Bird Boy.

Tarot motions backwards and tells Empath that there is his one and only. ‘Knew what I was doing when I drew the lover card, didn’t I?’ Marie-Ange asks. Empath remarks that only Amara and Mirage are there, so they must have ditched the others, to which Jenny asks how they can ditch them. Tarot shuffles through her cards - ‘Let’s see…the knight of swords…the lion of strength…the Devil…’ Manuel asks Tarot what she is doing, to which she replies that it is easy - ‘I’m throwing the deck at them!’ Suddenly, the three creatures appear alongside Dani, Amara and Brightwind, and Empath exclaims ‘No!’

Danielle exclaims that she cannot project those monsters greatest fears because they do not have minds, to which Magma asks Mirage if she thinks she is the only one who can ever do anything useful and begins blasting the Hellions with molten lava. Dani tells Amara to watch out so she doesn’t burn Brightwind, to which Amara replies that it is only for a second and beats having him ripped to shreds. Magma then points out that Magik said those things came from Tarot’s cards, ‘So let’s burn up the cards!’

‘Yikes!’ exclaims Marie-Ange as her cards are blasted right out of her hands, and because she is no longer in possession of the cards, she has no control over her creatures, and the lover disappears, causing the five Hellions to plummet towards the ground. ‘It’s fading!’ ‘We’re falling!’ Magma is shocked, ‘No! I didn’t think! Dani! We have to save them!’ Proudstar orders Roulette to throw some good luck discs around, while Tarot manages to grab one of her falling cards, ‘The Devil!’ she exclaims, landing on the back of the manifestation of the Devil. ‘Stinks like the Devil too!’ Empath remarks as he grabs onto it. Thunderbird remarks that it is a better transport for Hellions anyway, before wondering where Roulette and Catseye are. Down on the street below, Jenny shouts ’Where else, T-Bird? We had luck on our side!’ as she and Catseye land safely on a store’s veranda covering.

‘He’s safe…they’re all safe! Thank Zeus!’ Amara exclaims as Thunderbird asks the New Mutants what it is they think they are doing. ‘Same thing you are - going hunting!’ Dani shouts back, before motioning to where Bird Boy has re-emerged from the alley. Empath points out that Magma and Mirage are losing speed, and Thunderbird tells the girls to give it up, as they will never catch up to them. Magma asks Dani what is wrong, for she knows Brightwind can fly faster than this, and asks if she burnt him badly. Mirage replies that Brightwind is fine, and informs Amara that the Hellions are chasing one of her mirages. Dani suggests they go and find Sam, adding that she hopes he hasn’t lost Bird Boy, and that Rahne is in wolf form so she can link up with her and find out how the others are doing.

Back on the dock, Rahne is indeed in her wolf form and informs Illyana and Doug that Dani is trying to contact her. Magik asks Rahne to tell Dani that she teleported a load of fish over from a boat. ‘You stole them?’ Rahne asks. ‘I’m a demon-sorceress in another dimension, Rahne! You think I’d let a few illegal fish stop me? Tell her!’ Magik exclaims. Rahne does, informing Dani psychically that they have the bait, so all they need now is the Bird Boy.

Up in the air, Magma motions to where Jetstream is closing in on Bird Boy, but Mirage points out that Cannonball is doing really well - and suddenly Sam smashes into Jetstream and brings him back round past the girls on Brightwind. Mirage tells Brightwind that it is “round up” time, but Bird Boy swoops past them squawking as Tarot, Thunderbird and Empath reappear on Tarot’s devil image. ‘Having fun, cowgirls?’ Marie-Ange asks, before Thunderbird congratulates Mirage on such a good illusion - until it faded away that is, adding that they will not settle for less than the real thing.

Mirage moves Brightwind round to block the Hellions, but Tarot’s creation strikes Brightwind, causing the winged horse to lose flight and fall to the ground, with Mirage and Magma in tow - and Mirage lands hard on the ground. Magma declares that she has had enough of this and tells the Hellions that if the New Mutants can’t have Bird Boy, then neither can they, and she blasts Tarot’s cards, ‘Oh no! Not again!’ Tarot exclaims as she and the boys fall to the ground when her Devil image disappears.

Concerned for Mirage, Thunderbird goes over to her, as she is unconscious. Amara tells Thunderbird to leave Mirage alone or else she will fry him. James thinks that Magma is crazy, and orders Empath to possess her. ‘Now its okay? All right then!’ Manuel replies, before turning to amara and telling her that she doesn’t want to hurt him, and that she loves him. ‘Love you…yes…I do love you…’ Magma replies in a trance, before declaring ‘But you are a villain…you use people…I…I cannot…cannot love you!’

Magma turns away, ‘Poor kid! So that’s it!’ Tarot remarks before Amara declares that she will not obey Empath, nor will she betray Dani even after what she did to her. Smoke rises from the ground where Magma stands as she turns back to the Hellions and declares that she will not betray that bird creature, ‘Not even for you!’ The ground begins to shake thanks to Magma’s rising emotions, and Empath warns her to stop. Magma tells the Hellions to free Mirage, and tells Manuel that he doesn’t need to do this as she doesn’t want to hurt him.

Manuel replies that they don’t want to hurt each other - none of them, before turning to James, and using his powers on him, reveals that James cares for Mirage very much, so asks him why he wants to hurt her. Thunderbird, under Empath’s power, replies that he never meant to hurt Dani, and that he is worried about her, that’s all. Empath orders Thunderbird to release Dani, so James does, handing her over to Magma. Magma smiles and thanks Manuel, admitting that perhaps she misjudged him.

Marie-Ange declares that she cannot believe it - that the cold Empath has a human weakness and because of it he lost the battle for his whole team. Manuel calls Tarot and idiot and asks her if she doesn’t remember what Miss Frost said was at stake, and what the wager was. Empath then tells Tarot that she lacks subtlety, and informs her that he has won, as she will soon see, for he did not force Magma. ‘And now…Tarot, love. About that wager - when you see how I have won…what will you give me?’

Tarot sulks and turns away as Thunderbird returns to normal, asking Empath what he did. Manuel replies that he did nothing, and that they are all back from where they came from - except for the stinking load of fish brought along by their rivals. Indeed, Illyana has teleported onto the scene, with Cypher, Rahne and a ton of fish to boot. Wolfsbane rushes over to Mirage, who is regaining consciousness and declares that she felt their rapport break off. Rahne explains that she wanted to come straight away but that Illyana was off getting more fish, so she had to wait. Dani tells Rahne to calm down and that everything is okay, as she just bumped her head, but she is fine.

Thunderbird points out that both teams have lost the Bird Boy, which means the Hellions are still winning thanks to their last encounter. ‘His life - it’s just a game to you?’ Rahne asks. Thunderbird doesn’t get a chance to answer, as Mirage exclaims that they haven’t lost, and asks him if he has ever heard the old baseball saying “It ain’t over till it’s over?”, for up in the air, Cannonball flies past Jetstream, knocking the Hellion aside as he blasts his way up to Bird Boy - and eventually, grabs the Bird Boy who now begins to squawk loudly as Sam drives him downwards, forcing him into the pile of fish. ‘See ya around, Hellions! It’s been real!’ exclaims Magik as she teleports herself, the rest of the New Mutants, Brightwind, Bird Boy and the fish away.

Moments later, they reappear in the Danger Room at their school. ‘Gross! Never has our danger room smelled more disgusting!’ Illyana exclaims as Cannonball holds onto Bird Boy, informing everyone that he is stronger than he looks and isn’t sure how much longer he can hang onto him for, before asking Magik to teleport up to the control room and run through the artificial environments until she finds one that calms him down. Magik does so, but each one that she brings up just causes Bird Boy to squawk even more. One of the New Mutants asks Cypher if he can’t talk to him, to which Doug replies that he cant even talk to Bird Boy let alone understand him, as if he is more alien than Warlock.

Eventually someone suggests that since the radio said he was found in the North Atlantic, a desert island might suffice. Indeed it does. Tired Sam remarks that it isn’t the North Atlantic, but it seems to be keeping Bird Boy happy. ‘I think he’s happy wherever there’s food’ Cypher remarks. Mirage agrees, then turns to Magma as Bird Boy stuffs himself with fish, and tells her that she is sorry she pulled Empath from her head earlier. Dani admits that it was her own mistake, and adds that after the way Magma handled all of the Hellions today, none of them could be her heart’s desire.

‘Perhaps not’ replies Magma, before declaring that she must learn that for herself, then dropping a bombshell by announcing that is why she is going to transfer to the Massachusetts Academy!

Characters Involved: 

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

Bird Boy


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

White Queen


Various creatures created by Tarot

In Photograph:

Empath, Jetstream (both Hellions)

In Illusion (Magma’s heart’s desire):


In Illusion:

Two guys that danced with Mirage & Magik

On television screen:


Story Notes: 

Lila’s party, which Magma was too sick to attend, took place in New Mutants (1st series) #55.

The New Mutants tussled with the Hellions in New Mutants (1st series) #53-54.
Cannonball and Cypher are the only guys with the New Mutants at the moment because Sunspot and Warlock are off with the Fallen Angels. [Fallen Angels #1-8]

Magma was met by the New Mutants and came to New York from Nova Roman over the course of New Mutants (1st series) #9-12.

Magma and the other New Mutants briefly spent time at the Massachusetts Academy in New Mutants (1st series) #39-40

Bird Boy was briefly seen in New Mutants (1st series) #55, though this marks his first real appearance.

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