New Mutants (1st series) #57

Issue Date: 
November 1987
Story Title: 
Birds of a Feather

Louise Simonson (Writer), Bret Blevins (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: 

Magneto discovers Bird Boy residing in the Danger Room, and after the New Mutants reveal how they found him, Magneto uses Cerebro’s analyzer to determine that Bird Boy is neither mutant nor human as Wolfsbane hoped. Cypher gets jealous over all the attention Wolfsbane gives Bird Boy, and Cypher nicknames Bird Boy “Bird-Brain”. The New Mutants say goodbye to Magma who leaves with the White Queen for Massachusetts Academy, and the White Queen suggests that perhaps some of the Hellions might like to transfer to the Xavier Institute. Instead of studying for their exams like they are supposed they dress Bird Boy up and take him to the mall - where all sorts of trouble follows at the malt shop and the movie theater, mostly instigated by Cypher’s jealousy or Magik’s mischievous nature. Arriving back at their school, Magneto is furious they went out with Bird Boy and announces that they are going to hand him over to the authorities, upsetting Wolfsbane. Cypher finally tries communicating with Bird Boy, and seems to understand some of what he is saying, revealing that Bird Boy was made. Wolfsbane and Cypher make up, with Cypher revealing he was worried Wolfsbane likes Bird-Brain more than him, and Wolfsbane is pleased that Magik’s wish for more boys on the team is granted with Bird Boy staying, though Magik and Mirage aren’t so convinced.

Full Summary: 

Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters…’But Magneto! We don’t need to work out in the Danger Room today!’ protests Danielle Moonstar a.k.a. Mirage. Rahne “Wolfsbane” Sinclair transforms into her lupine form as she proves to Magneto that they have control of their mutant powers. Doug “Cypher” Ramsey agrees, and tells Magneto to ask him to say something in any language. Sam Guthrie a.k.a. Cannonball tries to tell Magneto that they are all rather depressed what with Amara leaving and all, so they don’t feel much like working out. Illyana “Magik” Rasputin reminds Magneto that midterms are coming up, and holding up a whole lot of books exclaims that they have got a lot of studying to do.

The New Mutants’ headmaster tells Illyana that she is becoming a first class teleporter, but that a healthy mind belongs in a well-honed body. Magneto turns to Dani and asks for a demonstration of her power, telling her to project an image of the thing he wants the most. ‘Us in the Danger Room?’ Mirage asks as the image appears above Magneto. ‘Right! So hop to it!’ Magneto orders.

Moments later, everyone is in the control booth, and the New Mutants watch anxiously as Magneto begins pushing some buttons, asking who left one of the environments running, reminding the young heroes that he has told them a thousand times to switch the environments off when they are through with them as they use up power. The Master of Magnetism flicks a switch, causing the lush tropical island scene below in the Danger Room to suddenly vanish - all except for one very strange creature, who begins squawking ever so loudly and flying around the room in a panic.

Up in the control booth, the New Mutants watch the strange creature flap around, while Magneto wonders why the environment is off, yet that strange creature remains. ‘No we’re gonna catch it!’ Cannonball mutters as he slaps his forehead. The creature is Bird Boy, who flies straight to the control booth, unaware of the glass blocking his way. Rahne is worried for him, and points out that Bird Boy might now know about glass and might hurt himself. Sam orders Magik to teleport them down into the Danger Room, which the young Russian mutant does, and the New Mutants leap into action.

Cannonball blasts up into the air with the intention of heading Bird Boy off, and asks Dani to try and find out what Bird Boy wants so they can calm him down. Mirage uses her illusion powers again, ‘What he wanted yesterday - food!’ she exclaims, while up in the air Sam is surprised at how fast Bird Boy can change direction, causing Sam to get knocked off balance and smash into a wall. One of his teammates asks him if he is all right, to which Sam replies that he is, as nothing can hurt him when he is blasting.

Bird Boy swoops down for Mirage’s food illusion, and transforming into her lupine form, Rahne thinks that she might be able to talk to Bird Boy, urging him to take the food, but leaping on Bird Boy’s back, Rahne and the Bird Boy just pass through the illusion, Bird Boy didn’t even slow down for it as he must know it isn’t real. Rahne tells her teammates that Bird Boy is too smart for that, so they need real food. ‘Real food? Coming right up!’ Illyana exclaims before vanishing, then reappearing instantly with a large refrigerator. ‘Here, Bird Boy! Pig out!’ Magik exclaims as Bird Boy opens the fridge and starts eating the food as quickly as he an.

Wolfsbane watches with delight, exclaiming that poor Bird Boy must have been starved, and informing her friends that she heard birds have an incredibly fast metabolism, adding that Bird Boy is very smart. ‘Smart?’ Doug remarks. Rahne explains that what she means is most people would have stopped for an illusion like the one before, but now Bird Boy, he won’t stop till he gets the real thing. Bird Boy sticks a jar of pickles in his mouth, but cannot open it, so Rahne takes it from him and unscrews it. Bird Boy watches then shoves the pickles down his throat, while a wide-eyed Rahne exclaims that Bird Boy is so beautiful, but that she wishes they could talk to him.

Rahne reminds Doug that his power is deciphering languages and asks if he cannot tell what Bird Boy is saying. ‘Saying? Why would I even want to know what he’s saying? Ha! All he does is squawk!’ Cypher replies, when suddenly, Magneto’s voice booms down from the control booth, asking if someone would mind telling him what is going on here.

Soon, Rahne exclaims to Magneto that this is the Bird Boy who escaped in New York. Mirage informs Magneto that they rescued him and brought him home, to which Cannonball explains that they think he is a mutant and asks Magneto if he can test Bird Boy on Cerebro to find out. ‘Can we keep him?’ Rahne asks. Magneto frowns and informs the New Mutants that Cerebro was smashed but that he has managed to get the analyzer working, and in answer to Rahne’s question tells her that before they decide whether to keep him or not they need to find out what he is.

The analyzer produces its report, and Magneto informs the New Mutants that the Bird Boy is not entirely human, so indeed he might be a mutant, but that Bird Boy registers as an anomaly of some kinda, but Cerebro’s analyzer doesn’t know how to classify him, Bird Boy seems to be something entirely different. Magneto continues to read the report and tells the New Mutants to get back to their studies. Cypher offers to help Rahne with her programming, but Rahne tells him ‘Not now’ as she is going to take Bird Boy back to the Danger Room and make him comfortable.

But soon, Dani, Sam, Illyana and Doug are in a room studying, and Sam asks Dani if she got the answer to number three. Danielle replies that she didn’t, as it is a hard one and trigonometry is not her strong suit, so she will probably flunk midterms. Dani adds that she doesn’t blame Amara for deciding to leave Xavier’s and go to the Massachusetts Academy, as it is a ploy to get out of midterms! ‘It’s a ploy to get where there’s more boys!’ Illyana mumbles, when Rahne enters the room with Bird Boy.

Cypher asks Rahne what’s up, and sitting at a desk, Rahne motions for Bird Boy to sit next to her, explaining that Bird Boy gets scared when he is alone, and that she thinks wherever he is from there were other people around. ‘People! Ha!’ Cypher exclaims as Bird Boy flutters up and sits on top of Rahne’s computer. Rahne remarks that he must have light bones like a bird or else he would tip the screen over, before telling Bird Boy to behave as she has to do some algebra.

Bird Boy twists his body to look at the screen and begins tapping on it with his beak, Rahne realizes he is trying to eat the characters, and Doug points out that Bird Boy probably thinks they are bugs. Rahne asks Cypher to talk to Bird Boy, as she is sure those squawks he makes are some kind of language. Clearly upset, Doug points at Bird Boy and shouts ‘Why bother? You heard what Magneto’s said, he’s not human!’ ‘I know! He’s a mutant!’ Rahne shouts back, to which Doug exclaims that he’s not a mutant human, but some weird mutant bird. ‘He’s a stupid Bird-Brain!’

‘He is not!’ Rahne protests, before declaring that Bird Boy understands everything they say, adding that if Bird Boy doesn’t know what a computer is, then she is not sure she knows either - or electricity or atomic fission for that matter! Rahne supposes that Bird Boy is hungry and handing him an apple she had in her pocket tells him that they will go get some lunch. As Bird Boy devours the apple in one swallow Doug mutters that the only thing Bird-Brain understands is food.

Rahne takes Bird Boy’s hand and leads him out of the room as Cannonball asks Cypher what is wrong with him, as it is not like him to pass up the chance to decipher a language. ‘You wouldn’t by any chance be jealous of old Bird-Brain would you?’ Illyana asks. ‘Jealous, me? Ha! What have I got to be jealous of?’ Doug asks.

Later that afternoon, Sam, Dani, Illyana, Doug and Rahne stand on the front stairs to the mansion while Amara “Magma” Aquilla stands on the ground below them with Magneto as a car pulls up nearby. Amara remarks that her father told her to learn about civilization, and she has indeed learned from Xavier’s School and the New Mutants - but now she wants to learn from the Hellions. Looking back at her soon-to-be former teammates, Amara tells them that it is her duty to experience as much as possible, and assures her friends that it isn’t anything personal.

The five teens rush over to Amara and hug her, ‘Of course we understand!’ Illyana exclaims as Sam remarks that they wish they could talk her out of it. ‘It’s your life, Amara’ Mirage declares, before Sam tells her to make sure that she writes, and that they will miss her. Emma Frost a.k.a. the White Queen of the Hellfire Club and mentor to the Hellions puts her hands on Magma’s shoulders while Emma’s chauffer takes Amara’s bags. Emma tells Magma that they will be leaving in a moment, so there is no need to look so glum, before telling the New Mutants and Magneto that Amara is better suited to her school’s more elegant environment than this one.

Getting into the car, Emma admits that some of her own students may be better suited to Xavier’s more primitive approach, and asks Magneto if perhaps in the future he will accept some of her students at transfers, after all, he is the Hellfire Club’s White King, and she is their Queen, so they are no longer rivals. With that, Emma and Magma are driven away. ‘Not rivals? Is she daft?’ Rahne exclaims. ‘No kidding, score one for the bad guys!’ Mirage agrees. Sam points out that perhaps some day Amara will come back.

‘Don’t bet on it!’ Cypher tells his friend as they walk back inside. Wolfsbane points out that Magma never seemed quite happy with them anyway, and Cannonball and Mirage express their feelings about having Hellions at their school - ‘Yuck!’ while Magik exclaims that if they do get any of the Hellions transferred she hopes they are only boys.

Magneto tells the New Mutants that he hopes they won’t let this episode get in the way of their studies, reminding them that they have midterms coming up. ‘No, sir!’, ‘Yes, sir!’ they reply. When Magneto leaves them, Cannonball exclaims that their headmaster seems depressed. Illyana admits that she is too, and suggests that they do something to cheer themselves up, like getting some burgers and going to a movie at the mall. Dani points out that the midterms are fast approaching and as they have been so busy they haven’t had time to study.

‘We had to rescue old Bird-Brain, didn’t we?’ Doug mutters spitefully, as Wolfsbane wonders why it is the Hellions always get the last laugh. ‘Yeah - they got Amara, we got Bird-Brain!’ Doug points out, before asking where Bird-Brain is anyway. Wolfsbane reveals that she left Bird Boy in the Danger Room with his environment running. The New Mutants go to the Danger Room, and call out to Bird Boy, but he does not answer, and Rahne thinks that he is gone - but where?

Suddenly, Bird Boy peers down from on top of the door, surprising the young heroes. Rahne exclaims that he played a joke on them, and hugging Bird Boy declares that he is human, before asking what they are going to do with him while they are at the movies. Doug suggests they take Bird-Brain with them, for if he is so human, then he will be able to prove it, adding that he might like going to the movies.

Soon, the New Mutants are busy dressing Bird Boy and Mirage thinks that they can put one of Xavier’s sweaters on him backwards, before realizing that this isn’t going to work. Doug shoves a large hat on Bird-Brain and points out that they have to give Bird-Brain a chance, to which Illyana exclaims ‘Bird-Brain at the movies! I can’t wait!’ as she pulls some pants onto him. ‘Neither can I!’ Rahne adds as she produces a large pair of shoes, informing everyone that they are the Beast’s, who was one of the first students here. Sam holds a large jacket and mutters ‘If Bird-Brain screws up too bad we may be the last!’

Danielle puts some gloves on Bird Boy to cover his hands and Sam points out that the trench coat should hide his wings. ‘Squawk?’ Bird Boy exclaims as the New Mutants quickly dress themselves, and Rahne puts some sun glasses on him. ‘He is so cool!’ Mirage declares before asking Illyana to teleport them to the mall.

At the mall, Illyana peers out of a door with “No Exit” on it and announces that there is no-one around and that the malt shop is to the left, ‘Come on out! Let’s get this show on the road!’ Sam, Dani and Rahne hold onto the Bird Boy and lead him along as Doug asks them if they can keep him from walking so funny as people will probably notice. Wolfsbane tells Doug that Bird Boy can’t help it as he has never worn shoes before. ‘Or anything else, I’ll bet!’ Illyana mutters. Entering the malt shop, Mirage motions to the booth in the back, pointing out that it is open and Sam tells his friends to move in quickly.

Sitting down in the booth, Mirage tells Sam to shove Bird Boy in beside her, because if his back is to the local kids then they can’t study him so close. Sam sits on the other side of Bird Boy and Mirage tells him to grab Bird Boy if he doesn’t anything horrible. The other three sit on the opposite side and a waitress comes over asking them what they would like.

Interminable minutes later - ‘Here ya are! Nine burgers, six shakes, six large fries!’ the waitress exclaims as she puts the trays of food down on the table and Mirage tells Sam to grab Bird-Brain. Sam urges Bird Boy to calm down, assuring him that they ordered enough for everyone, but Bird Boy just shoves burgers straight into his mouth. Sam suggests to him that he try to chew his food before swallowing, but in an instant, Bird Boy has finished his own, and grabs Cypher’s burger. ‘Hey! Gimme that! That’s my burger!’ Doug shouts furiously as Bird-Brain shoves it into his mouth.

Rahne scolds Bird Boy - ‘Naughty! That was Doug’s!’ she exclaims before telling Bird Boy that he mustn’t be so greedy and learn to share. ‘He did share - he shared Doug’s!’ Illyana jokes before handing Bird Boy his chocolate shake. Bird Boy looks at it confused, until Illyana demonstrates how to drink from a straw. Bird-Brain does as he is shown, sucking it all down in one gulp - and instantly loving it. ‘Good isn’t it? Bet you wish you had another one, don’t you?’ Illyana asks Bird-Brain, who instantly reaches out across the table for another one - ‘Watch it, Doug, he‘s after yours again!’ Illyana exclaims, to which Mirage mutters ‘You knew he‘d do that, Illyana!’.

Doug declares that Bird-Brain won’t get his and pulls away, but this causes both he and Rahne to fall from their seats, and Rahne’s strawberry shake spills open all over her own head. Doug lands on top of Rahne on the floor while Bird Boy squawks and Sam tries telling him to chill out. Magik smiles while Mirage mutters that reasoning with Bird Boy is no good, and tells Sam to hold onto him tight as Bird Boy probably thinks that Doug is hurting Rahne.

By now, other patrons turn to watch the commotion as Mirage and Sam practically sit on Bird Boy to keep him on the messy table, ‘Looks like a food fight!’ one of the patrons remarks while Illyana uncontrollably laughs. Mirage tells Illyana to shape up and help them get Bird Boy out of here. Moments later, Illyana and Dani hold on tight to Bird-Brain as they lead him out, and Mirage scolds her teammate - ‘Very funny! You wanted that to happen!’ Mirage exclaims. ‘Never in my wildest dreams!’ Illyana claims, before laughing again and mumbling that it was too good to be true.

Rahne wipes her strawberry-covered hair and tells Cypher that she is mad, as this was his idea after all. ‘My idea? That monster - ‘ begins Doug until Rahne interrupts, pointing out that Bird Boy thought Doug was hurting her. ‘You said he was human’ Cypher reminds Rahne, while Sam tells the waitress that they are ready to leave, and opening his wallet asks how much they owe. The waitress just stands in shock at the mess the teens left behind. Several kids from the malt shop follow the New Mutants, all watching the strange creature. ‘What is he? Where’s he from?’ one of them asks. Another exclaims that it looks like he has got feathers, while a third remarks that it looks like the hunchback of Notre Dame.

Sam informs his teammates that the kids from the malt shop are following them, to which Rahne asks who can blame them. One of the kids calls out ‘Hey, listen - what’s going on? Who…what is he anyway?’ Dani calls back that he is going to a costume party while Rahne exclaims that he is a famous rock star is who going incognito. Doug remarks that he isn’t from here and that this is the newest style in Paris. ‘He was in an accident!’ Illyana offers. ‘He’s a walking accident!’ Sam mutters before reporting that the kids are still following them.

Rahne asks about the movie, to which Doug asks if she is nuts and exclaims that they cannot take prince charming here to a movie. Rahne suggests that they duck in when it is dark so no one sees them, then Illyana can teleport them home. ‘Finally, a good idea!’ Mirage remarks, to which Sam exclaims ‘Only you gotta pay for the tickets!’ for after that debacle in the malt shop he is broke. ‘Hey, we’ll settle with you later, honest!’ one of his teammates assures him.

As the others lead Bird Boy into the theatre, Mirage asks the ticket operator for ‘Six tickets to House II - and hurry!’ Sam remarks that they are practically home free, before wondering how much more trouble Bird-Brain could get into….

After the movie, Sam tells Illyana that no one can see them, and Doug urges her to teleport them home fast - but an advertisement comes on the screen for the restaurant “McBurgers”, and seeing a giant burger on the screen, Bird Boy flies up into the theatre, squawking loudly as he aims for the giant burger. ‘What the heck is that?’ asks a moviegoer. Doug declares that they have to stop him and asks Sam if he can catch Bird-Brain. Sam replies that he doesn’t know, but that he better try, and blasts into the theatre, noting that Bird Boy’s clothes are now slowing him down.

Rahne whispers to Mirage that she is sorry because everyone will find out that they are mutants and come after them with pitchforks! Mirage has a plan though, and uses her formidable powers to create an illusion on the movie screen, and exclaims loudly so that all the moviegoers can hear ‘Hey wow! It’s a sneak preview to that new 3-D movie! Looks like it’s real doesn’t it, wow!’ The moviegoers assume that the teens rushing around before them are part of the movie preview, and Illyana congratulates Mirage on her quick thinking.

‘Doesn’t look like any 3-D movie I ever saw!’ one of the moviegoers exclaims, while another declares that it is better, and just like he always imagined. ‘Wow! The detail is magnificent!’ another exclaims, while a woman notes the falling shoes and wonders who is throwing shoes around. Of course the shoes come from Bird-Brain, who Sam grabs mid-air, and a moviegoer exclaims ‘Hey! Get him, Comet-Man!’

With that, Sam forces a squawking Bird Boy to the ground and Rahne rushes over, telling her precious Bird Boy that he is being naughty, before pleading with Doug to try and talk to Bird Boy. ‘He’s wiggling like a greased pig and you wanna talk?’ Sam mutters before Mirage and Doug help him hold Bird-Brain down. Rahne tells Mirage that the audience aren’t going to believe that “3-D junk” much longer and suggests to Illyana that she teleport them all home.

‘Uh-oh!’ exclaims Magik as the New Mutants arrive in the Danger Room, where Magneto is standing, tapping one of his feet. Magneto declares that he has had a very disturbing telephone call from the owner of the malt shop in the mall, where it seems that his students - one in particular - destroyed a portion of the malt shop. Magneto informs the New Mutants that he logically came in here to look in on Bird Boy, just to assure himself that what he was told could not be possibly true. But it was.

Magneto asks the New Mutants what they thought they were doing, and tells them they behaved very irresponsibly, before declaring that the Bird Boy is obviously unmanageable and a very bad influence. Magneto exclaims that they will turn him over to the authorities at once, and storms out of the Danger Room.

Wolfsbane begins to sob, asking how they can do that, as Bird Boy is human, but he just doesn’t understand. Rahne points out that they don’t know how he was raised or anything like that, and exclaims that Bird Boy was only playing a joke on them, as he tried to protect her when he thought she was being hurt, adding that he is just hungry all the time too. Mirage comforts her best friend as Wolfsbane exclaims that they cannot send him back to a cage. Dani, Sam and Illyana all look crossly at Cypher as Wolfsbane mumbles ‘If only we could talk to him!’

Doug claims that it is not his fault that Bird-Brain isn’t human but a giant bird with arms. Doug remarks that nothing human would behave like that at a movie theater, pointing out that Magneto doesn’t know about that one yet. Doug asks what does it matter if Bird-Brain leaves, ‘Who would care?’ he asks, before stating that he cannot understand Bird Boy and Bird Boy cannot understand him. Cypher exclaims that he has tried, before going over to Bird Boy and admitting that he hasn’t tried.

Bird Boy looks at Doug slightly puzzled as Doug begins squawking. ‘Nothing! See!’ Doug exclaims turning back to his friends, when suddenly Bird Boy squawks in reply. ‘Oh wow!’ exclaims Doug who launches into a full on squawking conversation with Bird-Brain. Doug informs his surprised teammates that he apologized to Bird-Brain for not talking to him earlier, and he thinks Bird-Brain understood.

Doug then reveals that Bird Boy says people made him and trained him by starving him - “good” means “food” and “bad” means “no food”! Doug explains that when Bird-Brain saw all that food at the malt shop he thought it was for him because he had been so good. At least that’s what Doug thinks Bird Boy is saying, because his language is very hard to understand. Doug adds that when Bird-Brain saw the movie screen with the giant burger on it, it must have seemed like the ultimate reward to him. Doug goes over to Rahne and tells her that he is happy she made him talk to Bird-Brain, even if it does mean she likes Bird-Brain more than him now. Rahne gives Doug a friendly punch and tells him that he is daft, before hugging him and exclaiming ‘No! No, you’re not daft! You’re wonderful! You talked to him! You saved him!’

Bird Boy is hugged by Doug and Rahne, and Rahne tells Mirage to go and tell Magneto as Bird Boy has to stay with them now, for she and Doug can teach him and perhaps even find out where he came from. Cannonball smiles as Mirage and Illyana look pained as Rahne exclaims ‘Oh, isn’t it lovely, Dani and Illyana? He’s just what you wanted to join the New Mutants - he’s a boy!’

Characters Involved: 

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


Bird Boy / Bird-Brain

White Queen



Kids at the malt shop

Ticket booth operator

Moviegoers p>

Story Notes: 

The New Mutants rescued Bird Boy in New Mutants (1st series) #56.

Cerebro was destroyed in Uncanny X-Men #213.

An interesting idea, but unfortunately none of the Hellions did transfer to Xavier’s School while the New Mutants were still active. Of course Thunderbird II joined X-Force as Warpath [New Mutants (1st series) #100], and soon after Tarot, Roulette, Jetstream and Catseye were all sadly murdered [Uncanny X-Men #281-282], though Tarot has since been resurrected [X-Force (1st series) #87-90].

This ends Magma’s tenure as a starring character of an X-book and Cannonball does not get his wish for Magma to return granted, as after spending some time with the Hellions she returns to Nova Roma along with Empath where she remains for an extended period of time [New Mutants (1st series) #62] Cannonball and Magma are reunited during the “Child’s Play” crossover, and Magma returns as an enemy of X-Force alongside the New Hellions [X-Force (1st series) #87-90] before being crucified by the Church of Humanity [Uncanny X-Men #423]. She spends some time in a coma at the X-mansion before being awoken by some of the students [New Mutants (2nd series) #7], though she runs off and joins X-Corporation L.A. alongside Sunspot, Skids and Empath [X-Treme X-Men #42], and is now a member of The 198 alongside Empath, and other former New Mutants Skids and Karma.

House II: The Second Story is the 1987 follow up to House and featured Lar Park Lincoln (one of this summarizer's favourite actresses) who rose to fame thanks to starring roles in Knots Landing and Friday the 13th VII: The New Blood. House II was advertised in many Marvel comics during this period.

Issue Information: 
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