New Mutants (1st series) #64

Issue Date: 
June 1988
Story Title: 
Instant Replay

Louise Simonson (writer), Bret Blevins (penciler), Terry Austen (inker),Tom Orzechowski (letterer), Glynis Oliver (colorist), Ann Nocenti (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

The New Mutants all find themselves trying to deal with Cypher’s death. Wolfsbane keeps on running Danger Room scenarios where she is replaying the events that led to Doug’s death and is trying to save him. Dani and Warlock watch a zombie movie on TV which gives Warlock some wrong ideas about life and death. Illyana keeps on watching the tapes of the X-Men’s death in Dallas. When Sam tries to stop her, she teleports to Limbo with the VCR. The next day, Magneto drives them to the funeral home, explaining to them that he official version of Doug’s death is a hunting accident. Upon seeing Doug’s embalmed corpse, Warlock flips out, refusing to believe it is him. Rahne agrees and runs outside in a fit of hysteria, as she is still blaming herself for Doug’s death. Later that night, Warlock slips out of school. The horror movie, plus several religious references by the others, have given him the idea that he can return Doug to life by giving him his life energy. However, Doug, dead as he is, “refuses” to accept it and so Warlock carries Doug around, trying to remind him of his life. First, he shows him to Mrs. Ramsey, who understandably becomes hysterical, then to Rahne who is shocked. After Warlock explains himself, though, she understands that, in his own way, he was trying to do the same as she did in the Danger Room – trying to save Doug. She realizes they both have to accept that he is really dead. With the help of the others, they return the body and, after the funeral the next day, Rahne and Warlock say their final goodbyes. Later in the evening, Illyana reveals that she now knows who is to blame for the X-Men’s deaths – Forge – and she is going to make him pay!

Full Summary: 

(Danger Room session)

The situation is a familiar one. Wolfsbane is disarming a RIGHT soldier, while the evil Ani-mator is intending to fire her gun at her. Cypher witnesses the danger and warns Rahne. He jumps towards her, intending to push her out of harm’s way as the Ani-mator fires. This time, Rahne is prepared though. She kicks Cypher away, while avoiding the bullets as well. She then uses the arms of the RIGHT soldier she is holding to take out the Ani-mator. After that, she smashes the RIGHT soldier’s faceplate and takes him out as well.

Switching back to her human form, she cries with happiness as she hugs Doug Ramsey. This time, she saved him, but what was he thinking? He asks her not to be mad at him. He’ll never do it again. With those words, he fades away, leaving Rahne to shout that he must come back. She saved him!

Behind her stands her teammate, Robeto daCosta, who switched off the program. Worried, he asks her how long she’s been down there, fighting illusions… to save an illusion. Switching back to her transitional form, Rahne snarls who told him to come there. It’s none if his business! She orders him to put the environment back. Turning on his Sunspot powers as well, he shouts back that it’s too dangerous. They are not supposed to be there, unsupervised.

He apologizes, but it’s two in the morning. They need to go to bed. In the morning, they have to view Doug’s body. But there shouldn’t be a body, she tries to make him understand. She should have seen the Ani-Mator with his gun. She should have moved faster. She’s found seventeen ways she could have saved Doug already. How could she have missed them? How could she have let him die?

Up in the rec room, Illyana Rasputin once again watches the taped news of the X-Men’s death. Her tears belie her stoic face. Finally, she manifests her Soulsword and her Darkchilde form with an angry shout of “Why?” She is joined by Cannonball, who asks her what is going on. He asks her to put the sword back to limbo and reminds her that she is a girl, not some sort of horned demon. She can’t, Illyana claims. He corrects her that she won’t. A lot he knows, she snarls. She’ll be stuck as the Darkchilde forever and it serves her right.

Crying, she explains that the TV news shows keep playing the scenes where the X-Men died. She taped them all; she must have the whole fight now. That stupid camera man was there and Scott’s stupid wife was there, but for all her vaunted sorcerous powers, for all the fact that she can teleport, she couldn’t get through the magic screen blocking Dallas… she couldn’t help. So now she watches and watches and watches.

She struggles free and orders him to leave her alone, as she teleports herself and the VCR away. Sam shouts after her that Magneto is mad enough already and ordered them not to leave the school… Or use their powers, Illyana finishes the sentence. Tough!

Downstairs in the kitchen, Dani and Warlock are watching “Night of the living Dead.” While the alien transmodes a vase of flowers to replenish his energies, he inquires if Doug couldn’t become a living dead entity like the man on TV. Dani tells him there is no way. Movies aren’t real. Still watching the dead rise from their graves on the screen, Warlock suggests he could transform Doug with the techno-organic virus and absorb Doug’s energy in an act of brotherhood as the people do on his world. Dani is disgusted by the thought and calls it cannibalism.

Suddenly, she shouts out in horror and Warlock is joyful. Before them, the corpse of Doug Ramsey seems to be floating in the air. Warlock reaches for it to find it isn’t tangible. Suddenly, the image of Doug turns into a techno-organic being, intent on attacking Warlock. Dani holds Warlock, explaining that this was one of her mirages. Warlock wanted Doug back so much that she picked it up and projected it. Only his wish got mixed up with the film they were watching and became their greatest fear.

She apologizes for losing control. It hasn’t happened to her in ages. Doug’s death is getting to all of them. But, she adds with a smile, the walking dead are nothing to worry about. On this world, it’s ashes to ashes, dust to dust and that’s the end of it. Doug couldn’t come back if he wanted to. Which he won’t. The only place a magic zap brings people back to life is in horror movies.

Nevertheless, Warlock is lost in thoughts.

The next day the New Mutants – sans Illyana – step outside in formal clothes for the viewing of Doug’s body. Magneto is already waiting for them. Grimly, he reminds Warlock to mimic a human form and the alien immediately complies. The headmaster inquires after Illyana and the others do not know what to say.

As if on cue, Illyana teleports in behind Magneto and calmly joins them. Sam whispers to Illyana, asking to know where she’s been. She whispers back that she continued watching the tapes in Limbo and did a bit of thinking. She knows now whose fault it is that her brother died.

In the car, Magneto turns back to the kids and informs them that he was forced to lie to Doug’s parents about the manner of his death. They believe that the school was on a camping trip and that Doug wandered off into the woods alone. Then the others heard a shot and rushed back to find Doug’s body. It’s hunting season… it happens… and he thinks the Ramseys believed him. The bullet entered Doug’s side and passed on through. There’ll be an investigation, of course. There always is in shooting cases, and the students will be questioned. But there is no way the authorities could guess what happened unless someone told them. If they become suspicious, a member of the Hellfire Club will bolster that belief.

As they arrive in front of the funeral home, Magneto admits that that this is wrong and that the Ramseys have a right to know about the truth, but he feels it would be too dangerous to reveal themselves as mutants.

Rahne asks whether he is still angry with them, whether he is blaming them for sneaking out on that mission. Magneto ignores her and walks on to talk to the Ramseys, while Illyana puts her arms around Rahne.

Mrs. Ramsey breaks down and is comforted by her husband, while Magneto tonelessly stares at the body of his student, thinking to himself what a terrible waste this is. Is this the fate that humanity holds for all mutants?

The kids look at the body as well and Warlock protests that this isn’t Doug. It doesn’t look like him. Roberto keeps Warlock from touching the body and explains that the wax and embalming stuff makes him look funny. He asks him to behave. Rahne cries out that Warlock is right. This can’t be Doug and she runs outside. Sam tells Magneto that they will look after her and they also leave in a hurry, much to the consternation of the other guests, who make disparaging remarks about private school brats.

The others find Rahne outside, crying against a tree. Dani tries to comfort her by pointing out that Rahne is religious and should therefore believe that Doug is happy in Heaven. Rahne admits that she should think that, but she can only think that he is not with them anymore. But if it was God’s will… Dani suggests. It’s not her will, Rahne insists. Doug died saving her. It’s her fault and she didn’t even notice… and she could have saved him. She loved him and she didn’t even notice when he died.

She begins to cry harder when she thinks of him being shut in coffin in the dark. Warlock seems shocked at that revelation and now Bobby and Sam have to comfort him, Bobby explaining that burying a body shows respect. Sam adds that, according to the Bible, Doug’s body will rise on Judgment Day. Burying keeps his body safe. The alien literally falls apart and the boys are busy convincing him to reassume human form.

Later that night, Warlock slips out of school without telling anybody and secretly enters the burial home. He addresses Doug’s body, announcing that Sam explained that Doug is not really dead, but in a far dimension called Heaven which is reached by prayer and a magic zap will cause resurrection of the “livingdeadentities” like in the movies so Doug must be embalmed and put away in the dark ground to be safe. But Warlock will miss him and he fears that Doug will be frightened and lonely too.

He recalls how Doug once gave him part of his life energy to live. He decides to return the favor, deciding this should act like the “magic zap” and return Doug to life. He marvels at why Doug won’t accept the energy and concludes that perhaps Doug has forgotten what it is like to be alive, so Warlock will help him by reminding him of what he is missing. He carries him up and finds he body is stiff, but manages to make it move similar to the zombies in the movie.

Carrying Doug alongside, Warlock breaks out of the funeral home’s window, worrying what Magneto’s reaction will be. But, he figures, by that point Doug will have accepted Warlock’s life energy and will be alive again, whereas he will travel to the dimension of the “livingdead” where Magneto will not find him.

He takes Doug’s corpse to the Blue Ridge Hotel, where his parents are staying. Through the window, he watches a crying Mrs. Ramsey. He muses that on his world there are no mothers. And the fathers must always try to kill the progeny. He shows the body at the window. Predictably (though not to Warlock), Mrs. Ramsey screams in horror.

As Mr. Ramsey bursts into the room, his wife tells him that she saw Doug’s ghost and a horrible grinning head above him. She wonders if she is gong mad.

Outside, Warlock is confused, not understanding her reaction. He figures that Rahne will react more positively. He knocks at her window, showing her Doug. Rahne’s first reaction is happiness, believing Doug isn’t dead after all. As she hugs the body, she begins to understand that he is dead and shrinks back in revulsion and screams.

Warlock covers her mouth, asking her not to scream like Doug’s mother. Horrified, Rahne asks him what he was trying to do. Did he show the body to Doug’s mother?

Having heard the scream, the others join them, also not understanding Warlock’s motives. Warlock explain that he wanted Doug to be resurrected, so he took Doug to his loved ones to show him that he was loved, so he would take Warlock’s life energy…

Roberto calms Rahne by pointing out that Warlock was just trying what she was attempting to do earlier in the Danger Room session: trying to bring Dou back, to save him. Rahne begins to understand and finally admits to both herself and Warlock that nothing will work. Doug is dead and all the wishing or pretending in the world can’t make it otherwise. She asks Warlock to take Doug back. She explains that this is only a shell. Whatever made it Doug has gone away. He’s safe in Heaven.

Sam reminds them that they have to return Doug. They’re burying him tomorrow and sooner or later somebody will notice he is missing. Illyana teleports them straight to the funeral home, where they are almost discovered by Cops, who have been called when the alarms rung. In the dark, the kids quickly return Doug to the coffin and manage to just hide beneath the table. When the funeral home director and the cops switch on the lights, they find the body returned and nothing else. Confused, they leave and after a final goodbye Illyana teleports them back to Xavier’s School.

The next day after Doug’s funeral, Rahne and Warlock linger at the grave until they have managed to say the final goodbyes.

That evening, the New Mutants are trying to forget their problems with some TV, but Illyana makes them watch the tapes about the X-Men’s deaths again. When they react annoyed, she orders them to watch again how Forge chants his final spell to use the X-Men’s life energies against the Adversary. Angrily, she tells them that Forge is the one to blame. His sorceries caused the destruction and her brother’s death stopped it. She vows that she is going to make Forge pay. Master sorcerer though he is, Forge can’t imagine what that bleak “victory” is going to cost him…

Characters Involved: 

Cannonball, Magik, Mirage, Sunspot, Warlock, Wolfsbane (all New Mutants)


Mr and Mrs Ramsey

Funeral home director and guests


as Danger Room illusions:



RIGHT soldier

on TV:


As Dani’s mirage:

“zombified” Cypher

Story Notes: 

The X-Men “died” in Uncanny X-Men #227. The cameraman Illyana refers to is Neal Conan. Scott’s wife is Madelyne Pryor.

“Night of the Living Dead” is one of the classic zombie movies that defined the genre. It spawned several sequels.

Doug shared his life energy with Warlock during their adventures in Asgard in Uncanny X-Men Annual #9.

Louise Simonson mistakenly portrays the Ramseys as out-of-towners, when actually they live in Salem Center. In fact, Philip Ramsey is Xavier’s solicitor.

Issue Information: 
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