New Mutants (1st series) #88

Issue Date: 
April 1990
Story Title: 
The Great Escape

Louise Simonson (Writer), Rob Liefeld (Penciler), Hilary Barta (Inker), Joe Rosen (Letterer), Glynis Oliver (Colorist), Daryl Edelman (Assistant Editor), Bob Harras (Editor), Tom DeFalco (Editor-in-Chief)

Brief Description: 

The New Mutants are reunited with X-Factor, only to learn that their missing teammates Skids and Rusty have been unfairly imprisoned by Freedom Force, and that a terrorist group known as the Mutant Liberation Front wants them. This gives the New Mutants some hope that their friends will be rescued, while Cyclops tries to speak with Freedom Force, but is informed they are in a meeting. Those of the New Mutants who have family to call do so, and Boom-Boom stuns her male companions with a new dress, though Rictor and her get into an argument, and Wolfsbane gets caught in the middle. Boom-Boom believes that Wolfsbane has feelings for Rictor, and so does she. Wolfsbane rings Moira MacTaggert, only to discover that she is somehow changed, and is distraught when Moira announces she is coming to Manhattan to collect her and bring her back to Muir Island. Meanwhile, after interrogating him, Freedom Force pursue Cable who escapes from the federal facility where he is being held. In the process he wounds by Pyro and Super Sabre, before he finally escapes, much to Mystique’s displeasure.

Full Summary: 

Within a federal government facility, the enigmatic Cable sits on the edge of the bed in his cell, shackles tied around his ankles, he watches a video recording of the imprisoned New Mutant Sally “Skids” Blevins who, along with her unconscious boyfriend Rusty Collins was liberated by the terrorist faction known as the Mutant Liberation Front. ‘What’s it gonna be?’ the scythe-wielding Reaper asked Skids. ‘We’re with you’ the pretty blonde replied amongst all the confusion as guards fired at her. Reaper ordered Zero to open up a teleport. ‘Yeah, we’re coming. If we stay here, we’re as good as dead!’ Skids exclaimed.

Three members of the government sponsored Freedom Force stand behind Cable, and Crimson Commando tells Cable that they have reason to believe the Mutant Liberation Front, Rusty Collins and Sally Blevins were working in concert. One of Cable’s eyes flashes as he replies ‘You have reason to go to the Devil!’ Commando ignores that comment and reminds Cable that Freedom Force found him, temporarily paralyzed in a government facility where he had no clearance, not to mention his bionic arm was melted to a stump.

Cable replies that is just an inconvenience, and adds that he can repair what he created. Pyro suggests that perhaps it was a set up, or an internecine dispute, and asks Cable if he is working with the MLF also. ‘you know what I stand for, Pyro. You know my record’ Cable declares, to which the Crimson Commando points out is mostly off the record, top secret operations before Cable went rogue. ‘And you went rogue a long time ago!’ Cable declares that he did not start the fight with certain elements of their government, to which Pyro points out that he did his best to finish it, and the obese Blob remarks that if those “elements” knew they had Cable, they might ask Freedom Force to make it really painful for him.

Commando tells Blob to be quiet, pointing out that threats of physical violence will not move Cable. Commando then turns to Cable and informs him that tritium is missing from several energy research stations, including the ones the Mutant Liberation Front blew up. Cable replies that tritium is a radioactive element used in the manufacturing of hydrogen bombs. ‘It is and we want it back!’ Commando exclaims. Cable declares that he is not working with the MLF, ‘As you geniuses have already figured out’. Cable adds that nor were Skids and Rusty, innocent kids who Freedom Force tried to frame. Cable then asks what it is Freedom force wants from Skids, or from him. Pyro doesn’t answer the question, instead he warns Cable to work with Freedom Force, or be destroyed as a member of the MLF.

Suddenly, Mystique, Freedom Force’s leader appears on a large monitor, informing her team that X-Factor’s Ship has just landed in New York, and orders them to report for a meeting, immediately. Freedom Force lumber away from Cable, and the Blob suggests to Cable that he think over their offer, adding that they will be in touch. Crimson Commando remarks that X-Factor will not be pleased at what has happened to their charges in their absence, to which the Blob mutters that X-Factor shouldn’t have gone off them, though he is glad they are back, ‘Gives us another chance to kick their goody-goody butts!’

Cable examines his repaired bionic hand and decides that it is as good as new, which is great as he is going to need it, as he means to stop the MLF, now, more than ever, and save Skids and Rusty from them if he can. Cable is relieved that he will not have to ally himself with Freedom Force, for in their own way, they are as twisted as the MLF. However, Cable does not want to court failure by going up against the MLF alone….

Meanwhile, in Manhattan, Warlock flies towards Ship in the form of a raft, carrying his friends and teammates in the New Mutants on himself. ‘This is fantastic!’ Tabitha “Boom-Boom” Smith exclaims, throwing her arms in the air. Rictor a.k.a. Julio Richter is equally pleased to see his old headquarters, ‘X-Factor’s home!’ he exclaims. Sam “Cannonball” Guthrie remarks to his best friend Bobby “Sunspot” DaCosta that, for Boom-Boom and Rictor, this is home, but since the New Mutants’ school was destroyed, he has felt rather lost. ‘As if we were orphans in the storm, Sam? Perhaps we are,. Life with the Professor seems like centuries ago’ Bobby replies.

Suddenly, Archangel flies from Ship, and Rictor calls out to him, ‘It’s us! We’re back!’ he cries, but Archangel does not acknowledge the younger mutant. Rahne “Wolfsbane” Sinclair wonders where the former X-Man is flying too so quickly and points out that he didn’t even stop to say hello. Rictor asks Warlock to turn them around, pointing out that the rest of X-Factor is on the ground below, in the middle of what looks like a press conference. Warlock shifts his form into a slide so that the New Mutants can slide to the ground, the alien teammate suggests that they go down and add their two cents worth. Rictor leads the way, calling out to Scott “Cyclops” Summers and Jean Grey a.k.a. Marvel Girl, asking them where they have been.

Soon, in a rush of explanation…Rahne goes over to Cyclops and Jean, and adds that after leaving Asgard they came home and fought some Atlanteans underwater. Scott smiles and remarks that they have been busy then, ‘Oh yes! But, Jean…may I hold the sweet wee bairn?’ Rahne asks, before Jean passes her the child. The Beast picks Boom-Boom up in his arms and exclaims that X-Factor has been gone so long that even Tabby looks good to him. ‘I love you too, Hank’ Tabby mutters. Cyclops turns to Sunspot and asks where Mirage is. Bobby replies that Dani stayed in Asgard, and informs him that it is a long story which they will tell him later, before informing him that when the New Mutants were snatched and taken to Asgard, Skids and Rusty were left on Liberty Island, surrounded by Freedom Force, and noting that they are not here, Bobby tells Cyclops that they were hoping their teammates would be here.

Back in Washington at the federal facility, Cable moans on his bed, and two guards go over to him, asking him what the matter is. Cable replies that he has a fever and hopes it was nothing more, as he was exposed to a plague in Madripoor. ‘Plague? We’ve got to do something!’ one of the guards exclaims, adding that Cable is a legend, and that he never thought he would have the honor of guarding him. Cable suddenly chokes, and the guard exclaims that they cannot let him die.

The second guard suggests that it is probably a trick, but Cable’s fan points out that Cable has been searched for weapons and is shackled, while they have guns, so how can it be a trick? Suddenly, Cable swings around and through a straw shoots something at his supportive guard, which hits him in the neck. Cable then breaks open a small vial of acid and melts his shackles off. The second guard is shocked, but Cable lunges at him, smacking him over, he tells the guard that he has good instincts and should follow them next time, and if he does, his prisoners will stay. Cable on the other hand, makes a run for it.

Back aboard X-Factor’s Ship, the New Mutants and X-Factor are watching some news recordings. Rictor exclaims that this news stinks, and Cannonball agrees, upset that Freedom Force was beating up Skids and Rusty and accused them of freeing criminals. Boom-Boom remarks that even Freedom Force cannot believe that, to which Rictor suggests that Freedom Force doesn’t believe that, they just like hurting people and helping themselves. A shot of the Blob pummeling Rusty appears on screen and the Beast tells Rictor that his comment is very astute, before announcing that there have been other developments.

The Beast goes on to say that several days after Skids and Rusty were arrested, an energy research center was destroyed by a terrorist bomb, and this warning was received: “We are the Mutant Liberation Front. Our demands are simple. Free the captive mutants known in the press as Rusty and Skids! Because for every day they remain captive, another false symbol of your human prosperity and liberty for all will be destroyed!’

‘All right! Somebody’s doing something!’ Rictor exclaims, ‘Somebody’s looking out for our guys even when we can’t!’ Wolfsbane agrees and remarks that she hopes they teach Freedom Force a lesson, when suddenly Iceman throws snowballs at them, ‘Hey, hot-heads! Cool down and get real!’ he exclaims, before telling the now cold Rictor and Rahne to think about what they are saying - ‘The MLF are terrorists, guys. They have no right to destroy property and lives…even if we might agrees with their goals….at least in this one case’.

Rahne replies that they understand, but that it still isn’t right - how can they let Freedom Force get away with what they have done? Cyclops declares that can’t and won’t, adding that Freedom Force was never long on brains, and that they may not have thought through the ramifications of their actions, ‘But they’re going to find out!’ Scott contacts Freedom Force, but on a large monitor, a receptionist informs him that Freedom Force is in a meeting and cannot be disturbed, though she asks if she can take a message.

‘Tell them Cyclops of X-Factor called!’ Scott informs the receptionist, adding that Freedom Force has arrested two of X-Factor’s wards in an illegal and brutal manner, on what they believe to be trumped charges. ‘Tell them we want them back safe and sound. Or we go to the law…and the press!’ Rictor mutters that he still thinks the New Mutants should forget this diplomatic garbage and kick Freedom Force’s collective butts, to which the Beast reminds him that Freedom Force is a duly appointed policing operation, working on behalf of the federal government. ‘Incredible, but true’ Hank adds, before suggesting that, to avoid any further hot water, unless Freedom Force directly attacks the New Mutants, they are not to confront them. Cannonball replies that they understand, but it doesn’t mean they like it.

Back in Washington, Mystique tells Blob, Pyro, Crimson Commando and Super Sabre that they have heard X-Factor’s message - ‘They want the Collins boy and Sally Blevins!’ Blob declares that is tough, as they don’t have them anymore, the MLF took them Lord knows where. Mystique reminds her squad that part is no public knowledge, to which Pyro suggests they tell Cyclops that the MLF is a threat to X-Factor as well. Crimson Commando replies that he doesn’t think that would be wise, as they do not want that information going public, as it implies a weakness in their organization.

Suddenly, a guard rushes into the room, and addressing Mystique as “Commander”, announces that he tried to phone her, but that the lines were severed, ‘He took out his guards…he stole their guns…’ Blob asks the guard who he is talking about, to which Mystique snarls ‘Cable!’ and tells Freedom force to come along, adding that they should have finished him when they had the chance.

Just outside the room, Cable is crouched behind a corner and watches Freedom Force rush out of the room, down the hall like a pack of hounds hot on the scent - except the scent is cold now! The Blob wonders how Cable got loose, as he was shackled good. Cable thinks to himself that now the fox is hunting Freedom Force, and lunges at Pyro, smashing him to the ground. The Blob turns to Pyro, asking him if he locked the shackles, only to see Cable standing over his teammate.

Blob remarks that Cable may have tricked Pyro, but that it will not work on him. The obese mutant adds that guns will not do Cable any good either, as bullets bounce right off him. ‘I’m gonna smash you into scrap metal…and whatever it is you’re busy doing, it ain’t gonna save you!’ the Blob bellows as he rushes over to Cable, who explains that he has appropriated Pyro’s flame thrower, as Pyro will not be needing it. ‘I’ll find it more than useful!’ Cable declares as he aims Pryo’s flame thrower at the Blob, while remarking that the Blob may be invulnerable to impact, but clearly not to flame, like Cable suspected.

The Blob screams, before lunging for Cable and claiming that he can take anything thrown at him, that the flames just stunned him. ‘That’s all I needed, tubbo!’ Cable replies, insulting the Blob as he bursts through a window, landing several stories down on some grass below. Blob radios to Mystique, informing her that Cable has escaped with a gun and has taken out Pyro. Cable picks up his large gun and begins blasting the Blob, who mutters that Cable is not shy about using his weapon, either, before Cable rushes off.

Back in Manhattan, aboard X-Factor’s Ship, which has once more becoming a towering skyscraper. Cannonball is talking on the telephone to his mother, Guthrie family matriarch, Lucinda, assuring her that he is getting plenty to eat, and that the food in Asgard was great. Rictor remarks to Wolfsbane that Sam’s mother seems cool about him having been in Asgard, to which Rahne suggests that once you accept the idea you have a son who can fly, nothing surprises you.

Warlock has transformed himself into a work-out bench and weights, where the scantily-clad Sunspot is working out. Cannonball is answering his mother’s questions, replying that he met a lot of interesting people and that it was exciting. Rahne informs Rictor that Mrs. Guthrie believes that their lives with the New Mutants are educational, adding that she doesn’t think Mrs. Guthrie realizes how dangerous some of their missions really are. Warlock asks Sunspot if he will call his mother and father next, to which Bobby replies ‘Don’t make me laugh, Warlock!’ and remarking that his mother is away on another expedition.

Bobby’s voice trails off when he remarks about calling his father, as Boom-Boom enters the room, ‘You’ve changed!’ he exclaims, gape-jawed, as is Cannonball as they look upon their teammate who is now wearing a revealing skin-tight off-the-shoulders mini-dress, pink with a large white stripe through the middle, and small pink boots. Tabby replies that of course she has changed, remarking that she couldn’t stand to be in those clothes one second longer, before asking her teammates why they are all just hanging around, and if they aren’t glad to be home.

Sunspot approaches Tabby and replies ‘I am, if that’s what all the well-dressed ladies are wearing this season!’ Wolfsbane whispers to Rictor that Boom-Boom’s dress is almost shameful, to which Rictor points out that it is just Boom-Boom looking for attention, before calling out to his fellow former X-Terminator and informing her that the telephone is free if she wants to call home. ‘Nope! I ran away and I’m staying away!’ Tabby exclaims. Rahne asks Rictor if he is going to call anyone, to which Julio reveals that his mother is dead and his dad is too for all he knows, so he has no one to call.

Rahne remarks that Rictor is an orphan like her then, before informing him that Moira MacTaggert, a geneticist and Scottish royalty found her and realized that she was a mutant, and became her legal guardian. ‘It was the happiest day of my life!’ Rahne exclaims, holding up a photo of her foster mother and long time X-Men associate. Rictor tells Rahne that Moira looks nice, looks pretty, ‘Kind of like you’. Rahne gushes and exclaims ‘Not at all like me, though it is sweet of you to say!’ Rahne then informs Julio that Moira brought her to Professor Xavier’s school and she joined the New Mutants.

Wolfsbane goes on to say that the New Mutants are her family now, and tells Rictor that he hopes he will come to feel that they are his also. Julio smiles and replies that he supposes so, as Boom-Boom is already like a sister to him. Tabby overhears this, ‘Sister!’ she mutters crossly, while thinking to herself that she can’t believe Rictor didn’t even notice her new dress, and that he doesn’t even know she is alive anymore. ‘Since we got back from Asgard, all he can see is that…that…goody-two-shoes man-stealing, red-headed werewolf!’

Boom-Boom suddenly yells at Rictor from across the room that she wouldn’t be his sister even if she had been born that way, and the same goes for Wolfsbane too. Julio puts an arm around Rahne as he tells Boom-Boom to leave Rahne out of this, and that if she is mad at him, to have the guts to face him. ‘With pleasure!’ Tabby shouts as she tosses a time bomb at Rictor, which strikes him on the shoulder. Wolfsbane cries out, but Rictor tells her not to sweat it, as it is just a dud, for Tabby wouldn’t really hurt them. ‘Oh, wouldn’t I, Rictor? Don’t bet on it, chum!’ she exclaims as she marches over to Rictor.

Wolfsbane tells Boom-Boom that Rictor is right, she shouldn’t have been worried, as Boom-Boom is too smart for that, before remarking that her dress is ‘Really…darling’ on her. This surprises Tabby, who asks if they both really like it. ‘Not bad’ replies Rictor. ‘The white trash look must be in this year’. Boom-Boom throws her hands in the air and tells Julio that he is a fine one to lecture her about style, and informs him that his punk rocker scalp lock is last year’s fashion fiasco!

Rahne tells Boom-Boom and Rictor to hush, before asking Rictor to admit that Boom-Boom looks wonderful. Rahne adds that she would never have the nerve to wear a dress so revealing. Tabby thanks Rahne, before telling her that when she needs her help against this bozo Rictor she will ask for it, and until then, she can let the both of them fight it out in peace. However, Tabby secretly thinks to herself that Rahne wins this time, and that the funny thing is, Wolfsbane doesn’t even know that a contest has been going on. However, Tabby wonders if perhaps Rahne is aware of what is going on, as she acts so sweet, but there is a saying about a wolf in sheep’s clothing, ‘Because no one can be so darn dense!’

Meanwhile, in Washington, the ground briefly shakes as the massive Blob jumps out the window Cable smashed through, and begins to follow the mercenary into the nearby forest, shouting that he is coming for him, as an aerial leap cannot hurt him anymore than it hurt Cable. A few feet ahead, Cable thinks to himself that the Blob should just give it up, when suddenly Super Sabre speeds towards Cable, despite the Blob calling out to him, telling him not to.

Cable thinks to himself that speed is clearly not the Blob’s forte, and that the only reason he has got so close to him is because he has let him. Cable thinks that the Blob needs to wake up and smell the coffee, ‘It’s a trap - and I’m the bait!’ The Blob cries out to Super Sabre again, informing him that there is a wire up ahead and that he will hit it at super speed and lose his head! Super Sabre manages to slow down just in time so that the wire just strikes his neck, though blood does begin to flow from a wound. Super Sabre thanks Blob while pointing in the direction of Cable and exclaiming that he tried to kill him.

The Blob replies that Cable set him up to see the wire, and angrily begins declaring that Cable is toying with them, the cocky son-of-a-gun. The Blob points out that Cable knows that Freedom Force are Uncle Sam’s mutant cops, and Cable is no cop killer. ‘Last thing he wants is for one of us to die and bring the government down on his head!’ Blob remarks that Cable is heading for the chopper pad, and so far he is winning, before boasting that Cable’s live-and-let-live attitude is going to be the death of him. ‘Sure as my name is Fred J. Dukes!’

Back aboard Ship, Rahne’s trans-Atlantic call has finally gone through, and Dr. Moira MacTaggert appears on the monitor. Rahne and the other New Mutants stand before the screen, and Rahne remarks that Moira looks different. Rahne points out that it is her hair, before noticing the rather raunchy leather outfit, ‘Such…odd clothes’ Rahne adds. ‘Whoa! This babe looks a lot better than her photo!’ Boom-Boom remarks to Cannonball and Sunspot. Bobby tells Boom-Boom to be quiet, and exclaims that is not the Moira he remembers, and asks Sam what he thinks. Sam replies that he isn’t sure, and suggests that perhaps Moira has been sick or something, to which Bobby jokes ‘If that woman is sick, get me to the nearest hospital! I didn’t know she had it in her!’

Rahne smiles before informing Moira that she isn’t calling for anything too urgent, and that she just wanted to tell her where she has been and that she is well. Rahne remarks that Magneto has left them and the school was destroyed, but that X-Factor has taken them in so they are in good care. Rahne adds that she met the wolf-prince in Asgard again, and that she learned his name this time! Rahne informs Moira that Hrimhari has two forms, and shifts to demonstrate, a half-wolf form like she has, and also a full wolf form, but that he cannot be a human at all. Rahne adds that is funny, for in some ways he seems so human.

Moira narrows her eyes and replies ‘Funny, perhaps, my girl. But not an acceptable state of affairs - this jaunting through dimensions unsupervised for any ward of mine! You must come home to Muir Island - at once!’ This shocks Rahne, to tells Moira that she doesn’t understand, and that she doesn’t want to go home, as this is her home now, with Bobby and Sam and Rictor. ‘I want to stay here now!’ Moira replies that she understands better than Rahne could know, and remarks that X-Factor is in no position to watch over her properly. The Nobel-winning scientist adds that X-Factor cannot educate Rahne as a ward of hers should be educated, as she is not in a school environment like she was with Charles and Magneto.

Moira adds that she also does not approve of Rahne living in an urban environment and announces that she is coming tomorrow to bring Rahne back to Scotland, and warns her to be ready to leave immediately as she arrives. ‘No, I cant! I wont! The New Mutants are my family!’ Rahne pleads. ‘And I am your legal guardian, child, and must do for you as I see best. You will come home’. With that, Moira cuts the signal and is gone. Rictor puts a hand on Rahne’s shoulder, seeing that Rahne is distressed. ‘She just broke off the transmission! She’s never done anything like that before!’ Rahne exclaims, before remarking that Moira sounded so cold and forbidding, not like herself at all. ‘Doesn’t she understand I’m not the child I was anymore? I cannot go back!’ Rahne declares, before telling Rictor that she doesn’t want to go back to Scotland, that she wants to stay here, ‘How can Moira do this to me?’

Meanwhile, Cable is making his escape still, approaching the chopper, though the Blob is not far behind him, warning Cable that he cannot hide from them, that they will find him. Cable enters the chopper and takes off as Mystique and Crimson Commando arrive on the scene, while Cable fires some warning shots at the ground in front of them. Crimson Commando remarks that you have to admit, Cable has style. ‘So has Khadafi - but that’s no reason to cozy up to him!’ Mystique snaps, reminding her team that Cable knows too much about them and their organization. ‘Get after him, Commando, at all costs - I want him stopped!’

Characters Involved: 

Boom-Boom, Cannonball, Rictor, Sunspot, Warlock, Wolfsbane (all New Mutants)


Dr. Moira MacTaggert

Archangel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Marvel Girl (all X-Factor)

Nathan Christopher Summers


Blob, Crimson Commando, Mystique, Pyro, Super Sabre (all Freedom Force)

Guards at the medical facility


Camera crews and reporters

On Television Recording:

Skids (member of the New Mutants)

Reaper & Zero (both members of the Mutant Liberation Front)

Prison Guard

On Recording:

Rusty (member of the New Mutants)

Blob (member of Freedom Force)

In Photograph:

Dr. Moira MacTaggert

Story Notes: 

Skids and Rusty were liberated by the Mutant Liberation Front in New Mutants (1st series) #87.

Skids is incorrectly referred to as “Skids Blevins” twice in this issue. Her real name is of course Sally. It is rather strange that this error occurs when Louise Simonson wrote the issue and is Skids’ creator, but it is interesting to note that this is a frequent error during Rob Liefeld’s tenure on the book.

Freedom Force found Cable at the government facility off-panel in the pages of New Mutants (1st series) #87, where earlier Reaper had paralyzed him and Strobe and melted his bionic arm.
The Mutant Liberation Front blew up energy research stations in New Mutants (1st series) #86-87.
The New Mutants and X-Men’s home was destroyed by Mr. Sinister in Uncanny X-Men #243, and the New Mutants discovered it in ruins in New Mutants (1st series) #75.

Archangel flies away so quickly due to events taking place in X-Factor (1st series) #51.

The New Mutants fighting Atlanteans that Wolfsbane refers to takes place in New Mutants (1st series) Annual #5, which occurs between New Mutants (1st series) #87 and #88. The annual is also part of the Marvel line-wide cross over, “Atlantis Attacks”.

Mirage remained in Asgard in New Mutants (1st series) #87 to right the wrongs that Hela committed in the name of the Valkyries.

The New Mutants sans Skids and Rusty were transported to Asgard by Dr. Strange (though they do not know that) in New Mutants (1st series) #78.

Moira MacTaggert encountering Wolfsbane can be seen in Marvel Graphic Novel #4.

Super Sabre is incorrectly called Silver Sabre this issue.

Mirage is dropped from the cover corner box this issue as she remained in Asgard in New Mutants (1st series) #87.

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