New Mutants (1st series) #94

Issue Date: 
October 1990
Story Title: 
Lethal Weapons

Louise Simonson (Writer), Rob Liefeld (Penciler), Hilary Barta (Inker), Joe Rosen (Letterer), Brad Vancata (Colorist), Suzanne Gaffney (Assistant Editor), Bob Harras (Editor), Tom DeFalco (Editor-in-Chief)

Brief Description: 

In Madripoor, Wolverine and Cable battle it out, until Sunspot, Rictor and Wolfsbane stop them, though only to learn that Cable and Wolverine were battling for fun, and that the two have a mysterious past together. Meanwhile, Cannonball, Boom-Boom, Warlock and Sunfire are being held prisoner, with Dragoness antagonizing them, boasting that after the major capitals in the world find their water systems polluted tonight, the world will listen to and bow down to Stryfe. Cannonball tricks Dragoness, who kisses him, unaware that in the process he steals a key card from her, which he can use to free him and the others. Boom-Boom argues with Sam about why he kissed Dragoness, before kissing Sam herself. Both are impressed. Stryfe however is not when he learns that the New Mutants and Sunfire have escaped, before he orders Sumo and Kamikaze to prepare the poison for transfer. Cannonball and his team engage some soldiers in battle, before managing to convince one of them where Stryfe is keeping his supply of poison. At the same time, Wolverine, Cable and the other New Mutants break into a warehouse where the poison is being kept. The two groups are reunited, and engage Stryfe, Dragoness, Sumo and Kamikaze in battle, until Rictor causes Dragoness to fall into the crates holding the poison, which sets them alight, and a fire spreads. The New Mutants, Cable, Wolverine and Sunfire manage to escape, but Stryfe and the MLF assassins are unaccounted for. Cable doubts that Stryfe has been killed, and Boom-Boom wonders how they will find Skids and Rusty if Stryfe is dead, to which Cable promises her they will begin looking for Skids and Rusty.

Full Summary: 

Wolverine and Cable. The first is a mutant, born with an altered genetic structure that gives him more-than-human powers. The other, is a man shrouded in mystery. Here in Madripoor, the two powerful men are locked in a battle from which the death of one, or the other, can be the only result. Wolverine a.k.a. the Logan of the X-Men has gifts including animal sharp senses and reactions, plus a healing factor that makes him almost indestructible - and which has enabled his body to accept the implants of adamantium steel that lace his bones, and lethal claws that burst through from housings in his wrists.

Cable's gifts are less specific, but no less impressive. Cable's cunning and bravery are as prodigious as his speed, endurance and strength. He is among the best at everything he does, and in his short time as leader of the New Mutants, he has convinced his young charges that he does everything well. Wolverine lunges at Cable, who blocks the stocky X-Man by smacking him in the neck with his spiked cuffs, while three of the aforementioned New Mutants - Julio Richter a.k.a. Rictor, Bobby DaCosta a.k.a. Sunspot and Rahne Sinclair a.k.a. Wolfsbane - can only watch and await the outcome of the fight with looks of horror on their faces.

However, this is a clash of the titans, a battle that the New Mutants would have given their eye-teeth to witness. If only it wasn't happening here and now, at a time when the world is in desperate need of all their strength and co-operation - and if only both men were not their friends. Cable forces Wolverine back, knocking him into some wooden crates at the back of the alley. Logan tells Cable that it was a good move, using his momentum against him, before suggesting that he doesn't get too cocky, ˜Cause I wont even need my claws to finish you!' Wolverine boasts as he retracts his lethal weapons

Wolverine rushes over to Cable and smacks him hard in the face, to which Cable reciprocates by smashing Wolverine with his bionic arm, telling Wolverine that if he thinks his fists alone can stop him, then he is even more stupid than he looks. "Bad move, bub - you insulted me!" Wolverine exclaims, ready to make his next move.

Meanwhile, not far away, remaining New Mutants Tabby Smith a.k.a. Boom-Boom, Sam Guthrie a.k.a. Cannonball, the alien Warlock, and their ally one-time X-Man Shiro Yashida a.k.a. Sunfire are captives of the terrorist faction known as the Mutant Liberation Front. The deadly assassin known as Dragoness has been left to watch her prisoners.

Strung up above the ground by chains, Boom-Boom tells the winged Dragoness that the New Mutants know what the MLF has got planned, that the MLF is going too poison the water supplies of the world's capitals as they think it is going to bring world attention to the plight of mutants everywhere. Cannonball tells Dragoness that it is crazy, for killing people is not going to help mutant kind in any way. The sultry Dragoness asks the New Mutants how they plan to stop the MLF while trapped in stasis beams, before admitting that their interference in the MLF's affairs has caused them some difficulty, though it will not stop their mission. "The bigotry of humans will be returned upon them!"

"Our leader, Stryfe, believes in an eye for an eye! Hatred for hatred!" Dragoness exclaims as she tells the New Mutants that they have forced Stryfe to step up his agenda, revealing that they will leave tonight, to deploy the drug, and after that, the world will listen to the political manifesto of the Mutant Liberation Front. Cannonball is surprised by the revelation that the poisoning will take place tonight, and asks what the MLF's manifesto is. Sam points out that they are all mutants and that if the MLF is going to kill people in his name, he would really like to know why.

This intrigues Dragoness, who asks Cannonball why he is so interested, before declaring that she believes Cannonball is sorry that she shall be leaving him, and calling him handsome, places a kiss on his lips, before turning and making her way out of the room, adding that she thinks now he will miss her even more, and promising Sam that when she returns, they can discuss Stryfe's plan in more depth.

Boom-Boom frowns and tells Sam to get that goofy look off his face, before asking him "What's with you, flirting with the scaled nightmare anyway? She's a killer!" Gazing longingly, Sam replies "A killer ... with lips a man could die for!" Boom-Boom is shocked, "Lips? Is that all men think about? Sheesh! Are you insane? People are gonna die - tonight!" Tabby exclaims, before suggesting that perhaps Dragoness hypnotized Sam, "Besides, she probably gave you rabies!" Tabby adds. "Rabies huh? You really think so? A beautiful girl like that?" Sam asks.

Boom-Boom is shocked, "Beautiful? Man I gotta snap you out it ... what can I do ... except this?" Tabby exclaims, before telling Sam that if he thinks Dragoness is so great, "Let me show you how a real woman kisses!" Sam is wide-eyed as Boom-Boom kisses him on the lips, before Tabby pulls away and tells Sam that he never told her he could kiss like that. Sam replies that she never asked, before pointing out that he never meant to evoke quite that reaction from her, before explaining that he was not as dazzled by Dragoness as he looked, that it was a trick.

Sam explains that it was his discussions with Cable about "down and dirty strategy" that sparked the idea, and now it seems to have paid off. "What worked?" Boom-Boom asks, to which Sam grins and reveals that he stole the key card from Dragoness' headdress when she was kissing him. "Then you were so steamed, I couldn't resist!" Sam jokes. "Teasing me?!" Tabby shouts, while thinking to herself that Sam is a creep, but she did take the bait after all, but she is glad she did, and gets them impression that Sam is too. Tabby thinks to herself that she never thought Sam could be so underhanded - or so awesome!

Sunfire tells Warlock that Cannonball is actually quite smart, to which the alien Warlock asks Sunfire why he is so surprised, as the New Mutants have been trained by Xavier, Magneto and Cable. Cannonball tells Sunfire that the New Mutants aren't exactly novices, before holding up the key card he stole from Dragoness and suggesting that they get out of here.

Outside, the fight which has lasted mere minutes seems to the New Mutants to have gone on for hours. So far, the young heroes have not entered the fray for fear of alerting Stryfe's sentinels who patrol this area. But as Wolverine lunges at Cable, and Cable smashes the long-time X-Man back, the New Mutants know that they must act quickly, before one of their heroes is dead. "For a guy who's already one arm already... you seem real eager to lose another!" Wolverine exclaims, claws barred as Cable holds him high in the air. "Brave speech, Logan, for a guy so near the end!" Cable replies, when suddenly, up above, Rictor tells Rahne that they have to stop Cable and Wolverine, and he knows how! Rictor then uses his powers to knock a large water tank from its fixture, down below, it crashes near Cable and Logan, and sends water pouring over them.

The three New Mutants rush towards the older heroes, who have been separated, and Sunspot remarks that it must have been tons of water and seems to have done the trick. Rahne asks what they are going to do now that the water has knocked them down - sit on them? Rictor replies that they can at least try, and don't let them up until they are willing to discuss their differences rationally.

Wolverine gathers himself and remarks that Cable has learned a few moves since they last met. "Been saving them up, just to surprise you" Cable replies, before telling Rictor that it is all right, that the fight is over - for now. Cable assures his charges that he and Wolverine did not mean to alarm them, and that such extreme measures will not be necessary. "They won't?" Rictor replies. Wolverine lights a cigar and remarks that Rictor seems disappointed, before asking him if he is really that eager to play shish-kabob.

Wolfsbane exclaims that she understands now - the fight wasn't real, they were just having a bit of fun, but she and the others were so worried about them. Logan tells Rahne that she is "half right", adding that the fight goes way back, and it is real enough. Wolverine reveals that he and Cable have been trying to come to a reckoning off and on for years, but that every time they get close to a reckoning, something like that deluge the New Mutants cooked up intervenes. "Ruined a perfectly good cigar, too!" Logan exclaims, tossing the cigar which is water logged to the ground, and asks Cable what he is doing in Madripoor. "Same as you, probably" Cable replies. "The Mutant Liberation Front plans to poison a lot of people". "And we plan to stop them!" Sunspot exclaims.

Not far away, a soldier informs Stryfe that the New Mutants have escaped. "You bring bad news, dog!" Stryfe replies, smacking the soldier hard in the face, before asking who the last person was to visit the prisoners. Kamikaze replies that Dragoness was, and begins to say that she would never set them free, but Stryfe interrupts, exclaiming that Dragoness will be punished. "As for Cable's young pups, send my soldiers to track them!" Stryfe orders. Kamikaze points out that ordinary soldiers will not be able to stop them, as they are good. Stryfe replies that it doesn't matter, and reminds Kamikaze that he and Sumo are needed for the dispersement of the poison, and that the soldiers are expendable, after all, they are merely human. Stryfe remarks that the pursuit will distract their former captives, and even if they escape, once the poison has been successfully deployed, Cable and his children will have no chance in stopping the MLF.

Nearby, Cannonball, Boom-Boom, Warlock and Sunfire are about to enter another corridor when Sam tells everyone to keep back, as someone is coming. "I hope they're hungry, cause those suckers are gonna eat time bomb!" Boom-Boom boasts. A group of warriors are making their way down the corridor, and one of them exclaims that he doesn't like this, as those mutants have proved themselves to be dangerous. Another agrees, before reminding his colleagues that for this assignment, Stryfe is paying them more than their yearly wage.

Sunfire exclaims that those assassins will walk into a sheet of nuclear-powered plasma, but Cannonball tells Sunfire to wait, as it is not the MLF's higher-ups, just some grunts, and tells Sunfire to back off, as this is the time for subtlety and secrecy - not noise and flame. Annoyed, Sunfire asks Cannonball who he thinks he is, ordering around a son of Japan. "I am not one of your team, and I will do as I see fit!" Before Sunfire can act though, Boom-Boom tells him that she understands where he is coming from, as she hates being bossed around also, before telling him that secrecy counts right now, and that if they manage to get to Stryfe and destroy this sleet drug, they could save millions of lives!

Sunfire steps back and tells Boom-Boom that she is right to remind him, Stryfe is the enemy, and the one he must slay to avenge those he slew testing his evil drug. Shiro turns to Cannonball and tells him that this time, they will do it his way. Sam asks Warlock if he is ready, and the alien replies that he is. Cannonball tells his teammate to take out the guards quietly and easily, but reminding him that if the plan doesn't work, to blow these suckers to kingdom come! Sam and Warlock round the corner and ambush the guards, some of whom Cannonball grabs as he blasts down the corridor, taking them with him.

Warlock grabs the soldiers by their throats and warns them that if they make a sound or give he and the New Mutants a moment of trouble, then Sunfire will ignite his hands as he has threatened - "And you will burn!" Sunfire and Boom-Boom join the fray too, taking their opponents down without the loud use of their powers. Boom-Boom kicks one of the soldiers hard in the stomach and exclaims that it is a good thing Cable has been making them practice their martial arts, as it comes in real handy.

Sunfire has his hands around the neck of one soldier and backs him up against as wall, ordering him to take them to the place where Stryfe has stored his poison so that they can destroy it. The guard replies that he dares not to, as Stryfe would torture him, kill him. "And do you think that I will not?" Sunfire asks angrily, before declaring, for the last time, "Do as I command, silently and swiftly!" Sunfire brings his hands up over the soldier's face, warning him that if he makes a single sound, gives them a moment of trouble, then he will ignite his hand, "And you will burn!"

Meanwhile, on the roof of Stryfe's warehouse, Cable, Wolverine and the three New mutants crouch silently, when suddenly, there is a beeping, and Wolverine announces that the Cerebro unit is registering mutants down below. "Ours?" Cable asks. "Won't know till we look!" Logan replies, before leaping through the skylight window. Glass shatters everywhere as Logan drops into the warehouse. "Are you insane?" Cable asks as he follows. "What happened to stealth?" Claws ready, Wolverine points out that they wanted to get in, now they are.

The New Mutants soon follow, and landing in the warehouse are reunited with their teammates. "So you beat us here!" Wolverine remarks to Sunfire and the others. "Of course" Sunfire replies, adding that they managed to get this soldier of Stryfe's to lead them here, where the drug is stored, which Stryfe will later use to contaminate the water supplies of all the major capitals in the world. Cable exclaims that many of these crates hold explosives, meaning this warehouse is a cache of weapons, before pointing out that other creates are unmarked, thousands of them, and they have no way of knowing which ones will hold the sleet.

Rictor declares that they better find out, and Boom-Boom reminds exclaims that Stryfe is planning to transport the drug tonight, before seeing Stryfe, Dragoness, Sumo and Kamikaze enter the room and shouts that it looks like their time just ran out. Stryfe asks where Zero is, as he should have been here by now to transport the poison, when Sumo quickly alerts Stryfe to their foes up ahead.

Cable comes face to face with his foe, "You've ruined enough innocent lives, mister!" he exclaims, "You'll die before I let you slaughter more!" Cable quickly draws a weapon and begins firing at Stryfe, who just stands there as the bullets bounce from him, boasting that bullets till not stop him, nothing will stop him. Stryfe then calls to the MLF and orders them to rid him of these obstructions of their power and noble plan.

"As you wish, my master!" Sumo exclaims, grinning as his obese form drops down towards Boom-Boom, which Warlock sees, and realizes that Sumo will crush her, but remembering his lessons in strategy from Cable, Warlock shifts his alien form into a large net, capturing Sumo's massive form. Warlock calls out to Sunspot, asking him to use his strength like David in the Bible, where Sumo is the goliath to be felled. Bobby remarks that Warlock gives a convoluted explanation, but that he gets the idea, and begins to stretch the Warlock-net ass far as he can, then suddenly lets go, "The bigger they are, the farther they fly!" Bobby exclaims as Sumo is thrown out of the warehouse rooftop.

In the air, Cannonball flies over to Kamikaze and smacking him in the face, tells him the bad news: "I'm invulnerable as long as I keep blasting!" Sam explains that the impact of Kamikaze's explosion will not faze him, but he knows his fists can faze Kamikaze. Wolverine unsheathes his claws while Wolfsbane calls out to him and Cable, remarking that when Stryfe showed them the poison earlier, she caught its scent, and informs them that the box she is next to reeks of the poison."Good going!" Wolverine exclaims as he slashes the box open, asking Wolfsbane if she can find another.

Cable tells Wolverine to keep going and destroy that garbage while he takes care of Stryfe. Seeing Stryfe approach him from behind, Cable tells the armor-clad villain that he is nothing but a terrorist, a murderer of women and children. Stryfe asks what he cares for human women and children. Stryfe asks Cable if he, who is so proud of his intellectual superiority, doesn't know what humans are doing in places like Genosha. "They will do to all of us in time, unless we stop them!" Cable smacks Stryfe hard, while Stryfe exclaims that humans will never give them what they want unless they force the humans' hand!

Cable tells Stryfe to save his speeches for the fools who follow him, "You hide a lust for power behind fine-sounding phrases ... and humans aren't your only victims!" Cable exclaims. "My victims are all who oppose me" Stryfe bellows as Cable smacks him hard across the warehouse.

Overhead, Sunfire once again confronts Dragoness, flame against flame. The winged Dragoness tells Sunfire to admit it, powerful as he is, he cannot stand against her, as he is too cautious. Rictor is on the ground below and thinks to himself that Dragoness is right, Sunfire is holding back. Rictor decides to use his powers on Dragoness, to vibe her out of the sky and take her out once and for all. He does, and with fear, Dragoness slams into the crates below as she hits the ground. Sunfire calls Rictor a fool, â"Our power is fire! I was cautious for a reason, which now you understand!" Shiro exclaims as flames begin to spread through the warehouse.

Rictor rushes for safety, thinking that he does understand now, there are boxes of explosives here, if ... when... one of them catches fire... his thoughts trail off before calling out to Cannonball, "I blew it - big time - trouble! Fire!" Sam replies that he understands and tells Rictor to grab the others and get out of here. Sam swoops down and grabs hold of Cable who is standing over the motionless body of Stryfe. Sam then gets a hold of Wolverine, and apologizes for doing so, before pointing out that the whole place is going to blow sky high!

The New Mutants, Wolverine, Cable and Sunfire regroup on the dock and watch as the warehouse explodes in a blaze so horrific that no one inside could have possibly survived. Boom-Boom remarks that she hates to think of anyone trapped in there - even Stryfe! Sunspot points out that it is funny, for in a way, the New Mutants were the instruments of Stryfe's destruction, and yet this inferno and Stryfe's fall, were all caused by his own explosives.

Cable declares that if Stryfe has really fallen, he finds it hard to believe it was accomplished so easily. Boom-Boom reminds Cable that Stryfe captured Skids and Rusty, so if he is gone, how will they ever find their missing teammates? Cable replies that once the head is gone, the organization, the body tends to crumble, and promises Tabby that finding her friends will be next on the New Mutants agenda.

Characters Involved: 

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




Dragoness Kamikaze, Stryfe, Sumo (all Mutant Liberation Front)


Story Notes: 

Of course Stryfe, Dragoness, Sumo and Kamikaze do survive the explosion in the warehouse, and return to plague the New Mutants in the future.

Skids and Rusty were liberated by Stryfe in New Mutants (1st series) #87.

Of course finding Skids and Rusty gets put on the back burner as the New Mutants are next involved in the "X-Tinction Agenda" cross over with the X-Men and X-Factor. Skids and Rusty are not reunited with the New Mutants until during the "X-Cutioners Song" crossover.

In what was considered by some a rather tragic move, this issue pretty much marks the end of Louise Simonson's tenure at Marvel. (She does write the New Mutants issues of the "X-Tinction Agenda"). Louise Simonson who spent all of the 1980s working for Marvel, most notably as editor of Uncanny X-Men (with Chris Claremont as writer - the two are good friends), co-creator and writer of Power Pack, writer of X-Factor and New Mutants, and creator of countless characters, including Apocalypse, Skids, Cable, the Mutant Liberation Front, Rictor and, dare I say it, Bird-Brain. Wheezie, as Louise is also known as, was also responsible for transforming Angel into Archangel, and writing, alongside Claremont, the defining X-Men crossovers "Inferno", "X-Tinction Agenda" and "Fall of the Mutants".

Apparently, Louise Simonson and X-editor at the time, Bob Harras, did not have a very good relationship, and when Marvel found itself with some rather sought-after and popular artists, including New Mutants' Rob Liefeld, Harras believed that it was the artists who were selling the comics, and made the choice to give the artists as much power as he could - including co-plotting. While Liefeld claims that it never came down to a "it's her or me" choice, Louise Simonson soon left Marvel. It would seem that Chris Claremont had the same experience, and left soon after. However, former editor-in-chief at Marvel, Jim Shooter, speaks very highly of Louise. Liefeld also admits that he and Louise did not click, especially when it came to Cable. Interestingly, Louise wanted to call Cable "Commander X".

Louise Simonson would later return to Marvel briefly to write the short-lived M-Tech Warlock series, and is writing the upcoming Marvel Arcana Magik one-shot.

More information about Louise Simonson's departure can be found at the following links, which also include interviews with Liefeld and Jim Shooter.

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