New Mutants (2nd series) #6

Issue Date: 
December 2003
Story Title: 
(Just Like) One Of Us

Nunzio Defilippis & Christina Weir (Writers), Mark A. Robinson (Pencils), Pat Davidson & Scott Elmer (Inks), Avalon Studio‘s Ian Hannin (Colors), Virtual Calligraphy's Rus Wooton (Letters), Mackenzie Cadenhead (Assistant Editor), C.B. Cebulski (Editor), Joshua Middleton (Cover), Joe Quesada (Editor-In-Chief), Bill Jemas (President)

Brief Description: 

Under attack, these new mutants fight a gang of Donald Pierce’s Reavers. They hold their own in the battle, but are relieved when Shan aids them with possessing the minds of their attackers. Kevin Ford cries out after Pierce has viciously stabbed Laurie from behind. Rage consumes him and he takes off his gloves, attacking Pierce with his decaying ability. Fearing that he is going to far, Danielle shows him his worst fear, causing him to end his attack. Meanwhile Josh tries his newly discovered healing abilities on Laurie’s motionless body, with positive results. After some tension flies regarding Josh’s place with the Reavers, Sofia gets a chance to bond with her old friend Derek, whom the Reavers held captive.

At his home, Josh is jumped by his Reaver friends, as his parents look on and do nothing. This leaves him with only one option, the school where he believes freaks reside. At the school, the students are welcomed home, and Kevin quickly disappears. Danielle finds him in his room, packing. The recent situation was too much for him. Stressed out with recent events, Danielle decides she should leave as well, feeling she isn’t cut out for being a teacher. As she is packed and ready to go, Xavier gathers Josh, David, Laurie, and Sofia, and they choose Danielle as their advisor, someone to help them through rough spots. Danielle smiles, and realizes she has done good at the school, and decides to stay.

Full Summary: 

In a parking garage in New York City, Donald Pierce’s newest Reavers watch on as their partners are being taken down by these new mutants, whom they were supposed to be defeating. Running towards them, one Reaver tells his teammate they have to help their friends. His teammate worries about their prisoners, Derek and Walter Barrett, but he is told they are human, and that makes them not the target. Getting out of the van, Derek tells Mr. Barrett to leave quickly before they return. Walter tells him that he is to come with him. Derek reassures him he will be okay, he has to help Sofia. Walter throws his arms around in anger, telling him he will do no such thing, but he will stay with him and keep him safe. Derek looks at his long time employer, tells him to go to Hell, and runs towards the battle to help where he can.

Derek reaches the Reavers as they are about to attack the unsuspecting Sofia, and he punches one out. The other Reaver points his gun at Derek, as David yells for Sofia, pointing towards them. Suddenly the Reavers stop their attack, and place their hands in the air, surrendering. Sofia asks a confused David what is going on, as she sees Shan in the back ground. Holding possession of the Reavers minds, Shan assures them it’s okay now, the cavalry has arrived.

Elsewhere in the parking garage, Kevin Ford runs towards Donald Pierce. Pierce has just severely stabbed Kevin’s school mate, Laurie Collins, and blood trickles from her mouth. Kevin , too shocked to scream, mutters her name, as her tears flow from her eyes. Pierce drops her seemingly lifeless body on the pavement, and boasts the world has one less mutant to worry about, but what shall he do with Kevin? Kevin looks at him, the excitement and joy that was in his eyes hours before, gone, and tells Pierce he will do nothing, but die. Kevin grabs Pierce with his bare hands, and almost instantly his death touch begins breaking down Pierce’s coat.

Fallen on the ground, Pierce reaches out and calls to Josh for help. Josh has a panicked look on his face, trying to adjust to what’s going on. Danielle reaches the situation with fear, as Josh waves his hands over Laurie’s motionless body. Josh tells himself, he’s going to see if he can make this work again. Danielle rushes to Kevin, as he holds Pierce’s decaying face in his hands. Pierce’s body withers away as Kevin concentrates. Danielle grabs his arm, telling him to stop, it’s over.

A glow emerges from Josh’s hands as he tries to heal this injured mutant, as he recently did his friend Duncan. Kevin tells Danielle it will not be over until he’s dead. Laurie opens her eyes, and nervously greets Josh with a hi. Hi yourself, he says, amazed he actually did it again.
Danielle curses Kevin for not giving her a choice, as she touches both hands to her head, focusing her power. Kevin still clutching the decaying Pierce is shocked to suddenly see the face of Laurie. He lets go, as he sees Laurie decaying before his eyes. He lets go and looks up at Shan, David, Sofia, and Danielle who are staring down at him. He kneels on the ground, trying to take in what just happened. He apologizes saying he didn’t mean to.

Kevin looks down, and is shocked to find an injured Pierce, not Laurie. He then realizes it was Danielle’s illusion of Laurie, not the real thing. He apologizes to Danielle, for almost touching her. She throws his gloves at him, telling him to put the damn things on. She walks away from Kevin to check on Laurie, who is still slightly stunned, lying on the pavement. She thinks she’s okay, as Danielle tells her he has healed her. She puts her hand on her hips, and looks down at Josh. She sarcastically tells him he is probably waiting for a ‘thank you’. She informs him she came to New York to offer him enrolment at Xavier’s Institute. He stands up, pointing at her. He tells her he is not going to some mutie school. She smirks at him, asking why not, because he is a ”mutie”. He walks away from them, telling them he is not like them. He’s not a freak, and he’s not going to join their freak show.

Danielle turns to her former teammate and asks her if everything is now under control. Shan admits most of them got away. Danielle orders they have to get Pierce to a hospital and notify the police of what happened. Sofia and David confront their school mate asking if she is okay. Laurie still in shock over what happened tells them the boy healed her. She stares down at the rip in her shirt left by Pierce’s blade. David wonders why he would do that if he was one of the guys fighting against them? Derek calls out for Sofia, and Sofia runs leaping into hugging him. They catch their breath, sitting inside the now disbanded Reaver van, as Derek admits he needs to find another job. Sofia offers him to come to the school. He touches her face caringly and tells her while it would be nice, she is supposed to be starting a new life. She should spend her time now with kids her own age, and not him. She understands, and makes him promise to at least come to visit. He does hugging her.

In Queens, New York, Josh Foley makes down the sidewalk towards his home, hands in pockets still trying to figure out what happened. Three of his friends sit outside his porch waiting for him, as Duncan announces Pierce was right, even a mutie has a family. Josh looks saddened, and tells him not to call him that. Duncan tells him he is one, so why not. Josh sees his Mother and Father staring out their window watching. He asks if they could please not discuss this where they could see. Duncan admits it’s okay, they’ve already told his parents about him. Josh looks shocked at his friend, and reminds him they’ve been friends since the second grade. Duncan points angrily at him, and tells him no, he doesn’t even know Josh. He punches him hard in the jaw, and Josh’s face jerks back with blood spitting out. The three Reavers kick and beat him once he hits the ground, and in the middle of the chaos, Josh looks up at the window his parents are at. He reaches out for them, as the curtains close and they walk away.

At Xavier’s Institute, the mutants return home to find Xavier standing waiting with Leong, Nga, and a blonde older woman with glasses. It’s Laurie’s mother, who runs and hugs her, as Laurie assures her she’s fine. She introduces them to her friends David and Sofia, whom she is glad to meet. Laurie looks around and discovers Kevin is already gone. Xavier notices there is no new student with them, and asks Danielle about it. She looks down at the ground, as she admits he was working with Donald Pierce when his powers manifested. Xavier worries for the poor boy, but Danielle tells him she did make him an offer, and he knows where they are. Danielle informs him there is a bigger problem, that Kevin tried to kill Pierce, and she had to use her powers to stop him. Charles asks what fear did he see. Danielle tells him he saw himself killing Laurie. He asks how he is dealing with it, and she admits she doesn’t know. He tells him this is a traumatic experience and needs help through it, him being only a boy. She closes her eyes and thinks of what she has to do.

Inside Kevin’s room, he is quickly taking his clothes off their hangers, as Danielle appears in the doorway. She asks if they could talk, but he tells her she scared him. She apologizes for using her power on him, and she should have found another way to stop him. He knows she was right, and what she showed him was right. he admits he cannot stay at Xavier’s until he can control his power. She asks him what happens now, and he zips his bag, admitting he’s leaving. She sits on his bed, telling him she cannot force him to stay, but they can make this work here, it is a good place. Kevin looks ashamed, grabbing his bags he admits they cannot make it work. when he had his hands on Pierce, decaying him, it felt good to him. He walks out the door telling her he cannot be around people he might kill, like he did his father. Touching his shoulder, she tries one last time, as he pulls away, telling her goodbye. Danielle sits on his bed, head in her hands, dwelling on what happened.

Later, Sofia, Laurie, and Kevin sit outside the Institute. They lie on the grass as the beautiful night sky hangs overhead. David admits he didn’t know Laurie’s mother lived in town. Laurie picks some dandelions, admitting her mother moved here when she enrolled. She worries about her. Laurie blows the dandelion, as Sofia tells her she thinks it would be nice to have family live close by. Outside the fence they hear a familiar voice, asking to be let in. They approach the fence seeing Josh, and David reminds him he didn’t want to join their ”freak show”. Holding the bars of the fence, he tells that his friends attacked him. Walking away, David tells him bigots will do that. Angered, Josh reminds them he did save Laurie’s life, and now his parents have kicked him out, and he has nowhere to go. Sofia looks at him sympathetically.

Inside Kevin’s room, Xavier stand talking to Danielle, as two movers from Prime Movers company deliver some furniture. Danielle is sorry, but she couldn’t exactly force Kevin to stay. Xavier understands, this school must be a choice, and they can only trust that he will stay out of trouble. Danielle looks at the newly arrived furniture, guessing Xavier went to the trouble order all metal furniture for Kevin for nothing. He admits it’s never for nothing, and while mutations vary, it could come in useful for another student. Besides he may return someday, he hopes. Danielle looks down at the ground, and calling him Professor, admits she doesn’t want to recruit new students for him anymore. He looks at her reminding her of their agreement: she was going to call him Charles.

Inside the Danger Room, Danielle stands dressed in the basic original X Uniform, the belt she wore long ago to remind her of her family and heritage hangs on her hips. She stares angrily and prepared at her holographic opponent. Four different holograms of warriors, with varying weapons approach her. The first with spear lunges at her, point first. She quickly dodges to the side, grabbing the spear, and throws him off guard. She uses the spear on the next opponent who approaches with a battle mace. Knocking him down, she drives the spear into the ground, and leaps kicking the next target. As the final warrior approaches, the simulation freezes. Danielle yells up to the control panel, telling whoever stopped the sequence she is in the middle of something. That’s why she reserved this time in the Room. Shan’s voice calls down, admitting that’s how she found her. She asks if she is trying to work something out. Frustrated her session was interrupted, she admits maybe. She wasn’t finished, she announces, she tells Shan to either get in there with her, or just leave her alone.

The Danger Room door opens, as Shan walks in wearing a beautiful black dress. Shan reminds her the Danger Room is for training, not for therapy. Danielle throws the spear down, snapping she’s multi-tasking. She orders the room’s computer to restart the sequence with two additional warriors. Shan looks at her troubled friend as Danielle prepares for the holographic attack. She admits she only came to talk, what happened with Kevin was not her fault. Cracking the jaw of the closest fighter, Danielle tells her if she says so. Continuing her attack with a knee to the stomach, Danielle confesses she’s leaving. She’s a warrior, not a teacher. Dodging her own attacker, just missing his blade, Shan sarcastically jabs her friend, telling her that’s constructive, just run and sulk.

Danielle, holding her opponent in a head-lock, orders the computer to freeze the program. She tosses her opponent, asking why she’s on her case. Shan reminds her she is her friend, who packed her bags, and dragged her siblings here because of Danielle, she cannot bail on her now. Frustrated, Danielle looks to the sky, resuming the program. Shan orders it to stop once more. Admitting things didn’t work out with Kevin, Shan asks about the others. She informs her Josh showed up. She has a gift, Shan admits, people listen to her, they did back when they were students here. The kids need her, she tells Dani, reaching out for her friend. Danielle turns her back, the words of her friend shown by the upset look on her face. She walks out, telling her there are plenty of teachers here, they’ll be fine without her.

Sitting at his desk, David Alleyne reads. His bed is neatly made and jazz posters hang on the wall. There is a knock at the door, and when he opens it he finds Josh standing awkwardly. Josh informs him, he is his new roommate. David sarcastically replies wonderful, sitting back down to continue reading. Josh admits he doesn’t have much stuff, so he will not have to worry about space. Sitting on his new bed he asks what they do in this town? David looks up from his book, and asks if this is supposed to be the part where they become friends just because they were made roommates. Josh asks if he thinks this is easy for him, he just lost his family and his friends beat the crap out of him. David notices he looks fine to him, but Josh reminds him that he is a healer. Josh admits he doesn’t know what to do, his whole life he has been the popular one, always picking on the people who are different. David stands up from his chair angered, getting in Josh’s face, and asks if he thinks this is where his black roommate will teach him how to be a minority. He tells Josh figure it out for himself, that’s what everyone else does. David gets up to walk out of the room, as Josh asks why he’s being like this, it’s not like he’s racist. David tells him he is being racist, and he doesn’t feel any better that he only hates him because he’s a mutant, not because he’s black. Outside their room, Shan tells David him and his new roommate are wanted by Xavier in his office.

Inside Xavier’s Office, Charles looks at Danielle, with her backpack packed ready to leave. He insists she stay for one last dinner with Shan and himself, and she agrees. He informs her there is one last business matter he must attend to before, and it involves her students, so she is welcome to stay. Answering the knock at the door, Xavier opens it and lets Shan, Sofia, Laurie, David, and Josh in. David questions if the are in trouble, but Xavier quickly tells him of course not. He informs the students in front of him that Kevin Ford has decided not to stay at the school. Sofia looks shocked, and Laurie looks upset.

Xavier reminds them what a difficult and brave decision being at the school is. Therefore, he has issued a new policy, for each student to have a member of the Faculty as their advisor, to help them with rough spots. He continues that a wise person suggested he let them choose their own advisor, Shan smiles at this comment. Xavier asks the students in front of him who they want for their advisor. They look around nervously until Sofia speaks up, admitting her choice should be obvious, as she wouldn’t be at the school if not for Danielle.

David pats Shan’s back, and states he’d pick Dani as well. Shan reassures him not to worry, she’d have chosen Danielle as well. Nobody wants me here, except her, Josh admits pointing at Danielle, so he picks her as well. Xavier question Laurie on her choice, her being here almost a year, meeting plenty of faculty, but Laurie interrupts with a sly grin, choosing Danielle as well. Danielle smiles and admits Charles has proven his point, she’ll stay. Shan is pleased by her decision. As Shan, Laurie, David , and Sofia hug her in excitement, Josh stands awkwardly to the side. Xavier smiles at them , asking if this means Danielle will stay to teach as well. Danielle agrees, but orders that the kids will have to call her Ms. Moonstar in class.

Characters Involved: 

Xi‘an (Shan) Coy Manh, Danielle Moonstar (former New Mutants)

David Alleyne, Laurie Collins, Josh Foley, Kevin Ford, Julian Keller, Sofia Mantega (amongst other students at the institute)

Professor Xavier (X-Man)

Donald Pierce

Duncan (amongst other new Reavers)

Derek (Barrett’s assistant)

Walter Barrett (Sofia’s father)

Two unnamed movers from Prime Movers

Story Notes: 

This storyarc seems to display some parallels to the New Mutants Graphic Novel introducing the original New Mutants. Their first enemy was also Donald Pierce, during that story also one team member (Wolfsbane) was critcally injured but survived and one of Pierce’s people also switched side, joining the New Mutants (Cannonball).

Donald Pierce and his new Reavers attacked and kidnapped Walter Barrett and Derek as means to lure Sofia and her friends into a trap. He also viciously stabbed Laurie Collins. This occurred in New Mutants V2 #5.

Danielle is the reason for Sofia’s coming to the school , as she met her in New Mutants V2 #1, and brought her to the school in #2.

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