New Mutants (2nd series) #7

Issue Date: 
January 2004
Story Title: 
The Ties That Bind - part1: Dear Mom and Dad

Nunzio deFilippis & Christina Weir (writers), Carlo Barberi (penciler), Juan Vlasco (inker), Dave Sharpe (letterer), Avalon Studios’ Ian Hannin & Rob Ro (colorist), Stephanie Moore (assistant editor), Mike Marts & Annie Thornton (editors), Chris Bachalo (cover), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (president)

Brief Description: 

Josh Foley and David Alleyne are now roommates and David happily ignores Josh. Only his friend, Laurie, has some feelings towards Josh, especially as he saved her life. Josh has fallen in with the group around Julian Keller. Dani asks David to reach out to Josh and David finally talks to his roommate, mentioning the comatose Amara during their conversation. Josh and Julian decide to try and sneak into the medical center and heal the woman. Josh actually coaxes Amara from her coma but she is traumatized, uses her powers to destroy a part of the medical center and runs away. As a result of Amara’s power display, the on-duty nurse was hurt. While Julian wants to run away, Josh insists they save her life. Later, the two are officially commended, but secretly Xavier and their advisors chew them out for their lack of responsibility. Josh writes a letter to his parents, telling them about all of this. Two weeks later, the Foleys visit the school but not to get Josh, as he had hoped, but to make the school Josh’ legal guardian.

Full Summary: 

Morning at the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning. David Alleyne and Josh Foley are getting up, like all the students, and David does his best to pointedly ignore his newly assigned roommate. Sofia Mantega and Laurie Collins knock at the door, waiting for David to join them for breakfast. Laurie greets Josh, while the other two walk ahead. She just looks at him helplessly, while Sofia asks David whether they should have asked Josh to join them as well. Sure, and maybe they could invite his mutant-killing Reaver friends, too, David replies sarcastically. No thanks. Josh tells Laurie to have a good-breakfast and closes the door. Then he sits down at his desk to write a letter to his parents.

(Josh’s letter)

Josh writes that he hasn’t written to them since coming to Xavier’s school, but he wanted them to know how he was doing. First, he describes his subjects: how he gets one-on-one tutoring on how to use his healing powers by Warren Worthington aka Archangel. The rest of the classes are pretty standard: Math with Dr McCoy, English with Miss Frost, Physical Education with Mr Corsi, American History with his faculty advisor, Dani Moonstar, and French with Shan Coy Manh. It was Shan and Dani who had found him in New York and the two of them have taken a real interest in his roommate and his friends. He gets along with them fine but he has his own set of friends now.


Carrying a tray, Josh walks through the breakfast room, passing David, Sofia and Laurie, who are hosing around. He heads outside to meet with Julian Keller and his gang (among them Victor, Cessily and Santo). As he sits down, Julian regales them with the story of how he got detention – by trying to telekinetically unbutton Ms.Grey’s blouse. After all, he leers, Jean had told him that, to get better with his telekinesis, he had to focus on things he really wanted to move.

(Josh’s letter)

Josh describes how he hangs with Julian Keller and how they have a lot in common. He was never one to hang with a teacher’s pet, like David.


David and Dani are having coffee at a coffee bar called the Grind Stone, the new favorite hangout of David and his friends. It’s a nice place to study, David explains. Why not just study in his room, Dani asks. Because Josh is there, he replies. He knows Dani paired them up so they’d make peace but Josh’s a bigot. He had joined a mutant group that tried to kill them. He was a bigot, Dani replies. People change. And because David and his friends were there, they are the ones who have to reach out to Josh or what he did will always hang over him.

One of the waitresses interrupts them, announcing that she has an Oreo Crunch iced latte for Danielle. Dani gets her coffee and the waitress tries to flirt with her. As she gets back to her table, Dani asks if that girl just hit on her. It’s possible, David agrees. Her girlfriend used to be here all the time but they broke up. Someone should tell her she’s straight, Dani states. Shouldn’t that someone be her? David asks.

Changing the subject, Dani asks Josh to at least make an effort with Josh. He doesn’t understand why helping Josh fit in is his problem, David announces. Was Dani friends with everyone at school when she was here? Most of the time, Dani replies with a smile, even though she sometimes wanted to strangle Amara. She’s the one she’s always visiting at medical center.

Back at Xavier’s School, one of Julian’s friends catches up with Shan as she’s walking through the halls. He tells her that he had picked Mr Logan as an advisor but they are not all that compatible. He likes French class a lot, so would she be willing to take him? Shan is flattered, as Victor is her first advisee. She promises him to inform Logan and the Professor tomorrow and leaves to visit Amara. At the comatose woman’s side, she starts to read her some letters from their old friends.

David returns to his room to find Josh inside. For once, he actually says hello. Josh is clearly surprised but returns the greeting and asks where David’s been. David tells him about being at the Grind Stone with Dani and mentions that they talked about her comatose friend. Josh inquires what the deal with that girl is.

Later, Josh and Julian are walking to the medical center, as Josh fills Julian in on Magma’ story. How she was crucified and healed but after that trauma she went to sleep and just didn’t wake up. Her mind’s off and the Professor doesn’t want to risk turning it back on. But he thinks he can handle it. Is she hot? Julian chides. How would he know, Josh shoots back.
Julian uses his telekinesis to distract Nurse Annie at the desk and, with her attention diverted, the boys slip into Magma’s room. She is hot, Julian announces, as he sees the sleeping woman. So how does he jumpstart a brain, Josh wonders, as he touches Amara’s head and starts to use his healing powers.

Amara’s eyes glow and, a moment later, a part of the complex explodes, due to her powers. The confused Amara runs way in her Magma form. Juliana and Josh are surprisingly unhurt. As they try to sneak away before somebody caches them, Josh notices Annie who is lying under her desk, clearly hurt. They have to help her, Josh decides. He has to heal her. But then everybody will know they were here, Julian points out nervously. If they don’t, she’ll die, Josh explains and orders him to move the door away from her. They could be heroes, he points out and now Julian is interested.

(Josh’s letter)

Josh describes their adventure: there being a woman whom everybody was afraid to try and help. But his parents know him – he isn’t afraid of anything. And it all worked out pretty well.


Ambulances have arrived but Annie is completely healed. Julian and Josh are surrounded by Julian’s admiring friends and are sucking up the attention. David asks Josh for a moment. No need to add to the praise. He was just lucky, Josh tells him. Right, David states sarcastically. The same night Josh asks him about Amara, he just happens to be in the med center and she just happens to wake up. Josh angrily asks him what his problem is. This is the second time he saved somebody but David won’t cut him any slack. David tries to explain: what Josh tried was so dangerous that even Xavier didn’t want to attempt it. He could have - Josh walks way and tells him he liked it better when David wasn’t talking to him.

(Josh’s letter)

So everything worked out so well that the next day there was a special assembly to commend them.


A special assembly by Professor Xavier is held, where he addresses the student body about the explosion the other day and announces that, thanks to a little luck and bravery, nobody was hurt. However, Xavier continues, that doesn’t change the fact hat somebody snuck into the infirmary and put the entire school at risk. Perhaps owing in part to the fact that their teachers are heroes and they want to be like them. But being a hero is more than just bravery. It’s about knowing when to act and thinking about consequences. Xavier dismisses the students but telepathically asks Julian and Josh into his office, where he awaits them with their advisors, Dani and Northstar.

Xavier bluntly expresses his disappointment and informs the boys that Amara has run from the institute and responded to his telepathic contact only to say that he should leave her be. They woke her before she was ready to and traumatized her further. Julian tries to protest and Northstar sharply tells him to shut up. They’ll both get a week of detention, Xavier announces and their advisors will deicide about any possible further punishment. Northstar threatens Julian that he’ll have to get creative, seeing as how he’s already used his best punishments on him. Josh addresses Dani but she angrily shouts that Amara was part of her family and tells him to get out of her sight.

(Josh’s letter)

Josh writes that things couldn’t be better. He knows his parents didn’t want to have anything to do with him after his powers developed. But he was hoping they’d like to know how he was doing.


Josh finishes his letter and mails it.

Two weeks later, in their room, Josh and David are back to ignoring each other. Josh looks out the window and sees his parents. Excitedly shouting “they came,” he runs out of the room.

A little later, David tells Sofia and Laurie about this. Josh joins them and asks Sofia for help. The last time he needed someone’s help, the infirmary blew up, David states sourly. Sofia hesitates but Laurie asks them to at least hear him out. Josh explains that his parents are here meeting with Xavier and Dani. He wants to know what they are talking about and Sofia can hear things on the wind. Sofia agrees. They crouch outside the building and catch snippets of the conversation. Josh comes to the conclusion that his parents are there to take him home.

As the Foleys step out of the office, Josh excitedly greets them asking if they got his letter. They did. Can he start packing now, he asks Whatever for, his father wants to know. After they received his letter, they wanted to resolve this. They have now named the school his legal guardian. This is hard enough for his mother, so maybe he shouldn’t send any more letters for a while. Josh watches them leave without a goodbye. Dani tries to comfort him and tells him they are his family now. Josh tells her to drop dead.

Characters Involved: 

Karma, Moonstar (former New Mutants and teachers at the institute)

Magma (former New Mutant)

David Alleyne, Victor Borkowski, Laurie Collins, Josh Foley, Julian Keller, Cessily Kincaid, Sofia Montega, Santo Vacarro and others (students at the Xavier Institute)

Archangel, Northstar, Phoenix III, Professor Xavier (all X-Men)

Luna DePaula (waitress at the Grind Stone)

The Foleys

Nurse Annie Ghazikanian

Story Notes: 

Given the title and the structure of the story, this seems to be a homage to Teen Titans (vol II) #8, where Kid Flash writes a letter to his parents.

Magma was crucified by the Church of Humanity in Uncanny X-Men #422. She was saved by Archangel’s healing blood, but later fell into a coma.

Magma next appears in X-Treme X-Men #34 to become part of X-Corporation LA.

There were quite some changes to Magma’s story, as well as a bit of editorial micromanagement. Originally, Magma was meant to become a part of the title’s cast but the writers were asked by the editors to write her out. Also, the writers had tried to set up a storyline that was meant to resolve the question of whether Magma was really Allison Crestmere or Amara Aquilla. In previous issues, characters had referred to her as Allison, believing this to be her true identity. The idea was for Josh to coax her out of her coma calling her Allison and she’d awake, stating that her name was Amara. This was, however, changed by the editors.

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