New Mutants (3rd series) #28

Issue Date: 
September 2011
Story Title: 

Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning (writers), Michal Ryan (penciler), Norman Lee (inker), David Curiel (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy’s Joe Caramagna (letterer), Jorge Molina (cover artist), Sebastian Girner (editor), Nick Lowe (senior editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

An old friend of Mirage’s, cognitive therapist Gus Grim, arrives on Utopia to meet with Mirage’s inactive squad members and new arrival X-Man. The White Queen expresses her concern to Cyclops about having an external therapist visiting Utopia. Observing X-Man, Gus is more interested in the young woman who is intently watching him - Hope Summers. Mirage explains that they, in a convoluted way, are connected, by the fact that X-Man looks like the man who raised her. Gus notes that X-Man is upset that he is not allowed a combat session in the Danger Room. Talking to Cannonball, Gus decides that he is just making excuses about his injuries, which really upsets Cannonball. Meeting with Karma, Gus examines her relationship with Face, and accuses her being the one dependant on Face. When he meets with the incarcerated Magik, Gus barely has time to talk with her, when several demons from Limbo escape from his body. They plan to free Magik as they don’t like their mistress being incarcerated, but Magik doesn’t want them to, and asks them to leave, as she wants her friends to trust her again. Magik orders Danger to initiate a protocol, which destroys the demons. Gus prepares to leave Utopia, with Mirage asking him to come back for regular sessions. Later, X-Man is finally allowed a combat situation in the Danger Room, but since losing most of his powers he is overwhelmed. Hope enters and finally speaks to him, offering to teach him how to get by without powers, just like Cable taught her. X-Man accepts.

Full Summary: 

Utopia, on the landing deck, a man in a suit, with a “cowboy” style hat steps off a jet, and tipping his hat, calls out ‘Well, if it isn’t the famous Dani Moonstar’. He thanks Danielle “Mirage” Moonstar for inviting him here, and promises to be on his best behavior. Moonstar approaches the new arrival and thanks him for coming, adding that she doesn’t want his best behavior, just his regular behavior. ‘God, no one wants that. Usually ends up bloody’ the mysterious arrival replies. ‘I want bloody. I want you go to for the throat’ Danielle tells him. ‘Do you really?’ he asks, smiling, before remarking that he doesn’t know how useful he is going to be. He points out that they are likely dealing with a range of specific issues that he has no experience of. ‘We’re all people’ Mirage smiles. ‘That’s the truth’ the mysterious stranger replies.

‘He appears to be both a cowboy and an Indian’ Emma Frost a.k.a. the White Queen remarks as she and Scott “Cyclops” Summers observe, from the main control room, Mirage and her companion on the landing deck. ‘The preferred term is Native American’ Scott replies, revealing that his name is Gus Grim. ‘Then he appears to be both a cowboy and an Indian and he has a stupid name’ Emma replies as she continues to examine the surveillance monitors. Scott explains that Gus Grim is a cognitive therapist from Colorado, and that Dani knew him years ago, as he used to work in the Cheyenne communities. ‘Like a social worker?’ Emma asks. ‘I suppose’ Scott replies.

Emma asks if this is a visit from an old friend, but Scott explains that Gus is here to work with the more damaged members of Mirage’s team. ‘As a therapist? As a therapist?’ Emma enquires. Scott tells her that this is Dani’s call, but Emma is not impressed: ‘You let her bring in an external therapist?’ she asks, annoyed. Scott replies that it is important that he supports Dani’s command, and remarks that she wanted someone impartial. ’I think she’s conscious of how incestuous our community is sometimes’ Scott explains. ‘But he’s…’ Emma begins, but Scott interrupts, ‘Please don’t say he’s “not one of us”, because we know how positive that philosophy can be’ Scott replies.

Meanwhile, in the Danger Room, a recent arrival on Utopia, Nate Grey a.k.a. X-Man stands in amongst various blocks, a small flare of energy crackles around him as he mutters ‘I can do this! Come on! I used to be able to lift a tank! Now I have trouble lifting you?’, before asking the control system to put him in a combat simulation so he can push himself past this. ‘Request not permitted’ the computer replies. Up in the observation booth, Mirage tells Gus that Nate Grey is new here, and technically is the son of their leader, Cyclops, but from another dimension. She explains that his powers were almost off the scale, but since they found him, his powers have been mostly gone. ‘Issues of loss, then? Of self-worth?’ Gus asks.

Mirage explains that Nate is still getting adjusted to the very limited TK talent he is left with. “Tee Kay?” Gus asks. ‘Telekinesis’ Mirage explains. ‘Silly of me’ Gus replies, before Mirage informs him that she would like him to talk to Nate sometime. ‘What do you think?’ she asks him. Gus replies that the most interesting question is who that is watching Nate with such indecent intensity. Mirage looks over to another observation booth and sees Hope Summers looking down at Nate. ‘You could say she was the mutant messiah, if you wanted to be trite’ Dani tells Gus, adding that she was the first new mutant born after M-Day, and that her powers are in a class of their own. ‘Not actually my call to let you talk to her, but I can ask’ Dani tells Gus, who asks what the connection is.

Mirage explains that Hope has so far refused to meet Nate, and that Hope was raised and trained for years by a man named Cable. She tells Gus that this training took place in the future, and now Cable is dead. With a lot of hand-movements, and even looking slightly dubious herself, Dani informs Gus that Nate and Cable are the same person, but from different dimensions. ‘He looks like a younger version of the man she thought of as her father’ Dani points out, before telling Gus that she is aware how this must sound. Gus replies that they are definitely dealing with a range of specific issues he frankly has no experience of, to which Moonstar suggests that start with something a little more linear. As they walk out of the observation booth, Gus tells Dani that, for what it is worth, she should let Nate fight something real in there if he wants to. ‘Let him hurt himself’.

Soon, in the secure wing within the infirmary, Sam “Cannonball” Guthrie sits on his bed and looks up at Gus, telling him that he is mistaken. ‘I didn’t quit’ Sam declares. Gus sits down across from Sam and points out that he stepped down as team leader, and Danielle Moonstar took his place. Sam replies that the team could not be in better hands. ‘They could be in your hands’ Gus points out, before informing Sam that he has reviewed mission profiles from the period known as Age of X and tells him that he excelled as field leader of the X-Men. Sam glances sideways and replies that he does not want to talk about that. ‘Neither do I’ Gus replies, adding that he has got one day on Utopia and lots to cover, so he doesn’t want to waste time chatting.

‘Wow. Great attitude, Mr therapist’ Sam mutters, to which Gus tells him to whine about his approach when he is not here to listen. ‘Focus. It’s tough to untangle PTSD from feelings of guilt. That’s a basic fact. There’s trauma, and there’s a reluctance to expose yourself to trauma’ Gus explains. Pouring himself a glass of water, Sam asks if he has Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. ‘Man, I hope so. Otherwise this is just self-indulgent’ Gus replies. ‘You are &%*$%& unbelievable!’ Sam shouts. ‘Anger. Okay. At last, an actual emotion shows up’ Gus remarks. ‘You resigned as team leader. You placed yourself in a secure ward, and requested psychiatric observation. Well, here it is. This is what you asked for. So shut up and listen’ Gus tells Cannonball.

‘Where the hell do you get off with this?’ Sam asks. ‘I was burned hard! I pushed myself too fiercely for too long!’ he shouts, adding that he endured torture, that he saw stuff - and as a result, his leadership was compromised. Gus casually tells Sam that is just a bunch of excuses. ‘Your ability to lead isn’t in doubt. So this must be about willingness’ he suggests. ‘Willingness? Are you kidding me?’ Sam asks, getting really annoyed. He then shouts that he cares about his friends and teammates so much that he doesn’t want to risk putting them in any danger. ‘You’re tired and you’re messed up. But your real problem is that you’re conscientious’ Gus explains. He remarks that Sam is so desperate to do things right away, that he has taken away his opportunity to fail. ‘There’s another word for that, and you’re really not going to like it’ Gus declares.

A short time later, inside the therapy unit of the infirmary, Xi’an Coy Manh a.k.a. Karma is crouched beside the mutant called Face. Karma introduces him to Gus and explains that he is sense deprived - everything except touch. ‘No sight, no smell, no sound’. Karma declares. ‘You know that because you’re a telepath and you’re in his head?’ Gus asks. As Face sits on the floor, Karma explains that his only means of articulation is to express chronic frustration by violently discharging energy. ‘He exists in a world he cannot engage with’ Karma adds, explaining that her bond with him provides the only externalized interaction Face can ever know - his only route for perception.

‘So that means he really makes you special, doesn’t he?’ Gus asks. ‘What? WHAT?’ Karma asks, wide-eyed. Gus points out that this is one of the few places on the planet where there are telepaths and empaths everywhere you look. ‘But this has to be you. Why?’ he asks. ‘Because I can - because - how dare you!’ Karma exclaims, annoyed. Gus tips his hat to Karma as he leaves the room, ‘I’ll let you think about that. There are others that could help you. You don’t have to carry this alone’ Gus tells Karma, asking her why she is doing so, and suggests she try forming an accurate answer that doesn’t involve the word “selfish”.

Soon, inside the restraint block in the brig. ‘I do not want to converse with you’ Illyana “Magik” Rasputin tells Gus as she frowns at him while sitting on the floor of the restraint block she is contained in, shackles around her wrists. Gus tells Illyana that was the most honest response he has heard since he got here. Glancing sideways, Illyana informs Gus that she was not talking to him. ‘I don’t understand. What do you -’ Gus replies, before he begins to convulse. He drops to his knees and hugs himself as energy courses around him. Suddenly, Gus’s mouth opens and he vomits up several demons in a blaze of fiery energy. ‘Hurry! Hurry!’ one of the demons urges its companions. ‘We’ve come to rescue you’ another tells Magik as he clings to the see-through door. ‘Hurry! Limbo awaits your return!’ a third shouts. ‘Get you out of here! Hurry!’ the first declares.

The demons stand at the see-through door and exclaim ‘You are sorceress - Queen of Limbo! Humans hold you captive here, on the mortal plane! It is a disgrace!’ Another explains that there is very little time, but that they will release her. ‘We will be gone before they even realize!’ the third assures Magik. But the young mutant holds her head and just looks at the demons, telling them that she doesn’t want to go, that she doesn’t want to be rescued. ‘What?’ the first demon utters, surprised. ‘Nonsense!’ the second exclaims. The third short, goblin-like demon tells Magik that this is the perfect moment. ‘We found this human who was coming here anyway and -’ he begins, but Illyana interrupts, telling the demons that she wants a life, that she wants to be a person with life. ‘If I am going to have any hope of that, I need my friends to trust me again’ she declares.

Illyana frowns at the demons and tells them that they will not screw this up for her. ‘You don’t know what you’re talking about!’ one of the demons replies. ‘They’ve twisted your mind!’ another tells her. Illyana suggests to the demons that it is time to activate the protocol that Doctor Strange taught them. ‘What are you saying?’ one of the demons asks. But Illyana replies that she was not talking to them. ‘I was talking to Danger’ she reveals. ‘Protocol of warding and banishment enacted’ a robotic voice announces as mystical energy courses through the room, tearing the surprised demons apart. Demon remains splatter against the glass, as Magik thanks Danger.

The robotic warden of the brig informs Magik that she was hoping she would try to escape, so she could see if her restraints worked ‘Another time, maybe’ Danger remarks. Illyana suggests to Danger that she fetch Dani, as Mr Grim probably needs a cup of tea and a sit-down. Danger leaves the brig, as Mr Grim stands up and asks Magik ‘Do I want to know what that was about?’ Illyana replies that the demons had been riding inside him since before he arrived. ‘You were their way in. A Trojan Horse’ Magik explains, before narrowing her eyes as she remarks ‘I don’t suppose you’ll be coming back to Utopia now, will you, Mr Grim?’

A short time later, on the landing deck, Mirage tells Gus that she was hoping this initial visit would lead to regular sessions. ‘This has put you off, hasn’t it?’ she asks. Gus looks at Dani and asks her why she would want him to do that regularly, pointing out that he went after her team pretty hard. ‘I didn’t make any friends today’ he adds. But Dani tells him that it is not about friends, and reminds him that in the community he always dealt with problems clean and quick to minimize damage. ‘If you ever took time to be anything other than direct, lives got hurt, or lost’ Dani points out. Mirage declares that she has been given a team to lead and that it is a mess. ‘Dani, sometimes people need time to -’ Gus begins, but Dani interrupts him, ‘We’re X-Men, Gus. I think that approach suits us. We will never have time to sit around feeling sorry for ourselves or nursing wounds. We need to get fixed up so we can keep moving’.

‘Well, okay. But I don’t know what you expect’ Gus replies, before they shake hands and Dani tells him that she expects to see him again next week. ‘In the meantime, we’ll think about your advice and see where it gets us’ Dani calls out as she walks away from Gus.

Later, in the Danger Room, X-Man is now battling several drones. A computer voice announces that the safety protocols have been disengaged. ‘Reengage immediately!’ it calls out. ‘Nhhh! God -!’ Nate exclaims as he finds himself overwhelmed. Suddenly, a massive surge of energy is fired through one of the attacking robots. ‘Room - shut down’ Hope calls out as she walks towards X-Man, telling him that this was dumb. ‘You don’t have much in the way of powers, and you don’t know what to do with them anyway’ Hope tells Nate, informing him that she didn’t have any powers until recently, that she was trained to get by without. She adds that even now she is not comfortable using them.

‘Nathan Summers spent all of my childhood preparing me to face the rest of my life. Would it be okay if I taught you some of the things he taught me?’ Hope declares. X-Man looks forlorn, before replying ‘I…I’d like that’ as he rubs his head. ‘Room? Restart’ Hope orders as she and X-Man look at each other.

Characters Involved: 

Mirage (leader of the New Mutants)

Cannonball, Karma, Magik (all inactive New Mutants)

Cyclops, White Queen (both X-Men)


Hope Summers II



Gus Grim

Limbo demons

Story Notes: 

The New Mutants found X-Man in New Mutants (3rd series) #25-27.

Cable was killed during the “Second Coming” crossover.

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