New Mutants (4th series) #2

Issue Date: 
January 2020
Story Title: 
Space Jail

Jonathan Hickman (writer), Rod Reis (artist), Federico Blee (colorist), VC’s Travis Lanham (letterer), Tom Muller (Design), Rod Reis (cover artist), Arthur Adams & Federico Blee (variant cover artists), Nick Russell (production), Jonathan Hickman (Head of X), Chris Robinson (assistant editor), Jordan D. White (editor), C.B. Cebulski (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)
X-Men created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Brief Description: 

Sunspot’s space lawyer is an utter failure, but luckily the New Mutants are remanded into the care of Smasher, wife of their teammate Cannonball. The mutants have a happy reunion with Cannonball, although Sunspot needs some urging. In the meantime, interim Shi’ar majestor Gladiator has decided that the future Queen Xandra needs a wily advisor to learn from and gives Smasher and the mutants the job to recruit said advisor - the deadly Deathbird, whom Sunspot immediately falls in love with.

Full Summary: 

The New Mutants have hitched a ride with the Starjammers to Shi’ar space to visit their friend Cannonball. They then became involved in the Starjammers’ mission, despite Corsair’s order to stay put and Wolfsbane secretly stole the strange egg the Starjammers were after, and hid it in Mondo’s body, leaving behind only the container. In turn, the Starjammers left them stranded in space jail (where Magik quickly showed the other prisoners who’s the boss).

A week later, they find themselves in court, represented by Sunspot’s space lawyer, Murd Blurdock, who tries to point out the alien and extra-cultural background of his defendants. Are they in Shi’ar space? the judge asks rhetorically. Do they acknowledge the existence of any space that is not now or will not soon be Shi’ar space? No, Blurdock admits. Then what exactly is he trying to stress? the judge asks and pronounces the New Mutants guilty.

Someone is not getting paid, Roberto hisses at Blurdock. The judge adds that the verdict carries a lifetime sentence. They are hereby remanded into the long-term custody of the empire. Please follow the guards to the entry portal. They are back there. They turn around to see Cannonball and Smasher. Happily, the mutants (with the exception of Mondo, Chamber and Sunspot) pile on Sam and hug him.

Good to see everyone’s behaving and generally staying out of trouble, Sam observes wryly. Smasher asks how they managed to get themselves into jail.

Starjammers, Rahne just sighs. Say no more, Sam agrees. Those guys are the worst. The worst, Rahne agrees. Dani asks how they knew to get them. Sam tells them a few years ago he snuck into their bedrooms at night and implanted each of them with a tracking device behind their ear. Shan immediately believes she can feel hers, until Sam assures her he was kidding. Roberto’s space lawyer called. Woke the baby, Smasher adds sourly.

Mondo wants to clarify whether or not they are prisoners. Absolutely, Smasher grins. They own them, but they’ll hopefully get that taken care of on the way back to Chandilar.

So, they ready to get out of here? Sam asks. Chamber enthusiastically agrees. Sam turns to Roberto, who’s been standing away some distance. How about him, grumpy? Is he going to come along or just stand there looking sour? Roberto is silent for a moment, then states he is coming. Izzy asks what his problem is. Him? he replies. referring to Sam, who wants to know what’s wrong with him. Nothing! Roberto spits. That’s the problem! Look at him! It’s been months since they last saw each other and he’d expected Sam to be a mess! Depressed, out of shape, bad hair, worse complexion. But look at him: happy… healthy… exceptionally fit… how does that happen?

Sam shrugs. Eating right… living right… Bobby on the other hand…space pirates and prison food? And what’s that he’s wearing? A jumper? Roberto admits it’s itchy. But the food isn’t that bad. Unbelievable, Sam sighs. Anybody want to snap him out of this? Smasher takes over and whacks Bobby in the face. What was that for? He shouts.

Smasher calmly asks if he knows there is a rogue division of Skrull shocktroops laying Siege to a Shi’ar outpost two sectors away. A bunch of the Imperial Guard are there having the time of their lives beating up Skrulls, and she has to be her because Sam technically isn’t allowed to take them into custody. To say nothing of the fact that they left the kid at home with someone who isn’t their regular babysitter. She suggests he get off his pampered rear-end and give his best friend a proper ‘hello,’ and then let’s go home, okay?

Does his nose look broken? Roberto asks. Tough to say, Sam deadpans, he believes this kind of thing has happened before. Bobby asks if he brought his spare outfit. How could he think he would not? Sam asks. The two hug, with Bobby finally admitting he missed Sam.

The two walk ahead. Illyana turns to Smasher, informing her she was about to punch Sunspot. Smasher suggests she take a number in the line.

Soon they are on a ship en route to Chandilar. However, they receive a message by Majestor Gladiator. Smasher demands to hear it. A hologram message of Gladiator informs her she is just where he needs her. She is to execute the order encrypted in the message immediately and with vigor.

She asks the communication officer to decode the message. Soon he congratulates her on the honor. She sighs and tells him to inform the babysitter they will be late.

The mutants, in the meantime, are in a rec suite. Sam and Bobby are sitting on a couch. Rahne is snoozing next to them and the rest sit around a table, trying their hand at a Shi’ar card poker-like game.

Dani tries to bluff Chamber. Mondo and Illyana admit that they have no idea what those symbols say. Dani insists she’s won. She’s played this before and that’s a full Empire. The winning hand. When Doug tries to correct her, she elbows him not too gently and he agrees with her version.

On the couch, Bobby brings Sam up to speed, currently telling him how Cypher invented a whole new mutant language. “Yes, he did,” Bobby states in Krakoan and adds that, whenever a new mutant comes to the island, one of the telepaths downloads the language into their brain. Sam asks if Cypher also sits on the new ruling council. Bobby explains that he speaks for the island. Still, kind of a seat on the table, Sam muses impressed. And they didn’t ask Bobby? He teases. Bobby suggests they not turn this into a thing. People make mistakes all the time. What’s important is to always have forgiveness in your heart.

Sam changes the topic suggesting big things in store for Douglas. Speaking of big things, comes the catty reply, here comes Sam’s wife. Sam rolls his eyes: someone’s still upset he got punched in the nose. Bobby points at his face: it is a work of art. If you’d walk into MoMa and started breaking things, they’d call you a vandal. You’d go directly to jail. Does he know what he sees when he looks at Bobby’s face? Sam replies. The face of a man with forgiveness in his heart. They break into laughter as Izzy joins them.

She announces there is good news and bad news: good news: they’ve been officially paroled for their crimes. Bobby decides he does have forgiveness in his heart. Sam inquires after the bad news. The Majestor has conscribed all of them into imperial service, and they are needed now!

On Chandilar, young empress-to-be Xandra listens in confusion to two senior Superguardians: Oracle and Mentor. Why now? she asks Oracle. Mentor replies evasively that things are complicated. Many moving pieces. Current majestor Gladiator ordered them to tell her the truth. They are long past the point of treating Xandra as a child.

Oracle explains that their newest galactic cluster has fallen. Titans are assembling for war. And they believe they have the Shi’ar Empire in their sight. Xandra considers this, then points out that the throne and time are Gladiator’s, not hers. Not yet. Mentor disagrees. The empire needs a Neramani on the throne and him as praetor of the Imperial Guard. He adds that she will need guidance of a kind he cannot provide. So he has sent a Superguardian to bring them the person most suitable to teach Xandra the ways of the Imperial Court. He has sent Smasher to bring her aunt home to be her advisor. Who else but the most duplicitous and violent person for this task?

On another world, Smasher and the mutants enter a structure. Suddenly, a spear is embedded in the ground before Sunspot’s feet. Seeing Deathbird on her throne, he informs Sam that he is in love.

Characters Involved: 

Cannonball, Chamber, Cypher, Karma, Magik, Mirage, Mondo, Sunspot, Wolfsbane (New Mutants)
Gladiator, Mentor, Oracle, Smasher (Imperial Guard)



Murd Blurdock

Story Notes: 

Text pages:

Order by the court, which narrates that the prisoners have been remanded in imperial custody (and a sanction of their lawyer for incompetence).Explanation for why Oracle (intelligence) and Mentor (military) are Gladaitor’s main advisors


Further notes

Sunspot’s house: Oscar Niemeyer was Brazilian architect and key figure of modern architecture

Xandra’s back story is told in Mr. and Mrs. X #1-6.

Murd Blurdock (first appearance: Rocket #2) is a parody of Matt Murdcok aka Daredevil. Usually, he is a capable space lawyer if he isn’t led astray by space ninjas.

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