New Mutants Annual #3

Issue Date: 
September 1987
Story Title: 
Anything <strong>You</strong> Can Do…!

Chris Claremont (author), Alan Davis (penciler), Paul Neary (inker), Glynis Oliver (colors), Tom Orzechowski (letterer), Ann Nocenti (editor), Jim Shooter (editor in chief)

The New Mutants created by Chris Claremont and Bob McLeod

Brief Description: 

The New Mutants are training in the Danger Room (fighting teen Avengers) when they get a most unwanted visitor – the Impossible Man. When they are not interested in his games, he challenges them and, unfortunately, Warlocka agrees to the challenge. The two begin a shapeshifting duel to prove who is better, a contest that takes them all over the world. Worried, the New Mutants follow via Magik’s teleportation, trying to stop the aliens and getting in trouble from Ipanema to London to Russia to Tokyo. The Impossible man becomes more and more angry at the interruptions, threatening to go on a rampage until finally the kids tell Warlock a way to prove his superiority. When shapeshifting, Warlock can change color; the Impossible Man cannot. After putting everything right again, the kids are back at the mansion with a sulking Impossible Man. They try to convince Magneto who has just returned that nothing special happened during his absence, unfortunately he then catches a glimpse of the news…

Full Summary: 

The Danger Room’s Observation Booth where Doug Ramsey aka Cypher, with a sadistic grin on his face, is programming his teammates’ latest practice session.

Said teammates down below are getting a bit impatient. Is the exercise to determine how long it’ll take them to die from boredom? Magik asks unimpressed. Sunspot flexes his muscles, announcing he cannot wait. It feels so good to be back at Xavier’s school after bounding hither and yon through time and space.

Mimicking Sunspot, Warlock agrees and asks why Cypher, Karma and Magma aren’t joining them. Cannonball explains that someone has to monitor the training session. And the two girls are laid up by the flu bug going around. And since this is a session to test the physical abilities and Doug’s being low-key and psychic, it makes sense he is sitting this out. Rahne reminds him that Mirage’s powers are psychic but she is with them. Dani replies that she is war-chief. It is her job.

Sunspot challenges Doug to take his best chance. They will triumph. Doug warns him to be careful what he wishes for and presses a button. The session begins.

They find themselves in Central Park and are facing the Avengers (the current line-up: Captain America, Thor, She-Hulk, Captain Marvel (the female one), Dr. Druid and the Black Knight). Warlock panics. How can they fight superheroes? Sunspot corrects him: they are merely Danger Room simulacrums and the Avengers are no friends of theirs. They beat up on their teacher Magneto and the X-Men. This is their chance to pay them back with interest! So what if they are adults and supposedly the greatest hero team. Anything they can do, the New Mutants can do better!

That’s the spirit! Doug agrees, but promises to even the odds. He presses a button again and the Avengers now turn into teenage versions of themselves.

The teen Avengers attack. Captain Marvel tries to grab Illyana, who teleports herself away with a stepping disk to land on the Black Knight’s flying atomic steed. She begins to tickle him and he loses control of the vehicle. As they are about to land in Delacorte Lake, Illyana, of course, teleports away.

Teenage She-Hulk throws a boulder at Sunspot, who pulverizes it. They wrestle. Anyone ever tell her she is beautiful when she is angry? he asks and suddenly kisses her. He then uses her moment of surprise for a nerve-pinch. As he lays her down gently he feels sorry that the real She-hulk is so old. She is his kind of girl…

Nearby, Captain America makes Wolfsbane stumble by throwing his shield at her legs. He grabs her but when she turns to her human form he faces a dilemma for he cannot hit a girl. Cannonball flies in ready to attack only to be in turn punched out by Captain Marvel. Sam falls unable to re-ignite his power. Surprisingly, he is caught by Thor who is too honorable to let a foe die like this.

Captain Marvel does not approve. A moment later, she is in for the shock of her life as a huge monster appears before her in mid-air. She drops down shouting for her mommy. It’s the bogey man! Dani feels some regret. She didn’t figure she’d scare her as much.

Cannonball, in the meantime, reignites. He feels sorry to repay Thor’s kindness like this, but they have a scrap to win. Thor falls into Sunspot’s arms and he in turn hurls him into Captain America.

The mutants gather, wondering if they haven’t missed someone. A moment later, Thor and Captain America are ready to attack Dani where Sunspot and Cannonball were a moment ago Dan intends to fight when Warlock stops her announcing she is responding to wrong data input, due to Dr. Druid whom he takes out. They won, but Dani thinks it was too easy and wonders if Doug rigged the exercise in their favor.

Suddenly, the ground rumbles. Is that his doing? Dani asks Doug. It isn’t. There are alarms flashing all over. The mutants run upstairs and outside while Illyana teleports ahead. The sight that greets them is impressive, a huge green spaceship hovering outside the building. From it emerges: a green egg-headed humanoid. Aren’t they glad to see him? he announces but breaks off a moment later, realizing they are not the X-Men. What have they done to his friends? He asks menacingly.

They haven’t done anything to the X-Men, they are not here right now, Dani replies and begins to chide him for making such a racket with sick people upstairs. Illyana keeps nudging her and annoyed Dani finally turns to her. She knows their visitor, she explains. He’s called the Impossible Man and with good reason. Last time he was here he kidnapped the mansion!

The Impossible Man tries to flirt with Illyana, then begins to explain that he only borrowed the mansion for his scavenger hunt. He should have won too, he had the best collection. He begins to number the items and transforms accordingly to display his prizes (though always in his signature green and purple). There was Colonel Nick Fury’s eye-patch. The Black Queen’s costume, all the Wasp’s costumes. Iron Man’s original armor, the Incredible Hulk’s incredible pants. Zabu, the sabretooth tiger, Dr. Strange’s window and the Fantasticar. The only thing he missed was Stan ‘the Man’ Lee who used to chronicle his adventures. Since that was the most fun he had in ages, he decided to come back and have some more.

The mutants turn away. Dani tells him the X-Men aren’t there and even if they were these days they aren’t much in a mood for fun and games. Maybe they? he asks hopefully. Nope, sorry, can’t, rules… schoolwork…

Turning into a muscular barbarian, the Impossible Man shouts they cannot turn their backs on a challenge. If they’ve any courage and honor at all they have to accept. Not interested, comes the reply. He knows the real reason! They are scared! he shouts childishly.

Warlock finally reacts, transforming into a black and yellow hero- Am not! he shouts. Are so! the Impossible Man replies. They begin changing from heroes to soldiers to small boys until finally Warlock accepts the challenge. Both of them disappear.

The spaceship is left behind, dwarfing the mansion. Understandably, the kids have a bad feeling about this. Illyana suggests she can use a Limbo scrying pool to find them and then teleport the Mutants there. Doug, meanwhile, anguishes that Warlock left without a word. He thought they were pals! And worse without him to partner what real use is he to the team? He should probably stay here and look after the sickos. However, he says nothing. Dani decides they have to go after the two aliens. Sam suggests they use their graduation costumes as they have masks. And so Illyana teleports them away.

Forty odd miles southward, in Manhattan, the Impossible Man’s Hulk smashes Warlock’s thing through a building at the port. The workers wonder. They thought the Hulk had green skin and purple pants. Not the other way round.

The next moment, the New Mutants arrive. Dani, Rahne and Doug try to evacuate the area. Illyana stalks toward the two fighters intending to teleport them both to Limbo but during the fight the Impossible Man loses a board which hits Illyana on the head. She falls and has to be rescued by Cannonball.

The two combatants race toward each other. In the ensuing detonation, the condemned pier is destroyed but the aliens are gone. Cypher suggests they both teleported simultaneous with the explosion. Better go to Limbo and find where they have gone.

And so soon the New Mutants find themselves in Sunspot’s favorite place in the world: Rio de Janeiro. They manifest in an alleyway above the beach. Lots of people down there. They will start a panic dressed like this. They need disguises. Leave that to him, Bobby announces and runs away.

A little later, they walk the beach of Ipanema in swim apparel, more or less comfortable with their clothes and the state of undress of the people around them. Dani tells the others to gather around Rahne and hide her from view so she can turn to her wolf form. Once that’s done, Rahne gets their quarries’ scents and leads the way.

She leads them to a mostly female – and to Dani’s dismay – mostly gorgeous crowd tightly packed around two tents. The reason for that becomes clear when they manage to see a blond hunk strutting his stuff. “Don’t go away, Earthlings,” he tells them as he walks back into the tent when from the other one comes an even more muscular dark-haired hunk. Concurrent statement, he claims, the best is yet to come. The kids realize the hunks’ identities.

Angrily Dani shouts at the dark-haired one. Warlock explains that he and Rivalimpy are engaged in a contest to determine who is the superior sentient entity. With a beauty contest? Doug asks.

Dani loudly orders him to stop, only to become the subject of rage from the audience. An even more muscular Impossible Man joins Warlock on the stage and Dani can’t even bring herself to care about the problem anymore. Sam on the other hand has had enough and cannonballs both hunks away and throws them into the water.

Warlock gets a shock as the interaction with the water disrupts his cosmetic circuitry elements. In other words, he returns to his basic form. The Impossible Man gloats but not for long, as the water washes off his make-up and he becomes green and purple once more.

The mutants gather around them and ask them if they’re finished with this foolishness. Before the two aliens can reply, they are pelted with objects ranging from shoes to ice cream cones. Their previous admirers have turned into a lynch mob. Warlock holds them back with a shield while the Impossible Man blames the mutants for interfering and warns them not to mess up their contest again. With that, they teleport away. Despite the warning, the kids teleport back to Limbo to search for them and continue the chase.

London, Wimbledon, tennis championships. Macchio playing Lendl, when suddenly the two aliens pop up on the lawn. The players and staff run. Isn’t it nice and considerate of them to leave the center court to them? the Impossible Man asks and Warlock shouts his thanks after the fleeing players. After asking if the Impossible Man knows the rules (both of them do from TV), the match starts and they fire dozens of balls at each others, leaving the audience confused.

The New Mutants teleport onto the center court and get hit by most of the balls. Angrily, the Impossible Man shouts at them they have ruined things again! Warlock warns him to moderate his tone, or else! The mutants try to talk sense to the two of them. Cannonball suggests they try another way of resolving the conflict like a game of chess, but Warlock retorts that he has observed among humans interpersonal physical violence is the preferred mode of resolution conflict.

In the meantime, the cops have arrived. That moment, the aliens teleport away again. Rahne angrily snarls at the cops. Illyana teleports the girls to Limbo to scout for the aliens while Sam – carrying Doug and Roberto – flies up to see if they are close by.

As they pass Trafalgar Square, Doug spies them down on a little side street, namely Denmark Street, between Charing Cross Road and St. Giles High Street. There, several shoppers run panicked out of the comic store Forbidden Planet.

The girls arrive at the same time as the boys. A moment later, Warlock – in the shape of Captain Britain – is thrown through the shop window and demolishes a Ferrari, much to the owner’s horror. The Impossible Man, in the form of Captain America, bursts through the shop window ready to attack. Warlock tells him to wait. There is an error in confrontational parameters. They are both heroes!

The kids try to interfere. Automatically, Warlock and the Impossible Man shift to Professor X and Magneto respectively and order them to leave them alone. The Impossible Man traps them in a makeshift cage made of streetlights. Twerps, he calls them. What’s his problem? he asks Warlock while the two of them face each other confrontationally. Heroes don’t battle heroes, Warlock explains. Heroes fight villains. He turns to Rocky Balboa while the Impossible Man turns into John Rambo. Logically, one of them must portray antisocial entity, colloquial nomenclature “bad guy,” Warlock explains. The Impossible Man rightly figures Warlock wants to play the hero and shifts into Rocky’s foe, Clubber Lang, and hits him in the face.

Warlock again lands inside the comic shop. Foul! Warlock protests. He struck when Warlock was unready! Changing into Baron von Strucker, the Impossible Man points out he is a villain. He is supposed to. Shifting to Nick Fury, Warlock attacks.

Sunspot, in the meantime, frees the mutants. Cannonball flies towards the two combatants, only to be forcefully told to go away and gets hit by energy bolts. He lands in the already totaled Ferrari.

Cypher tries to calm the onlookers, telling them they are sorry. They are just trying to keep things from getting any worse. And failing miserably, Illyana adds wryly as she teleports them inside the shop where “Spider-Woman” Warlock is fighting “Viper” Impossible Man. The latter protests Warlock is cheating. Spider-Woman is his friend! He can’t fight her, even in fun. He has to switch to someone else.

The mutants figure this is their chance and pile on them. As a result, they are teleported along with the two aliens. They land in front of several tanks. A large picture of Lenin gives them their clue; they are on the Red Square in Moscow, in the middle of a parade.

Buried under “Vipe,r, “Spider-Woman” turns to “Spider-Man” and webs “Viper’s” face. Immediately, Viper becomes the Green Goblin, dragging Spidey along the sky with his Goblin Glider. His Goblin bombs create a fireworks display across the sky. Harmless, but try telling that to the KGB.

Illyana takes it as a personal insult that they are using her home country as their battefield. She gestures and Warlock disappears in a stepping disk. She joins him in Limbo and furiously shouts at him, asking if he has any idea what trouble he has caused.

Back on Earth, the Impossible Man is livid at Warlock’s disappearance, threatening Cannonball as Thanos. They were told not to interfere, he reminds him.

In the meantime, Russian helicopters fire projectiles at him. Angrily, he transforms the rotor blades into parachutes, forcing the choppers to land. Are they satisfied? he shouts down at the mutants. Do they require any further demonstration of his power? Shall he make their planet like the moon of legend, a world of green cheese? Bring back Warlock – or else! They realize he’s not bluffing. Dani figures he’s too caught up in playing villain.

That moment, Warlock emerges from a stepping disk. Transforming into Captain Marvel, he attacks Thanos, forcing him to release Cannonball. Illyana explains to her friends she saw what was happening from Limbo and brought him back.

The Russians are becoming restless, aiming their weapons at them. As the two aliens teleport out again, the mutants do the same.

In Tokyo, the Japanese prime minister leads the Prince and Princess of Wales to inspect the honor guard. A moment later, they look up to see Impossible Man “Galactus” and Warlock “Watcher” standing before and way above them, arguing who is better.

The mutant show up, wondering what to do. Cypher suggests they call every hero on Earth to gang up on them.

The Impossible Man informs Warlock he can’t win. Anything he can do the Impossible Man can match and beat! In response the “Watcher” knocks down “Galactus,” who falls into a (thankfully condemned) building. Fittingly (for Tokyo), he turns into Godzilla to attack.

They’re doomed, Sunspot fears. “Sayonara Tokyo,” Illyana adds. At this rate, they’ll be paying for the damage out of their allowances till the end of time, Sam fears. Suddenly, Doug has an idea, pointing out that, through all the changes, one thing remained constant. The kids yell up at Warlock to get his attention and share their idea with him.

And so, a little later, Warlock tells “Godzilla” he has an idea to settle their dispute for once and all. He can do something the Impossible Man can’t and… with that… Warlock changes color.

A little later, back at the X-Mansion, everything is peaceful. The kids watch Magnum PI, while the Impossible Man sulks and cries. Sam and Dani suggest to Warlock he make up with the Impossible Man. He does and asks if it was appropriate to put everything back the way they found it. The least they could do, is the reply.
On the couch, Illyana is disgusted as things are getting too saccharine for her taste. That is about to change as Magneto comes home (The Impossible Man quickly changes to a chair). The kids greet him enthusiastically, assuring him nothing interesting happened. That moment, the news is on and Magneto sees the kids at Wimbledon. New Mutants! he bellows in a threatening tone while the kids and aliens are trying to sneak away…

Characters Involved: 

Cannonball, Cypher, Magik, Mirage, Sunspot, Warlock, Wolfsbane (all New Mutants)

Impossible Man


Beach goers at Ipanema

Macchio and Lendl

Tennis court audience


Owner and patrons of Forbidden Planet London

The Prince and Princess of Wales

Russian soldiers

Japanese prime minister

as Danger Room holograms:

Black Knight, Captain America, Captain Marvel II, Dr. Druid, She-Hulk, Thor (all Avengers)

Story Notes: 

The story takes place between New Mutants (1st series) #51 and 53.

Sunspot refers to their adventures in time and space in New Mutants (1st series) #47-51.

The Avengers fought Magneto in New Mutants (1st series) #40 and the X-Men over the fate of Magneto in “Avengers vs, the X-Men” limited series.

The Impossible Man last visited the X-Men in Uncanny X-Men Annual #7.

The X-Men aren’t in the mood for fun because of their ongoing trouble with the Marauders.

The poor staff of Forbidden Planet London already saw the shop damaged if not outright destroyed by Captain Britain and Slaymaster in “The Daredevils #4.”

Rocky and Rambo are of course played by the same actor, Sylvester Stallone.

Spider-Woman once helped the Impossible Man (in Spider-Woman (1st series) #45.

Issue Information: 

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