New Mutants Annual #4

Issue Date: 
September 1988
Story Title: 
Mind Games (1st story)<br>If Wishes Were Horses (2nd story)<br>Blood Drawn, Blood Spilt (3rd story)

1st story: Louise Simonson (writer), June Brigman (penciler), Bob McLeod (inker), John Workman (letterer), Glynis Oliver (colorist), Ann Nocenti and Bob Harras (editors), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief)

2nd story: Louise Simonson (writer), June Brigman (penciler), Roy Richardson (inker), John E. Workman, Jr. (letterer), Glynis Oliver (colorist), Bob Harras (editors), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief)

3rd story: Mark Gruenwald (story), Ron Lim (pencils), Jim Sinclair (inks), Gregory Wright (colors), Ken Lopez (letters), Ralph Macchio (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

1st story: The Purifiers capture and subdue the radioactive mutants Bulk and Glow Worm. After removing their powers, they choose their next target, who turns out to be Magma. They teleport to Nova Roma and kidnap her right in front of her boyfriend, Empath. He returns home and asks Magma’s father, Senator Aquila, for help. Senator Aquila radios his associate Emma Frost and asks her to rescue his daughter. She agrees, enlisting the help of the Hellfire Club, which includes the current Headmaster of the Xavier Institute, Magneto. While he’s in the middle of reprimanding the New Mutants for abusing their powers, he receives the summons from Emma and departs to help. Luckily, the New Mutants overhear the entire conversation, and also leave to rescue their former teammate. Magik teleports them directly into the Purifier’s headquarters, and they begin fighting. During the fight, they not only free Magma before she loses her powers, but Dani manages to free Bulk and Glow Worm. Unfortunately, one of the Purifiers throws her under the depowering machine and she loses all of her mutant abilities. The grateful Bulk and Glow Worm realize they can help her, however, and switch the machine’s functionality to its restorative use. Their final act not only restores Mirage’s abilities, but it also hyper-powers them. When she emerges, she is able to create actual objects instead of mere illusions. The only drawback is that she can only summon one object at a time. Using this new power, the New Mutants quickly defeat the Purifiers, and escape back home just as the Hellfire Club arrives. Back at the institute, they decide to keep their adventure a secret from their scornful headmaster. They do not trust him to begin with, but they are also troubled by the fact that they overheard him discussing some sinister plans for Magma with the Hellfire Club. Magma decides to return home, but no longer knows who she can trust.

2nd story: Immediately after returning from their rescue mission, Dani decides to explore her new powers. She goes for a ride on her flying stallion Brightwind, but when she summons his heart’s desire, a mare appears. He speeds after her, dumping Dani into a lake. Dizzy and injured, she tries to get back home by summoning a sports car. On the drive home, a police officer pulls her over and asks for her license. When she conjures up a valid license, the car disappears. Confused, the officer arrests her, believing her to be an alien. Brightwind rescues her on the way home. As she leaves, she remembers that she left her fake ID with the cop, and creates another mirage to take its place. She decides on making the Spirit Lance once again, but finding its size cumbersome, creates a miniature version of it instead. She finally returns to the institute just in time for Magneto’s return. He tells the students what happened with Amara and comments on Dani’s new Spirit Lance necklace. Unbeknownst to him, this necklace is actually the default manifestation of Dani’s new power.

3rd story: The Moloids busily construct the Citadel of Silence for their current master, Herbert Edgar Wyndham. His associate, Jonathan Drew, expresses distrust of the creatures. Meanwhile, Drew’s daughter Jessica falls deathly ill due to radiation poisoning. In a desperate attempt to save her, Jonathan injects her with a radiation-resistant spider serum, and Wyndham places her in incubation courtesy of his genetic accelerator. Jonathan’s wife Merriem objects to this treatment of her daughter and flees into the night. Jonathan and Wyndham search for her later, and unfortunately discover her mutilated remains. Wyndham catches a glimpse of the killer, who may be a werewolf. However, fearing an over-reaction, he avoids telling Jonathan about her killer.

Full Summary: 

A New Jersey chemical dump…

Bulk and Glow Worm take a final stand against the menace of the Purifiers. Bulk hurls barrels of toxic waste at their attackers, while Glow Worm takes cover behind his massive friend and hurls his signature “glo-bal cocktails” at the Purifiers. He comments that he is more sickened by the actions of the Purifiers than he is by the radioactive dump in which he and Bulk reside.

After taking several casualties, Major Purge radios into his squad leader, Stack, and asks for assistance. “I warned you, Purge, that their capture would be difficult,” Stack tells him. He instructs Purge to distract Bulk so they can neutralize the primary threat, Glow Worm. Stack’s works as he imagined, and the Purifiers manage to capture both of the unruly mutants. However, he tells his team to be cautious around them, as their armor may not have been designed to resist the high levels of radioactivity that Bulk and Glow Worm both emit.

Major Purge reports to his master, the High Evolutionary, who monitors the events on Earth from his orbiting space station. Purge request to be immediately teleported to the Purifiers’ hideout, stressing that prolonged exposure to the captured mutants brings risk of radiation poisoning. The High Evolutionary concurs, adding that he fully intends to protect his servants. After teleporting his team to their base via remote, the High Evolutionary takes a moment to ponder his actions. He believes the mutant powers of Bulk and Glow Worm will endanger the development of humanity. He intends to strip them of their powers so his plans can proceed unchecked. “I only hope that removal of their powers will not end those wretched creatures’ lives,” he adds as an afterthought.

Meanwhile, at the Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, Cannonball partakes in a rigorous session in the Danger Room. His intent is to practice his turns while blasting around the room, dodging the obstacles produces by his shape-shifting alien teammate, Warlock. However, Warlock takes his role a bit too far, and scares Cannonball nearly to death by taking the form of a giant jack-in-the-box.

Danielle Moonstar unexpectedly enters the room and announces that it is time for her practice session. Almost instinctively, she conjures up an image out of Cannonball’s mind and projects it in front of him, hoping to get his attention. However, the image she conjures is a solid brick wall, and Cannonball nearly injures himself trying to avoid it. He stops abruptly in his flight and lands on his butt.

Dani runs forward and profusely apologizes to her fellow New Mutant. Cannonball stands up and explains that the only reason he stopped is that he feared the wall might have been Warlock in disguise, and he did not want to hurt his teammate. Warlock assures him that he would not have been injured. “We didn’t think Doug was gonna get hurt, either,” Cannonball laments while dusting off his legs.

Magneto suddenly appears and addresses his students, interrupting this awkward moment. He reprimands Danielle for entering the Danger Room during a live training session. She defends herself, claiming that it was time for her practice session.

Once again, an awkward moment is interrupted, this time by one of Magik’s teleportation discs. She transports herself, Rahne and Sunspot right into the middle of the Danger Room. Rahne excitedly holds a letter in her hands and tells her teammates that it is a letter from Amara. Sunspot adds that the letter came all the way from Nova Roma. Rahne teases her teammates and tells them that they seem much too busy to read the letter, so she transforms into her werewolf form and runs away with the letter between her jaws. Cannonball and Dani playfully chase after her, but Magneto quickly tires of their fun. “Enough!” he shouts from the control room.

The students quickly quiet down, and stare nervously at their teacher. He tells them that they are never to enter the Danger Room during someone else’s training session, stating that someone might get hurt. Then, he takes his orders a step further, telling the New Mutants that they are not even allowed to use their powers without his permission.

Sunspot defiantly activates his solar powers and shouts back at his headmaster. “And why should we listen to you? You didn’t give us these powers. We were born with them!” he yells. “I will use my power…when and how I choose!”

Magneto responds by reminding them that he is the headmaster of the school, and their parents have entrusted them to his care. He blames their recklessness for the death of their teammate Doug Ramsey, only adding to the guilt they already feel. Satisfied that they understand his message, Magneto dismisses them. As they leave, he addresses Danielle. He tells her that her ability to create mirages is the least useful mutant ability amongst the New Mutants, should she find herself alone and in danger. He adds that she needs to hone her ability to perfection, and practice her physical combat skills so they are better than those of her peers.

Warlock pokes his head back in the door as he leaves and empathetically says goodbye to Dani, who seems to have resigned herself to her situation.

Back in the institute’s lounge, the students vent their frustrations about their headmaster. Illyana tells Roberto that his defiance of Magneto in the Danger Room was dumb, but he responds that he does not care. “The sunspot power is mine. And we go off on secret mission all the time without his knowing, and --”

“All the time?” Illyana interjects. “Like, exactly once. Twice, if you count returning Doug’s body.”

“You of all people have no right to preach, Illyana! You must have freaked out about fifty times! You even tried to kill Magneto…I halfway wish you had!” Rahne, Sam, and Warlock pay no attention to this argument and instead discuss Amara’s letter. Rahne reminds the team that they should really wait until Dani finishes her training session before they read it, but Sam rejects this idea and impatiently opens the letter.

The letter gets interesting right away. As he reads, Sam tells the team that Amara’s father has betrothed her to some prince she has never even met who lives in the mountains. Rahne comments that Amara is only sixteen years old, while a less-sympathetic Illyana says that Amara deserves it for ditching the New Mutants in order to attend the Massachusetts Academy.

“She’d have had to obey her father and return to Nova Roma no matter what school she went to,” Rahne says, defending her friend. “She must really hate being engaged to that other boy, though. I think she’s really in love with Empath, and that’s why she changed schools.”

“If she does love Empath, it’s because he’s controlling her,” Illyana says while casually threading her fingers through her long, blonde hair.

Back at the Purifiers base…

The Purifiers have succeeded in capturing and securing Bulk and Glow Worm. The helpless mutants lie strapped to a large device. Stack tells his fellow scientists that the mutants are ready for readjustment. This statement draws the attention of Glow Worm, who asks Stack why they are being so cruel to them. Stack tells them that his master, the High Evolutionary, has big plans for humanity, and he cannot have a couple of dangerous mutants like them getting in the way. He explains that Glow Worm’s power to absorb, contain and emit high levels of radiation poses too large a threat to be left in place. Stack then throws a switch, and the machine begins channeling vast amounts of energy through the captive mutants. They scream out in pure agony, but the Purifiers do not care.

After the process is complete, Major Purge examines the energy readings on the computer screen and announces that both mutants have been successfully stripped of their powers: Bulk is no longer invulnerable to radiation, and Glow Worm can no longer convert and rechannel energy. He asks why the High Evolutionary did not just have these mutants killed, as they will surely die anyway from radiation poisoning. Stack reminds him that their master does not kill without cause, adding that his actions are not for them to question.

Immediately after this adjustment ends, another Purifier announces that they have detected a powerful new mutant. This mutant is much more dangerous than either Bulk or Glow Worm, he says while bringing up a live image on the screen. “Now that’s what I call a mutant!” Major Purge says, observing a live image of Amara Aquilla, also known as Magma, on the monitor. “It’ll be a different kind of pleasure to remove that babe’s powers!” Stack orders his minions to zoom out of the subject a bit so he can get a better look at her surroundings.

Magma, however, is completely unaware that she is under observation as she vents her frustrations on a Nova Roma mountainside. She blasts rock after rock into smithereens while ranting about the old-fashioned customs of Nova Roma and her father’s decision to betroth her.

Empath comes over the hillside and sees Magma screaming out in anguished rage. “I could feel your fury all the way in the valley,” he tells her. She replies that she made sure everyone in the valley could feel her pain. Noticing that she normally is not so malicious, Empath asks her if something is wrong. Amara seems shocked that he even has to ask. She reminds him that she has been traded like a playing card in her father’s quest for power.

“I insisted that father tell him about my dangerous power,” she says, referring to her betrothed. “…but father says that only made me seem more valuable!” Empath calms her down, and lovingly places his arm around her shoulders. “What kind of man would find a wife who could destroy his land…valuable?” she asks.

Empath tells Amara that maybe he will talk to her father and perhaps influence him to see otherwise. From their observation station, the Purifiers note this choice of words, and Stack asks one of them if he knows exactly what Empath means. The Purifier explains that he is detecting a psychic energy signal off the boy. He concludes that he must have the ability to influence the emotions of others. “Did he use his power to calm the girl?” Stack asks. The Purifier responds that he is not quite sure; perhaps the boy has an influence on Amara without activating his powers. Anyway, Stack concludes that the girl’s power is too dangerous to be left in place, as she could possibly destroy the entire Earth. He immediately contacts the High Evolutionary and asks to be transported to her location right away.

The Purifiers arrive shortly thereafter and ambush Magma and Empath, who sit peacefully on a grassy hillside. They zap Amara and knock her unconscious. Empath spins around, faces his attackers, and begins using his emotional manipulation powers. “Whoever you are, you love us,” he begins. “You don’t want to hurt us…the idea of pointing those weapons at us horrifies you!” He slowly inches toward Stack and gestures for him to give him the gun. Stack begins to hand it to him, but then comes to his senses and whacks the young mutant across the face with his staff. He then orders his men to teleport back to Jackson Hole with Magma, but regrets that they cannot also take Empath with them as well. “Removing that power would give me great pleasure,” he tells the injured mutant as he leaves.

Empath returns to Nova Roma and radios his mentor, Emma Frost. He tells her exactly what happened, and that the attackers took Amara to some place called Jackson Hole. Amara’s father, the Senator Aquila, snatches the voice receiver out of Empath’s hand and begins shouting at Emma. He says that nothing like this ever happened before she went off to the Massachusetts Academy. He even goes as far as blaming the kidnapping on an “other-worldly squabble” of Emma’s devising.

Emma shuts him up right there. She tells him that had Amara remained at the academy, she would have received protection from this sort of thing. She reminds Senator Aquila that he demanded Amara’s return, and therefore the whole ordeal is his responsibility. Before things get even more out of hand, Emma pledges that she will indeed recover Amara before she comes to any harm. Shutting the radio off, she turns to her guards, and tells them to contact the members of the Hellfire Club. “Including Magneto,” she adds. “Especially Magneto. I want to talk to him first of all.”

Back at the Xavier Institute, Magneto chastises Sunspot for his insubordinance. He reiterates that his role is to protect the New Mutants from the forces that wish to harm them, and if that means he has to strip them of all their freedoms and chain them up, he would do it. As he finishes reprimanding the young mutant, Magneto receives Emma Frost’s incoming transmission. He dismisses Roberto so he can take the call in private.

Outraged, Sunspot storms out into the hall and begins venting to his fellow New Mutants. “The nerve of the man!” he shouts, slamming the door behind him. “He preaches about politics and danger and how it is his holy duty to keep us safe, then the second the White Queen of the Hellfire Club whispers his name, he dismisses me. He’s never here. He ignores us, bullies us. He even threatens us, and he won’t even let us hear what’s happened to Amara--”

“Amara? What has she got to do with it?” Dani asks. Their interests sufficiently piqued, the teenagers crowd around the door and try to listen in. Rahne realizes she can probably hear the best while in her wolf form, and transforms. She has Dani relay what she hears to the others via their unique psi-link. The team learns about Amara’s present situation, and Rahne even overhears exactly where she is being held.

Suddenly, she hears Magneto approaching the door, and tells everyone to back away. They scramble down the hallway, but do not get very far before Magneto throws open the door and demands that they come to attention. Luckily, he does not suspect that they overheard his conversation. While his students stand at attention, he informs them that he has been called away. He is intentionally vague about the details. As he walks out the door, he reminds them that they are not allowed to use their powers during his absence.

As their headmaster flies off into the distance, Illyana laments that they could go help their former teammate if only they knew her location. To their surprise, Rahne says that not only did she find out her location, but she even overheard the exact coordinates. Because Amara’s life may be in danger, they almost completely bypass the discussion of whether or not they should disobey Magneto. Magik teleports the team to the attic so they can get changed into their uniforms, and then immediately teleports them all right into the Purifiers’ secret base in Jackson Hole.

They arrive right in the middle of the Purifiers’ laboratory, drawing everyone’s attention. Bulk and Glow Worm both hang limp from some shackles, while Amara lies in restraints under the large, power-removal machine. The New Mutants begin their uncoordinated attack immediately. The team begins moving towards Amara, dispatching the Purifiers that get in their way. Sunspot hurls a trio of Purifiers into one of Magik’s teleportation discs, trapping them in the demonic realm of Limbo. Mirage, meanwhile, scares two other Purifiers with a projection of a demon, then knocks them both out with a roundhouse kick. Rahne, in her wolf form, leaps up to Amara’s position on the rack and removes her restraints.

Hoping to take advantage of the fact that two mutants lie under the machine, Major Purge throws its activation switch. Warlock tries to stop him, but is a moment too late. The machine begins charging energy. Luckily, Cannonball swoops in right as the machine discharges its stored energy and rescues the unconscious Amara, while Rahne dives out of the way. Amara wakes up, and as soon as she assesses the situation, asks to be set down on the ground. Her skin flares up, and fiery molten lava overtakes her body. She begins projecting heat blasts at the Purifiers. Ever the protective type, Cannonball reminds her to steer clear of the depowering machine, as the contraption remains active.

As Dani fights off hordes of Purifiers, something hovering above Bulk and Glow Worm catches her eye. She turns and sees the Valkyrie Death Glow floating above their heads. She explains to Sunspot that the Valkyries bestowed upon her the ability to foresee the deaths of others. This Death Glow means that both Bulk and Glow Worm are not long for this world.

Enraged, Sunspot breaks them out of their restraints. Bulk and Glow Worm beg him to keep away, as they do not want to poison anyone else with the radiation leeching out of their bodies. The stumble to the ground and tell Sunspot that they themselves are almost dead, as they have been robbed of their radiation immunity.

Disturbingly, Dani observes the Death Glow growing over the entire room. “The possibility…probability of death hangs over us all,” she cries. “We’ve got to end this fast.” As she turns back around, she comes face-to-face with Stack. He asks her how exactly she plans to end this battle. Dani instinctively conjures up the image of a pile of corpses, but Stack is not at all bothered by her mirage. He comments that this image is what he most desires; the deaths of all those unfit to participate in the High Evolutionary’s grand schemes for humanity. Dani then summons the image that Stack supposedly most fears: a horrible, twisted humanoid with no eyes, an elongated head, and rows of sharp teeth.

“Nor can that image frighten me. I have faced it before,” Stack calmly says. “It haunts my dreams…that monstrous vision of what humanity could become…without his direction!” Dani realizes that both of her strategies have failed, and resorts to physical combat. She lunges at Stack. He catches her in mid-air, and using her momentum, throws her directly into the depowering machine. “The power to confuse through illusion is yours no longer!” Stack shouts.

None of Dani’s teammates see her fall into the machine, and none watch as she is stripped of her mutant abilities. Bulk and Glow Worm, however, both witness this atrocity, and sympathize with the girl. Glow Worm mourns the loss of her powers, noting that they were what made her special. Bulk, however, sees things differently. “She’s special anyway. She saw us in trouble, She wanted ta help…even considerin’ how busy she was.”

The withered, depowered mutants realize that it is up to them to do something for Dani. Luckily, Glow Worm remembers that he observed the machine’s control panel and saw how it was operated. He tells Bulk that the machine has a lever which controls the amount of energy it emits. “When the lever is down, it indicates the removal of powers. The central position is neutral. But raise it--” he poses, implying that they may be able to restore Dani’s power. Glow Worm then collapses on the floor, completely wiped of his energy, and dies.

With his last iota of energy, Bulk crawls over to the machine and throws its switch in the opposite direction. It begins pumping energy back into Danielle’s body. As Bulk drifts into unconsciousness, he comments that this was not such a bad way to die after all.

Rahne finally notices that Dani has been thrown into the depowering machine, and runs over to help. She is about to reach into the path of the energy beam and pull Dani out, but Sunspot appears just in time and restrains her. He then demolishes the machine’s mainframe, halting the energy flow. Rahne and Sunspot carry their drained teammate over their shoulders and lead her to safety.

They do not make it very far before Stack steps in their path. “You’ve saved a powerless husk!” he sneers. Dani tries to prove him wrong, and once again summons the mirage of the feral, disfigured humanoid creature. Sunspot exclaims that the machine did not work, and Dani still has her power. Stack does not seem bothered, and fearlessly faces the monster once again. “A worthless power, in any case…the ability to create illusions. And one I’ve seen before. As you can see, my fears are consistent,” he scoffs.

To the surprise of all, the mirage-monster comes to life and lunges at Stack, cutting him off mid-sentence. Stack screams as he is suddenly faced with the twisted manifestation of his worst fear. Dani stares at the scene she has just created, confused and horrified.

Before they have time to contemplate the implications of this development much further, Major Purge begins firing at the mutants with his pistol. Sunspot yells for Dani to create another mirage to deal with Purge. She does so right away, and Purge instantly finds himself surrounded by legions of demons. However, as soon as these demons appear, the monster that attacked Stack vanishes without a trace.

Purge screams in terror at the sight of the monsters he believes have come for his soul. Rahne looks on with sympathy. “His childhood must have been as strictly fundamentalist as my own,” she says. Once the demons take care of Major Purge, they turn and begin attacking the New Mutants. The demons quickly overpower both the teenagers and the Purifiers, and Dani does not know hot to stop them. As they ravenously rip into all the people in the room, everyone cries for Dani to do something.

While Dani insists that she cannot stop them, Rahne informs her that her last illusion vanished as soon as she created the demons. Dani initially refuses to simply create another illusion, as it could be even more dangerous than the demons. Rahne chimes in with another idea. “But…what you want most now is something safe and good…not evil or dangerous. Please! You’ve got to try,” Rahne pleads.

Dani, concentrating hard on what she most desires, looks upward and tries to conjure up something useful. As hordes of gnashing demons try to pull her to the ground, she manages to project the image of her Spirit Lance. “It’s saved lives,” she says, “…fought off death before! Let it save us now!”

The Spirit Lance solidifies from the illusion, and Dani latches on to it. As quickly as they were created, the demons disappear. The New Mutants then deal with the rest of the Purifiers. With the leaders gone and their friends safe, the teenagers make quick work of the remaining soldiers. Cannonball knocks them around while Magik hurls them into Limbo. The remaining Purifiers realize they have lost, and run for the exit. Thirsting for vengeance, the New Mutants give chase. However, they stop in their tracks once they see what is up ahead.

As the Purifiers reach the exit, they are confronted by another, more formidable foe: Magneto and the Hellfire Club. Magneto effortlessly sweeps the Purifiers out of his way, clearing a path for the White Queen, Sebastian Shaw, and Selene. The Hellfire Club beats on the Purifiers without breaking a sweat. However, they do not forget why they came. “Don’t bother with them now, Magneto,” the White Queen says. “First, we rescue Amara!”

Magneto agrees, but tells the Purifiers will surely answer for their crimes once they find the young mutant. “They have almost foiled our plan for her!”

From their hiding spot around the corner, the New Mutants overhear this last comment and ponder what it means. Magik tells her teammates that they should return to the institute as soon as possible before the Hellfire Club sees them. Dani agrees, but comments that the Purifiers will certainly describe them to Magneto and the Hellfire Club as soon as they are interrogated. Magik concurs, and decides that she will cast the remaining Purifiers into Limbo so they will be beyond questioning. The Purifiers vanish, and then Magik opens up an escape route for her teammates. They jump in right as the Hellfire Club comes around the corner.

Finally safe at home, the team collapses on the living room furniture. Danielle laments that now she has to carry around the obtrusive Spirit Lance, as it seems that at least one of her mirages has to remain solid at all times. “At least it’s a safe one. But it’s gonna be a pain taking it to parties,” she says.

“Assuming Magneto ever lets us go to parties again,” quips Roberto. They decide not to tell Magneto about what happened, seeing as how he has secret plans for their friend. Dani also decides that she does not want to tell Magneto about the latest development in her powers. Warlock interjects that Magneto will surely notice.

“Maybe not for a while,” Dani replies. “He’s mostly gone, anyway! And when he gets back, he’s more interested in lording it over us that training us. Maybe by the time he notices, we can think of a good explanation.”

Amara buries her head in her hands and tries to think of a solution to her own particular dilemma. The New Mutants invite her to stay at the institute, as it should be the safest way to stay out of the clutches of the Hellfire Club. She thinks about it for a moment, but then politely declines. She decides that she may have problems back in Nova Roma, but she does not want to hide from them; she wants to deal with them head on. She also tells her teammates that her father cannot possibly be involved with the Hellfire Club’s schemes. However, it is unclear exactly whom she tries to convince.

Amara says goodbye and the New Mutants enjoy a group hug, and then Magik teleports Amara back to Nova Roma. She emerges from the teleportation disk right in front of her father and Empath. She runs into her father’s arms and gives him a big hug. As he embraces her, he says that he needs to remember to get on the radio and thank Emma Frost for saving his daughter. A disturbed look forms on Amara’s face as he says this, and she stares off into the distance with a look of uneasy anticipation.

2nd story:

Danielle Moonstar soars over the Xavier Institute grounds atop her trusty flying stallion, Brightwind. With her Spirit Lance in one hand and the other on the reins, she tells her horse that she just needs to get away from the school for a while so she can think. “Being gifted with a mutant mirage power is one thing,” she says, “but this new expression of it is weird. It almost seems like I have the powers to make wishes come true.”

She tells Brightwind that previously, she would just summon up someone’s worst fear or deepest desire. She never knew what would come up, but that did not matter because they were merely illusions. Now, when she summons up a mirage, it manifests as a solid object. She has to be prepared to deal with anything.

Convinced her horse does not believe her, Dani tells him that she will demonstrate and decides to use him as a guinea pig. She reaches into his mind and pulls out his deepest desire. Dani expects to see something like a sugar cube appear, so when a lovely, winged mare appears, it takes her by surprise. Equally surprised is Brightwind; he instantly takes off after the beautiful horse, inadvertently dumping Mirage off of his back.

She tumbles through the air but luckily lands in a shallow pond. She curses the stallion as she swims to the shore. You share a rapport with a guy! You think you know him, she thinks to herself, and he takes off after the first flying filly he sees! As she emerges from the water, she twists her ankle and her head starts swimming, so sits up against a tree to rest. I’m miles from home, soaking wet…with a concussion, probably, and a sprained ankle! Magneto’ll be home any minute. I sure wish there was some way to get there…fast! A little red sports car sure would be…

As she completes this thought, a brand-new Porsche appears in front of her. …niiice, Dani finishes. She excitedly gets up off the ground and hobbles over to the car, apparently having forgotten about her new power. She looks into the interior and comments that the car also has its keys in the ignition as well as a full tank of gas! While she is still woozy from her possible concussion, she climbs into the driver’s seat anyway and heads back to the institute. She is careful to only drive on the back roads and stay under the speed limit.

Before she gets very far, she sees a police car tailing her in the rear-view mirror. It turns on its lights and indicates for her to pull over. The police! Oh, no! Was I speeding? No. Then why’s he chasing me?

The officer approaches the driver’s side of the car and asks Dani what she is doing on this road. She immediately begins pleading her case, starting with the assertion that she does not drink or do drugs. While she should stop here, she doesn’t, and continues to describe the circumstances that led to her driving this car: her horse ride, getting thrown into the lake, the sudden appearance of the car, etc. The officer does not seem to buy any of it. Instead, he notices the car’s peculiar license plate, whose letters spell out the word ‘Mirage’.

Mirage, hummmmmm? Invalid car license. You steal it?” he asks. Dani vehemently denies this claim, but when the officer asks her to prove it with her registration, she realizes she may be in a bind. The officer then asks for her driver’s license. Dani reaches into her pocket, but then decides to just explain to her officer that she does not have it.

“I didn’t bring it. I…I didn’t expect to need--” she begins, but then magically pulls a driver’s license out of her pocket. The ID is completely valid; it bears Danielle’s full name, a photo, and all the proper identifying information, including her current address. However, in that very instant, the car vanishes. Dani plops onto the asphalt.

This stuns the police officer, who asks if he is on some sort of hidden-camera TV show. While he tries to figure out what is going on, Dani realizes that it may not have been such a good idea to create a driver’s license with all of her real information. I can’t let him know who I am after what he’s seen, she thinks to herself. Magneto’d kill me…and for once he’d be in the right!

So, she quickly summons up another driver’s license, this one false. The officer looks at the ID card again, and is surprised to see that it now shows the name Hontas, Poca. “Poca Hontas, eh?” he asks, obviously confused. He concludes that he may be in the presence of an alien. He grabs Dani by the wrist and hauls her into the back of his patrol car. As he drives off, Dani stares listlessly out the window. She cannot decide whether to laugh or cry at this series of events.

Brightwind returns and lands in the middle of the street right in front of the moving vehicle. The officer swerves to avoid hitting the winged horse, and ends up careening through a field before crashing into a pile of hay. The officer emerges from the vehicle, unscathed. He grumbles something about not believing what he just saw, but as he turns, he comes face to face with the massive stallion. Dani tells him that this is the horse she fell from, and if it is okay with him, she would like to ride it home. The officer is sufficiently intimidated by this point and gladly lets her go.

Dani briefly scolds Brightwind for dumping her earlier, but then climbs onto his back. Brightwind takes to the skies and flies his companion back home. As she heads off into the horizon, the officer scratches his head and doubts if he even believes what he just saw. Fortunately for him, he remembers he has her license, and realizes he may be able to extract a finger print from it.

At this same moment, Dani also remembers that she left her fake ID in the officer’s custody. “It’s not my real license, but still,” she says, “it sure would be wonderful to have that spear again.” With that thought, the license vanishes out of the officer’s hand, and the Spirit Lance appears in Dani’s. While she is excited to have it back, she remembers the pain it is going to be to have to haul a spear around wherever she goes. Suddenly Dani has an idea. Remembering the convenience of the small driver’s license, she switches the large Spirit Lance for a miniature version that she can wear as a necklace. “You know, this gift’s gonna take some getting used to, Brightwind,” she tells her horse. “And I’ll have to be really careful what I wish for. It just might come true.”

Dani returns to the school and is greeted by her excited teammates. They tell her that they were worried and ask her what happened. As they begin grilling her about a few things, like why she is all wet and how come her spear is missing, Magneto returns from his mission. They politely ask how is mission went, even though they already know everything that happened.

Magneto tells them it went well, but it was a little odd. He says that Amara was safely returned to her father “in a burst of teleportation light.” He continues to say that the Hellfire Club defeated the people who kidnapped Amara, but the villains were also teleported away, just as the Hellfire Club began their interrogation. The New Mutants give a knowing look at Magik, but she looks completely confused.

“Hey, don’t look at me,” she whispers. “I didn’t do it.”

Magneto finishes by telling his students that they should understand that they can trust him. He reasserts that while his methods may appear harsh, he has their best interests at heart. As he turns to go inside, Dani’s new necklace catches his eye. “Why, Dani, that’s a lovely spear necklace.”

“Thank you, sir,” she responds. “I like it too! It’s a gift…and it’s exactly what I wanted most.”

3rd story:

March, 1931, at the base of Wundagore Mountain in the Balkan Principality of Transia…

Herbert Edgar Wyndham supervises the construction of the scientific research facility that will one day be known as the Citadel of Silence. His work force is comprised mainly of the Subterranean species known as Moloids. As they labor away, Wyndham wonders if these creatures are the basis for the legends of gnome-men that he hears in the area. He doubts he will ever found out, as the mysterious man who indentured them to Wyndham has the habit of fleeing without sticking around for questions. Well, my dear mother taught me never to look a gift horse in the mouth, he thinks to himself, for fear of having my hand bitten off!

Jonathan Drew enters the construction site at this moment and interrupts Wyndham’s train of thought. Jonathan proceeds to make derisive comments about the Moloids, indicating that he does not trust such foreign creatures. Wyndham defends their presence. “Six months ago, when they first began here, I felt strange about working them so hard without them or feeding them. But then I realized that all they live for is to work—that someone must have bred them that way,” Wyndham says.

Jonathan still has his doubts. Wyndham assures him that he also finds it strange. He tells his associate that he wants to follow one of the Moloids after its 18-hour work shift in order to learn exactly where they go at night. Jonathan responds by commenting that if his wife knew all the weird things that happened on the construction site, she would surely take their daughter, Jessica, and leave.

Meanwhile, outside the fortress, little Jessica plays in the mud with her friend Phillip. Jessica collapses and falls face-first into the clay. Phillip does not understand what is happening to her, and asks her why she is eating clay. Jessica’s mother, Merriem, emerges from her house at this point and sees her daughter lying unconscious in the mud. “Phillip – what did you do to her, you odd little child?” she shouts. Phillip replies that Jessica collapsed on her own; he did not do anything.

Merriem runs to the lab and finds Jonathan. She informs him that their daughter has fallen ill, possibly from the radiation seeping out of the nearby uranium mine. They rush to the lab and find Wyndham already performing tests on the young girl. He notifies them of the severity of the situation; Jessica is deathly ill from radiation poisoning, and there is nothing he can do to stop her from dying. In order to preserve her life, he tells them, he has already placed her in a cryogenic unit to slow down the rate of cellular decay.

Jonathan interjects, saying that he has a way of helping her. He pulls out one of his current projects, a serum derived from radiation-resistant spiders. He explains that the serum should allow her body to adapt to the radiation, as do those of the spiders.

The serum produces no results at first. Wyndham asks Jonathan if it requires the standard month-long incubation period. “Blast it, Jessica doesn’t have a month!” Jonathan snaps. “My daughter’s dying and it’s my fault!”

“Not necessarily, John,” Wyndham responds. He tells him that with his genetic accelerator, he can possibly speed up the incubation period. Merriem objects to this experiment being performed on her daughter and flees in tears. As she leaves, she tells Jonathan that he was always more interested in science than he was in their daughter. She goes on a walk by herself so she can think.

When Merriem fails to return six hours later, a frantic Jonathan bursts into Wyndham’s office and asks for help. He begs for help in finding his missing wife. The two men head out into the night to find her, searching by the light of the full moon. They split up so Jonathan can ask questions in town, while Wyndham heads over the neighbor’s manor.

As he approaches the manor of his neighbor, the baron Gregor Russoff, he comments to himself that he has yet to see the reclusive man since moving in. Suddenly, he hears a wolf howling in the distance. He runs to investigate, and unfortunately finds the gnarled remains of Jonathan’s wife, Merriem. It is apparent she has been mauled by some wild animal. Wyndham lifts his head and looks to the moon, and catches a glimpse of the silhouette of a beastly man. The figure quickly vanishes, but Wyndham swears he heard it howling at the moon.

Wyndham takes the body and meets up with Jonathan. He breaks the bad news about Merriem, but conceals her wounds. Additionally, he neglects to tell Jonathan about the possibility of her murderer being a werewolf. He fears that Jonathan would associate the beastly murderer with the Moloids, and do something horrible to them. Wyndham decides to keep it a secret, but vows to seek out the true killer himself.

Characters Involved: 

1st story:

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

Magma (former New Mutant)

Magneto (their headmaster)

Bulk, Glow Worm (radioactive mutants)

Major Purge, Stack (Purifiers)

The High Evolutionary (the leader of the Purifiers)

Various Purifiers

Empath (former Hellion and Magma’s love-interest)

Senator Aquila (Magma’s father)

Emma Frost, Sebastian Shaw, Selene (all members of the Hellfire Club)

2nd story:



A police officer

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

Magneto (their headmaster)

3rd story:

Edgar Herbert Wyndham

Jonathan Drew

Merriem Drew

Jessica Drew

Werewolf/Gregor Russoff

Phillip Masters

Various Moloids

Story Notes: 

This issue is part four of an eleven-part Marvel Event called The Evolutionary War. This event took place in the annuals of eleven Marvel titles in 1988. The first story in each annual was a tale about the High Evolutionary and his schemes to speed up the evolution of the world. The last section of each annual depicts one part of a larger story chronicling the origin of the High Evolutionary.

1st story:

Bulk and Glow Worm both first appeared in X-Factor (1st series) #7. This issue marks their final appearance.

Doug Ramsey died in New Mutants (1st series) #60.

Magik attacked Magneto with her Soulsword in New Mutants #61.

Amara and Empath’s journey to Nova Roma is depicted in New Mutants #62.

In loco parentis is a Latin phrase meaning “in the place of a parent.” It is actually used in the legal sense, and gives headmasters of boarding schools, like Magneto, the power to protect the best interests of their students by any means necessary.

Forge destroyed Magik’s scrying glass in New Mutants #66. This annual takes place immediately after that issue, but before New Mutants #67.

Dani became one of the Norse Valkyries and received the gift of perceiving the Death Glow in Uncanny X-Men Annual #9.

On page 29, Rahne comments to Sunspot that she couldn’t feel her psi-link with Danielle while in wolf form. This directly contradicts an earlier scene in this same issue, when Rahne, in wolf-form, eavesdrops on Magneto’s private conversation and relays everything she hears to her teammates via her psi-link with Dani.

2nd story:

This vignette takes place immediately after the first story in this issue.

Candid Camera was a popular hidden-camera television show in the 1980’s.

Dani’s fake ID not only bears the name Pocahontas, but also lists her address as Gitchigumi Shores in Valhalla, NY.

This story reveals that Magik was not the one who teleported the remaining Purifiers out of the hands of the Hellfire Club. It may have been their master, the High Evolutionary.

After this issue, Dani has to constantly wear the Spirit Lance necklace, as she needs to maintain at least one mirage at all times.

3rd story:

Little Jessica Drew eventually grows up to be the super-heroine Spider Woman.

This story continues in Fantastic Four Annual #2.

The Moloids were first introduced in Fantastic Four #22.
Jessica’s playmate Phillip will later grow up to be the Puppet Master.

There is some speculation about the identity of the mysterious man who provides Moloids to Herbert Wyndham. While some believe it to be Phaeder of the Inhumans, other fans speculate that the man is in fact Mr. Sinister, seeking to further his machinations by accelerating the work of another geneticist. For a more in-depth analysis of this theory, see the “Sinister Observations” article in the Bring on the Bad Guys section of this website.

Issue Information: 
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