New Mutants Annual #7

Issue Date: 
January 1991
Story Title: 
Kings of Pain - part 1: Pawns of Senescence (1st story) - The Killing Stroke - part 1: The First Cut (2nd story)< - Close Encounters of the Mutant Kind (3rd story)

First story: Fabian Nicieza (writer), Guang Yap (penciler), Dan Panosian (inker), Brad Vancata (colors)
Second story: Fabian Nicieza (writer), Kirk Jarvinin (penciler), Joe Rubenstein (inker), Mike Thomas (colors)
Third story: Judy Bogdanove (writer), Jon Bogdanove (penciler), Hilary Barta (inker), Mike Thomas (colors)
Joe Rosen (letterer), Suzanne Gaffney (asst. editor), Bob Harras (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor in chief)
Additional art by Rob Liefeld and Art Thibert

Brief Description: 

First story: On the grounds of St. Simons Academy in Vermont, a group of mutants known as the Alliance of Evil swiftly crushes the security and an abused child known as Piecemeal and his keeper Harness walk in and absorb a large amount of ambient energy. Wiz Kid, Artie, and Leech try to stop them unsuccessfully and are injured in the process. The new members of X-Force, led by Cable, devise a plan to counterstrike against the Alliance and find out why they are moving along the East Coast crushing everything in their path. The IDIC Corporation, a bizarre company that hired the Alliance, is overseeing an absorption process that could have consequences for both Advanced Idea Mechanics (A.I.M.) and Genetech. X-Force find the Alliance in Niagara Falls and soundly beat them, but Harness and Piecemeal escape again after absorbing another load of ambient energy. Using information extracted from the Alliance, Cable leads the troops to Genetech HQ, knowing only that this is a “cellular reconstruction” assignment. They force their way into the inner sanctum of the building, but as they find the computer room, they are stopped by the New Warriors. The two teams prepare to battle.

Second story: Freedom Force begins a commando assignment into Iraq, to obtain the German scientist Reinhold Kurtzmann and bring him to the Allied forces. The team stops an Iraqi tank patrol and begins taking out guards, killing everyone. They find the location they were heading for to obtain the doctor, but find it empty. Too late, they realize that they are trapped, and Crimson Commando and Super Sabre are quickly injured. As Blob and Pyro cry out for the villains to show themselves, a group appears out of thin air, announcing itself to be the Desert Sword.

Third story: Artie, Leech, and Wiz Kid celebrate a Thanksgiving concert with Cyclops and Jean, and Taki decides to cheer up the other two by giving them a ride on his new flying saucer. The saucer scares some of the locals, including Ida Fassbender, a UFO fanatic. As the locals are frightened and prepare to kill the “aliens,” Ida stops them, and takes the children into her home. Leech mistakes her for his dead mother, and Ida promises that though she can’t be a mother to them, she can still be their Grammie and they can visit anytime.

Full Summary: 

First story:
St. Simons Academy, Vermont:
Three mutants jump from a helicopter onto the academy grounds, quickly neutralizing the nighttime security. They are the Alliance of Evil, a group of mutant terrorists. As they stomp the guards, Artie, Leech, and Wiz Kid watch on in fear, as Artie reminisces about how X-Factor battled these mutants before. Leech wonders if he should steal their powers, and Taki agrees that they should all attack because it would take too long to call X-Factor. Taki quickly modifies his wheelchair into a flying machine to attack, and cries out that the X-Terminators ride again.

Outside, and inside the Alliance helicopter, a young boy named Piecemeal is crying because he doesn’t want to go outside. However, his armored guardian, Harness, finds his crying unacceptable, and whips him into stepping outside. The Alliance calls for them to hurry up, and Harness tells the boy to hurry up and smell some goodies.

Suddenly, Taki and the boys bust through a window, and almost hit the two women of the group. However, the male has the ability to grow several stories tall, and quickly does so, swatting the boys out of the air with ease. The leader of the group orders the other woman to get the green one first, since he leeches power. Quickly, she hits Leech with a lightning bolt.

On the other side of the grounds, Harness whips Piecemeal, and forces him to eat some odd energy that exists in the area. Piecemeal cries out that it hurts too much, but Harness merely whips him more and forces him to continue. As Piecemeal rolls on the ground in pain, Harness starts walking back to the helicopter. The giant mutant says he wants one last bit of fun, and stomps on the immobile Taki.

(the next day)
Taki wakes up in the hospital, surrounded by the former New Mutants now calling themselves X-Force. Boom Boom introduces the new team to Taki. Cable immediately gets to the point, and begins asking Taki what happened. He prods the boy for information, and just twenty minutes later, the New Mutants are airborne, looking for this new version of the Alliance of Evil. Warpath notes that they keep making hit and run assaults on random targets that don’t appear to be of any importance. Cable can’t understand it, but uses the Cerebro-system to track them, and finds information on three of them. Stinger has the ability to throw electrical discharges from her hands, Frenzy, the leader, has super strength, and Tower has the ability to change his size from a few inches to 40 feet. Cable says that there was a fourth operative named Timeshadow that doesn’t seem to be with them anymore. Warpath says that there isn’t a lot they can do until they know exactly why the Alliance of Evil is making these attacks. Cannonball says that they need to do so to get ahead of the game. Cable says that the Alliance has been moving up the East Coast, and they’re going to find out why.

Sayville, Long Island – Genetech Research Facility:
Mr. Rosen, a director with Genetech, addresses his board of governors, telling them that the terrorists of the Alliance are continuing to strike targets, with the latest being St. Simon’s school. Genetech’s research team found energy readings identical to the ones that they have recently been developing. One woman asks if perhaps the Genetech project is of a questionable legal nature. Rosen says that he isn’t sure, but in light of recent problems with the superhuman community, they have to keep their noses clean. He allows the CEO, Harmon Furmintz to step to the podium. Furmintz tells the board that he doubts the group that is paying them to develop the genetic strain in question has anything less than noble intentions. He says that Genetech is there for the benefit of mankind. A man asks why then the Alliance is stealing energy of the same pattern. Rosen says that it appears they may be in a race to develop the needed strain, and it is a race they had better win.

Manhattan, New York – IDIC Corporation:
A man in a darkened meeting room says that the Alliance completed another successful absorption mission last night, and that they are sitting at 63.7% of complete absorption. The leader asks how the containment casing is coming along, and another replies that it should be ready to mass produce in a few weeks. He says that their employers should be very pleased with these developments.

Vail, Colorado:
Two men obscured by shadows are playing chess in a mansion, far away from the other events. The shorter man says that he moved his pawn – several of them during the game, in fact. The taller man with long hair says that this is the way of things – the pawns battle so the kings may rule. The short man moves a knight, asking whose pawns will make them rule – his own Genetech, the controllers of mind and body? The taller man says his pawns – Advanced Idea Mechanics – may allow him to rule. They continue to play chess, agreeing that they shall see soon.

Niagara Falls:
The Alliance appears again, ordering everyone to evacuate the region or they will get hurt. Frenzy tells Harness to move out again, and Harness drags Piecemeal out to the falls, ordering him to sniff out the energy. Piecemeal begs to get down, as he is afraid of the height. Piecemeal says that the energy is out over the falls. Harness reacts with frustration and surprise, and tells Piecemeal that her harness will keep him safe. Harness kicks him off the ledge, and tells him to start eating. Piecemeal complies, and absorbs a lot more ambient energy . Harness tries to pull the boy back up, but instead falls off the cliff. Harness dangles by his fingers, trying to pull himself up.

Above, X-Force jump off of their helicopter, and pick their targets. Cannonball goes after Stinger, since she can’t hurt him with her blasts. Sam quickly takes her out. Meanwhile, Warpath pounces on Frenzy, taking her by surprise. Tower tries to walk away, whining about having to fight these punks, but doesn’t see Shatterstar sneak up behind him and slit his ankles, knocking him to the ground. Frenzy fights back against Warpath, asking him how he can take it. Warpath tells her not to insult his Native American heritage, and knocks her out. Feral jumps on his back, and asks “Hiawatha” if he’s going to hit her again. Warpath says no, and tells Feral that if she makes any more comments about Native Americans, he’ll wrap her around a fire hydrant. Feral replies: “Promises, promises… Tonto.”

On the edge of the falls, Harness has retrieved Piecemeal and pulled him back up. However, Boom Boom is waiting there for him, and holds a bomb out for her to take. Harness grabs the child and jumps off the edge quickly. Tabitha tells Sam to catch Harness quickly, but it is too late, Harness activated a teleportation device and disappeared. X-Force surround Tower, the only one left conscious, and tell him to start talking.

Vail, Colorado:
The two leaders continue their chess game. The short one says that he is a better student than anyone ever gave him credit for being, and that the other man is teaching him quite a bit as well, sacrificing his pawns for the greater goal. The short one puts the other in “check.”

Genetech grounds:
X-Force approach the facility in their plan. Cable plots out a course to get to the main computer room, and tells them all how to break the security. He tells them to go in, get the information, and get out. Boom Boom jokes that he gets way too into this. Cable asks for Shatterstar’s assistance, and the man channels his force of will through his sword, causing the security doors on the building to blow open. Shatterstar complains about tiring himself out by doing this. Feral tells him to shut up. As they walk into the building, the security alarms go off. As the security begins to swarm on them, Cable orders Boom Boom to use a cluster assault, and she throws a handful of time bombs, sanding most of the guards flying. Cannonball, Shatterstar, and Feral take out more guards, complaining about how weak they are. Domino is back on the shuttle, tracking their positions. The team comes to another blast door, this one apparently shielding the main computer room, and Cable orders Warpath to take it out. Warpath breaks the door down. As the team looks for a computer they can access, a microwave blast stops them in their tracks – the New Warriors are guarding the facility, and Night Thrasher tells them if they make one move it’ll be the last they ever take. Cable tells everyone:
“Everyone, on my mark… take one step forward.”

Second story:
Kuwait City:
In the heart of the Gulf War, the American operatives Freedom Force are ordered to obtain German physicist Reinhold Kurtzmann and transfer him from a resistance cell to the Allied forces. Should they fail to get him to the Allies, they are to terminate him.

Crimson Commando leads his team into the Kuwaiti streets, and orders Blob to dispose of the tank patrol. Blob stops one tank while Avalanche uproots the others, and the Commando throws teargas into their hatches. Pyro begins cooking the people inside the tanks. Super Sabre finds a few loose Iraqi troops, and beats them all quickly. Avalanche asks if it would have been helpful to keep some of the soldiers alive for questioning. The Commando says that they already know where Kurtzmann is, so there was no point. If the Iraqis were to get Kurtzmann, they would quickly develop nuclear capability, which would be horrendous. Commado points everyone to the safe house where he is held, and the go inside. Sabre checks it out quickly by speeding through it, and finds it empty. He finds a cellar trapdoor, thinking this could be the hiding place, but nothing.

Sabre returns outside to report to his comrades, but as he tells them that Kurtzmann must already be in Iraqi hands and that they need to clear out fast, something goes flying by, and Super Sabre is decapitated in front of everyone. Pyro looks terrified, and looks for what happened, as they are outside in the clear where nothing should approach unseen.

Suddenly, the air begins filling with a thick fog, and before long, nobody can see a thing. Crimson Commando begins checking out everything with his infrared goggles, but still sees nobody. Blob and Pyro demand to evacuate. The Commando begins picking up heartbeats on his computer, and Pyro begins throwing fire at them. The fire doesn’t help, though, as they can’t see anything. The Commando gives a countdown of their approach, but as he hits “five,” something whizzes by and cuts his arm off. He screams in pain, and Pyro unleashes another barrage of flame. Pyro, Avalanche, and Blob escape the fog, with Blob carrying the armless Commando, and try to get back to their evacuation point. However, the speedster whizzes by again, this time cutting Avalanche badly. Pyro tries using his fire again, but someone uses the flames against him instead. Blob puts down the Commando and offers to fight them out in the open. A group of superbeings appears in front of Fred, and holds up the struggling Dr. Kurtzmann. The woman at the head of the group says that if Blob is ready to die for this man, then Desert Sword is ready to comply.

Third story :
St. Simon’s Academy - Exeter, New Hampshire:
Cyclops and Marvel Girl enjoy an evening together watching the Thanksgiving pageant that is being put on by Artie, Leech, Taki, and their classmates. The couple is happy that the children are no longer depressed over recent events. As the concert ends, Scott and Jean go to give the boys a hug, and Leech dampens Scott’s powers so that he can take off his glasses. Leech asks them to stay, but Scott says they need to go home now. As the adults say goodbye to the boys, Taki tells the others not to be bummed out, because he has a surprise for them – he unveils a project he was working on, a flying saucer. Taki invites Artie and Leech for a ride after dark. Leech says that he will bring food, but Taki says for him not to bring junk food.

That night, the boys go on their flying saucer trip. Leech brings back a bag oozing with jelly, and Taki says no thank you. As they begin flying around the town, Leech begins crying, thinking of his dead mother. Taki says he understands, as he hasn’t seen his parents in a long time. As the boys fly over the houses, old Ida Fassbender looks out the window, and panics at the sight of another UFO. She quickly grabs her camera and takes pictures, then calls the police. The police accuse her of taking too many drugs. The old lady tells the police that she’ll call NBC, and CNN, and all the newspapers to find someone who believes her. Within hours, Fassbender’s lawn is filled with reporters and UFO fanatics.

The next day, the boys watch television at the academy. On the evening news, they see Mrs. Fassbender warning everyone about the UFO’s, and her picture looks real. Leech tells the others that the lady looks like his mama, and he wants to help her. They all seem to think that the UFO is real and don’t understand that it was really them out for a joyride.

Meanwhile, the police organize extra security, as many townspeople have gathered their weapons looking to blast something without even knowing what it is.

That evening, the boys go for another flight in the flying saucer. However, Leech loses control of his power while they are in mid-air, causing Taki to lose control, and the saucer crashes in front of the people. The boys are frightened, as the spectators are chasing them with guns. Leech is worried that the people will think he and Artie are aliens because of the way they look. Wiz Kid turns his wheelchair into a motorcycle, and helps the boys get away. At Fassbender’s house, Taki boosts Leech to see if the old lady is home. As Leech presses his nose to the window, Mrs. Fassbender sticks her head out, and they look into each other’s eyes, startled, and both scream. Leech falls, and the boys are found by the nearby police. The cops ask Taki if the others are aliens, but Taki explains that they are just regular boys, but special. Leech cries out for his mama, and the police try explaining to Mrs. Fassbender that St. Simon’s really is a school for special kids. Ida shows the chief her picture. Taki quickly whips up a model of a UFO, and says that it was all his fault. One officer holds Leech back, saying that people don’t like “muties.” Leech screams out for his mama. Mrs. Fassbender realizes that she was all wrong. Ida grabs Leech from the officer and holds him, telling him she’s sorry for scaring him. The chief scolds the officer for frightening the boys. Mrs. Fassbender invites the kids in for hot cocoa. Leech accidentally calls her “Mama” again. Mrs. Fassbender tells Leech that she can’t be his mama, but she’s been so lonely in seeing things all the time. She tells all three of the boys that they can call her Grammie, and come visit any time they like.

Characters Involved: 

First story:
Boom Boom, Cable, Cannonball, Feral, Shatterstar, Warpath (all X-Force)
Copycat, posing as Domino
Artie, Leech, Wiz Kid (all X-Terminators)
Firestar, Marvel Boy, Namorita, Night Thrasher, Nova, Speedball (all New Warriors)

Frenzy, Stinger, Tower (all Alliance of Evil)

Walter Rosen, Harmon Furmintz (both Genetech executives)
A.I.M. client (obscured)
Genetech client (obscured)

Second story:
Avalanche, Blob, Crimson Commando, Pyro, Super Sabre (all Freedom Force)
Aminedi, Arabian Knight, Black Raazer, Sirocco, The Veil, (all Desert Sword)
Reinhold Kurtzmann, a German physicist

Third story:
Cyclops, Marvel Girl (both X-Factor)
Artie, Leech, Wiz Kid (all X-Terminators)
Ida Fassbender

Story Notes: 

The spine of the book incorrectly labels this issue “Annual #17.”

This issue is part of the Kings of Pain crossover event of 1991, with the story continued in New Warriors Annual #1, Uncanny X-Men Annual #15 and X-Factor Annual #6. All Marvel annuals published from 1988-1993 were a part of one crossover or another.

In fact there are two crossovers involved in these issues, the second story "The Killing Stroke" is continued in Uncanny X-Men Annual #15 and X-Factor Annual #6.

The issue also contains a chart of the membership duration of every member of the New Mutants and two pinups of the New Mutants.

This issue places St. Simon’s Academy in Vermont in the first story, and in Exeter, New Hampshire in the third story.

First story:
The mysterious chess-playing clients of the warring companies are revealed in X-Factor Annual #6 as Gideon and the Toad.

Third story :
Leech’s adopted mother Annalee was murdered by the Marauders in Power Pack #12, during the Mutant Massacre crossover. Annalee and Mrs. Fassbender look almost alike.

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