New Mutants: Dead Souls #1

Issue Date: 
May 2018
Story Title: 
Chapter 1: New Dawn Fades

Matthew Rosenberg (writer), Adam Gorham (artist), Michael Garland (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Clayton Cowles (letterer), Ryan Stegman & Michael Garland (cover artists), Marcos Martin; Billy Martin (variant cover artists), Adam del Re & Anthony Gambino (graphic designers), Chris Robinson (assistant editor), Darren Shan (editor), Mark Paniccia (X-Men group editor), CB Cebulski (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (president), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

The Hatchi Corporation has set up a relief camp in Alabama for a town that has been struck by a hurricane. A Corporation worker suddenly comes under attack when the bodies of those killed in the hurricane come to life. Magik, Boom-Boom, Rictor, Wolfsbane and Strong Guy arrive to investigate, and after arguing about whether Strong Guy can keep a kitten he finds in the rubble, they find some people hiding in the ruins of a house – but the people run from them, afraid. Magik cuts the head off of a zombie when it approaches them, before the group are confronted by some locals, who are calling them monsters. A skirmish follows, before Magik finds one of the locals she can talk to, who reveals that the town has been overrun by the dead, and they thought she and the others were with them. The team is taken to the relief camp, where they find the worker who first encountered the living dead. He claims that he doesn't know what is going on. Magik notices an old woman, whose body is not deformed the way the other dead are. The locals are forced to run again when a horde of zombies finds them. The team suits up in new costumes and engages the zombies, although they are quite overwhelmed. During the battle, Magik teleports away, and returns with a swarm of flies that reanimate the old woman's body. Magik tells the Hatchi Corporation worker to give back what he took from her, and although he explains that he doesn't know why he took it, he hands the old woman a ring. When the old woman has the ring, all of the zombies drop dead – again, and Magik lets the old woman walk away, before teleporting away with the rest of the team. The team relaxes at the Hatchi Corporation Headquarters, before their employer, Karma, comes to talk to Magik about the mission, wanting to know some of the finer details. Magik is vague, and argumentative with Karma. Karma reminds the team that she is paying them to investigate paranormal occurences and not act like the Xavier little league, before Prodigy arrives, and hands Karma some information which matches criteria he has been looking into. Without so much as a warning, Magik teleports the rest of the team away. In Connecticut, a young person is being bullied by some other young people who think he is a mutant. He tells them that he isn't, so they tell him to prove it by going to the Alone Man and telling him he isn't a mutant – because the Alone Man eats mutants!

Full Summary: 

Baldwin County, Alabama, where the Hatchi Corporation has set up a relief center, 48 hours after Hurricane Elena made landfall. A relief worker is walking past bodies that have been lain out on the ground, and counts them. He hears a loud thump, and turns around, where one of the bodies has suddenly raised its leg, but the leg returns down to a flat position almost as quickly as it was raised. 'Hello?' the man calls out, confused. He shouts out that he thinks he needs a medic over here, but as he leans in to examine the body, a shadowy figure leaps up and grabs him, tearing at his face and neck as he cries out in pain.

18 hours later:
'Just put the cat down, Guido' frowns Julio Richter a.k.a. Rictor as he walks alongside several of his former New Mutants teammates. They are followed by Guido Carosella a.k.a. Strong Guy, who is holding a small ginger cat. 'I don't work for you, Julio. If the boss says I can't keep it, then I put it down' Guido retorts. 'You can't keep it' Illyana Rasputin a.k.a. Magik deadpans as they walk down a hurricane ravaged street. They pass a house in ruins, and Rictor laughs at Guido. 'But he's so little and cute' Guido protests. 'Boss lady spoke, big man. Lose the cat' Rictor remarks. Tabby Smith a.k.a. Boom-Boom tells the others to let Guido keep his cat, and asks Rictor what is wrong with him. 'We're here on a mission, Tabitha. It's not an animal rescue' Rictor points out, while Illyana examines some nearby ruins. 'Maybe it is. Who knows why she brought us here?' Boom-Boom points out, to which Rictor asks Illyana why they are wherever they are. Magik catches up to the others, 'No for cats' she tells them. 'She's a kitten' Guido' declares. Magik points out that they have two votes to keep it and two votes to lose it, so turns to Rahne Sinclair a.k.a. Wolfsbane and asks her to settle the score. 'Ah don't really like cats' Rahne replies.

Strong Guy tells the others that for all they know, the cat's owners died in the storm. He adds that she can't survive out here on her own, she is just a kitten. Magik grabs the kitten from Guido and opens a stepping disc to Limbo. Boom-Boom lowers her shades, and Rictor and Guido both look on in horror. 'Whoa! I don't... uh...' Rictor begins, as the kitten vanishes.  The stepping disc then opens back up, and Magik pulls a fully formed cat from it. 'Not a kitten anymore' Magik points out.

'She can make stuff old?' Boom-Boom asks. 'Time works differently in Limbo' Rictor reminds her, while Strong Guy looks on, confused, as Rictor adds that Illyana controls that. 'Yeah, whatever. Since when can she make stuff old?' Boom-Boom asks, as they watch Magik walk on ahead of them.

Wolfsbane suddenly shifts to a half-girl half-wolf form, sniffing the air she tells the others that she thinks she has found something. 'Probably another cat' Magik mutters. Strong Guy follows Wolfsbane over to a house, 'It's under here?' he asks her, lifting up a collapsed roof, where several young people are hiding in the ruins of the house. He introduces himself and tells them that he is here to rescue them.

'Hello, we're -' Wolfsbane begins, when suddenly, the youngsters run from the ruins. 'Stay away from us, you monsters!' one of them shouts. 'Run! Don't let them get you!' another exclaims. 'God, I did not miss this' Boom-Boom mutters as she leans against a nearby tree. Strong Guy tells the others that this was not the reaction he was expecting, to which Rictor suggests that, next time, they don't put the werewolf and the ogre at the front of the welcome parade. When Strong Guy discards the collapsed roof, they all peer into the remains of the house, and see a body. ' all see that guy that looks like someone was eating him, right?' Strong Guy asks. 'This might be why they were spooked' Rictor suggests. 'Might be' Boom-Boom mutters. 'Don't do that' Rictor tells her. 'Do what?' Boom-Boom asks. 'You're trying to make fun of me' Rictor tells her. 'Honey, I'm not trying' Boom-Boom replies.

'Both of you stop talking for a while' Magik tells them, as she suddenly spins around and slices her Soulsword through the head of what appears to be a zombie approaching her. Rictor, Boom-Boom and Wolfsbane look on in shock as the head falls into the ruins of the house. 'Oh... I bet that's why we're here' Rictor remarks. Magik carries on walking down the street, and the others follow her. 'Are we gonna talk aboot what that was back there?' Wolfsbane asks. 'I think it's pretty obvious... Illyana cut some random dude's head off because he snuck up on her' Boom-Boom points out. 'He was a zombie. Like on “The Walking Dead”!' Rictor exclaims. Wolfsbane tells the others that she hasn't seen that show. 'I mean the comic' Rictor tells her. 'That made that intae a comic?' Wolfsbane asks. Rictor ignores her and calls out to Illyana, reminding her that when Strong Guy was digging those people out, she said that wasn't what they were here for. 'Since when do the X-Men not help people?' he asks her.

'We're not X-Men anymore' Magik replies. 'Well -' Rictor begins, when suddenly, a bottle is thrown at his face, and shatters, knocking him to the ground. The others turn to where a large mob has gathered, armed with baseball bats and other makeshift weapons. 'All right, monsters, we're taking our town back!' one of them calls out. 'Did we just get called monsters again? What year is this?' Strong Guy mutters, clenching his fists, while Magik readies her Soulsword, Wolfsbane switches to a more lupine form, and Boom-Boom prepares a plasma time-bomb. The battle begins, as Wolfsbane leaps onto one of them, and grabs his baseball bat, telling him that she isn't going to hurt him, she just wants the bat. 'You get that we're the good guys, right?' Strong Guy asks as he pulls one man away, while another leaps onto his back and a third runs at him with his baseball bat.

Several of the crowd move in towards Magik, who stands near Rictor as he tries to get to his feet. 'Stay back!' Magik warns them as she holds her Soulsword at the ready. The civilians continue to close in though – until a time-bomb explodes before they can get any closer. 'Okay, country folk. That's enough run' Boom-Boom calls out, smirking as she holds another plasma time-bomb at the ready. Magik turns to a man in the crowd and tells him to keep in mind that she has very little patience for lies right now, and asks him why they attacked. The man holds his hands up and reveals that after the storm, they were moved to one of those corporate-run emergency campsites about a mile from here – but yesterday they had to run because they took over the camp. 'We thought you were with them' the man adds. Magik asks him who “they” are, and he replies 'The dead'. Magik asks him to show them.

Shortly, the group follows the man to the relief campsite, where bodies are strewn across the ground. The man reports that there were a lot of them staying here, maybe one hundred, but now it's just them. Wolfsbane tells him that she is sorry, and asks if he is sure no one else is left. He tells her that there might be one or two, but that the only place anyone could have survived was the trailers, and the guys from the Hatchi Corporation locked them out of those when things started to go down. 'Charming' Boom-Boom remarks, while Strong Guy suggests that perhaps they should pay them a visit, and he knocks on one of the trailers. When the door opens, the person inside opens fire at Strong Guy, but his mutant power absorbs the blast, although his shirt is torn to shreds. 'New shirt!' he complains as he lumbers into the trailer, and the man inside looks surprised, and tells him that he is sorry.

Nine tense minutes later, everyone except Magik is gathered, listening to the Hatchi Corporation worker as he explains that he doesn't remember some of the details, he just draws a blank, but the next thing he knew, the – he doesn't know what to call them – 'Dead people' Boom-Boom tells him – as he explains that they rose up and began attacking, killing most of the people in the camp and then wandering off. 'And you just happen to survive?' Boom-Boom asks. The worker tells her that he was lucky, he got to the coordination trailer and holed up there. 'Real lucky' Boom-Boom remarks. Guido holds up the remains of someone and points out that this guy didn't wander off. The worker tells him that some of the really mangled ones don't move. 'Remind me never to let Guido touch me ever again' Tabby mumbles. 'Same' Rictor agrees. Magik comes to a stop near the body of an elderly woman, and points out that she isn't mangled. The Hatchi Corporation worker tells her that he doesn't know the rules and is just telling them what he knows. 'I'm sorry, old soul' Magik tells the old woman, before closing the old woman's eyes.

The worker goes over to Magik, 'So, listen... if you're here because the Hatchi Corporation sent you to rescue us -' he begins.  Magik cuts him off: 'We're not', to which he remarks that he thought that is why they hired super heroes. 'You have a real penchant for misguided thoughts, don't you?' Magik remarks.

Suddenly, someone shouts 'RUN! RUN!' as a group of civilians rushes towards Magik and the others. 'Oh, no! The dead are coming back. You've got to get us out of here!' the Hatchi Corporation worker exclaims. 'I guess we're up' Magik tells her teammates as she summons her Soulsword. The mutants look down to some sort of gully, where countless dead have risen, and are trying to clamber up the slope. 'There's a lot of people in that camp. If these things make it past us, they all die' Magik points out. 'I thought we weren't doing the big super hero thing anymore?' Boom-Boom asks. 'Just this once...' Magik replies.

Energy ripples around the group as they ready their own powers, and Magik teleports them down into the gully after materializing the group's new team costumes, 'Let's do the big super hero thing' Magik remarks. '#$%& yeah' Boom-Boom agrees. 'HOLD YOUR GROUND, NEW MUTANTS!' Magik shous as she slices her Soulsword through the dead. Rictor unleashes a wave of vibrations at another group of the dead, while Wolfsbane lunges at one of them. Strong Guy tosses two into the air with ease, while Boom-Boom tosses a plasma time-bomb into another group of the dead that detonates and causes a large explosion.

But there are countless dead, and some of them start to make their way to the camp. 'They're almost inside the camp!' Wolfsbane calls out. Magik instructs the others to fall back to inside the fence, and tells Rictor and Boom-Boom to buy them some time. 'You got it, boss' Rictor replies as, once all of the New Mutants are safely atop the gully on the ridge overlooking it, Rictor creates an avalanche, collapsing the side of the cliff down into the gully, burying the dead. 'You have to get us out of here! We're all going to die!' the worker calls out. Rictor tells Magik that the creep is right – they can't hold much longer, he suggests that she teleport them out. 'No' Magik replies as she opens a stepping disc and steps through it – closing it behind her! 'Umm... did she just ditch us?' Boom-Boom asks.

'We just lost our ride. No big deal. Let's Alamo this $%&# for the win!' Rictor exclaims. 'You know we lost that one, right?' Boom-Boom asks him as she readies another time-bomb, and Strong Guy knocks back several zombies who make it up the top. 'You know I'm Mexican, right?' Rictor asks Boom-Boom, when suddenly, Strong Guy tells the others that Magik is back. 'Oh, thank God. She bring back-up?' Wolfsbane asks. 'Do flies count?' Strong Guy asks as he notices a huge swarm of flies with Magik – flies that buzz down to the body of the elderly woman, and reanimate it. 'Ach. This day just keeps getting better' Wolfsbane mutters.

Strong Guy, Wolfsbane, Rictor and Boom-Boom continue to battle the zombies that reach the top of the gully, while Magik grabs the Hatchi Corporation worker. 'You come here' she snaps at him. 'Please! Just get us out of here!' he pleads. Magik pushes the man towards the reanimated elderly woman and tells him that she wants what is hers. 'I don't know... what do you mean?' the worker replies.

'Just return it' Magik whispers into his ear. He then reaches for a ring that is attached to a chain around his neck. 'I... I don't know why I took it' the man claims as he hands it to the old woman – and once it is in her fingers, all of the zombies suddenly drop dead – or, rather, deader. 'What just happened?' Wolfsbane asks. 'They all just died again?' Strong Guy enquires. 'That was us? Did we win?' Rictor asks.

Magik tells the worker that it might be a good time to apologize. 'I don't remember taking...' the man utters. 'Apologize!' Magik snaps. 'I'm s-sorry' the man tells the old woman, who then turns and starts to walk away. The worker watches the old woman go, and tells Magik that he doesn't understand. 'No, you don't' Magik agrees. 'Have a good night, ma'am' Strong Guy tells the old woman as she walks past him. 'That's it? You're just going to let... that thing walk out of here? She costs dozens of people their lives!' the man exclaims. 'No. you did. And I'll be sure our employer holds you accountable for that' Magik tells him, suggesting that next time he wants to be a grave-robber, he should make sure his victim isn't a witch. Magik then envelops her team in a stepping disc.

Later, at the Hatchi Corporation Headquarters, the team are relaxing in a living room. Magik is asleep on a sofa, while Rahne reads a magazine, Guido does some knitting, and Tabby sits with Julio who exclaims 'Hold on, let me get this straight. You're saying he's just an old man in a bird costume?' to which Tabby tells him that everyone knows that. 'That can't be -' Julio begins, when suddenly, he turns and remarks 'Attention! Commander on deck!' as Xi'an “Shan” Coy Manh a.k.a. Karma, a former New Mutant herself, and current CEO of the Hatchi Corporation entes the living room. 'That's cute, Julio. I see getting hit on the head by a bottle didn't make you take this more seriously'. 'Magik told?' Julio asks, and Karma confirms that she did.

Karma turns to Illyana and tells her that she does have a few questions. Without opening her eyes, Magik replies 'Successful mission. It's all in my report, Shan'. 'A successful first mission where one of you got hit with a bottle, another got shot, you threatened one of my employees and you let an undead witch go off and wander the countryside' Karma summarizes. 'That's right' Magik agrees. Karma asks Magik to explain why she let the witch go, so Magik sits up and reveals that they passed her home – it was covered in Norse runes, Haitian vodou and Wundagorian folk magic. She explains that they were symbols of protection – the old woman tried to save her town and she failed. Magik continues, revealing that the old woman wore jewelry with the same symbols, that she was trying to protect her soul, too, but Karma's employee broke the seal when he stole one of her rings and she ended up in Limbo, which is why she went to get her.

'Raising the dead was just an overreaction on her part' Magik adds, before Karma asks her how she knew returning the witch's stolen rings would break the curse. 'Just got lucky' Magik replies, before Karma points out that Magik stated in her report – with great certainty – that this whole thing was simply an isolated incident. 'Why are we in trouble for stopping a zombie -' Tabby begins, as Magik assures Shan that there was nothing else down there.

Hands on hips, Karma tells the others that she is not paying them so they can continue to act like Xavier's little league team, and declares that she expects a minimum of professionalism and a modicum of respect. 'If you wanted professional, maybe you should have picked a different team' Tabby suggests. 'I did' Karma retorts. 'Cannonball, Sunspot, Magma, Skids... but you were the only ones who had nothing else going on in your lives' Karma reveals, telling her team that when they are out there, representing her and her company, they need to try and do their jobs like they were trained.

'Is now a good time to ask what our jobs actually are? Why is all this so secretive?' Rictor asks. 'You investigate paranormal occurrences, Rictor' Karma points out. Rictor asks her “why them”, and points out that there is Dr Strange, Doctor Voodoo, that twink from the Young Avengers – it's their scene. 'Why do you care?' he asks.

Before Karma can respond, a voice calls out 'Excuse me, Shan?' as David Alleyne a.k.a. Prodigy, a de-powered former student of the Xavier Institute, remarks as he enters the living room with a file which he hands to Karma. Prodigy says 'Hi everyone. Hi Rictor' and tells Karma that his searches found something matching their criteria. 'I'm not sure if the team is ready to -' Prodigy adds, but Magik stands up and announces that they are ready. 'Another mission already? Is this one also gonna be dumb bull -' Tabby begins, before she and the others vanish in one of Magik's stepping discs. 'She knows it's real rude when she does that, right?' Prodigy asks. 'Yes, Prodigy. She knows' Karma replies as she turns and walks away. 'David is fine' David tells her.

Meanwhile, in Canterbury, Connecticut:
'Hit him!' a young person calls out. 'Hit the freak!' another exclaims as several young people gather around, while another fights with a boy in a blue shirt. 'hit the mutant!' one of the kids calls out. 'Lemme go!' the boy in the blue protests, before he is punched in thev face and falls to the ground. 'Screw you! I'm not a mutant!' the boy utters as he wipes the blood from his nose. 'Oh, yeah? If you're not a mutant you won't mind proving it to us' one of the kids tells him. 'How would I prove that, genius?' the boy snaps. 'If you aren't a mutant, you'll have no problem going into the woods... and telling the Alone Man, right? He eats mutants alive' the boy remarks. 'I – I can do that' the boy in the blue replies, nervously, before the kids, armed with torches, enter some spooky woods, and come to a stop at a small house, littered with headless toy dolls....

Characters Involved: 

Boom-Boom, Magik, Rictor, Strong Guy, Wolfsbane (all Corporate New Mutants)
Karma, Prodigy IV (both Hatchi Corporation)

Hatchi Corporation staff

Story Notes: 

The Hatchi Corporation was established in Astonishing X-Men (3rd series) #50, by Karma's long-lost half-sister, Susan Hatchi. After her death Karma inherited it.

Strong Guy was never a member of the New Mutants. He did serve with Wolfsbane on the government-sponsored X-Factor team, and the two of them were later teammates with Rictor in X-Factor Investigations. Rictor and Boom-Boom were both X-Terminators before they joined the New Mutants, and later became members of X-Force.

Karma mentions that she initially wanted Cannonball, Sunspot, Magma and Skids for her team, all former New Mutants themselves. Cannonball and Sunspot are currently members of the Avengers, Magma is residing at the Xavier Institute in Central Park, and Skids is busy with a mysterious adventure in Tales of Suspense #101 and #103.

Prodigy signals out Rictor when he greets Karma's team. Prodigy identifies as bi-sexual since Young Avengers (2nd series) #9.

The Walking Dead indeed started out as a comic book series before becoming a TV phenomenon.

The Battle of the Alamo (February 23 – March 6, 1836) was a pivotal event in the Texas Revolution. As Rictor points out, the Mexican side won that battle (if not the war).

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