New Mutants: Dead Souls #2

Issue Date: 
May 2018
Story Title: 
Chapter 2: Ice Age

Matthew Rosenberg (writer), Adam Gorham (artist), Michael Garland (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Clayton Cowles (letterer), Ryan Stegman & Michael Garland (cover artists), Bengal (Venom 30th Anniversary variant cover artist), 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: 

In Russia, workers stationed at a long-thought abandoned facility run from something, while their comrade Alexey is still missing. Soon though, something finds them and they cower in the facility in fear. Six days later, Boom-Boom drinking a lot of alcohol at brunch with Rictor, Wolfsbane and Shatterstar. Rictor wants to talk to the others about how he thinks Magik is keeping things from them during their recent mission. Boom-Boom isn't interested and Wolfsbane thinks Rictor is being too suspicious. Magik arrives with Strong Guy and teleports the rest of the team to Russia, where they find a now destroyed facility, where they locate one survivor, who tells Magik that Alexey might still be out there. The team is soon attacked by a Frost Giant. Rictor and Boom-Boom try to hold the giant back, but the giant is too powerful – he then stands on Strong Guy and kills the Russian. Rictor manages to create a large hole in the snow which the giant falls into, then once they have rescued Strong Guy, he and Boom-Boom make a run for it after Magik refuses to retreat. Wolfsbane and Magik eventually catch up to the others, and they find an old mine, where some Norse warriors had been frozen in solid ice. Magik assumes the Russians were looking for a source of power, before Wolfsbane locates Alexey. The Frost Giant catches up to the group, and they try to keep him at bay while Magik tries to get Alexey to remember what happened, but he only draws a blank, save for a phone call from someone interested in his research – someone called Tran. Magik then teleports Boom-Boom away, and the Frost Giant comes to a stop. Magik and Boom-Boom return, covered in a strange muck. Boom-Boom is confused, before the Frost Giant explodes, thanks to a time-bomb Magik had Boom-Boom place inside him. Magik is pleased with herself, while Rictor is frustrated with Magik. In Connecticut, Christian is bullied to go up to an old house in the woods and told to inform the Alone Man that he isn't a mutant. Christian knocks on the door, and Warlock emerges from the house!

Full Summary: 

October Revolution Island in Russia, specifically Vavilov Station, which was listed as decommissioned – in 1988. Several of the station workers trudge through a snowstorm back to the station, 'No sign of Alexey?' one of them calls out in their native Russian. 'Nothing! And with the storm coming we had to get back!' another calls out. The bearded man with glasses standing in the doorway of the station tells the others that if Alexey is still out there, then he is already dead. One of them asks if they should call for support, to which the bearded man asks 'Call who?' Suddenly, there is a loud THOOM and the snow rises as the ground begins to shake. 'What is that?' the bearded man gasps. More loud THOOM noises can be heard and the bearded man quickly tells his comrades to get inside. 'What the hell was that?' one o them asks as the bearded man slams the door closed. A light hanging overhead suddenly goes dim as the power goes out. 'It's not possible... what we found... it's not...' one of the men remarks, while the facility begins to shake, the bearded man leans against a wall and utters 'Alexey, what have you done to us'?

Six days later, at a cafe in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, three members of the Hatchi Corporation's New Mutants team are catching up with an old friend. Rahne Sinclair a.k.a. Wolfsbane, Tabby Smith a.k.a. Boom-Boom and Julio Richter are seated around a table on the sidewalk with the extra-dimensional Shatterstar. They are all dressed in civilian clothing and do not draw attention from the patrons at the other tables. Tabby knocks back some wine, as Rahne asks if Shatterstar doesn't eat. 'Not often' Julio replies, to which Rahne asks why they let Shatterstar pick the restaurant. 'He has weirdly strong feelings about the atmosphere at various brunch spots in this neighborhood' Julio explains with his mouth full of food. 'I do' Shatterstar agrees. Julio tells Rahne to stop changing the subject. 'What d'ya want me ta say? Is Illyana acting weird? No. She just is weird. She's always been weird' Rahne declares.

'I'm not asking if she's weird. I know she's weird' Julio replies, before asking Rahne why she didn't order bacon if she wanted bacon, as she takes some from his plate. 'Ah just wanted a piece' Rahne tells him. Julio explains that he is asking if Rahne trusts Illyana. 'Because we had no idea what we were looking for in Alabama' he reminds her, and tells Rahne that that it frustrates him this doesn't bother her. 'Right, Tabby?' he asks. 'Doesn't matter to me as long as her checks clear' Tabby smiles, holding her empty glass of wine. 'Illyana doesn't pay us. That's Shan' Rictor reminds Tabby. 'Whatever' she replies. 'Are ye drunk?' Rahne asks Tabby. 'Maybe' Tabby tells her. Maybe?' Rahne asks. 'Maybe means yes' Julio explains, while a waiter brings Tabby another glass of wine. 'It's breakfast time!' Rahne exclaims. 'It's brunch time' Tabby corrects her 'She's right' Julio points out, before asking the others if they don't find it weird that they don't know why Shan hired them, and why Illyana is their leader – why not Dani Moonstar, he wonders.

Rahne asks Rictor if he didn't invite Illyana to breakfast so that they could talk about her behind her back. 'Brunch' Tabby corrects Rahne as she sips her drink. 'No I didn't invite her because she gives me the creeps... she just appeared right behind me, didn't she?' Julio asks, as indeed Illyana Rasputin a.k.a. Magik teleports behind Julio with Guido Carosella a.k.a. Strong Guy. Magik announces that it is time to go, as they have an assignment. 'Can we finish our -' Rictor starts to ask, but Magik doesn't even answer him, she simply teleports the team away, leaving a bewildered Shatterstar alone at the table.

'- meal?' Rictor concludes as the team finds themselves in a snow-covered terrain. 'Illyana! I'm gonna freeze my $%#& off in a second!' Tabby shouts. 'Sorry' Magik replies as she suddenly materializes the new team costume on the others. 'Thank ye' Wolfsbane remarks as she switches to a wolfen form.

 Rictor remarks 'Okay, so you brought us to the literal worst place on Earth. Why?' Up ahead is a demolished station. 'That's why' Magik declares. The team approaches the ruins of the station and start exploring. 'Who did this?' Wolfsbane asks. Magik reports that that is why they are here, and explains that this facility was supposed to be abandoned by the Russians thirty years ago. 'And?' Wolfsbane asks 'And it wasn't' Magik replies, before coming to a reinforced door which she can't open. She calls out to Strong Guy, but Boom-Boom tells her 'I got this' and she fires a plasma time-bomb at the door, busting it open with ease. Magik frowns at Tabby, who replies 'That was bigger than it was meant to be'.

'Stay back!' a voice calls out in Russian. 'Keep away from me!' he adds. It's the bearded man, who is huddled under a table, armed with a small knife. Magik holds her hands out as she approaches the man and speaks to him in Russian, assuring him that they are not here to hurt him, they just want to know what happened. 'A monster!' the man replies as he start to crawl out from the under  table, explaining that it was so big, at came for them, that he sent it after them – Alexy – he was crazed, and when they found it, it was in the ice, they stopped digging – butb something came over him and he wouldn't stop. 'Alexey unleashed the onster on purpose? Where is he now?' Magik enquires. The bearded man tells her that he doesn't know, but probably dead. Magik asks him if he can show them where he found it, but the bearded man tells her that they need to leave this place, and that he won't go back there. 'Yes. You will' Magik declares.

Strong Guy carries the bearded scientist outside as Wolfsbane asks 'Wot'd he say?' to which Magik reports that he doesn't know what did this, but he thinks his friend might still be out there, and he is going to show them where. 'No! We have to leave! Tell them we have to leave! There is nothing for you here!' the scientist exclaims in Russian. 'You sure he wants to do that? Dude seems kinda - ' Strong Guy begins as the scientist squirms in his arms – when suddenly, there is a loud THOOM and a giant foot stands on Strong Guy and the scientist. 'Guess we found what did this' Magi remarks as she, Rictor, Boom-Boom and Wolfsbane look up at the large blue-skinned giant looming over them.

'Anybody have any guesses who this guy is?' Boom-Boom asks as she fires a time-bomb up at the giant. Readying her Soulsword, Magik reports that he is a Frost Giant and suggests that they get him off Strong Guy. 'I don't think he even notices us' Rictor points out as he creates some vibrations across the ground.

The Frost Giant growls, and slams his fist into the ground, narrowly missing Wolfsbane, who has transformed into a full wolf. This enabled Strong Guy to get free from under the Frost Giant's foot though, 'What just happened?' he asks, wearily. 'A Frost Giant stomped on you and the Russian guy' Rictor explains. Strong Guy suggests they help the Russian – before discovering his body amongst some rubble. 'Never mind' Guido remarks. The Frost Giant prepares to swing a large axe, as Rictor tells the others that Strong Guy is okay – but the Russian guy is not. 'Look out!' Boom-Boom exclaims as she fires another time-bomb at the Frost Giant. It only stops the creature for a moment though, as he moves forward and slams the axe down towards Magik – who holds it back with her Soulsword. Magik strains hard to hold back the axe and tells her team to keep hitting him while he focusses on her.

'We can't hurt this guy!' Rictor exclaims that they can't hurt this guy as he fires more vibrations towards the Frost Giant – which collapse the ice beneath the giant, who falls down into the snow. 'Illyana! He's out of our league. Zap us out of here!' Rictor calls out, but Magik tells him that they are not done here. They walk over to the gaping hole in the snow, and Rictor points out that it will not hold him for long. 'Then I will' Magik declares, as the Frost Giant starts to rise from the large hole in the snow. 'We're not staying to die for... God knows what. If you won't get us out of here, I will!' Rictor announces as he and Boom-Boom start to walk away, helping the injured Strong Guy along with them. 'Illyana, please!' Wolfsbane calls out to Magik, who tells Rahne to go with them. Wolfsbane points out that there is nowhere to go – that they will die without her. 'Ah said Ah'd follow ye if ye lead the team, but ye need ta be a leader now!' Wolfsbane exclaims.

Strong Guy now runs alongside Rictor and Boom-Boom, who asks 'Where are we going?' to which Rictor tells her 'Anywhere that isn't going to get us crushed to death!' and Boom-Boom asks if being frozen to death is better, before stopping in her tracks and telling Rictor that they can't just leave Illyana and Rahne behind. 'Just because Magik wants to commit suicide to rid the #$%& North Pole of giants doesn't mean we have to die with her' Rictor declares. 'We kinda do though...don't we?' Strong Guy remarks, when suddenly, Wolfsbane and Magik arrive, as Magik announces that no one is killing themselves. 'Oh, thank God' Strong Guy mutters, before Rictor asks her if she beat that Frost Giant. 'Nope' Magik responds. Wolfsbane is in full wolf form, and sniffs the air, informing the others that there is something ahead of them. 'What?' one of the others asks. It smells like... old' Wolfsbane explains.

Shortly, the team arrives in another ruined facility, and as Rahne remarks that she is happy to be out of the cold, she asks 'Wot is this place?' and Magik explains that it is a mine, that the men here were excavating something – and they didn't want anyone to know about it. Rictor asks what they were looking for, and Magik comes to a large block of ice, where several warriors are frozen solid. 'May God rest his mortal soul' Magik sees something in the ice, and tells Rahne 'His gods aren't yours'. She explains that this is an old Norse battle, lost to the world for millennia, frozen in this ice – that is what the men were looking for. 'But why?' Rictor asks. Magik reminds him that it was a time of magic and sorcery, so she is sure they were looking for items of immense power. 'They found one' Rictor mutters.

Rahne sniffs the air again, and makes her way through the mine, where she finds a man who is still alive, he holds a sword and a shield. 'I don't think that's what this is...' Strong Guy begins, before Magik asks him if he is Alexey. The man confirms that he is and Magik asks him to tell her what happened. Rictor interjects, asking Alexey if he speaks English, and Alexey confirms that he does. 'You know how to stop that thing you thawed out?' Rictor asks him. Alexey replies that he doesn't, when suddeny, there is another loud THOOM. The mutants look around, anxious, while Alexey tells them that they brought it back. 'I really don't want to get stomped on again' Strong Guy mutters, while Alexey asks them to get him out of here. 'Tell me what happened to you. Why did you dig it out?' Magik asks. As the Frost Giant moves forward into the mine, Alexey claims that he doesn't remember anything until it was all over and the others were all dead – where his memories should be – in darkness.

Magik asks Alexey what the last thing he remembers is, but Alexey tells her that he remembers nothing, like he lost control of his mind and body – like he was possessed. As the Frost Giant brings down his axe, Boom-Boom fires a time-bomb at it and Rictor releases a wave of vibration, breaking the sharp metal part of the axe off the handle, although Boom-Boom is knocked aside when the axe strikes the ground. Magik tells Alexey to think – of something before the darkness. Strong Guy prepares to punch the Frost Giant, but the Frost Giant grabs him, as Alexey suddenly remembers a phone call – a man told him that he needed to discuss his research, and that is the last thing he recalls. Magik asks him what his name was, and as Strong Guy is thrown at Magik's feet, Alexey begins, 'He said -' before Strong Guy interrupts, telling Magik that they are all about to die, and perhaps she might want to help them now. 'He said his name was Tran' Alexey reveals, and Magik narrows her eyes.

Magik rushes over to Boom-Boom, 'Come with me' she calls out as she opens a stepping disc around Boom-Boom, 'It's about time' Boom-Boom mutters, while Rictor shouts 'Wait! Take all of us!' Suddenly, the Frost Giant appears confused, and stops moving, 'I think we stunned it' Rictor suggests. 'Ah don't think that was us' Wolfsbane tells him, as suddenly Magik and Boom-Boom return, covered in a slimy substance. 'Oh. My. God. What the hell did we just do, Illyana?' Tabby exclaims. 'Where the hell did you just take me? You can't just grab me and say “blow this up” ya know!' Tabby declares, adding 'I'm your teammate – not a bomb dispenser, you creepy – wait... please tell me we weren't.... was that... were we inside him?' Tabby asks, peering over her shades. An instant later, the Frost Giant explodes. 'Yes' Magik smies, while Tabby leans over and throws up. 'Okaaay. I'm sober now' Tabby announces. The others are all covered in Frost Giant gunk, and Magik looks up, pleased with herself. Rictor is not happy though and folds his arms, looks at Magik and frowns.

Meantime, in Canterbury, Connecticut:
'Do it! Come on, mutie!' a kid calls out from behind some bushes, where he and several others watch as another youth walks towards a house within some spooky woods. 'I'm not a mutie!' the kid calls back. 'Don't tell us, Christian! Ring is door and tell the Alone Man!' the kid behind the bushes declares. Christian walks past several broken dolls strewn about the clearing in front of the house, then he knocks on the door. The house is brightly lit, but there is no answer at the door. 'Okay, I get it. Very funny. There's no one -' Christian calls back to the bullies, when suddenly, the door creaks open, and the Christian screams as he drops to the porch step as Warlock emerges, shouting 'Hello, selfstranger! Explanation of your trespassing is requested!'

Characters Involved: 

Boom-Boom, Magik, Rictor, Strong Guy, Wolfsbane (all Corporate New Mutants)

Frost Giant
Vavilov Station workers

Story Notes: 

Although not addressed this issue, Shatterstar and Rictor became a couple in X-Factor (3rd series) #43-45 and remained together even after X-Factor Investigations disbanded. Although their adventures following X-Factor (1st series) #259 have not been chronicled, they were both among the mutants gathered in New Tian during the “Secret Empire” storyline, however by the time of Iceman (3rd series) #9, their relationship had come to an end, as Rictor mentioned in passing that they were no longer together.

Dani Moonstar is currently residing at the Xavier Institute in Central Park, mainly in a pastoral capacity, but also assisting on missions occasioanlly.

It is odd that Boom-Boom doesn't recognize the Frost Giant considering she encountered one in New Mutants (1st series) #82 during her adventure in Asgard. Then again, maybe it's not too much of a stretch to believe she wouldn't remember the Frost Giants due to her oblivious nature.

Tran is the name of Karma's twin brother who first appeared, and died, in Marvel Team-Up (1st series) #100.

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