New Mutants (2nd series) #2

Issue Date: 
August 2003
Story Title: 
A Place In The World (*see notes)

Nunzio DeFilippis & Christina Weir (Co-writers), Keron Grant (Pencils), Rob Stull (Inks), Avalon’s Dan Kemp (Colors) Virtual Calligraphy’s Chris & Cory (Letterers), Stephanie Moore (Assistant Editor), C.B. Cebulski (Editor), Ralph Macchio (Consulting Editor), Joe Quesada (Editor-In-Chief) Bill Jemas (President)

Brief Description: 

Professor Xavier gives Dani Moonstar and new student Sofia Montega a tour through the institute and approaches Dani about a teaching job she is unsure about. Sofia meets a telekinetic boy named Julian Keller and becomes the roommate of Laurie Collins, a girl with pheromone-based powers, who usually keeps to herself as she is afraid of her powers manipulating people. fortunately Sofia's wind powers can keep her immune to those pheromones.

Full Summary: 

Last year:

Laurie Collins walks down the hallway of her high school. Her school mates are all being social, and don’t notice she’s walking along the wall, avoiding contact . Laurie has her hair covering her face as she holds her books close to her chest. As she opens her locker, she notices three boys walking up to her. She nervously closes her eyes and makes a face. She hopes they won’t talk to her. The taller one, an attractive blonde athletic type speaks up to her. He says hello, and asks if her name is Laurie. A look of shock comes over her face, as she realizes he actually knows her name. She says nothing. He continues, he admits he’s having problems with algebra, he’s heard she’s really smart, and had thought maybe she could help him.

She nervously says sure, but unseen to them all, her mutant powers are triggered. pheromones are released into the air, a soft red color, and he quickly rephrases his question. He tells her he could pay her for her help, she wouldn’t have to do it for free. The pheromones increase. He even offers to take her on a date. He looks lost in her eyes. She confesses she doesn’t understand. From behind them, two students open a door quickly, and the wind from the opening door blows the pheromones away. He snaps to his senses, and admits he doesn’t know what he’s talking about either. It’s like she was in his head. Laurie looks scared. "Oh My God," she cries, "you should leave me alone, I didn’t mean to, I can’t control it."

He asks control what, is she a mutant? She stumbles on her words nervously, as light yellow pheromones begin being released. He brusquely tells her just to forget it, and he’ll get his help from someone else. The pheromones start to work on him. He tells her to stay away, and repeats himself more frightened than he was. He runs away, as do a few other school mates. Laurie crouches down , holding her knees. Eventually everyone is gone, and she’s left alone.

A year later at Xavier’s Institute For Higher Learning

It’s a beautiful day as various mutant students are taking advantage of the day. Some are talking, while a few are playing frisbee. Alone against a tree, Laurie sits by herself. The frisbee is missed and lands by her. Julian Keller runs up and tells her to never mind, he’s got it. He invites her to come and join them, but she looks away, telling him she’s fine alone. Julian tells her she shouldn’t have to be alone, a girl like her, Laurie cuts him off saying she should go. As she walks away, Julian tells her he was just being friendly, she looks like she could use a friend.

Aboard the train heading to Xavier’s Institute For Higher Learning, Sofia Mantega asks her new found friend if they are there yet. Danielle Moonstar replies soon. Sofia looks out the window, asking if Xavier’s is as beautiful as this place. Danielle replies hell yes, although she hasn’t been there in a while. Sofia asks is she was a super hero back then, one of the X-Men? Not exactly, Dani answers, they were students, they weren’t supposed to put on costumes to save the world. But that didn’t stop them from trying though. Sofia is curious about her powers, asking Dani that she had said her power was to scare people, and she doesn’t understand. "I create illusions." These are scary illusions? Sofia asks. They should be, Dani answers, she creates them from people's worst fears. It’s not that bad, Dani says with a smile on her face, She can also show people their heart’s desire. The train conductor announces “Salem Center, now arriving in Salem Center.” The girls get off the train.

Getting inside a taxi, Danielle tells the driver Xavier’s School for Higher Learning please. Outside the taxi, and in front of Xavier’s, Sofia claims “Madre de Dios”. She tells Dani that she didn’t tell her it was this impressive. Dani tells her if she wants impressive, she'll give her impressive. A smiling man approaches them, and Danielle introduces Sofia to Professor Charles Xavier. Shaking her hand, Xavier tells her it’s a pleasure to meet her, and Danielle has informed him she would like to enroll here. Sofia looks down on the ground, she replies yes, if he will have her. She admits it’s only fair she tells him she was arrested yesterday, because she destroyed a Barrett’s Supermarket in Boulder. Smiling Xavier recalls seeing it on the news, and tells her not to worry, he jokingly adds , "I never shop there. You are more than welcome here." Looking at her, he tells her Danielle has informed him she has the ability to manipulate the wind. She asks if he is a telepath. Telepathically he tells her she is correct. Looking amazed, Sofia says wow.

Hugging Xavier, Danielle admits it’s good to see him. He tells her he is no longer her professor. He invites them both inside for a tour. Danielle tells him she doesn’t need a tour, she <did go here after all. Xavier tells her yes, but things have...changed. Approaching the doors, Xavier states that back in Danielle’s day, they provided private tutoring for a handful of mutants. But these days they have close to two hundred students, and some have gone home for the summer. They’ve added several buildings and dormitories to the school. Sofia's roommate situation will be based on her compatibility of personalities and mutant abilities. They walk down the hall and pass Beast teaching a class of students.

Xavier continues, the goal of the school to allow every mutant a chance to receive a full education. Which includes classes she would be taking in any other high school. While they train their students in the use of their powers, this is not a super hero academy for X-Men in training. She will be free to choose that later in life, and they would appreciate the help, but for now, she is here only to learn. They make their way into a library, and Xavier adds that while they are on summer break, they are still offering summer classes for those who’ve stayed at the school. She’s arrived just at the start of summer quarter. Looking at the students working, Danielle mutters, "Lucky you."

They enter a room where six students sit around a table floating in the air. Xavier tells Sofia her additional classes will be based on her mutant ability. He informs them they are currently viewing a class of telekinetics. Today it seems they are honing their skills through a game of Jenga. Julian cries out, no, he had it. The Jenga tower starts to collapse as another student tells him no powers after the block is placed. Sofia uses her wind manipulation and arranges the blocks back in place into their tower form. Julian stands up and thanks her as he was about to lose. But that wasn’t telekinesis she used. Sofia replies, no, it was the wind. Xavier introduces the two young mutants, and asks Julian if he is currently busy. He reports he has a free period next, then flight class with Mr. Beaubier. Xavier replies perfect, then perhaps he can show the new student around the school. Julian looks at Sofia and replies, sure, no problem.

Soon, inside of an art room, Sofia overlooks several students doing various art pieces. Some are using regular art tools, while others use their powers to create art. Sofia asks him if they have to use their powers in this class. Julian tells her no, but a lot of kids do, it’s way more fun. Outside the watch various students in archery class. Using several different powers to aim and fire their arrows. She asks if everyone has to take combat classes? Julian tells her they’re electives. But it’s not really combat, it’s more about being able to control our powers. As they continue to walk in the yard, Sofia notices a girl sitting reading underneath a tree. She asks who she is, and Julian tells her that’s Laurie Collins. He tells her not to even get him started on her, as Sofia appears to be comfortable with her powers, Laurie isn’t, and she keeps to herself. As they pass her, Sofia looks in Laurie's direction and replies that’s sad.

Seeing his flight teacher, Mr. Beaubier, known to the world as Northstar, approaching the class, Julian knows he’s late. Landing, Northstar acknowledges them sourly, as he tells the class he sees two of his students couldn’t be bothered to come to their first class on time. As Julian holds his head down, Sofia kindly approaches him, and admits their tardiness was her fault. She is new to the school, and Julian was only showing her around. She adds that she’s not even in this class. A guest, Northstar says, pauses, then adds how wonderful. He continues that as a guest she will be the only one who shall not have to worry about today’s pop quiz. All of them must perform a successful take-off, and will be graded. As his class mates all attempt their take-offs, Julian tells Sofia she earns them a pop quiz that she doesn’t even have to take. Probably can’t even fly yet, can she, he adds. "Can’t fly?" she exclaims, "watch this!" Sofia manipulates the wind, and flaps her arms. Flying is something she hasn’t quite mastered, and she realizes this right before she crashes into another male student. Embarrassed after she lands on top of him, she looks up to see him looking angry. Northstar looks to Julian, and tells him, since she is only a guest, she cannot be given a failing grade. But he can certainly give it to Julian.

Later, inside the cafeteria, Danielle tells Xavier she wishes she could have been there to see that. Northstar’s always been such a stiff. Amusing as it must have been, Xavier adds, he hopes Julian does not blame his bad grade on Sofia. Even if he does, she says, that won’t stop Sofia. Admitting she doesn’t know this girl well, she already knows she isn’t the type to give up easily. He tells her again that he is not her professor anymore, she can simply call him Charles. She admits it feels weird, it’s not like their peers. He decides they should talk about that. That’s flattering, she says, but I’m not sure I’m ready to join the X-Men full time. He admits that’s fine, as that was not what he was offering. He was thinking of a teaching position. She tells him no, that would be a mistake. But he points out the connection she made with Sofia. Sofia’s easy to connect with, she adds in defense.

At another table, Sofia approaches a table where Julian sits with five other students. She asks if she can sit down with them, and apologizes for getting Julian in trouble earlier. A red-headed girl with metalic skin smiles, and adds so this is the girl you were talking about. Julian admits this is her, and they should have seen the look on Beaubier’s face. He was like a cartoon character with steam coming out of his ears. Sofia smiles and sits down. The girl tells Julian had told them she blew over six kids. Sofia informs that Julian exaggerates, she only blew one person and herself. The girl asks what else can she do. Sofia tells them that sometimes, the wind carries sounds over from great distances. Cool, Julian says, so what Professor Baldy asking that hot chic over there then? They all look as Sofia hears “I’m just not teacher material” “I think otherwise”. He is offering her a job, Sofia informs the others.

Raising his hands in a surrender, he tells Danielle fine, they'll shelf this discussion for now. There is something else she can do for him, their Cerebra system has detected several mutants who have not yet come to the school. While the X-teams have other priorities right now, he still feels it is important to recruit these children. They need to know there is a place in the world for them too. Smiling Danielle asks, "so you want me to sell the school. Sort of like an athletic recruiter. Should I offer them SUV’s or teenage girls?" He tells her not to joke, adolescence can be hard enough without genetic mutation. It wasn’t to long ago she was a teenager, and she could easily connect with these students. He looks over at a table where Laurie Collins sits alone, reading her book. After seeing her, Danielle tells him she’ll be right back.

Walking over to Laurie’s table, Danielle asks her if she can sit with her. Not looking up, Laurie tells her she probably shouldn’t. Admitting she never was one to do what she should, Danielle sits down. She looks at Laurie, who doesn’t move from her stare. Dani asks why she always seems to be alone. It’s better that way, Laurie replies. Isn’t there anybody here you’d like to eat with? Grabbing her tray, Laurie gets up, telling Danielle she doesn’t understand. There are a lot of people she’s like to eat with. And if she liked them , they’d probably like her too. Touching her shoulder, Dani asks what would be so horribly wrong with that? Shrugging away, she tells her because it wouldn’t be real. They’d only like her because of her pheromones. Then when they found out, they’d get angry. Then she would get scared, and when she gets scared people start to panic. "I have to go, she admits, when I get upset bad things happen."

Back with Xavier, Danielle admits she really tanked that one. Xavier tells her it was a rather poor showing. Of course she didn’t have the facts going in. No, and you didn’t ask for them, Xavier says. Danielle thinks she only upset her more. Xavier informs she is a tough nut to crack, so to speak, they’ve tried several different roommates for her, with little success. She shuts down, or scares them off with her talk of pheromones. That just reinforces her isolation, Danielle adds. Exactly Xavier agrees, what they need is someone who will not take no for an answer. Staring off into space, Danielle admits, she has an idea.

Holding her books tightly to herself, Laurie walks down the hallway towards her room. Opening her door, she finds a girl unpacking her things. Nice room, she admits, I can’t believe you had it all to yourself. Confused, Laurie admits she doesn’t understand. Sofia introduces herself as Laurie’s new roommate. Laurie tells her she has to live alone, because of her powers. Smiling Sofia tells her that her powers are pheromones, right? So unless she finds her attractive, they shouldn’t have a problem. "Do you find me attractive," Sofia asks. No, Laurie says, no offense, but she stops her sentence. Flopping on her bed, Sofia tells her they shouldn’t have a problem then. Sitting on the computer desk, Laurie tells her they do still have a problem. If she were to be scared or upset, Sofia interrupts her by asking if her pheromones are carried on the wind. Laurie says yes, as Sofia manipulates the wind to blow Laurie’s hair out of her face. Then I’m not worried, Sofia says, Oh, there you are, she jokes. You really should not hide your face with your hair. Smiling, Sofia shuts the door asking what kind of music she likes.

Outside the door, Xavier tells Danielle her instincts are impressive, and he thinks they will make ideal roommates. So what about his job offer, he asks. I still don’t think I’m cut out for teaching, Danielle admits, but I will go recruit those kids for you. Wonderful, he says, it’s great to have you back Danielle. It’s great to be back Prof, she stops, Charles. She admits, it still feels weird calling him that.

Characters Involved: 

Danielle Moonstar

Laurie Collins, Julian Keller, Sofia Mantega, other students at Xavier's

Northstar, Professor Charles Xavier (teachers at Xavier Institute and X-Men)

Cab driver

Story Notes: 

Sofia destroyed one of her father’s grocery stores, got arrested, and met Danielle Moonstar in #1.

The story title was supposed to be “A place in the world.” It was supposed to appear on page 5, but was lost somewhere in the final production stage of the book.

Julian Keller was colored wrong in the first few pages, as he shows up later with different colored hair and wearing a different t-shirt. But the writer has admitted this was him who approached Laurie at the tree in the beginning.

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