Tag Archives: new mutants

84 – MAGIK

8 Aug

Subject: Magik
Real Name: Illyana Rasputin
Height: 5’5″ Weight: 120 lbs.
First Appearance: Giant-Size X-Men #1, May 1975 (as Illyana), Magik Limited Series #1, December 1983 (as Magik)

Power Ratings:

  • Energy Projection: 2/7
  • Mental Powers: 2/7
  • Strength: 2/7
  • Fighting Ability: 5/7
  • Intelligence: 2/7

I will admit: my first memory of Illyana Rasputin was in X-Men #20, when it was being revealed that she was the first victim of Stryfe‘s Legacy Virus. Even the concept of New Mutants and Magik was quite foreign to me at the time. Of course she was involved in a storyline right before then (in issues 17 and 18), which I never had (and continue to not) have access to. X-Men #20 was published May 1993, a month after I first arrived as a 9-year-old in the United States. And since comics take a while to have reached the Philippines back then, that explains the gap in my childhood collection.

Magik is again one of those peripheral characters that kind of led the way for the X-Men to get themselves into non-earth non-mutant related adventures, this time around to the realm of dark sorcery with the devil-like villain Belasco. I just recently read this first adventure, wherein a seven-year-old Illyana was kidnapped and returned to Colossus (her brother) having doubled in age, presumably having been confined in the dark realm the entire time and raised to be a dark sorceress. What a terrible way to go through your tweens (okay, the normal way is also pretty terrible).

The card biography refers to the fact that by this point in the continuity Magik had reverted to her 7-year-old self after effectively martyring herself for her fellow New Mutants, so it’s somewhat odd to see portrayed as her Soulsword-wielding, teleporting teenage self. Then again, this section IS called “Ex-X-Men” so I guess it’s okay.

The art in this is satisfactory, with a strong pose (that luckily doesn’t over-sexualize her) making up for the otherwise sparse detailwork. There’s a just-barely comical use of 90’s computer-generated imagery with the coloring of her teleportation disc, which really could’ve been much much worse.

Finally her Power Ratings are confusing; I can’t tell if it’s supposed to be representative of her “current” 7-year-old state, or her teenage state; if the former , a 5/7 in Fighting Ability seems to be stretching it, but if the latter, her Energy Projection rating seems paltry, at least if you’d consider her Soulsword and teleportation discs to be energy projections (I would).

81 – SUNSPOT

1 Aug

Subject: Sunspot
Real Name: Roberto DaCosta
Height: 5′ Weight: 130 lbs.
First Appearance: New Mutants Graphic Novel, 1982

Power Ratings:

  • Energy Projection: 2/7
  • Mental Powers: 1/7
  • Strength: 5/7
  • Fighting Ability: 4/7
  • Intelligence: 3/7

Wow, 5 feet tall and 130 pounds? That’s borderline littleperson, and in the world of comics, it’s virtually unheard of for an otherwise normal superhero to be shorter than 5’8″ (notable exception is our favorite 5-foot-3 razorblade bowling ball). Even Marvel’s resident scrawny nerd Peter Parker is a full 10 inches taller and 30+ pounds more massive.

Since The New Mutants were just slightly before my time, I didn’t really know much about Sunspot’s history with the other members of X-Force. In fact, my earliest vivid memory of Sunspot was in X-Force #15, when he was rescued by X-Force along with other former New Mutant Rictor (who does not get his own card, apparently).

I still never figured out why Liefeld couldn’t find room for Sunspot in X-Force, same with Rictor and Wolfsbane, whom, I’d mentioned before, was replaced with Feral, who was basically the same character. It seems as though Sunspot’s strongman role was replaced by Warpath, who certainly looked the part much more. I guess Liefeld just couldn’t process a 5-foot-3 Brazilian kid being the team’s heavy.

Of course Liefeld couldn’t help but disgrace him before his dismissal by donning him in one of the lamest costumes in X-Men history, with a bright red shirt with matching Zorro eyemask. Seriously, didn’t the Ninja Turtles bury that wardrobe element as a serious piece of fighting costume forever? You’ve got a guy with one of the more visually unique looks out there (being jet-black and radiating… black power), he really doesn’t even need a costume.

I almost forgot to review the Power Ratings, it had been so long since we’d done them. Roberto’s fares pretty well, with a powerful 5/7 rating for Strength, and even respectable Fighting Ability and Intelligence ratings, neither of which sound out of the ordinary, but I certainly can’t remember specific instances that would support or contradict such a claim.

08 – WOLFSBANE

11 Feb

Subject: Wolfsbane
Real Name: Rahne Sinclair
Height: 5’2″ Weight: 120 lbs.
Group Affiliation: X-Factor
First Appearance: New Mutants Graphic Novel 1982

Power Ratings:

  • Energy Projection: 1/7
  • Mental Powers: 1/7
  • Strength: 3/7
  • Fighting Ability: 5/7
  • Intelligence: 2/7

When introduced in the New Mutants Graphic Novel in 1982, Rahne “Wolfsbane” Sinclair, she played like a cross between Beast and Rogue (though technically Rogue had only been introduced a year prior, and was still very much a villain): a girl with an exotic accent (in this case, Scotch) whose powers severely altered her appearance (going from wolf-like humanoid to full on wolf), causing big self-esteem issues.

By the time the 90’s had rolled around her personality was largely boiled down to an unhealthy crush on her X-Factor leader Havok (as mentioned in her card’s X-Tra Fact), and was for the most part ineffective as part of the government-sanctioned team.

In fact, not only can I not remember why she was transferred to X-Factor at all from the New Mutants, but why for the love of god, did Rob Liefeld then replace her with essentially the SAME character (powers-wise), Feral, when he transformed the New Mutants into X-Force?

Well, the second part of the question is actually easy enough to answer: Wolfsbane wasn’t badass enough. And this would make sense in Liefeld-logic, except none of the other New Mutants were, either, really, and he just went ahead and screwed their personalities up to fit his needs. Whatever.

Artwise, Lee’s art at least doesn’t overly sexualize Rahne, but then again there isn’t much personality in the drawing at all. We don’t get the sense at all of her Wolf-changing powers. Looking at the card she seems no more than a female version of Beast, just like She-Hulk is simply the female version of the Hulk.

As far as Power Ratings go, her Strength and Fighting Ability ratings are both overestimated, I think, despite her feral (pardon the pseudo-pun) attributes. Wolfsbane was pretty consistently depicted as either inexperienced or impulsive, which speaks very badly for her effectiveness in combat.