Most mutant talk in comics right now is centered around the upcoming House of X and Powers of X event series from Jonathan Hickman, which plans to return the X-Men to the forefront of the Marvel Universe. However, there was a recent announcement from Marvel that has redirected some online buzz towards the New Mutants, the second class of X-Men.
Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz will be reuniting for New Mutants: War Children, which reteams the creators with the original team of young X-Men for a never-before-seen tale set during their early years from the iconic creators run. This has led us to revisit some of their classic storylines, as well as other essential stories from the New Mutants that we'll explore further today.
10 MARVEL GRAPHIC NOVEL 4: THE NEW MUTANTS
When it came time to debut the second class of X-Men (though technically they would be the fourth class given later retcons and reveals), Chris Claremont and Bob McLeod already had an established template thanks to the success of Giant-Size X-Men, which introduced a new international team of X-Men following the cancellation of the previous series.
The new Original Graphic Novel format would be used to introduce the young team of diverse characters as their powers manifested, with Professor Xavier quickly attempting to recruit the literal new mutants. While they found themselves caught up in the larger manipulations of organizations like the Hellfire Club, they would eventually all join Xavier as his New Mutants and launch the first of many X-Men spin-offs.
9 THE DEMON BEAR SAGA
The first pairing of Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz has become one of the most iconic New Mutants stories ever told and is set to be the basis of the oft-delayed New Mutants film, which is in flux following the sale of 20th Century Fox to Disney. Its role in the film is a testament to the importance of the event that not only changed the course of the New Mutants but comics in general.
New Mutant Dani Moonstar is plagued with visions of a Demon Bear from her childhood while the X-Mansion experiences odd disturbances. Eventually, the New Mutants are faced with the very real spirit of the Demon Bear in a fight for Dani Moonstar's soul, featuring some of the best art of the entire series from comics legend Bill Sienkiewicz.
Illyana Rasputina is the young sister of Piotr Rasputin/Colossus, a longtime member of the X-Men. It was during one of their missions that young Illyana was pulled into the demonic dimension of Limbo, only to return almost a decade older in the span of a brief moment for the X-Men. The aged Illyana would then go on to join the New Mutants as Magik.
Magik was a mini-series that starred Illyana and Storm, who lived an alternate life in Limbo that saw Illyana raised in the mystic arts by the demon Belasco, who attempted to corrupt her soul. This corruption created the Darkchylde and allowed her to wield the Soulsword, both of which will factor into many huge storylines with the New Mutants and the X-Men for many years.
Interestingly enough, the character of David Haller/Legion, who currently has his own TV series on FX, first appeared in the pages of New Mutants for the "Soulwar" storyline. The three-issue story introduces the powerful mutant David, who is revealed as the son of Professor Charles Xavier, raised in secret without his father's knowledge.
Throughout the storyline, David's traumatic history is explored, as well as his unique Dissociative Identity Disorder that features numerous other identities within Haller's mind, all of whom each possess a powerful mutant ability. Legion would be explored much more fully over the years and eventually become a major character in the X-titles, featuring most recently in the Age of X-Man event.
6 NEW HELLIONS
While Xavier was the initial mentor of the team, there was a time where the New Mutants were left adrift and on their own, which is when they encountered the powerful Beyonder. The Beyonder killed, recreated and enslaved the team as he attempted to understand humanity. This left the team severely damaged, which new headmaster Magneto was unable to deal with after Xavier's departure.
He sent the New Mutants to live with Emma Frost, the Hellfire Club member who had become the leader of a group of young mutants known as the Hellions. Frost was just beginning to explore her heroic side and was able to help the New Mutants/New Hellions, though the two teams would remain rivals until the eventual demise of the majority of the Hellions.
5 DEATH OF DOUG RAMSEY
Doug Ramsey was one of the first new recruits to the New Mutants, and he possessed the mutant power of language; the ability to understand and speak languages in all forms, which would include alien and technological languages. This ability would prove coincidentally beneficial when the team met the alien entity known as Warlock.
Doug and Warlock would bond heavily over their adventures, which made the death of Doug Ramsey at the hands of the Ani-Mator all the more impactful. Not only was this a huge loss and wake up call to the New Mutants, but it also provided the opportunity to explain death to the alien creature Warlock, who had no frame of reference for the loss. The storyline featured a powerful few issues with troubling moments that stand out among the rest of the New Mutants storylines.
4 THE MAGUS
Warlock would prove to be an integral member of the team, and his alien species the Technarchy would factor into a number of storylines over the years. However, it was the New Mutants first encounter with the rest of Warlock's alien race that has become essential reading for New Mutants fans.
Warlock's "father" is known as The Magus, and is searching for Warlock to continue the constant cycle of battle between son and father. As Warlock is a mutant he refuses to follow tradition, resulting in the Magus using his alien Transmode Virus to corrupt Limbo (told you it would keep showing up) and the demons that lived there to battle Warlock and the New Mutants.
3 X-TINCTION AGENDA
The New Mutants heavily featured into the line-wide crossover "X-Tinction Agenda," which saw the mutant-hating Genoshan government led by Cameron Hodge capture a number of the New Mutants for testing, which resulted in the death of Warlock. This brought the previously separated factions of the X-Men together alongside the first iteration of X-Factor and new hero Cable.
While "X-Tinction Agenda" and subsequently the "Muir Island Saga" are known for bringing the X-Men back together after years apart, it is also best known as the end of the New Mutants. The team suffered greatly during the "X-Tinction Agenda" and its effects would be felt for many years, with some relationships remaining broken for even longer.
The New Mutants were left devastated by the events of the "X-Tinction Agenda" and were left disillusioned by the X-Men and Xavier's dream. They would meet the militaristic mutant known as Cable during the event, who would offer the remains of the New Mutants a new direction away from the X-Men, which the majority of the team would readily accept.
Cable remolded the young students into his own personal strike team alongside survivors of the Hellions and Fallen Angels and new characters like Shatterstar and Domino. They became X-Force, and while the team had many iterations over the years, the New Mutant squad at the heart of X-Force would be brought closer than ever due to their time with the team.
1 THE RETURN
Following the X-Men's relocation to the island haven known as Utopia, Cyclops contacted Sam Guthrie/Cannonball and asked him to put together a strike team for the X-Men. Sam gathered the former members of the New Mutants together again. After years of working with other teams like X-Force, S.H.I.E.L.D., and separated in the X-Men, the New Mutants were officially back together again.
The adult heroes would find themselves caught up in numerous huge events alongside the X-Men, while also searching out and helping former members and adding new faces to the team, like Nate Grey/X-Man, Clarice Ferguson/Blink, and a new iteration of Warlock before again being split into various factions among the X-Men or new versions of X-Force.