Retro Review: New X-Men: Academy X #1-19, Hellions #1-4, & Yearbook Special By Weir, DeFilippis, Ryan, Medina, Lopresti & Others For Marvel Comics

New X-Men: Academy X #1-19 (July 2004 – December 2005), New X-Men: Hellions #1-4 (July – October 2005), & New X-Men: Academy X Yearbook #1 (December 2005)

Written by Nunzio DeFilippis (#1-19; New X-Men: Hellions #1-4, New X-Men: Academy X Yearbook #1) and Christina Weir (#1-19; New X-Men: Hellions #1-4, New X-Men: Academy X Yearbook #1)

Pencils by Randy Green (#1-2), Staz Johnson (#3-4), Michael Ryan (#5-8, 12-13), Carlo Pagulayan (#9), Paco Medina (#10-11, 14-15), Aaron Lopresti (#16-19), Clayton Henry (New X-Men: Hellions #1-4), Georges Jeanty (New X-Men: Academy X Yearbook #1)

Inks by Rick Ketchum (#1-3, 5-8, 12-13, New X-Men: Hellions #3), Sean Parsons (#3), Scott Koblish (#4), Avalon Studios (#5), Norm Rapmund (#9), Juan Vlasco (#10-11, 14-15), Brad Vancata (#16-19), Mark Morales (New X-Men: Hellions #1-4), Greg Adams (New X-Men: Hellions #2), Jay Leisten (New X-Men: Hellions #3-4), Don Hillsman (New X-Men: Academy X Yearbook #1)

Coloured by Pete Pantazis (#1-18), Chris Sotomayor (#2-3, 9), Tom Chu (#2-4, 9, 17, 19, New X-Men: Academy X Yearbook #1), Wil Quintana (New X-Men: Hellions #1-4)

Spoilers (from twelve to thirteen years ago)

When Grant Morrison left the New X-Men (and Marvel), it led to some big changes across the X-Men line.  New X-Men had its name reverted back to X-Men, and New Mutants was canceled and relaunched as New X-Men, with a cover tag line of Academy X, with Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir continuing as writers.  The focus shifts a lot more, at least at first, to the structure of the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning, as Cyclops and the White Queen take on a larger role, and the students are put into squads and given code names and training uniforms.  

Let’s take a look at who populated the title:


  • Icarus (Josh “Jay” Guthrie; #1-15, New X-Men: Academy X Yearbook #1)
  • Quill (Max Jordan; #1, 11, 14)
  • Surge (Noriko Ashida; #1-15, New X-Men: Academy X Yearbook #1)
  • Prodigy (David Alleyne; #1-15, New X-Men: Academy X Yearbook #1)
  • Wind Dancer (Sofia Mantega; #1-15, New X-Men: Academy X Yearbook #1)
  • Elixir (Josh Foley; #1-15, New X-Men: Academy X Yearbook #1)
  • Wallflower (Laurie Collins; #1-15, New X-Men: Academy X Yearbook #1)
  • Hellion (Julian Keller; #2-15; New X-Men: Hellions #1-4, New X-Men: Academy X Yearbook #1)
  • Dust (Sooraya Qadir; #2-6, 14-15, New X-Men: Hellions #1-4)
  • Mercury (Cessily Kincaid; #2-6, 11, 15, New X-Men: Hellions #1-4)
  • Rockslide (Santo Vaccarro; #2-6, 11, 13, 15, New X-Men: Hellions #1-4)
  • Tag (Brian Cruz; #3-6, 11, 13, 15, New X-Men: Hellions #1-4)
  • Wither (Kevin Ford; #3-15, New X-Men: Hellions #1-4)
  • Anole (Victor Borkowski; #4, 13-15)
  • Specter (Dallas Gibson; #5)
  • Match (Ben Hammil, Paragon; #5, 12)
  • Jeffrey Garrett (ghost; #9, 11, 14)
  • Wolf Cub (Nicholas Gleason, Paragon; #12)
  • Pixie (Megan Gwynn; #12, 14)
  • Trance (Hope Abbott, Paragon; #12)
  • Preview (Jessie Vale, Paragon; #12)
  • Rubbermaid (Andrea Marguiles, Alpha Squadron; #13)
  • Indra (Paras Gavaskar, Alpha Squadron; #13)
  • Loa (Alani Ryan, Alpha Squadron; #13)
  • Stepford Cuckoos (Celesete, Mindee, and Phoebe Cuckoo, Alpha Squadron; #14-15)
  • Dryad (Callie Betto, Alpha Squadron; #15)


  • Cyclops (Scott Summers; #1-6, 8, 10-14)
  • White Queen (Emma Frost; #1-6, 8-14, New X-Men: Hellions #1, 4)
  • Mirage (Danielle Moonstar; #2-15, New X-Men: Hellions #1, New X-Men: Academy X Yearbook #1)
  • Iceman (Bobby Drake; #2, 13)
  • Wolfsbane (Rahne Sinclair; #3-9, 12, 15)
  • Nightcrawler (Kurt Wagner; #7)
  • Beast (Hank McCoy; #7-8, 10, 13)
  • Karma (Xi’an Coy Manh; #7-9, 13-15, New X-Men: Academy X Yearbook #1)
  • Wolverine (Logan; #10)
  • Northstar (Jean-Paul Beaubier; #13)

House of M Cast

  • Xi’an Coy Manh (Headmaster, New Mutant Leadership Institute; #16-19)
  • Quentin Quire (NMLI; #16)
  • David Alleyne (NMLI; #16-19)
  • Brian Cruz (NMLI; #16-19)
  • Agent Moonstar (SHIELD agent; #16-19)
  • Scion (Julian Keller, Junior SHIELD agent; #16-19)
  • Synch (Junior SHIELD agent; #16-19)
  • Cessily Kincaid (NMLI; #16-19)
  • Jubilee Lee (NMLI; #16-19)
  • Sooraya Qadir (NMLI; #16-19)
  • Surge (Noriko Ashida, Junior SHIELD agent; #16-19)
  • Wind Dancer (Sofia Mantega, Junior SHIELD agent; #16-19)
  • Quill (Max Jordan, Junior SHIELD agent; #16-19)
  • Doug Ramsay (teacher, NMLI; #16-19)
  • Mystique (SHIELD agent; #16)
  • Magik (Illyana Rasputin; junior SHIELD agent; #16-19)
  • Stepford Cuckoos (all five of them, NMLI; #16-19)
  • Kevin Ford (SHIELD; #17)
  • Josh Foley (SHIELD; #17)


  • Jeffrey Garrett (ghost boy; #7-9)
  • Elektra (#13)
  • The Hand (#13)
  • Blob (#14-15)
  • Suicide bombers (House of M sapien resistance; #16)
  • Cameron Hodge (House of M sapien resistance; #16-17)
  • Laurie Garrison (NMLI & SHIELD agent; #16-19)
  • Dr. Sean Garrison (NMLI therapist & SHIELD agent; #16-19)
  • Japanese sapien resistance (House of M; #17-19)
  • Sunfire (Emperor of Japan; #17, 19)
  • Donald Pierce (House of M sapien resistance; #17-19)
  • Seiji Ashida (leader of House of M sapien resistance; #18-19)
  • The Kingmaker (New X-Men: Hellions #1-4)
  • Dr. Octopus (New X-Men: Hellions #2)

Guest Stars

  • Lockheed the dragon (#4)
  • Tessa (#11)
  • Magma (Amara Aquilla; #11, 14-15, New X-Men: Academy X Yearbook #1)
  • Storm (Ororo Monroe; #11)
  • Bishop (#11)
  • Captain America (Steve Rogers; #13)
  • Polaris (Lorna Dane; #13)
  • Sasquatch (Walter Langkowski; #13)
  • Jamie Madrox (#15)
  • Paladin (New X-Men: Hellions #2-4)
  • Diamondback (New X-Men: Hellions #2-4)
  • Nick Fury (SHIELD; New X-Men: Hellions #4)

Supporting Characters

  • Luna DePaul (barista; #1)
  • Justin Pierce (FBI; #4-6, 14-15)
  • Evangeline Whedon (lawyer; #6)
  • Kim Alleyne (Prodigy’s sister; #7-9)
  • Gail Collins (Laurie’s mom; #9, 12, 14-15)
  • Dr. Sean Garrison (Kevin’s therapist; #9-10, 12, 14)
  • The Kellers (Julian’s parents; New X-Men: Hellions #1, 4)
  • The Kincaids (Cessily’s parents; New X-Men: Hellions #2, 4)
  • Sooraya’s mother (New X-Men: Hellions #2)

Let’s take a look at what happened in these books, with some commentary as we go:

  • The new series opens at the gates of the newly-rebuilt Xavier Institute of Higher Learning.  Headmasters Scott Summers and Emma Frost are speaking to a group of new students, of whom Josh Guthrie is the only recognizable one, about the school.  Nori is at her job when Luna reminds her that she is late for this same tour.  She uses her electricity powers to race to the school, but along the way, she knocks her energy-regulating gauntlets against a statue commemorating Jean Grey.  Scott is a little hard on her, and then he leaves the tour to Frost.  Emma takes them around the aboveground parts of the school, including the basketball court that doubles as the Blackbird’s launchpad, and then takes them to the Danger Room.  While there, something falls off of one of Nori’s gauntlets.  She’s kind of lippy through the whole tour.  Scott reviews student files in his office, providing a framing sequence to introduce the main characters from the New Mutants run.  David chats with Nori, and she finds out that she has a roommate she hasn’t met yet, and wonders if her powers are acting up, as she keeps draining electricity out of her discman.  They go to dinner with Sofia, Laurie, and Josh, and the lights keep going out in the dining hall.  Nori figures out that one of her regulator knobs is missing, and figures that it’s probably in the Danger Room.  She wants to go get it, and her friends rally around her.  David slips into Summers’s office to get his keycard (his powers help him find it) and he sees something on Scott’s computer he doesn’t like.  They get into the Danger Room, but Nori needs to discharge her collected energy, and that somehow turns the room on, with a Sentinel scenario playing.  The team works together to protect each other, and turn off the program.  David tells them that Scott is planning on putting all the students at the school into squads, and believes that he is going to break them up.
  • Julian finds the kids in the Danger Room, and threatens to tell on them.  Sofia asks him not to, and he agrees, after there’s a little tussle.  The kids go to Dani who is on the phone.  Nori meets her new roommate, Sooraya Qadir (Dust), who is from Afghanistan and wears a niqab.  Nori takes offense at her outfit and thinks she is judgemental.  She runs into Cyclops, who knows that she was in the Danger Room, and tells her to get her gauntlets fixed, and to be more understanding towards Sooraya.  David tells Josh that he’s going to leave the school if he’s forced to train to be an X-Man, as he’s only there to study and perfect his control over his power.  Julian befriends Josh Guthrie, who wants to go by Jay (probably because it’s too confusing to have two Joshes in central roles in this book, and gets him to join him with Cessily and Santo.  Julian challenges Josh to a four-on-four basketball game as a way of solving their grudge.  Jay and Laurie refuse to play.  Iceman interrupts their game, offering to be ref and insisting that they use their powers.  When Julian’s team wins, he acts poorly towards Cessily.  The group goes to see Dani, who already has Nori in her office.  She tells them that the school is putting them into squads, but that they are not being split up.  She calms David down as well.  The next day, at an assembly, Scott explains that the squads are being made to help train the students in teamwork and combat.  Scott’s squad is called the Corsairs, but they aren’t named individually.  Emma’s squad are the Hellions, made up of Julian, Cessily, Santo, Jay, Sooraya, and Brian (who is not pictured).  Dani introduces her squad, who have new codenames.  David is Prodigy, Sofia is Wind Dancer, Laurie is Wallflower, Josh is Elixir, and Nori remains Surge.  There is an unnamed sixth member of the squad who hasn’t been introduced yet.  Dani’s squad is fittingly called the New Mutants.
  • The New Mutants and the Hellions get into another squabble on the field, although Jay, Sooraya, and Nori all refuse to get involved.  Inside the school, Dani and Emma argue as well, as Dani refuses to accept Emma at the school after her years of being a villain.  Rahne gets angry and threatens Emma, turning half-wolf, and Scott gives her a tongue-lashing.  Scott points out that the students are fighting and goes to break it up.  He tells them that their squads will be pitted against each other at the first Field Day exercise.  Dani reluctantly asks Emma for help in tracking down Kevin Ford, who she wants to be the sixth person in her squad.  Josh and Rahne make out in the garage, but then Rahne breaks off their relationship as inappropriate if she is going to work as a teacher at the school.  Dani and Emma use Cerebra, which gives the writers a chance to recap Kevin’s story, before they find him on Staten Island.  We see that he works the night shift at a scrap yard, where he builds art out of metal waste.  Dani approaches him, but he rejects her.  Emma then tries, and explains how she might be able to help him learn to control his powers (he decays organic material), suggesting he practice on lumber.  As they emerge from his shed, Dani asks about a pile of dust she finds, and Kevin says he was practicing on wood, which is clearly a lie.  He returns to the school with them, and upon learning that Laurie is on Dani’s squad, agrees to join.  The team is happy to see him, and he picks the codename Wither.  Dani suggests that David become squad leader, but he rejects the position.  Sofia volunteers, and they all agree.  At the beginning of the Field Day exercise, Scott tells both squads that they need to find a “bomb” that has been hidden on the grounds of the school.  Mercury eavesdrops on the teachers, learning the bomb’s location, but getting captured in the process.  Jay is also listening in, and he flies to his squad.  Sofia has Nori search the entire school at full speed, which leaves her drained, but she finds a memo saying it’s in the hedge maze.  When the New Mutants arrive, they find Rockslide guarding the entrance.
  • The Field Day exercise goes badly for the New Mutants, as Santo blocks the entrance to the hedge maze with his body, and Julian blocks the air above it telekinetically.  Julian and Sofia argue, while David tries to avoid taking over the exercise.  Tag uses his powers on David, causing the rest of the team to run away.  Once clear of Brian’s influence, Kevin uses his powers to cut holes into the maze, and he, Josh, and Laurie discover Jay being attacked by Lockheed the dragon, who is the target of this exercise.  Josh stops Kevin from using his powers on Lockheed, while Jay sings to the extraterrestrial creature, calming him.  The Hellions win the exercise, although David complains about Brian’s use of his powers.  Scott, Emma, and Dani take a moment to discuss this, and while they are gone, Josh goes off on Sofia about her lack of leadership skills.  David supports her.  Scott declares the Hellions winners still.  Laurie tries to cheer up Sofia, and offers to go talk to Josh, while Sooraya attempts to be friendly with Nori.  Kevin works on his metal art, and Cessily seeks him out to talk, and proves that he can touch her safely, as she is made of living metal.  Kevin is distracted when he sees Laurie walk by.  Josh and Victor play basketball, and talk about how Victor is now on Northstar’s squad.  Laurie approaches, but so does Rahne.  Josh goes to talk to her about his frustrations with his squad, but she freezes him out, thinking he’s trying to get a date with her.  He then asks Laurie to go into town with him, upsetting both Rahne and Kevin.  As Scott prepares to go for dinner, Victor informs him that an FBI agent is looking for him.  Cessily invites Kevin to sit with her and her squad, which upsets Sofia, who is alone with David and feels like it’s a comment on her leadership.  Dani also feels odd about Kevin sitting with the Hellions, and Emma takes this as an opportunity to blame Dani.  Scott arrives with Agent Pierce, who is there to arrest Kevin for the murder of his father.
  • Jay flies around in the evening, and has a chat with Sooraya, although she feels it’s inappropriate to talk to a man when she is alone.  Jay sees the FBI pull up to the school grounds.  Agent Pierce talks to Kevin, Dani, Scott, and Emma, and the conversation gets a little tense as neither Dani nor Emma think Kevin should cooperate.  The kid is sent out, and the adults argue, even though Pierce insists that he should be able to help Kevin.  Dani refuses to help, and walks out.  Laurie and Josh are hanging out at an arcade in town, and Josh finally pays attention to Laurie.  Some townie kids try to start trouble, and are scared off by Rahne.  At first, Josh thinks she followed him to ruin his date, but she’s there to send them back to the school to help Kevin.  Dani meets Pierce for coffee, and Nori overhears their conversation.  The New Mutants squad gathers and make plans to sneak Kevin out of the school, and away from the FBI.  David doesn’t agree, but has decided to follow Sofia’s lead.  Just as Sofia flies Kevin over the wall, Pierce and Dani arrive.  Dani covers for them, and the squad ends up arguing over Sofia about what to do.  The next day, Kevin is at the centre of a lot of gossip.  In the cafeteria, he tries to sit alone, but instead Julian addresses the student body about how they should be supporting Kevin (Sofia makes a connection between Julian’s ideology and Magneto’s).  Later, Dani tells Kevin that she is turning him over to the FBI, and he tells her that he hates her.  He is walked out in cuffs in front of his friends.  Later, Julian gathers his squad, the Hellions, to get ready for action.  Jay refuses to be a part of it.  Julian goes to Sofia and tells her that he wants to rescue Kevin.  She agrees to join him.
  • Jay lets Noriko know what’s happening, and then also goes to get Laurie.  The New Mutants decide to try to stop the Hellions from freeing Kevin, but are surprised to learn that Sofia’s gone with the Hellions.  Julian uses this all as an opportunity to mack on Sofia.  Josh tells Rahne what’s going on, and asks her to come help.  She refuses, and he asks her to not tell the faculty about it.  Agent Pierce lets Kevin go to the washroom in the train station, where he’s getting ready to take him back to Georgia.  Cessily comes into the washroom, and the Hellions are about to bust down a wall to free him when the New Mutants arrive and insist on stopping them.  Dani tells Emma and Scott that she thinks Kevin will be fine, since she’s contacted the mutant lawyer Evangeline Whedon.  Rahne comes to tell them what the kids are up to.  The Hellions and the New Mutants fight each other.  David tries to explain things to Sofia, and Jay backs him up.  Sofia decides to rejoin her squad, but insists that David lead in the battle.  He has Sofia use her wind powers to send Sooraya back to the school, while Nori takes out Cessily.  Jay stops Julian.  Dani arrives in the train station just as the FBI agents are about to discover the battle taking place outside.  Scott, Emma, and Rahne stop the fight and Scott lectures.  Back at the school, Nori brings Sooraya some clothes, and it’s again made clear to us that they are never going to understand one another.  A couple of weeks later, Whedon (who is wearing visible garters in court!) moves to dismiss the charges against Kevin, and Pierce and the DA all agree to let Kevin go to the Xavier Institute.  Dani and Pierce flirt a little.  Back at the school, Kevin and Jay decide to switch squads, since Kevin felt that the Hellions had his back, and Jay doesn’t really like them.  Sofia and David decide to co-lead the squad.  Josh confronts Rahne for betraying him, and she again asserts that she’s an adult, but then they end up making out.
  • David’s sister Kim arrives at the school for a visit and is introduced to David’s friends.  As they chat, they are observed by a ghostly presence.  David takes Kim to his drama class, which looks boring until its teacher, Nightcrawler, arrives.  Jay is upset when the picture of his dead girlfriend is moved to his bed, and the frame cracked.  Josh and Laurie are in Beast’s science class, and Rahne, his assistant, pairs Laurie with Kevin, and Josh with Phoebe (who doesn’t actually appear in the comic).  After class, Josh accuses Rahne of being purposely splitting him from Laurie, and after Rahne again tells him that they can’t have a relationship, they make out.  Nori sees that Jay is sad and engaging in some shirtless brooding on the basketball court, so she goes to talk to him.  He tells her about his dead girlfriend and how he tried to kill himself (thank you Chuck Austen), but Nori gets mad when he says he lost everything.  She goes to phone her little brother in Tokyo, and speaks briefly to her mother before her father makes her get off the phone, claiming he doesn’t have a daughter.  Kevin and Laurie begin to work on their science lab, but a lot of ghostly stuff happens.  David walks around with Kim, who wants to watch the squad’s Danger Room session.  She is rude to Julian, and then they go to visit Dani and Xi’an, who hasn’t yet shown up in this run.  Dani says Kim can watch the session from the control booth.  Jay goes to check on Nori, who is sad, and they are both surprised to see that her room has been trashed.  The squad has their session, which focuses on using their powers to help one another.  Nori wears herself out, and Dani goes to check on her, leaving Kim in the control room.  She sees the ghost of a young boy who tells her to leave.  She runs down to the Danger Room, and declares that she just developed mutant abilities.
  • Kim insists she’s a mutant, while the ghost activates the Danger Room, pitting the New Mutants and Dani against Magneto.  The team doesn’t do well, but Xi’an happens by and shuts down the program.  Later, in the infirmary, Rahne comes to check on Josh, and Dani confirms that her death sense detected a ghost.  Scott and Emma talk to David, and it’s clear that Scott thinks Julian is behind all this.  The squad gets dinner, and Kim continues to identify as a mutant, David doesn’t believe in the ghost, and Josh and Laurie make plans to go out for dinner with Laurie’s mom.  Kevin comes to check on Laurie, making Josh jealous, and while they are about to get into a fight, the table covered in their food flies into the air and crashes down.  Scott talks to Julian, who insists he wasn’t responsible.  The New Mutants have trouble sleeping, and the next day, start figuring out what’s going on.  David looks into figuring out which students died during Magneto’s attack, and ends up with a list of students who didn’t return when the school was rebuilt.  The team comes up with the brilliant idea of comparing those names with the ones in the cemetery, and waiting until night to do so.  Emma talks Kevin into seeing a therapist.  Dani, Xi’an, and Rahne gather to try to figure out what’s going on as well, and their discussion is interspersed between scenes of David, Jay, Sofia, Nori, and Kim heading to the cemetery.  Kim sees the ghost again, as do the others.  He tells them to leave, just as Dani remembers a student who she tried to get to leave during Magneto’s attack.  The ghost talks to the New Mutants, telling them to leave the school, and then it looks like he teleports them away.
  • The squad has been teleported up in the air, over the lake.  Jay rescues Kim, and Sofia uses her wind powers to catch herself and Nori, but David is about to crash into the lake, until Julian grabs him with his telekinesis.  Julian explains that Summers told him that if anything happened to the New Mutants, he’d be in trouble, so he’s looking out for them.  Laurie and Josh have dinner at Laurie’s mom’s place, and it goes well.  Dani and Xi’an come to the kids and explain that the ghost is Jeffrey Garrett, an orphaned student who teleported away during the evacuation of the school during Magneto’s attack, and who they never saw again.  Josh gives Laurie a goodnight kiss, and after she goes in, sees that Rahne is waiting for him.  She makes it clear to Josh (again) that they could not have a relationship, and encourages him to pursue Laurie.  We see that Kevin is listening to this conversation.  The next day, Josh refuses to go to class.  David and Nori talk (and because this issue has three different colourists, change clothes in the middle of a scene) about how Nori misses her family, and how it bothers her that Kim doesn’t like her.  Dani checks in on Josh, but he refuses to talk about his relationship problems.  Emma takes Kevin to meet Dr. Sean Garrison, a TV therapist with a number of books under his belt.  That night the kids prepare to hold a seance to contact Jeffrey.  Jay refuses to participate, but Julian and Dani join them.  Some usual poltergeist stuff happens, and then Jeffrey appears, angry as ever, and telling Kim she’s not a mutant.  Nori yells at him, he calms down, and explains that during the attack he’d gone back for a photo of his family, and then died while teleporting, which is why there was no body.  He calms down.  The next day, Kim and David talk about how it’s good she’s not a mutant.  Nori accompanies Jeffrey to Xi’an’s class, where he is going to be a student.
  • Scott teaches an elective class in leadership and tactics, and Julian takes some shots at David, because he believes that his powers are essentially a form of cheating.  This gets under David’s skin, so he goes to Emma Frost to see if there’s some way he can tweak his abilities so that he retains the information and skill sets he gains from people.  Kevin continues to see Dr. Garrison, who we figure out is Laurie’s father just as he realizes that Kevin knows his daughter.  Dani and Emma agree that unlocking David’s mental blocks is risky, but Dani believes he has the right to make that decision.  They talk to him, and he recognizes the risks but believes he has control over it.  Emma unlocks his powers.  David quickly realizes that he has retained a lot of knowledge, and integrates the fighting skills of most of the X-Men to defeat Wolverine (again) in hand to hand combat.  Josh finds David making lists of people he wants to meet so he can gather their skills, and Josh gets him to promise to stay at the school through the Field Day competition.  In the first of these competitions, the New Mutants are expected to stop a Danger Room version of the Hulk on a rampage.  The kids are surprised to see that David’s plan is effective, even though it leaves Nori in danger.  Under David’s leadership, the team wins all their competitions, and David is awarded a plaque for academic excellence.  He decides to leave the school despite the objections of Dani and his friends.  Three months later, David announces the grand opening of Alleyne Industries, and that he has cured cancer and AIDS using Josh’s abilities.  He also announces that Josh did not survive the process.  It’s pretty obvious after the Hulk scene that this is all going to turn out to be an illusion that Frost and Dani cooked up to teach David a lesson.
  • It’s obvious from the first page that this is what’s happened, as this issue begins eighteen years later, with Dani going to visit US President David Alleyne.  Basically, David’s done a lot of good in the world, but is also planning on destroying China since they won’t sign off on his peace plan.  He also kills all of the X-Men that he lured to a satellite hunting for the Hellions so they can’t stop him, and pumps Dani full of poison.  Nori, his wife, realizes what’s going on and takes off.  She goes and finds Jay, who is singing professionally, then Sofia, who has taken over her father’s company, and finally Laurie.  They agree they have to stop David, and to do that, they need to work with the Hellions, who are perceived as terrorists now.  Laurie is still in touch with Julian’s crew, so she takes them to them, and while there are bad feelings between Julian and Sofia because of their divorce, they agree to help.  Tag sneaks into the White House, turning off the security, before being killed by Quill.  The rest of the Hellions (not including Dust, who isn’t in this story) run into a squad of X-Men and fight them on the grounds while the New Mutants get into the White House.  Tessa takes out Jay but the rest make it to David.  He blasts Sofia outside the building, and Julian jumps in front of Bishop’s bullets to save her.  There’s a lot of chaos, and it all comes down to Nori overloading her gauntlets to blow herself and David up.  At this point, David realizes this has all been a vision implanted by Dani and Emma working together, and he decides to keep his mental blocks in place.  He’s also embarrassed that in his vision he revealed that he has a crush on Dani, but she is nice about it.  David tells Josh what happened, but they are interrupted by a visit from Kevin, who tells Josh he has to break up with Laurie or he’ll tell everyone that Josh and Rahne had a relationship.
  • The New Mutants have a Danger Room session that is basically the exact same session with the Hulk from David’s vision.  He’s able to use his knowledge to guide the team to stop the Hulk in no time, although without Nori getting injured.  Rahne is with her squad, the Paragons, who also did well against the Hulk and are upset that the New Mutants did better than they did.  Rahne consols them, and I believe this is the first time that we ever saw Pixie.  As the New Mutants congratulate each other, and Josh gives attention to Laurie, Kevin, walking by, heads to talk to Emma Frost.  Sofia and Jay walk home from dancing, and Jay teases her about her feelings for Julian, which she denies.  David talks to Dani about how he can’t face Nori after what he saw in his vision.  Rahne and Dani walk back from the coffee shop and are confronted by Emma and Scott, who want to talk to Rahne and invite Dani along.  Basically, they know about Rahne’s relationship with Josh, and she doesn’t deny it.  Dani gets angry and goes to check on Josh, while Scott and Emma talk to Rahne about what they are going to do next.  Nori tries to talk to Josh about David, but Dani interrupts and sends her away.  Dani and Josh talk, and Josh insists that the relationship happened because he pursued her, and that he’s fine and happier with Laurie.  Emma and Scott go to visit Dr. Garrison to talk about employing him as a sort of guidance counsellor at the school.  He claims to be too busy, but says he’ll think about it.  Julian says something insensitive to Josh about Rahne, and this is how Laurie finds out that they were together.  Dani and Rahne talk, and it looks like Rahne is leaving the school just as she began to feel comfortable there.  She makes reference to going to help Jamie Madrox with his detective agency (is this when X-Factor launched again?)  Rahne feels bad as she leaves.  Josh tries to talk to Laurie, but she uses her powers on him when he won’t leave her alone.  He runs into David, who is also angry with him.  Laurie’s mom tries to comfort her, but also spends time blaming her for using her powers on Josh, comparing her to her father.  Laurie gets angry and storms off.  Dr. Garrison lets Emma know he’ll come for the next semester, as he looks at a photo of himself with Laurie’s mom, and compares the picture to Laurie’s file, which was sent over to him by the school.
  • Issue thirteen connects this title to the events of the Enemy of the State storyline that was playing out in Wolverine’s book at the time.  That’s the one where he is killed and resurrected by the Hand to work for Hydra – hmmm, that sounds familiar…  Some of the kids are talking about how odd it is to have Wolverine being seen as an enemy, as SHIELD patrols the school grounds.  Laurie rebuffs Kevin’s attempts to talk to her, just as Wolverine crashes a Blackbird into the school.  Northstar tells the kids to hang back and leave things to the X-Men, as Captain America jumps out of a helicopter to also give pursuit.  Jay follows, as does Josh.  The rest of the New Mutants follow, but they are stopped by Cap, who tells them to go back.  They see that Northstar is injured and hear someone yell out that he’s dead.  Josh rushes to heal him, but it’s too late.  The next day, Scott and Emma hold an assembly to inform the kids of Jean-Paul’s death.  Xi’an goes to Northstar’s squad, Alpha Squadron, to console them and to let them know that she will take over as their advisor.  Victor runs off, and Xi’an follows him.  He talks about how Jean-Paul was important to him (is this the first inkling that Victor is gay?) and Xi’an promises to help him.  Sofia finds Julian standing where flight class normally happens, and they remember how they first met.  Julian is sad about Jean-Paul’s death, so Sofia flies with him.  Dani, Iceman, and Polaris stop a doctor from beheading Jean-Paul’s corpse, a precaution to keep him from being resurrected by the Hand.  Just then Elektra and some ninjas teleport in and steal the body.  Dani tells Xi’an what happened, and how useless she feels because her powers aren’t offensive.  They go to tell Emma and Scott about this, and Scott decides to keep this a secret from the students.  Dani disagrees, but decides to keep this secret.  She refuses to take part in the coming memorial though.  A couple of days later, Dani checks on Josh, who is upset that none of his friends are talking to him.  Sofia and Laurie see that Julian, Brian, and Santo are skipping the memorial, and Sofia is confused.  The members of Alpha Squadron try to peek at the memorial statue that will soon be unveiled, and Xi’an lets them.  At the memorial, Emma, Iceman, Sasquatch, Beast, and Scott all speak.  Xi’an talks about how Jean-Paul was a dedicated teacher.  In the end, Dani gets up to speak, and it’s all kind of touching.  I miss the days when Marvel books reflect the events of other titles, outside of the usual event cycle.  I always felt that interconnectedness was important, although by this era, it was on its way out.
  • Dani calls Agent Pierce to invite him to the school’s big year-end dance, and he agrees.  Nori tells Jeffrey that she has no interest in going to the dance, while Laurie is upset that she has no one to go with.  David asks her, and Nori gets mad.  Julian brags about how the Hellions will win big at the Prizegiving ceremony, and then asks Sofia to the dance.  Kevin is upset that Laurie going with David.  Sofia doesn’t want to go to the dance with Julian, so he asks about her summer.  Dr. Garrison is giving therapy to the Blob, and encourages him to be himself.  Xi’an struggles to work with both the Paragons and Alpha Squadron.  Jay asks Sooraya to the dance, but she turns him down.  Nori goes to talk to Josh and he explains about David’s vision and why he’s been avoiding her.  At the dance, Xi’an talks about going looking for Rahne, and Agent Pierce shows up.  Laurie’s mom is there to help supervise, and Julian, who is there with all three Stepford Cuckoos, encourages Kevin to date Cessily.  Nori dances with Quill, and Amara, who Dani invited to come back to the school, starts chatting with Josh about how he has good intentions but makes a mess of things.  Julian dances with Sofia, and invites her to stay with him for the summer at his parents’ place.  Laurie gets upset seeing Josh with Amara, so she uses her powers to make David kiss her.  Josh and Sofia get upset about this, and when his mind clears, so does David.  Sofia and Laurie argue.  Scott and Emma tell Dani that they have a meeting with the Avengers (this is the start of House of M), so she is left to run the Prizegiving.  Blob sees that the X-Men are in New York, so he carjacks some guy into taking him to the school.
  • At the Prizegiving ceremony, Laurie blows off her mom and Sofia.  Dani talks to Amara about staying on at the school as a teacher.  The Blob is still in some guy’s jeep, driving to Salem Center.  Xi’an goes to talk to Rahne, who is working for Jamie Madrox on a case.  Xi’an makes the case for Rahne to return to the school.  Dani awards the Hellions as the field day winners, and this upsets Josh.  Laurie’s mom is on her way out the gate when the Blob shows up and hurts her.  As the kids move inside, Magma attacks the Blob, with Dani backing her up.  They aren’t all that effective, so Julian and David make plans to support them.  The combined New Mutants and Hellions move into action, and do well against the Blob.  Josh heals Laurie’s mom, and David flips out when Nori talks about overloading her gauntlets as weapons.  The Stepford Cuckoos and Laurie put the Blob to sleep.  Rahne turns Xi’an down.  SHIELD takes the Blob into custody, and Amara agrees to return for the new semester.  Laurie makes up with her mom, and Sofia turns down Julian’s summer offer.  Nori tells David off, and when Josh wants to work out their problems, David announces that the New Mutants are finished.
  • Around this same time, the Hellions starred in their own four-part miniseries, which is set between the Prizegiving and the House of M tie-in issues, so we’re going to talk about that for a little bit.  It opens on Emma Frost talking to Julian about how she’s going to miss Prizegiving, and how he needs to get his squad to be better liked among the other students.  This scene is cut with images of Julian bragging while receiving their trophy.  Julian let’s Emma know that he and his squad are heading to his parents’ place in California for the summer.  At the airport, security does not want to allow Cessily and Santo on the airplane (nicely, they don’t take any jabs at Sooraya, who is in a full niqab).  Things escalate into a fight, but when Brian makes the guards run away (angering Kevin in the process), Sooraya goes and calms the situation down.  The guards still refuse to let the kids on the plane, citing the fact that Cessily would set off the metal detector (she offers to travel as baggage), until Julian makes use of some family connections at Homeland Security and they get through.  On the plane, Sooraya and Cessily talk about Cessily’s feelings for Kevin, and Sooraya’s inability to find her parents.  Julian brags about his parents’ self-made money.  When they arrive, Julian is upset to see that there isn’t a car waiting for him.  When he arrives at his parents’ large home, he is surprised to see that they are still there.  Julian’s dad is upset that Julian called in a favour from their friends, and his parents tell them that because he is so irresponsible, they are changing their will to cut him out of the family business.  His parents leave, and Julian is upset.  Julian becomes suspicious of his parents’ wealth, and gets his friends to rummage through their things.  In a safe, Julian finds a scroll that suggests his parents used someone called the Kingmaker to amass their successes.  The kids organize a mystical summonsing, despite Sooraya’s objections, but find that the thing is all very lame.  The next day, as they are about to head out, they find that a man in a dark suit and red shirt has arrived, calling himself the Kingmaker, and offering to grant each of them one wish.
  • Paladin and Diamondback flirt a little as they watch a facility called Genetassist.  The Kingmaker explains to the Hellions that he can grant them all wishes in return for being part of his network.  Sooraya is the most reluctant, but Julian gets her to agree to go along with the rest of them (it’s an all or nothing thing, for reasons that are never made clear) for a trial period at no cost.  Santo’s wish is to become a star in the superpower wrestling circuit, and the crowd loves him.  Cessily returns home to visit her parents, and they are happy to be seen in public with her.  Kevin receives a delivery of the Benetech mutant cure, and it begins to work almost immediately, allowing him to touch living things.  Sooraya is taken to Afghanistan and reunited with her mother in a refugee camp.  Julian shows Brian around LA, and Brian notices a sniper about to shoot the governor (Schwarzenegger?) at an appearance.  Julian saves the day and basks in the subsequent media attention.  Later, he is given a private interview with a reporter who works with the Kingmaker.  Sooraya chats with her mom, and we see that she is beginning to change her mind about the Kingmaker.  We learn that Brian wants to learn from the Kingmaker, and so he is handling Julian and Santos’s careers.  People come to collect Cessily and Sooraya back to LA, and the whole squad is assembled again, as their trial run has come to a close.  We see the Kingmaker talking to Doctor Octopus about whatever it is that Genetassist has in its lab, and the Kingmaker says he’ll use the Hellions to acquire it for Doc Ock.
  • We see that Paladin and Diamondback have infiltrated the Genetassist facility, and have fought off other mercs that are after whatever prize is in a briefcase.  As they delete information from the company’s computers, we see Cessily get the briefcase and give it to Julian; the Hellions are there to take the item from the mercenaries.  Flashing back a few hours, the kids talk about the changes the Kingmaker has introduced into their lives.  Cessily is upset when Santo says something stupid about Kevin being able to touch anyone he wants, and she leaves the room.  Julian comforts her, until the Kingmaker brings them back inside.  He lays out to the whole squad that they need to sign contracts with him, and for their wishes to continue to be granted, need to secure the new project from Genetassist, which he portrays as being done to protect it from mercenaries who would steal it from his clients.  The kids agree, and we move back to the confrontation with Diamondback and Paladin.  They fight, and hold their own well, until Paladin refers to the briefcase as a weapon, and the kids pause a little, giving the adults the advantage.  Julian puts them down with his telekinesis, and the battered Diamondback tells him that they were hired by SHIELD to get the weapon; Julian doesn’t care, and holds his friends to their original deal with the Kingmaker.  Before handing it over, they open the case, and the Kingmaker tells them that it is a bio weapon that could kill everyone in California.  Some of the squad balks at giving it to the Kingmaker, but Julian takes the case from Kevin and hands it to him.
  • Nick Fury gives Paladin and Diamondback a hard time for being taken down by some kids, but also makes it clear that the Hellions are on his radar.  Julian tells the Kingmaker he’ll turn over the briefcase with the bioweapon, so long as the Kingmaker destroys their contracts and lets them go afterwards.  He appeals to their greed, and reveals that Brian’s wish had been that his friends still wanted to talk to him after they got their wishes, but Julian stands firm.  The Kingmaker shreds their contracts, and the squad attack him.  He has a number of defenses, and makes short work of them, leaving them on the floor of his office as the police bust in.  Brian gets rid of the cops, and Julian flies them away.  They figure the Kingmaker is headed to the airport, and give chase.  They stop his car and fight him again, and while they do better, they arrive at a standoff where the Kingmaker uses his electrical watch to threaten Cessily.  Kevin threatens to use his returning powers on him, and he backs down.  They hold him, and the team bonds as Fury and the mercenaries arrive.  Julian hands over the weapon, which has been made inert by Kevin, and the computer drives, which have been destroyed.  Diamondback flirts a bit with Julian.  Later, Kevin and Santo reflect on what they’ve lost, Sooraya finds that her mother has transferred out of the refugee camp, and Cessily learns that her parents only liked her because the Kingmaker used some sort of mind control on them.  Julian’s parents are even more angry with him, but he turns away from them.  Emma Frost gets the Kingmaker freed, and threatens him to stay away from her kids.  Later, Julian apologizes to her, but she is proud of him and his squad.  I wonder if this was always going to be a miniseries, or if the writers had intended this to be an arc on the comic that got messed up because of House of M.
  • The Yearbook Special was released during House of M, but since it takes place before that event, and appears to have been created as a way to let DeFillippis and Weir wrap up some of their long-running plotlines before they were taken off the book, it makes sense to discuss it here.  It opens with the New Mutants squad arguing with each other, as they were when we last saw them.  Julian encourages Sofia to fix things, kisses her, and leaves.  Sofia goes to Dani for advice, and she lets her know that several of the kids have asked to be reassigned to different squads.  Noriko tells Jay and Sofia about how she’s still angry with David, and Sofia tells her that she has a surprise for her.  She’s arranged a campfire and night out by the lake for the squad.  Dani is upset about the problems with her kids, but Xi’an and Amara encourage her to let them solve it.  They discuss Amara joining the faculty, and she tells them she’s taking a vacation first.  Things start awkwardly for the kids, as Josh and Laurie begin to argue, and Noriko and David join in.  Sofia uses her powers to take away their voices, and things turn physical with Josh and David.  Laurie gets Sofia to let up on the winds, and she tells Josh that she made David kiss her.  Josh punches David anyway, and Jay gets up and leaves.  Xi’an and Amara encourage Dani to forgive Rahne for what happened with Josh.  Josh goes to talk to Jay, and explains how he felt about Rahne and Laurie, not knowing that the others are listening in.  Josh and Laurie come to peace with each other, but are not in a relationship again.  Josh and David also work things out, but Noriko is annoyed that her issues are unresolved.  Later, David wakes her up to apologize, and they kiss, while the others pretend to be asleep.  The next morning, they tell Dani that things are better, and Dani says she’s headed to New York to talk to Rahne.  The rest of this issue is made up of Squad portraits (which finally reveal codenames for some characters, like Victor, who have been around since the book began), and some Marvel Universe type pages for the New Mutants, Hellions, and some of the faculty.
  • House of M introduced some pretty sweeping changes to this book, as all of reality shifted.  When issue sixteen opens, Xi’an is the headmaster of the New Mutant Leadership Institute, teaching peaceful solutions and the idea that mutants can work together with homo sapiens.  The students include David, Laurie, Brian, Quentin Quire, all five Stepford Cuckoos, Jubilee, Sooraya (who is now a party girl and Jubilee’s best friend), and Cessily.  The faculty include Doug Ramsay and Dr. Garrison.  When the Institute is attacked by suicide bombers, they are protected by SHIELD Agent Moonstar and her Junior SHIELD agent squad, the Hellions.  This group is made up of Hellion, Wind Dancer, Surge, Synch, and Quill.  They work to contain the bombers, who make reference to something happening in Japan, and are joined in the fight by Jubilee and Sooraya.  They round up most of the bombers (some do commit suicide), and Xi’an is upset that Dani would use trainees on their first mission to protect her Institute.  Dani (who now has a glowing Cable/Longshot eye) responds by calling her out for her pro-Sapiens stance.  It’s clear that the kids in these two groups don’t get along, with the most animosity existing between Laurie and Sofia.  Surge sneaks away to make out with David, and we learn they are together.  Back on the SHIELD helicarrier, Dani is upset to learn that Mystique is sending her squad on a dangerous mission.  Julian and Sofia watch wrestling together, where Santo is making a name for himself, when Dani calls them to a conference room.  There, she informs them that Magik is joining their squad, and that Surge is being sidelined, since the mission is to go to the Japan to stop the human resistance group supplying the bombers, and that group is run by Seiji Ashida, Surge’s father.  At the Institute, Xi’an encourages the kids to talk to Dr. Garrison about the day’s events, but none of the kids feel the need.  Noriko shows up looking for David, and she tells him about what’s happened.  She wants David to help her get her father out of Japan.  They gather a small group of kids, and Laurie is upset by Noriko’s plan.  It looks like David is the only one who’s going to go with her, and he asks that his friends keep his secret; Laurie assures him of this.  The Hellions teleport to Tokyo, where they immediately are faced with gunmen.  Laurie goes to her father and tells him everything that’s going on.  When she comes out of his office, Quentin Quire discovers that she’s changed her mind and wants to help David.  They argue, and Laurie uses her pheromone powers to get Quentin to kill himself with his telepathy, since she is a secret SHIELD agent who wants to use David and Noriko to find the resistance leader.
  • The Hellions arrive in Japan right in the middle of a group of resistance fighters trying to abduct a scientist who works on something called Project Genesis.  The Hellions stop the fighters quickly, and Magik teleports them into a volcano when they refuse to talk, leaving them there.  On the SHIELD Helicarrier, agents Kevin Ford and Josh Foley interrogate the leader of the suicide bombers, threatening to use their powers to kill and revive him.  Noriko is watching this, and she intervenes to stop them.  Josh uses his powers on her, disrupting her body, but she knocks them both out.  It turns out that the guy in custody is Cameron Hodge, and he recognizes Noriko as Seiji Ashida’s daughter.  He talks about how Project Genesis is going to be used against humans, and promises to tell her where her father is, so long as she kills him.  She must have agreed, because Josh wakes up to find her gone and Hodge dead and smoking.  He lets Moonstar know.  Magik teleports the Hellions to the volcano to interrogate the fighters, who are just hired guns and not part of any resistance.  They reveal that Ashida’s people are going after Project Genesis.  Noriko and David hack into SHIELD’s computers to find out what’s going on.  David gathers Laurie from a chat with her dad, and they get Cessily to talk about what they’ve learned.  The friends make plans to go to Japan, when the Stepford Cuckoos show up, because Phoebe insists on helping.  It looks like she’s the only Cuckoo going, but then Jubilee and Sooraya also appear wanting to help.  Brian goes looking for Quentin Quire and finds him dead in his room.  Xi’an consoles him, but Brian doesn’t believe that Quentin would have killed himself.  Dr. Garrison shows up and reveals that Quentin had been talking to him for months about suicide (which we know is a lie).  Moonstar and the Hellions have an audience with Emperor Sunfire, who claims that Project Genesis is about recycling waste into food.  He is upset that Noriko is not with the squad, and we learn that he considers himself her true father, after taking her from her human parents and raising her.  Noriko and her group arrive in Tokyo (it’s not clear how they would have gotten there so quickly) and Noriko enters the address given to her by Hodge.  She is confronted by a human with a sword attached to his wrist, who says he’s going to kill her.
  • Brian is still upset about Quentin’s death, and the four Stepford Cuckoos still at the NMLI make him wonder how he could have felt enough despair to want to hurt himself.  In Tokyo, Donald Pierce holds Surge at knifepoint, and the kids start to fight the resistance.  Nori ditches the fight to look for her father, and David notices that Laurie is missing.  We see Laurie phone her father, who is falsifying Quentin’s records, to tell him where she is.  The Hellions tour what they are told is Project Genesis, a food recycling plant (which doesn’t make a lot of sense, because why wouldn’t you recycle food as compost, or just eat the original food?).  Dani receives a call telling her where the resistance is.  Brian looks through Xi’an’s records and gets caught by her.  He tells her that he is suspicious of Dr. Garrison, who he knows was in Japan before coming to the NMLI.  Xi’an dismisses his concerns, but then when she tries to look up Garrison on the computer, she finds the information she wants is classified.  While the fight with the resistance continues, Noriko finds her father, and tells him to call off his men.  They all gather to talk, and they talk about Project Genesis.  Noriko and David want to lead a direct attack, but they are interrupted by the arrival of the Hellions, and everyone starts fighting again.  Noriko gets ahold of Magik and forces her to teleport them all to Project Genesis, which everyone learns is a research centre where regular humans are forced to undergo mutations, which often kill them.  Julian wants to do something about it, but it doesn’t look like Dani is okay with that.  Xi’an gets Doug Ramsay to help her break into SHIELD’s files, and they discover that Garrison is a SHIELD agent just as he shows up and wonders if his pheromones can make them kill themselves.  The kids in Japan try to figure out what to do, and Phoebe Cuckoo discovers that the only person there who knew the truth of Project Genesis was Laurie, who gets angry and starts using her powers to make everyone kill one another.
  • Dr. Garrison continues to attack Xi’an and Doug, trying to think of creative ways he can get them to kill themselves or each other, when Brian tags him, making him want to get away from himself, and causing him to jump out a window and fall to his death.  Brian raises the question of what Laurie might be up to.  We see that in Japan she is causing great chaos, getting the Hellions and New Mutants to fight one another.  Sooraya brings Quill down, and one of the humans throws a grenade at him, which Synch jumps on.  Cessily tries to appeal to Laurie, since they are friends and she is immune to her powers, but instead Laurie tries to get the humans to kill Cessily.  Julian (who everyone is now calling Scion) and David start to fight, with Noriko getting involved, and Magik teleports them all away.  Laurie turns Jubilee and Sooraya on each other, and to stop everything, Cessily stabs Laurie in the back.  Inside the volcano that Magik keeps teleporting to, Julian knocks David off a cliff, but then catches him, having come to his senses.  They learn that Noriko was tortured by Josh.  Sofia clears the pheromones out of the room, and peace begins to prevail when the humans, led by Pierce, shoot Sophie Cuckoo (I’m pretty sure it was Phoebe with them before) dead.  Seiji Ashida argues, and Moonstar starts fighting Pierce.  With Phoebe dead, Sunfire’s guards snap out of it and kill Quill.  Moonstar kills Pierce.  Julian feels like a horrible leader, until David gets him to help destroy the Project Genesis facility.  They free the human experiment subjects, but learn that Emperor Sunfire, a bunch of mutants, and some Japanese Sentinels have arrived.  Julian refuses Magik’s offer to teleport everyone away, having her move the humans out, while the rest prepare to make a last stand.  They spend an awkward amount of time discussing how to destroy the statues of Magneto and Sunfire outside.  Surge rushes outside, and when Sunfire goes to her, she rejects him.  The remaining mutants, and Seiji, destroy the statues, and the issue ends with Sunfire ordering their death and everyone attacking them.

Leaving aside the House of M issues, which are really nothing more than another bad example of Elseworlds storytelling, this was a great and thoughtful run.  Weir and DeFilippis made this book one of the most character-driven I’ve ever read.  They managed to reflect events in the Marvel Universe (especially around the Enemy of the State storyline) without having the kids face many established threats or get too caught up in whatever the X-Men were doing.  These new characters were given a ton of room to grow and develop as characters, and I think it’s really a shame that we see hardly any of them in current comics.

I really got much the same sense from reading this books, both when they came out and now, that I got from reading the original New Mutants run, at least for most of Claremont’s time on the title.  These kids all have distinct personalities and problems, and are almost all likeable in some way, even Julian, who is often portrayed as a jerk.

I also liked the way that the writers incorporated Dani Moonstar and Xi’an Coy Manh into the book.  They downplayed their personal lives, which were more front and centre in the New Mutants Volume Two run (with Dani entering a relationship with Agent Pierce, and Xi’an’s sexuality being a topic of conversation at least sometimes), and allowed them to be teachers who were there for the kids first and foremost.

Reading these last issues, and then recognizing that the Yearbook Special came out in the same month as issue nineteen, it’s clear to me that Weir and DeFilippis had a lot more planned for this title.  They never (except in House of M) got to resolve the storyline around Laurie’s father, nor did they show us where things were headed between Josh and Laurie, or between Julian and Sofia.  I also think that the inclusion of so many minor characters in the backpages of that Yearbook suggest that they were going to cycle in more of those students as the series progressed.

Marvel, though, wanted something different in the post-House of M, Decimation era, and that meant dispensing with a lot of great characters right from the jump.  We’ll talk about that more in my next column though, as I’m going to read through to the end of this series, even though I’m pushing the definition of ‘retro’ a little.

Artwise, this book was often perfectly fine, without ever being too impressive.  The artists chosen for this book all used a manga-influenced, younger reader friendly style (with some exceptions, such as Lopresti on the House of M issues), and it worked fine without ever being terribly memorable or special.

One thing that I kept thinking about while reading this book is how much better these new mutants are than the ones that Jason Aaron introduced in his Wolverine and the X-Men series, which is the next time that the teaching/training aspect of the X-Men was addressed.  Those characters mostly felt like rejects from the Legion of Substitute Heroes, and like they were meant as jokes (I’m thinking specifically of Eyeball Kid, Nature Girl, and the like), whereas these characters, even Tag, had interesting and plausible powers that created story potential.

I know that DeFilippis and Weir have recently released some mystery graphic novels at Oni, but am not sure what else they’ve done in the twelve years since this title ended.  I think they are strong writers, and would gladly see them return to the Marvel Universe, where I think they’d be well suited to titles like Generation X and Runaways.

Next time we look at how Yost and Kyle came in and trashed this book, before eventually rebuilding it into a comic I ended up liking a lot.

If you’d like to see the archives of all of my retro review columns, click here.

If you want to read any of these comics, you can find them here:
New X-Men: Academy X, Vol. 1 – Choosing Sides
New X-Men: Academy X Vol. 2: Haunted (New X-Men (2004-2008))
New X-Men: Academy X Vol. 3: X-Posed
New X-Men: Hellions (New X-Men: Hellions (2005))
House of M: New X-Men — Academy X


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