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New Mutants

by yo go re

The two Age of Apocalypse sets weren't the only exclusives at this year's New York Comic Con: they went even further into the past for the New Mutants box set.

Sam Guthrie discovered his mutant power while attempting to escape a collapsing mine. Manipulated by Hellfire Club member Donald Pierce into serving as one of his operatives he was sent to battle Professor X and the New Mutants. Refusing to kill the young heroes, he joined them to defeat Pierce.

It's important to note that he wasn't just playing around in an old abandonned mine, like one of the Scooby Doo kids or something - he actually worked in the mine. Sam's from Kentucky, and although he had a college scholarship, when his father died of black lung, he got a job in the mine to support his mother and nine siblings. He's wearing the standard black and yellow training uniform - not blue and yellow, like the X-Men's uniforms were.

Cannonball gets a new spiky hairdo, which is a decent attempt at conveying his Johnny Unitas haircut, but really lets us down in the deparment of his ears: Sam had some real jug ears that the Minimate obviously can't duplicate. The stern look on his face seems slightly out of place, as well: he may have been the team leader, but he retained that "golly shucks" attitude.

Cannonball's mutant ability is to create some kind of natural rocket thrust that allows him to fly and protects him from harm. To suggest that, the set includes one of the flight stands first seen in the Iron Man Through the Ages set. Now, you can just attach him in the usual way, with his foot attached to the peg on the plume, but artists always drew him as though his legs disappeared in the cloud. You can kind of cheat and get the same effect if you pull him apart at the waist and plug the torso directly onto the base's footpeg. He'll be off-center, but that's why it's a cheat.

Roberto da Costa was a young, wealthy Brazillian when his mutant power attracted the attention of Donald Pierce. After a failed kidnapping attempt Charles Xavier sent his New Mutants to help da Costa defeat Pierce. Da Costa later joined the New Mutants, under the code-name Sunspot.

Whereas Cannonball was poor white trash, Sunspot was the son of a millionaire. But since they were the only two boys on the team, they became best friends. Bobby's powers allowed him to absorb sunlight and use it for massive energy, kind of like Superman - except that Superman didn't get covered in Kirby Dots when he did it.

This figure is molded entirely from translucent yellow plastic, then painted with black dots to suggest his power. It's not a bad attempt, by any means, but it's not right. His "powered on" form was solid black with black dots floating in a yellow field around him. Obviously they couldn't have matched that exactly, but it may have been better if they'd switched the colors: black body, yellow dots.

Interestingly, the reason they didn't do it that way? Because this isn't actually Sunspot. Remember when AA held a vote to let fans decide who would be included in the TRU-exclusive Secret Wars box set? One of the choices was Beyonder in his energy form. That figure would have been trans yellow with black dots on it - so in order to make "Sunspot," all they did was use the Energy Form Beyonder paint mask and leave off the jacket. Is that clever, or disappointing? You decide! The figure has gloves and boots, but the set also includes normal hands and feet for him, as well.

Rahne Sinclair was raised by Rev. Craig in a Scottish orphanage. Mistaking the manifestation of her power as demonic possession, Craig attempted to perform an exorcism. She was rescued and adopted by Doctor Moira MacTaggert and eventually became part of the New Mutants training team.

Despite being raised in the orphanage, Rahne wasn't technically an orphan: her mother died in childbirth, but her father was still around; see, Reverend Craig had some... interesting ideas on the best way to tend to his flock. He spent many long, sweaty nights trying to "save" Rahne's mother, then the church transferred him to a different parish far away from anyone who'd known them before.

Wolfsbane is shown here in her wolf form: her entire body is brown, and she has no clothes. She has gently clawed hands, and claws painted on her feet. Her hair is a brown version of Rachel Summers' weird thing, but it works for her: it was years before Marvel gave her Wolverine hair; she originally had a little buzzcut thing going on.

It is slightly surprising that her hands are the (very) old clawed kind, and that her feet are normal: they just released a whole set of Wolf Man Minimates, and introduced furry, clawed hands and feet along with them. Is there some kind of restriction against using pieces from those sets for the Marvel Minimates, the way they used to be prohibited from mixing Marvel and DC parts? That's the only reason we can figure out for why they wouldn't use the pieces here - she looks perfect with them!

Vietnamese-born Xi'an "Shan" Coy Manh demonstrated an extreme ability to sacrifice in order to save the lives of her siblings. Having honed her abilities under Charles Xavier at various times, Coy Manh is currently a faculty member at the Xavier Institute.

Karma isn't one of the more popular New Mutants. She's less of a character and more of a walking plot device - unless tragedies were befalling her, she has nothing going on. First she was a Vietnam War survivor (thanks, sliding timeline!), then her younger siblings were kidnapped, then she was taken over by the Shadow King... she's all about events, and not about personality. Even her coming out as gay has been all about how other people reacted to the news.

Shan is the dullest figure in this set. There's no way to show her mental abilities (she can control people's minds, but only when making eye contact with them), so she gets nothing. The torso block itself is molded from black plastic, and the yellow paint on the chest and back isn't quite thick enough to prevent the color from bleeding through, though it is thick enough on top. Hey, at least she gets new hair.

The set includes a few extra pieces: namely, two heads and two hair pieces. The heads allow you to make "powered down" versions of Bobby and Rahne; just put their heads on Cannonball and Karma's bodies. This is a really clever way of doing it - after all, what's the point of interchangeable bodies if you're not going to interchange them - but sadly, it does mean that while you can have both of them there next to their unpowered selves, you can't get all four kids together at once.

There's going to be a TRU-exclusive two-pack of New Mutants, featuring Magik and Warlock, and originally that was going to be the end of it. The reaction to the box set has been really good, though, so now Art Asylum is keeping their options open. This set is an Action Figure Xpress exclusive, so that's the only place you can get it, but keep in mind you might want two sets for the extra bodies.

-- 11/15/10

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