New Mutants (4th series) #22

Issue Date: 
November 2021
Story Title: 
Shadows and Mirrors

Vita Ayala (writer), Rod Reis (artist), VC’s Travis Lanham (letterer), Tom Muller (Design), Martin Simmonds (cover artist), David Lopez (variant cover), Nick Russell (production), Jonathan Hickman (Head of X), Annalisa Bissa (editor), Jordan D. White (senior editor), C.B. Cebulski (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

The New Mutants have confronted Farouk about his intentions regarding the youngsters. In response, he immerses them in psychic scenarios of fighting their deadliest enemies. Afterwards, he tells them that Krakoa’s idea of peace is making them weak and will leave them victims to their foes. He intends to make the children stronger. The mutants argue with him about finding a better way. Not listening, he again immerses them in nightmare scenarios. The Lost Club visit Gabby to ask her forgiveness. They decide to also confront Farouk, and Gabby comes along to face her fear. What they find is Farouk and the New Mutants in a trance.

Full Summary: 

All of Krakoa has fallen to its enemies. Only the New Mutants stand against the hordes of Orchis, the Brood, Belasco and his demons, the Four Horsemen and more!

Magik is the first to attack, but the mutants are clearly overwhelmed, and Mirage watches in horror as Nimrod throttles Karma, S’ym tears apart Wolfsbane, a Sentinel blasts Warpath to atoms and Magik finds herself once again abducted and helpless at the feet of Belasco.

The Shadow King rises and announces it doesn’t have to be that way.

Elsewhere, the Lost Club nervously approach the Kinney residence, torn between leaving Gabby some more time and eager to apologize. They knock and Gabby, munching on a sandwich, opens. Her pet wolverine Jonathan hisses. The Lost Club ask if they can enter, clearly expecting Gabby to throw them out. She asks them in but warns they can’t stay long.

The kids carefully apologize, explaining Shadow King was the first to show interest in them, but what happened to Gabby was wrong and she deserved better than them not listening. Gabby accepts the apology, which surprises them. Gabby explains it hurt when they didn’t believe her, but they were the ones who saved her. Almost everyone treats her like she is an add-on to Laura or the worst Wolverine clone, but they treat her like she is just herself. Thy treat her as her own person. So, yeah, she forgives them and she is really grateful, but she doesn’t believe they can be friends, if they keep hanging out with him. They assure her they are done with the Shadow King and enter a group hug.

They were actually going to tell him today and were looking for some “snikt family” back-up.

Gabby muses that Laura and Daken are involved with the Scarlet Witch thing and she doesn’t know when they will be back. But Dani, Magik and the other trainers are there, and they are worried. Gabby explains that Wolfsbane talked to them about it and they aren’t happy. They want to make it clear to him that he can’t kill mutant kids, even if they are clones. She believes they have everything under control.

Far from it.

The astral plane, a bazaar:
Not what they expected to see after fighting for their lives. Farouk suddenly appears and agrees that was unpleasant. He prefers this himself; the Cairo market was a place of negotiation and exchange. He believes it will be easier to come to an accord here. The mutants warn him he has no chance of keeping them prisoner. Feigning surprise, Farouk tells them they aren’t his prisoners. His presentation was a little stern but as per their own request they are his guests. He ignores their protests and asks them to follow him into a building.

Inside, they sit around a table. Dani orders him to talk. He reminds them that they wanted to talk to him. They came to him demanding to know what his intentions were toward the Krakoan youth. He offered to show them. He manifests a pot of mint tea and some glasses. As he pours tea, they pronounce all they have seen is death and destruction. He clarifies that they haven’t seen what he wants but what will be if they continue on this course. He is the only one who drinks, as he explains his intentions are salvation.

He believes that nothing lasts forever. Xavier and Magneto feel safe in the belief that they have founded an indestructible nation. But they are horribly, narcissistically, foolishly wrong. Krakoa, like Constantinople, will fall and mutants will have become too soft to survive it.

Dani asks why he tortures them with their worst fears when they have come to him to stop him from hurting and brainwashing their children. Disgusting! Karma tells her these aren’t their worst dreams. They are his.

Angrily, Farouk smashes a glass and warns them. Apocalypse knew the truth about what it takes to endure, but he was weak. Once he got what he wanted, he abandoned them. But he will not give in that easily. He will remind mutantkind of these harsh truths!

The Lost Club leave Gabby’s home and they make plans to meet up for the next day.

Alone, Gabby wrestles with her conscience, whether it was okay to let them leave or whether she should confront the Shadow King herself. She runs after the others and explains she wants to confront him about this. Cosmar tells her she is brave. Gabby laughs that Laura would say she has no sense of consequence.

Elsewhere, Dani explains to Farouk they cannot live their lives in fear. They have never known anything except desperate survival. They deserve more. They are stronger together than any other foe she has ever encountered. What he is doing is harming that. Rahne adds he is hurting children, because he fears a future he hasn’t actually seen.

Angrily, he shoots back that, without rest, the machines will hunt them to extinction! The humans will never leave them in peace! They are simply predators and prey. That is the way it is, and the Quiet Council is turning a people who should be apex predators into peaceful sacrificial lambs! The Arakkii have survived millennia of besiegement by accepting their true selves. If they are to survive, they must do the same!

Boring! Illyana interjects and calls him pathetic. Krakoa is about breaking the cycle, not regrouping for another go. If he truly believes mutants are a higher order of being, then he has to believe it is possible to think in higher terms than “predator” and “prey!”

Dani adds that, if they treat others as prey, they prove their hatred right. The idea of Krakoa is to move them beyond the cycle of destruction and lift everyone up.

Farouk admits that Krakoa is truly unique. It unified mutants in a way that shouldn’t be possible. He calls them young and idealistic. They were weaned on the dream of a man who believed to suffer for some greater good means the better part of valor. But he knows the truth of countless dimensions, and there are none where weakness is a virtue. They must learn this lesson if they are to survive. And he is happy to teach them.

Once again, he immerses them in psychic scenarios of attacks by their worst enemies.

The Wild Hunt is surrounded by a thunderstorm and the Lost Club are hesitant in approaching. They are hit by a psychic shockwave, and Rain Boy disperses until Cosmar helps him reform. They hear cries and groans and realize something awful is happening. They realize the New Mutants might need back-up.

Gabby figures Farouk will be distracted. They should see if they can sneak in.

They see the entrance and find the New Mutants lying on the ground, black tentacles from the Shadow King entering their heads, as he announces they will all learn…

Characters Involved: 

Karma, Magik, Mirage, Warpath, Wolfsbane (New Mutants)
Anole, Cosmar, No-Girl-Rain Boy, Scout (Lost Club)
Shadow King

Story Notes: 

Narration about Farouk’s original personality

Further notes:
The Scarlet Witch thing refers to events in The Trial of Magneto.

Written By: