New Mutants (4th series) #24

Issue Date: 
March 2022
Story Title: 
What is Deserved

Vita Ayala (writer), Danilo Beyruth (artist), Dan Brown (color artist), VC’s Travis Lanham (letterer), Tom Muller (Design), Martin Simmonds (cover artist), Peach Momoko (variant cover), Nick Russell (production), Jonathan Hickman (Head of X),  Anita Okoye (assistant editor), Sarah Brunstad (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: 

After the battle with Amahl Farouk, Wolfsbane and Mirage have a long talk about what Wolfsbane went through and their connection. The mutants see Farouk off to therapy at Legion’s Altar. John and James Proudstar reunite. Mutant society finally erases its mistakes by helping Cosmar and Martha Johansson. Cosmar gets Masque’s beauty treatment to look more normal and Martha gets a new body. Proudly, she now calls herself Cerebella instead of No Girl. Magik and Rictor discuss mutant culture and communication in the Green Lagoon. When Magik sees a forlorn Madelyne Pryor, she tells her she has an offer she cannot refuse.

Full Summary: 

The Green Lagoon:
Two patrons, Magik and Rictor, are deep in discussion. Doesn’t that feel wrong though? Magik wonders. What, that words can mean different things? Rictor retorts. That’s basic.

Illyana reminds him that she is a self-taught infernal sorcerer. Words having multiple connotations is not new to her. What she means is it feels wrong that they haven’t developed a better form of communication as mutants. Something that is specific to them. Like a language? he asks. Like a better connection to their nature, she corrects. Something more elemental that would help getting completely rid of miscommunication. They are supposed to be united in a way that is not possible for humans… but they are still flailing around in the dark. Rictor finds himself agreeing.

Elsewhere, Wolfsbane sits on a rock, alone with her thoughts: her wonder at being back alive, the Shadow King manipulating her to bring Scout to him, her lost son Tier.

She is joined by Dani, who asks if she can sit down. She is always welcome, Rahne tells her. She wonders how Dani can stand to be near her after everything she was part of. After everything she’s done.

Mirage tells her to stop and grabs her hand. Rahne needed her and she wasn’t there. She had her reasons, Rahne replies. Dani states there will always be other things happening, but Rahne is her soulmate. That means no matter what, she should listen!

Is she? Rahne demands. Since she came back, their connection has been empty. She can’t feel Dani. Mirage looks down and explains Rahne died and she felt her pain and fear… and then nothing! It was like she was hollowed out, like half of her was missing in the worst way. She’s been afraid and let that get in the way. She didn’t hear Rahne before when she called for her. But she hears her now. She’s listening.

Rahne admits she has been holding back as well, but she doesn’t know how to start. Anywhere that bubbles up to the surface, Dani suggests. Anger mostly, Rahne reveals. At herself.

Her son Tier… she watched him die… watched Guido kill him and yet Cerebro’s reading him. He might be somewhere out there, afraid and alone. She’s lost faith. She failed him. And while she was sitting around feeling sorry for herself, she left herself wide open for the Shadow King to use her. She really thought the Lost Club was a second chance and, instead of helping them, she hurt them and killed one of them! And there Dani was offering help and she felt so unworthy. She is not good enough for protecting children… or for her.

Dani assures her she is wrong. She is strong and brave and deserving. She couldn’t have known that Tier wasn’t dead and now that she knows he is out there, there is no force that will keep them apart! She knows Rahne would have given her life twenty times over to spare Gabby, Cosmar and the others pain. Dani blames herself for failing them. She was arrogant enough to think she knew best, but Rahne wanted to give them what they asked for. Her love and goodness were manipulated by a being who had hundreds of years of practice preying on the vulnerable.

As for her, she is enough for Dani. She always has been and will be. They touch foreheads. Then Karma interrupts their tender moment telling them it is time.

Mutietown, Madripoor:
The New Mutants and the Lost Club visit the Moira MacTaggert Memorial Hospital and give a pep talk to a nervous Cosmar, who feels like a twisted nightmare. Karma tells her to try again. Cosmar tells them she was a girl. She had a family, a future, but she doesn’t know anymore. She has the power to literally change reality but she hasn’t been able to make herself whole again. She doubts if what they do here will have any meaning. What if she is supposed to bel like this?

Dani tells her that, when Cosmar asked her to be her partner in Crucible, Dani thought she what she needed, but they don’t come from the same place and haven’t fought the same battles. She was wrong and is sorry. Who Cosmar is supposed to be is entirely up to her.

The New Mutants promise their support when a staff member calls Cosmar. She enters the room where Masque is waiting. He harumphes that they said the next one was going to be hard, but she is shining right to the surface. Let’s see if they can’t help her see what they see…

In his home, James Proudstar is doing some home improvement, not noticing that someone has snuck in. Unimpressed, the newcomer announces they say James is one of their best warriors. But he doesn’t know… James didn’t see him coming. Why didn’t he meet him? the recently resurrected John Proudstar, James’s big brother, asks with a grin. Why wasn’t his face the first thing he saw, when he woke up here?

James stammers and John observes dryly that is new. Jame tries to explain he didn’t want John to come back to nothing. No, John replies, he can smell the BS a mile away. He stalks into the kitchen and gets two beers out of the fridge. He gives one to James and tells him to try again.

James admits he couldn’t face John, not after he failed him. John calls him an idiot and hugs him. James states helplessly that he didn’t avenge John. Thunderbird orders him to shut up. James fought day and night to hold up his people. He’s broken bones and lost blood to protect those who needed protecting. John is proud of him. He tells him to lay down his burden for a while and let John carry it. James cries in relief.

In the Green Lagoon, Magik is steering the discussion toward trauma. She may pretend she has no feelings but berserker rage, but it isn’t true. But what happened to her… Sometimes it’s #%&$ impossible to express what’s going on inside her in any way but rage.

Barkeeper Fred Dukes interjects it’s called PTSD and he can’t think of a single mutant who doesn’t have it. Rictor asks for another round and figures, considering what she has been through, her shellshock probably has shellshock. He recalls how he was so lost he couldn’t touch earth for fear of his powers shaking everything apart.

What are they doing here then, she wonders. Krakoa is supposed to be about answers. She notices the recently resurrected Madelyne Pryor in her Goblin Queen outfit walking by and looking forlorn.

Rictor sees the answer in trust, but that is a lot to ask. She points out he did it with Apocalypse and now he’s a druid. He retorts that, what worked for him, will not work for everyone.

In the evening, many mutants gather outside Arbor Magna, including some members of the Lost Club. Wolverine (Laura) and Daken are on the lookout for Gabby and find her. Akihiro hugs her and apologizes. She assures him they are ok. Laura hugs her as well and assures Daken they won’t tell anyone he is crying. Gabby tells them she missed them both. Can they stop being weird?

Laura and Gabby assure each other they love each other, then Storm calls them all together.

She acknowledges that they have made mistakes. For too long, they didn’t hear their sister’s cries for help. She asks her to step forward. Martha Johansson now has a body again. with a transparent skullcap as she asked for.

Storm describes how Martha was a victim of the worst of humanity but, when mutantkind gained the technology, they didn’t even think of helping her. They failed her. Today they are given the chance to begin to atone for that.

Gabby runs toward Martha and hugs her. Storm introduces her with her new mutant name – Cerebella.

Cosmar (with Masque’s help) is now still lavender-skinned but more normal looking and happy.

Magik wonders if what they are missing is mutant magic.

The Proudstar brothers sit at a campfire talking.

Rictor agrees. Everything they have been doing here is about connection. Magic is about that as well. With nature, with themselves… with each other.

Karma and Galura share a kiss.

Cerebella and Cosmar join their friends.

Magik narrates she let Dr. Strange convince her to come bully his students as a guest professor. She hates to admit it, but it’s been really good for her. Even though magic, which she first learned from Belasco, caused her pain, it also helped her become her own person again. She gets to tell her own story. She knows something has been missing for him since Apocalypse left. Maybe there is a way for him to find what he has lost, while they help those little heathens learn more about who they are. They clink their glasses and toast to connection.

Decidedly not connected are Madelyne Pryor and Alex Summers, who don’t know what to talk about. Madelyne gets up and Magik follows her.

After action report:
The New Mutants narrate how, while he was meant to be free of the Shadow King, Amahl Farouk still suffered from psychic scarring and the creature’s influence. Farouk was able to assist the New Mutants to free themselves from the loop and free himself from the Shadow’s lingering influence. The New Mutants recommend therapy before he is allowed back on Krakoa proper, and Farouk has requested that, once his treatment is complete, he be allowed to assist David Haller with his work.

The New Mutants are expecting Farouk, who is about to enter the Arakko gate. Rahne tells Farouk they are here to witness his choice. He begins that they have no reason to trust him. Rahne interrupts that they are here to stand with him as he makes this step. Amahl replies he doesn’t deserve this. Rahne tells him that forgiveness isn’t earned. It is given. Karma warns him not to expect the same from her. She doesn’t offer absolution. She came to see this chapter of their lives closed.

Farouk understands. As Wolfsbane said, he cannot earn her forgiveness, but what he helped do to her was monstrous and vile. His deepest wish is that what he does now allows her to be free from whatever mark he inflicted on her. Somewhat mollified, she announces she hopes he gets what he deserves, as he enters the gate. She hopes he finds his second chance.

In the Green Lagoon, Magik observes Madelyne is walking like she is trying to outrun her shadow. She has a proposition for Madelyne. How would she like a shot at getting everything she ever wanted? Madelyne is interested…

Characters Involved: 

Karma, Magik, Mirage, Warpath, Wolfsbane (New Mutants)
Anole, Cerebella, Cosmar, Rain-Boy,Scout (Lost Club)
Havok, Goblin Queen
Bling!, Chamber, Gentle, Jubilee
Daken, Wolverine II
Shadow King

Story Notes: 

Strong Guy killed Tier in X-Factor (1st series) #256

John Proudstar was resurrected in X-Men: The Trial of Magneto #5.

James not avenging John might refer to Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #193.

Rictor explored his more mystical side with Apocalypse’s help in Excalibur (4th series).

Madelyne Pryor was resurrected as a favor to Havok in Hellions #18.

Karma and Galura’s relationship is explored in the online comic Love Unlimited #31-36.

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