In the latest issue of New Mutants, three prominent members of the team are assigned to unlikely missions by previously devious monarchs.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for New Mutants #17 by Vita Ayala, Rod Reis & VC’s Travis Lanham, on sale now.
The X-Men and other mutants of Krakoa have a great deal of power and ability, making many of them particularly useful in times of crisis. This might be why some notable behind-the-scenes players are trying to recruit members of the New Mutants.
In New Mutants #17, Both Lady Roma of Otherworld and the Shadow King are at work recruiting the New Mutants to their cause — and they both have been pretty effective.
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After their student — a young mutant named Josh — ventured on his own into Otherworld after encountering Jamie Braddock, Dani Moonstar and Xi’an Coy Manh followed after him. Their attempt to avoid an international incident resulted in some serious conflict though, as the pair were caught “trespassing” on the lands of Merlyn and his Holy Republic of Fae. Imprisoned for this crime, Merlyn offered them a chance to escape the death penalty — by venturing into the Kingdom of Roma Regina and taking a mysterious vessel supposedly stolen by Lady Roma. The powerful mystic (and daughter of Merlyn) seemingly took the vessel when she departed to begin her own kingdom, and now it falls on the two New Mutants to recover it.
Eventually finding it, they also found themselves confronted by Lady Roma herself, who did not attack them as the pair initially feared. Reminding them of her appreciation for mutant-kind (as opposed to many other corners of Otherworld, which have come to be wary of the “Witchbreed”), Lady Roma even gives them the vessel — revealed to be a simple vase with no mystical importance or power — without any struggle. In exchange, however, Roma conveys that the New Mutants now owe her favor, which can be called upon at any time.
With little choice in the matter, Dani and Xi’an accept the terms of the arrangement and take the vessel back to Merlyn. Roma has a deep history with the Marvel multiverse as a whole, as well as with the heroes of Earth-616 thanks to her many past interactions with the X-Men and Excalibur. While owing a favor to Roma might not be an ideal situation, it could certainly be worse — and could even lead to a possible alliance between Roma and Krakoa.
However, there’s a more openly villainous king who’s also at work trying to recruit a New Mutant. After being told that her son Tier can’t be resurrected by the Five, Wolfsbane has been left in a despondent state. Making matters worse was her best friend, Dani Moonstar, venturing off into Otherworld to save a student instead of focusing her attention on her hurting friend. This is where the Shadow King finds her, alone and crushed by sadness. Speaking with Wolfsbane, Shadow King argues that he’s really taking the new laws of Krakoa to heart and is trying to help other mutants across Krakoa deal with their mental traumas.
Lately, this has meant working with young mutants to briefly swap bodies — albeit with some seemingly painful consequences. Sensing that he needs someone with more empathy and understanding, he recruits Wolfsbane to try and help the young mutants overcome their problems. Wolfsbane agrees, seeing this as a chance to use her experience to help others. While almost any other mutant requesting Wolfsbane’s help would be seen as a fully genuine gesture, Shadow King’s history in general (and with the New Mutants specifically) makes this a far more concerning prospect.
Shadow King has been manipulating the other young mutants and quietly pushing them against one another with platitudes and compliments. There’s a question then as to what he really wants and why he’d be confident enough in his plans to draw the attention of someone like Wolfsbane, who could easily end up informing the other veteran mutant leaders and teachers about his recent actions.
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