The New Mutants #4: Who's Scaring Stevie?
Published: June, 1983
Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciller: Sal Buscema
Inker: Bob McLeod
Colorist: Glynis Wein
The New Mutants: Professor X, Cannonball, Wolfsbane, Sunspot, Karma, Mirage
Villains: None, really
Guest Stars: Lilandra, Empress of the Shiar.
The Plot: Stevie Hunter, a dance teacher, and one of the mentors to The New Mutants, is receiving one in a string of harassing phone calls. The scene cuts to the New Mutants playing frisbee, a game that is cut short so the New Mutants can discuss some recent goings on with Professor X. After this matter is settled, the group talks about Stevie's harassing phone calls, and against his better judgement, Professor X lets the students come up with a plan for hunting the perpetrator.
The plan unfolds, with a tracking device finding the phone booth the phone calls are coming from. With her wolf form, Wolfsbane manages to get the smell of the caller, and they follow him to the school, where Wolfsbane detects the caller as Peter Bristow, one of Stevie's best students. This causes quite a shock, a shock quickly surpassed by Wolfsbane jumping onto the dance floor in wolf form. Bristow, taken by surprise at having his phone calls unmasked, as well as the giant wolf lunging towards him, takes off in his car. Cannonball manages to save two people who get in the way of his car, and manages to control his blasting for the first time. The climactic scene takes part in a construction site (as many comic book battles do), where the New Mutants manage to bring Peter to safety, where they find out that his hatred to Stevie is caused by a very bizarre love\hate relationship caused by abusive, zealously religious parents.
The issue ends with the Professor congratulating the New Mutants on their successful mission, but reminding them they have a lot to learn.
Why I like this: I was planning on writing a writeup on a random, old comic book just for the fun of it. However, after reading X-Men #1, I thought I would write about this issue because it shows the best side of Chris Claremont.
At no point in this issue did a group of X-Men from an alternative timeline pop-in for a two page spread, and then engage in a philosophical debate about the nature of mutant identity. There was no world class mutants shooting rays of pure force at each other. The villain of the story, such as it is, is a confused teenage boy. Interestingly enough, in the course of the story, all the New Mutants manage to all use their super powers, which are all unique and interesting.
This being a Chris Claremont story, there is a lot of talking, along with some simmering interpersonal tension. However, the tension comes from the characters acting naturaly, and it all makes sense and tells you more about the characters, instead of merely being there because some soap opera has to take place in between the double page spreads.
This is one of many interesting little stories that allowed Chris Claremont to establish his reputation.