Fallen Angels #1-8

Marvel was miniseries crazy in 1987, and mutant crazy—because X-sales were through the roof.  This is the New Mutants mini, and it’s obviously being pushed out quick because there are three artists on the project.

The book largely focuses on Sunspot, who, in the first few pages, accidentally injures Sam “Cannonball” Guthrie during a soccer game.  The rest of the New Mutants come down on him pretty hard, and Sunspot feels (rightly) betrayed.  Of course, it’s right at that moment, while his teammates accompany Sam to the emergency room (even though there’s plenty of medical equipment at the mansion in other issues), that Sunspot happens upon some notes Professor X wrote about him, which talk about how Sunspot might be drawn to return to his evil father, who is in the Hellfire Club.

This compounds his feelings of betrayal, so he runs away to Manhattan.

See, I agreed with him about how his friends were overreacting by accusing him of wanting to kill Sam during the soccer game, but now Roberto is overreacting.  It’s way too much melodrama.

While in New York, he meets some newer mutants who are runaways (fallen angels, get it?), and has a series of adventures with them that interlock with his New Mutant teammates searching for him.  Along the way, some peripheral mutants learn that Sunspot has gone rogue (while living on the streets with the Angels, he commits some crimes), so they, too, go looking for him.  We get to see Vanisher, for example.  We last saw Vanisher as Boom Boom’s partner in the pages of X-Factor, where we also saw a few of the Fallen Angel mutants from this book.  And…

Madrox and Siryn join the search as well, and there’s some play with how his duplicates interact with each other while separated.

I think this is the first time it’s clear that they are fully independent until they are reintegrated).

We also see Jamie afraid of reintegrating and, effectively, becoming somewhat schizophrenic.  This is a very cool idea: A person who spits into multiple people but only has split-personality symptoms when he becomes whole again.  The Madrox character will be used to great effect much later when Peter David takes over X-Factor and turns it into one of the best books Marvel has ever put out.

The whole thing takes the characters to another planet, where they engage in essentially a civil war, but, in the end, Sunspot returns to the New Mutants. Siryn and Madrox move to New York to help raise the Fallen Angels, which makes it look like this very bizarre collection of mutants might actually matter—but it won’t turn out that way.  It looks like this book may have been an attempt to create a fourth X-team, which would have led to ongoing books about X-Men, New Mutants, X-Factor, and now Fallen Angels.  But these mutants are very, very strange.  One has a pair of mutant lobsters that he can talk to.  Seriously.  So I guess Marvel decided it wouldn’t sell, and none of the Fallen Angels ever become major characters.

I’m painting with a broad brush here, but most of the events of this series really don’t matter much in terms of character or timeline development in the Marvel universe.  There are a couple more significant elements, though:

First, we get confirmation that Warlock isn’t just an alien—he’s a mutant.

Second, I don’t remember Madrox and Siryn having a romantic thing—but they clearly are seeing each other in this series.

Also, there’s an issue on a dinosaur planet where Devil Dinosaur and Moonboy are brought into Marvel canon.  I do like the randomness of that.

Creators: Mary Jo Duffy, Kerry Gammill (#1, 2, 4), Marie Severin (#3), Joe Staton (#5-6, 8)
Grade: C.  Some nice work with Madrox, but overall this book feels disjointed and silly.  Nothing wrong with silliness per se, but it doesn’t work as well as the silliness in, say, some Impossible Man appearances or the future NextWAVE book.

For the complete history of the MU, year by year, go here.
And see my Ratings of Runs on comics here.

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