WARNING: The following contains spoilers for New Mutants #1, by Jonathan Hickman, Ed Brisson, Rod Reis and VC’s Travis Lanham, on sale now.
One of the more recently overlooked elements of the X-Men mythology, is the Marvel Comics franchise’s extensive history of adventures in outer space. From Magneto and Fabian Cortez’s old headquarters on Asteroid M to the X-Men’s experiences with the Shi’ar and the Brood, Marvel’s Merry Mutants have had more than their fair share of cosmic adventures throughout the Marvel Universe.
And, as the New Mutants reassemble as part of the line-wide X-Men relaunch Dawn of X, the fan-favorite team is betrayed by another classic Marvel team: the Starjammers.
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Created by Dave Cockrum in 1977’s Uncanny X-Men #104, the Starjammers were conceived by Cockrum as a concept intended to star in their own series. To help tie them into the X-Men mythos where they were first introduced, the team was led by Corsair, Cyclops and Havok’s long-lost father Christopher Summers. In the plane accident that separated the Summers Brothers from their parents for decades, Christopher and Katherine Summers were abducted by the Shi’ar ship that had caused the accident while exploring Earth.
After Katherine was killed by the Shi’ar ruler D’Ken, Christopher escaped with fellow slaves working in the interstellar empire’s mining camps to form the Starjammers, taking on the alter ego Corsair as he led his new team on raids against the Shi’ar Empire. The team usually includes several alien fighters like the sword-wielding Raza, the skunk-like Hepzibah and the reptilian Ch’od, but several X-Men and even Carol Danvers have been members on occasion.
Dawn of X had Christopher reunite with all three of his sons on Krakoa, with Cyclops giving his father a Krakoan portal-creating plant capable of transporting people to the mutant nation-state wherever it grows. As Corsair plans to return to deep space with the Starjammers, Sunspot convinces the space-faring pirate to bring the newly reformed New Mutants with them for a cosmic adventure to celebrate their own reunion and give their teammate Cannonball a portal home. However, tension between the two groups begins to arise, shortly after their adventure begins.
The friction of the two groups sharing the same confined space comes to a head when Magik and Raza Longknife engage in a friendly sparring match as the Starjammers and New Mutants look on. Sunspot and Corsair place bets on the outcome, with Magik coming out as the victor after the fighting between the two gets a little dirty. The brawl brings the tension to the surface, with the Starjammers abandoning the New Mutants in the middle of Shi’ar space after launching their latest heist to Sunspot’s obvious annoyance.
Given Corsair’s deeply personal connection to Cyclops, Havok and Vulcan, the Starjammers have an extensive history with the X-Men and — while certainly serving their own interests — have usually helped the X-Men whenever they venture into deep space. The New Mutants relaunch shows this association reach a bit of breaking point as the Starjammers not only strand the classic mutant team in hostile territory but have them take the fall for the theft of a rare Shi’ar artifact.
While the New Mutants are in potentially mortal peril, the team appears more annoyed than outraged or heartbroken by the Starjammers’ betrayal; it’s just another day in the life of the characters and the supposed price of hitching a ride with space pirates. Considering how much political influence Cannonball and his wife, Smasher, hold in the Shi’ar Empire, the New Mutants aren’t completely without hope, but they still have to reconnect with their friend first.
Given Corsair’s connection to the most prominent X-Men, it’s unlikely that the Starjammers will face any serious consequences for their actions, but it does stand as the most underhanded thing that the longtime cosmic team has ever done to fellow superheroes in recent memory.
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