By Marc Strom
Writer Zeb Wells and artist Diogenes Neves bring the gang back together in NEW MUTANTS #1 on May 6, reuniting the original team for all-new adventures in a brave new world. And to celebrate the much-anticipated reunion, Marvel.com takes a look back at the histories of those individual team members from their first appearances to the present.
Sketch art by
Beginning today with Cannonball, catch up on anything you may have missed and everything you'll need to know to meet these characters once again when the new series kicks off. Plus, NEW MUTANTS scribe Zeb Wells teases what the Kentucky-born mutant has in store for him in the coming months!
From Apprentice to Master
Sam Guthrie didn't meet his future teammates under the best of circumstances.
After discovering his ability to propel himself through the air while trapped in a mineshaft, Sam received a visit from Donald Pierce, who hoped to recruit the young mutant on behalf of the Hellfire Club to attack Charles Xavier's just-formed team of New Mutants. Luckily, Sam figured out that Xavier could offer him more than Pierce or the Hellfire Club, and subsequently joined the New Mutants, rounding out the team's first official roster.
Moving from his family's home in Kentucky to suburban Westchester, New York, Sam began his career with Marvel's Merry Mutants as the ultimate neophyte, a true fish out of water in every sense of the phrase. Quickly, though, he and his teammates bonded to become a true second family for one another and Cannonball became co-leader of the team alongside Danielle Moonstar.
After the mysterious Cable joined the team and transformed it into X-Force, Cannonball left Xavier's and acted as the new group's field commander. In part due to his strong leadership skills amongst X-Force, Sam soon received an invitation to join the X-Men proper.
While at first Sam expressed some doubts about his ability to carry his own weight on the X-Men, all that changed after he managed to fight Gladiator, the leader of the Shi'Ar Imperial Guard, to a standstill. Since then, Sam has proven himself a valuable member of the team time and time again.
Sam has almost continuously held a place on one X-Men squad or another, most recently joining Rogue's group immediately prior to "Messiah CompleX." Sam joined his teammates when Cyclops moved the X-Men's home base from Westchester to San Francisco last year, and currently helps out on the occasional mission.
Bringing the New Mutants Together Again
Of course, all that will change as Sam's first team and second family reunite in the pages of NEW MUTANTS #1 on May 6. With more than 25 years having passed since the group first formed in the pages of MARVEL GRAPHIC NOVEL #4, however, Sam has experienced more than his share of changes.
"He's a lot more confident," notes NEW MUTANTS writer Zeb Wells. "He was kind of the rube in the big city before, and now I really want to play with the fact that he's become a man, or at the very least is becoming a man and trying to take on more responsibility.
"I want to show what that means and how it's harder than it looks. Ideally, you want people to see, through Sam, how hard Cyclops has it, because being a leader shouldn't be easy."
According to Wells, Sam's role as leader of the reunited New Mutants comes as a natural result of the character's progression.
"I think Cannonball has really moved into a leadership position through not only his past adventures as an actual X-Man, working with Cyclops and whatnot, but also the fact that he's kind of emotionally invested in keeping this team together," the writer explains. "[This is] a team that he came in working with and he'd really like [to continue] to work with. So he kind of naturally becomes [their] leader, especially since Dani Moonstar and Xi'an [aka Karma] are both indisposed when the series starts. He kind of falls into that role."
At a time when Cyclops has begun transforming the X-Men from a school into an army, Wells identifies Cannonball as a character who has the potential to truly stand out in this new world order—and hopefully his upcoming role in the New Mutants will allow him to do just that.
"He went from student to X-Man, and now he's going to leader," Wells reiterates. "I think that's his next evolution, to become not only a mutant soldier, but a mutant leader [as well]."
Check out Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited for more Cannonball, including this special spotlight issue of X-TREME X-MEN. And be sure to check back here tomorrow as New Mutants Week continues and we turn our attention to Dani Moonstar!
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