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.
Continuing today with Karma, 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 discusses what type of role he'd like her to play in the reunited team!
Karma: From Tragedy to Tragedy
The hero named Karma must have a lot to atone for from a past life.
The first of Professor X's recruits for the New Mutants, Xi'an Coy Manh came to America with her family after fleeing war-torn Vietnam. Xi'an took the name Karma after her first encounter with Marvel's heroes, in which she used her ability to take control of Spider-Man's mind and rescue her younger siblings from her elder brother, Tran, and her uncle. Defeating Tran, she fully absorbed him, effectively doubling her psychic power.
Though she served as the New Mutants' initial leader, Karma disappeared after an early mission against the Silver Samurai and Viper, subsequently becoming possessed by psychic villain the Shadow King. While she eventually bested him in psychic combat with some help from her teammates, the Shadow King's eating habits while he had worn her body left Karma morbidly obese and unable to assist the New Mutants in the field.
During the New Mutants' first trip to Asgard, Karma found herself restored to her original weight. Shortly afterwards, her younger siblings Leong and Nga went missing, and Karma once again left the New Mutants in order to find them. Once she rescued them from the villainous Viper and Spiral, she eventually moved them to Chicago where she
Sketch art by
took a job as a university librarian.
Karma finally returned to the larger X-family as a teacher at the Xavier Institute before the M-Day Event depowered most of the student body. Most recently, she followed the X-Men to San Francisco and assisted them in their attack on the anti-mutant Hellfire Cult.
Towards a More Proactive Future
Though Karma's past consists mostly of a series of tragedies, upcoming NEW MUTATNTS writer Zeb Wells expresses his desire to change that in the present.
"I really want to find a way to make her an interesting, exciting part of the team," Wells says. "In the original 100 [issues of] NEW MUTANTS, I think a lot of times she was
defined by the bad things that were happening to her and I'd like to make her a little more proactive, a little less of a victim. She's still defined by the bad things on some level, but she's a tough girl and she's going to be moving past that. I really want to find a good, functional role for her on the team."
Part of Karma's more proactive approach to the world around her will manifest itself in her relationships with her teammates, according to Wells.
"She's taking more responsibility for the other teammates in her life," the writer explains. "She wants to step up and defend them; she wants to step up and defend Dani [Moonstar, now de-powered] and the rest of the people on the team. I think she, for the first time in her life, is ready to commit to them and try to make a family out of this team."
At the beginning of the original series, Karma acted as an almost maternal figure to the other team members due to her being older and more mature. And even though they've all grown up now, Karma still feels an added layer of protectiveness towards the others.
"I think if any one of the teammates would feel bad about what happened to the team, [it would be Karma,]" Wells confesses. "I mean, the New Mutants never betrayed each other or anything, but they did kind of break up as a team and then bad things happened to all of them after that happened.
"When you grow up with people and you love them and they're your great friends, you kind of always feel a sense of responsibility for what happens [to them]. If something bad happens or if you see them get hurt, I think there's always going to be that twang of responsibility, and I think she'd feel that worse than anyone else on the team because of that maternal role she had."
Wells' opening arc, which involves children as victims, will strike close to Karma's past and cause her to take this first mission a bit more personally than the rest of the team.
"One of the end scenes in issue #4 is going to deal with her and those demons that she has, because obviously there's children involved in this mission and I think she might take a more hard line against the villains of this series because of that," Wells relates. "We're definitely going to touch on that in the conclusion of this arc."
And moving towards the future, Wells hints
that Karma fans have some interesting developments to look forward to after the first storyline ends.
"We've got some really, really fun, interesting stuff planned with her for the second arc, so if you're a Karma fan I don't think you'll be disappointed."
Visit Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited for more Karma. And be sure to check back here Monday as New Mutants Week continues and we turn our attention to Sunspot!
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