New Mutants: 10 Things Fans Should Know About Karma | CBR – CBR – Comic Book Resources

She’s been around for over 30 years and has played big roles in several major storylines. But when it comes to Karma, there is a lot left to learn.
Over the years, there has been an incredible number of mutant teams in Marvel. It all started with The X-Men, and exploded from there. One of the most popular teams in the 1980s was the New Mutants, a group of young mutants trying to survive. As the 1990s rolled around, the New Mutants became X-Force.
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A core member of the New Mutants, and of the X-Men universe in general, is Karma. She’s been around for more than 30 years and has played big roles in several major storylines. But when it comes to Karma, there is a lot to know about this not-so-new mutant.
The 1970s and 1980s were certainly a boom period for Marvel’s universe of mutants. It saw the addition of several new characters and teams, as well as storylines that remain influential to this day.
Early in his career with Marvel Comics, Frank Miller collaborated with Chris Claremont on an issue of Marvel Team-Up. This issue featured the launch of a brand new mutant character named Karma.
Marvel Team-Up has been around since in one form or another since 1972. It features different Marvel characters generally in one off team-up situations. The different series usually features a range of writers and artists.
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Issue #100 of the first volume of Marvel Team-Up in December 1980 was Karma’s Marvel Comics debut. This was two years before the full New Mutants team would appear in the pages of Marvel Graphic Novel #4 in 1982.
Karma’s powers allows her to take control of other people’s minds. Before she became associated with the X-Men at all, she was in New York on a mission of her own. Karma took over Spider-Man’s mind and ended up fighting members of the Fantastic Four, using him as a puppet.
After that whole mess was sorted out, Reed Richards recognized the potential in Karma. He was the one who not only directed her to Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, he personally recommended her for enrollment.
The original X-Men roster started off as teenagers fighting to protect a world that hated them. But over time, they grew up and became adults fighting to protect a world that hated them. As is often the case in comic books, that meant the adults had to recruit new teenagers to build the next generation.
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Enter the New Mutants. The first roster of this new team of teen heroes was made up of Danielle Moonstar, Cannonball, Wolfsbane, Sunspot and Karma. All five original members of the team have continued to be active members of the Marvel Universe in different capacities.
Karma had an epically rough childhood. Her father was a South Vietnamese army colonel who took his family into the field during the Vietnam War. One of the missions resulted in Karma’s mutant powers appearing for the first time.
After the death of her father, their uncle helped Karma escape along with her family. Unfortunately, her mother died on the long journey to America. This left Karma all but alone in an entirely new country.
As often seems to be the case with a surprising number of comic book characters, Karma has a twin brother. When they were still living in Vietnam as children, it was a threat to Tran’s life that caused Karma’s mutant abilities to manifest.
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Tran had similar abilities to his sister, and could possess people’s minds. The difference was that he went in a more evil direction. He was eventually killed by Karma, though she absorbed his life essence, creating a window for his ongoing negative influence on her.
While there are an increasing number of mainstream comic book characters who are part of the LGBT+ community, it’s taken a long time to get there. A variety of characters have come out of the closet, including other mutants like Northstar.
Karma’s sexuality has been well known in the comics for a long time. But she wasn’t openly with a woman in the pages of a Marvel comic until a 2009 issue of the Uncanny X-Men.
The evil entity known as the Shadow King always seems to be lurking around. He is a multi-dimensional being that can extend into a variety of realities, taking over a host body in each one. Unfortunately for Karma, she was a host body for a long time.
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While under Shadow King’s control, Karma left the New Mutants behind and became a crime lord. The rest of her team eventually tracked her down and freed her from Shadow King’s control, returning her to her old self.
For a while, Karma tried to leave the life of being a mutant hero behind. It’s hard to blame her, or anyone else with superpowers, for wanting even a relatively normal life. But a chance encounter with Moonstar dragged her back in.
While studying at the University of Chicago, Karma ran into Danielle Moonstar while she was trying to recruit a different mutant. Karma also ended up going back to Xavier’s school, this time as a librarian and French teacher. That didn’t last, of course.
Naturally, Karma’s return to Xavier’s eventually led to the reformation of the New Mutants. It was inevitable that a situation would come up and the team would get dragged into the fight once again.
A problem in Colorado involving Professor X’s incredibly powerful son Legion resulted in the band getting back together. The roster included Karma, Cannonball, Magik, Moonstar, Magma and Sunspot.
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Ian Goodwillie is a freelance writer based out of Saskatoon, SK, Canada. He has a BA in English Literature from the University of Saskatchewan and completed the Writing Program at Vancouver Film School. More importantly, Ian is also a wrestling fan, comic book reader, video game player, and photographer. He loves to write and writes about what he loves. Ian’s also an unrepentant, unapologetic Cougar Town fan, a show he will defend until the day he dies. Follow him on Twitter at @ThePrairieGeek.


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