Comics You Should Own–THE NEW MUTANTS #18-31The Demon Bear arc is unsettling because Claremont gives Sienkiewicz a plot that is far darker than what we had seen previously on the book. When Tom Corsi and Sharon Friedlander are attacked by the bear, Sienkiewicz simply gives us a panel with giant teeth, two terrified faces, and horrified shrieking (with Wein providing the necessary red coloring to give it a greater impact; see above). We don’t see what happens to Corsi and Friedlander, but we don’t need to–Sienkiewicz provides the bare bones and lets our imagination run wild. The final issue of the arc, “Badlands,” goes even further into the insanity of Sienkiewicz’s art, as the mutants battle the bear in an alternate dimension, with Tom and Sharon transformed into hellish avatars and Dani’s life hanging in the balance. Those readers who thought Sienkiewicz couldn’t handle a battle royale in the fine, superhero tradition were wrong–he gives us a fight that is fluid and dynamic but also twisted and perverse, climaxing with the return of Dani’s parents, who had been transformed into the bear (by a mysterious force that Claremont, typically, doesn’t explain).Comment: See my comments at the end of this posting on perhaps the weirdest aspect of this storyline. Tom Corsi and Sharon Friedlander, the two innocent pawns, get turned into Indians.
The Demon Bear Saga is one of the Native-themed series I recommend on my Native comics page. Check it out.