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The Ani-Mator violently abused Bird-Brain, handling him like a rag-doll. Cannonball tried to fly, but he couldn't steer while still contained in a metal net. Mirage conjured up an illusion of the one thing that would scare the Anim-Mator; a man he called Commander Hodge. He bgean to grovel before the illusion, but when an Ani-Mate walked through the mirage he took his anger out on Mirage and some of the smaller Ani-Mates. Bird-Brain was then separated from the other New Mutants and sent back down into the maze.

The others were kept in the laboratory. Cypher was angry at the basic animal cravings of many of the Ani-Mates, which hurt Wolfsbane who often worried about her animal instincts. When the Ani-Mate who wore an executioner's hood began to ask if Wolfsbane was the wolf-girl, Cypher was the only one who could understand the sexual threats it was making towards her. When Cypher cried out to protect Wolfsbane, the creature struck him. Wolfsbane, still in manacles, transformed into a wolf and lurched at the hooded Ani-Mate, but was soon beaten down and spat on.

The New Mutants were then locked inside giant-test tubes. Cypher apologised for what he had said earlier and begged for Wolfsbane to used her animal strength to break the glass, but she had broken down into tears afraid to become a wolf again. However, the Ani-Mator ordered that the embryonic specimens of 'Lot G' should be destroyed. His loyal Ani-Mates through the small around the room, smearing blood and tiny bodies against the glass tubes that held the New Mutants. Wolfsbane tried to change into a wolf, but she was still unable to break the glass. Cypher tried to reassure her through the glass, while Magik remained convinced that Magneto would find all the books & maps they'd left lying around at the school and find them.

Back at the school, Sunspot & Warlock were miserable while Magneto ranted about the New Mutants and Bird-Brain. He ordered the two remaining New Mutants to remain in the school while he flew to the Hellfire Club for more help. However, Sunspot & Warlock found all thebooks & maps the others left in the library. Upon hearing the news report about Bird-Brain's burger burglary from the night before they began to piece together the location of the New Mutants. Warlock transformed into a plane, and Sunspot grabbed the maps. Together they flew to find the others.

Back on Paradise, the Ani-Mator's island, he computers began to signal an in-coming transmission from Cameron Hodge. He had seen the Ani-Mator's computer search on the New Mutants and enquired why he'd done that. The New Mutants listened to the conversation as Hodge revealed the Ani-Mator's past. He had been a brilliant scientist, but when his university looked into his ethical methods, he was jailed. That was where Cameron Hodge had found him, and that was where Hodge threatened to return him. Hodge commanded that the Ani-Mator remove the animal skull from his head, and ended the transmission without revealing that he was already on his way to Paradise. Unknown to the New Mutants, Hodge or the Ani-Mator, Sunspot & Warlock were a few miles further south.

The Ani-Mator replaced the skull upon his head and ranted about how important his work was. He ordered that the New Mutants would become donors, and that he would give their powers to his Ani-Mates. As they were being carried away, Mirage commanded Cypher to talk to the Ani-Mates. He managed to convince them that the Ani-Mator would turn on them and have them all destroyed. The creatures ran for their lives, dropping the New Mutants, and freeing them from their glass cages. More vicious Ani-Mates appeared to attack the New Mutants. So Magik teleported home. She teleported all around the mansion, but failed to find Magneto. She returned to Paradise with a baseball bat to join the fight. Mirage commanded her to teleport the creatures to Limbo, while Cypher used his translation powers to hack into the Ani-Mator's computer and stop the self-destruct sequence.

The New Mutants were victorious. Over-joyed they ran for the exit. However, there they were fired upon by The Right's smile-faced soldiers.

Commander Hodge appeared. The Ani-Mator complained about Hodge's lies, but was soon physically disciplined. Hodge ordered that the New Mutants be taken away to replace the young mutants he'd recently lost (see the X-Terminators' adventures in X-Factor # 23). He then shot Bufo the frog Ani-Mate and commanded that the rest of the Ani-Mate population be slain. When the Smile-Faces approached, Bird-Brain managed to fly away in time while the other vicious Ani-Mates were shot down. He then flew up and kicked boulders down on the Right soldiers, and dropped others down into the pit-falls & booby traps of the maze. Flying down into the maze, Bird-Brain found other surviving Ani-Mates who swore to help him if he spared their lives.

Bird-Brain led a rebellion of Ani-Mates against the Right. He freed Wolfsbane and Cypher from one soldier, while others chewed through the straps on the inhibitor helmets on Cannonball and Magik.

The New Mutants began to fight back with Bird-Brain's Ani-Mates on their side. Cypher hid behind a rock when Sunspot and Warlock arrived. Seeing his soul friend, Cypher jumped up and began to wave to Warlock. Warlock was over-joyed to see Cypher, but extended his head across the battle-field to push Cypher back under a rock for his own safety. From their he watched as the New Mutants and Ani-Mates were defeating the Right's soldiers. He saw the Ani-Mator appear out of Hodge's plane with a gun, and take aim at Wolfsbane. Cypher cried out to Wolfsbane that he had a gun, but she misunderstood him and thought he meant the machine guns on the Smile-Face's armour. The Ani-Mator fired. Cypher jumped, pushing Wolfsbane ou of the way.

Wolfsbane left Cypher on the floor out of the way of danger, and rebuked him for doing something so dangerous while she leapt back into the fight. The Ani-Mator took aim again, but Bird-Brain knocked the gun out of his hand. As the darkness surrounded Cypher, he apologised to Wolfsbane and promised never to do it again His voice grew weaker. Cypher's head dropped to the floor. He lay dead, face-down on the ground.

Cameron Hodge ordered his men to retreat. The plane dropped charges on the island before taking off across the Atlantic. Sunspot and Warlock pursued the plane until a giant squid-like Ani-Mate grabbed it out of the air sending it crashing against the rocks below.

Back on shore the Ani-Mator continued to fight with Bird-Brain. Stealing the skull-crown off the Ani-Mator, Bird-Brain stood victorious. Wolfsbane was so happy with him that she ran up & hugged him. She called for Cypher to come out of his hiding place, but Mirage found him lying on the ground.

Wolfsbane screamed his name, and run to his. She begged him to stop teasing them and broke down when she realised he was dead. Warlock poured over Cypher's body begging him to rejoice in their victorious return. The Ani-Mates stood around in reverence as Cannonball realised this was the reason why Magneto continued to ground them.

The New Mutants were grief stricken and full of guilt at the cost of their recklessness. The Ani-Mator began to gloat how he had tried to kill Wolfsbane, but Cypher got in the way. Magik held him in a stepping disc, and threatened to shoot him in the head. However, Wolfsbane begged her not to for Cypher's sake. In a fit of anger, Magik sent the Ani-Mator to Limbo.

The Ani-Mates then began to tear at the bodies of their fallen comrades. Bird-Brain stopped them, telling them to honour their dead. Through his tears Cannonball explained to the Ani-Mates that making decisions and dealing with the consequences made them into men. He told them to give themselves names, as they had earned that right and it was what Cypher would have wanted.

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a great death 0

I think this is one of the great issues in the New Mutants series.  The death of Doug was very well handled I thought, and Blevins visual handling of characters like Ani-Mator and Warlock were brilliant.  If you ever get a chance to read this do it, and if you ever get a chance to purchase any of the original art from this issue do it, it will only go up as time goes by.  That is my humble opinion.mr.grey...

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