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Some point before heading to Madripoor, Cable tests Rahne in the Danger Room and finds that she has a fear that stems from a previous circus incident. Rahne tells a story of a New Mutants visit to Kentucky and what befell them at a circus ran by Skrulls.

Additional: After the story is a pin-up of the New Mutants by Rob Liefeld from 1989. The roster includes Rusty and Skids (who had gone missing before Cable joined the team).

Note: Although it is not essential to continuity, the events of the New Mutants Summer Special #1 follow this issue, being sometime before the New Mutants reach Madripoor.

Synopsis

Cable and Rahne complete a session in the training room. Cable is impressed with how well Rahne stayed on-pace the whole time. As one final test for the day, Cable programs the Danger Room to simulate a large clown that threatens to squish Rahne under its shoe. Rahne unhinges and asks Cable to abandon the program. He explains that he's read each file for the New Mutants and knows about their psychological tendencies, as well as their physical capabilities. Rahne explains that this fear is the result of a day in Kentucky at the circus.

Rahne's Story: Cannonball's mom drops he, Rictor, Sunspot, Rahne, and Boom-Boom off at the local circus. As Mrs. Guthrie waxes parental, a lion comes up behind Boom-Boom. The teens are startled, but the animal tamer assures the New Mutants that ever animal is perfectly tame and safe. They are so much so that Rictor gets a back-scratch from a rhino. As the animal tamer leads the animals away, the teens can't help but feel that the experience was a little creepy.

Away from the New Mutants, the animal tamer alerts a clown that the new arrivals seem to be mutants. The clown simply states that they will soon be tested. That test comes by way of a carny and his stuffed bear prize. Some scent permeates from the doll and Rahne is simply spellbound by it. She must have it. Sunspot steps up and, with much bravado, succeeds at throwing all three balls short of their target, even in Sunspot mode. Cannonball steps up and is able to throw far enough, but his aim is poor. Boom-Boom's turn, and she adds a little unseen time bomb to succeed in knocking the pins over. Rahne gets her bear, and the circus clown retrieves his analysis ball from among the fallen bottles. He is pleased with what this one circus game has shown him.

As the New Mutants walk around the circus, Rahne swoons and is taken to a medical tent. The old nurse says that Rahne just needs some fluids and that the others should leave her. Rictor stays. After the others leave, the nurse gives Rahne a medicine that completely knocks her out. Rictor attempts to confront the old nurse, but the clown shows up with a spray that knocks Rictor out, as well. Rahne and Rictor awaken to find that they are concealed in some type of glass enclosure with others. Even worse, it seems that they've been shrunk and are on display in the circus!

The other three enter a fun house that looks like it has a spooky twist. Once inside, Cannonball gets creeped out by what appears to be a real human skeleton. Sunspot can't believe how real a caged alien looks. All three are grossed out by chained, intelligent broccoli. At this point, an alien in a cap appears from a panel in the wall and tries to grab Boom-Boom. She loves the effect. Her attention is then focused on a case of real looking tiny people. As if on cue, Rictor unleashes a blast against the glass, shaking the display. The New Mutants wonder how Rictor's power could be duplicated in such a manner when Boom-Boom ends up getting grabbed by the same alien from before. She tries to pull off the mask, but she finds that the alien is really an alien. As the teens realize they are in trouble, Rictor unleashes a blast that shatters the display, knocking the alien holding Boom-Boom unconscious. Tiny people escape the display; Rahne and Rictor find their friends and all begin running. As they do so, Rahne and Rictor seem to grow back to normal size.

Upon escaping the Fun House, the New Mutants run into the circus folk. They inform the kids that the circus people are Skrull Slavers and the mutants will be sold into intergalactic slavery. (As an aside, the clown mentions that they had a disaster that prevents the Skrulls from changing their forms any more.) The clown shoots a net over the teens and Sunspot uses his sun-strength to tear the net apart. Unfortunately, the strain of that one act was enough to drain him of his powers. Boom-Boom attempts to stampede all the animals, but she finds that the animals are Skrulls, too. Rictor does his best to shake things up, but it's Cannonball who's able to scramble the Skrulls by blasting through everyone. The police are heard approaching and the Skrulls escape. The New Mutants watch as the circus collapses onto itself and forms a space ship, rocketing back into the cosmos. One of the circus animals, a mouse, laments that he got left behind.

Finishing her story, Rahne accepts that danger can lurk in the most innocent of places. As she and Cable walk away, a mouse watches from the shadows.

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Palate Cleaner 0

As good as the last issue was is how bad this issue is.  Issue #91 left off saying we were headed to Madripoor.  Issue #92 is still in the states with a different writer and drawer.  Three gut checks.  Not cool.  I can, however, see why this issue had to be this way.  The Madripoor story takes place in more than one issue and there was an annual that had to come out.  So, putting in this filler story made way for the annual to come out before the Madripoor story, thus not having to split up that...

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