Rob Liefeld’s cover of New Mutants #99 is a homage to X-Men #138.As that much earlier issue was about changes, this issue serves as the beginning of the transition period from the New Mutants to X-Force.
It’s been a rough few months for the New Mutants, and Cable’s leadership of the group is becoming more apparent and causes a lot of discord. As the cover shows, Sunspot leaves the group at the end of the issue. After being informed that his estranged father was murdered, Sunspot is returning to Brazil and Cable is mostly apathetic to this.
That sets up a yelling match between Cable and Cannonball about the direction of the team. Cable sees the New Mutants as soldiers he has to train and develop for an upcoming war, with little regard for the people themselves. Cannonball gets even more upset, when Cable has the same reaction to the news to Rictor’s leaving.
You really get the feeling that there is a huge changing of the guard, both in the make up of the team and in the group’s philosophy. Out of the remaining members you have Cable and Domino, both of whom share this bleaker outlook. Even Boom Boom is buying in on their more hard line approach. And then there is Cannonball, who is begrudgingly hanging on to this group he helped start in the first place.
With Rictor and Sunspot out, the team will need new members. This issue conveniently provides them. Warpath has returned; the Apache reservation he lived on was seemingly destroyed by the Hellfire Club and he wants revenge. Cable promises he will assist in that as long as he’s dedicated to fighting the war to save mutantkind.
On the brightside, this issue is the debut of the cat-powered Feral, who is looking for protection from the Morlocks, and the end features a yet-to-be-revealed Shatterstar popping up in the Danger Room.