This annual features a one-off story featuring Boom-Boom, Sunspot, Warlock & Wolfsbane.
Tornadoes destroyed buildings down one side of the street. Firemen pulled at the wreckage on the site of a detonated terrorist's bomb. A helicopter chased a man through his burning village. A soldier stood ready to shoot over a mound of human remains. A child starved to death. A man threw bricks and debris at a tank.
Wolfsbane huddled in front of the television, crying at the death & destruction on the news.Boom-Boom waltzed into the room (followed by a buzzing fly) and tried to find out what was wrong with Wolfsbane. She explained all the terrible things that were happening in the world, and she felt guilty living comfortably surrounded by expensive things. Boom-Boom's attitude was that someone has to live in luxury (and she detonated the fly). Wolfsbane continued to cry. Boom-Boom tried to brighten her mood by talking about yin & yang and other zen words she'd heard. However, Wolfsbane cried harder and harder until she snapped at Boom-Boom for laughing at her'. Wolfsbane then changed into a wolf and ran away. Boom-Boom took her frustration and guilt out on the television with one of her time-bombs.
Outside, Wolfsbane ran towards the little river and lapped up the water. Instantly she spat the water back out and began to change back into a girl as she coughed. Boom-Boom finally caught up to her as she announced that the water was polluted. Boom-Boom was surprised since the river looked clear and peaceful. Wolfsbane was frustrated, since they could save the world but were powerless to do anything about the water. Boom-Boom tried to cheer her up by reminding her that as mutants they were outsiders & weirdoes, and that a little shopping would help them to feel better.
From the other side of the stream, some shadowy faces were amazed to see a wolf that turned into a girl. They had heard what Wolfsbane had said about the river, and they wanted to clean it up for her.
Meanwhile, Warlock had dozens of television screens for eyes as he absorbed the information over a dozen televisions. Unlike Wolfsbane he wasn't affected by what he saw, he just continued to take in all the information until he received a new transmission. In order to receive the transmission more clearly he sent an antenna up through all the floors of the complex, including through Sunspot's bed. Startled out of his sleep, Sunspot was annoyed. However, Warlock's antenna continued up into space where he searched for the alternative transmission. He found the source and grabbed it with his fist and pulled it back down into the New Mutants' underground complex.
Sunspot climbed down through the hole Warlock had created just as Boom-Boom and Wolfsbane ran into the room. Warlock begged their forgiveness and explained that he had found a being from outer (or inner) space. Warlock grew tired of waiting and punched Warlock's hand open. Out dropped a little blue man with a television for a head. He introduced himself as the Vidiot, a journalist form a nearby dimension who had been exiled for trying to uncover the big corporate Megalarpoly. Warlock offered their assistance, but Sunspot refused. When the Vidiot's antenna began to droop, Wolfsbane felt sorry for him and agreed to help him. This spurred the Vidiot and he created a Nether-Vortex. However, it was only a dimensional membrane which he couldn't quite open, so Boom-Boom used a time-bomb to break the membrane. The Nether-Vortex exploded in a blinding light and the New Mutants were pulled into a warp that distorted their features as they fell through it.
They fell through flying junk and headed for a nearby planet. Warlock caught them in a net. Sunspot snapped at Boom-Boom for her impulsive nature as they were showered with interdimensional junk. Boom-Boom found styling products to smooth out her hair. A stretch limousine pulled upcovered in white goods for sale. The bimbo on the hood was trying to sell everything including herself. Wolfsbane became fixated and Sunpot wanted Boom-Boom to fix his hair for him so he could impress the bimbo. Seeing that Wolfsbane had been caught in her spell, the bimbo plastered messy make-up and a wig on her. Which she showed Wolfsbane a magic mirror it made her look like a catalogue model. So when the limousine drove away, Wolfsbane went running after it. The others tried to chase her, but a giant television popped out of the ground and they all ran into the screen.
Back onEarth, a group fo ordinary kids were sat in the river. Most of them were complaining about the cold or being hungry, but Mookie their leader told them about how the media wouldn't notice the polluted unless they made a spectacle. He wanted to make their protect news worthy. He wondered if the polluted river could make them mutate, and one of the girls took out a blue pen and drew spots on herself to look mutated.
Back in the Vidiot's dimension, Boom-Boom, Sunpot & Warlock appeared out the back of an old television set, but they were flat and warped out os shape until the Vidiot changed the channel. Back to normal, they found themselves in a giant junk yard. Sunspot couldn't understand why Boom-Boom loved it so much, but she saw it all as treasure. However, they had to duck when the MC appeared. The 'Manufacture of Content' known as Moopert Rurdock was walking in circles while on his cel-phone. He was afraid of a media spill so was planning to cover it up with a media landslide. The New Mutants recognised it as a cover up, but were unable to do anything as the MC's plan was put into operation. A van pulled up and a vidiot resembling President Reagan stepped out. They pumped up his muscles and stood him in front of the American flag as he kissed a football and threw a baby. The chaotic cover-up seemed to be successful.
Mookie and his gang were still sat in the river. He refused to let any of them go on a burger run. They wee cold and it was dark, but suddenly an old man who was walking his dog wandered by and saw them. He asked where their parents were, and what they were doing in the river.
The New Mutants had left the media junkyard and were walking through a wasteland. Sunspot was determined to uncover the media conspiracies, angry that no-one was reading between the lines. Boom-Boom decided they should attack the source so the Vidiot decided to lead them to Megalopolis. They had to follow the muddy brown road through the wasteland. On their way through the wasteland they saw the Third World Vidiots who were being bombed. The Vidiots didn't react to the arsenal, because they were used to it.
Warlock transformed into a balloon and the New Mutants flew up into the air to find the source of the attack. On an island above the clouds, the New Mutants found a double-bodies giant monster; one-half Uncle Sam, one-half bear. Called MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction), the monster kept hurling insults and weapons around as it argued with itself. Sunspot grew tired and leapt at MAD. He punched the bear's head and kicked him from behind. In the chaos, the monster's two bodies punched each other and knocked itself unconscious. Boom-Boom was delighted that there was peace and kissed the bear on the forehead. They then left for Megalopolis.
Back at the river, a news crew had arrived to cover the story of the kids in the river. Mookie stood up and announced how the river was polluted and that they wanted it to be safe for everyone to swim in.
Megalopolis was a warped version of the White House covered in missiles, stars and giant dollar signs. Boom-Boom thought the same as Mookie, and declared that they needed to make a spectacle for the Vidiot's media to cover their story. Sunspot considered an aerial strike, which the Vidiot claimed was extremely violent. Warlock added that violence was something that the New Mutants were very experienced at when suddenly a voice from behind them told them to consider the ramifications of that statement. A Vidiot with arrows pointing all over his body and painted half in black & half in white appeared. The POV (Point of View) considered the morality of every decision including capitalism, socialism and whether meat is murder. Boom-Boom & Sunspot looked at each other and decided that they should 'eat the cow'.Warlock transformed into a fighter plane and took off with the others on his back, leaving the POV behind.
On Earth, the Megazine factory outlet continued to drain into the river. Within the factory the President screamed to stop answering the telephones. The local media hammered on the door after a statement about the pollution. Megazine's President grew angry and ordered his employee to clean up the river before they were forced to go bankrupt. A PR man for Megazine appeared in front of the news cameras to announce that they were unaware of the pollution their factory was causing and that they were going to clean the river up immediately.
Meanwhile, the MAD monster slowly regained consciousness. However, the island above the clouds crumbled away and MAD plummeted back down to the ground. The Third World Vidiots below was amazed to be face-to-face with the creature who had caused them so much trouble for many years. They laughed at his of date clothes, and the lipstick mark Boom-Boom had left on the bear's forehead. The Vidiot's laughted made the MAD shrink until it was tiny and the young Vidiots chased it away.
Above Megalopolis Warlock flew along a thick black line known as the Bottom Line. They arrived as a giant building with hundreds of burning altars dedicated to money. They climbed the steep stars and entered the building where the grand alter decalred 'In Greed We Trust'. Warlock could detect an extensive sound system. The New Mutants ignored warnings that the Megalopolis Power Center was dangerous. Sunspot kicked a nearby podium. This caused the lights to go out and a spotlight to pin-point the New Mutants.
Meanwhile, a local scientist finished his tests on the river's water. He confirmed that it was clearing up. The reporter asked Mookie what it felt like to hold a corporation hostage. He announced that kids weren't helpless and they were ready to make a stand for what they believed in. Mookie and his friends all jumped up and down as they burst into full colour.
However, Wolfsbane had become trapped. She was sat at a dinner table with a televiison in the wall. She had a Vidiot husband with Vidiot children. Yet the scene was set in the middle of a wasteland and Wolfsbane admitted that she felt empty. Suddenly the television in the wall began to broadcast the report of the New Mutants' attack on Megalopolis. Shocked at what she saw, Wolfsbane left her fake-husband and rent-a-kids.
Vidiot generals had the New Mutants surrounded. Despite the New Mutants' cries that they didn't want to fight, the Vidiot army attacked. Sunspot went to attack when the POV appeared to consider the morality of violence. Sunspot declared that sometimes you just have to fight. He sent Vidiot generals flying. Warlock towered above them with Boom-Noom on his back throwing down time-bombs. Wolfsbane leapt into the fray and apologised for being side-tracked.
Amongst all the chaos of the fight only Wolfsbane spotted a baby Vidiot headed for a pair of feet sticking out under a curtain. There they found a fat Vidiot with a red suit & a crown. He was too busy barking orders to 'Kill! Kill!' that he didn't otice the baby Vidiot discover something labelled 'secret tapes'. The baby Vidiot put the tapes into the machines, but the fat Vidiot kicked him away. The tapes began to play and the New Mutants were deafened with delcarations and information until Wolfsbane found a plug. Electricity poured through Wolfsbane's body as she pulled the plug out of the socket. Suddenly all the Vidiot armies disappeared. The New Mutants considered it to be a hollow victory. The fat Vidiot then asked them to ignore him. Boom-Boom destroyed his crown with a time-bomb, while Warlock accidentally removed the Vidiot's braces. The fat Vidiot's trousers fell down revealing his spoty underwear. All the local Vidiot tourists began to laugh at him.
The Vidiots praised the New Mutants for saving them from the Mediamogul. But they began to disappear in a blur. The New Mutants were pulled back through the Nether-Vortex. Finally they were spat out of a television screen back home. The television set had broken through the experience, but the New Mutants decided that they were sick of all TV.
Warlock transformed into a forklift truck and carried most of the televisions while Sunspot and Wolfsbane helped with the rest. They carried them across the grounds until they heard some children laughing and splashing in the river. Leaving the televisions behind, the New Mutants ran to the river to warn them about the pollution. The kids told the New Mutants that the water was no longer polluted, and that the TV had cleaned it up. Boom-Boom, Sunspot & Wolfsbane looked at each other.
Warlock then transformed into a truck and carried the television sets back to the underground complex. Boom-Boom promised to make the pop corn. Warlock had memorised the TV Guide. Sunspot wondered who shot Laura Palmer on Twin Peaks, and Wolfsbane conspired that they all did and at the same time no-one did. Sunspot then told her to shut up before she spoiled it for him.
Additional: The annual ends with a small series of pin-ups:
- Boom-Boom & Sunspot in their swim-wear floating on an inflatable tire with Warlock as a whale and Wolfsbane resting on top of him. They were paddling in the river while watching Daffy Duck on the television.
- Boom-Boom, Sunspot, Warlock & Wolfsbane fallling through the Nether-Vortex with their features hideous distorted.
- The MAD monster threatening to destroy itself.
- The New Mutants relaxing in front of the television from the TV's point of view. Sunspot reached for popcorn, but Boom-Boom passed him a time-bomb. Warlock's eyes had grown enormous to watch the television, while Wolfsbane had fallen asleep on the floor.
Note: The issue ends with thanks to Ben Bagdikian, Noam Chomsky, Marshall McLuhan, Mark Hertsgaard, Walter Lippman and all the media theorists.