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Quote1 Doug's been shot, 'Lock! He...he's dead! Quote2

Appearing in "Suspended Animation!"

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  • Cameron Hodge's seaplane (Destruction)

Synopsis for "Suspended Animation!"

Continued from last issue...

Dani tries to scare the Ani-Mator into releasing them by creating a mirage of his greatest fear, which turns out to be Cameron Hodge. The Ani-Mator tries to ensure Hodge that things are going to plan, but when he realizes that it is one of Dani's mirages, he attacks her and has all the New Mutants thrown in test tubes to be test subjects in helping bring about an improved human race. Once they are away from the Ani-Mator, one of the Ani-Mates ask if Rahne is the wolf-person and Doug translates, but it gets nasty so Doug shouts at the Ani-Mate to stop being mean and gets slapped. This causes Rahne to launch into her wolf form and fight back, but she gets stomped and is thrown into a test tube like all the others. Rahne cries that she's just an animal and is as bad as the Ani-Mates, but Doug assures her that she's a great person, just like Bird Brain is, and at least she has powers that are helpful while he feels useless. Illyana adds that she's going to kill the Ani-Mator once she escapes, although poisonous gases in her tube and preventing her from teleporting.

Back at the Mansion, Bobby, Warlock, and Magneto are discussing where the others are, and Magneto surmises that they went off with Bird Brain. After explaining who Bird Brain is, Magneto goes off to use the Hellfire's Club tracking equipment to find them, ordering Bobby and Warlock to stay put and lamenting that he can't keep his students under control as well as Xavier could. Bobby and Warlock find the maps laid out from when the New Mutants were tracking Bird Brain earlier and head off against Magneto's orders.

On the Ani-Mator's Paradise, the Ani-Mator gets a call from Hodge, who warns him against disobeying the Right and performing research other than eliminating genetic mutations. The Ani-Mator swears that he isn't, but Hodge privately orders his sea-plane to make for the island anyways. The Ani-Mator confronts the New Mutants, revealing that the Ani-Mates were going to be a slave race for humanity, but Hodge won't like it, which is why he gene-spliced for fierceness first and why he's going to steal the New Mutants' powers to make mutant/Ani-Mate hybrids to work the world. They are taken off to be killed, along with Bird Brain, but Doug and Dani manage to convince the Ani-Mates that they are going to be killed as well, so the Ani-Mates free them before fleeing. The Ani-Mator has more Ani-Mates attack, so Illyana leaves to get Magneto's help, but she finds him gone and just assumes that he didn't notice or care that they were missing. The New Mutants are able to beat the Ani-Mates and stomp the Ani-Mator anyways, with Doug shutting off the Ani-Mator's self-destruct sequence.

However, when they open the doors to outside, they are greeted by Hodge and his Smiley Bots, who immediately gun them down. Hodge reveals that they are simply tranquilizers as he needs the New Mutants alive to replace mutants he previously lost, then orders his men to kill all of the Ani-Mates, completely dismissing the Ani-Mator's pleas. Some of the Smiley Bots attack Bird Brain and his friends, but Bird Brain stops them by dropping rocks on their heads. He convinces the other Ani-Mates to free the New Mutants, fight back against the Ani-Mator and Hodge, and gain their freedom, so they launch their surprise attack, successfully freeing the New Mutants right as Bobby and Warlock arrive.

Doug tries to reunite with Warlock, but he almost gets shot, forcing him to stay and hide while the others fight lest he distract them, making himself feel worthless. The others are able to fight back successfully, but Rahne is about to be shot by the Ani-Mator while fighting a Smiley Bot. Doug pushes her out of the way, with her chastising him for doing something so reckless before continuing her fight. Doug weakly promises to never do it again as he collapses to the ground.

Hodge and the Right opt to leave after dropping some bombs, but their seaplane is sunk by a giant octopus and Bird Brain is able to beat the Ani-Mator for good, stopping the threat. Rahne excitedly tells Doug that he can come out of hiding before not getting a response. She rushes over to Doug's body, breaking down into tears as she and the entire team realize that Doug is dead. Illyana banishes the Ani-Mator to Limbo in a fit of pure range, only Rahne convincing her that the Ani-Mator isn't really human stopping her from outright shooting him. One of the Ani-Mates tries to eat another dead Ani-Mate, but Bird Brain tells him to stop as people honor the dead. The Ani-Mate states that they are not people as they have no clothes and no names, but Sam tells them that it isn't names or clothes that make you human, but choices, which the Ani-Mates made when they chose to help save the New Mutants. He tells them that they've chosen what they'll be and they've earned the right to choose their own names, as it's what Doug would have wanted.

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