NEW MUTANTS #1
Writers: Ed Brisson & Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Rod Reis
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
Rating: 8/10 bottles of Kentucky bourbon (I’m thinking Buffalo Trace)
We are in a golden age of X-Men titles, friends. Despite the influx of mutant books, I haven’t gotten tired of them. At this point, I’m ready to be knee-deep in mutant comics. Doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned reader of a fledgling to the world of mutants—these Dawn of X titles have something for everyone! There’s more to come, too. You want it? X-Men probably has it. New Mutants #1 is no exception!
Aside from the main X-Men book, New Mutants was my most anticipated Dawn of X title. Having a group of young mutants breaking rules and living their lives feels like a welcome departure from the older mutants carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy the main title— there are a lot of things in it I’m obsessed with— it’s that New Mutants is carefree while being introspective about the political and social relevance of mutants. Also, it’s just a good time.
There’s really not much to spoil in this issue because it’s not a high octane debut. That’s not necessarily a bad thing in that Brisson and Hickman spend a lot of time developing our characters through comedic and intimate conversations. The action takes place in the last half of the comic. New Mutants #1 is a character focused book about teens being teens. Despite being mutants, the New Mutants find themselves most comfortable being around one another. Instead of staying in the safe borders of Krakoa, the New Mutants decide to sneak off the island. Where do they go? Well they go hang out with Corsair and the Starjammers and do space pirate shit. Light *spoilers* incoming…
The young mutants bet on a fight (winner gets Kentucky bourbon), try to stop Corsair from stealing valuables from the Shi’ar Empire and get arrested after the Starjammers ditch them after the heist (#sorrynotsorry). Points for including the Starjammers, by the way. Any book with Corsair has my money.
My favorite parts of this book just have the New Mutants hanging out. An early scene has the mutants talking about the differences in the mutant generations. There’s Apocalypse, the first mutant. Then you have Charles and Erik, older, mutant and not the same as these young mutants. Finally you have the New Mutants, who are young enough to still have a sense of normalcy in their lives despite dealing with mutant persecution.
The following scene has the team losing their minds that a mutant learned to grow coffee on Krakoa. Take note people, don’t touch Magik’s coffee or she will *cut* you. Seeing the mutants hanging in space with the Starjammers was a good time, too. And it felt appropriate when Corsair ditched them on the Shi’ar Empire as soon as he got his McGuffin. That’s what you get when you trust a cutthroat space-pirate, people! I don’t know, sometimes it’s more interesting to see super-people do human, mundane things rather than “fight evil” every issue.
It’s Rod Reis’ art that brings this whole world together. I first ran into his work in Exiles with Saladin Ahmed and I was excited to see him as artist on this title. When you’re in Reis’ rendition of Krakoa, you feel the serenity. It’s a lush haven of an island full of natural growth interbred with advanced technology. There’s a brightness and warmth to the island, making Krakoa my favorite location drawn by Reis in the comic. When the new mutants go into space, everything is cold, metallic, sterile. Unlike the natural colors of Krakoa, the Shi’ar Empire is gloomy, emotionless and filled to the brim with cool colors. It’ll be interesting to see how the New Mutants escape the empire and go back home.
While this issue served more as set-up, I’m expecting this book took up the ante in future issues. You read New Mutants for character relationships, rather than spectacle. That said, we’re going to get some of that, too. Given the tonal heaviness of X-Men and X-Force, New Mutants #1 is youthful, funny and easily accessible with charming character focused moments that will have you wanting more. So until the next issue comes out on Nov. 27, Make Mine Mutant.