This week, a new chapter begins for the young heroes of Krakoa as New Mutants returns with the start of a new storyline. Illyana Rasputin, the sorcerer supreme of limbo, is looking to give up the throne of Hell, and she’s picked a fine replacement: Madelyne Pryor, the Goblin Queen! Nothing can go wrong here, right? …right?
New Mutants #25
Writer: Vita Ayala
Artists: Rod Reis and Jan Duursema
Colorists: Rod Reis and Ruth Redmond
Letterer & Production: VC’s Travis Lanham
Design: Tom Muller & Jay Bowen
Cover Artists: Leinil Francis Yu & Sunny Gho
Most of the Reign of X titles coming out on the heels of X Lives/Deaths of Wolverine have felt like propulsive, exciting steps in the story of Krakoa. They have all been relaunches with the exception of X-Men, X-Force, Wolverine, and now New Mutants.
Frankly, New Mutants was never was favourite title, even under the pen of Vita Ayala, a fantastic, exciting young writer who I think will do even greater things in the future. Ayala just hasn’t been able to capture a certain essence of these New Mutants that I can latch onto—I’d been an X-Men agnostic until Krakoa began, but most titles were able to distill certain character and their relationships and present them to me in a clean, exciting, and interesting way that made me interested in their past stories.
I’m really glad I’m a listener of the Cerebro podcast, because it’s really through that podcast that I have some passable knowledge of the New Mutants. And I’ve been reading this series since the beginning! What I’m trying to say is, I don’t feel a particular burst of excitement or any new creative juice flowing out of this series despite the line-wide relaunch. Which is a bummer, because I so desperately want to love this book.
This issue picks up on a few threads from past stories, namely the resurrection of Madelyne Pryor, the Goblin Queen. Magick is on a mission to install Madelyne as the new Queen of Hell in her stead. Illyana has always been a tortured character so seeing her believing in Maddie to do the right thing while butting heads against her friends who don’t agree with someone like Maddie having that much power made for some great scenes, but came across as a little repetitive; Magick’s Dani and Rahne really don’t have much to say beyond a few talking points, which leads to Magick asking if they want her to remain in her current stressed state, rinse, repeat. The over-sized nature of the issue certainly didn’t do it any favours.
Rod Reis is back as the series artist, and he is such just a wonderful talent. From the dynamic pages to the expressive characters, Reis brings this side of the Marvel universe to life in such a beautiful way, and he’s been doing so intermittently since the series began! It’s nice to see an artist have a run on this title in the vein of Bill Sienkiewicz, in an age where artists tend to get the short end of the stick when it comes to being associated with any particular title.
The end of the issue went in an interesting direction that certainly left me excited for what’s to come. The recent arc of the series prior to the current phase of X-books might be a good indication of where this arc may be going, in terms of vindicating and liberating a villain character. That concept certainly keeps with the themes of the New Mutants from what I know, in that they’re the next generation of mutants ultimately and will be operating in a different manner than the status quo. Not that they’d take over for Cyclops and his crew since nobody will ever die!
FINAL VERDICT: Browse. Well-read fans of the New Mutants characters will certainly find a lot to appreciate in this Reign of X quasi-relaunch, but readers interested to learn more about these characters will have a slightly harder time. The art is stupendous and probably worth the price of admission alone, setting itself apart from any other X-title on the market.
- Eternals #12
- The reveal about the Deviants in this final issue is both intriguing and heartbreaking, fundamentally changing how we see the Eternals going forward. The conclusion of the core beats for the arc are wicked funny, but the ending is nothing short of sinister, setting up Judgment Day in the most natural way possible. Esad Ribić is such a fantastic artist and I wish this series had 300 more issues for him to draw. Every panel is poised with a sense of weight and majesty to it and I’m not sure my 200 word limit could do it any justice. Thankfully, Matthew Wilson’s colors cover that for me, elevating the art to a higher sphere seen nowhere else in comics, save this book. Clayton Cowles’ lettering and design work is, as always, superbly clear and entertaining. Thanos is fascinating here and I’m really glad he’s being written under Kieron Gillen’s watchful eye. Power and regality exude from the Mad Titan and I love how his eccentricities are treated with a straight face by The Machine. I’m hoping against hope that Judgment Day and Death to the Mutants aren’t Gillen and Ribić’s last word on the Eternals because this might be one of the single best series Marvel has been putting out. —CB
- Savage Avengers #1
- Marvel’s weirdest team of heroes returns with a new line-up and a new mission. I didn’t read the previous Savage Avengers series regularly but whenever I did dip into it I always found it to be a lot of fun, and this new volume looks to be continuing that tradition. Savage Avengers is writer David Pepose‘s first major work for Marvel, and he acquits himself well, introducing the team’s new members in entertaining fashion before bringing them all together and immediately throwing everything into a chaos. The script occasionally feels a little overwritten, with heavy captions throughout that do a good job of setting a mood but also sometimes bog down the reading experience by repeating what’s evident on the page either in the art or the dialogue – there’s definitely some room for growth there. On the art side, Carlos Magno and Espen Grundetjern turn in their typical excellent work, bringing the action and the chaos of the issue to life beautifully without anything being hard to follow. This is a strong start to the series, and I’m excited to see where it goes from here. —JG
- Silk #5
- In Silk #5 by Emily Kim, Takeshi Miyazawa, Ian Herring, Ariana Maher, and Inhyuk Lee, Cindy Moon has to engage in a climactic battle after being dealt the full Howl’s Moving Castle! This final issue brings the story to a not-too-surprising but nevertheless satisfying conclusion. Pairing the aged-up Cindy with J. Jonah Jameson created a great duo and provided a nice conclusion to JJJ’s character arc in this run. And I especially enjoyed the coda revealing how Silk makes her personal peace with this run’s antagonist via her other, non-super hero calling: journalism! I can live with Silk being given these mini-arcs rather than an ongoing series, but only so long as the mini-arcs keep coming. The lack of a promise of Cindy’s return at the end of this issue is easily my biggest complaint about this charming, funny series. —AJK
Next week, Devil’s Reign Omega officially closes the event, and Legion of X debuts!