After New Mutants #30 closed Vita Ayala’s run on the title off with panache, a new New Mutants arc has begun, featuring new mutant Shela Sexton, A.K.A. Escapade! Plus, check out this week’s brief review of Amazing Spider-Man #12 in the Rapid Rundown.
What do you think of this week’s fresh batch of Marvel Comics issues? The Beat wants to know what you’re thinking! Give us a shout-out, either right here in the comment section or over on social media @comicsbeat.
New Mutants #31
Writer: Charlie Jane Anders
Artist: Alberto Albuquerque
Colorist: Carlos Lopez
“Young Shela & Morgan” Artists: Ro Stein & Ted Brandt
“Young Shela & Morgan” Colorist: Tamra Bonvillain
Letterer & Production: Travis Lanham
Design: Tom Muller & Jay Bowen
Escapade made her debut in an extra-long story “Permanent Sleepover” in the Marvel’s Voices: Pride (2022) #1 anthology. Now, the character returns to headline “The Sublime Saga,” a multi-issue arc of New Mutants, along with her best friend Morgan Red and their genetically altered flying turtle, Hibbert.
This issue is a promising start to the arc, and an easy jumping-on point for the title. However, checking out that issue of Marvel’s Voices: Pride (available to read now on Marvel Unlimited) beforehand will maximize enjoyment of this issue, which is subtitled “Fate & Consequences.”
Shela’s position as an outsider to the X-Men and Krakoa gave this story a strong perspective to work with, and one that created an interesting dynamic between Escapade and many of the supporting characters. But while Shela may be skeptical of the institutions of Krakoa, she’s already being won over by her fellow mutants, who she has had time to get to know since accepting Emma Frost’s offer in “Permanent Sleepover.”
Meanwhile, Shela also finds herself in the interesting position of having to convince Morgan to meet her new friends, a bit of narrative that is accomplished by one of those Krakoa-era “information text” pages (and in this case, I do mean text).
But while there may be some aspects of Krakoa that have won Shela over, there are others that she still can’t swallow. In this issue, these are exemplified through Cerebella, who until recently had been marginalized – left a literal brain floating in a jar – in spite of the supposedly universally utopian nature of Krakoa.
Taken together, all of these elements combine to afford an incisive, insightful, and well-considered examination of the Krakoan society. It will be interesting to see how these aspects of the story play into the following issues in the arc.
Young Shela & Morgan
I especially enjoyed the inclusion of the character’s internal language of “Young Shela & Morgan” strips by Stein, Brandt, Bonvillain, and Lanham, as continued from the character’s introduction in Marvel’s Voices: Pride.
These Charles Schulz-inspired three-panel interstitials are an engaging and effective method of swiftly establishing backstory for the relationship between Shela & Morgan, which is essential, as it drives the tension of the story. But while this necessary expositional information could be presented in a dry or utilitarian way, the Peanuts-style strips easily avoided those pitfalls.
Furthermore, as I noted when “Permanent Sleepover” was released, the streamlined, cartoon-y artistic style allows for the honest depiction of the trans characters as eggs without the risk of veering into imagery that might evoke pre-transition gender dysphoria.
Legitimate Trans Rep
Finally, shout-out to the fact that this issue has multiple trans women on the creative team. In an era where everyone wants to pay lip service to their stories for providing “better representation,” only certain publishers (or in some cases, as here, certain IPs at certain publishers) are ensuring that not only are trans women being included, we are being depicted by creators from our community.
It’s good to see that the Marvel superhero comics continue to succeed in this respect. Let’s hope we see more in the future.
- Amazing Spider-Man #12
- While I’m still not a fan of the green highlights in Spidey’s new suit, I am a huge fan of this run. Writer Zeb Wells’s take on our favorite wallcrawler is great as the run is 12 issues in and we still don’t know what Peter did to burn bridges with his friends, and that’s ok. Neck-deep in his usual spider problems and keeping an eye on his 2nd greatest enemy, the reformed Norman Osborn, now he has a Hobgoblin problem to contend with. Add to that the visual storytelling technique of artist John Romita Jr. and inker Scott Hanna to flesh out the imagery that at times is very dark and personal, specifically a conversation between Peter and Norman. And if that wasn’t enough they know how to leave you with a cliffhanger ending. — GC3
Next week, the Mighty Marvel Rundown Roundtable makes its triumphant return as Secret Invasion, Tiger Division, and Deadpool each launch new #1s!