by Nunzio Defilippis, Christina Weir, Keron Grant, Mark A. Robinson, Juan Vlasco
The Original New Mutants team has grown up and returned to Xavier's Instutute to mentor the next generation of up-and-coming mutants. But the newbies have a lot to learn about life, love and not-killing-each-other. Are the New Mutants, now in their early 20s, really up to the challenge?
This isn't Marvel's "A List" writing team, that's for sure. Everything about this title seems a little half-assed, including the new set of mutants themselves. In spite of a few extremely interesting new power sets and personalities, most of it we've seen before and in better characters.
Particularly disappointing are the two highest-profile female characters:
Sophia Mantega, "Wind Dancer", is a stripped-down version of Storm who can manipulate the wind and has all the leadership qualities of a wet paper-bag. Worse, she is a flat stereotype of a Latina who manages to learn perfect (albeit, oddly drawn-out) English from scratch in less than a month.
Noriko Ashida, "Surge", is an abraisive Japanophile fantasy and yet another "hot asian chick" included in a prime spot simply by virtue of being the stereotype du jour of the decade. She is incredibly unlikeable and, again, seems like a stripped-down version of Storm.
Sometimes diversity doesn't do us any favors. Especially when it feels forced and exploits stereotypes. Can we get off the "hot female" minorities kick, MARVEL?
That's not all the sucking to go around! Prodigy is a Bishop clone through and through, Icarus is a watered-down Angel knock-off, Tag has the single lamest power ever concieved (he can make people run away from whoever he touches), and Wallflower is a close second (pheremones).
Thankfully, some more interesting newbies round things out a bit. Hellion, Wither, Dust, Mercury and Elixir all have cool power sets paired with potentially interesting personalities.
But what New Mutants really has going for it is that it's never about fighting. It's about a bunch of teenagers at a boarding school coming to terms with who they are and powers they don't particularly want. Characters interactions, while not fascinating, are always the focus of the series. By the end of it, for better or worse, we have a good idea of the future X-men rosters we'd like to see (not to mention the ones we want to disappear into obscurity forever!)
-Moondancer and Karma become instructors at Xavier's, Northstar and Emma Frost become student advisors/squad leaders
-introduction of The 2nd generation of New Mutants: Prodigy, Wind Dancer, Wallflower, Elixir, Icarus, Surge
-introduction of The 2nd generation Hellions: Hellion, Rockslide, Dust, Mercury, Tag, Wither
-introduction of Anole
-Elixir/Wallflower/Rahne(teacher) love triangle
-Wither is traded to the Hellions, Icarus is traded to the New Mutants
The art changes often and is never particularly inspiring to look at. The writing is mediocre. There isn't much in the way of action, the main team lacks chemistry and quite a few of the characters we're supposed to like come off as gigantic idiots that it's hard to care about.
New Mutants didn't last long. Cancelled after 12 issues, Marvel continues the students' stories in the "Academy X" series (which lasted only slightly longer before being completely reshuffled into "The New X-Men" )
Still, it's absolutely worth reading. For better or worse, this is the future of X-Men. And while half of these characters are already obselete: the cooler ones are clawing their way up in the ranks to become mutants worthy of inclusion in far cooler titles. You should know their backstories!