“Unfinished Business,” the three-part storyline that set the New Mutants on the mission of “cleaning up the X-Men’s garbage,” draws to a close with this issue. That’s right, the notion that was going to establish a bold new direction for this title and this team seemingly plays out after three issues, with only two of the “unresolved threats” addressed in that span. Seems to me that the action could have continued on a bit longer, with the team hunting down more loose ends.
Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning do a good job convincing me that Sugar Man isn’t just a lamely named, hideously odd M.O.D.O.K. wannabe. The writing duo actually present Sugar Man as a legitimate threat. Of course, the group he is threatening is the non-X-Men, so take that with a grain of, uh, sugar.
Leandro Fernandez’s art is inconsistent throughout the book, balancing moments of strong character emotion and great action choreography with flat, doughy figures and muddled scuffles. The good stuff is very good, but the not-so-good-stuff leaves me wanting to see more of the good stuff. Many of Fernandez’s images have a coloring book like quality to them as he leaves the shading up to Andres Mossa. Mossa obliges, patching in swaths of color to layer in depth and paint up the atmosphere around these characters. Still the art just seems incomplete or way too open, or hurried.
This storyline had a great deal of potential, but squandered it by stretching out to three issues what could have been two. The momentum stalled last issue, making this issue feel haphazard and hurried. It’s a darn shame, too, because I would have loved to see this team track down some more oddballs.
The upside is that this story took Karma, Magik, and Cannonball off the team for three issues, which then allowed Dani Moonstar to completely hog the spotlight. I appreciate that, as Dani is one of the more intriguing New Mutants, but it almost felt as though Abnett and Lanning were forcing the issue and the character upon us much as Chris Claremont did with Kitty Pryde in the early days of the “Excalibur” series.
Abnett, Lanning, and Fernandez have completed their first arc, so the bugs should be worked out. I’m hoping that means the next story picks up a little energy and that the art plays out more harmoniously.