I liked the original, 100-issue run of “New Mutants.” It had its ups and downs, certainly, but on the whole it was a nice counterpart to “X-Men,” with letting its mutants be kids. Reading this latest incarnation of “New Mutants,” it’s clear that Wells was certainly a fan of the characters, assembling as much of the “classic” nine-member team currently available. But the one thing I’m still not sure of is, where’s Wells going with this?
Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to see someone write a book that stars characters of yesterday and actually get them right. By that I don’t mean that he’s bound to the past, but rather that he’s taken their roots as well as everything that’s happened to them since, and blended it all seamlessly into their modern incarnations. It feels like a natural moving forward of their characters, and I do think it’s safe to say that these New Mutants (Cannonball, Sunspot, Karma, Mirage, Magma, Magik) are the best they’ve been in years.
Diogenes Neves’ pencils are interesting, in that they’re hard to nail down to a single simple look or approach. Everyone’s a little stringy, but also solid-looking. Expressions are realistic one moment, cartoonish the next. It’s a little bit of everything, but then again, so is the script for “New Mutants.” In some ways it feels like an artist still growing into his own full potential, but where he is right now is already a solid, attractive stage.
I do worry a little bit, though, in that the opening story has brought back Legion for something that feels an awful lot like the original Legion story in “New Mutants,” but on steroids. So far I’m not finding much new or original about Wells’ latest take on Marvel’s most messed up multiple personality disorder mutant. So while as a nostalgia trip it’s a pleasant journey, it makes one wonder if that’s all there is to this latest “New Mutants.” (And of course, for characters that debuted back in 1982, there’s hardly anything “new” about these characters, making this one of the biggest misnomers in comics at the moment.) Hopefully after this initial story we’ll see the plots start to move forward and let the characters continue to grow; right now they’re feeling a bit like fully grown cattle placed in a pen meant for calves. It’s time to let them run free.