Let’s get the fun part out of the way first. “New Mutants” #6 has, easily, Zeb Wells’ strongest script on the series to date. With Cypher’s attack on the New Mutants (the prelude of which we also got this week in “X-Necrosha” #1), Wells is starting to blast open the facades that all of the New Mutants are hiding behind, thanks to Cypher using body language to “hear” what each of them is really thinking. It’s a moment that could have come across as cliche, but I give Wells credit for not only making it a logical thing to pan out on the page, but to actually give a strong glimpse into each character’s mind and motivation.
The story itself is creepy, with the team finding themselves up against a nearly-impossible foe, one that wears the face of an old friend. In many ways this really does feel like the old “New Mutants” title, with all of the original nine members back save for Wolfsbane (off being underutilized in “X-Force”), to say nothing of an old villain. I’m not normally one for a big fight scene taking up most of an issue, but Wells makes it interesting and fast-paced; that’s exactly the way that someone needs to tackle it.
Diogenes Neves’ art (preview the first five pages here) is still a bit of a mixed bag. The final confrontation of the issue works well because of the expressions on the faces of the two characters; you can see the rage, the agony, the terror, and the menace of that moment all over them. Other panels don’t work as well, though; there’s a complete loss of perspective in a scene with popcorn falling in the foreground while action plays out in the background, for instance, and Cypher’s first victim has some pretty impossible anatomy going on when the blow connects.
My one worry is the same that I felt when I first started reading the new “New Mutants.” Where is this title going? After a Legion story, we’re moving right into the return of Selene, plus the techno-organic virus rearing its ugly head. As fun as this issue has been, it’s hard to not feel that it’s a bit of a “New Mutants Greatest Hits” remix compilation. Hopefully once this crossover is over, Wells can show us just where he wants to take the New Mutants. With any luck, it will be to a brand-new pasture. Wells has definitely got the talent and imagination to do so.