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New Mutants #11

by  in Comic Reviews Comment
New Mutants #11

If you’re wondering why “New Mutants” is getting a seemingly random “Siege” tie-in, look no further than the events of Utopia, the recent X-Men/Dark Avengers crossover, in which Moonstar negotiated a temporary return of her Valkyrie powers so that she could battle Ares. With Asgard falling and gods being slayed left and right, Hela needs someone to bring their souls to Hel — and with a debt to repay, the job falls to Dani, whose Asgardian powers are returned to her for a second (final?) time.

One of the more flexible storytelling capabilities of a “team” book is the ability to do format-breaking solo issues. Would it have been hard to write a Siege tie-in that featured the entire gang getting pulled into the wrangling between Hela and Moonstar? No. But it wouldn’t have made for an automatically better story, and with only a single issue’s space, it makes sense to tighten the focus considerably. Indeed, by having Moonstar deal with the situation herself — successfully so — the story actually illustrates subtle but self-evident growth in her character. It’s actually quite nice to see a New Mutant treated as an adult.

One consequence of writer Kieron Gillen’s association with the more godly elements of the Marvel Universe is that he is giving an increasingly consistent voice to the divine. The dialogue for the Asgardians and Hela is as enjoyably readable as ever, but the unfortunate side-effect is that Dani is occasionally overshadowed by the larger characters around her.

The plot skews a fairly traditional stock story, in which an obviously evil person calls in a favor from a good guy and is eventually revealed to have an ulterior motive. Hela’s ulterior motive is there, but it’s not quite what you’d expect, and it makes for a nice resolution to a story that we’ve otherwise seen a hundred times before.

Along with the guest writer, there’s also a guest art team, which has its highs and lows. The shift in palette tone when Dani steps from the real world into Hela’s domain is a great technique that catches you off guard and makes a nice visual distinction between the two realms. But elsewhere, there’s an occasional “unfinished” vibe to some of the pencils, with certain panels practically screaming for a proper background to complete them.

All things considered, the issue ticks all the necessary boxes, and it’s easy to appreciate the lengths to which it goes to provide a satisfying “New Mutants” story that also works as part of the wider crossover. If tie-ins were all this neat, maybe crossovers wouldn’t have such a bad rep.