While the cover offers up a happy-go-lucky romp (with the hideous "Regenesis" trade dress), this issue of "New Mutants" is not so much of a romp, but it is definitely a great deal lighter than some of the more recent adventures this team -- and the X-Men franchise in general -- have experienced lately.
Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning give us a story that features the New Mutants -- Dani Moonstar, Sunspot, Magma, X-Man, Cypher, Warlock, Karma, and Cannonball -- making their decisions about whether they're going to stay with Cyclops in Utopia or move to Westchester and Wolverine's school. The majority of the issue focuses on that decision, but Abnett and Lanning use that decision to fuel some great character moments. One such moment is a conversation between Cypher and Warlock. The duo slip into binary and provide a page full of chuckle-worthy, spot-on characterization that helps define both characters for any new readers.
The art team of David LÃ³pez, Ãlvaro LÃ³pez and Val Staples provide a story that is wide open when it needs to be and filled with details as necessary. LÃ³pez and LÃ³pez provided some great art on "Hawkeye & Mockingbird" and drew my attention there. When I saw them credited here, I figured it was time to come back. Their work here is finding its stride, but they do a great job of giving each character her or his own personality, physique, and set of expressions. Furthermore they make Cypher quite distinctive from Cannonball beyond a simple variation in haircut. Staples' coloring (as I have come to expect from Val Staples) is spot-on and gives this comic a heroic boost. Staples' coloring is a sweet match for superheroes and this comic's direction seems just right to live up to his strengths.
This team is like the Defenders of the X-Men corner of the Marvel Universe. Composed of fan-favorite characters that feel out of place anywhere else, this team continues to struggle to find purpose as it is overshadowed by flashier titles, teams, and creators. In the adventure that led to X-Man joining this team, Abnett and Lanning may have just found the ideal purpose for this team. As anyone who's read any X-title in the past twenty years knows, there are more than a few loose ends (like Nate Grey) that need to be either tied up or trimmed off. Abnett, Lanning, LÃ³pez, and LÃ³pez seem to be a great team to serve as our guides on those future adventures. If the slower stories are this enjoyable, the action-packed tales are going to be excellent. I'm looking forward to it, and pleasantly surprised that this "Regenesis" of the X-Universe has added another mutie book to my reading list.