I’m starting to see a pattern in “New Mutants” under Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning’s reign and it seems to mix serious multi-part stories with slightly fluffier one-offs. We’re on the latter with this issue and while it’s certainly a fun little diversion, it won’t be a memorable issue.
The issue happens in no small part because of the return of Blink, whom the team found and helped out a few months ago. She’s a bit more bouncy and wound up this issue to the point that you start waiting for a punch line that she’s hopped up on sugar pills or multiple cans of Red Bull, if not something a little more pharmaceutical. It doesn’t quite fit with the depiction we just had a couple of months ago and there never seems to be much in the way of justifying this sudden over-exuberance for life and having fun.
Once it’s used as an excuse to move the team off to Madripoor for a carnival, the plotting more or less comes to a halt in favor of lots of small character moments. That’s not a bad thing; we see one relationship finally start, another character gets an unexpected love connection and there’s even some follow-up on Magma’s date with Mephisto. While this is a good enough “in the moment” story, it doesn’t feel even remotely substantial. It’s one of the hazards of Marvel’s twice-a-month shipping schedule for so many of their books at any given moment; we end up with story after story shoved at the reader and ones like these (which are slight to begin with) are almost guaranteed to be forgotten.
David Lopez and Alvaro Lopez are back on their rotation as “New Mutants” artists, though, and that’s always nice. They continue to draw the book in a clean, attractive style, although either Madripoor’s citizens no longer care about carnivals or this is the most sparsely drawn crowd you’ve ever seen. The surprised looks on Magma and Mirage’s faces upon arriving in Madripoor are fun and the final panel of the book in particular looks good. It does get a little too cartoonish and stripped down in spots, though; Sunspot’s courting of the local ladies (coupled with Cypher’s commentary) never quite gels with the art shifting just a little off from something that would have a strong punch.
“New Mutants” #41 is nice, but it’s a shame that it’s not great. An issue devoted to the characters kicking back and relaxing is, in theory, fun (and has been handled in other series quite well) but this issue feels disposable. You’ll enjoy it while you’re reading it, but in the grand scheme of things it’s nothing out of the ordinary.