New Mutants #1 Brings Swashbuckling, Spacefaring Levity to Dawn of X

One of the more beloved sister series to the X-Men is the New Mutants, featuring its own eclectic cast of fan-favorite mutant superheroes. Given the nature of its classic lineup, the series often ventured into genres other than typical superhero fare, as its roster embarked on missions to protect mutant interests around the Marvel Universe.

The title is part of the first wave of series published by the X-Men line-wide relaunch Dawn of X, and is co-written by X-Men overseer Jonathan Hickman with Ed Brisson and illustrated by Rod Reis. Befitting its history and more tangential nature, the creative team wastes no time sending the eponymous team on its own wacky adventure, in a fun tonal shift from the bulk of its Dawn of X counterparts.

As the classic roster reassembles in the newly founded mutant nation-state of Krakoa, Sunspot decides to take the impromptu reunion to the stars ... literally! Teaming up with Cyclops' father Corsair and his crew of spacefaring pirates the Starjammers, the New Mutants embark on a voyage into deep space that leads them to quickly form new rivalries and engage in cosmic hijinks that takes them way out of their usual comfort zone.

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For years, the X-Men titles have largely been self-serious, owing to the longtime premise of a race defending a planet that hates and fears them. Tonally. that doesn't naturally lend itself to a freewheeling fun time. This has continued for much of the brave, new world for the X-Men books under Dawn of X, with the biggest prior exception being Gerry Duggan and Matteo Lolli's newly launched Marauders.

Hickman and Brisson double down on the audacious humor and offbeat action here, while positioning the New Mutants as an ensemble of cosmic swashbucklers in the most unapologetically fun title spinning out of Dawn of X to date -- especially impressive considering Marauders follows a team of literal seafaring mutant pirates.

From the team's interplay both with each other and the Starjammers, it's clear that the creative team is having a good time playing the extensive cast of characters off each other. While prior knowledge of the team and title's history certainly enriches the read, Hickman and Brisson have made this debut issue perfectly accessible to new readers unfamiliar with the characters, giving Dawn of X its first classic, outer space adventure. This is especially welcome because the outer space element of the X-Men is one of the more vital aspects of the title's history, but it's often been neglected in more recent publications.

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Really making all this action and fun shine visually is Rod Reis, bringing a bright, colorful palette to the proceedings. Employing his usual painted approach, Reis' prior work with comic writer Kyle Higgins had often ventured into neo-noir and espionage, often relying on darker artwork, which led to action largely taking place in the shadows.

Here, Reis changes up his palette considerably. He captures the effervescent wonder of Krakoa for sequences back on terra firma. Then he explores the possibilities of space, as the characters blast off into the cosmos with the brightly lit and costumed sensibilities associated with the title's iconic run in the '80s as a visual heir apparent to classic series artist Bill Sienkiewicz.

Across all the ambitious, epic relaunches taking place across Dawn of X, New Mutants is the title that reminds readers the most how much fun the X-Men titles can be, taking clear narrative and visual inspiration from its past while forging a brave, new future. Unapologetically wacky while keeping in line with the title's history of defying traditional genre constraints, the creative team has given Dawn of X its first, full-on science fiction story, with screwball comedy flourishes, without compromising on superhero action.

New Mutants #1 is available now.

NEXT: New Mutants: Marvel Teases the Team's Upcoming Trip to Space

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