New Mutants may be one of the most hotly anticipated books in the Dawn of X line. That’s in part because Jonathan Hickman is co-writing, but also because it’s this group of mutants that many look on most fondly. We’re also getting a bunch of these characters in one package from Marvel Legends very soon!
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That said, how is the book? This title appears to be taking the characters to space, giving it a distinct identity. Much like the rest of the #1 issues in the Dawn of X line this is an oversized issue, and judging by how well it delivers on most of the team members featured on the cover, it’s very efficient in introducing us to the team.
The book opens on Krakoa, and much of the first third of the book takes place there. Rod Reis does a stellar job on art, capturing the uniqueness, lush beauty, and heavenly nature of Krakoa. In the words of Tina Fey from 30 Rock, “I want to go to there.” In the opening scene, we’re privy to Rahne Sinclair being reborn. Considering the tumultuous time fans had with her demise in Uncanny X-Men, this feels like a firm nod to readers that we’re moving on to greener pastures. Much of the book has that vibe thanks to the art, snappy dialogue, and well-rendered characters who make up much of the narrative. Nearly every character here is superbly written, and you’ll put this book down wishing you could hang out with them all just a little longer.
Much of the book focuses on two duos, the first being Sunspot and Mirage. Again, the dialogue is natural and well written. The other is Mondo and Cypher, who are both interacting with Krakoa and attempting to communicate with it. I have to hand it to Hickman, who has laid the groundwork for a lot of mystery and potential for big reveals at every corner, which firmly places this title amongst the others in terms of deftly juggling mystery, character, and of course action.
Cyclops’ father not being a total dirtbag plays into your interest level as you attempt to probe how good the guy can be when he’s the leader of a group of pirates. The Starjammers are used nicely to juxtapose the different teams in play here, and there’s some good detail to help convince us the New Mutants are a rather well-oiled machine. That is, if they can all agree on the mission.
A minor gripe I had with this first issue is two jump-cuts that take place. It’s disorientating when the book is settling in only to jump ahead. It happens again near the end, which totally threw me off. I actually did some flipping back and forth to make sure I hadn’t somehow missed a page. I respect the effectiveness of the latter jump-cut, but it still left me scratching my head. I also found the big turn in the third act of the issue totally expected.
This is a strong first issue that is clearly anchored to the joy of these characters and our joy in reading all about them. As a team book it excels, and it, like the rest of the Dawn of X books, firmly establishes its own identity very well.
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