This week in New Mutants: The heroes go to court, play Shi’ar poker, and Sunspot can’t help himself. Jonathan Hickman takes over full writing duties progressing the plot nicely and keeping this team so cohesive it might outmatch all other X-Men books with its great writing.
A standout element of this series is the humor. It has a sense of fun and exploration that makes it easier to read and even easier to enjoy. The characters are familiar with each other as a family and even if they’re imprisoned in the opening pages you know they’d never split up. The book opens with a full page of explanation about what happened last week, followed by another full page progressing the imprisonment story. From there the characters go to court and take their punishment. Even with court cases, war, and other serious topics at hand the book feels light and fresh.
Anyone expecting a heavy focus on Shi’ar will dig this issue. We start to get a better understanding of what is going on intergalactically and it’s clear the New Mutants are stuck in a Shi’ar mess for quite a while. It’ll be interesting to see when or how they learn Xavier is dead since they’re so far removed from it. One could imagine this team heading back to Krakoa only to find it in ruin depending on how that plays out.
Sunspot continues to be one of the most intriguing characters, but Cannonball is a close second and he’s only introduced in this issue. Sunspot has a character-actor demeanor where you look forward to him getting punched in the nose and saying the right thing at the wrong time. His youth paired with the rest of the team’s young demeanor is fun to read and dissect. He’s not just another adult and his actions feel natural for his age.
The art by Rod Reis continues to be excellent. While I miss his renderings of Krakoa I do love his space scenes. His style suits holograms and space travel quite well. There’s also nice emphasis where it’s needed, like in an early double-page splash with Sunspot’s layer sticking out like he’s been cut out and pasted in (which he kind of has been figuratively too) or the subtle glow on Cannonball when he enters the story. There are minor but great details here that’ll make you want to linger and read it again.
This is a delight and a pure joy for X-Men fans. It’ll be hard to pass this up since its identity is so strongly team-based and a young team at that.
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