New Mutants has had the precarious job of cutting between Jonathan Hickman’s story and Ed Brisson’s. One takes place in deep outer space and the other in Pilger, Nebraska. Both stories involve a lot of danger, but in Brisson’s story–which kicks back into gear today–it’s about a drug cartel trying to shake down mutants so they can get a piece of the drug-game action. The shakedown includes threatening Beak and Angel’s family with extreme violence. Never fear, last we saw these characters Maxime and Manon made two of the gangsters kill each other. No biggie!
This issue opens with a very drunk Boom Boom, annoyed Armor isn’t happier to see her. The bad guys are launching explosions at them, removing their powers. Not good. In one of the best moments of the issue, Brisson has Glob attempt to teach Maxime and Manon you can subdue a bad guy without killing them. In a clunky and honest sort of way Glob does a good job teaching them, especially considering the danger they are in.
This issue also does well to remind us mutants are still very capable even without their powers. Boom Boom even points out she was black-ops since she was, “like 12.” However good they are without their powers though, it’s very clear there are multiple threats at varying levels Krakoa needs to be aware of. The Bohem Cartel is just one of them.
There are a couple of things that don’t work in this issue. All the buildup to the immediate danger and threat level of these bad guys is reduced to a couple of quick dispatches by the heroes, rendering this threat less than impressive by issue’s end. There is also a choice to be made at one point as the villain asks Angel to pick a life: Beak or his father. The obvious answer would be to let Beak die since Xavier can bring him back, right? It’s an interesting moral dilemma that is given almost no time to dissect before the choice is made for Angel. Speaking of Beak’s parents, it’s almost comical how the heroes rush into a vehicle to make a getaway completely forgetting about the parents. I understand Angel would likely put her kids and husband first, but nobody thought to save these folks before rushing out of the house they were just healing a few minutes prior? It’s an odd choice which directly leads to the last conflict of the issue in a somewhat convenient sort of way. There is yet another odd twist at the end of the book involving Maxime and Manon that seems to suggest nobody told these kids messing with minds is bad even though that’s their powerset.
I wanted to like this side quest Brisson and Flaviono put us on, but it’s a bit too clunky in its execution and plotting to satisfy in a real way. The characters all go through hardship, but at the cost of glossing over plot holes to get there. There’s a promise of sorts this will all come back to bite the characters, but it’s so toothless I doubt many will care anyway.
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