Jonathan Hickman continues to bring the core traits back to our favorite mutants. In this case, they are New Mutants. It’s nice to see characters who we have known and loved for decades return to the personalities who originally captured our hearts.
This issue of New Mutants is all about Roberto DaCosta a.k.a Sunspot and his best friend, Cannonball. One of the key elements of the original New Mutants were the friendships between these young mutants, and the character development between them. As comic books have aged over the years, these concepts and relationships have waned and been set aside. While they have always seemed in character, they never quite held the same dynamic that the original New Mutants managed to capture our hearts – until Jonathan Hickman entered the fold.
The story opens up with Roberto giving us a recap of the New Mutants run so far, which catches the reader to up to speed on the status of the Shia’ar Empire, as well both Deathbird’s relationship to the New Mutants and Sunspot. The way his speech flows through this storytelling is similar to Luis from Ant-Man and the Wasp – but Sunspot did it first. He coined this flow of speech back in the ’80s. Of course, Roberto being Roberto puts himself up on a pedestal in these re-tellings, after all he is most enamored with himself.
There is some time spent on Shi’ar politics, including who is worthy to rule throne, and whose influence on the throne is toxic and can’t be trusted. This is a common occurrence in the Shi’ar Empire – it is always at war with itself. Upon Deathbird’s arrival, she attacks Oracle for betraying the Shi’ar Empire to benefit its long-time protector, Gladiator, in potentially ruling the throne. Xandra, who has been tasked with ruling the Shi’ar empire at a very young age, excuses Oracle’s betrayal and asks her to be a mentor to her alongside Deathbird. This scene is clunky at best, as the logic behind Xandra’s decision doesn’t make too much sense. But this isn’t really why are we here. We’re here for Roberto and Sam.
After this strange turn of events, the story cuts to an after party held for the new decision made by the young Shi’ar Queen. Sam and Roberto have a touching moment outside where Sam admits that he wants to get off the field so he can spend more time living with his wife and kid. Roberto is upset by this because he doesn’t want to separate from Sam. This is his best friend, and having all of the New Mutants together gave Roberto a reason to spend time with Sam. There is a sweet moment between these two when Sam asks Roberto to stay with them, and Roberto accepts by purchasing their entire apartment building so he could live closer to Deathbird… and also Sam. While this seems like a back-handed gesture, this is Roberto’s way of saying “Yes, I will live here with you, my best bud.”
New Mutants has always been about the relationship between these friends since they were teenagers. Seeing Mirage, Karma, Wolfsbane, Cypher, Cannonball and Sunspot all interact with each other like they did in their original run was nostalgic and hit all of those wonderful heartstrings. It is a story about friendship, and especially that between Cannonball and Sunspot. It’s been many years since we have been able to see the dynamic between these two mutants. While the story is clunky, I am willing to push that aside to typical Shi’ar bullsh*t, because the character interactions in this are far too wonderful to miss.