The new generation claims the dawn!
Krakoa is for all mutants, but some mutants haven’t come there yet — including the best, and I mean best, mutant of them all: Sam Guthrie, Cannonball. Now, if you don’t love Cannonball as much as I do, you might not feel the same way, but Roberto Da Costa, the point of view character and star of this volume of New Mutants, absolutely does. This volume of New Mutants is mostly Jonathan Hickman having fun with some of his favorite characters, and it shows. While he doesn’t nail every New Mutant’s voice, and he definitely doesn’t give them all the same spotlight, this entire volume is a really fun romp with some of the best X-Men characters.
That’s not to say there isn’t major plot progression going on. There’s a lot of worldbuilding and setting the stage going on — it just happens a bit in the background as Sunspot’s antics take the main focus of the book. There’s some really interesting stuff going on with the Shi’ar and their leadership — Hickman brings back Xandra from the recent Mr. and Mrs. X, and gives her a new place in the interstellar society he’s constructing. There’s some ominous happenings around a “King Egg” that will eventually play out further in other books, and the relationship between the Shi’ar Empire and Krakoa is a massive, massive move for the mutants here.
The real reason to get this volume, though, is for the absolutely delightful interactions between all the New Mutants and the world around them. Hickman’s known for being a writer with giant yet intricate plots, but his comedy is honestly underrated. This is a funny book first and foremost, and it’s made even better by Rod Reis being maybe the best artist for these characters since Bill Sienkiewicz left the original series in the ’80s. Reis brings a bit of an ethereal style that’s very reminiscent of Sienkiewicz while still very much being unique in its own way. This is helped a LOT by Reis doing all of the artwork — pencils, inks, and colors. The artwork is really expressive and emotive in ways that honestly can’t be described in words. You just need to look at the book to see what I mean.
The comedy isn’t just the characters being funny, either — Hickman plays around with the actual medium for comedy in ways that I think are fantastic. There’s a fight scene in the last issue that’s turned into a tabletop game in a data page, and it’s a really unique way to include the standard superhero punches into the comic, because that’s clearly not what this book is about. At the same time, this leads to a joke that really doesn’t land in trade. It deals with the weird publishing format of this book in single issues, where it alternated with another story that isn’t in this collection. But honestly, this is the only joke that I felt didn’t land. I was still laughing alongside the majority of this book.
For people who love the original New Mutants and want to see them go on a road trip, this book is exactly what you’re looking for. While it’s a bit lighter on plot than people would expect from Hickman, it makes up for it with pure fun and gorgeous art that’s just a joy to read.