At this point, you know what you’re in for with these Dawn of X collections, right? There’s no need for me to approach this like you haven’t been reading the prior ones. If for some reason this is the first one you pick up, go back to volume 1. This is not a standalone volume. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s focus on the actual contents of this trade.
New Mutants #8
This opening chapter to the volume is written by Ed Brisson, pencilled by Marco Failla, colored by Carlos Lopez, and lettered by Travis Lanham. And it’s… fine? It feels like Brisson is trying to delve into the emotions and character of Boom-Boom after the fairly horrifying events of his first arc. But to do this, the book decides to showcase Magma’s family and Nova Roma, maybe the worst part of the entire original New Mutants run. It’s not a bad issue, but it has a fairly dull set dressing and doesn’t execute its premise very well. Failla and Lopez do a good job on the artistic side, but ultimately this issue’s just pretty bland.
This issue is written by Gerry Duggan and drawn by Matteo Lolli, with Edgar Delgado on colors and Joe Caramagna on letters. And lemme tell you, this issue is a delight. It deals with the recently seeded threat of Yellowjacket sitting in Pyro’s bloodstream in a really fun way, and slowly continues the plot of Kate’s death and attempts to resurrect her. While some might complain that this issue doesn’t move much forward, Duggan continues to do a fantastic job building the world of and around Krakoa. Lolli’s art isn’t super flashy like some others on this book, but continues to do an excellent job on both serious and comedic moments. This issue is the shot in the arm the collection needs, as it makes you want to keep reading more.
Duggan’s the writer on this issue as well, with Phil Noto on art duties and Joe Sabino on letters. The issue is frankly hilarious throughout, as Duggan continues to flesh out the world of Krakoa. We get a fight club where mutants get to fight and bet on fights. We get a look at the young Nate Summers’ love life, and the adventures he goes on in his frankly perfect life on Krakoa. Phil Noto’s art is as good as it’s always been, and we get two teases towards future stories that are genuinely exciting. Cable’s personality as a teenager is likeable and charming, which is really entertaining to juxtapose with the gruff gunman we all know him as. Between this and Marauders, Duggan’s doing a great job on the X-books.
It seems like Jonathan Hickman refused to be one-upped by Duggan in this collection, though, because he writes the next two consecutive issues. Mahmud Asrar draws X-Men #8 and Leinil Francis Yu draws #9, with Sunny Gho on colors and Clayton Cowles on letters for both. This two-parter provides some forward momentum for the line as a whole, focusing on a space war that starts and ends in just two issues. The story itself is built upon the events of Hickman’s New Mutants arc, and manages to be both awesome (in all senses of the word) as well as delightful. Between the fairly significant changes in status quo for a whole space race, the character development of Vulcan, and the truly jaw-dropping battles between the mutants and the Brood and all the other space empires, this two-parter is the real highlight of the collection.
This last story is by Benjamin Percy and Joshua Cassara, and continues the really strong streak that X-Force has had since the first arc concluded. Percy is the only writer competing with Duggan to be the person who gives the most personality to Krakoa as a culture. This issue features the debut of the Green Lagoon, a new spot for mutants to gather and hang out and for Joshua Cassara to flex on all the other artists in the line as he draws what is probably the most detailed double page spread since the Dawn of X started. There are some great moments with Logan and his family, some key revelations about Domino, and some really gory action as the team goes to Terra Verde to fight some plants. It’s a conclusion that’s enjoyable in its own right and ends on a good cliffhanger to make you want to read the next volume.
Overall, this is one of the strongest individual Dawn of X collections, and will certainly be a treat for anyone following the line through these collections. It showcases just how diverse the line is in terms of tone of storytelling — there’s a more comedic overtone throughout the whole thing, but there’s still a great variety of stories being told.
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