When Cyclops brought the X-Men back into the fold in X-Men #15, a massive lacking in the current era was finally addressed, reintroducing the iconic team into the new era. Similarly, New Mutants #14 finally brings back that “school” feeling to the X-Men, giving a more classic feel to this new and different world for the X-Men.
When New Mutants volume 2 came out, the classic ’80s team was all grown up and taking a new group of students under their wing. New Mutants #14 does that again, giving the old team a new group of kids to mentor. In the opening pages, it becomes quite clear why this mentorship program is needed. Overall, there doesn’t seem like there’s much to do on Krakoa besides go to the bar and go to the arena to fight each other — so it makes sense that the boredom is starting to get to people, causing depression to arise in younger mutants.
New Mutants #14 attempts to provide an avenue to fix this, giving the classic New Mutants the mentorship role over younger X-Men. The younger X-Men are a fusion of the New Mutants volume 2 kids, the Generation X volume 2 kids, and some of the Wolverine and the X-Men kids. There is no better fit for this dynamic than the team Vita Ayala has set up, reigniting that 2000s X-Men feel.
Mirage and Karma haven’t had much to do since the new era started, providing a pain point for a lot of New Mutants fans. In the opening pages, Ayala assures that these characters — and the New Mutants as a whole — are safe in their hands, providing a heartwarming conversation between two longtime friends. The dynamic between the entire squad of New Mutants is downright Claremontian, giving old school New Mutants fans everything they could want. Magik is a lovable troublemaker, Dani is the mother hen who cares for those around her, Karma is the heart of the team, etc.
While it can be disappointing to see Warlock and Doug so far apart, Ayala is certainly taking advantage of the selfsoulfriends being separated to develop Warlock’s character as his own. Since Doug’s death in the 80s New Mutants series, Warlock hasn’t quite had this chance for independence — and it’s admittedly heartbreaking to see him so aimless without his selfsoulfriend, Doug. Rod Reis’ art always knocks it out of the park, but there’s a quirky and charming quality to his Warlock in particular that instantly brings a smile to any reader’s face.
Since Madelyne Pryor was denied resurrection due to her clone status, readers immediately pointed out the hypocrisy in allowing Gabby Kinney, who is a clone of Laura. New Mutants #14 pulls no punches, having Gabby ask if she dies, would she even be resurrected? Magik tries to justify a new reason beyond what the Council has provided, though it’s clear that answer doesn’t sit well with Gabby. Seeing Evan’s name brought up — and revealing that he hasn’t been resurrected yet (likely because of his own clone status) — is also an extremely interesting nugget to pick up on.
Could Evan be resurrected now that Apocalypse is gone? What will happen to Gabby if she does die? It’s clear these questions will return and the possibilities surrounding them are purely tantalizing story concepts. Seeing a school-like atmosphere back to the X-Men adds a lot of life to the Krakoa-era and it’s a complete joy to see the younger generation get a spotlight again.
Rod Reis proves yet again he’s one of the best artists in the industry, and he provides so much life to the characters. Ayala’s writing is fast-paced and it’s clear that they not only understand the characters, but they belong on this title.
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