One thing about Vita Ayala’s stint on New Mutants is that the book isn’t afraid to challenge notions of Krakoa being perfect. One such way the book has done this is by pushing the “no clones” rule, showing a terrified Gabby Kinney over her own status should she be resurrected. After the last issue of New Mutants, that time has come — and the question is more pertinent now than ever.
New Mutants #20 is split into three different stories, one about the classic team (particularly Karma and Rahne), one about Gabby and the kids, and one about James Proudstar and Illyana. The plot about Gabby and the kids is a bit dark, but there’s a softer edge to it, particularly in the way that the kids talk about Gabby. Her body being puppeteered and the kids’ determination to get her back even if they’ll break the rules by doing so — it’s all good stuff. Ayala subtly builds on Gabby’s character in a really sweet way, showing how much she’s meant to the kids around her.
James Proudstar hasn’t really had too much of a chance to shine yet, but New Mutants #20 finally starts to fix that, giving him and Magik a mission to “save” a mutant child. So many X-Men stories are about the mutants saving children who are going to be killed for their X-gene, but New Mutants #20 is one of the few stories about a family that actually cares for their mutant child. As such, James can’t bring himself to take the child from her family, but he does let them know the X-Men will help her train if she ever needs it. It’s actually a nice change of pace, and seeing Jimmy and Illyana with the kids is always a treat.
Karma finally getting a chance to shine has been one of the best parts of Ayala’s New Mutants and issue #20 continues to build on her character. This time, her relationship with her brother is called into question, leading into a future plot involving his actions on Krakoa no doubt.
Ayala’s writing is the perfect mix of dark and heartfelt, portraying the importance of relationships on Krakoa. Alex Lins’ art is a natural fit for this book as well.
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