New Mutants #21 was a near-perfect blend of action and character work with the underlying fear of the Shadow King out there in Krakoa. Judging by the events of New Mutants #22, there’s a lot more than fear mutants should be feeling around the Shadow King as things really hit the fan. It’s an issue that blends Gabby’s return after being resurrected with the Shadow King making a move he can’t return from.
Vita Ayala continues to write good sentimental and genuine moments. After some rather chaotic and action-packed opening pages, a few of the mutants go to visit Gabby who is eating a sandwich and not doing anything all that crazy, especially considering she was just dead. This leads to some heartfelt words shared and Gabby talking a bit about being her own person even though she’s a clone. The idea of cloning and not being considered for resurrection has permeated the story arc and it’s nice to see a few final words on the subject.
From there, much of the issue is about the Shadow King taking key characters like Magik and Dani Moonstar on a little adventure as his “guests.” This little sightseeing tour ends up being an interesting way to flesh out Shadow King’s persona and his true feelings about mutants’ current state of affairs and the future of Krakoa.
Plotting is somewhat predictable, at least in the very last few moments. This story has always been about the younger mutants in the New Mutants taking charge of their lives, standing for what they believe in, and being tested. Ayala has pushed them into a corner where we’ll get to see them truly shine when given the chance though it’s expected given the buildup from the very first page.
Rod Reis explores space very well here through interesting layouts and a blending of art styles. There’s a Klimt-esque art style in one background, for instance, or the use of white space in a shocking revelation Magik is forced to see. Ultimately there are a lot of nightmare visions going on here per the Shadow King’s usual means of manipulation, and Reis draws up some horrifying scenes. Wait until you see an eye peeking through a panel that’ll give you nightmares.
New Mutants #22 continues to blend strong character work with bonkers visuals and action. Come for the intense visuals you’ll get nowhere else, but stay for the genuine, heartfelt emotions and deep thoughts on what it means to be a person.
Like what we do here at AIPT? Consider supporting us and independent comics journalism by becoming a patron today! In addition to our sincere thanks, you can browse AIPT ad-free, gain access to our vibrant Discord community of patrons and staff members, get trade paperbacks sent to your house every month, and a lot more. Click the button below to get started!