COMIC BOOK REVIEW: The New Mutants: Dead Souls #3 (The Darkchild is Back)

An interesting and unexpected mixture of members of the first roster and those that joined later in the first series, The New Mutants band together to investigate and put a stop to phenomena that the other X-groups typically tend to overlook. Perhaps for good reason…

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REVIEW: The New Mutants: Dead Souls #3
Writer: Matthew Rosenberg
Artist: Adam Gorham
Cover Artist: Ryan Stegman & Michael Garland
Colorist: Michael Garland
Publisher: Marvel Comics


What You Need to Know:
After a mission in Siberia brings the New Mutants into conflict with yet another mysterious creature, the Frost Giant nearly marked the end of the recently reformed New Mutants. After some creative, (and disgusting,) problem solving by Illyana, the Frost Giant met a grisly end thanks to Boom Boom and her explosive suppository, flushing out yet another slim victory. Meanwhile, in Connecticut, a group of teens learns yet again that games of truth or dare are all too often the worst of ideas, as they stumble across a very alarmed and confused Warlock.


What You’ll Find Out:
37,000 feet in the air is never a great time to run into trouble. But as so often for X-Men, trouble is exactly what finds Prodigy. After a grim announcement of impending death as the plane begins to plummet from the sky, David makes a desperate call, and it’s not to 911.

A battle rages around the New Mutants who’ve been sent by Karma on one mission after another. Everyone is fully focused, that is everyone except for Boom Boom. After an appalled reaction from the others, Tabitha explains in her standard aloof demeanor “It’s Prodigy. He says he’s about to die.”

In the blink of an eye, Magik absconds the group to the plane’s location. Just barely.

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Magik nearly misses the mark, a mistake that nearly costs Rictor, Boomer, Wolfsbane, Strong Guy, and her lives. The mutants are able to gain entry into the cabin but have barely but a moments notice to gain their senses. As so often does in a crisis scenario, a mob of panicked passengers descends upon them. The group nearly resorts to the use of force from the mutant powers but realizes that doing so will surely kill both them and the passengers as the plane would break apart with any violent upheaval.

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As Prodigy briefs them of the situation, the mutants slowly make their way to the cabin, but the closer they get the further apart they become. The team, with the exception of Illyana, begin to sink into a bitter dissension. After finally reaching the cabin the ragtag squad discovers that the door has been locked and despite Strong Guy and Boom Boom’s attempts, they are incapable of entry. After noting the runes on the cabin door, Magik realizes that they have dual intention. Aside from sealing the cabin from anyone intended on stopping the plane’s rapid plunge to the ground, the runes also cause frenzy to all those on board. She accurately surmises that this is the reason the team has fallen victim to infighting. Magik can enter the cabin, but dispelling the runes will require her to access her full magical abilities. In order to do that, she must free the darkest part of her soul. After teleporting the others to safety, save Rictor, Magik releases the Darkchild.

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RCO018Assuming her demonic form the runes are dispelled with ease and she bursts into the cabin. After a brief inquiry, her suspicion is confirmed. Tran, Xi’an’s long-dead brother has hijacked the plane. The two enter into a bitter exchange where Tran informs Illyana that Karma’s intentions are in fact anything but noble insinuating that the New Mutants are not the first to pursue him and he’ll save the world from her. Tran rebuffs Magik’s addition probes and throttles the plane to the ground and seemingly with her and Tran along with it.

The scene shifts back to Connecticut to Warlock. Having been discovered by a local gang of teenagers it appears his aims at befriending them fail as they begin their assault and tear him apart.


What Just Happened?

New Mutants #3 is by far the strongest installment yet. In this issue, a few important things happen which connect a lot of dots.

The premise of the “Dead Souls” mini-series was billed as a standalone set of stories in which the New Mutants would engage in what I would describe as a Scooby Doo gang set of adventures that explore and solve paranormal mysteries. With the 3rd issue of the overall series, we learn that there is indeed a larger overall storyline that appears to be forming. Fans speculated that with the New Mutants movie that was scheduled for release in March, Dead Souls was intended as a caveat to Tran’s revealing statement during his interaction with Illyana which refers to “-the other one,” and “-I’ll save the world from her,” seems to put Karma in a new role of the potential and secret antagonist. What her true aims have yet to be revealed but I know that I’m far more engaged in the title than I have been after the conclusion of the two previous issues.

Second and potentially more critical to fans is the reason which writers gave purpose to the seemingly randomized selection of characters selected for the roster of the series. On various groups and pages on social media, longtime New Mutants fans have had mixed reactions to the assortment. Tran’s monologue gives the reader key insight behind Matthew Rosenberg’s true intention by combining members of the original roster and the assimilation of the X-Terminators after Inferno, as well as perhaps the most perplexing inclusion of Guido.

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Fans also remarked that the roster was confusing as a majority of them have a very complicated past with one another. As Tran’s magical (or maybe his telepathic abilities) took hold on the group, the arguments directly addressed the seeming absence of acknowledgment of their convoluted and complex history with one another especially with regard to Rahne and Guido. No resolution was provided certainly but a much-needed nod was paid by Rosenburg to those infamous stories.

The overall writing since the beginning of the series has been consistent and done well. However, Rosenburg’s 3rd issue gives the series a real shot of adrenaline and ramps up the series in many key aspects that really marks the series with overall significance and gives the volume a connection to the historic value of the New Mutant’s larger historic core as opposed to being a solitary chapter.

Artist Adam Gorham gives the series a gritty feel which is especially appropriate as the comic was designed for the supernatural genre. Gorham’s strong points come in moments of action as he employs the rare ability to project fluidity and motion with energy onto the page, something that is not always within the ability range of other industry illustrators.

Of course if your a longtime New Mutants fan and alum this issue is especially rewarding as we get to see Magik in her Darkchild form again, something that seems to be a rarity in the present timeline.


Rating: 9.4/10
Final Thought:
Issue #3 gains serious momentum as unexpected events unfold that provide clarity to the purpose of the mixed roster as well as a hint toward Karma’s enigmatic and seemingly nefarious intent behind the team’s reformation which not only provides some much-needed connection for the reader, but also confirms that the overall 5 issue series is interwoven into a greater plot yet to be revealed.

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