NEW MUTANTS #14
The New Mutants barely have time to let the dust settle after the events of the last few months before they are confronted with the results of the younger children being left unattended during all the X-Swordment. While the cats away the mice will play and the Akademos Habitat has become a den of youthful exuberance, followed by inevitable indifference. Conspicuous in his absence is Doug and this has also left Warlock at a loose end. To resolve the issues Xavier has charged the not so New Mutants with training the younglings. That in itself is a recipe for disaster. Then we must counter in….the origin of Amahl Farouk???!!!
No sooner had I gotten used to the idea of opening with the teaser of a young Amahl Farouk and his first encounter with the Shadow King than I am swiftly met with the premise of what the issue is going to revolve around. Still reeling from this I am then confronted by the text page, filling in the set up with a memo to Xavier recounting the incidents and his reply. All of this doing a brisk job of cutting the need for exposition and allowing more action, a shrewd ploy that also helped the pacing somewhat. For me the fact that Shan and Dani are tackling the feeling of fear of dreams in the context of being literally immortal is an interesting dichotomy, and Vita Ayala is perfectly echoing the discussion of many fans, which won’t be the only time this issue. And the logical resolution of Karma going to Mirage is perfect, as who better to discuss the realm of fear than her? And I think I’m right in guessing they are seeing Tran there, so that’s more plot building. And as they discuss the issue I have to say I am loving Warlock doing the mimicking, keeping his character true to Self.
Then we are quickly introduced to the new kids in a forest setting, clearly created to act as Danger Room. And we are treated to the ‘Synergy Session’ and the teams being christened Ferals and Elementals, hearkening back to New X-Men teams of Hellions, Paragons, New Mutants and Alpha Squadron. The jaw dropping power displays and the imaginative pairings are all pretty sensational, as Magik herself remarks at the sight of Warlock and Warpath teaming up. Could this replace the Doug/Lock bond we’ve known so long? I hope not. But it was pretty impressive nonetheless. And just to see so many unused characters in so few panels was creative and heart warming at the same time. Petra, Warpath, Dust, Anole, Nature Girl, No Girl and …Gabby! Especially No Girl mischievously taking over Anole. I have to say I was only mildly perturbed that Gabby is again going by Scout and has lost the Honey Badger moniker. The fact she is there at all is a bonus. And again the fans recent rumblings are echoed in her very existential crisis. Well done Vita.
I did think the art was extremely dynamic in showcasing the various pairings. And Travis Lanham gave it his usual signature kinetic edge, making the scenery almost come alive with the lettering and injecting life into the action. But I’ve always liked what he does in this book and felt it suited it more as it is very Sienkiewicz-esque. Which adds to the nostalgia factor for me. And I loved the drama of seeing the panels describe Rahne being ported out….and then later back in, adding comedic timing value. Though again I had to turn a blind eye to the fact they reused the multiple wolves option. It has never been my favourite alteration of a power. The sheer drama of the depiction of the action made up for that and major kudos goes to Travis and Rod for making the scenery pop alone. The tone change and mood were perfectly reflected there, especially in the reactions of the kids at the end of the display and the colour palette is a perfect match for Rods style. And the grand finale of the younger kids venturing out to find the Shadow King. Not too much of a surprise, as the teaser art of the last few weeks has hinted he would be coming up in a storyline somewhere. I’m intrigued to find out if he is legitimately their mentor or if he’s up to something more nefarious. All finished off by the perfect cover showing everyone (even Warlock) with some dents and bruises. We are finally back on track now X of Swords is over, and I couldn’t be happier to be back on board. Let the Wild Hunt begin!!
The sheer volume of fan favourites alone made up for the use of the name Scout and Rahne’s re-emerging ‘pack power’. And the action packed training sequence was topped only by the tease of what Shadow King is up to. This is definitely keeping me on the edge of my seat.
New Mutants #14: To Thine Own Self Be True
Writing - 8/10
Storyline - 7.5/10
Art - 8/10
Color - 8/10
Cover Art - 9/10
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