NEW MUTANTS #25
As Magik struggles to disentangle the ties that bind her irrevocably to Limbo she has to make the proverbial deal with the devil...or in this case Goblin Queen. However, with some help from a shadowy figure S’ym arrives to usurp the throne once again. Erring on the side of caution the New Mutants beat a hasty retreat, but are seemingly trapped with no way back to Krakoa. Before the ink is even dry and contracts exchanged a coup is underway.
As we opened in the dungeoneasqe surroundings and S’ym plots with…what is clearly meant to be Belasco…I felt there was only going to be the one element to the story and that was to be the nightmarish helter skelter realm of Limbo. But as the flashback scenes became more prevalent it was clear that not only is Illyana center stage at last, but we are also being treated to a rare childlike glimpse of her story from her own perspective. As such this issue had far more to offer in terms of visuals than I expected and Rod Reis pulled out all the stops to keep the fantastical elements for which he has become known, as with the recent Otherworld arc. Managing to keep to his own inimitable style his set pieces were once again uncompromising, blending perfectly with the ‘little Goblin’ flashback scenes. And we were even treated to a guest appearance from Cat, a character not seen in many years. All of which was giving me some splendid Labyrinth/Never Ending Story vibes, no surprise there as Reis is an artist who is no stranger to magical realms. His almost whimsical depiction of the little goblin allows the story to show the childlike side of Magik we are rarely allowed to see, all of which belies the dark undertones of Limbo as we are dragged into the darkness.
As for the writing ever since her resurrection I have been keen to see some deeper interaction between Madelyne and some core x-characters. So far we have barely scratched the surface with a minor bar scene, having a drink with Alex and not much to go on but teases here and there. So finally it’s gratifying to hear her opinions about how she is perceived post resurrection, as well as the views from those her actions directly affected during the catastrophic events of Inferno. Especially by some of the kids who were instrumental in stopping her from literally raining Hell down on Earth.
Not only that but some keen insight into the reasoning of Magik for her decision and the role of devils advocate played by those her know her best. And as they discover the tomes in Belasco’s library it seems perfectly on point that it falls to Rahne to bring up the nature of the books held in the library. And having Magik explain that not all of the books are demonic was an ingenious way to show she is approaching things with a manner of authority and proves she does know what she is doing….maybe. It makes sense in a way that she is to hand the keys to the kingdom over to Madelyne. And again we get a glimpse into the mind of the child who was trapped there for so many years under the tutelage of the one who held her captive and shows how much control he had over her.
And also MAdelyne makes a convincing case for redemption, asking how it can be that Sinister is on the Quiet Council but she still faces doubts and mistrust. Finally as S’ym makes an entrance and Dani mentions the risk of dying in Limbo, suddenly the consequences of what it might mean for the Resurrection Protocols becomes a game changer. And when the fighting gets underway Magik switches from ruler of Limbo to scared child far faster than has ever been seen before, almost foreshadowed in the discussion in the library. The ease with which he bests her clearly shakes her confidence to the core, which gives the threat a palpable edge for once as S’ym becomes far more of a player than we have ever felt.
Overall the dialogue made me think more in terms of character development of the key players and offered enough of a case for me to think this arc has more going for it than just a run of the mill changing of the guard in Limbo story. With some very interesting quandaries to weigh upon, as well as some good team dynamics, this could fast become one of my favourite arcs so far. And when you throw in some flashbacks in the style of the original Magik mini-series by the amazingly vibrant creative team of Jan Duursema and Ruth Redmond, it can only be a good thing and makes it clear in no uncertain terms we are in the middle of a Magik storyline.
All in all this issue delivered some prime melodrama and characterisation, with enough to keep me guessing as to what will be the outcome and yet still not know who to root for.
New Mutants #25 The Detail is in The Devil
- Writing - 8.5/108.5/10
- Storyline - 8/108/10
- Art - 8/108/10
- Color - 8/108/10
- Cover Art - 6/106/10