NEW MUTANTS #5
After going on a pickup mission to collect Deathbird the New Mutants come up against the Shi’ar Death Commandos. While Mondo and Chamber decide not to get involved it has little impact and the rest of the team make short work of the opposition. But Black Cloak has other ideas.
Hickman shows us this issue how on point he is as regards the plotting and overall vision of the book and it’s message. Magik pulling rank as Krakoan Captain makes total sense of the whole grading within the Council, and shows where it becomes a valid tool and not just a flashy way to give everyone a job. And the elephant in the room of her sexuality finally being touched on with her goading the enemy is addressed to perfection. Or is it simply mind games to get them on the back foot? Seems unlikely. I’m more keen to believe this is a nod to something fans have long believed about her. Whether it is vital at this late stage is not really clear, but it is a welcome introduction nonetheless. Whatever the reason, it all adds to the manic energy.The way Hickman writes Berto also is wonderfully reminiscent of his Avengers run and keeps to his cocky scheming mentality. It’s also nice to at least Mondo touching on his mistrust of Doug, possibly because of their interaction in the first issue. As for Doug and his shady behaviour I wonder if it is linked to his therapy session with Grim so long ago in New Mutants #40 after the Paradise affair and Ani-Mator. There he discussed the idea of the sentient island being a benevolent godhead and I wonder if the formation of Krakoa is something he is using to expand on this ideal. Meanwhile Deathbird’s inference that the House Neramani is not welcome seems either a delusion, seeing as her niece is more than welcome, or she is brushing over pertinent facts to gain some allegiance from her would be guardians.
Oracle at least is clearly not on board with having Deathbird play a part in the education of Xandra, who I’m quietly worried is becoming a plot device and not a character lately. The long forgotten Deathbird scion is mentioned, which has been taboo since it first occurred; and was also completely forgotten in Mr & Mrs X. And I like this expansion of Karma’s power, seemingly extending to telepathy from the original possession. This adds something to her when it comes to fighting scenes, not least giving her a chance to revel in the possession and have some fun with it. And even one legged she kicks a$$ with the best of them.
And so we see the return of the Shi’ar answer to black ops X-Force. With some new characterisation for the team as a whole, something we have been lacking since their introduction when they arose to cleanse the Grey genepool. But unlike the Imperial Guard they don’t get replaced on death by someone else using the same identity. And despite the fact I always see him as a roided up Skeksis, I’m pleased to see Black Cloak. Although I’m keen to find who this one is, as the original was killed by Rachel. Krait the bird man brings the religion of Sharra and K’ythri some depth with a schism caused from within. Shell has some backstory at last and also finally Warshot gets some fleshing out too with the ident as Kree. Even Flawskrull has a new set of ethics and belief in meditation. Only Offset the bug-lady has no new personal info, just more about her power to make her seem much fiercer. D’evo is now the artist formerly known as Devo. Sega can easily be ignored by writers so the data page stuff was fun having it faded out at least. And I like how Hickman has Hypernova (she who usually can only be well drawn by Bachalo) actually consider fraternising with Magik, as well as relate her to the Hussars as a failed candidate.
Which brings me to the art. Rod Reis is back within the story as well as the dramatic cover and I am so pleased to see him. His depiction of the Death Commandos was reliable and fitting to the visuals of the book and he adds to the frenetic voice of the story perfectly. The fun vibe and energy is evident as it defines this whole arc and the adventure we are following, from within every panel and scene the mood on show is apparent. Mondo and Chamber relax in the static and calm environment, which is so removed from the converse scenery of the battle, full of life and in total juxtaposition to the stillness. Which goes some way to explaining the different ‘school’ of thought dividing the team. And makes it clear we are looking at diverse characters, each with their own mind and opinions. And the colouring of every panel does a great job of adding to the mood too, with the backwashed look of the surroundings depicting the sci-fi edginess of the book to perfection.
And the almost distracted way the New Mutants deal with the formidable Death Commandos says more about them than their opponents. Seeing them scattered like tenpins was so satisfying and I bet even Rachel would have grinned a little. This book has fast become a favourite of mine among the whole Dawn of X stable and even switching as it does back to earth I am enthralled to keep up with the different threads. Even if they don’t converge into one cohesive story I don’t see this as a problem, as both manage to keep me intrigued and enjoying them in their own way.
Out of this world fun romp with the kids as they go toe to toe with some heavy hitters.
New Mutants #5: One Legged Woman at an @$% Kicking Contest
Writing - 8/108/10
Storyline - 9/109/10
Art - 8/108/10
Color - 8/108/10
Cover Art - 9/109/10
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