NEW MUTANTS #7
In the finale of the space saga the New Mutants make short work of the Death Commandos, Xandra takes her first decisive steps in her new role as Majestrix and Sam and 'Berto reaffirm their Bromance as they take things to the next level in a move that Izzy will surely hate. Meanwhile in the background Cyclops and Gladiator have a short discussion that has some foreshadowing effects.
Picture Perfect: Once again the art was astoundingly fresh and expressive and Rod Reis seamlessly switches up from his signature style of clean and precise panel layout in the recap chat to the full on energy of the fighting with the Death Commandos. Whether it’s Cannonball and Sunspot reconnecting and revelling in the promise of more future adventures together, or Rahne using all the senses available to….greet Xandra in her alternate form it’s all picture perfection. This was equal parts charming and warm and at the same time chock full of frenetic and poetic action. And speaking of changing form, I loved the continuation of the Sienkiewicz referencing in the art when she herself changes form.
Political Punditry: And I have to say Hickman has done the transfer of a recently created character proud. Xandra felt totally honorific of the spirit of the wide eyed child Kelly created, whilst also making her a perfectly organic fit with a New Mutants story. All of which, as well as planting the ‘seed’ for the future with the Chandilore chat between Cyclops and Gladiator, was a great way to touch on the intrigue of the Shi’ar Empire. Without getting too bogged down in the thorny political side, so points given for keeping it light and avoiding dragging the narrative down. From the offset Xandra is seen getting lessons in how to lead, as Oracle reminds her about the need for patience and trust. Which coming from her is something of a twist, especially considering the punishment dealt her by Xandra. This could have come off hokey but actually made some sense and reflects her own mothers youthful training and balance of pragmatism and empathy in War of Kings: Warriors #2.
Polishing Things Off: My one complaint would be the lack of purpose served by Chamber and Mondo. I get they were added to show how close knit the team are from an outsiders perspective, but I can’t help feeling that could have been achieved in other ways and they could have been utilised in a more interesting way. Conversely the way the recap simply brushed over the cliffhanger was a good thing as it dragged us right into the action. Even Deathbird managed to avoid making the story dour and stiff. Though we don’t usually see her in this light she fit right into the mood perfectly and helped keep the pace up. And making the Death Commandos the punching bag was a fitting way to finally dispatch them, whilst still giving them a relatively fair crack of the whip. Again I got feelings of Raj from Big Bang with the chick flick references from DaCosta, which add totally to the hilarity of the issue. As a rule I’m not normally a fan of fourth wall breaks in non Deadpool titles (it drove me crazy in the Mojo story in Blue and Gold when they kept self referencing) but excuse me this is HILARIOUS! And with what is happening elsewhere in the X-Verse we could all do with some fun. Especially the tongue in cheek referencing of all the criticism of the flip flopping story between old New Mutants and new New X-Men etc. Hickman is clearly having a poke at all of the negativity and it was worth it.
Heart of the Matter: And making the friendship of Sam and ‘Berto the focus of this space romp was also truly inspired. Smartly sidestepping any mention of Magnum PI (which would have dated the book horrendously) he managed to get to the heart of what these two have always been about, even though they have both gone through so many changes over the years. The game changer that is Izzy and the kiddiwink was blended perfectly with the new living arrangements and the continuation of the ‘SunBird’ situation has so much fun potential. It’s the ship we never knew we needed so badly. It has to be said Hickman could have stuck to formula on this and we would have just gotten the same old story we’ve seen a thousand times before. But instead he ran with it and played fast and loose with the rules, which paid off for me. And I think introducing the role-playing angle was a great wink to the aspect of fighting with people always argue over in VS challenges. This truly was as Sunspot says a Mighty Mutant Tale of Adventure! An explosive and fun filled romp into the final act, with the perfect cover for the closing chapter.
Overall I have to say for me the risqué nature of the delivery this issue was genius. Though the humour could have seemed heavy handed and not in keeping, it was a delightful change from all the nation building drama and death going on, necessary as it is. This sweet sappy dessert is the perfect antidote to the heavy meal served up in the other Dawn of X titles.
New Mutants #7: Butterscotch Puddin’ or Marmite..?
Writing - 9/109/10
Storyline - 8/108/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 8/108/10
Cover Art - 9/109/10
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