Sibling Rivalry: New Mutants: Dead Souls (Marvel, 2018)
The New Mutants was one of the first big expansions of the X-Men franchise. It made sense from the company perspective. And although Chris Claremont (the writer) and Louise Simonson (the X-Men Editor) wanted the X-Men to be a unique world and title within the Marvel Universe, Shooter was insisting on a spin-off.
Claremont and Simonson opted to focus on students at the Xavier School. The series ended in 1991, and the team became X-Force. There was a follow up in 2003 which ran for thirteen issues and then was replaced by New X-Men Academy X. Then in 2009, they tried to bring back the original cast.
This latest mini-series is written by Matthew Rosenberg (who seems to be on the path to the guiding voice of the X-Men Universe) with art by Adam Gorham (artist) and Michael Garland (color artist).
The set up of the new series is that Xi’an Coy Manh (formerly Karma) has a company and hired Magick to lead an assembled team that includes Wolfsbane, Rictor, Boom Boom and Big Guy. I admit that this point kind of reminds me of the first Peter David run of X-Factor. However, this team’s purpose is to investigate strange goings on. It is a bit of the X-Files meets the X-Men.
The first three issues play up seemingly separate events. Zombies, Frost Giants and people becoming a violent mob on a plan all culminate in the reveal of a connection to the New Mutant’s past. The second have of the series becomes a race to get ahead of the villain. There is a side plot regarding the alien Warlock that eventually comes together with the main plot.
The series does presume that you are familiar with certain events from the various big event storylines. This is especially true of the conflict between Rhane (Wolfsbane) and Guido (Big Guy). It is actually a really nicely handled aspect5 of the the story that addresses the themes of forgiveness, personal responsibility and redemption.
The fourth issue is largely focused on Magick’s feelings of being a failure as a leader due to the events of the previous issue. Rosenberg has written one of his best works with a really touching portrayal of the X-Men trying to come to terms with loss and feelings of responsibility and inadequacy as heroes and leaders.
Much like the X-Files, this series calls into question of who can be trusted and where is the real danger.
I really liked the art in this book. Goran’s drawing have a rough edge and at times can look a bit stiff. There can be a lack of backgrounds, but I felt like it really served the story well, and one sees a lot of potential for the future as Goran continues to grow as an artist. And when there is a background to a panel, Goran puts a lot of work into the image. The colors by Michael Garland have a nice bright pallet. The look is a bit of hint of watercolors and this gives the book a surreal look for the surreal storyline.
The New Mutants: Dead Souls was a good read and I would recommend it to X-Fans, especially if you miss some of the crazier aspects of the original New Mutants run.
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