By Jonathan Hickman and Rod Reis
New Mutants has been one of the surprise hits of this new era of X-Men. Sometimes it’s written by Jonathan Hickman, sometimes it’s written by Ed Brisson, but either way, it’s usually very good. This week the focus is back on Sunspot and crew as they finish their attempt to rescue Cannonball. There have been two plots going on with New Mutants in it’s seven issues. This being one, and the second plot revolves around Armor as she attempts to bring Beak and Angel back to Krakoa. Due to this every other month style of storytelling, it makes it hard to remember what was going on with the previous story.
Jonathan Hickman loves Sunspot. This is one of his favorite characters, and it shows when he writes him. My big gripe with this issue is the Sunspot recap in the first few pages. If you don’t remember any of the things he’s talking about, it’s because you didn’t read about them. Dani tells us that Sunspot glossed over an entire issue when he was recapping the events. You can view this as funny, but I view it as kind of annoying and meta. With that out of the way, let’s focus on the good. Hickman’s dialogue is always great. The blossoming romance between Sunspot and Deathbird is entertaining . I like this pairing. Sunspot is goofy and Deathbird is one of the most dangerous women in the universe. Opposites attract I suppose. Hickman also plays up the friendship of Cannonball and Sunspot. This is something he built up in his classic Avengers run and has continued here. There is a fight between the Shi’ar and the New Mutants. This isn’t as big of a mismatch as you would think. The new Mutants have a lot of powerful players in their deck. The battle lasts only one page as we get a data page describing what happened. Hickman took a lot of chances with his storytelling in this issue. Skipping an issue, skipping a battle; these are not traditional ways to tell a story, but Hickman can do what he wants. Overall this was a solid issue with good character development.
The pencils and colors this issue are handled by Rod Reis. One of the best in the business, Reis does amazing work here. Any panel where Sunspot has his powers activated is great to see. He’s like a big black void on the page. Reis gives us a close up of an angry Gladiator, Reis colors him red, which is fitting. One thing that Reis does well with the colors is the skin tone of characters. Dani Moonstar and Roberto are not lightened, which has been an issue with some fans, and they look as they should tone-wise. Reis also has a page where he draws many of the X-Men and Shiar having a cocktail party of sorts. This is a well drawn page by Reis. Even though it’s a room full of characters, no one suffers for it. The scale is great, everyone looks fine, no distorted faces. It’s probably my favorite page of the entire issue. A stunning job by Rod Reis, as usual.
New Mutants has been a book that has really showcased beloved characters with great respect. Jonathan Hickman on any book is usually gold. The pencils and colors of Rod Reis will also make any book standout. New Mutants continues to be a fun read that explores underused characters and makes them relevant.