Marvel Comics
New X-Men #43
By Zak Edwards
November 7, 2007 - 01:19

Marvel Comics
Writer(s): Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost
Penciller(s): Skottie Young
Inker(s): Skottie Young
Cover Artist(s): Skottie Young

New X-Men #42

New X-Men is an amazing comic book which holds a unique place within the X-Men’s world.  For the most part, its been a non-stop, action-packed series of traumatizing the teenage characters.  Now, just before the Messiah Complex crossover starts, writers Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost have allowed the students a chance to take a breather from all the fighting and killing and dying.  With this change of pace, artist Skottie Young completely changed the look of his art, making these past two issues almost an entirely different entity from the previous ones.  Kyle and Yost use this change to explore how the kids are coping with all the trauma they have forced on them in the past couple of years with great success.  This series is great for a teenage audience and older, dealing with issues in a science fiction setting while remaining incredibly relevant.

Kyle and Yost allow their characters to deal with their emotions in very real ways.  All the kids react differently and believably, some of their reactions are expected and others are completely by surprise.  Rockslide, an almost satire of the ‘soft-hearted strong guy’ present on most super-hero teams, spends the majority of the issue causing problems and testing the other characters patience.  His bullying serves as a welcome comic relief from the heavy material dealt with in the rest of the issue.  The team is split into separate groups: Nori, David, and Julian are involved in not only a power struggle, but also with Nori purposefully complicating relationships as a defense mechanism.  Josh continues to put himself into isolation with his powers reaching different levels without his control.  X-23 is suffering from inner turmoil with Mercury staying by her side, resorting to similar actions as portrayed in her debut series NYX.  The rest of the kids are huddling closer together in a justified paranoia.  All the divisions, interactions, fights, and self-destruction, Kyle and Yost are creating a very real character driven story.  The change in focus and pace is a welcome one, and handled with style and grace.  I still maintain that this could last for longer, but unfortunately this is the last issue before the Messiah Complex crossover.

Skottie Young’s art took a major shift last issue, moving from his clean-cut, brightly coloured visuals to a much rougher and duller appearance.  The shift works well, as the kids movement from their last adventure in Limbo back to the X-Mansion needed a different look to it.  With the change in writing style, it makes sense that the art changes with it.  Young’s characters are dramatic enough to portray what they are going through without too much of a cartoon look, something that happened a few times last arc.  The dulled colours sometimes make it difficult to discern what’s going on in the darker backgrounds, but Young accomplishes in one silent, five-panel page than a worded page could ever do.  Young is set to be replaced by Humberto Ramos next issue, and it is a sad thing to say good-bye to his dynamic, versatile, and very unique style.

9/10    This “Children of X-Men” arc was one of the best X-Men stories I’ve read all year.

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