By Leroy Douresseaux
May 10, 2009 - 12:42
|Alex Ross' cover art for the new, New Mutants #1|
When the New Mutants returned as an ongoing comic book series in 2003, as part of Marvel Comics’ “Tsunami” initiative, it failed to live up to its potential. [One could argue that the wildly inconsistent original New Mutants series that ran for 100 issues, from 1983 to 1991, also failed in that regard, to some extent). It seemed as if 2003 series’ writers, Nunzio DeFilippis & Christina Weir, were always battling unseen corporate forces and erratic art teams.
After having such high hopes for the return of one of my favorite series, I was sadly disappointed by the 2003 return.
The new, 2009 version of New Mutants #1 (essentially the beginning of Vol. 3) arrives from the creative team of writer Zeb Wells and smokin’ hot new artist, Diogenes Neves. The team roster consists of original New Mutants, including four of the five characters that starred in the New Mutants first appearance way back in Marvel Graphic Novel #4 (1982). As a New Mutants lover, why shouldn’t I be happy when I opened this first issue and the first page listed the roster as Cannonball, Sunspot, Magma, Magik, Karma, and Dani Moonstar?
Right out of the box, Zeb Wells, apparently knowing that in a tough market for new series he has to grab a hold of his readers, places these veteran, grown-up New Mutants in the fire. Dani and Xi’an (Karma) are in bucolic Westcliffe, Colorado investigating a tip about a new mutant when they get a surprise… Meanwhile, Illyana Rasputin (Magik), via one of her teleportation stepping discs, comes roaring onto the grounds of the X-Men Headquarters in Marin Headlands, CA. Although she claims to have important information about Dani and Xi’an, very few people are happy to see her. Still, the New Mutants are soon jetting away on a rescue mission, but they’re in for the surprise of their new lease on life.
Many readers giving New Mutants another try are probably already thankful that Wells makes paying $3.99 for a comic book seem like a bargain. Unlike the 2003 series, this new, New Mutants has art by a new artist who has the draftsmanship of a longtime veteran of American comic books. At 30, Diogenes is relatively new to Marvel Comics, but his interior art here, which is similar in style to Whilce Portacio (Wetworks), features solid composition and good figure drawing. Under the precision inking of Cam Smith and Ed Tadeo, every line of the art seems to end with a stroke of flair, which is how one might describe this debut. It’s the New Mutants returned with flair.
Alex Ross’ cover art for New Mutants #1 (one of four covers) even recalls Bill Sienkiewicz’s distinctive cover art for the original series back in the mid-80s. This time, I’m happily satisfied… so far with the New Mutants.