A Frank Exploration Of Grief In New Mutants: Dead Souls #4

by Tony Thornley

The past few issues, Matthew Rosenberg and Adam Gorham has set up an interesting new dimension for the X-Men’s longest-standing B-team. They’re corporate sponsored. They’re friends outside of work. And they’re fighting supernatural threats. In this issue, they knock it all down like dominoes, making for the best issue of the series so far. 

(**As usual, spoilers follow!)

Rictor is dead, and it’s Illyanna’s fault. At least that’s what she thinks, and she’s beating herself up for it. At the funeral, Magik finds herself put on the spot to speak, and breaks down. This leads to a confrontation with other friends…and the realization this is all happening in her head and she’s still on the plane, confronting the ghost of Karma’s brother…

Rosenberg tells a great story here. He gets to show his characters confronting grief, and how they deal with it. Illyanna has long been a cold or distant character (understandably given her history), but she’s infused with so much emotion here. It’s the most of a window into the character’s thoughts that we’ve gotten in a long time. The twist in the last few pages is just perfection though. The fan-favorite Rictor is alive, and Magik has a chance to change things. Under a lesser writer, it might feel like a cop out, but it works so well here.

This issue does underuse some of the other cast, but really, given the issue ending twist, it works. However, with the tease of tension between Rhane and Guido, I really would like to see it revisited. There’s a lot of room for drama, and I know that Rosenberg can do something with it.

Gorham is such a talent to watch. He sells every bit of emotion that the characters have, from Illyanna breaking down, to a long overdue confrontation between Wolfsbane and Strong Guy. He also does something a lot of artists don’t do–he paid attention to fashion. Each character wore actual clothing they would wear in real life and there was thought placed on design and fit. It’s a really cool touch that not a lot of artists add.

This is another title that I think is flying under radars but should absolutely be getting more attention. Check it out today.

New Mutants: Dead Souls #4 is available now from Marvel Comics.

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