Review: Angry Alien Assassins Await In New Mutants #5 By Hickman And Reis

by Tony Thornley

The New Mutants have proven themselves to be one of the most tight-knit teams in the Marvel Universe. However, when they’re faced with some of the most elite assassins in the cosmos, does that translate into anything good?

Jonathan Hickman, Rod Reis, Travis Lanham, and Tom Muller thrust the New Mutants into one of the toughest situations of their superheroic careers in New Mutants #5.

The New Mutants have recovered Deathbird and are en route back to the Empire. However, not everyone wants Lilandra and D’Ken’s sister back in the seat of power. And they will do anything- including recruiting one of the deadliest units of the Shi’ar military- to stop them.

Hickman continues to put his best work into this series. It’s full of humor, action and just pure fun. It blends those elements together wonderfully as well (including the best “stop hitting yourself” joke ever). The issue builds on the decades of history amongst the characters and also the Imperial Guard, resulting in one of the most enjoyable and complex reads on the stands.

In an excellent example of how well he gets the characters, Hickman takes advantage of years of subtext and confirms one of the most popular headcanons in X-Men fandom. In the midst of the battle with the Shi’ar Death Commandos, Illyana Rasputin begins hitting on their members of the group- one male, and two female. Yes, it’s on page confirmation that Magik is bi. It’s a simple and small moment in the entire issue, but it’s a deep and satisfying moment for longtime fans.

Reis continues his excellent work. The humor of the story wouldn’t work without his expressive character work (even with non-human characters). He does a fantastic job especially when the story shifts from jokey character banter to superhero action. The characters’ body language changes, and they begin moving with a determination that wasn’t there before. He also makes a shift in colors, filling the pages with reds and conveying the intensity of the situation.

Though this has been the Dawn of X series that’s taken advantage of the new Krakoan status quo the least, it embodies the new storytelling potential of the line the best. It’s taken these classic characters and thrust them into an exciting situation that feels fresh and new. It’s definitely my favorite of the line, and I’m excited to see what’s next.

New Mutants #5 is available now from Marvel Comics.

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