Hate is all too common in our world today. Confronting it is one of the most difficult things we can do. New Mutants #12 shows us why it’s important to find that strength.
New Mutants #12 is a powerful issue, and a strong showing by its creative team. The new nation of Krakoa hasn’t solved all the problems mutants have, as we see here. It comes to us from Ed Brisson, Marco Failla, Carlos Lopez, Travis Lanham, and Tom Muller.
DOX has killed mutants, not directly, but by creating a place online where bigots can out mutants before they’re in the safety of Krakoa. But when Magik and Moonstar discover the location of their offices, they do the only sensible thing. They pack up Glob Herman and take a trip to face some bigots.
Up until this issue, Brisson has been telling stories of young mutants facing prejudice while they do superhero stuff. It’s been good, but not at the level of some of the other X-Men series accompanying it. It hasn’t lived up to some of the other books in the line, which have really played with the world after HOXPOX.
Here though, Brisson and Failla team for a powerful exploration of hate and racism. The confrontation with DOX is a fantasy that all those who stand against bigotry want to have. It’s wish fulfillment for anyone who’s wanted to tell a bigot off, and take them down a peg. It’s a simple argument, but Failla illustrates it with the same dynamism as a sword fight or super-power slugfest.
However, the power of the issue is in its back half, as Magik and Glob connect after the large pink mutant stood his ground in DOX’s offices (scaring them to the point of taking the site down). Here, the creative team shines as the fan favorite (and a clear favorite of Brisson’s) tearfully tells his friend about his life. This isn’t a mere “secret origin” but the chronicle of a young man who was nearly radicalized to become a bigot, a monster that would have done the same harm in a heartbeat that we see and hear about in the earlier pages.
Where pages before, Glob’s transparent skin was used to emphasize how the anger and the terror of a confrontation might have been weaponized, these later pages take a step back. Failla uses his body language to help us connect to one of the most inhuman X-Men on the page today. We shouldn’t be able to relate to Glob this much, but Failla and Lopez make him feel like a broken young man who is trying to stop the hate that tore his life apart. And it’s all done with a giant transparent pink mutant, with his eyes, bones and organs all visible.
Though my past isn’t like Glob’s, it made me think about the similarities. That a few different choices in my life (just like his) could have led me towards the bigotry and hatred we see in the early pages of the issue. I think of friends, and even some family, that hold those prejudices, and I don’t pity them, but I feel for them.
The metaphor between mutants and marginalized people isn’t always perfect. There’s almost never a one-to-one correlation between the X-Men and the marginalized, though it often comes close. However, the allegory here is nearly perfect, and stunningly relevant.
This is a difficult and heart-rending read. But it’s one that we need right now, and one of my favorite single issues of this new era of X-Men so far. It’s highly recommended.
New Mutants #12 is available now from Marvel Comics.
Rating: 9 out of 10