Confronting your heartbreak and healing from it is healthy, and frankly necessary for many human beings. However, when the Shadow King is the person helping you heal, it may cause more harm, as New Mutants #16 shows us.
In just three issues, this series has shown us that it’s heir apparent to Claremont’s X-Men, with modern and updated sensibilities. It’s brought to us by Vita Ayala, Rod Reis, and Travis Lanham.
The Shadow King is tightening his grip on Krakoa’s youth and it couldn’t come at a worse time. Moonstar and Karma are preparing for a mission to Otherworld. Wolfsbane is struggling to find her son. And Magik is dealing with a bunch of unruly kids. It looks like their only hope may be Gabby Kinney…
Ayala has quickly rocketed to the top of the pack with this run. It’s an intricately plotted story, juggling multiple characters and plotlines, yet it doesn’t seem overstuffed or heavily compressed. Every plot gets enough room to progress within the issue, and every character beat gets enough space to breathe. They’ve quickly mastered their cast while showing how much they understand the team’s place on Krakoa.
One thing they explore perfectly is the idea of trauma. They show that not only has virtually every character in the series has experienced trauma, but how people are affected by it differently. Cosmar and Rahne are both fighting to heal, and they have different ways they need to work through it. It’s very smart writing that comes off as sincere, both in developing the character and exploring the effects of trauma through heroics.
Reis again turns in stunning work. His reveal of King Braddock on just the second page of the issue is terrifying. He has mastered all of the leads as well- each of them has their personality on display. He’s able to evoke a great sense of motion and momentum, even when the characters are just walking through the habitat, or simply having a conversation with the king. He does run into moments like last issue where the level of detail drops significantly, which really ends up being the only downside of the issue.
This is without a doubt the number one “must-read” series in Reign of X right now. The New Mutants feel as fresh and modern as they ever have, but with a level of plotting and character development that hasn’t been seen on the title for decades. In fact, it’s gotten better with each issue, something that’s incredibly rare in my experience. It’s a must read, and a sign of great things to come from this entire creative team.
New Mutants #16 is available now from Marvel Comics.
This run keeps getting better, with a slew of exciting developments hitting nearly every page.