The young X-Men in training are back! Sort of… Your Major Spoilers review of New Mutants: Dead Souls #1 awaits!
Writer: Matthew Rosenberg
Artist: Adam Gorham
Colorist: Michael Garland
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Editor: Darren Shan
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in New Mutants: Dead Souls: “THEY AREN’T JUST THE X-MEN IN TRAINING ANYMORE! The New Mutants are launching themselves headfirst into some of the creepiest corners of the Marvel Universe, going on the missions no one else will. But does the team know what they are really hunting for? And what are they willing to do to get it? The enigmatic MAGIK will lead her team of WOLFSBANE, RICTOR, BOOM-BOOM and STRONG GUY and bring them face-to-face with paranormal threats that they may not be prepared for, and that might just tear them apart!”
WHY IN THE WORLD ARE THEY STILL CALLED THE NEW MUTANTS?
In the aftermath of Hurricane Elena (which is a topical reference, obviously, seeing as how that name hasn’t been used since 1985), the people of Baldwin County, Alabama are struggling. Thanks to the Hatchi Corporation, though, there are relief efforts on the scene, although they’re not the only ones: The walking dead have also arrived. Fortunately, Magik and her team (consisting of three characters best known for being members of X-Factor and one of X-Force) are ready to help, as well. The locals don’t trust them, of course, and the members of the team make it clear that they’re no longer X-Men, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t put a mutant smackdown on any zombies they find. And, of course, since the crisis has a magical source, it has a magical answer, as Illyana discovers when she finds the body of a dead witch and notices a certain unusual ring on the hand of a Hatchi employee…
PARANORMAL MUTANT INVESTIGATORS?
I don’t mind the basic premise of this story (former New Mutant Xi’an Coy Manh, AKA Karma, is now the big-time CEO of a high-profile corporation and has chosen to reassemble her New Mutants team, being as how she was the first leader thereof, only to find that all her old friends are otherwise occupied, forcing her to assemble a mishmash of mutants to fill her ranks and make her team of mutant paranormal investigators work), but this issue doesn’t really do a lot with it. We get a lot of buildup to Magik being utterly weird which, given her being raised in a strange arcane dimension by demons and such, and there’s a cute moment where Strong Guy wants to adopt a kitten that’s nice, but overall it’s kind of an uneventful issue. There’s a scratchiness to the art which undermines some nice storytelling, and the new costumes that our squad rock are pretty dull, save for Boomer’s minidress (and even that gets buried by a jacket and over-sized red shades.)
BOTTOM LINE: FEELS UTTERLY RANDOM
All in all, this book reminds me a lot of Fearless Defenders from a few years ago, a story that had the potential to be something new and weird and interesting, tied for marketing reasons to a name that doesn’t really fit or enhance the story being told. The use of these characters makes for a quirky little team, and the idea of a paranormal super-squad could be fun, but New Mutants: Dead Souls #1 doesn’t really take advantage of those pluses, making for a somewhat confusing and slightly dull issue’s worth of story, with indistinct art wrapping up the package for 2 out of 5 stars overall. In fairness, the completed arc may make this nothing more than a bum chapter, but it really didn’t hook me to stick around and find out, even as one of the world’s few Strong Guy fans…