First an anecdote. Over ten years ago, after X-Force, the team that the New Mutants had evolved into, ended, I came up with an idea for a new book that would return more of the New Mutants cast and relaunch the book with them living in San Fransico, struggling with being a super team and ordinary twentysomethings working terrible jobs and complicated dating lives. My friend Grant told me it was a terrible idea and “There’s a reason their book got cancelled. No one cares about those characters.”
So anyway, in this issue the New Mutant cast moves into their new house in San Fransisco and go about getting terrible jobs. Remind me to strangle my friend Grant next time I see him.
The issue opens with a flashback to two months ago, when in Arizona, a strange purple lightning storm causes a shopping mall to go up in flames. The mutant Blink arrives to rescue a firefighter and mall employee trapped in the blaze. When they ask her name, she vanishes. There is, however, a clue in that panel about what is going on.
As they move in, Dani Moonstar, the leader of this faction of X-Men (the title ‘New Mutants’ is just there for familiarity) befriends a shriveled old lady Mrs. Livitz, their downstairs neighbor who is from Latveria. Another neighbor is not so inviting, spying on them from across the street for nearly half an hour. Bobby wants to use his wealth to pimp out their pad, but Dani wants them to live normal lives. Bobby exclaims, “Maybe we should throw a paar-tay, get to know the local life…” To which X-Man, Nate Grey responds, “I can’t believe we moved out of Utopia to live in this… place, and listen to you use words like ‘Paar-tay’.” Dani has entrusted Cypher, Doug Ramsey, the resident techno-phile with trying to locate Blink, which Cyclops assigned her to do, last issue. Meanwhile, Magma attempts to get a job at a restaurant, un-appetizingly named Ribstickers. (What does that even mean?) But she bombs her interview when the team summons her and she runs out… to an awaiting Blackbird jet!
Doug has apparently cracked the code and the team jets off to Lake Michigan where Blink is attending a concert by a gross-looking metal band named Diskhord. (Think Slipnot. Ugh, what am I saying, I NEVER think Slipnot.) At least one, if not all, of the members of Diskhord have powers as their guitarist engulfs himself in lightning and sends a bolt into the sky… which is just where the X-Jet is and it blasts right through it! To be continued!
I grew up with this team. I actually started reading their book when I was younger than most of them were, now suddenly I’m feeling nostalgic for my twenties reading this new series! Whippersnappers! I love the characters, especially Dani. X-Man is the jerk. Sunspot is the party boy. Warlock is pure enthusiasm. Cypher is the droll brainiac. Amara is the wide-eyed innocent. It’s a great balance. I still miss Sam and X’ian, but that doesn’t take away from these others. I’m not as familiar with Blink. I remember when “our” Blink died in ‘Generation X’ and I read ‘Age of Apocalypse,’ where this Blink originated, but didn’t follow her afterward, so I’m not clear on her personality and not much is revealed here yet.
The issue is mostly set up, but it’s nicely done. The cliffhanger looks dire, but I’m sure things will work out. It’s too early to kill anyone off, right? Plus, all of these characters have been around long enough that a death would have been publicized.
David Lopez’s artwork is smooth and crisp. It has a slightly cartoon-y look, but that’s fine. The book is light on action, but he makes the talking sequences flow nicely, by switching up the angles frequently. That keeps things interesting. The page featuring Diskhord in concert is very nicely composed! And the one action sequence, featuring Blink in action is dramatic and dynamic.
Technically, it’s not the best book out there, but it’s more than just enjoyable.
NEW MUTANTS #34
Written by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Pencils by David Lopez
Cover by Jorge Molina