New Mutants #2
“Return of the Legion, Part 2: Security Blankets”
Zeb Wells, writer
Diogenes Neves, pencils
Cam Smith with Ed Tadeo, inks
Back in 1982, when there were still only a manageable number of X-Men titles on the racks (by which I mean just one), Marvel quite reasonably figured the world could stand another team of beleaguered mutant superheroes. And so were born The New Mutants, junior X-Men whose powers had just begun to manifest at the onset of puberty. The X-Men’s original school element hadn’t been emphasized in a very long time, so it was refreshing to see Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters return to its original function of teaching adolescent superheroes how to use their powers for the betterment of humans and mutants.
Since then, these new mutants have grown up and graduated and dispersed, but now they’re back in something very close to their original configuration. I have a tendency to get misty-eyed about my personal golden age of comic book reading (which included cola-flavored slushy drinks from the corner Mi-T Mart and many quarters sunk into Tempest and Tron), so I consider this relaunch quite rad. At least in concept.
New Mutants #1 (distinguished from the original series by dropping “the” from the title) delivered a number of small but nonetheless tingly pleasures, such as Sam Guthrie (Cannonball) and Roberto Da Costa (Sunfire) resuming their familiar banter, and Illyana Rasputin (Magik) looking bad-ass with her bad-ass Soulsword, and the X-Men’s Cyclops having a nice big-brotherly moment with Sam. New Mutants #2 picks up the story from the previous issue, with the team coming to the aid of members Xi’an Coy Manh (Karma) and Dani Moonstar, who, while tracking down a young mutant in a small Colorado town, have run into their powerful old nemesis, Legion. What follows are a number of disjointed sequences involving battles on a psychic plane and disorienting body jumping. Having characters switch identities is maybe not the best way to introduce them to new readers or re-acquaint them with old fans. Visually, the issue delivers some creepy horror movie shots, but with not much going on in the story aside from demon-like creatures running around and mild superpowered fisticuffs, Diogenes Neves has less to work with than in the first issue. Most unfortunate of all, the satisfying character notes from the first issue are almost entirely absent here.
While New Mutants #2 disappoints after the more promising opening salvo, my affection for these characters will be enough to keep me reading for a few more months. Especially if Cypher and Warlock appear soon. But I hope I’m not just being suckered in by the remembered sweetness of Mi-T Mart slush.