Hola, Bobbito!

June 17th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

I dug the first issue of New Mutants, but #2 hit one of my few nitpicky pet peeves. This bit right here:


Naw, son. In addition to being browner back in the day (what’s up with the coloring in this book? everything is set to “superbright”), Bobby is Brazilian. They don’t speak Spanish down there. It’s Portuguese. In fact, here’s a bit from a letters page I found in an X-Force comic I was reading about a month back. It’s from somewhere between issue 80 and 82, I think. The page it was on had reactions for X-Force #76, so you do the math.


Listen to Giancarlo Lima, fellas! I’d have emailed this directly to whoever’s editing the book, but New Mutants doesn’t have a lettercol email setup, near as I can tell. And leaving Zeb Wells a Youtube comment just seems… weird.

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New Mutants #1

May 11th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

newmutv3001_dc11-1I don’t have history with the New Mutants. I never read their original book, and by the time I’d tried the satellite X-books, they were X-Force. I know a lot of X-Men fans hold the New Mutants in high esteem, but for my money, X-Force was way more interesting. I reread that old X-Force stuff a few months back and didn’t regret it, exactly, but it wasn’t very good, either. The idea of a second generation of X-Men who decided that Xavier’s way wasn’t perfect is a good one, and one that Grant Morrison revisited to great success in New X-Men: Riot at Xavier’s.

That was years ago at this point, though, and those times are long gone. The members of X-Force have given up, regressed, grown up again, and joined the actual X-Men. New Mutants #1 was written by Zeb Wells, pencilled by Diogenes Neves, inked by Cam Smith and Ed Tadeo, and colored by John Rauch. I checked it out mainly off the strength of Zeb Wells. He wrote the awesome New Warriors: Reality Check, starring Marvel’s other second generation of heroes, which was quickly thrown under the bus by Mark Millar’s Civil War. After reading it, the name New Mutants is basically a nostalgia grab. It stars Sam Guthrie, Roberto Da Costa, Amara Aquilla, Illyana Rasputin, Xi’an Coy Manh, and Dani Moonstar, and I found it a pretty solid first issue.

I’m really only familiar with Sam and Bobby as far as the cast goes, in addition to the surprise villain at the end. Even still, Wells does a pretty good job of selling me on the characters I don’t know, two of whom are blonde females of about the same height. I like that Illyana, who I’d previously seen when she died and maybe in some old X-Men reprints, is back and not exactly a good guy. She’s actually pretty sinister, and not in a “rough edge on a smooth team”-Wolverine sort of way.

The fact that the young students hate her is also a good touch, and a good example of something Wells does that I enjoy. He references a lot of backstory pretty seamlessly, but I never felt like I needed to know exactly what went down in, say, X-Infernus, which was a worthless story with solid art. The references are just used to build history, and to give Wells a bit of short-hand when sketching out the characters for new readers. I feel like Wells gets these characters. Sam and Bobby come across as best friends from jump, and Sam’s loyalty to his friends in particular is very clear. I also didn’t mind the suiting up scene, which usually comes across as corny.

I’m not as keen on the art. John Rauch’s coloring is working in that same style Pete Pantazis has been doing over on JLA– where each character is so brightly light that they look washed out and lightened. To be frank, it’s offputting and ugly. There’s not really any mood to the coloring, other than Outside, In A Basement, and Red Because She Might Be Evil. The color should enhance the art, rather than detract from it. It also sucks that Bobby Da Costa looks about as Brazilian as Bobby Drake.

At the same time, Neves’s art is solid, but unspectacular. He’s pretty solid at drawing kids, though his adults tend to skew a little too much toward the overmuscled superhero stereotype, rather than the early 20s mutants they should be, but that’s just comics as usual. Neves pulls some great facial expressions out of his hat, and though the issue doesn’t have a traditional fight scene, it seems like he’d be perfectly fine at choreographing and staging a solid fight scene.

New Mutants #1 was a solid, if a little unimpressive, read. I’ll give it another issue or so based on my past enjoyment of Zeb Wells and the fact that I like Bobby, Sam, and the surprise villain at the end. For it to be truly good, though, it’s going to need better coloring to even up the art. As-is, it’s a good start, enough to keep me interested, and a pretty decent mid-tier Marvel book. I like seeing these old characters turned into adults, and hopefully it’ll stick this time.

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