Retro-Reviews: New Mutants Vol. 2 #1-13 By DeFilippis, Weir, Grant, Barberi & Others For Marvel Comics

New Mutants Vol. 2 #1-13 (July 2003 – June 2004)

Written by Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir

Pencils by Keron Grant (#1-4), Mark Robinson (#5-6), Carlo Barberi (#7-11), Khary Randolph (#8, 12-13)

Inks by Rob Stull (#1-4), Pierre-Andre Dery (#1), Sean Parsons (#1), Rich Perotta (#4, 8, 12-13), Aaron Sowd (#5), Wayne Faucher (#5, 8-10), Scott Elmer (#5-6), Pat Davidson (#6), Juan Vlasco (#6-10), Rick Ketchum (#10), Avalon Studios (#11)

Coloured by Dan Kemp (#1-3), Avalon Studios (#4), Ian Hannin (#5-13), Rob Ro (#7-13)

Spoilers (from thirteen to fourteen years ago)

After Ellis’s X-Force run came to an end, that book was taken over by Peter Milligan and Michael Allred, and they began to showcase a completely different set of characters, who eventually became better known as X-Statix.  This was right when Grant Morrison took over the X-Men, reimagining that title, and Marvel’s mutants, in a number of different ways.  And also, really, sparking a bit of a renaissance across the X-line, as characters matured, and the idea of mutant-hood was given a little more of a series look.

Two years into Morrison’s run, the New Mutants title was resurrected, and while the covers featured the classic characters (at least the female ones), the book was really about new mutants.  It featured the writing of Nunzio DeFilippas and Christina Weir, who were probably best known for their independent work at Oni Press, and the art of Keron Grant, whose manga-influenced characters were expressive.  This was a very different title from its forebears.

Let’s take a look at who populated the title:

Students:

  • Sofia Mantega (#1-13)
  • Laurie Collins (#2-13)
  • Hellion (Julian Keller; #2-3, 5, 7-10, 13)
  • Mercury (Cessily; #2, 7, 10, 13)
  • Victor Borkowski (Anole; #2, 7-8, 13)
  • Kevin Ford (#3-6)
  • David Alleyne (#4-10, 12-13)
  • Josh Foley (#6-13)
  • Rockslide (Santo; #7-8, 10, 13)
  • Specter (Dallas; #10)
  • Tag (Brian; #10)
  • Surge (Noriko Ashida; #12-13)

Faculty:

  • Danielle Moonstar (#1-10, 12-13)
  • Professor Charles Xavier (#2-8)
  • Beast (Hank McCoy; #2-3, 10, 12)
  • Northstar (Jean-Paul Beaubier; #2, 7-8)
  • Nurse Annie (#3, 7, 10, 12)
  • Karma (Xi’an Coy Manh; #4-10, 12-13)
  • Wolverine (Logan; #5)
  • Archangel (Warren Worthington; #7)
  • Jean Grey (#7)
  • White Queen (Emma Frost; #8, 10)
  • Wolfsbane (Rahne Sinclair; #9-13)
  • Cyclops (Scott Summers; #10)

Villains

  • Purity (anti-mutant group; #4)
  • Donald Pierce (#5-6, 13)
  • The Reavers (non-cybernetic version; #5-6, 13)
  • Josh Foley (Reaver; #5-6, then reforms)
  • Avalanche (#9)

Guest Stars

  • Magma (Alison Crestmere or Amara Aquilla; #3-4, 7, 13)
  • Nightcrawler (Kurt Wagner; #9)
  • Havok (Alex Summers; #9)
  • Cannonball (Sam Guthrie #13)
  • Sunspot (Roberto DaCosta; #13)

Supporting Characters

  • Mr. Barrett (Sofia’s father; #1, 5-6, 8)
  • Derek (Sofia’s father’s servant; #1, 5-6, 8)
  • Leong Xui Manh (Karma’s little brother; #4-6)
  • Nga Manh (Karma’s little sister; #4-6)
  • Luna DePaual (barista; #7-8; 10, 12-13)
  • Surge (Noriko Ashida; #8-10)
  • Justin Pierce (FBI; #13)

Let’s take a look at what happened in these books, with some commentary as we go:

  • In Venezuela, a mother picks out a charm bracelet for her daughter, but is killed when she gets caught in a clash between protesters and police.  Her daughter, Sofia Mantega, we learn, is a mutant with control over the wind, using it, among other things, to bring voices to her from far away.  She learns of her mother’s death, and at her funeral, learns that she is being sent to live with her American father, who does not even know she exists.  She arrives in Denver, where she is met by Derek, her father’s servant.  Her father, a grocery store magnate, makes it clear that he has no time for her.  Later, she begins to attend school, where she is shunned by everyone.  A few months later, Derek is the only person who remembers her birthday.  He comments on her optimism, as she thinks this might be the day that the other kids are nice to her.  They aren’t, and so she uses her powers (for the first time, other than to eavesdrop) to help her leave the school grounds.  She goes to one of her father’s stores, and uses her powers to go on a rampage, trashing the store but not hurting anyone.  She is arrested, which is televised and catches the attention of a woman in a mountain cabin.  At the jail, her father scolds her, and then instructs Derek to have her sent back to Venezuela.  Dani Moonstar arrives and tells the father that she would like to take her to the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning.  Later, she speaks to Sofia, who agrees to go with her after saying goodbye to Derek.
  • The second issue opens with a flashback to Laurie Collins at a regular high school, where, when a boy asks her for help with studying Algebra (that old trope), her pheromone powers lead him to asking her out, and he realizes she is a mutant.  In the present, we see that Laurie is a student at the Xavier School, and that she keeps herself isolated from the other students, refusing to interact with them.  Sofia and Dani arrive at the school and are met by Charles Xavier, who gives them a tour.  We see that the school has around two hundred students, and that even though it’s summer time, there are classes for the kids who don’t go home, which I would imagine, are most of them, although there aren’t that many visible mutations on display.  Sofia uses her wind powers in a telekinetics class’s game of Jenga, and Xavier introduces her to Julian Keller, who he has take her around the school.  Sofia notices that Laurie is alone and asks about her, but then Julian realizes he’s late for his flight class with Northstar.  They rush over, and when Sofia uses her powers to try to fly, she knocks someone over, and Northstar is kind of a jerk about it.  Charles and Dani talk over lunch, and he offers her a teaching job at the school.  Sofia eats with Julian and a couple of other students who become familiar later – Anole and Mercury, and she shares with them what Dani and Xavier are talking about.  When Dani turns down the teaching post, he offers her the job of going out and recruiting young mutants, since she did such a good job of connecting with Sofia.  He lowkey manipulates her into going over to sit with Laurie who is all alone.  Laurie tells her her story, but then takes off.  Charles mentions that she can’t keep a roommate, and Dani gets an idea.  When Laurie returns to her room later, she’s surprised to see that Sofia is moving in.  Sofia is not afraid of Laurie’s powers, and figures that she can use her wind powers to protect herself anyway, and it looks like they will be friends.  Dani agrees to take the recruiter job.
  • Dani gets ready to head out to Atlanta to recruit her first mutant, having found him with Cerebra.  She finds Xavier looking at a photo of the original New Mutants, and he talks about how he is ashamed that two of them have died; Dani points out that the world outside the school is just as dangerous for mutants.  She mentions that she’d heard Magma was at the school, but Xavier tells her that she’s away.  After Dani leaves, he enters the hospital part of the school, where we see Magma (who was still Alison Crestmere at the time) is unconscious.  In class, Sofia volunteers to try some hard math for Beast.  After class, Julian chats with her, and they talk about going dancing together.  When Laurie comes by, Julian is mean to her, so Sofia uses her powers to knock him off balance.  Dani arrives at the home of Kevin Ford, which she finds empty save for a pile of dust.  A kid who we immediately figure must be Kevin walks through Atlanta, leaving footprints of dead grass in his wake.  He sits in a junkyard, and when a dog comes and bites him, it immediately dies.  Dani goes to his school, and talks to his art teacher.  She learns he lives with his father, and that it’s odd that he is missing school.  She also learns that he likes to hang out at the junkyard.  At that yard, two men find Kevin and the dead dog, and begin to beat on him with a lead pipe.  Dani shows up and chases them away.  Back at Kevin’s house, he tells her what’s been happening to him, and how anything organic that he touches ages and crumbles.  She puts him in a polyester shirt and offers to take him to the Xavier School.  Once there, Xavier promises to help him get his powers under control.  He also takes Dani to see Magma, who was injured when some X-Men got crucified on the school grounds.  Xavier feels bad that he can’t keep his students safe, and Dani reminds him again of how dangerous the outside world is.
  • Young David Alleyne has breakfast with his family at their home in Chicago, and talks about taking on a new university course during his summer, not knowing that he’s being observed.  Dani and Charles talk about a new mutant in the Chicago area, who they discover has been interacting with someone they already know.  Xi’an Coy Manh, formerly known as Karma, walks with her brother and sister when they see some kids spray painting anti-mutant messages.  Xi’an possesses one of them briefly.  We see her arrive at her graduation ceremony, where a pro-mutant speaker is being quietly protested against.  After Xi’an receives her diploma, she’s happy to see Dani with her siblings.  Back at Xi’an’s house, the authors waste no time showing that Xi’an is a lesbian (which was only hinted at in her last X-Force appearance, I think), and is single.  Dani asks her about the mutant she is looking for, and Xi’an figures it must be David.  Back at the Xavier School, Charles checks in on Magma and on Kevin Ford.  Kevin heads to class, and catches Laurie’s eye while she’s walking with Sofia.  In Chicago, Xi’an points out David to Dani, who follows him to a class where he shows off his knowledge.  Later, Dani tries to talk to him about his abilities, and David walks away.  Back at home, David’s father discovers a photo identifying David as a mutant taped to the door, and David gets angry and storms off.  His sister follows him to show him support.  Dani and Xi’an show up, and he accuses them of putting the photo on the door.  Instead, representatives of a campus group called Purity show up and threaten David.  Dani tries to scare them away with her powers, but when that doesn’t work, there is a fight.  David uses his abilities to lift martial arts skills off one of his attackers and use it on him.  After the fight, Dani offers him a place at Xavier’s, and Xi’an says she wants to come as well, saying she wants to visit Magma, despite the fact that they weren’t ever on the same time, and that Magma is now Alison Crestmere, who she definitely doesn’t know.  David explains his powers to his family (he can access other people’s knowledge and skills when near them), and they agree it’s best he head to Xavier’s.  He makes friends with Xi’an’s siblings in the car.
  • This book really starts to come together with issue five.  In New York, Donald Pierce holds a meeting for his new group of Reavers, an anti-mutant hate group.  A new recruit, Josh Foley, draws Pierce’s attention, and he uses him as a demonstration of his cybernetic hand sword, cutting Josh, although the wound doesn’t appear to have bled.  They reveal that they want to use Sofia’s father, just arriving in NYC for business, as a way to get to Xavier’s people.  Mr. Barrett tells Derek that they are both to have no contact with Sofia while in New York.  Xi’an is offered a librarian and teaching post at the Xavier School; she and Xavier talk to David about his goals.  David goes to Wolverine’s defence class, which is already attended by Sofia, Laurie, Kevin, and Julian.  Logan chooses David as a sparring partner, since he said he’s not interested in joining the X-Men, and when Logan goes to take him down, David gets the better of him.  Sofia invites Kevin to lunch with her and Laurie (since Laurie likes him) and he invites David.  Dani is surprised to see that all of “her kids” are together, and when they invite her to eat with them, she says she has to go to New York to recruit a new mutant.  Sofia wants to join her, so she can see Derek, and so the whole group heads out.  As Barrett and Derek argue about seeing Sofia, the Reavers break into their hotel room.  The kids sit in the hotel lobby waiting for Derek, while Dani and Xi’an go looking for the new mutant.  They end up at the Reavers hideout, and realize that they are after Sofia’s father.  The kids receive a message saying that Sofia’s father wants to see her in the parking garage.  As they descend, they run into two Reavers.  Sofia uses her powers to hurt them, and David leads the kids to go looking for the captives.  Laurie tries to use her powers to stop some of the Reavers that begin to come after them.  Josh realizes that his friend his hurt, and when he tries to touch him, he ends up healing him.  The friend, Duncan, reacts badly, so Josh knocks him out.  Pierce arrives and takes Josh back towards the fight.  Laurie’s powers begin to work on Kevin, freaking him out, when Piece comes up behind her and impales her on his sword-hand thing.
  • As the fight with the Reavers continues, Barrett and Derek are left alone.  When Barrett demands that Derek not go help Sofia, he tells him off.  Xi’an and Dani arrive; Xi’an stops the rest of the Reavers, while Dani has to use her powers on Kevin to keep him from killing Pierce.  He sees himself killing Laurie and is upset; meanwhile Josh uses his powers to heal Laurie from being stabbed.  When offered a place at the Xavier School, Josh calls everyone freaks and storms off.  Sofia reunites with Derek briefly.  Back at his house, Josh is upset to find his friends waiting to stomp on him, and his family turns their back and won’t help him.  Back at the school, Laurie’s mom waits for her and is happy to meet her friends.  Dani tells Charles what happened with Kevin, and Charles chides her for not looking after him when the situation ended.  When Dani tries to talk to Kevin, he tells her that he’s leaving the school.  Josh shows up at the school gates, saying he has nowhere else to go.  David is cold with him.  Dani and Charles talk, and Dani says that she wants to quit her position.  Later, Dani works out in the Danger Room; Xi’an comes and challenges her on giving up, but Dani is not convinced.  David is assigned Josh as his roommate, and he’s not happy about it.  Xi’an summons them to Xavier’s office.  Xavier is talking to Dani, and has her stay in the room while he meets with the students, and explains that he is going to allow them all to pick a faculty advisor.  They all pick Dani, and she is convinced to stay and become a teacher.  Rahne is on the cover of this issue, despite having nothing to do with its contents.
  • Issue seven begins the second story arc, with art by Carlo Barberi.  We see that David does not speak to Josh, despite their being roommates.  Josh begins to write a letter to his parents which is the basis for the narrative of this issue.  In it, we learn about his classes and that he has made some friends at the School, namely Julian, Victor, Mercury, and what looks like an early version of Rockslide (he doesn’t talk in this issue).  David has coffee with Dani in town, and Dani tells him he should make more of an effort with Josh.  She also talks about how she didn’t always get along with Amara (not Allison, which seems to be where this goes from here) when they were students.  Back at the school, Victor asks Xi’an if she could be his advisor (foreshadowing?) before Xi’an goes to read to the still-comatose Amara.  David talks to Josh, and ends up telling him about Amara.  Later, Josh and Julian sneak into the medical wing, and Josh uses his healing powers on Amara.  She wakes up, blows a hole in the wall, and runs away.  Josh heals Julian, and they are about to take off, when he sees that Nurse Annie was hurt, and goes to help her.  After a bit, Josh is treated like a hero, but David calls him out, having realized that he must have been the one that set Amara off in the first place.  The next day, at an assembly, Xavier chastises the students for using their powers before they are ready, and summons Josh and Julian to his office.  There, he metes out punishment, saying that Amara has contacted him to tell him she wants nothing more to do with the school.  He is upset that Josh further traumatized her instead of letting her mind heal on its own after she was crucified.  Dani yells at Josh.  Josh mails his letter.  Two weeks later, he sees his parents arrive at the school.  He gets Sofia to help him listen in to the conversation his parents have with Xavier.  He goes to see them, and they inform him that they are giving the school legal guardianship of him, and tell him not to write again.  Dani tries to comfort him, but he storms off.
  • Josh, Julian, Victor, and Santo are throwing a frisbee around on the school grounds, and see a homeless-looking girl asking to be allowed into the school.  Julian scares her off because he’s a jerk.  Northstar comes and gives them a hard time about not working off their detention, and sends them to help with the Parents’ Week preparations.  Dani takes Xi’an to the coffee shop to introduce her to Luna, the barista who had hit on her; Xi’an calls her out for being offensive.  David’s parents arrive, and are surprised when David doesn’t allow them to invite Josh along with them.  Derek comes and tells Sofia that her father wants to see her.  David’s parents inform him that he won’t be able to go to Harvard, his dream, if he continues at the Xavier School.  Mr. Barrett comes to see Sofia, but it’s clear that this is happening only so he can get Derek back in his employ.  Sofia throws a fit and uses her powers; she is stopped by Emma Frost.  Frost tries to get Sofia to switch advisors, and she and Dani get into an argument while Laurie comforts Sofia.  Julian goes to Northstar and tells him he’s switching his advisor to Frost.  Frost lets him know that Josh used to be a Reaver; Julian goes and starts a fight with him, and Santo jumps in.  Sofia and David stick up for Josh, and Karma has to use her powers to shut down the brawl.  Laurie takes Sofia to see Derek, who is waiting for her in her room.  David tells his parents that he’s going to stay at the school, and later Josh thanks him for sticking up for him.  At the coffee shop, Luna is surprised by someone who electrocutes her.
  • Avalanche is on some sort of a rampage in New York, and a woman on a motorcycle comes in and takes him out.  Havok and Nightcrawler arrive, and recognize the woman.  Laurie spends history class staring at Josh, and gets busted by Dani for it.  With Dani’s encouragement, she asks him to lunch, and they sit with David and Sofia.  Julian pulls Josh’s chair away as he’s about to sit, and Sofia responds with her powers.  David tells the others that one of the original New Mutants is coming and Josh talks about the ‘frumpy’ one.  As it turns out, it was Rahne that stopped Avalanche, and she now is powerless (that’s an odd thing), has long hair, and dresses provocatively.  She also has lost her accent.  Dani and Xi’an are happy to see her.  The kids head to the coffee place, and are surprised to hear that Luna has had an accident.  Josh sees the homeless girl from last issue, and when he goes to talk to her, she speaks very quickly about how she didn’t mean to hurt Luna, and then she disappears when the others approach.  They rush back to the school to tell their teachers, and Dani says she’ll look into it.  She refuses Josh’s offer to help.  Later, Josh is still upset that he can’t help when Rahne comes to his and David’s room to suggest that they go look for the girl themselves.  They grab Sofia and Laurie (who is instantly jealous to see Rahne with them) and sneak off the school grounds.  They go to a homeless encampment where someone tells them that they call the electric girl Surge.  This guy tells them where she gets her drugs, and they head that way.  They see her about to take some pills, and Sofia has the wind blow them away.  Surge says she needs the pills to control her powers.
  • Emma Frost meets with her advisees, and has them pick out code names for themselves.  This gives us Rockslide, Specter, Tag, and Mercury.  Julian selects Hellion, which kind of annoys Emma, as that makes her think of her dead former students, but he promises to live up to the name.  The usual group of kids and Rahne are unable to get near Surge, as her electricity powers run rampant; Sofia helps calm Laurie down so her pheromone powers can calm Surge.  David gets her talking, and she introduces herself as Noriko (Nori) Ashida.  Rahne won’t let Josh heal her, and they take Nori back to the school.  Later, Beast examines her, and we learn that her powers steal electricity from her environment, and that it speeds her up until she loses control, which is why she was taking drugs.  Dani is upset with Rahne and the kids for going out as they did, and then David is upset with Josh again for talking them into going.  Dani is also upset with Josh.  David, Sofia, and Laurie go to visit Luna in the hospital with Xi’an.  Rahne has a chat with Cyclops, who offers to help her restore her powers, but turns down her request for a teaching job at the school.  Rahne walks away.  Later, Dani tries to talk to Rahne, but they just argue, and Rahne rides away, watched by Josh.  She goes to Harry’s Hideaway, and Josh follows her there to talk.  Sofia talks to Laurie about her crush on Josh, but Laurie thinks it’s hopeless since Rahne arrived.  Josh makes some observations to Rahne that she is having a hard time controlling her wild side since she lost her powers, since she can’t blame it on her wolfen nature.  Beast gives Surge some gloves to help her control her powers, and she gives David the cold shoulder.  She tells both David and Julian off.  Rahne and Josh ride back to the school, and Rahne decides she wants her powers back.  They kiss, and Josh’s powers activate, bringing back her mutant abilities.  This is a problem though, as she rakes Josh with her claws, and stands growling over his fallen body.
  • Issue eleven is an odd one, as it retells Laurie’s and Rahne’s life stories, using a parallel structure that helps highlight any similarities between the two of them.  The focus leads up to Laurie discovering Rahne attacking Josh.  Laurie scares Rahne away with her pheromones, and that’s the issue.  It’s really decompressed, and feels like the writers just needed to pad the story some.
  • Josh is rushed to the medical unit in bad shape.  We learn that the X-Men are trying to get Archangel to come help heal Josh.  Dani decides to go looking for Rahne, now that their telepathic link has begun to be restored.  The other kids come to check on Laurie, and they go in to visit Josh.  David invites Nori to come along, but she rebukes him.  Sofia stays to challenge Nori’s attitude and to try to get her to stay at the school and make friends.  Laurie is upset and runs off, with Sofia following.  David and Nori talk at Josh’s bedside.  Dani tracks Rahne down and gives her encouragement that she can beat the wolf inside her again, and regain control of her life.  Beast and Nurse Annie talk about how Josh will be dead within an hour (although it’s really not clear that he’s even cut up from the artwork), and David thinks about how Josh could head himself if he were awake.  He decides that he could direct Nori to use her power to wake Josh up.  McCoy catches them setting this up, and then agrees to their plan.  When Nori gives him an electrical jolt, he wakes up, and Laurie guides his hand so he can use his healing touch.  Weirdly, Josh turns completely golden in colour while healing, and McCoy assumes it’s a secondary mutation.  Josh thanks Laurie for saving his life, and Dani and Rahne arrive, but Josh says something dumb and she storms off.  Later, Dani explains to Josh that she thinks his golden skin is a manifestation of Josh’s desire to be the “golden child” and gain acceptance.  She also lets him know that she is his legal guardian now.  A few days later, we see that Nori and Dani are at the coffee shop as Luna returns to work.  Nori suggests that she start working at the store to pay them back for robbing them, and while at first Luna is unsure, but agrees with Dani that it’s a good idea.  The kids come in, and Nori serves them.  Luna refers to them as Nori’s friends, and the issue (and arc) ends heart-warmingly.
  • Issue thirteen is the end of this series, and takes place after Grant Morrison’s run on New X-Men came to its conclusion.  Magneto has destroyed the school, and the X-Men and students have taken refuge in an X-Corp building in Salem Center.  In France, Justin Pierce, FBI agent, goes to visit his uncle, Donald Pierce, in a metahuman prison, to arrange his transport to the US if he agrees to provide information about Kevin Ford, who is suspected in his father’s murder.  Dani, Xi’an, and Rahne survey the damage at the school, and are surprised to see Sam Guthrie, Bobby DaCosta, and Amara Aquilla come to visit them.  They talk about what happened, and how the former New Mutants were not involved in the fight with Magneto, focusing instead on protecting the students.  Bobby is surprised at how Dani has taken to teaching, while Amara remains aloof.  As Pierce is transported, he breaks free.  The original New Mutants go to the coffee shop and Bobby flirts with Luna.  Amara walks away and Dani follows to try to get her to talk but is interrupted by Agent Pierce, who knows that Donald Pierce is going to be going after Josh.  Pierce gathers his Reavers, including Josh’s former friend, to do just that.  At the X-Corp building, we see that many of the kids are camping out in one room.  Laurie wants to move the friends to her mom’s house, but Dani comes to tell them that they are in danger.  Dani and Josh cook up a plan to use Josh as a lure, and while Xi’an doesn’t like it, she’s overruled.  They use Agent Pierce to leak information to Pierce and send Josh to the ruined school.  Sam talks to Rahne about her control of the wolf, while Amara admits to being ashamed of her weakness so she hid from her friends.  The Reavers attack, and the former New Mutants stop them.  Sam offers Dani a slot on the X-Men (which is probably not his place to offer, especially since he’s based in the California X-Corp office), and she says she’ll think about it, but also wants to keep teaching.

I was surprised when this series ended so quickly and was relaunched as New X-Men: Academy X with the same writers and (more or less) cast members.  I guess that, with the post-Morrison New X-Men dropping the “New” in its title (and gaining Chuck Austen as writer, unfortunately), someone at Marvel figured that New X-Men was a more marketable title than New Mutants.

Either way, I found this series to be as good as I remembered it.  It’s odd, in that it barely features any villains or action, but what it did do was establish a new slate of characters that felt like they should have had some longevity to them.  It’s sad to see that these days, the only characters still being used, and rarely at that, are David, Julian, Victor, and Santo.  Josh pops up from time to time too.  The most interesting of this bunch, Sofia and Nori, are not around anymore.  I think that’s a mistake.

DeFilippis and Weir are excellent character writers, and made good use of Dani and Xi’an as newly-mature adults in this book.  It’s a nice progression, following so soon on my reading of the first New Mutants and X-Force comics, to see them emerge into their mid-twenties as capable and caring torchbearers for Xavier’s dream.  I also like the way that Rahne, who is a little younger than them, struggles with her new responsibilities.  It works very well.

Art-wise, I thought everything was fine, but I’ve never been a big fan of the big-panelled, big-eyed early ‘00s Marvel look.  A lot more could have fit in this book, except that the artists who worked on it were part of that decompressed movement.

Grant Morrison’s infusion of new ideas in his New X-Men created a lot of opportunity for new approaches in the mutant corner of the Marvel Universe, and this book capitalized on it well, even if there was very little overlap of students, which feels a little strange.  

The covers for this series are beautiful, especially Josh Middleton’s work, but very rarely had anything to do with what was happening inside the book.  I wonder if that was partly why sales weren’t better (although by this point the Statement of Ownership was a thing of the past, so I don’t actually know what the sales were like).

Next time, we’ll take a look at the New X-Men title that replaced this one, although I’m not sure at what point these stop being “Retro Reviews”, as this book’s ending doesn’t feel like it was all that long ago to me.

If you’d like to see the archives of all of my retro review columns, click here.

If you’d like to read any of the stories I talk about here, you can follow these links for trade paperbacks that encompass these issues:
New Mutants: Back to School – The Complete Collection

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