New Mutants Dead Souls #1 Review: Not Quite Waking the Dead

Posted by March 14, 2018 Comment

New Mutants: Dead Souls #1
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Summary
Writer: Matthew Rosenberg, Artist: Adam Gorham, Color Artist: Michael Garland, Letters: VC's Clayton Cowles, Cover by: Ryan Stegman and Michael Garland, Variant Covers by: Marcos Martin; Billy Martin, Graphic Designers: Adam Del Re and Anthony Gambino, Editor: Darren Shan, Assistant Editor: Chris Robinson, X-Men Group Editor: Mark Paniccia, Publisher: Marvel Comics, Release Date: Out Today, Price: $3.99

A hurricane wreaks havoc on a small Alabama town. Things get worse when the dead begin rising from the destruction and attack the living. Almost a day later, the New Mutants arrive on the scene to investigate what is going on.

New Mutants: Dead Souls #1 cover by Ryan Stegman and Michael Garland
New Mutants: Dead Souls #1 cover by Ryan Stegman and Michael Garland

It’s nice to see the New Mutants back together, and I’m sure it has nothing to do with that movie with Aria Stark that’s coming out this year. Cynicism and brand integration aside, there is something to be said about the setting of this story not being New York or another major city. Then you notice that the New Mutants are explicitly not there to help with the carnage but for a more specific reason.

Yes, this is one of those “not a hero” superhero stories. It’s made a little more frustrating that this is a more cynical take on a group that originally prided itself on wide-eyed optimism and hope to make a better future. They’re here specifically to answer the supernatural occurrences and make snarky and biting remarks towards one another.

The ending — I’m not sure if it’s a twist (plot revelation?) — does suck some of the fun out of the whole thing. You realize that it isn’t so much putting the band back together as it is new employment. The explanation for the zombie plot is a little stupid. The book goes out of its way to explain it further, but it only makes it more confusing and doesn’t fix the dumb.

And Dani Moonstar isn’t even there, the bastards.

That’s not to say the story is all bad. There are some nice moments between the team members. Strong Guy has his heart set on keeping a kitten in the first part, and each member gives their opinion on the matter. Wolfsbane has a ridiculous over-the-top Scottish accent. Magik is droll and disappointing. There are some nice action scenes. There are also some subtle visual clues that foreshadow what’s going on with the zombies.

New Mutants: Dead Souls #1 art by Adam Gorham and Michael Garland
New Mutants: Dead Souls #1 art by Adam Gorham and Michael Garland

Adam Gorham’s artwork is good. It shoots for realism while erring on the side of gritty and grimy at times. It isn’t shy about gore, but it isn’t quite as gratuitous as Infinity Countdown: Prime or that issue of X-Men Blue I went on about. Again, there are some nice visual clues sprinkled throughout that aren’t too hidden or too obvious. Michael Garland brings a fairly tame color palette that is serviceable if not particularly exciting.

New Mutants: Dead Souls #1 is fine. It’s not great. It’s not bad. It frustrates at times, and some of the dialogue is outright bad. Other times, it’s fun and even threatens to become distinct from other middling Marvel output. It’s better than X-Men Blue and Astonishing, but it’s not as good as Red or the better issues of Gold. I can recommend it to someone dying for New Mutants content, but I wouldn’t call it a must-buy for anyone else.

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(Last Updated March 14, 2018 5:14 pm )

About Joshua Davison

Josh is a longtime super hero comic fan and an aspiring comic book and fiction writer himself. He also trades in videogames, Star Wars, and Magic: The Gathering, and he is also a budding film buff. He's always been a huge nerd, and he hopes to contribute something of worth to the wider geek culture conversation. He is also happy to announce that he is the new Reviews Editor for Bleeding Cool. Follow on Twitter @joshdavisonbolt.

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