Welcome back to the internet’s number one Marvin Gaye themed weekly X-Men recap column. Last week, we got two Dawn of X books: New Mutants #1 and X-Force #1. Was either one any good? Read on to find out…
Sworn to sell comics for Marvel executives who feared and hated the fact that Fox owned their movie rights, The Uncanny X-Men suffered great indignities, but thanks to a corporate merger and a line-wide relaunch, the X-Men can finally get back to doing what they do best: being objectively the best franchise in all of comics.
NEW MUTANTS #1 DX
(W) Jonathan Hickman, Ed Brisson (A/CA) Rod Reis
THE NEW GENERATION CLAIMS THE DAWN!
The classic New Mutants (Sunspot, Wolfsbane, Mirage, Karma, Magik, and Cypher) get together with a few new friends (Chamber, Mondo) to seek out their missing member and share the good news… a mission that takes them into space alongside the Starjammers!
In Shops: Nov 06, 2019
What Happened in New Mutants #1?
The issue opens with one of the first overt references to the Uncanny X-Men run that preceded HoXPoX, as Xavier and Storm welcome back a newly resurrected Wolfsbane. Later, Karma approaches her in a Krakoan garden, where Rahne reveals that she’s let go of her past trauma faster than Marvel forgot that run even happened. Cypher chats with Mondo and asks him to attempt to channel Krakoa so they can have a conversation. He does, but Doug finds it creepy and Krakoa does as well. Mirage and Sunspot take a walk through the Akademos Habitat, where it seems some other generations of younger mutants are settled, and take a trip down memory lane, recapping the history of mutants. They meet up with Chamber and Magik, who inform them that Fauna has figured out how to grow coffee beans. Cypher and Mondo arrive, and they all agree they miss Cannonball, so Sunspots suggests they go visit him.
The New Mutants join up with the Starjammers, who are headed out to Shi’ar space anyway, though they cannot bring them all the way to Chandilar due to the Starjammer’s complicated history with the Shi’ar. In the ship’s arboretum, Ch’od tells Cypher and Mondo that the Krakoan flower they’ve brought with them to create a portal to return to Krakoa seems to be “talking” with the Krakoan portal already on the ship. Furthermore, the presence of the flower seems to be draining the life of other plants, which is a worrying sign. Cypher puts the flower in Mondo’s belly, which seems to settle things for now.
A few days later, Magik bests Raza in a sparring match, which wins Sunspot Kentucky bourbon in a bet with Corsair. The reach the edge of Shi’ar space, a place called Benevolence. Corsair says the Starjammers have some business on the planet, but the New Mutants have to stay behind because the planet is an oppressive nightmare. Of course this just makes the New Mutants want to go and interfere by freeing people. Sunspot is against this, so after the Starjammers leave, Mirage tricks him into going to get the bourbon and then Magik teleports the rest of the team onto the planet. Unfortunately, Corsair was lying. They’ve actually come to the planet to steal some kind of magic egg. The New Mutants get there first, but the Starjammers arrive right after, take the eff, and run. The New Mutants are then attacked by Shi’ar soldiers, and Corsair orders the Starjammers to leave them behind.
When the Starjammers get back to their ship, Sunspot obviously wants to rescue his friends, but the Starjammers have had enough. They kick Sunspot off the ship instead, leaving him on Benevolence, and fly away. Sunspot finds his teammates just as they are forced to surrender, though he says he has the number of a good space lawyer.
Was it any good?
It’s a mixed bag. I’m always down for a good space adventure, and Hickman has gone on the record as saying Sunspot and Cannonball are his favorite mutants, so it’s no surprise he writes a good Bobby. But the Starjammers betraying the New Mutants and leaving them potentially for dead seems wildly out of character for them. I get that they’re pirates and will do unsavory things, but they have been allies and even family with the X-Men for a long time and I can’t see them leaving the New Mutants behind to be imprisoned and maybe killed just because they were annoying guests on their ship. Having characters behave so out-of-character is by no means a problem isolated to Hickman, but he’s a flagrant offender. He needed the New Mutants to be on Benevolence for his story and this was an easy way to get them there, but it’s jarring to see the Starjammers (who were just eating family dinner with the Summers’ household in X-Men #1 behave this way.
One thing I did like about it is the questions it raises about the nature of Krakoa, which I wrote about more in-depth here last week.
X-FORCE #1 DX
(W) Ben Percy (A) Joshua Cassara (CA) Dustin Weaver
THE HIGH PRICE OF A NEW DAWN!
X-Force is the CIA of the mutant world-one half intelligence branch, one half special ops. Beast, Jean Grey and Sage on one side, Wolverine, Kid Omega and Domino on the other. In a perfect world, there would be no need for an X-Force. We’re not there…yet.
In Shops: Nov 06, 2019
What Happened in X-Force #1?
The issue begins with a scene where Domino attempts to infiltrate some clandestine meeting of a few dozen people, all wearing masks. The meeting requires a purity test, with each of the members pricking their fingers to draw blood which will presumably be tested for mutant DNA. Domino can’t do this, of course, so she attacks. A brawl breaks out and Domino ultimately loses.
On Krakoa, Beast is gathering samples of the local fauna when he is attacked by what appears to be ManBearPig. Wolverine shows up and chases ManBearPig off. Beast is grateful, but Wolverine says Krakoa is making mutants too soft, and they can’t be safe because there’s always a predator. We see an infographic describing Krakoa’s plant-based security system. Next, we find Black Tom Cassidy, who is informed by Krakoa that there is something wrong. A ship is approaching, and some mutants gather on the shore. It’s Kitty Pryde and the Marauders’ ship, but Jean Grey, communicating telepathically with Tom, tells him there’s something wrong on the ship. Something full of pain. Turns out it’s Colossus, who has been on the ground doing all the hard work of getting mutants ready for extraction. He looks like he’s been through a lot. An infographic page tells us how Xavier uses diplomacy and shadow diplomacy to encourage nations to accept Krakoa.
Next, we see a bunch of sinister-looking people board a commercial airline flight in Seoul, along with some regular passengers. The Director’s Cut script tells us these are Reavers. Back on Krakoa, Xavier asks Sage to try to figure out where Domino has been, revealing she’s been missing for more than a week. Then he steps through a portal to Sokovia, which has just decided to sign the Krakoan treaty. At the healing gardens in Krakoa, the Morlock Healer is treating Colossus along with other refugees, but he’s having trouble figuring out what’s where they hurt. Jean Grey reads Colossus’s mind and informs the healer they hurt everywhere.
On that plane we saw some unsavory characters board earlier, the pilot announces turbulence and oxygen masks drop from the ceiling. Ignoring procedure, all the nasties we saw earlier ignore the masks, which is a good idea, because everyone breathing from them passes out, apparently gassed. The pilot is one of the bad guys. They all get into their Reaver gear and parachute out of the plane, approaching Krakoa. On Krakoa, Black Tom and Sage notice someone is incoming. Krakoa reads it to be Domino. Presumably, the Reavers have used her DNA to fool it? But Tom is suspicious, and he lets Xavier know as he steps back through the portal from Sokovia. Tom feels security is too lax and they’re not being careful enough with the refugees who come by boat instead of by portal but Xavier tells him to relax, pointing out that a lot of people wouldn’t be comfortable with him being there either, but all mutants can be trusted.
On cue, the Reavers begin to land on the island and start slaughtering red shirt mutants. Tom, Wolverine, Beast, and Jean all fight back, but one of the Reavers makes it to Xavier, and before he can preach peace to him, the Reaver shoots him in the head. The X-Men are all horrified as Xavier has apparently been killed.
Was it any good?
Once again, a mixed bag. The tension in this issue was nice, as we see that not everyone is 100% happy with the way things are being run on Krakoa. But does anyone believe Professor X will really stay dead? Could we not go one first-issue cycle without a shocking character death (and the deaths of various cannon fodder mutants) that will probably later be undone? The Xavier here seemed weirdly naive as opposed to calculating and somewhat sinister as he was portrayed in HoXPoX. I wrote more about the death here. I also wrote a joke clickbait article about Xavier using Donald Trump’s methods for Krakoan diplomacy, which some people on Twitter were annoyed by, wondering how I can live with myself while selling my soul to write such shameless clickbait. Friends, laughing at your reaction to clickbait is the second most fulfilling part of writing clickbait (the first most fulfilling part is getting paid). Look, no one writing for a major comic book or pop culture website is under any illusion about what they’re doing with articles like that: churning out shameless clickbait for profit. Why do you think a website called ComicBook.com publishes more articles about chicken sandwiches than they do about comic books? It’s not because chicken is their passion. By undeniable margin, useless clickbait is what the internet economy tells websites people want. Who am I, who are any of us, to deny the people what they want?
Wolverine’s Weiner X-Pick of the Week
Both issues had their problems this week, though neither was outright bad, and I’m still interested to see where each one goes. Character assassination of the Starjamers aside, the New Mutants story was the one that left us with the potential for a meaty space adventure, and thus, it will be this week’s Wolverine’s Weiner pick. Congratulations to the creative team.
- 10/16/2019: X-Men #1
- 10/23/2019: Marauders #1
- 10/30/2019: Excalibur #1
- 11/6/2019: New Mutants #1
Next week, X-Men #2 and Fallen Angels #1!
Read more X-ual Healing here: