15 Nov 2012

The New Mutants Project

Matt C: It's been a long while since I've done one of my 'projects' and the only reason/excuse I'm going to give you is that life just got in the way. Two kids take up an awful lot of my time these days, then there's the the other pop culture distractions (movies, TV, music) that I'm not going to neglect, but I guess what it really boils down to is the sheer volume of new books that I consume on a weekly basis. No matter how hard I try, trimming the pull-list proves to be an almost futile exercise. It's like the hyrdra - cut one and two more appear in its place!

I now have literally hundreds of unread back issues piled up (much to my wife's annoyance!) that I fully intend to get to, preferably before I'm retired. And, by setting myself a personal goal, these projects of mine give me decent motivation to work through a handful of those back issues at a reasonable pace. This time around I realised I needed to get a head start and have a stash of reviews in the bank, so to speak, so I didn't fall behind and find myself scrabbling to get the next issue in the series read before my self-imposed weekly deadline.

The title of this article's already given the game away - the series I'm going to be working through is the original New Mutants title - but that wasn't actually my first choice. I had started reviewing another title but due to a file mishap, everything I'd written was lost. Rather than start again from scratch with the same book (which would mean reading the issues again) I decided I'd go elsewhere and leave the first choice for a later date (hence I'm not revealing it now!).

So New Mutants, then. Why pick that above various other options? Well, I've never had any great affinity with characters - way back when I had only a scattering of late period issues being far more partial to the real deal X-Men - but I know it's looked upon with great fondness by many, and the fact that I was able to pick up basically the entire run over the last few years at some very reasonable prices made it stick out as a contender. So now, approximately 30 years later, I'm going to attempt to read the original New Mutants run... in its entirely? That's the real question, as if I was to go from start to finish, one issue a week, it would take me around two years to complete. So let's just say, wait and see. Depending on how far I get ahead of my publishing schedule, I could always post more than one review a week, or maybe I'll reach a natural stopping point somewhere along the way, or - and I hope this won't be the case - perhaps I just won't connect with the series to want to make it a long journey?

As always, watch this space, and while I'll kick off with New Mutants #1 along with the regular reviews this Sunday, first let's got right back to the very beginning...

Writer: Chris Claremont
Art: Bob McLeod & Glynis Wein
Marvel $5.95

Matt C: The point where it all began as Chris Claremont expanded the roster of mutants under his command, giving Charles Xavier a new team of teenage superheroes to teach how to survive in a world that hates and fears them. Much of this ‘graphic novel’ is, unsurprisingly, given over to introducing the new characters before they join forces to tackle a common enemy, in this case a cybernetic megalomaniac with designs on taking over the Hellfire Club and wiping mutants of the face of the Earth. The teen newbies all pretty much conform to predictable stereotypes, and Claremont has always had a tendency of being overly verbose and somewhat pretentious, but once you get into the groove of things you find yourself getting carried along without too many complaints (although there does seem to be some distracting ‘jumps’ in the timeline for certain characters). McLeod was obviously given a lot more lead-in to work on this than he’d get in a regular monthly comic, and the level of detail certainly backs this up. You do finding yourself questioning how a man as smart as Professor X, who at this point feared the X-Men were dead, would think it perfectly acceptable to place another group of youngsters in harms way to further his “dream”, but you have to suspend a certain level of disbelief, and this is a very reasonable start to the journey of Sam Guthrie, Danielle Moonstar et al. 7/10


Keith Philip Silva said...

Oh my GOD! Great article! I'm working on a column for Comics Bulletin that's going to run in a couple of weeks that looks at Sienkiewicz's run on New Mutants (13 issues). Can't wait to share it with you. Great idea for a series I'm looking forward to reading the rest of it!

Living Tribunal said...


Andy H said...

Looking forward to this one Matt. Have very fond memories of the New Mutants and will be following your views on the team.... was it really 30 years ago? *gulp*

Matt Clark said...

Thanks for the comments, and Keith, I'm still a little way off from the Sienkiewicz issue yet, but looking forward to them!