Wednesday, April 30, 2008

New Mutants Classic (Volume 2)

Chris Claremont & Sal Buscema
I admittedly wasn't overly impressed with the first volume of New Mutants Classic, but this second volume gets into some good stuff, particularly toward the latter half of the collection where the group confronts the White Queen and her Hellions. This book collects issues 8-17 (a sizable chunk) of the original New Mutants series and introduces two new members to its ranks: Magma and Magik. The collection begins with the New Mutants in the Amazon, where they stumble upon a hidden Roman city, Nova Roma. There, they battle each other in an arena, face off against the future Black Queen of The Hellfire Club, Selene, and acquire a friend in Amara Juliana Olivia Aquilla, a girl they meet as a native on the riverbank, but whose dark skin washes off in the river, revealing her to be a resident of this lost Roman city. Kinda weird. When she is sacrificed to a volcano at the hands of Selene, she is reborn as Magma, and quickly joins the New Mutants to help her learn how to control her new-found powers. The whole Nova Roma story was silly, but following these issues, Magma forces the group into some interesting group dynamics, particularly when Illyana Rasputin joins the team as an untrusted, strange new member with bizarre powers. With these six adolescents, I feel like the team has a very classic feel to it. They balance each other out nicely with varied powers and backgrounds. Kitty Pryde makes an appearance over the course of several issues. She has an antagonistic relationship with the team, whom she deems "X-babies," but is nonetheless left with their aide alone when the X-Men unwittingly disappear (for Secret War). The Hellions are a neat anti-New Mutants team of young villains with some interesting powers themselves, but none of them really stood out from the others. If they're being set up as a formidable enemy to the New Mutants, something drastic has to take place to make them seem like little more than snotty, unlikeable brats. The White Queen, Kitty Pryde and Illyana Rasputin really stole the show in this volume with their large presences in the final act, but there's a lot of potential for the title, especially given its new members.

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