Comics Catchup: Mutant Roundup

By Jorge Santamaria

Mutants, they're everywhere these days in the comic world. Yet, I'm totally okay with this. Among all the comics that hold a special place in my heart, those featuring Marvel's ever gifted youngsters stand among the most precious to me. While I've thrown the idea out there of there being too many mutant comics out now, I did also rebuke it with the fact that this makes it so the writers and editors can reach a wider variety of audiences with their line up of different stories from all different ideologies and walks of life. 

Try as I might want to read all of them, I have neither the time nor the money for that feat, so I mainly stick to the hued titles, namely: X-Men: Blue, Gold, and Red. If you knew me personally, you'd know that Jean Grey, aka The Phoenix, is one of my favorite Marvel characters of all time. Seriously, I'm such a fanboy that I will argue to the death that The Dark Phoenix Saga is the best comic series that Marvel has ever produced. Seriously, I'll fight you. 

Anyway, you could imagine both my excitement and dread when they decided to bring Jean back into the fold again with Matthew Rosenberg at the helm of yet another resurrection. Even though by this point in time, the amount of times we've seen her die and come back is a classic joke in the comics community. Despite that, you can't deny that Jean is an important part of comic history at large. You might also be able to imagine how disappointed I was with just how bland this 5 issue comic was. At least she got a more interesting role in Red.

Next in my queue the The New Mutants. Truth be told, Matthew Rosenburg had already burned my trust in him and I was more than skeptical when I learned he was also to write a mini series for The New Mutants just in time to cash in on the popularity of the film's release, (nice job Marvel marketing). However, since it was only a 6 issue mini series, and I do love me some Illyana Rasputin, I gave it a go. I must say, I was not disappointed with the debut issue nor the follow up of The New Mutants: Dead Souls. Two issues in and I'm not only excited for the rest of the series but my faith in Rosenberg to write a quality comic has been restored, I’m now sorry it's only going to be 6 issues. 

While at the present, there is no real overarching plot line for this comic. At its core we have a team of some famous and some not, members of the historical New Mutants team including fan favorite Magik, Rictor(who actually made an appearance in Logan), Wolfsbane, Boom-Boom, and Strong Guy. They show up to investigate strange and paranormal happenings and kick some ass in the process. A vignette appears in both comics as well showing the ever present anti-mutant sentiment of the Marvel universe. The vignettes show a bullied and apparently mutant teen who is forced by his peers to face a supposed mutant eater named the Alone Man in order to prove he isn’t a mutant. This creature's reveal is frightening to say the least. 

Other than that example of continuity, this series seems to be very character centered which is one of the major reasons I love it so much. When it comes to stories told across any medium, I tend to find myself drawn to individual character struggles rather than a combined team effort. While team work is important, it is the lack thereof that creates such an interesting story within this comic and the fact that all the members in this cast are so different yet so similar only helps to strengthen not only their bond but also their internal conflicts. Whether fighting zombies or frost trolls the team always rises to the challenge yet, their mistrust is often as dangerous as their enemies. 

I did mention before that at first glance this did seem like a quick cash grab to capitalize on the announcement of the film that Fox is advertising as the first super hero horror movie. Now I'm not going to lie that was a weird way to put it, any fan of the series is going to know exactly what they're in for but I guess they wanted to market something that hasn't been seen before. Whether it was accurate or not. Even still not much was revealed about the plot, this is probably why the film was pushed back for another year. I'm hoping that it wasn't so bad that they had to completely re shoot the entire film, but that's neither here nor there. I still have faith. 20th Century Fox has been hit or miss with some of its X-movies but when they were good, they were amazing. 

With successes like X-2, Days of Future Past, and Logan, I think it's safe to say that there's a good chance this movie will be great. Of course, I have been let down before. By that I mean X-Men: The Last Stand, forever that, I mean what kind of horrible, awful person do you have to be to ruin the Dark Phoenix and...okay no I'm done. No but really, I hate that film with a fiery passion. Moving on though. 

One of the highlights I've noticed is some of the cast. No doubt most are happy with Maisie Williams being cast as the feral Scot, Wolfsbane. Her portrayal of Arya Stark no doubt made her an obvious choice in the role. Yet, even more so I'm pretty excited to see Anya-Taylor Joy be cast as Illyana. Her great talent in films like The Witch, Split, and Thoroughbreds have easily made her one of the most underrated talents on the cast list and I for one and am excited to see her portray the interestingly enigmatic mutant, Magik. The rest of the cast includes various mutants for all eras of the New Mutants comic history such as Mirage, a Native American who is actually being played by a Native American, Blu Hunt!, Charlie Heaton as Cannon-Ball, and Henry Zaga as Sunspot. And if rumors can be believed, the great Antonio Banderas has been cast as the films villain which has yet to be revealed. Before the re shoots began the films main protagonist was to be Mister Sinister who was majorly teased in Logan. The film has a lot of expectation behind it and I for one and excited to see how it turns out. I just wish I didn't have to wait another whole year.