New Mutants has gotten off to a strong start. It has been a blast to see the original New Mutants back and better than ever. Ed Brisson has made New Mutants one of the better titles in the X-Men franchise. Brisson has delivered a smart story that combines strong character work, well-crafted dialogue and an engaging story that easily captivates the reader’s attention. I am fully confident that Brisson is going to deliver another quality read with New Mutants #3. Let’s go ahead and hit this review!
Words: Ed Brisson
Colors: Carlos Lopez
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin on Krakoa with Glob and Armor talking about how wonderful it is to live on Krakoa. They are happy that they no longer have to be in hiding or fear for their safety at all times. Armor comments on how happy all of the mutants are on Krakoa. We see a bunch of young mutants partying and dancing together.
Armor then mentions that not all of the mutants have come to Krakoa, yet. Armor wonders why mutants would not want to be on Krakoa already. We then see Glob dancing with Pixie.
We cut to Armor meeting with Sage. Sage points out that Xavier has already invited all of the mutants in the world to come to Krakoa. Armor says that she just wanted Sage’s help in cross-referencing mutants who have not come to Krakoa, yet. Armor begins going through a list of mutants. Sage says that those mutants have already been accounted for and are on Krakoa.
Armor then mentions Angel Salvadore and Beak. Sage says that they are not accounted for. Armor thanks Sage for her help and says that she will be back after she finds Beak and Angel.
We hop over to Armor and Glob hanging out in their dorm. Armor says that she has tracked down Beak and Angel to a farm in Nebraska. Glob asks Armor if she thinks because mutants are all together on Krakoa now and are all in love if that means he has a shot with Pixie.
Glob immediately regrets asking the question and tells Armor to never mind. Glob says he was being stupid. Glob then leaves the room. Armor then says that she has figured out why Beak and Angel have not come to Krakoa.
We zip over to Armor entering the New Mutants’ house in the Akademos Habitat (aka the Sextant). Armor is looking for Roberto and finds Boom-Boom in Roberto’s room. Boom-Boom is startled at being caught in Roberto’s room. Boom-Boom tells Armor that Roberto and the rest of the New Mutants are in space. Boom-Boom is annoyed that they did not take her with them. Boom-Boom says that she craves some action and excitement.
Armor says that Boom-Boom can come with her to Nebraska to visit Beak and Angel and to convince them to come to Krakoa. Armor says that she needed to talk to Roberto since he is in charge of the pharmaceutical side of the business on Krakoa. Armor says that she needed some medicine to take with her. Boom-Boom says that she will find the medicine for Armor. Boom-Boom tells Armor not to tell Roberto that she found her rooting around his room.
We get a one-page informational insert on a medical condition called Munus Motricium Dementia (MMD). This is a rare form of dementia that has no cure. That there are an estimated 10,000 people globally with MMD. That 90% of them will die within six months of diagnosis. That 100% will die within a year of diagnosis. MMD is most commonly diagnosed in people between the ages of 50-67.
We zip forward to two days later. We see Glob and Armor heading over to a Krakoan gateway. Maxime and Manon run over and ask if they can come along. Maxine says that they can use their powers to make Beak and Angel want to come to Krakoa. Armor says that the siblings can come along but cannot use their powers on Beak or Angel. They all step through the Krakoan gateway.
We cut to Armor, Glob, Maxime, and Manon arriving outside of a farm in Pilger, Nebraska. Glob says that they probably should have told someone on Krakoa that they were coming here. Armor says that there was no need for that. That if they had told the others they were coming then who knows who they would have wanted to send here. Armor says that the last thing Beak and Angel need is Wolverine showing up at their doorstep and freaking everyone out.
Armor and her team then knock on the front door and are greeted by Beak, Angel, and their six children. (Six?! Damn. I thought me having two kids was enough. Six?! No thank you!)
Armor hugs Beak and Angel. Angel tells the kids to go outside and play. Armor says that she is here to tell Beak and Angel about Krakoa. Beak says that he knows about Krakoa but he cannot leave because of his family.
Beak leads Armor and Glob into a room where his father is in a hospital bed and in a coma and hooked up to a bunch of machines. Beak’s mother is by his side. Beak says that his father has MMD.
Amor says that she has a medicine that will cure Beak’s father. Armor injects the medicine into Beak’s father. Beak’s father suddenly wakes up out of his coma and is cured from MMD.
Beak and Angel cry and are thankful for Armor and her miracle Krakoan drug. Armor tells Beak to take a moment with his family and she will meet him back in the foyer of the house.
We get a one-page informational insert on the Akademos Habitat (The Sextant). This is a collection of biomes that serve as home to the younger generation of mutants. It also serves as an educational center and training facility.
There are eight houses. The Delta House is for Generation X. The Zeta House if for the New X-Men. The Beta House if for the Frost Academy. The Pod is for the Five. The Lifedeath is communal. The Sigma House is for the Jean Grey School. The Omega House is marked “REDACTED.” The Alpha House is for the New Mutants.
We zip back to Armor, Glob, Maxime and Manon talking to Beak and Angel. Armor says that once Beak’s dad is back on his feet and as good as new then Beak and Angel can come to Krakoa.
Suddenly, Beak and Angel see something outside the window of the house. We then see a group of men with guns who have captured Beak and Angel’s children. Angel gets angry that Armor brought these men to their house. Armor responds that she has no idea who these men are. Armor says that they will take care of this. Beak holds Angel who is now crying. Beak says that Angel is the strong one and that he needs her and that she cannot fall apart. Beak says that he is not strong enough to do this. (What a wuss. This is your reaction to your children being threatened with guns to their heads? I’d come out of that house spitting fire.)
Out mutants exit, the house and Armor asks the leader of the men what they want. The man says that mutants are refusing them important medications. The man says that it something he wants to change.
Armor then armors up and attacks the man. The man then tells one of his goons named Hazio to fire his weapon. Hazio fires a missile at Armor that knocks her down. The leader says that the rocket was a power dampener. That Armor will not have her mutant powers for a few hours.
The man says that if anyone attacks them again then the children will die. The man says that they should go into the house and begin negotiations. Maxine comments that this must be why they always send Wolverine first. (Ha! Well played, Brisson! What a brilliant final line to the issue!) End of issue.
The Good: Well, New Mutants #3 was certainly not what I was expecting at all! I avoid advanced solicitations and spoilers of upcoming issues. So, I was expecting the continuation of the New Mutants’ adventures with the Shi’ar. Instead, Brisson pulls a complete swerve and delivers a completely different story involving completely different characters. This is certainly an unusual approach to a team title. Having said that, I like it. This fits with how Jonathan Hickman is writing the X-Men with a rotating cast of characters. The X-Men franchise is blessed with such a massive roster of wonderful characters. So, I think it is a smart move to try and rotate various characters into the X-Men’s franchise team titles.
I am curious to find out what is Brisson’s plan for New Mutants going forward. Is New Mutants going to rotate through the characters in the six houses of the Akademos Habitat? Personally, I would be perfectly fine with that approach. At any rate, while I am open to this approach it would be wise for Brisson to clearly state to the reader what they can expect on New Mutants going forward.
New Mutants #3 presents the reader with a story that is on a much smaller scale than the New Mutants in Shi’ar space story that we got in New Mutants #1-2. This is actually a rather smart move by Brisson. This allows New Mutants #3 to be a refreshing change of pace in terms of the scope and style of the story. I like the idea of rotating between smaller-scale stories and grander scale stories. Variety is always welcome.
Now, even though New Mutants #3 is a smaller scale story does not mean that it is not as enjoyable as what we got in New Mutants #1-2. Brisson delivers a story with tons of heart in New Mutants #3. This is a character-driven story with plenty of excellent dialogue and lots of genuine emotion. There is very little action in New Mutants #3, but the reader will not care. The incredible character work and chemistry between the characters and earnest emotion succeeds in pulling the reader deep into the story and captivating their attention.
New Mutants #3 is well-plotted and paced. Brisson moves the story forward at a pleasant pace. The story never wanders nor does it ever feel rushed. The story unfolds in an organic fashion as each scene builds logically on the preceding one.
The story itself is nothing that unique or novel. Our heroes go on a mission to help their friends. Then our heroes end up having to face off against evil humans looking for access to Krakoan drugs. The plot itself feels rather standard issue. The villains feel like a generic human militia group. We have seen this all so many times before.
No, what makes New Mutants #3 so special is the fantastic character work, excellent chemistry, and wonderfully crafted dialogue. This is how Brisson takes a rather standard-issue plot and makes it so special and enjoyable to read. The reader immediately gets invested with the characters in this issue. The reader gets a palpable sense of the emotions of the various characters. Whether it is Armor’s compassion, Sage’s annoyance, Glob’s angst, or Beak’s sadness. It all feels real to the reader and gives this issue such life.
Brisson does a fantastic job with Armor. Armor is a character that I have never cared for before. But, Brisson got me to really like Armor’s character in New Mutants #3. Brisson’s handling of Armor’s character is a refreshing change of pace from what we see often these days. Armor is not written as impossibly intelligent and perfect. Armor is not written with masculine traits. Instead, Brisson writes Armor like a real-life teenage girl. Brisson makes Armor come across as caring and compassionate. Brisson also presents Armor as a bit naive. However, Brisson also makes Armor courageous in the face of danger and willing to put herself in the line of fire to save and protect her friends. The result is that the Armor comes across as genuine and earnest. This allows the reader to immediately bond with Armor.
Brisson also does a wonderful job with Glob. Brisson makes Glob such a sympathetic character. The reader cannot help but feel sad for Glob and immediately root for his happiness. Brisson perfectly nails Glob’s conflicting feelings of hope and self-doubt. The result is a real sense of angst that permeates Glob’s character.
I love Boom-Boom. She is such a fun character. Brisson perfectly captures Boom-Boom’s big personality and her adventurous spirit. I definitely hope we get to see Boom-Boom more on this title. I like the little drama that Brisson creates with Armor catching Boom-Boom rooting through Roberto’s bedroom. This should provide for some quality drama later down the road.
Brisson also does a nice job with Sage’s character. I have always loved Sage’s character and Brisson flexes his writing skills by pulling off incredible character work with Sage in just two pages. That is impressive. Brisson manages to perfectly capture Sage’s cold exterior. I love how Sage is thoroughly annoyed with Armor and her mission of compassion to find the unaccounted mutants.
I love the one-page informational insert about the Akademos Habitat. This is the kind of awesome world-building that Hickman has been giving us since House of X/Powers of X. I dig that Brisson takes some time to further flesh out the world of Krakoa. All of these different locations on Krakoa are so damn cool and interesting.
We learn that the Akademos Habitat is comprised of biomes. Six are houses for the various groups of young mutants. Two are common areas for the young mutants. The X-Men franchise has been blessed with so many different young mutant groups ever since the appearance of the New Mutants in 1982. It is fantastic to see each of the young mutant groups being given their own house.
I dig that each house’s name is from the Greek alphabet and is based on when that particular team of mutants first appeared in the X-Men’s continuity. Since the New Mutants were the first young mutant team they are housed in the Alpha House. Everything begins with the New Mutants and I love that they get the honor of being the house named for the beginning of the Greek alphabet.
Next is the Beta House which houses the Frost Academy is an interesting variation of Massachusetts Academy which first appeared in 1981 and the Hellions who were students at the Massachusetts Academy and first appeared in 1984. Emma Frost was the headmaster of the Massachusetts Academy which serves as the Hellfire Club’s answer to Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. Yes, the Massachusetts Academy just barely predates the first issue of New Mutants, but the Hellions do not. So, it makes sense for the Frost Academy to get the Beta House. At any rate, the Frost Academy is a new creation that is a great way to incorporate the Hellions into the nation of Krakoa.
Next is the Delta House which houses Generation X who first appeared back in 1994. I loved Generation X. They were lead by Banshee and Emma Frost. Yeah, looking back this title was super 1990s. But, 1990s comics make my heart happy. I am glad to see Generation X with their own house.
Next is the Zeta House which houses the New X-Men who first appeared in 2004. I was never a huge fan of this title. But, I am glad that they are given a house in the Akademos Habitat.
Next is the Sigma House houses the Jean Grey School which is a nod to when Wolverine renamed the X-Mansion the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning back in Wolverine and the X-Men #1 which came out in 2011.
Last is the Omega House which Brisson keeps as a mystery. I love that Brisson keeps the inhabitants of the Omega House as an unknown. This creates some intrigue and excitement in the reader. I am really curious to see who ends up being the inhabitants of the Omega House.
Having the first mutant group in the New Mutants occupying the Alpha House and then having the unknown newest group of mutants occupying the Omega House also plays into the Christian theme of the Alpha and the Omega. The Beginning and the End. This works wonderfully with the heavy religious themes that Hickman has brought to the X-Men franchise with House of X/Powers of X. This reinforces Hickman’s approach to Xavier as more of a messianic character than a traditional leader. It reinforces Hickman’s approach to Magneto as Xavier’s archangel Michael. It also works with Xavier being god and creating the Resurrection Program to bring his chosen people back to life. It also works with the view of Krakoa as a spiritual promised land.
The Akademos Habitat is a wonderful tribute to the rich continuity of the X-Men franchise. I love to see that Brisson is taking Hickman’s lead and continuing to celebrate and honor this fabulous continuity. Part of the magic of the Hickman Era of the X-Men franchise is how continuity is being fully embraced and weaved together in a coherent fashion.
Brisson ends New Mutants #3 with a solid hook ending. Yeah, the villains are a bit generic, but it places the characters that the reader cares about in serious danger. It is enough to get the reader to come back for more.
Flaviano delivers plenty of nice artwork. Flaviano’s slick style is a nice match for a mainstream superhero comic. Flaviano does an excellent job with the characters’ facial expressions. This really helps to bring Brisson’s story to life. Flaviano’s skill in injecting so much emotion into the story is even more important when the issue relies on character work rather than action in order to propel the story.
The Bad: Brisson went a bit too overboard with his handling of Beak’s character. I understand that Beak has been under a lot of stress with his father’s illness, but Beak came across too much like a wuss. These are his children being threatened at the end of this issue. This is what makes parents see red and do the impossible. Beak’s helpless and passive reaction to seeing his children in mortal danger makes pathetic and unlikeable. I am not sure if that was the result that Brisson was going for at this moment.
Action fans may be disappointed with New Mutants #3. The story is not slow, but it certainly is not fast. Also, there is little to no action at all anywhere to be found in this issue.
Even though I enjoyed the art, there was a small screw up in the scene with Sage and Armor. Flaviano draws Sage wearing gloves in every panel she is in. However, in the final panel of that scene, Flaviano draws Sage without globes. I know it is a small mistake, but the details matter. Especially in a $4 comic published by the biggest comic publisher of them all.
Overall: New Mutants #3 is another excellent read. Ed Brisson has impressed the hell out of me with his incredible character work, dialogue, and richness of the story. New Mutants #3 is definitely worth picking up. Brisson has surprised me by making New Mutants one of the stronger titles in the X-Men franchise. If you have not given this title a chance then I would definitely recommend hopping aboard the New Mutants.
To comment on this article and other Comic Book Revolution content, visit our Facebook page, our Twitter feed, and our Instagram feed. Also, catch up with all of Rokk’s other musings about comics, anime, TV shows, movies and more over on his Twitter page.