The third issue of New Mutants is the first solely written by Ed Brisson with art by Flaviano, and it’s a trip back from space to Krakoa and a whole new gang of youthful mutants.
I’ve gathered the shift from the Hickman-driven classic New Mutants in space story is relatively divisive for some readers, but I honestly enjoyed the return to Krakoa with a new crop of youngsters.
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+ Who these (New) New Mutants even are!
+ How New Mutants *could* function more like an X-Men anthology than expected
+ Whether or not Glob Herman is the single strangest reading order request I’ve ever gotten on Comic Book Herald (spoiler: he’s not, but I do have one!)
Whereas issues #1 and #2 deal almost exclusively with mutants debuting during the Chris Claremont written New Mutants circa 1982 (save Chamber and Mondo), New Mutants #3 is a disparate collection of mutants who’ve debuted everywhere from Claremont/Byrne on Uncanny X-Men to Whedon/Cassaday on Astonishing X-Men to the late 2018 Extermination mini-event by Ed Brisson and Pepe Larraz!
Who is Armor
Armor is the clear leader throughout New Mutants #3, asking about bringing more of her mutant friends along to Krakoa. I quite like this angle as I’ve been asking the same thing about Mutants not yet on Krakoa. There’s still a lot of open-ended residency across Marvel’s merry mutantdom, as there are plenty of mutants we haven’t yet seen on the island. Just last week we saw that Rictor has apparently had issues controlling his powers enough to make it to Krakoa, and over the course of this issue Armor identifies a similar challenge facing Angel and Beak.
Hisako Ichiki first appeared in Astonishing X-Men #4, in the must-read “Gifted” story arc by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday. As her name suggests she can generate a virtually indestructible psionic armor around her body, which gives her enhanced physical abilities. Throughout Astonishing she takes on a role similar to Kitty Pryde in the 80’s or Jubilee in the 90’s, the tenacious up and coming young woman who bonds with Wolverine.
For my money, Astonishing is the best series to read to get a feel for Armor, and because I enjoy her in that series so much, I’m excited to see her leading a New Mutants squad here. This is a mutant who has plenty of experience, and has fought alongside the likes of Cyclops, Emma Frost, and of course Wolverine.
Who is Glob Herman?
Glob has transformed significantly since his debut in Grant Morrison’s New X-Men where the big pink blob with his eyes and bones hanging out was… kind of a menace? Glob takes to Quentin Quire’s punk riot at Xavier’s, lighting himself on fire and, uh, I think Glob tried to kill a guy (actually several humans!)
Glob’s softened significantly since, with roles everywhere from Wolverine and the X-Men to Age of X-Man.
Notably, Ed Brisson has taken on the mantle of head-Globitecht, writing him into compelling stories in the pages of Old Man Logan and even an X-Men Christmas special.
Who is Boom Boom
For my money Boom Boom is one of the stranger inclusions with this young group of relatively obscure mutants because Boom Boom has been around! Tabitha Smith debuted all the way back in 1985 (in Secret Wars II believe it or not – it’s in issue #5 of that clunker so you’d be forgiven for never making it that far into the event).
Boom Boom’s bounced around the X-Men universe since then most famously as a member of X-Force and in the all-time great Nextwave. Here’s writer Warren Ellis on why he included Boom Boom in Nextwave:
“I wanted a character who could blow things up.”
There’s more to the quote, but you get it.
When we meet Boom-Boom in New Mutants #3 she is clearly restless and willing to accept even Armor’s mission to Nebraska in order to get off Krakoa and do something. Her role is yet to be revealed in full, although I think it’s fair to imagine she might be the help the other New Mutants need at the end of this issue.
Who are Maxime and Manon?
Given their recent introduction, twins Maxime and Manon are the least instantly recognizable of this group. In the pages of the Brisson written Extermination Maxime and Manon are manipulated by Ahab, the mutant-hunter from the Days of Future Past timeline into turning various X-Men into his hounds (ala Rachel Summers). Ultimately, Ahab is defeated, and in doing so, Maxime and Manon are given a chance to be free of his influence with the X-Men.
In terms of powerset, Manon can control memory, and Maxime can manipulate emotions.
And Finally Who are Angel and Beak?
Both characters debut early in the Grant Morrison written New X-Men and eventually develop a romance together. As you can tell from reading New Mutants #3 that romance leads to a LOT of children. Beak’s real name is Barnell Bohusk, and Angel’s is, well, Angel Salvadore. Beak is more obvious but both characters are good examples of Morrison’s interest in the less savory side of mutation, more focused on uncomfortable physical transformation than any sort of powersets.
Strangely, the duo joined up with the early 2010’s New Warriors with Beak operating as the hero Blackwing and Angel operating as the hero Tempest. Even at this time though, their powers are more technology based than much to do with their mutations.
Structurally there’s this strange thing going on where New Mutants is written by two authors with disparate visions. I actually kind of enjoy it, but if you’re into one and not the other, it’s a strange split.
There’s honestly a fascinating structure this *could* lead to, which came to mind after viewing the data page explaining how Krakoan inhabitants of the Akademos Sextant are housed according to X-Men class (or more meta literally, according to series title they’re most commonly associated with!).
I’m very into the idea of the non-Hickman written originals in space arcs alternating between Class Generation X, Class Frost Academy, and so on, interweaving and interlocking stories of mutant youth. This would be an atypical structure, but I’d also be into the idea of this same approach leading to alternating creative rotations woven in between Brisson and Flaviano issues. So when Hickman and Reis transition off, how about Leah Williams and Jen Bartel with a “The Five “ story? And on down the line.
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