New Mutants #10 proves that Rob Liefeld may have a good point about modern comics. Perhaps comics have gotten too…verbose. In theory, there’s a lot happening in this issue. I know this because the characters spend A LOT of time talking about it.
The New Mutants are in the hostile nation of Carnelia, where a young mutant has begun to manifest her powers, drawing the surrounding area into her nightmares, including a few members of the New Mutants. Meanwhile, the prime minister of the country plans on blaming the New Mutants for a problem he thinks they caused as retaliation for not signing a treaty with Krakoa.
I realized about halfway through this issue I was getting a little bored. Ironically, Ed Brisson seems aware of this, with the character Wildside chiming in halfway through the issue: “Is this all you guys do? Stand around, talking. It’s boring. Where’s the action?!”
Given that the character was co-created by Rob Liefeld during his run on New Mutants, perhaps this is a self-conscious nod to the reader on Brisson’s part. Or perhaps a veiled criticism of Liefeld. He has a point though, although frequently the middle of an arc acts as an exposition dump in order to set up a finale. Perhaps that’s what is going on here. We’ll see.
Rod Reis’s cover art helps me to imagine what I wish this comic was – a truly horrifying experience. Given that the plot involves people getting absorbed into another mutant’s nightmares, this might be a missed opportunity in the story.
Flaviano and Carlos Lopez’s second page helps capture the horror-potential of this story.
I am tempted to comment on the possibly phallic imagery of the first panel, given the comic industry’s overall poor track record on misogyny in comics. It’s not quite at “Blob eating the Wasp in Ultimatum” problematic levels, but it does give me pause. The image alone is striking and horrific, reminding me a bit of the scene with the tree in Evil Dead. The coloring of these panels, though, are beautiful and ethereal, along with the lettering by VC’s Travis Lanham which captures the out of control despair of the nightmare mutant.
When Armor, Wildside, Mondo, and Cypher attempt to rescue those inside, the world inside the nightmare orb looks like a twisted, Dark Multiverse equivalent of a Steve Ditko drawing.
While I enjoyed the artwork and am still excited to see where this series goes, I do think this issue suffers a bit from an overabundance of talking.
There continues to be a lot of great potential in this series, even if this cast is a little big. I’m thinking that maybe splitting New Mutants into two titles (maybe a Generation X title?) might’ve helped this book to feel more focused in its run so far.