Friday, December 31, 2010

The New Mutants

The issue pictured at left, The New Mutants #16 was my first issue of the first true spin-off of the X-Men franchise.  I found it on a spinner rack at a PA Laneco store, where I happened to buy a lot of my comics at the time.  Looking at the cover, and knowing my tastes at the time, it's easy to see what attracted me to it. 

First was the use of the word "mutants."  The X-Men were mutants, and I liked them, so it seemed a natural I would give this a try.  Then there were the characters.

Two animal-like creatures.  One guy who was all black with spots around him.  A guy with a jet pack.  A woman who looked like she was made of lava.  Kitty Pryde.  I'm sure my young mind asked, "What the hell is this?"  So I grabbed it, (most likely) paid for it, and marched my butt home to read it.

I was hooked. 

Eventually I got all the issues of the series.  Many were great (the Demon Bear saga artwork alone).  Some were horrible (Bird-Brain, or whatever the hell he was called, comes to mind).  The team dynamics were firmly in place by this issue, and while Pryde may have thought of the newbies as "X-Babies," it was clear these cats could hold their own.  In fact, the issue I first picked up featured a battle with the Hellfire Club's own young ones, and I seem to recall it being fairly brutal.

The series has been revamped a couple times since it first ended.  I don't think the revamps have ever been as good, however.  They lack a certain spark and freshness, which is kind of to be expected when you think about it.  When this title first came out, X-fever had not totally overtaken the industry yet, and the idea of a new group of mutants emerging as a powerhouse was a unique concept in the Marvel universe.  Their age guaranteed the problems would be different, and their lack of skill gave it the feeling that anything could happen at any time.  (Magneto taking over their training and introduction of Cable come to mind.)

If Marvel is intent upon dominating all media, as it seems to be, the concept of the New Mutants could make for a good television show or even a movie (if handled properly).  Not that I'd watch it, as I think most of the comic book properties that have floated over to TV and the silver screen have been lacking, but I think the teen and older child market would have a field day with it.