With the release of New Mutants #5, surely enough there is going to be excitement from readers that we are getting back to the space adventure with the team itself. You know, the story that got us initially invested in this book to begin with. This is not to say that the other half of this story that we have been thrown into is bad, but at the same time you can see how some might look forward to this storyline more considering this is a space adventure with mutants. Not to mention one that is also entertaining.
Keeping in mind the time that we have spent from this story, I found that it was a smart move that the beginning would ease us back into it. Hickman did an excellent job for the way that he approached this. Most would give you that one small section on the first page to sum things up, but he instead took that whole page to really get into the thick of what happened, while on top of that bringing the focus to one Roberto who hasn’t really been given the chance to be his usual self who likes to be the center of attention and the funny guy. These things matter when making reader’s patience worthwhile. Speaking of a stronger focus on Roberto in that first scene, as a whole we got more of him in this issue. This I couldn’t argue with because among the members of this group, he is the one with the most personality. It worked perfectly with the addition of Deathbird to their company when you would only expect someone like him to try to make conversation with someone who would probably kill him on the spot for looking at them the wrong way.
What I found interesting about this chapter was seeing how things were not going to play out like you thought they would. I personally had my own expectations for what would happen when they found Deathbird, and I’m glad things did not go that way. Events could have progressed fairly predictably, and surprisingly they did not. Hickman took perfect advantage of the twists that do tend to come with dealing with the Shi’ar. This is an empire which has some problems internally, and this was a great time to be reminded of those problems as a new obstacle hits out of nowhere. Now how they handled this obstacle? That was where you missed the heck out of this team. They had fun with it, and so did we in the process. This was the first real fight that they got into since this run began, and the wait for this was as well worth it. Especially when it came to those like Magik and Karma who simply did what they did best.
Something else which was worth getting around to was the placement of Chamber and Mondo. It goes without saying that these two aren’t the type that you would usually find around the New Mutants. One tends to be on his own, while the other I don’t think anyone has really seen in a good long while anywhere. There was no better time than now to address where they fit in this adventure and what must be going through their heads after everything they have experienced so far. I mean, enough hints were already dropped when i came to their expressions between being locked up and being saved by Cannonball and Smasher. Their indifference said more than words could, even in this issue, but even then we still needed some words from them.
With the release of New Mutants #5 also came the change back to the other art team of Rod Reis. Right now I can’t say I have any arguments about having two different teams for both halves of the stories since each knows what to bring out visually on their end. Rod Reis in the case of the space adventure knew how to embrace the playfulness of this experience for the New Mutants. The way he draws Roberto and Magik in particular stands out more than most because he nailed their personalities down perfectly. One being overbearing charming and goofy, while the other one simply being a monster who is looking for the next big rush. What really stood out in this issue was the way that Reis made each flip of the page engaging through the different coloring of the atmosphere, and the perspective of each scene. Even Tom Muller’s work on the design made a difference in keeping everything from being too uniform.
It’s back to space with New Mutants #5, and that is where the fun begins again. It has been bold jumping between two stories, but at the very least it is good to know that Hickman isn’t trying to make it too sporadic or frustrating having to wait x amount of time to know what happens next.