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New Mutants #23

Posted: Thursday, April 7, 2011
By: Shawn Hill

Mike Carey
Steve Kurth, Allen Martinez (i)
Marvel
This is the best chapter yet of this short-term epic. Carey turns up the dial on his concept here, taking us from derivative references to Age of Apocalypse and Morrison's "Here Comes Tomorrow" arc in New X-Men to some more distinctive territory. That it takes Magneto to start verbally picking apart the seams of their extremely out of whack world isn't a storytelling flaw.

Instead, he's being as Magneto has always been -- an insightful, quick-to-anger man who chafes under the yoke of unjust authority. Protector of mutants, he wonders at the ridiculousness of their plight, defending a limited territory from repeated incursions, endless streams of attack but never a final solution, mutually unsatisfying alliances in the face of annihilation with no visible way out. And he's not the first to do so, as Kitty and Rogue and Gambit have also started to see flaws in the design in which they've found themselves.

Turns out he didn't kill Legacy and Gambit -- drawn to each other without knowing why no matter the universe, apparently -- under a mountain of debris after all; he used the debris to hide their escape to a secret lair, where he could enlist them as allies to figuring out just what's going on.

It's always fun to watch people trapped in a shared dream starting to wake up. While Erik dispatches Rogue and Gambit on a mission suited to their talents, he goes to free the captive Shadowcat, and enlists her aid to free the heavily sedated Xavier, whom no one seems to remember until they start wondering why he's been so heavily sedated.

Kurth's art has a few issues (especially with the placement of noses in perspective), but it's a pretty cool effect to have Magneto sending disconnected pieces of metal all over the place without using any glowing beams or waves of energy to do it. Metallic objects just seem to explode and reassemble as he wills it, and he flies through the destruction in ghostly robes of white.

As this is the New Mutants' titular book -- it's only right that that cast gets some spotlight moments; they are merely pawns in the plans of the master manipulators, but as they are dispatched to take care of Magneto, several young mutants get face time as they consider turning on their former ally and champion, including Bobby, Danni and Amara.

Things get really weird when Rogue and Gambit reach their goal, a hidden room in the complex that Magneto doesn't recall building. Inside are some really strange time effects, and even weirder spacial anomalies. We still don't find out what's going on, or who "X" might be, but the mystery just deepened in very interesting ways.



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