Date With a Devil
This series just gets better and better every issue! These last few issues since ReGenesis have been just amazing just amazing, total throwbacks to the feel of the original series from the 80’s. There’s lots of campy humor, character development and quirky mutant “surrogate family” fun all around. To be honest I wasn’t sure that I like this line-up of the mutants when it first rolled out after Schism (after all there’s no Cannonball. No Boom Boom. No Wolfsbane! And they threw Doug Ramsey in and left him there to do nothing) but they have really made the most of this “light” team and even threw in X-man as a brand new member (which they haven’t done with New Mutants (Vol. 1) #87 when they added new member Cable to the roster). Nate Grey fits right into the crew seamlessly with the other returning classic characters as we see Magma fulfill her deal with Mephisto and go on a date with the devil himself.
First of all, I am glad they didn’t drag the “date with a devil” angle out forever. I really thought that it was going to be some weirdness where they were in some crazy perilous situation and he popped up saying “OK time for our date”, whisking her away to some perilous solo adventure. Oh no! This is a completely different Mephisto, complete with nerdy glassed and loose fitting shirt and tie, and (if anything he’s said is real and true) this is my favorite version of him ever! Secondly, WOW! If he’s being real then he really pulled out all the stops for Amara. The fact that the date was IN Hell itself was a pretty good jumping off point but then add in the erupting volcanos, bright red corvette, and the band and serving staff of the damned and who could even resist? Magma, that’s who. Never one to be easily impressed she instantly asked “What do you want from me? You’re the devil so you must want something to leave me and my friends alone.” Surprisingly enough, he SEEMS to not want anything. He even made it sound real. According to the devil, conning people out of their souls is easy and boring after millennia of doing it and every once in a while he wants to go out and actually have some “normal” fun with a girl like everyone else (although I think Northstar may have other ideas heh).
Well once she saw he wasn’t in it for her immortal soul; she then also wasn’t falling for his games anymore. She quickly asserted control of the date and took them out of hell to a local diner. From here on, it got even funnier! Just the fact that a red skinned man can sit in a diner and have it not be completely out of the ordinary showed just how far the (Marvel) society has come. Back in the 80’s, that still would have incited a riot if Nightcrawler sat out if the open like that. Instead it was Magma getting the evil glares for her failed attempt at working in the same diner. A brief explanation about the “diversification of Hell” and an ironic saucy sauce joke later, and this date ended up being an actual smashing success. And of course, what first date would be complete without the awkward and hesitant kiss at the end of the night. For most of the issue I thought there was going to be some kind of twist coming at the end, but this kiss and Mephisto’s sheepish reaction to it made the whole thing seem real to me. With the epilogue of him throwing rocks at her windows to ask to call on her again made this one of the best date issues I’ve ever read. Here’s hoping they go out again!
Of course no date is complete without the girl’s family diligently sitting home waiting and worrying about her. Between Dani being half interested sister and half disapproving mother and Bobby being half jealous boyfriend and half over protective father, we have the entire family gauntlet right here in our very own dysfunctional mutant clan. I even thought that the touch of Warlock’s techtag bracelet for her was a nice touch…if it had last for longer than one block of the car ride. One thing that I’m not really onboard with is Bobby’s intense and (in my opinion) sudden crush on Amara. These two have known each other for years (and yeah he’s flirted but it was always in fun), but now he’s completely head over heels in love with her (and not her with him). Also it hadn’t occurred to me until this issue that X-man joining the team is a lot like a younger Cable re-joining since they are genetic duplicates (or alternate reality counterpart or whatever) and I am glad to see him practicing his newly reduced power successfully. Other non-date related fun: Warlock still has his hidden hellhound hiding in a closet, thanks to Lil Loki over in Journey into Mystery. Dani’s trying to go visit Illyana on Utopia, but unfortunately she busy being sucked underground in Uncanny X-men. And Doug trying to track down Dr. Strange (you know, just in case). Al while Bobby mopes in a corner. Classic New Mutants angst and character building. Keep it coming guys!!
The Blink storyline went on a little too long for my liking (especially since she didn’t even stay with the team) but this standalone issue more than made up for it. It could have easily been another Hell adventure of the team, but that’s been done more times than I can count at this point so I am glad they went with this instead, and I LOVE this version of Mephisto. His character is always handled so differently by the various writers that have gotten their hands on him, but I am really hoping that we see more of this version in the future…you know, on their next date.