Brian Wood started this new series with an absolute, in many ways literal, bang and, while the first, brief, arc may have already concluded, it’s clear that he has much, MUCH more in mind for this team. Sublime remains in self-imposed X-Men custody to help them bring his sister, the technology-controlling Arkea, down. Both Arkea and Sublime exist in a state that makes them nearly impossible to track, one being able to control and jump from living beings, the latter, though, doing the same to machines and she’s used that power to not only take control of Omega Sentinel, but many of the most dangerous parts of the Xavier Institute. While the new team tracks Arkea to Budapest, the old guard is stuck in the school with a tech-based virus that has unleashed a wave of constructs. The narrative jumps back and forth between these two situations organically and fluidly, never making the reader feel too great a sensation of whiplash. We even get treated to some of the New Mutants that I feel like we haven’t seen in ages and it’s great to see the likes of Primal, Pixie, and Hellion back in action (Hellion still using his kinetic powers in lieu of his lost hands). Even the unfortunately-named-but-still-great Bling! gets a moment to...ahem...SHINE!
Olivier Coipel supplies pencils and joins Mark Morales on inks and, as always, delivers some of the sharpest, most defined characters in all of comics, but also some of the absolute cutest. From Pixie to the mysterious baby that Jubilee is carting around, few people do cute quite as effectively as Coipel and, as I said in my preview, I’m not sure any other artists should even be allowed to draw babies in comics anymore. Laura Martin on colors is also instrumental in bringing these characters to bright, shining life and that’s something this book does amazingly: light. Almost all the characters either have some kind of power that manifests as light and the entire issue takes place during the day (but sometimes in a darkened corridor) and everything from the sources to the shadows look absolutely stellar.
It’s a good problem to have, but unfortunately in this case it’s far too apparent: this needed to be a longer story. Everything has an intentionally frantic pace, and as I said the cutting between two settings never feels too abrupt or jarring, but the entire book feels like it wraps up just as it was starting to find its pace. There are still a number of unanswered questions, and that’s fine, but there are also some pretty major revelations that feel glossed over to keep up the full-speed pacing.
This was a helluva three issue starting run and this book is off to an absolutely incredible start. I love the unlikely roster, I’m always a big fan of a team coming together out of necessity rather than any kind of plan, and I really love bringing back some characters whose fates I’d been wondering about, even if it is just temporary. The entire thing has a very abrupt, truncated ending and while the wild pace serves the book’s tone well, I still think this arc could’ve been at least one issue longer without sacrificing that action. All that said, I still give this, and the two issues that preceded it, a wholehearted recommendation.