Tuesday, April 2, 2013


NEW MUTANTS CLASSIC VOL. 6 (Marvel, 2011; Softcover)

Collects New Mutants Nos. 41-47, New Mutants Annual No. 2, and Uncanny X-Men Annual No. 10 (cover dates July, 1986- January, 1987)

Writer: Chris Claremont

Artist: Jackson Guice, Alan Davis, Arthur Adams, and Steve Purcell (pencilers); Terry Austin, Kyle Baker, and Whilce Portacio (inkers)

Chris Claremont was and is a great comic book writer. It is fashionable to bag on the man's work today. Tastes change, times change, things go in and out of style, but quality art is quality art in my opinion. We should all appreciate Claremont while he is still around. I can remember people bagging on Kirby in the '80s, but nowadays he is a sacred cow. Once Chris Claremont is dead and gone everyone and their brother will be proclaiming their love for his work. Well I'm saying it here and now: I love Chris Claremont's writing.

Claremont's run on The New Mutants is a precursor of sorts to many “mature” comic books. Not because it is overtly sexual or violent, but because it is so character driven. The New Mutants were the junior X-Men team, teenagers who were out of place everywhere but with their own kind. This was extremely identifiable for me as a teenager, even if I only sporadically read this title back when it was originally published. 

Alan Davis rules.
The Cypher/ Warlock friendship was so bold in it's gossamer thin veil of homosexuality. For all intents and purposes, they were gay during a time when such a thing was shocking. Warlock, an alien techno-organic being, was afraid of infecting Cypher (Doug Ramsey) with his techno-organic virus, a metaphor for STDs perhaps? Claremont quickly back-peddled, writing in Psylocke and making her a crush for Doug. I am guessing that this was done to appease higher ups, as it seemed to come in right after some pivotal moment of friendship between Warlock and Doug. It is refreshing to see the original British, non-Asian ninja Psylocke. Jim Lee would crap up the character beyond repair during his overrated run on the X-Men a few years later.

The first few issues in this book focused primarily on one team member each. Issue 45's teen suicide story is great and worth mentioning as well. The Annuals are a crossover where Mojo and Spiral try to kidnap and enslave each team. The Uncanny X-Men Annual features a Claremont pet theme: reverting the X-Men to childhood. It also features the debut of the horrible X-Babies. Cutesy stuff like that is totally lame and stupid, but these are a fan favorite. Not I said the fly. 

The artwork is great throughout this book, with Jackson Guice (pencils) and Kyle Baker (inker) doing quality work. Alan Davis handles The New Mutants Annual while Arthur Adams does the art for the Uncanny X-Men Annual. I was not a fan of Art Adams in the '80s but his modern day stuff is fantastic. Alan Davis is a genius, plain and simple. His artwork is simple and elegant, and his action sequences are almost without peer.

Tom Orzechowski deserves a shout out. His hand lettering is great. I would buy a computer font of it if I could. He is lettering royalty. It really is a lost art here in the computer font lettering era of comic books.

Marvel has been releasing these trade paperbacks at a clip of one per year. I'm well into Volume 7 as of this writing and hope that Vol. 8 will see the light of day this year.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 5 out of 5.

The OCD zone

Linework restoration rating: 4.5 out of 5. The restoration is solid throughout most of the book. There are a few rough spots here and there, but most folks won't notice them as they aren't too bad. There is visible pixelation on Page 37,however. I wonder if this was the result of 300dpi scans...

Color restoration rating: 5 out of 5. The original color palette is faithfully maintained.
Paper rating: 5 out of 5. I love this lightweight dull matte finish coated stock in softcovers. This is the same grade used in the softcover Masterworks.

Binding rating: 4 out of 5. Glued binding is par for the course in softcovers.

Cardstock cover coating rating: 5 out of 5. I love love love the thick waxlike coating that Marvel uses on their cardstock covers.


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