The New Mutants are no strangers to fear. But in the fictional, mutant-hating nation of Karnelia, the New Mutants find themselves in dire straits, with most of the team lost to the psychic nightmare projected by a young mutant, a girl named Cosmar. New Mutants #11 brings that story to a close, while fluidly laying the groundwork for coming arcs, in my favorite issue so far from this creative team.
New Mutants #11
Ed Brisson (Writer), Flaviano (Artist), Travis Lanham (Letterer), Carlos Lopez (Colorist), Tom Muller (Designer).
July 22, 2020
This review contains spoilers for New Mutants #11.
In New Mutants #11, the team looks out of luck, but thankfully they’re not out of friends. The team does what they do best, and they work together to help young mutants in their own way. After adding former-MLF member Wildside to the mix last issue, the New Mutants enter Cosmar’s “nightmare sphere” in an attempt to warp the altered reality back into something more recognizable, but are quickly overwhelmed by the nightmares within. Meanwhile, Mirage’s plans are disrupted by the approach of the Karnelian armed forces, who were alerted to Cosmar and the New Mutants’ presence by DOX, a website dedicated to exposing and doxxing mutants that’s been a recurring danger in Brisson’s New Mutants.
This was my favorite issue of the arc. It pulled a solid story together and was well-paced, with room for action and emotion. A conversation between Cypher, Magik, and Mirage about DOX ties the DOX data pages even more firmly into the main story. This inclusion nicely builds up that upcoming story arc, while still providing closure for this one.
Strong art benefits the issue, especially within the nightmare sphere that brings to life the grotesque, unreal images haunting the New Mutants. Artist Flaviano and colorist Carlos Lopez similarly capture the shift from nightmares to dreams very well, with an immediately brighter and warmer color palette. Clever details, like plushies of Eastern European heroes like Col0ssus and Black Widow, hint at Cosmar’s personality and interests.
This issue has its fair share of sweet moments, from Cypher trying to help a grieving Armor and Karma advocating for Cosmar, but my favorite moment was easily Dani Moonstar empathizing with Cosmar over the shared burden of their mutations. Nobody knows nightmares like Dani Moonstar, and so no one could better empathize with a girl who can’t control her nightmares than a woman who once couldn’t either. There has been almost no sign of Angel and Beak since their appearance in the first arc from this creative team, but I hope this doesn’t prove to be the case as well for Cosmar. The development of a mentoring relationship between Dani and Cosmar would be a delightful addition to an already lively cast.
The cover is one of my favorite things about this issue. Mike del Mundo’s covers have been visually astonishing since he joined the creative team for New Mutants, and certainly long before that as well. This cover in particular pops with color and psychedelic detail, more evocative of a good trip than of a nightmare. The New Mutants, decked out in scuba goggles and pool floaties, jump and cannonball towards a swirling blue pool beneath them, but what appears to be a pool is actually a blue lollypop, held by a blue hand reaching out of the bottom right corner. The New Mutants fall in a shower of gummies, jelly beans, and other vividly colored sweets, with a few X-branded pills mixed in. Chamber’s doughnut-shaped floatie and Mondo wearing swim trunks and a dusting of sprinkles while the rest of the team is uniformed cleverly reinforce the dream logic of the cover.
On the whole, this is a solid, well-executed issue that’s artistically consistent with Flaviano and Lopez’s work so far, with the strongest plotting of Brisson’s time on the title. New Mutants #11, more than any other from this creative team, makes me curious and excited about the future of this title, and what the run has in store for the New Mutants, new and classic alike.