Writer: Chris ClaremontNew Mutants: War Children Cover
Artist: Bill Sienkiewicz
Color Artist: Chris Sotomayor
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Assistant Editor: Lauren Amaro
Editor: Darren Shan
Publisher: Marvel

Writer Chris Claremont and artist Bill Sienkiewicz, the legendary team behind several classic New Mutants arcs, reunite this week for New Mutants: War Children.

Die-hard Marvel fans will know the original Claremont/Sienkiewicz New Mutants run from the 1980’s. Sienkiewicz brought something dark and experimental to the warmth established by Claremont, and the results remain some of the best storytelling in the X-book.

But comics have changed since their original run. X-Men writers have traded the soapiness of Claremont’s dialogue for something closer to realism. On subsequent New Mutants tuns, pencillers traded Sienkiewicz’s abstractions for cleaner, smoother lines. So does the original team still hold up?

You better believe it.

Claremont’s style has adapted to the times but retained its warmth. He’s trimmed down on exposition and sprinkled a little more realism into the dialogue. Most notably, his love for these characters bleeds into every word. He enjoys spending time with them. He makes us enjoy it, too.

It’s a simple story with lots of callbacks for the true fans. Every central figure gets a moment to shine. Claremont recalls their classic personalities without missing a beat — the headstrong Dani, the witty and compassionate Doug. There’s a refreshing earnestness to the characterization, an earnestness sorely missing from modern comics.

You won’t buy any other new comic that looks like this book. Sienkiewicz gets to fan out all his feathers. The story, perhaps purposely, provides opportunities for him to show off all the wild textures of his original run, from the angular weeds of the “transmode virus” to the wild geometry of Limbo. He blurs the lines between dream and reality to create the haunting space that fills the book. I’m reminded of why the ever-delayed New Mutants film has a horror bent.

His jagged lines shine through, given a fresh punch with colors from Chris Sotomayor, whose touch makes the book feel at home with other modern comics.

The art requires a bit more work from the reader than average comicbook fare. Sometimes, you have to study the panel to understand what’s happening. But therein lies the reward. Sienkiewicz draws you into a nightmare space and demands you stay until the story is done. You want to savor each panel.

If you’re a New Mutants fan, this is absolutely essential. If you’re not, I’ll be honest, you might feel a little lost in this one. That’s probably my only real critique of the book. But it’s hard to level any critique against a book where every panel feels like a gift. This reads like a story plucked right from the middle of New Mutants, with no real jumping-on point for new readers.

But pick it up, and if you love the tone and style, go treat yourself to the original Claremont/Sienkiewicz New Mutants run.

New Mutants: War Children #1

9.2

Insane Sienkiewicz Art

10.0/10

Refreshing, Warm Characterization

10.0/10

Complicated to follow

7.0/10

Gorgeous colors

9.0/10

Cyborg Valkyrie Dani

10.0/10

Pros

  • Claremont and Sienkiewicz are back!
  • Do you need any other reason?
  • Claremont!
  • Sienkiewicz!
  • Also Dani at one point is a cyborg AND a Valkyrie?!

Cons

  • A bit complicated for new fans
  • No other cons; it's Claremont and Sienkiewicz
Jonathan Boes
callmeboesy@gmail.com
Writer, musician, video-maker and church media guy from central Pennsylvania. Certified nerd with an emphasis in Star Wars, Twin Peaks and Marvel Comics. Find me on Twitter/Insta/FB @callmeboesy

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