By: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning (writers), David Lafuente (art), Val Staples & Chris Sotomayor (colors), Joe Caramagna (letters), Sebastian Girner (editor)

The Story: Dani Moonstar is trying to get some help from Hela, but Hela needs some help herself in this Fear Itself tie-in.

What’s Good: If you like your New Mutants undiluted by appearances of bona fide X-Men, this is your kind of comic.  In the A-Story, we see Dani continuing her secondary role as a Valkyrie and I really enjoy this aspect for her given the character’s long association with Asgard (go read New Mutants Special Edition #1… Art Adams will make you weep).  Being a Valkyrie also makes her more than just another depowered and helpless mutant.

The B-Story is fun too as the rest of the New Mutants have accidentally landed in Hell-proper via a screwed up incantation of a spell.  Gotta admit, that would be tricky: Having a Hel and a Hell.  You’d think this sort of mistake would happen often.  But that gives Abnett & Lanning a chance to write a really delectable Mephisto.  Some writers make Mephisto more of a nasty or brooding presence, but I much prefer him as a sly and fun character that is always trying to trick folks into joining him willingly.  That characterization makes more sense to me because Mephisto does have all the time in the world to win our souls by offering us tantalizing treats.  He also takes a pretty fun interest in Magma/Amarra; what real devil wouldn’t use their powers to try to get the hot chicks?

There is a lot of strong art in this issue.  David Lafuente is really a beast and he’s almost showing off here.  He’s one of those guys whose styles dip only slightly into the cartoony side of things, allowing him to have characters that look mostly normal, but can make the sorts of exaggerated gestures that help with the sequential storytelling.  He could probably mix up the page layouts a little more because we have a LOT of rectangles in this issue, but it is a fine looking book.  Very nice coloring by the team of Staples and Sotomayor too.

What’s Not So Good: Nothing really big.  If you bought this because it was a Fear Itself tie-in, you might be disappointed because this is very tertiary to the events of FI.  Of course, the way FI is going, that might be a good thing.

Conclusion: Very nice issue of New Mutants.  The quickest way to turn a B-list title around is to put some A-list art talent on the title.

Grade: B

-Dean Stell

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