Writer: Vita Ayala
Art: Rod Reis, Jan Duursema, and Ruth Redmond
Letters: VC’s Travis Lanham
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: May 18th, 2022
Magik and the recently resurrected Madelyne Pryor take front and center in New Mutants #25, where Magik plans to turn over the rulership of Limbo to Madelyne. The pair travel to Limbo with Wolfsbane and Dani Moonstar along for the ride, who are worried that everything’s going to go to hell (no pun intended) when the new management takes over. None of them are prepared for what happens when they get there.
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New Mutants #25 kicks off with Magik, Wolfsbane, and Dani Moonstar having a sparring session that’s more “Fight Club” than “Karate Kid”, with no strikes being held back. Despite the brutal fighting, it’s easy to see the close bond the three characters have. This is a nice moment between the characters, who have all been around forever, and I could have easily enjoyed it if the whole issue consisted of them just fighting and chatting. But Madelyne Pryor soon appears (in an outfit that makes Red Sonja’s costume look like a burqa) and soon all of them are off to Limbo.
Throughout the issue, writer Vita Ayala has storybook style interludes with a story involving a tiny goblin (who symbolically represents Magik) and echoes the main plot that’s occurring. It’s a nice way to enhance what’s going on and gives additional insight into Magik’s worldview.
The remainder of the issue stays in Limbo and there’s an eerie Dungeons & Dragons feel to it, as Magik, Madelyne, Wolfsbane, and Dani reminisce and explore Limbo’s vast library. Wolfsbane and Dani despise Madelyne and don’t hide their feelings, while Madelyne couldn’t care less about anything they say, talking to them in a dismissive manner which makes things even worse.
It’s fun to watch them argue amidst the massive tomes, scrolls, and potions that adorn every corner of the huge library. The characters play off each other wonderfully.
But if you think that the whole issue is just talking heads, never fear, because the issue ends with a massive fight scene. Yep, I’ll never get tired of watching Magik decimate with her soulsword.
Rod Reis does the art for the main story in New Mutants #25, while Jan Duursema handles the art for the storybook interludes and an epilogue at the end of the issue.
I’ve never been a huge fan of Rod Reis’s art, but here, with the bulk of the issue taking place in the dark magical realm of Limbo, his impressionistic style works well. The characters are emotive and in the battle scenes, their powers and weapons shine. The architecture of Limbo is drawn in a lovely gothic manner, reminding me of sets from one of those old Roger Corman films like “The Pit and the Pendulum” that adapted Edgar Allen Poe stories.
Jan Duursema’s art is as beautiful as always. She’s always been a master of fantasy art, and I especially loved the epilogue she draws at the end of the book, which flashes back to Illyana’s childhood. The flickering candelabras and the look of the creatures in Limbo are all wonderful, and there’s even a beautiful splash page (featuring all the characters in Illyana’s life) that I’d love to have as a poster.
New Mutants #25 is a great beginning to a new storyline, with a mysterious over-arching villain, some dynamic character moments, and a great battle. A huge cliffhanger ending caps off the issue, and I look forward to seeing what happens next.