Well, I Finally Watched The New Mutants. . .

Image courtesy of Amazon

My History with the Comics

Long before I had any idea of my own sexuality, I was a gawky twelve-year-old who struggled to make friends, and was more focused on avoiding bullies and finding something good to read. The friend who had introduced me to comics only a few years earlier had tried getting me into the X-Men, but they were in the middle of the whole Madelyne Pryor storyline. I thought Mister Sinister looked cool, but found everything else very confusing.

Image courtesy of Marvel
From The New Mutants #18, art by Bill Sienkiewicz, and possibly the first comics page I ever saw that wasn’t a grid in some way. (Written by Chris Claremont, colored by Glynis Wein, and lettered by Tom Orzechowski)
From The New Mutants #23. (Art by Bill Sienkiewicz, written by Chris Claremont, colored by Glynis Wein, and lettered by Tom Orzechowski)

Why I Was Excited for the Film

After the mix of drudgery, confusion, and boredom I’d felt watching Apocalypse and Dark Phoenix, the prospect of another X-Men film felt to me the way a friend of mine who is a Star Wars fan described going to see Revenge of the Sith: preparing to go to work at a job you hate. But then I learned it was going to be a horror movie based on The New Mutants, and I couldn’t wait to see it.

What Went Wrong

Almost every description of the production begs to use the word troubled. A vicious cycle of rewrites that involved up to eight screenwriters before filming began. An April 13, 2018 release date. Too many other X-Men films coming out. A February 22, 2019 release date. Scheduled reshoots, some to allegedly make the film more like IT: Chapter Two. An August 2, 2019 release date. The Disney-Fox merger. No reshoots. Threats of scrapping the whole thing and starting over. An April 3, 2020 release date. The pandemic. When it was finally released, it was so overshadowed by its production history that some critics intimated that would be the most interesting part of the film.

Beautiful on the page, improbable for the screen. (From The New Mutants #21, art by Bill Sienkiewicz, written by Chris Claremont, colored by Glynis Wein, and lettered by Tom Orzechowski and Lois Buhalis)
From Marvel Graphic Novel #4. (Written by Chris Claremont, art by Bob McLeod)
If you see nothing wrong with this, we probably won’t agree on much. (Sunspot from 1984 to 2017. Image courtesy of Latinx Geeks)
Left to right, 2017 and 1981. (Image courtesy of Google)
I don’t have a Facebook account, so I had to take a screenshot
Image courtesy of my phone and television

The Film Itself

The New Mutants arrived in theaters on August 28, 2020. Screeners were not provided for critics, and most chose (rightly) not to see and review it. What reviews there were ended up being tepid and damning by faint praise.

Image courtesy of IMDb
Arguably the best scene in the whole movie
This was supposed to be one of the biggest scares but all it did was make me wonder what Slender Man was doing in this film. (Image courtesy of Bloody Disgusting)

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Devin Whitlock

Devin Whitlock

Devout Chicagoan, though born and raised elsewhere. I write about gay comic books on the internet. http://queercomicsblog.blogspot.com/