New Mutants #24
The Age of X story line comes to its conclusion in Chapter 6 as the full reveal of the nature of the alternate reality is presented, then un-done, returning us to the 616 reality. Congratulations to writer Mike Carey, artists Clay Mann and Steve Kurth and everyone else involved for a well-written and enjoyable project. Northstar appears in this issue as both the Age of X and 616 version of himself in various panels scattered throughout the book.
The assembled mutant army reacts quickly to the massive assault that started up last issue. They’ve just had their worldview completely shattered by part of the reveal from last issue but nevertheless head right into the battle. In a fairly large panel, Cannonball and his mutant army are shown heading straight out of the page toward the reader. The panel is filled rather densely with fliers and runners occupying background and foreground and let’s just say that Steve Kurth is much better at drawing flying figures than running ones. Some of the running figures are in rather contorted poses as if they were suffering from a neuromuscular disorder or in need of a bathroom break, but fortunately, Northstar is a flier in this panel, and Kurth is rather skilled at drawing powerful and graceful flying figures. He can be seen under Cannonball’s armpit in such a great pose but unfortunately very tiny. I really wish he had been drawn much bigger because even though he has no face, that position is just so awesome.
As the battle begins, a giant two-page spread features Northstar zipping along with his red contrails streaming behind him. These red streaks were never explained but do appear several times in this issue, drawn more jagged than the perfect geometrical style Clay Mann used. Northstar appears to be running in this scene, but like all of the other scenes in this battle, he’s not shown directly engaging any of the invaders. Contrast this with Namor, who destroys two gunships by smashing them into each other or Basilisk (the Age of X version of Cyclops), who routinely blasts the hell out of everything in sight.
On the other hand, at one point, Cannonball calls out to Northstar, who is still running around doing who knows what, and orders him to help out Storm and her squad, so the reader does get the idea that he is a useful combatant who can quickly turn the tide of a skirmish. Well, that’s the best Northstar respect we get in this very busy book where dozens and dozens of characters don’t even get identified by name at all, so I’ll take it.
As the battle rages on, Legion takes control over the reality and eliminates all of the bad guys by uttering a slightly mangled line from Alice in Wonderland. Shortly thereafter, he winks the Age of X reality back to normal. Northstar’s left leg can be seen behind Pixie’s wings in the “before” panel which is fuzzed out with a hazy transformation effect. On the back of the next page, the clear “after” panel shows everyone in the exact same positions in the 616 world, standing on Utopia and with a normal sky behind them. Northstar can be seen again but now unobscured, as Pixie’s 616 wings are a different shape and much smaller. It would have been much better to have had the “before” and “after” panels on facing pages, so as to produce a sort of character map, but unfortunately the Alice in Wonderland scene was also a two page spread and it didn’t work out.
Northstar appears in a few more panels, drawn with the belted version of his costume. This version does not have a starburst on his right hip. We’ve seen this costume before in a few books, in his little cameo from New Mutants #15 and in Tim Fish’s featurette in Nation X #2.