Kathryn Immonen’s "Hellcat" limited series a while back was an unexpectedly poppy, upbeat piece of work, criminally overlooked. So, following a similarly overlooked stint on "Runaways," it’s good to see the writer back in the saddle with a more commercial limited series, bound to expose her unique style to a new bunch of readers.
The series opens with various girls from the New Mutants transplanted into an alternate-reality-style high school setting. Immediately, things look odd to the reader, but it takes a while for that to bleed through into the story. The first half of the issue is played as a rather straight mutanthood-as-high school politics allegory, though Immonen’s skill means that even deprived of their signature powers, the characters come through strong – the switchblade wielding bad-girl that is X-23, for example.
Later, it becomes more apparent that things aren’t what they seem, and the series justifies its “X-Men” title by featuring Psylocke and Nightcrawler. Although, at this point, the cast is so well-rounded that one wonders whether it’s really a Pixie miniseries at all. However, one thing that suggests that the character will be slightly less marginalized in future issues is that the issue attempts to give Pixie a new back story.
There’s the briefest of nods to the character’s previously portrayed past (as seen in 2008’s FCBD issue of "X-Men") but only to placate the continuity obsessives. Like, for example, me. Beyond that, it’s full steam ahead as a woman (and, dare we say, witch?) claiming to be Pixie’s mother shows up on Utopia. If we’re being honest, it’s a far more interesting spin on the character, even though I’ve found the marriage of mutancy and magic to be a rather fraught one at the best of times.
One of the reasons Pixie has been steadily growing in popularity is that the character’s visual is rather more striking than many of her peers. The fairy wings, pink hair and dark eyes make her as iconic as any of the “classic” X-Men, and Sara Pichelli does the character justice with her artwork. Indeed, all the characters.
In Immonen and Pichelli, Marvel have managed to find a fantastic creative team (and, letterer aside, an all-female at that) with a distinctive and original take on the X-Men. Compared to the rather dour and homogenous feeling most of the line has at the moment, this can’t help but stand out. It might not have an event to piggyback on, but it is, undoubtedly, a worthwhile purchase for all current X-fans.