In May, Marvel is relaunching New Mutants with writer Zeb Wells, this time focusing the ongoing series on "what happened next" to the characters from the beloved classic series.
"We want this book to be the sequel to the 80's series," Wells said. "We want to do something that will let fans know how these characters turned out after they 'graduated.'"
Wells said that when Marvel editor Nick Lowe got in touch with him about the idea of a relaunch, everyone was on the same page, wanting to use as many of the classic characters as possible. To start, the team will feature Cannonball, Magma, Sunspot, Illyana, Xi'an, and Dani Moonstar.
"They're not all together when we start, but by the end of the first issue they're more or less functioning as a team," Wells said. "They're the classics. And you'll be seeing some more familiar faces very soon."
The writer said that while the focus is on classic characters, the stories will be a little different this time around because they've graduated.
"The New Mutants are the first batch of kids that were being trained in Xavier's school to actually graduate" he said. "And I don't mean that in the small 'they got a diploma' way...I mean they were being trained as X-Men and now, for all intents and purposes, that's what they are.
"That's not to say they're part of the X-Men team proper, but in the eyes of their peers they're qualified to act as an autonomous team," Wells explained. "They are adults. They're bonafide mutant heroes."
The writer said the focus will be on what it's like for these kids to become adults, and how their training and shared experience helps them with that transition.
"The book is about a group of friends learning how to be adults together, how to function as a full-fledged X-Men squad – not being told what to do and tagging along on missions, but being in charge of their own destiny," Wells said. "We want to show them being the mutants Xavier trained them to be, while having fun with the same character dynamics that were so great back in the day."
The first story in the new series will be about the team facing down one of their classic villains, although Wells wasn't talking about which one.
"Oh, ho ho. Just wait and see," he teased.
One of the challenges the team will face is going up against top-tier villains, and the first story will see Sam Guthrie taking the reigns of leadership and coming to grips with what that means.
"They're going to be expected to face X-Men level villains on their own," Wells said. "The challenge is living up to that responsibility. A big theme in volume one was their desire to be treated like adults. Well, now they are, and we'll see how they handle it."
But Wells also clarified that the book isn't just a "coming of age" comic, but will have a serious tone as the team risks their lives in a high-stakes environment.
"I want people to feel that these are a young generation of soldiers on the front lines of a war against extinction. They're a family with a lot of history who will die for each other, and they'll have many opportunities to prove that," he said. "I want old school New Mutants fans to love this book, I want to give them high stakes stories with the characters they love."
As for the future of the comic, Wells said the list of team members for the first issue doesn't necessarily mean no other characters will be joining.
"If you're upset that your favorite New Mutant isn't on the team, give us a few months," he said. "You won't be disappointed."