A lot of times, I like to read a nice inoffensive comic book. You know, a comic that tells a good story, without the characters always facing life or death situations. One of my favorite comic books from about 5 years ago was New Mutants, which transformed into New X-Men:Academy X. The writers were Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir. They wrote the book as a I think a book concerning a group of teenagers should be written, in a light hearted, fun manner. The stories dealt more with what it was like to be a teenage mutant, the various relationships they made, and other light hearted affairs.
For me, this book was a nice breath of fresh air. Since I also read all the other X-team books, who were constantly fighting for their lives, the stories in New Mutants were more about taking a step back and being able to still read about mutants, but not constantly worry about the well fair of one of your favorite characters. Now, that's not to say these kids sat around the mansion all day and did nothing, there were plenty of times that they would disobey the X-men and go out and battle some various super-villain, be it Donald Pierce or the Blob.
However, the tone of the book was more uplifting, and with the student body approaching about 100 or so, there was almost limitless story potential. This changed a little with the re-titling of the series to New X-men, and it became obvious that Marvel had larger plans in store for the students at the Academy. Some things changed a little, the students were given practice time in the danger room, etc, but the overall feel of the book remained the same. These were kids first and foremost, and being such, dealt with more petty things, which like I said earlier was a welcome change from the dangerous world of the X-Men. As a matter of fact, a good deal of students attending the school had little to no interest in even becoming X-Men, they were just there to gain an education.
This all changed when the new creative team of Christopher Yost and Craig Kyle took the reigns of the comic book after the House of M/Decimation event. No longer was New X-Men a fun lighthearted read, it was now a darker comic then the other X-titles which is almost incomprehensible, considering the fact that the book dealt with teenagers! Yost and Kyle killed about 25 of the students on the grounds of the school(even though the school was supposed to be under 24 hour protection by Sentinels...). The characters who were killed off, weren't exactly what you would call main characters, but it was unfortunate to see those lives snuffed out none the less.
What they did next was as far as I am concerned completely unforgivable. First they killed of the character of Jay Guthrie. This move made little sense, since the Guthrie family was so entrenched with the X-Men, two of Jay's siblings actually served as X-Men(Cannonball and Husk). To make matter even worse, Jay possessed a HEALING FACTOR! Now, I can't claim to be an expert on healing factors, but aren't they supposed to, I don't know, HEAL YOU FROM INJURY! Anyway, the killing of Jay was an asinine move on so many levels, because it disregards his history, as well as the fact that his siblings now had to work at a place where their younger brother was murdered.
However, I still continued to read this comic, because of the fact that it WAS one of my favorites, and ever the optimist, I continued to hope that things would turn around and the comic would return to it's more lighthearted roots. Boy was I wrong... For me the final straw was the killing of Laurie Collins. Laurie had been one of the first characters introduced back in the New Mutant days, and was to me the heart and soul of the team. She was a shy girl, who had tremendous powers, the ability to control the pheromones of others around her, and was usually unsure about herself and her powers. I loved her character, because of the fact that she was the most "real" character in the book. Laurie wasn't going to be running around in skin tight spandex, or leaping into battle guns blazing, she was a deep character with TONS of potential. Laurie meets her fate while talking to her on again off again boyfriend Josh Foley on the school grounds. While they are discussing their relationship, a sniper shoots Laurie through the back of the head killing her instantly. Now, remember, the school grounds were under the protection of O.N.E. and their many manned Sentinels. So I ask, where the #### were the Sentinels? How did a sniper get close enough to pick off a student with all the security the school was supposed to have? Most importantly though, is why would you kill off a character as interesting and dynamic as Laurie? Couldn't she just have been written out of the series a number of different ways? To this day, I still don't understand what the death's of all of these students served... Each character in the hands of a better writer could have become something greater, but by taking the easy way, Yost and Kyle Threw all those potentially great characters away.
Why did they do it? The only reason I can think is to add X-23 to the mix. X-23, whose only claim to fame is being a teenage female version of Wolverine. Well, that's just what the world needed, yet ANOTHER version of Wolverine. Don't get me wrong, I like Wolvie, but I think that lately he has become a little over exposed. He's everywhere! Now, we have the female version of him running around in New X-Men/X-Force. Oh yeah, just to twist the knife a little more, X-23's first appearance was during the X-Men Evolution cartoon, and guess who was responsible for her creation their? That's right, Christopher Yost and Craig Kyle. To them, all New X-Men was, was a way to bring their creation into the Marvel Universe at the expense of all of the other characters in that series. I to this day could never read a comic with X-23 in it, because all she reminds me of is the selfishness of Yost and Kyle. Needless to say whenever I see either the name Yost or Kyle on a comic book, I avoid it like the plague. New X-Men went from being one of my favorite comic books every month, to the first comic book that I ever stopped collecting mid-series. For that, I will never forget or forgive the pathetic "writers" who ruined this book, Yost and Kyle. I would love to hear from anyone who may have also been fans of this under appreciated series.