Artist Rod Reis is discovering his X-gene - developing new skills drawing his first team book in New Mutants as part of the ongoing "Dawn of X" X-Men line relaunch. Working alongside co-writers Ed Brisson and Jonathan Hickman, Reis is bringing together different generations of characters from the original New Mutants, Generation X, and Young X-Men for a look into the lives of the youth of Krakoa.
But the adventures won't be limited to the X-Men's new island demense - in just the first arc of New Mutants Reis is drawing Shi'ar, Starjammers, and even a card game in space.
Newsarama spoke to Reis ahead of New Mutants #1's November 6 release to find out what it's like being part of a new era of the X-Men, and uniting multiple classic mutant teams under one banner for "Dawn of X".
Newsarama: Rod, you’re relaunching New Mutants alongside Jonathan Hickman and Ed Brisson. What’s the status of the team when we jump in?
Rod Reis: We have characters that were dead and were resurrected on Krakoa and Cannonball is in space. We want, at the start, to show the group as a fun team of young mutants, very similar to the relationship you have in the early runs of New Mutants.
Nrama: Without being too spoilery, what’s on your drawing board today?
Reis: Today I'm doing a layout a page where the team is playing cards in a spaceship!
Nrama: Mutants from several different eras will appear in New Mutants. Which cast members have you found yourself connecting with?
Reis: I have always been a fan of New Mutants especially the Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz run but I'm also having a lot of fun drawing Mondo and Chamber from Generation X.
Nrama: What’s it like working with Jonathan and Ed? What are the key things you’re keeping in mind when translating their scripts?
Reis: When I read Hickman's script I could see the love he has for these characters so for this first arc we are trying to honor the classic New Mutants and bring something new to the table, which leads to Ed, who will be my collaborator after first arc. We've been talking about his ideas and he got me very excited about the future.
Nrama: What’s different about drawing an ensemble book like this?
Reis: I've never drawn a team book before so it's going to be fun (and a challenge) to play with characters in that sense. Also it's a book with characters that I keep close to my heart, so it's very important for me that the final product is the best it can be.
Nrama: Will the Shi’ar and other classic X-Men elements will come into New Mutants as it rolls on?
Reis: Yes, we have a lot of Shi'ar and Starjammers in this first arc.
Nrama: What’s your favorite thing you’ve drawn for this series so far?
Reis: I'm having a blast drawing the Starjammers and Mondo.
Nrama: Bottom line, what can readers expect from New Mutants?
Reis: What I'm trying to achieve with my artwork is to bring that 80's vibe. What Hickman is doing with the entire X-universe allows us to have a lot of classic New Mutants fun and action, so, long-time fans should recognize the characters they love and new fans will discover that they are more than a team, they are a family. I hope people stay on board with us during this journey and have as much fun reading the book as we have working on it.