Image: Marvel Comics

Marvel’s New Mutants characters are about to get a major profile boost with the debut of the New Mutants movie next year, but most of the characters from the X-Men spin-off team have been sidelined in the current comics. The major exceptions are Sunspot and Cannonball, who were promoted to the Avengers back during Jonathan Hickman’s run on the series, and have remained a presence on the team in Al Ewing’s New Avengers and U.S. Avengers. There are only two issues of U.S. Avengers left, but its final storyline is putting Cannonball in the spotlight as the Avengers travel to space to save him from a life of slavery on an alien planet modeled after an outdated fantasy of American small-town life.

This exclusive preview of next week’s U.S. Avengers #11 reveals that the small town is one rooted in comic-book history, meaning that Cannonball is basically trapped in Archie Comics’ Riverdale. This preview spotlights the sense of humor that has made Ewing’s work at Marvel consistently engaging and entertaining, with the town of Glenbrook ruled over by Ritchie Redwood, a “typical teenager” forcing everyone to play their part in his facsimile of a bygone American era. Artist Paco Diaz embraces the story’s Archie inspiration to bring a more cartoonish quality to the visuals, and colorist Jesus Aburtov adds a glistening brightness to the surroundings to reinforce the idealized nature of this world. Ewing has been Marvel’s most reliable Avengers writer for five years now, and while U.S. Avengers is ending, he’ll continue to the write the team as he joins the main Avengers title, which will be on a weekly shipping schedule and rotate creators.

Image: Marvel Comics; cover by David Nakayama
Image: Marvel Comics
Image: Marvel Comics

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Image: Marvel Comics
Image: Marvel Comics