First off, I really like this story. The characters were fun, one or two of them were actually original, and I could understand two thirds of them. That's normally as good as it gets.
However, there were also some points in this story that I think could've been handled better.
1. I love the art. Not as ugly as Age of Apocalypse, and much more finely colored than the early stuff. And the age of the female characters saves them from the ridiculus clothing some female supers wear in this genre.
2. I could empathize with the characters. Wither has the worst (as in worst to have, not worst thought out) power, bar none, that I have come across. He touches things and they die. Or, in hte case of nonliving organic things, turn to dust. Naturally he is less than thrilled.
As for the others- Mercury was not terribly original, except for her power (she's made of liquid metal). She wants her parents to get past her being a mutant, and she has a crush on Wither. That is it. That is the sum and total of her personality. STill, I sort of liked her.
Dust was unusual because I think she's the first Muslim character I've found in the genre. She is Afghani and very traditoinal, which was more interesting than if she had been a rebel. Her main desire is to find her mother, from whom she was separated recently.
The other three- Tag, Hellion, and Rockslide- are okay, nothing special. Hellion is the semi-required rich kid, Rockslide is the strongman, and Tag has a specialized form of mind control. None of htem made much of an impression.
3. A good plot, nothing original but not bad.
1. Wither again. He is my favorite, but- IF HIS POWER TURNS ORGANIC MATTER TO DUST, WHY DOESN'T HE STARVE TO DEATH? Has this ever been adressed? The paradox has come up before, that a mutant's power should, technicaly, prevent their survival. But I never saw evidance that the writer noticed it.
2. If the baddie (who arrives suddenly, offering their hearts' desires and a price to match) can turn Wither's power off so easily, why couldn't the Beast do the same?
3. The Hellions are supposedly the bad kids at school. THis does not surface. Hellion has an attitude, and that's about it. However, the story opens with Emma Frost, who is most accustomed to chaos, telling Hellion that the level of rule-breaking the team had commited was unacceptable. Then the team has a run-in with the airport guards, but no one is hurt. And, truth to tell, I can't see any super-powered teenagers 'not' getting into a fight, under the circumstances. Then the entire thing vanishes. The Hellions seem to be just kids. Nice ones. Sorry, but this doesn't make sense.
All in all, a good read, but some paradoxes here.