Written by Aron Coleite; pencilled by Mark Brooks; cover by Ed McGuiness
Ultimate X-men is easily the most schizophrenic book I’ve ever read. It’s good, it’s bad. It’s tied directly to Ultimatum, it’s got nothing to do with Ultimatum. Seriously, it’s more disorienting than an episode of Lost.
Remember when Stryker and his Sentinel-ized racist buddies attacked the mansion last issue? That’s got almost nothing to do with this ish. No, this issue is all about Jamie Madrox’s role in Ultimatum. And to that end, it is fantastic! Mind you, the climax of the story does read a bit like a past issue of UXM – #41 to be exact – wherein Wolverine had to kill a kid whose power was to uncontrollably kill everyone around him. Still, it’s a decent tie-in to Ultimatum and a reasonably action packed issue, while still being a fairly well grounded character piece.
The art’s gorgeous, too. I’ve always loved Mark Brooks and I’ll say it one more time – if you ever see him at a con, get a “sketch.” I don’t care how much he’s charging, it’s worth it. Also of note is the cover by Ed McGuiness. I didn’t “get it” when I saw his cover to the last ish of UFF because I wasn’t reading that title when it launched, but McGuiness is doing tributes to all of the innaugural covers here, and it’s really quite well done. The icing on the cake of a near perfect issue.
There’s only one problem. We keep seeing Jean sporting the Phoenix flames, and I can’t help but be reminded of the fact that when the Phoenix first manifested, Jean used its powers to turn back time and save the world from Apocalypse, a threat that – in the grand scheme of things – didn’t seem to have as much impact as Magneto’s had in Ultimatum. So… if she could do that, then, why isn’t she doing it again, now? Considering the entire line is relaunching, it doesn’t seem entirely implausible to assume that is exactly what will happen to close out Ultimatum. And that poses the question of what’s worse: ignoring Jean’s ability to retcon this entire event and go back to square one, or capitalizing on it to create what would effectively be “Ultimate Crisis”?
This line is only ten years old. It shouldn’t need a reboot. Especially not when issues like this can still be cranked out. 4 out of 5 fading dupes.