Monday, May 26, 2003

Ultimate X-Men #33 - A Review

Written by: Mark Millar
Penciled by: Adam Kubert
Inked by: Danny Miki
Colored by: Dave Stewart
Lettered by: Chris Eliopoulos
Editor: Ralph Macchio
Publisher: Marvel Comics

I’ve been accused in the past of not liking Mark Millar. I think I’m about half in half. True, I despise “The Ultimates” and think that his attempts to turn The Avengers into The Authority are misguided at best… and idiotic at worst. But I also think that the first part of his “Superman: Red Son” Elseworld’s is one of the best Superman stories in years. And I’ve started reading back issues of Ultimate X-Men to keep up on events that are crossing over into the Ultimate Spider-Man title. And while I did like the first few major story arcs that reintroduced us to the X-Men, I have found Millar’s last story arcs: “Ultimate War” and “Return of the King” to be competent, if uninspired.

Here is the whole story in a nutshell. Professor X goes to visit Magneto in his plastic prison cell. The two debate philosophy as friends, while affirming that there is no way they can ever reach a common ground politically. At the same time, Cyclops and Wolverine confront each other over Logan’s longing for Jean and the steps he took to win her away from Cyclops.

Hmmm… now why does this seem so familiar?

In the case of the former, we saw this scene in both X-Men movies. In the case of the later, we saw it before in countless X-Men stories over the past 20 years. I will give Millar credit in that he does a twist here in how Cyclops handles the situation by actually doing something besides posturing and making threats… but still, the whole thing feels like a summer rerun and the issue of Logan’s betrayal are dismissed far too quickly.

The art team of Kubert and Miki do a competent job, however. Everything is cleanly illustrated and well defined, which is more than I can say of the team that works on Millar’s other Ultimate title, The Ultimates. Or perhaps I should say Millar’s only Ultimate title, since this is his last issue of Ultimate X-Men. Brian Michael Bendis takes over this title next month, and if he can only make this half as good as Ultimate Spider-Man, it will still be an improvement over Millar’s uninspired “Return of the King”.

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