Their is a new creative team on the Ultimate X-Men and while I am sorely tempted to spend this entire review reflecting on the terrible run of the last creative team, I believe it would be more effective to discuss this new team and new story rather than dwell on the past. That being said, I’m about to become a hypocrite.
The new writer Aron E. Coleite, a writer for the hit TV show “Heroes,” took full advantage of Robert Kirkman’s ‘reset’ last issue. At the end of Kirkman’s run last month, he escalated the conflict between the Ultimate X-Men and an Ultimate version of Apocalypse to the point where Jean Grey became Phoenix and cleared the world of ever suffering from the confrontation, a confrontation that destroyed a fair sized chunk of Manhattan. Coleite takes the X-Men in a new direction of sorts while creating a good story with a feeling reminiscent of older X-Men stories. Ultimate X-Men is getting back to its roots, in a sense, with this story. While barely anything in this story is entirely original, and some of the parallel elements are easily recognizable in recent Marvel comics, Coleite does create an enjoyable comic book. A minor continuity error of Jean Grey still being present is deftly put aside with an immediate direct recognition of the error and the story commences at a break neck pace. This becomes a weakness within this issue, however, as Coleite instantly throws many plot elements in the air. In a single issue, Coleite has brought forth an Ultimate version of Alpha Flight, an Ultimate version of Mutant Growth Hormone (an addictive and destructive drug present in mainstream Marvel comics that bestows powers to normal humans and enhanced and secondary mutations to mutants), as well as more of Logan’s and Rogue’s pasts and Jean Grey’s barely-in-control status as a fiery bird god. If Coleite can manage these multiple plot threads than this could prove to be a turning point for the series, perhaps being a writer for an ensemble cast show like “Heroes” has given him this ability. If not, this story arc will suffer from the same issues as Kirkman’s of too much going on. But the classic feel to the series coupled with some very cool character development could make for a fun read. That being said, the character development, or rather revelations, are little shocking but the characterization could use some work. A grace period is probably due for Coleite to get a feel for the characters, but much of the dialogue feels fairly generic and could come out of any character’s mouth. Coleite has made a fun read that creates a nervous excitement about a series that is in desperate need of redemption.
Mark Brooks pencils compliments the classic feel of the story, with much of the over the top action of the initial fight looking clean and very energetic. The same goes for the more subdued scenes of simple interactions, with Brooks’ style being expressive and maintaining a high energy to it, encouraging the quick pace Coleite has set. While he does have a bit of an exaggeration issue concerning anatomy, Brooks seems to use this exaggeration for a purpose besides sexing up a comic book. Those affected by the Ultimate version of Mutant Growth Hormone are the characters with the more exaggerated anatomies, creating a physical depiction of its effects. Not necessarily negative at this point in the story, but if Coleite chooses to continue in the vein of Mutant Growth Hormone being a metaphor for real-life drugs like heroin or cocaine, than these exaggerations may prove to be an effective tool. His art is giving the story a visual representation of both energy and speed and giving an ’old school’ feel to the series. The drastic change in art from the last creative team serves to announce the new direction of the team, and it is working so far.
7.5/10 Coleite and Brooks bring an enjoyable read and much potential for this series.