Ultimate Comics: X-Men #3
By Zak Edwards
November 21, 2011 - 12:02
Writer(s): Nick Spencer
Penciller(s): Paco Medina
Inker(s): Juan Vlasco
Colourist(s): Marte Garcia
Letterer(s): Joe Sabino
Cover Artist(s): Kaare Andrews
The latest issue of Nick Spencer’s Ultimate Comics: X-Men proves just exactly why monthly titles are problematic and enjoyable all at once. While the first issue of Ultimate Comics: X-Men was mostly about ideas and the second was about the execution of these ideas, this issue deals with these ideas in the contexts of back-rooms, the necessities of status quo, and their maintenance and adaptation. Every issue so far is trying to take a different and multifaceted approach to Spencer’s interpretation of the basic argument of the X-Men comic: how does a minority or persecuted group continue to exist, both in terms of the established majority and the minority itself. It’s the heart of the Prof. Xavier/ Magneto dynamic, the former attempts a romanticized and optimistic integration manifesto, the other a more violent, active, and reactionary approach. The popular cultural equivalent of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X is generally thought of as the real life equivalent, although that comparison requires a notable ignorance of what Malcolm X wrote himself and relies on popular media imaging. So while Ultimate Comics: X-Men may just simply be continuing the basic metaphors with a different sort of face, the story works very well, if encountering only a few problems along the way.
Paco Medina’s art sort of follows in this vein as well. Points of the story are actually quite amazing to look at, his energy and style serve the title well in scenes like the prison escape flashbacks. The paneling and scenarios are also dynamic and engaging, keeping things moving between Spencer’s musings, but Medina is still and inconsistent and problematic artist. His characters are strangely posed, impossibly so for the female characters, and their appearances can switch ages noticeably from page to page. Two pages in particularly, focusing on Quicksilver, change in quality so much, it’s simply awful to look at because of the gross inconsistency between panels. There are instances where characters’ faces change as well, looking nothing like themselves if not for their costumes. Unfortunately, this book could be wonderfully rendered by so many talented artists out there, but Medina' work detracts from the whole experience.
Grade: B Things need to improve in some respects, but the book is still great.
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