Ultimate X-Men #44
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: David Finch
a confession to make:
took over Ultimate X-Men after Mark Millar's run, I
was the one guy in fandom who worried.
make that face
and put the gun away.
stand by my initial misgivings, though. After all, didn't
he drag Ultimate Spidey into the mix just as fast as his little
Bendis hands could type it (well, assuming his hands are really
that small)? Yeah! And didn't he spend those first six issues
giving us a "Return of Wolvie" arc that both A)
happened way too soon considering his recent break with the
team and B) was too quick even though it was six issues long?!
I think so
but it definitely wasn't what
Mark Millar had raised us on, and the fact that Bendis' first
four months on the job played out more like an Ultimate
Marvel Team-Up run didn't bode well for fans of Millar's
the current "New Mutants" arc, the Bendis plan seems
to be coming together.
with Warren Worthington and Logan in the Danger Room, proving
that the "Ultimate" universe's Angel is even wussier
than his Marvel universe counterpart before segueing into
a huge speech from Nick Fury to Xavier and company. It turns
out that ol' Nick is onto the anti-mutant cadre operating
inside the government (the same sweethearts who wanted Logan
killed in the last arc) and knows they intend to strike against
the President and his "new mutants", but there's
also absolutely nothing he can do about it. The plotters are
so high up and so firmly entrenched in seats of power that
even mentioning it could get Nick court-martialed for treason.
"Legally," he can't even be telling Xavier any of
this, including the fact that he knows the attack is supposed
to come during the President's press conference on the steps
of the Capitol building where he'll announce his new mutant
my question to you, Charles, is
What are your plans?"
aside the massive amount of talking heads in this issue, I
have to applaud Bendis for giving me something I haven't had
nearly enough of, lately: that surprise you get when you turn
the page and the first panel hits you like a Mack truck. He
does it twice, here, and both instances have me anxious for
the next issue -- not something extraordinary for Bendis,
but considering the way so much of this run has gone, it's
a pretty new feeling, for me.
there's a lot of the standard art recycling we've come to
love or hate in any Bendis book, but David Finch does a nice
enough job that it doesn't hurt too much
though I still
can't stand the way the man does eyebrows. What the hell's
going on with those weird squiggly things? And is it just
me, or do Emma Frost and Dazzler have nearly identical faces
in their first panel of the press conference?
In a way,
I still miss the style Andy Kubert used on the book. It may
have been a bit cartoony, in comparison, but it made the title
easy to recognize as being outside the regular X-men books
without going overboard into hyper-wannabe-manga territory.
Finch's work could probably be called more realistic and it
may very well work better with the repeating panels than Kubert's
would have, yet it achieves the dubious distinction of being
both dirty and not always jaw-droppingly detailed. I wouldn't
call this a flaw, but when you have Bryan Hitch and Trevor
Hairsine doing the other "realistic" attempts in
the "Ultimate" universe, the stakes get a bit higher.
the story, it's nice to see Bendis tying things together,
even if the results have been more like his other "Ultimate"
entrees than his lower selling, more award-winning titles.
Of course, it might be a nice change if his "Ultimate"
books spent less time holding the reader's hand through scenes
and more time moving forward with the plot
look how people reacted to the "monkey love" issue
of Powers. I know, it may not have been a rapid-fire
plotline, but shucks-howdy did he alienate a lot of fanboys,
do it again.