Ultimate X-Men #46
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Artist: Brandon Peterson
time Ultimate X-Men got a new writer, the story
leapt off on an arc far removed from the prior setting.
The focus was on one member of the team fighting old foes
and joining-up with heroes from outside the franchise. It
generally stayed away from the threads of the last arc.
time, they’re working double-time to reassure us this
is a team book.
story opens with Jean-Paul, a teenage boy, standing on top
of a high school building, crying his eyes out. Nightcrawler
suddenly appears and begs that he not jump, but the sheer
shock of Nightcrawler’s demonic appearance is enough
to force the boy off the ledge and into the arms of Angel.
They once more plead that he not commit suicide, to which
he retorts he never intended to.
wanted to be alone after being kicked off the track team
for doing a mile run in under three minutes. He swears he
never took steroids, and… but that’s why they’ve
come for him, isn’t it? Jean-Paul accuses Xavier of
running a cult, segregating mutants from the rest of society,
and getting his students killed (see last issue) before
storming off, leaving Angel and Nightcrawler dumbfounded.
at the mansion, Wolverine and Colossus are releasing their
frustration over Beast’s death on the Danger Room
and each other. Emma Frost is outraged to see Xavier allowing
such behavior and takes Havok out on a road trip, hoping
the Professor will get over being dark and mysterious before
his students go nuts and start killing each other.
and Iceman have a nice little moment together discussing
dying young and the finer points of ice-skating until Kitty
Pryde walks in and sees they froze-over the pool for the
lesson just when she was about to go for a dip. Stuck in
her bikini, she rushes to her and Storm’s room only
to find the door locked. Embarrassment overriding politeness,
she phases through the door to see the room trashed and
Storm… well, let’s just say Storm’s not
taking Beast’s passing well.
like to be really excited about this run (especially after
all those months of rumor that Chuck Austen would get to
ruin this book, as well), but Vaughan introduces a new/old
character to the Ultimate universe who could just as easily
mean bad things as good.
ruin the surprise, but it’s the same feeling of worry
I got when Bendis brought Venom into Ultimate continuity.
Sure, it turned out all right that time, but who couldn’t
feel the icy fingers of rotten Marvel continuity creep around
their necks when that was announced? What kind of can of
worms will this one open? Who’s to say?
other hand, Vaughan isn’t afraid to show upfront that
he KNOWS the X-Men. The pairing of Angel and Nightcrawler
makes for a great visual, but it does an even better job
of highlighting how such drastically different looking creatures
are equally alien in the eyes of man. Wolvie using his claws
to relax isn’t that new, but seeing Colossus' masochistic
side is oddly satisfying after so little characterization
of late (especially considering he’s the only Ultimate
X-man whose Marvel Universe counterpart is neither active
nor alive). Bobby and Rogue connecting works, and its pretty
hard to mess up young Kitty Pryde, but they aren’t
the most impressive accomplishments of the new crew.
is probably the first time in years that I’ve felt
a connection with Cyclops. I mean no offense to the legions
of talented writers who’ve handled the character over
the years, but, face facts, the man’s a cold fish
who holds everything in. Just about every incarnation of
Ol’ One Eye has been dull, boring, and made you want
to smack the bastard right in his dopey red visor.
reminds us that Jean Grey and he are the perfect pair because
she can see past the awkward façade to the strong,
intelligent man hiding inside. His Cyke is the guy who invented
worlds and planned war campaigns in his head while the other
kids were playing freeze-tag, and Jean is the only person
who can see he’s not creepy but creative. He’s
not obsessive, he’s driven.
come on, is that not the ultimate not-scary geek fantasy
finally feel some compassion for Storm. Bendis probably
deserves a lot of credit for that, but Vaughan only has
her in one panel and you can feel just how messed up she
is. Brandon Peterson sets a great tone in the artwork, making
the subtleties of Kitty’s face and the power of Storm’s
emotion come to life. And, man, does the coloring team revel
in Nightcrawler’s brimstone. If you just downloaded
the Mile High Comics preview, believe me, you haven’t
from what we’ve seen in Ultimate X-Men #46,
it looks like the torch has been passed on to the right
team. With any luck, the new storyline won’t bother
me as much as I fear it might. Only thing I can tell for
sure: Vaughan knows his X-Men.