War #4/Ultimate X-Men #28 and 29
writer: Mark Millar
a part of me that really wants Ultimate X-Men and The
Ultimates to end after Ultimate War. Not because
they suck; far from it. This whole war thing has got me completely
that Mark Millar has pulled off an extreme rarity for an ongoing
superhero series. Anything can happen. No character is essential.
For a few issues, it's completely believable that Wolverine
let Cyclops die in the Savage Land.
the latest issue of Ultimate X-Men revealed that Scott
survived, it isn't likely to be an incident brushed under
the table, or forgiven for the sake of soap opera. Read that
again: Wolverine tried to kill Cyclops so that he could have
incidents like that have happened under Millar's hand. Magneto
knee-capped Quicksilver as punishment for Pietro's allying
himself with humans. (As for Wanda, she was forced to watch
- any resemblance to actual dictators alive or dead is purely
development surely meant to parallel X-Men 2, the X-Men
are currently on the run. Their fugitive status has caused
Kitty to ponder if just maybe Magneto has the correct agenda.
But of all people, Iceman shuts her down, pointing out that
Lensherr's world has no place for even their human parents.
a complex issue, dealing with hatred. And Bobby Drake has
suffered it most overtly, as his parents tried to turn him
against Xavier. Through Bobby, Millar illustrates quite nicely
just why we should consider the X-Men heroes. They're willing
to do what's right, even though it would be much easier to
just hide. Or worse, fight for their superiority.
other side, of course, we have The Ultimates. Mostly humans,
but just a little bit better, the team has long had a secret
mutant on it, other than Quicksilver and The Scarlet Witch.
In Ultimate War #4, Millar reveals why he recast The
Wasp as a mutant, and it's a pretty clever reason that shows
what a master tactician Nick Fury is. Suddenly the gap between
the Weapon X project and S.H.I.E.L.D. doesn't seem so wide.
battle between the two teams is stunningly brutal. Seeing
Colossus face down against Iron Man suddenly brought into
focus that this Tony Stark really does have a time limit.
For a couple of panels, I bought that he'd bought it.
so Millar does keep stopping short of actually killing his
characters. But it's still possible that he will. He does
plan to walk away from these series shortly.
marketing won't allow for the loss of any major characters.
But we can hold out hope. Not because I want any to die, but
because it would make Ultimate War much more real. And Millar
has shown a commitment to trying to keep it as real as possible.
lest I gush too much, I'm not a big fan of the implication
that the Hulk eats people. And while it does make sense for
Captain America to remember having encountered Wolverine during
World War II (which seems to have been sort of retconned in
the Marvel Universe), his knowing Wolverine's real name, James
Howlett, when Wolverine does not, smacks of a post-Origin
quibbling, perhaps, but annoying that even in the Marvel Universe,
Wolverine has been known only as Logan for thirty years, but
suddenly starts encountering people who know him as James,
Jamie, or just plain Howlett.
Millar will kill the unkillable. And mutants will fly out
of my butt.
rate, these books are going to stand as classics, storylines
we'll be talking about years from now. I just hope that whoever
follows Millar doesn't undo what he's accomplished.