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Monday, January 28, 2013

Graphic Novels - Ultimate X-Men Vol. 1: The Tomorrow People


Today's installment of Graphic Novels is brought to you by the creators of the Phantom Zone Arrow...yeah, that thing.

Wow, I actually forgot about this trade last year. I was knee deep in homework and it just slipped through. Ihad thought about doing sometime during the previous year, but I didn't. I think that's kinda the message of today's post.

I remember getting this book at McKay's when I was on my "Ultimate Spider-Man" fix. It was cheap and I was interested in seeing how it all began for the Ultimate X-Men. You can pretty much look at my last post about the Ultimate Universe here. A lot of this universe really reminds me of another thing I've talked this week: X-Men Evolution. The characters (well most of them) are younger, but they still have attitudes of  their original counterparts...well, most of them anyway.

First off, here is the creative team for Ultimate X-Men Vol. 1. The writer is Mark Millar and you might have heard of him. While he his known for a lot of things, he's mostly known for Civil War, Kick-A$$, Wanted, and The Ultimates 1 and 2. The artists on these six issues are Andy and Adam Kubert. These brothers have worked on a lot of books from the 90's till today. Examples include X-Men, Batman, Action Comics, and other books.Their artwork varies with me and you'll see why later. For this post, I'll be using the other format.

SYNOPSIS
We start out with Magneto and his Brotherhood doing their terrorist thing.  In turn, mankind does the "sensitive" thing by creating the Sentinels to basically hunt all mutants whether they're terrorists or not. For example, there was this one random mutant guy on the street who just gets stomped on by a Sentinel....Humans are stupid, ya know what I mean? Meanwhile all of this crazy stuff is going on, Jean Grey (who has a cool attitude throughout this book) is assembling the X-Men like Colossus, Storm, and Beast. They all get brought back to the Mansion and meet Cyclops and the Professor.

This newly-formed team then has to go to Manhattan to save a young Bobby Drake from getting killed by Sentinels and probably killed by "Dang, Dirty Humans." They barely get through the battle and head back to the Mansion. Elsewhere, Magneto is in the Savage Land doing evil things like betraying Shiva...yeah, it's an Indiana Jones reference. Look it up. When he finds out Xavier has a team of mutants, he sends in a mole to kill Xavier: Wolverine.

Logan takes a plane to America, where he is then captured by the military....the man gets no peace in any universe. Anyway, Xavier senses this and sends out the team to rescue him. He does try to kill the leading military a-hole, but Jean forcibly stops him. At the Mansion, Xavier makes Logan a member of the team. I have to say that the Danger Room exercise is probably where Xavier should have wondered about that decision.
Xavier: Ah yes, nice... now can you NOT do that in the real world? That would be pretty nice as well. I'm trying to run a school here!

While the students get used to the life of being superheroes as well as dogged on by society for being different, Magneto and the Brotherhood kidnap the Presidents daughter. Xavier sends out the team to save her even when they kinda don't want to. They head out and do their thing. They're able to save the President's daughter  but Beast gets badly hurt during the rescue. At the Mansion, Jean and Xavier work to heal Hank and they succeed with hilarious results. Meanwhile, Logan woos Jean...and they start making out. Scott, who's already on the "Peace vs. War" fence, sees this and decides to leave. We then get a scene that really makes Xavier a complete jerk. He basically tries to manipulate Scott into into not leaving. After that weird scene. Scott leaves to join the Brotherhood.

While Scott is questioning his time with the Brotherhood and Jean is "with" Logan (ugh) in a DC hotel, the rest of the team head to the White House. They find out that America is staging an attack on the Savage Land with the Sentinels. Xavier tries to tell the idiots that this would make things worse, but it doesn't work. The Sentinels are launched and fly toward the Savage Land.  As they attack the Savage Land, Magneto is able to stop them and rewire them so that they attack humans instead of mutants. He leaves with the Sentinels and heads towards Washington D.C.  Scott and a few others are against the idea, so he contacts the X-Men with his badge. By the way, he looks awesome on this page.

Even Pete and Wanda are in awe of "The Awesomeness of Cyclops."

As Magneto heads to Washington D.C., Xavier telepathically warns the whole city that they will be attacked. In a DC hotel, Jean finds out that Logan was a mole and rightfully beats him up. He tells her that he went against his orders because he's "in love." Awww...so sweet. Scott leaves to help the team in Washington and convinces Quicksilver to help stop his father. It's an all-out brawl as the X-Men stop the Sentinels and Xavier beats/kills (?)  Magneto. The story arc ends with Jean dumping Logan (YAY!!!!) and Scott rejoining the X-Men.
Okay, Xavier looks evil in that last panel...and not just evil, but "EVIL!!!!!!"

REVIEW
Well, that was a read. What do I think of it? It's good, but  it's not the greatest X-Men story I ever read. Millar took the cool things about the X-Men in general and added a lot of grit and realism (and maybe some surrealism) to this new universe. This world is not kind. They're afraid of mutants big time. The fact that they basically created 50-foot robots to kill any mutant at any time shows this. So with that, the X-Men are here for peace and are conflicted at the same time. Cyclops is one example. While Jean choosing Logan may have flipped that switch, he voices his concerns about being on the right side earlier in the book. I can't blame any mutant wanting to be on Magneto's side in this universe. The humans are a-holes! Anyway on to other stuff...

Most characterizations of the X-Men didn't fit with their original counterparts, but that's probably because they were literally thrown into this thing. Storm was a little off, but it was okay. Jean's attitude is definitely a plus for me here. While I think her thrist with Logan was...a little too much, she was pretty cool here. Cyclops actually got to come off as interesting here with him joining the Brotherhood for a while. Logan...was a douche. He really comes off as unlikable here to me, but he does get a few "BMS" moments. Magneto is probably at his most evil here. His actions at the end pretty much show that. He's also a horrible father. I think I know why Pietro and Wanda were led to...eh, never mind. No one should be reminded of that, Jeph Loeb!

The artwork varied with me here. On one hand, it was pretty good. On the other, it wasn't that good. Adam did the first four and Andy did the last two. You can really tell who did what. The book still had a uniform look to it. I liked Andy's artwork more than than I did Adam's. Adam's looked a little cartoony to me. Also, Jean looked like she was wearing a wig at times with Adam's artwork. I liked the new costumes especially Wolverine's. I kinda wish they didn't get rid of this one as time went on in this series. The artwork did also fit with the gritty nature of this universe. Just see Logan's decimation of the X-Men in the Danger Room.

Is there anything I don't like? I guess one thing would be that Xavier gets a little douchy at times. I get that he would definitely hate Magneto for what he's done to him, but messing with Scott like that was too much for me. Jean's thrist with Logan was a little much, but at least she kicked his butt to the curb at the end. Also, the prejudice from humans was too heavy-handed. Other than those things and some art, this volume was pretty... ultimate.

HIGHLIGHTS
While this volume is not one of my favorite, here are some things I liked or noticed about the book:

1. Cyclops: Rebel with a Cause - We apparently see the 50 shades of Scott Summers. He joins the bad guys, looks awesome, gets jealous, and questions authority. He does it all here.
If you think Logan's an butthead here, find out what he does to Scott later in the series.


2. Jean Grey:  One fine DMV (Don't Mess With) - While her one-night stand was a little jarring, I like this new version of Jean.


3. Magneto: TERRIBLE father - I really think he gives Deathstroke a run for his money. He treats Quicksilver like crap. No wonder he helps the X-Men at the end.
Wow, Magneto...just wow. And is that supposed to be Gambit in the middle panel to the right?

4. Humanity: Are we really this bad? - Okay, I can get fear thing. With Magneto and his Brotherhood running around, I can see that.  But building 50-foot robots to squash out another species just for existing is...well, stupid. It seems like normal people in both universes are pretty stupid.

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I haven't sought out volume 2 yet. While Ultimate Spider-Man's world and cast of characters is pretty interesting, the Ultimate X-Men's world is depressing and even more dreary than the original universe. I might check out the second volume. All in all, it's a decent story and it has some good art.

Well, the next post should end X-Men Month. Will there ever be another one? Who knows...Peace and God Bless.

NEXT TIME: ... ... ...

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