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Monday, July 17, 2006

cover of Ultimate X-Men

As far as I can tell, Marvel's "Ultimate" series are re-imaginings of their classic superheroes in a contemporary setting-- probably targetted at people like me, who want to enjoy reading the comic books but don't know where to start. I'm not familiar enough with the X-Men to know if there are any significant departures here from other versions of their beginnings; and, in a way, I don't really care-- because this book is brilliant. It's well-written and engaging, and the artwork is absolutely gorgeous. The story begins with mutants being hunted down by government-sanctioned Sentinels, and Xavier, with the help of a teenaged, punk-looking Jean Grey, rescuing and recruiting the young, powerful mutants who will become his X-Men.

The story does a great job of fitting into a contemporary setting; I particularly liked the idea of Wolverine as a legendary assassin who had been photographed once (maybe, fleetingly) in Kuwait during Desert Storm. The other characters are equally fascinating-- for instance, seeing Hank's progressive transformation into something much bluer and beast-like.

In The Tomorrow People, the team comes together and faces off against Magneto's Brotherhood, trying to live up to Xavier's ideal of protecting the Homo Sapiens despite their hatred towards mutants. In Burial Service, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch mourn the loss of their father, Magneto. In Return to Weapon X, the majority of the X-Men are captured by Weapon X in their attempt to recover Wolverine (their most powerful & successful asset, before they lost him). Nick Fury plays a fairly significant supporting role in this section, and it's fun to see him operate.

Great stories, great writing, fabulous artwork. This book is high at the top of my favorite comic book collections, and I'm delighted to discover that several volumes of Ultimate X-Men are already out, because I can't wait to read more.

Title:Ultimate X-Men : Ultimate Collection (collects #1 The Tomorrow People, #1/2 Burial Service by Geoff Johns, and #2 Return to Weapon X)
Author:Mark Millar
Date published:2006
Genre:Graphic Novel
Number of pages:336


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