Friday morning quaterbacking

Ultimate X-Men begins a new story arc and a new lease on life in the post Robert Kirkman era with issue #94. The title is now being penned by Aron E. Coleite and Mark Brooks handles the pretty pictures.

The problem I have reading this title is the same one I’ve always had while following previous incarnations of this comic dealing with a revised history of the team; as a long time X-Men reader, I always feels as though I am reading original stories which are below par some of the classic X-Men comics I’ve read in the past.

Once you’ve perused the likes of Chris Claremont and other classic story tellers, it seems as though this new Ultimate universe version of Xavier’s children keeps borrowing from classic fare to improve upon or at least equal its 616 counterpart. And it never fully delivers. However, just because you can’t equal perfection or as close to it as you can come doesn’t mean you can’t be good. This is the case with this comic book which is a solid enough effort on a consistent basis.

Some elements of the stories are always intriguing such as this issue’s appearance of Alpha Flight whose members are made more powerful by the use of a drug which enhances their mutant powers to God like proportions.

The writer also does a decent job of delving into Colossus’ back story. If you haven’t been following the Ultimate version of our favorite Russian X-Men, you might be surprised (as I was) that he is gay in this book, unlike his traditional counterpart.

I am not even sure when his romance with another former member of Alpha Flight started, but this opens up interesting story angles dealing with his relationship with Northstar, Marvel’s original gay super hero. While it takes some getting used to by those who have followed the character’s exploits in the traditional version of this comic, it isn’t any more revolutionary than previous changes made to the X mythos in this title.

Coleite goes further by posing a moral question to the students of the X-Mansion: how far should they go to counteract the threat posed by villains using more ruthless methods such as their taking of power enhancing drugs?

Just as the matter gets explored, the requisite cliffhanger occurs, followed by a short preview of Moon Knight #20.

I really enjoy the artwork in this title. Big panels are used throughout but they do not detract from the flow of the story and rarely does it venture into giant sized spread pages which are common in many Marvel titles and which serve little purpose other than as nice mini pin ups. Some of the story elements in this comic have insured me picking it up in the future, if only to see which X-Men characters are given the ultimate treatment next.

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