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James T. Bebbington "Chris B" (England)
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Ultimate X-Men, Vol. 12: Hard Lessons
Ultimate X-Men, Vol. 12: Hard Lessons
by Steve Dillon
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ultimate X-Men: Volume 12 - Hard Lessons, 28 May 2009
Another excellent addition to the Ultimate line, Volume 12 of Ultimate X-Men collects together three seperate plot lines in one book. Firstly, we have Ultimate Deathstrike, followed by Professor Xavier in the midst of a bank robbery, and then Rogue and Gambit against Ultimate Juggernaut.

The Deathstrike story delves into Storm's past, and introduces Ultimate Yuriko Oyama, or Lady Deathstrike. With the return of a villain from the X-Men's past, and some more information on both Storm's past and her current relationship with Wolverine, this is a solid story although the resolution at the end is a little too quick for my liking - I feel it could have done with a little more closure.

The Xavier storyline is fantastic, with the Professor trapped in the middle of a bank robbery. He has to rally the hostages in order to stop the mutant Syndicate, who is trying to steal the money for a good cause. We see more of the Ultimate Charles Xavier, who reveals his manipulative dark side once again - this version of Xavier is a lot less trusting and a lot more secretive, and it's good to see him getting some development.

The Rogue and Gambit story is also very good, with a surprising ending. Juggernaut's outfit looks absolutely horrific, however; it would have been nice for that to have been changed since he looks almost comical. Aside from that, the story is quite good although I would have preferred to see Juggernaut's feelings for Rogue expanded on a little bit more, as well as the Gem of Cyttorak's powers. Overall, a solid story.

In conclusion, this was a good volume. Whilst not having any major plot threads or any overall relevance to the X-Men, it provided some good character development opportunities and setting up a few plot threads for later issues.


Ultimate X-Men Volume 11: The Most Dangerous Game TPB: Most Dangerous Game v. 11 (Graphic Novel Pb)
Ultimate X-Men Volume 11: The Most Dangerous Game TPB: Most Dangerous Game v. 11 (Graphic Novel Pb)
by Stuart Immonen
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ultimate X-Men: Volume 11 - The Most Dangerous Game, 28 May 2009
Volume 11 of Ultimate X-Men introduces the Ultimate Mojoverse characters. In the original comics, these characters were from an alternate dimension, and as such often didn't seem to fit quite right with the X-Men, which is generally about racism and prejudice rather than dimensional travel and one-note villains such as Mojo and Major Domo.

The Ultimate reimagining is a lot better, casting the characters as part of a reality television programme in which criminal mutants are hunted down and killed for the entertainment of Genosha. This immediately opens the way to numerous plot threads, and the references to the Earth-616 reality are rife in this issue - Genosha, the island of Krakoa, Mojo and his cronies, Longshot and Spiral, even Arcade makes an appearance!

The plot is good, with characters coming across very believably - Dazzler continues to amuse with her attitude problems and it is revealed that even the Professor doesn't want her in the institute! Angel gets a bit more development, Jean starts to have problems with the Phoenix again, and Colossus' homosexuality appears to be causing him personal problems and possibly even conflict with Nightcrawler.

Overall, a very good issue with an excellent plot twist at the end. Definitely one of the most solid storylines in the Ultimate X-Men series.


Ultimate X-Men Volume 7: Blockbuster TPB: Blockbuster Vol 7 (Graphic Novel Pb)
Ultimate X-Men Volume 7: Blockbuster TPB: Blockbuster Vol 7 (Graphic Novel Pb)
by Marvel Comics
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Ultimate X-Men: Volume 7 - Blockbuster, 27 May 2009
The first of Brian Michael Bendis' storylines, Blockbuster teams up Ultimate heroes Wolverine, Spider-Man and Dare-Devil in a battle to prevent harm coming to those in New York City. Wolverine's past has caught up to him, and it seems like he'll be needing all the help he can get when a mysterious woman targets him for elimination.

The artwork and writing is solid, with David Finch bringing Spider-Man to life very well, and providing solid art for the entire issue. Brian Michael Bendis writes for Ultimate Spider-Man, so is it any surprise that his rendition of the character is entirely true to source - heroic and hilarious in equal measure!

The plot seems a little irrelevant to the mainstream Ultimate X-Men plotline, but it provides some interesting plot development of Wolverine's past and it's a fun and enjoyable story. There's no real reason not to pick it up.


Ultimate X-Men Volume 6: Return Of The King TPB: Return of the King v. 6 (Graphic Novel Pb)
Ultimate X-Men Volume 6: Return Of The King TPB: Return of the King v. 6 (Graphic Novel Pb)
by Mark Millar
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ultimate X-Men: Volume 6 - Return of the King, 27 May 2009
The sixth volume of Ultimate X-Men, and possibly the best so far. Capturing everything about Mark Millar's style that is great and giving an excellent send off to the creator of the Ultimate X-Men.

The story is about Magneto, back from 'death' for revenge on the world. With the help of the Brotherhood, which now includes the mutants Vanisher, Sabertooth, Multiple Man and even Forge, Magneto plans to kill everything on Earth...except for his chosen few, who will reign over the husk. Only one team can stop him...the Ultimate X-Men.

This storyline has it all - drama, character, intrigue, excitement, action. With the return of Iceman, Shadowcat, Cyclops, Moira MacTaggert, Nightcrawler and Betsy Braddock, the Ultimate X-Men gain new allies in their conflict with the most dangerous villain in the Ultimate Universe.

This story ties up the entire Mark Millar run, with old characters now joining the X-Men and the story being left open after this. More development of the characters occurs, and the possibility of new villains, such as those faced by the Ultimates, is raised.

The art is great, with Adam Kubert creating a perfect style of dark, gritty action with realistic depiction of characters constrasted with the fantastic and fresh nature of their abilities.

An essential volume for any collector of X-Men, and definitely one to get while you can. Don't miss it!


Ultimate X-Men Volume 5: Ultimate War TPB: Ultimate War v. 5 (Graphic Novel Pb)
Ultimate X-Men Volume 5: Ultimate War TPB: Ultimate War v. 5 (Graphic Novel Pb)
by Mark Millar
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Ultimate X-Men: Volume 5 - Ultimate War, 27 May 2009
Ultimate War is a crossover between the Ultimates and the Ultimate X-Men. With the master of magnetism on the loose again, it is feared that Xavier and his X-Men may have joined with the Brotherhood to aid him in his terrorist attacks on New York. To this end, Nick Fury assembles his Ultimates - a team created to stop post-humans from threatening America. With such iconic heroes as Iron Man, Captain America and Thor, this may well be an Ultimate War.

The art is fantastic - Chris Bachalo at his creative peak, with dynamic battles and interesting characters. The story itself is fast-paced and well-written, with multiple fight scenes which are well choreographed and exciting. The plot is perfect for this kind of story; sensible and simple enough to work, but also able to take a backseat to the action when it needs to.

The only problem with Ultimate War is that it feels like filler. Well written, fast-paced and adrenaline filled with fantastic artwork, but still filler. It's also short, and ends on a 'to be continued...' which means it's only going to be picked up by long-term fans who have the others.

Overall, a good read which will keep you interested until it finished. It doesn't try to be more than what it is, and what it is is a fun, quick paced action story.


Ultimate X-Men Volume 4: Hellfire & Brimstone TPB: Hellfire and Brimstone v. 4 (Graphic Novel Pb)
Ultimate X-Men Volume 4: Hellfire & Brimstone TPB: Hellfire and Brimstone v. 4 (Graphic Novel Pb)
by Mark Millar
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Ultimate X-Men: Volume 4 - Hellfire and Brimstone, 27 May 2009
Any long-time reader of X-Men comics will know what the word 'Hellfire' in the title means...and they'd be correct. Sebastian Shaw and his Hellfire Club make their appearance in this gripping storyline.

This plot doesn't only deal with the Hellfire Club, however. A new character is introduced to become a part of the team, Kitty Pryde. Unfortunately, it looks like she won't be a member of the team for a while yet as her mother wants her staying out of the 'saving-the-world' business. And the events of World Tour continue to take their toll as Bobby Drake attempts to sue Xavier for causing his injuries - but is this really Iceman's idea? And Marvel Girl begins to experience strange visions of a majestic firebird - the Phoenix!

The story is well written, although I can't help but wonder when Mark Millar is going to get around to giving the X-Men more diverse personalities. The inter-team relationships are all very solid, and the Beast/Storm romance was unexpected but quite a nice variation on the norm, but characters such as Colossus and Beast don't really have enough depth to them.

Despite this, the Phoenix plot works well and runs nicely along with the secondary plots throughout the storyline, with neither drawing too much attention away from the other and both getting good resolutions. It's also a nice touch to be able to view the mansion and the X-Men from a newcomer's eyes again, so Kitty Pryde's story is a good addition.

The artwork of this issue is generally good, although Kaare Andrews replaces Adam Kubert for two issues. This seems an odd choice, as the difference in style is jarring and very flow-breaking. Kaare has a dynamic and exciting style, and I liked his renditions of the characters (except for Blob and Kitty) but the sudden shift in style and tone is a little off-putting.

Overall, a good storyline which leaves an interesting 'to be continued...' hanging over the Phoenix story and suggests we'll be seeing more of Shadowcat soon enough!


Ultimate X-Men Volume 2: Return To Weapon X TPB: Return to Weapon X v. 2 (Graphic Novel Pb)
Ultimate X-Men Volume 2: Return To Weapon X TPB: Return to Weapon X v. 2 (Graphic Novel Pb)
by Mark Millar
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ultimate X-Men: Volume 2 - Return to Weapon X, 27 May 2009
With Nightcrawler, Sabertooth, Rogue, Juggernaut and even the X-Men as prisoners of the mysterious Weapon X, this storyline continues the high standard set by Ultimate Marvel.

Mark Millar continues his cynical look at the world of the X-Men by having the team captured by the Weapon X facility and forced to carry out missions for S.H.I.E.L.D. and for the dangerous Colonel Wraith, a man with his own mysterious agenda. Things seem hopeless for the X-Men until some old enemies come knocking, and the 'heroes' face a moral choice which could break the entire team. The revelation at the end of the storyline, however, is the greatest surprise...an old villain that the X-Men thought dead might not be out of the picture just yet.

The artwork is excellent, keeping a very dark tone thoughout. Nightcrawler's new appearance and teleportation are both very cool looking, a nice overhaul of his old graphics. Sabertooth is everything I had hoped and more, looking just smart enough to be a leader while just feral enough to be a warrior.

The X-Men begin to develop real characters, which aren't as deep as I would like but are a good starting point for some real personal stories. The new characters introduced, however, aren't so lucky. While Sabertooth is well done, Rogue gets hardly anything to say that is important or valid, although her lines when we first see her do reveal a real sadness about her. Juggernaut, however, is just awful. He gets barely any mention and has no real defining character traits, seeming like just another of Magneto's supporters. I really hope that we get a REAL Ultimate Juggernaut, with a good plot and an exciting character because this one just doesn't cut it.

Mark Millar's cynicism is also his undoing a little bit, as the Weapon X villains come across as evil for evil's sake and seem to have no real motive. This works well with Sabertooth, who is obviously trying to be as cool as Wolverine and just not cutting it, but Colonel Wraith and Dr Cornelius get barely any characterisation. Another dissapointment is that noone joins the team afterwards - not Rogue, or Nightcrawler, or even Juggernaut. This is understandable, however, as the team has only just been introduced but it would have been nice to see them. I'm sure they will join eventually.

Overall, a good addition to the Ultimate line and an interesting story, with a few characterisation flaws stopping it from reaching five stars.


Ultimate X-Men Volume 1: Tomorrow People TPB: Tomorrow People v. 1 (Graphic Novel Pb)
Ultimate X-Men Volume 1: Tomorrow People TPB: Tomorrow People v. 1 (Graphic Novel Pb)
by Mark Millar
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ultimate X-Men: Volume 1 - The Tomorrow People, 27 May 2009
The Ultimate X-Men's story begins with this six part epic, introducing the major characters and serving to also give a good feel for how the series will be. The Ultimate universe is darker than the Marvel norm, and the various changes in this X-Men title reflect that.

Looking at the team, there are a few typical and understandable choices. Cyclops leads, which was almost a given, Marvel Girl is his second-in-command, which feels a lot more natural than Storm given that she is being introduced as a new character. Choosing Marvel Girl as Jean's codename seems odd at first, but remembering that the X-Men in this universe will always have one as their "post-human baptism" and that there is no mention of a Phoenix force yet and hearkening back to the early comics makes sense.

The new recruits consist of Storm, who I expected to see as she has been an integral part of the team in the mainstream universe for a while now, as well as Beast and Colossus, who I was rather surprised to see as they are not generally major players or hugely popular. It seems that Millar has decided to go back to the roots of the X-Men, with a furless Beast. This is an odd contradiction to his storyline, which involves Sentinels hunting down and killing mutants, suggesting that the story takes place in a time when mutants are commonplace.

The new origin stories are quite nice - Storm is a bit more of a newcomer and isn't as strong as her mainstream counterpart, which leaves some good room to grow. Beast seems a lot less idealistic than the norm, however, and with an already massive intellect I'm not sure how he'll develop as a character, but I'm sure gaining blue fur will be part of that! Colossus is a little more worrying, however. He begins as part of the Russian Mafia, which takes away the optimistic and idealistic aspects of the traditional Colossus...I'm not sure where he can really go from here.

Cyclops and Marvel Girl immediately strike a good dynamic, with both of them teasing each other and the typically straight-laced Cyclops smiling at her jokes. Jean herself seems a lot younger and weaker than in mainstream, which is good as it leaves room for her powers to grow. I'm looking forward to the Ultimate Phoenix story.

Over the course of the issue, we're also introduced to Magneto, and the Brotherhood of Mutants. These are all characters that need to be fleshed out a lot more, although Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch both have some good moments. The end of the storyline with Magneto seems odd, however, and I expect it to be reversed as Magneto is far too good a villain to come to such a lowly end.

I'm not going to say much about Wolverine because his motives and methods are continually mysterious and interesting throughout the story. He definitely won't gel with the rest of the team, which should create an interesting dynamic in later issues.

All in all, an exciting start which I am looking forward to seeing continue. The Ultimate X-Men look to be a fantastic rendition of the characters.


Ultimate X-Men Volume 10: Cry Wolf TPB
Ultimate X-Men Volume 10: Cry Wolf TPB
by Andy Kubert
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ultimate X-Men: Volume 10 - Cry Wolf, 27 May 2009
Volume 10 of the Ultimate X-Men heralds the return of fan favourite Gambit, as well as new villains and the departure of a hero. Brian K. Vaughan continues his run with his usual blend of good characterisation and interesting dialogue.

The story revolves around Rogue being kidnapped by Remy LeBeau, the sweet-talking street rat from New Orleans. We've met him before, in a touching two part story, and now he's returned to bring turmoil and strife into the ranks of the X-Men.

Gambit attempts to kidnap Rogue, on behalf of the Fenris Corporation who want to enlist her as an agent. Rogue refuses, and Gambit's loyalties are tested as the X-Men storm the Fenris building while Rogue tries to escape.

Overall, the plot is good, with dynamic action and good dialogue. It seems like Marvel Girl has finally got her powers back under control, although the fire surrounding her when she uses her abilities hints that she will have to face the dangers of the Phoenix Force again. Rogue and Gambit's relationship comes off well, although the ending feels forced. Rogue and Iceman had an interesting relationship, and it seems that this was just pushed out of the way to fall in line with the traditional Marvel universe, which is a shame.

Another complaint would be the general irrelevance of the storyline - nothing really changes, no major villains are introduced - Andrea and Andreas von Strucker could have done with some more characterisation. The only change in the status quo is for Rogue, who wasn't given a lot of character anyway so it doesn't really hit us.

Overall, though, a good addition. Not a ground-breaking or earth-shaking story by any means, but a nice little diversion from the norm that works well.


Ultimate X-Men Volume 9: The Tempest TPB: Tempest v. 9 (Graphic Novel Pb)
Ultimate X-Men Volume 9: The Tempest TPB: Tempest v. 9 (Graphic Novel Pb)
by Brandon Peterson
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ultimate X-Men: Volume 9 - The Tempest, 27 May 2009
Volume 9 of the Ultimate X-Men series collects the first issues written by Brian K. Vaughan which revolve around the mysterious man known as Sinister. The X-Men face this dangerous killer whilst also having to educate new members of their team, such as the timid Angel and jaded, sarcastic Ali.

The story begins with a humerous scene where a terrified Jean-Paul Beaubier is scared off a rooftop by the sudden appearance of Nightcrawler. The Ultimate Northstar is...actually not Northstar yet! Seemingly having no desire to join the team, Jean-Paul just wants to be left alone. The problems begin when he is confronted by Sinister, a mysterious mutant who can control peoples' minds.

Sinister himself is a timid, stuttering man who is filled with confidence whenever he is tasked by his Lord Apocalypse to carry out the will of this strange being. Apocalypse seems to be a delusion created by Sinister's schizophrenic mind - or is he?

The writing is good, striking a balance between the quick, snarky quips of Millar and the repetitive but well-characterised dialogue of Bendis. Vaughan continues to flesh out the personalities of the characters whilst also keeping them distinct and stopping the dialogue from becoming too repetitive.

Artwork maintains the gritty realism of the dark Ultimate universe, and is generally to a high standard. Brandon Peterson's Storm and Sinister are both very dynamic and generally good-looking characters, although his Angel looks a bit too old and not as beautiful as he was in New Mutants.

Overall, a solid addition to the Ultimate collection, which keeps the dark atmosphere without making the villains seem evil for evil's sake. It hints towards a greater continuity and possibly the rising of one of the X-Men's greatest foes.


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