Graphic Novel Review: Ultimate X-Men Collection, Book 1

by Mark Millar, Geoff Johns
Publisher: Marvel
Format: Paperback
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Superheroes
Release Date: July 26th 2006

Rating: 3/5 Stars

I was trying to put my finger on why I didn’t click with this as much as, say, The Ultimates, and a large part of it boils down to my feelings about the characters. I don’t have a huge attachment to Tony Stark or Steve Rogers – as characters, I love their onscreen portrayals and think Robert Downey Jr and Chris Evans do great jobs, but I like the characters as portrayed by their actors. With X-Men, I just point blank love the characters – I love Wolverine, whether or not he’s portrayed by Hugh Jackman, Rogue was always one of my favourite characters, and I like Storm, Jean Grey, and the others.

The problem I had with Ultimate X-Men is partly with the way these characters are written, and partly because yes we get it the world hates mutants and Sentinels suck. It’s the same story we’ve seen countless times with these same characters, with the major change being in how they’re portrayed and the dynamic between them. And the whole love triangle thing here is handled badly, with some really poor dialogue. It’s also stretching the X-Men into this early 00s version of ‘edgy’, without really saying much with it. And that’s what this almost boils down to – there’s a lot going on here, but nothing that feels substantial.

The second part (Return to Weapon X) is more interesting, but still feels lacking. There’s this constant feeling that Millar is trying to say something, but isn’t quite effective at articulating it. And of course, despite Weapon X being a S.H.I.E.L.D program, they’re…still the good guys? Return definitely opens this up to being more part of the wider Marvel universe, but in a kind of underwhelming way. Then there’s the ‘alternative’ issue #1, which starts off interesting with Rogue and Gambit, and…goes downhill from there. There’s some interesting stuff here, especially with Hank, but it feels like it’s trying to force something that doesn’t quite fit with the characters.

I might continue with this, at some point, to see where it goes, but I won’t be in any rush to do so.

Related Reviews

Books: School of X
Graphic Novels: Generation XUltimates Volume 1 / Volume 2Ultimates 2 Volume 1 / Volume 2


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