Miles Morales continues his team up with Jean Grey as the rest of the All-New X-Men find themselves in all kinds of trouble in the Ultimate universe, be it from the son of Wolverine, the Mole Man, or Doctor Doom!
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Mahmud Asrar
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover: Sara Pichelli & Marte Gracia
Variant Cover: Pasqual Ferry
Assistant Editor: Xander Jarowey
Editor: Mike Marts
The Story: Iceman continues his escape from the Mole Man’s kingdom. X-23 and Angel meet James Hudson, son of Ultimate Wolverine, and learn the shocking truth behind the origin of mutants in the Ultimate U! Beast gets invited to dinner by Doom and declines. Miles takes Jean to meet Ganke and borrow his mom’s car. Miles and Jean road trip it up to the X-Men’s mansion in Westchester where they encounter the Ultimate X-Men!
Thoughts: Iceman starts the issue off in media res, surrounded by Mole Men. One of the advantages to now having met his future self is that he is more aware of what his power can do. Bobby decides to go for broke and test his limits, unleashing some Ice Hulks on his attackers. Having not been keeping up with all things X-Men, I was surprised that he could control these ice creatures that seem to roam independently, like they were Green Lantern constructs almost. It was a cool moment, though, seeing him try to better himself in his skill set. It certainly seems more impressive than the usual ice bridge or snowball. His escape to the surface has a beautiful splash page that pays homage to the cover of the original Fantastic Four #1.
One thing Bendis excels at is characterization. This is one of my first exposures to the character of X-23 and he communicates her surliness effectively when she rebuffs Angel when he wants to give her a hug out of excitement for finding her. Asrar really sells it, too, with her facial expressions. I can see a little Wolverine in her when she scowls. X-23 and Angel have the appropriate shocked expression when they find out from Son of Wolverine that in this universe, mutants are not the result of evolution, but experimentation. I had forgotten that sinister fact for the Ultimate U and I wonder how that information will affect them going forward. Will they investigate further in their universe if/when they get home to see if this applies to them, too?
Beast’s utterance of his classic catchphrase, “Oh, my stars and garters.” and its response from Doom, “I’m not sure what that exclamation means.” elicited a chuckle out of me. Blogger Victor Domashev, aka “Doom”, oh, wait, dictator Victor van Damme, Ultimate Doctor Doom, (pardon the reference to the new FF’s movie origin for the character) comes off very much like a 60’s era Bond villain, what with his elegant dinner spread served by Doombots laid out before him, glass raised in toast. Beast’s escape attempt is played for comedy as we see him scramble across the rooftop, get mobbed by the ‘bots, and forcibly planted back at his dinner chair. All Doom needs is a Persian cat to stroke as he exclaims how interested he is in hearing about Hank’s Earth.
Ganke can’t catch a break this issue as not only do Jean and Miles want to borrow his mom’s car, he has to worry about Jean reading his teenage thoughts, too. I appreciate that Bendis has Ganke reminding Miles to pay attention to his academic life and not lose sight of it amidst his super hero extra curricular activities. Whilst this is an X-Men book, it’s nice to reflect the continuity that Miles hasn’t been in school much lately. That being said, it’s worth keeping in mind that in his own book has had the last few issues take place over a single night, so my perception is a little skewed.
Miles and Jean have a little heart to heart on their road trip up to Westchester. It’s hard not to feel bad for Jean as she admits to Miles her perceived failures. She’s got the weight of worlds on her shoulders having to deal with the fact that not only does her future self go bananas and destroy a planet and die, but now her team is stranded in another dimension altogether and she doesn’t even know where they are. It’s a touching moment, but it’s brought down a bit for me by the art. Asrar’s faces seem a little off in the Miles scenes, to the point where my 8 year old daughter asked me what was wrong with their faces!
Next issue looks promising with the All-New X-Men meeting their Ultimate counterparts. The writing for this issue had some good character beats and surprises, the art at the end lost me a bit, though. Still, I enjoyed this issue and am looking forward to the next chapter!
My Grade: B-